Caveat: this is not everyone, there are many people of better means who have been down and out themselves or having more independent mindsets or who are more spiritually minded, that this DOES NOT fit. But sometimes out there in the world it is interesting what is said and the attitudes.
How many times have you heard this said about poor people?
"They have no work ethic"
"They do not believe they control their own destinies so it's their fault they are poor"
"If you give them too much, they learn to expect it"
"Rich people are smarter then poor people"
"Rich people are more moral then poor people"
"Poor people have negative attitudes instead of positive ones and that is why they are poor."
Many of these have been said to my face. The Squawker does not go around advertising her socio-economic status to the general public, while sometimes a cracked car windshield or some old shoes may reveal some of her status, most of these things she has overheard has been said with straight faces by those unknowing of her or the Reckoner's true circumstances. In some circles, dissing the poor is common. Sometimes one can sit there and think, "did they really say that"?
Three days ago at a book club, the Squawker heard "The poor have no work ethic" and decided to speak up and say, "How can a person have a work ethic with no job?" and then asked this person to think about the fact that the jobs are no longer stable and those who struggle with no end in sight do lose motivation, it is a psychological reality, yes better off avoided if possible but there. What is even sadder is that as the economy implodes, is these "whistle past the graveyard" attitudes remain so numerous.
The other day, I read this book, called "Coming Apart: The State of White America"
Why did I hate this book? While the author points to some of the realities such an out of touch elite being out of touch with the rest of the populace like the residents of Wilmette and Greenwich living in their own protected bubbles with BMWs galore and a gourmet shop on every corner. The general gist of book says the rich are becoming richer because they are more moral and smarter. This guy talks about out of touch wealthy people while being one himself. If one knows about the book he previously co-authored, maybe one should not be surprised to see some of the lies from the right, being so adamantly repeated.
Supposedly education will save that day! [well if you can afford the Ivy League] and supposedly in some fantasy world free of crooked bankers and corporate corruption, those who ascend the corporate ladder are more moral and "religious". The book focuses on poor whites, not the inner city, but the overall typical messages and blame game remains cognizant here too. In other words it's your fault if you happen to be white and poor. "Fishtown" is poor in other words to this guy because they are supposedly a bunch of non-book reading degenerates. One thing I want to tell Murray, is many men who cannot get decent jobs to support families on all sides of the equation, often are less apt to marry. It's a chicken or egg scenario. Where do all the unemployed and underemployed college graduates and neo-poor fit in? Even the odd conjectures that journalists are part of the upper classes, ignores collapsing newspapers nation-wide.
I also found his seeing moral degradation as being a upward enterprise from the lower classes moving up, to be quite strange. How many of the elite have impacted morals especially given the 60s influenced Bohos? Weren't the elite the first ones to shout "God is dead" back then? What about the endless Ivory Tower academics, who wanted to change things in a "radical" fashion? Where is the altruism and caring about the community that the very rich used to at least pretend to care about? Today they care more about advancing globalism, while the American people are last on the list. Seen anything like a Carnegie Library recently? Then there are the bankers who enriched themselves for trillions of dollars at tax payer expense. And add to that Hollywood, whose making the movies? Whose writing and publishing the books? Will Cather today wouldn't have a chance writing about poor people.
Horatio Alger you have met your match!
Check out this review of this horrid book.....
One review struck me as very interesting.
Charles Murray ignores the fact that the policies of the upper classes has inflicted so much economic pain on the lower economic classes. Specifically, free trade and massive immigration.
The industrial working class has been destroyed by the movement of jobs to China and Japan. Once thriving cities are now faced with abandoned houses that they must tear down because nobody has working class jobs to afford them.
Michael Moore very well frames the argument that Flint, Michigan was not destroyed and sent into bankruptcy from a lack of morals or any other such degeneration by the working class in GM. It was destroyed by the liberatarian policies of Free Trade (otherwise known as a race to the bottom.)
In the 1960's a man with less than a high school education could get a job in a factory, work his way up from a sweeper to a machinist and support his wife (living at home) and a family. Where are these jobs now? Who is doing this? It is the working class in Japan who has this type of living. Not Americans.
Niall Ferguson and Charles Murray treat this as some mass social issue rather than as a consequence of economics. What Murray pointedly ignores is that the difference between the mean income (average income) and median income (half above and half below) has grown much larger. This indicates that the wealthy are earning greater sums while the working class is having its income reduced.
This book is an arrogant piece of tripe. Working class people if they are in despair and poverty are not completely to blame.
Please Mr. Murray, tell us, where is a nineteen year old kid going to get a decent job. Your answer that he become a PhD is nonsense. What made American the envy of the world was that ordinary people, not just the elites, could live well and have hope. The elites destroyed that with their economic policies of free trade, globalism, outsourcing and massive immigration. Working class people had their country sold out from underneath them. There was no change in their attitudes, just a change in the greed level of the elites.
I totally agree.
That is just one example. Why are poor people getting such a bum rap? There's very few of us getting a voice out there outside of the few of us who are blessed with Internet access. I sit at tables, and hear people rap their knuckles on the table who start talking about those "lazy, no good for nothings", who are sucking the states coffers dry due to "entitlement" programs. Some are so angry, that being disabled around such folks can be a scary enterprise. Usually I like to say to such types while keeping my own status hidden, "what about the trillions in bail-outs or trillions for wars that have brought nothing but more government debt?" You never hear about that.
The Republicans have "Blame the poor" as almost a defacto platform for their party. So the Tea Party contingent, even those who get Medicare and social security, start yelling about all the "bums" on welfare. While there is something to people not choosing dependence on the government and avoiding generational welfare, what is offered people as an option? If there are no jobs and all the factories have closed, what do they expect? Instead the big money types, close another factory overseas so they can pay pennies on the dollar to some cough "slaves" cough, third world workers, and pay off the politicians to shake their fist at the poor, and it works. Try even admitting you are poor in a few socio-economically closed circles and see how it works.
Then there is the Democrat party, remember The Squawker doesn't think much of either of them. They build themselves as "the party of the people" for generations with many working class people signing on, while the Republican party was seen as the party for big business as well. Sad how old stereotypes die hard. Obama is still sending jobs overseas and signing overseas trades deals. Here too none of the real economic realities are not confronted either. The outsourcing of jobs overseas has destroyed our economy. Remember Clinton signed NAFTA to help in the "race to the bottom" mentioned above as one of the defining moments of his presidency.
Whose speaking for the poor out there in the media? No one really outside a few independent bloggers, authors, journalists and a cartoonist like Ted Rall on occasion. None of the elite are telling the truth, they are more busy hiding it. Instead of asking "Where's the beef?", ask "Where's all the jobs?" The elephant in the room is that manufacturing in America has been closed down. There's only so much need among a newly impoverished populace for hair dressers and chefs for fancy restaurants.
They are basically tell us what they think of us every chance they get in that self-congratulatory type of talk---. "We are smarter, more moral and more deserving".....but the worse thing are those normal people who lap it up, and buy into it, when it could be them soon one day without a job, seeing the huge pile of unpaid bills piling up or trying to make ends meet instead of saying "There but for the grace of God, go I." There is nothing smart or moral about what they have done to this country---The Squawker