How i became a conservative

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by al garner

Contents C Introduction Chapter I

Education

How useful was high school? Vouchers How useful was college? Far Left and Far Right Beware of Idealism Chapter II A

Oh, to save the world Baptism by fire

Living in Slums Domestic Version of Peace Corps B

Reflections

Social Work in the Past How Not to Study a Gang Banger Liberal Psychobabble Social Work Myths Welfare Reform The Homeless Hazlitt on Poverty Why Immigrants Pass our Poor Advice to the Poor

C Independence How to Kill a Care Home A Suicidal Friend Neighborhood Care Homes

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3 Chapter III

Land lording

A Bad Neighborhood Living with Bums Legal Nightmare over Rented Room Chapter IV The light goes on A

Liberal pitfalls

Liberal Myths The Liberal Media Social Classes and Liberals Liberal Spin on Riots B

Economics

Discovering Milton Friedman Discovering Thomas Sowell What the Free Market Wants Minimum Wage Privatization C

Values

The Decline Self-pity

Appendix Liberal and conservative positions Traditional Values People, places, publications, think tanks

Author’s bio

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Introduction I grew up in the conservative 50s in one of the most conservative areas (Orange County, Calif.) and went to college where it was said that as we got older, we would get more conservative. (Prophetic) After four years of studying the ideal world, I was graduated and moved to the real world of the slums of the very liberal New York City. I daily read the liberal NEW YORK TIMES, and went from one bad job to another in liberal social work (in the liberal late 60s). I thought the problem was me, but noticed no one was getting anything done. I dabbled in teaching and politics, more social work, and then land lording, which allowed me to write. I happened on books by Milton Friedman and others, which explained conservative ideas. Slowly the light came on. It had taken years. Why hadn’t this been covered in college? Because most colleges are liberal. Liberals who’ve anointed themselves Robin Hood and Santa Claus have led us astray. They are bright and more educated than the masses, but mistaken about fundamentals. Moderates and conservatives (not the far right) are more realistic and realize the importance of traditional values. Yet they are always tarred for not ‘caring’ enough, while paying farmers not to grow and welfare mothers not to work. This book shows their wisdom by drawing on the ideas of: Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, Edward Banfield, Jack Kemp, William F. Buckley, and Thomas Sowell. Definitions - ‘Liberal’ is portrayed (by the predominantly liberal media) as ‘progressive, modern, open-minded, compassionate, enlightened, egalitarian, tolerant, and generous.’ - ‘Conservative’ is portrayed as ‘backward, stingy, mean, rigid, heartless, selfish, narrow, angry, and fearful.’ From my experience, the liberal view is: an ideal world is possible, old is bad, new is good. Anti-establishment, anti-capitalism, security, socialism, pro-union, and redistribute the wealth to level the classes. The conservative view is the opposite.

LIBERAL Universities Entertainment Social work

CONSERVATIVE

business Back to top


5 Psychology ACLU Much of the news media …………………. Spokesmen for the poor & minorities 18 % of the public …………………………. Under age 30 ………………………………. New values ………………………………… Rights ………………………………………. Socialism ……………………………………

talk radio, fox news

When one person gains, another loses ….. Those with more are greedy & oppress those with less ……………………………..

false

Those with less:

Those with more:

Tenants………………………………………. Labor…………………………………………. Consumers…………………………………... Minorities…………………………………….. Criminals, bums…………………………….. The 3rd world……………………………….. Under age 30………………………………...

landlords management big business whites ‘society’ the U.S. over

40% over traditional values responsibilities capitalism

false

(More on the liberal outlook in chapter 4, section ‘a,’ 1st essay - ‘Liberal Myths,’and in the Appendix.)

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Chapter I

Education

I grew up in Southern Calif. in the idyllic 50s. Though one idealizes one’s youth, these were good times - a wholesome era of traditional values portrayed by OZZIE AND HARRIET and by HAPPY DAYS. (Good, but they could have been better.)

How useful was high school?

In school I ran around with the ‘establishment’ crowd many of whom were student leaders. Reading We weren’t assigned authors we would have loved like Jack London and Ernie Pyle. Writing Spelling, vocabulary, and some grammar lessons were good, but we didn’t write enough. Math Besides the basics, what was necessary? Not algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and they didn’t improve our thinking as was claimed. Social studies (not social ‘science’) History was interesting for some, but left out most of the countries. We didn’t have enough geography, current affairs, or social problems. Sports Overdone Other We took science and language, but didn’t use them. Art, music, and speaking were not academic and could have been after-school activities. We were told little or nothing about: resume writing, job hunting, managing money, traditional values, human nature, corruption, politics, media bias, religious scandals, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, prejudice, and the pros and cons of joining the military. We were not told about maturity in relation to adolescence, friendship, courting, sex, parenting, vice, crime, religion, cults, politics, youthful idealism, and liberal and conservative thinking. When it came to college, the preparation wasn’t serious. We were too busy having fun and becoming ‘well-rounded.’ The last day of school we tore up our notebooks and threw the pages around the halls in celebration. At graduation we were inspired and praised. People congratulated us. Why? We Back to top


7 hadn’t done much. Much of our schooling was busywork while we grew up. How much was useful? Probably half - the three r’s, some social studies, typing, driver’s ed, first aid, shop, home economics. Though not academic, the clubs, student paper, student government, and talent shows were useful and great fun. After-school sports were a superb outlet for athletes, providing conditioning, challenge, competition, recognition, teamwork, discipline (and getting yelled at). For others they provided school spirit, band, drill team, and pep rallies. Could these drives be harnessed for academic or vocational decathlons (and be practical, which is not true of the national spelling bee)? If I could change school, I would group students according to achievement, not age, use more lay teachers, and provide vouchers to give families a choice of schools. Schools would have to compete for students and teachers. I would prepare students for the real world by requiring achievement in: 1. Traditional values (basic to maturity. Students could clean the schools, as in Japan, to learn some of these.) 2. Mental health (courses and counseling - to promote maturity). 3. Physical health (diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol, drugs, Pregnancy, first aid, longevity, etc.). Students maintaining good health wouldn’t need sports. 4. Career counseling (to find one’s primary interests). 5. Apprenticeships (so students would graduate with marketable skills). 6. Practical academics (geared to the real world). Many things contribute to these six categories - hobbies, clubs, scouts, sports, student government, TV, reading, travel, living in different regions, a second language, summer camp, volunteer and paid work … . Students could be tested on and given credit for their achievements in these areas. Everyone would gain - the school by tapping the outside world, the parents for their efforts, and the students by getting a practical education and a head start. A big step toward this would be School vouchers Education in the U.S. below the 12

th grade is virtually public and the results are generally bad. Education above the 12th grade is public and private and the best in the world. If we want better below the 12th grade, we can increase private education with vouchers. Parents would shop for schools instead of moving to different school districts. Private schools would spring up according to demand and remain according to performance. They would hire more para-professionals and aides. Public schools would have to compete by cutting top-heavy bureaucracies, tenured union employees, etc.Parents of private school students would not have to pay twice - once in taxes for public schools and again in tuition for private schools. Many of them are not rich Back to top


8 (and many are teachers in public schools). Schools would specialize for the talented, the disabled, athletic, vocational, Englishdeficient - whatever. Critics say new private schools wouldn’t be regulated, but those regulations haven’t helped public schools. At any rate, new private schools would be held to the standards of the older private schools. Those that didn’t produce would lose students. The church state issue shouldn’t amount to much as most students in Catholic schools are Protestants. If their parents aren’t worried, it’s not much of an issue. The public schools establishment and their unions have monopolized education for years with disastrous results; it’s time for competition.

When I finished high school, everyone (including Elvis) had to join the military or get drafted. I went into the Coast Guard for six months and then to summer camps and meetings for years. A waste. We really didn’t do anything because it was a government run monopoly. How much better it would have been if it had been privatized. On to college (for a ‘liberal arts’ education from ‘liberal’ professors). (The essay below drew a letter of agreement from Martin Anderson, author of IMPOSTORS IN THE TEMPLE.) How useful was college? In a nation that venerates education, college is seen as the ultimate goal. But is it? I’ve looked at what it did for me and many of my peers. We were ‘establishment’ types who were graduated from private and public colleges. Here are the results (which often depended on the professors and the books): Astronomy- waste. Biology – terrible. Economics – could have been good and practical. Education courses – infamous. English – essential when practical. Geography – delightful. Government – could have been good. History – good, but left out nonwestern cultures. International relations – good. A foreign language – probably useless for most. Literature – could have been good if we’d had authors like Jack London and Ernie Pyle. Logic – waste. Philosophy – waste. Psychology – should have been practical. Sociology – laughable. Speech – no impact. We had nothing on:  

Maturity in relation to: friendship, courting, sex, vice, crime, religion, cults, idealism, politics, parenting, liberalism, and conservatism. Resume writing, job hunting, managing money, traditional values, human nature, corruption, politics, military life, religious scandals, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, Back to top


9 transsexuals, prejudice, social classes, the fallibilities of professionals, and how to read the media. Did college make me and my peers: - Better citizens?............................................. Slightly. - More cultured?.............................................. Slightly. - Aware of various fields?................................ Too theoretically. - More Yes, but not for the effort involved. employable?......................................... - Ready for graduate school?.......................... If one needs four years. - Ready for the real world?.............................. No. - More Not like the real world would have. mature?................................................ - Aware of our Not enough. creativity?................................. - Was it worth the time and No. cost?....................

After college, we kept few textbooks and never reviewed our notes. We were verbose. Some took jobs requiring no degree. Some went back to school to learn typing. Some sought career counseling as they had been in the wrong field. Presently many are smart, but not intellectual, and are more subjective and prejudiced than they’d admit. They are reluctant to consider that half of what we studied we never used, nor heard of it since college. Many of the girls went to college to find a husband and never used their degrees. We were conditioned to be liberal. One professor said as we got older, we would get more conservative (prophetic), but this was never explained. My degree didn’t help in teaching and writing. In social work, politics, and mental health, it was often a hindrance, as it’s ‘liberal’ bent was far off the mark and it didn’t make me ‘streetwise.’ I’m glad I didn’t go to graduate school in those fields. My real education was: living in slums and in New York City, the domestic version of the Peace Corps, career counseling, running a home for mental patients, renting rooms in my house, being self-employed, the fallible media, and life itself. As it turned out, I had to unlearn much of what college and the media had taught me. Hence my interest in noted author Ray Bradbury’s saying he was ‘one of the few lucky enough not to go to college.’ Famed Russian author Solzhenitsyn said his ‘education’ was being a prisoner in Siberia. College consists of missing information, useful information, useless information, and misinformation. Those who didn’t finish didn’t miss as much as they’re led to believe. The useful parts were: - Vocabulary and concepts. - Learning to think, speak and write objectively and critically. - Exploding myths. - Independent study. - Writing papers on favorite subjects. - Exchange student programs (tops). - Student government, Model United Nations … . College should retain these, but require achievement in: 1) Traditional values, 2) Mental health, 3) Physical health, 4) Career counseling, 5) Internships, and 6) Practical Back to top


10 courses. Students could be tested and given credit for achievements in outside activities that fulfilled these categories. If this approach were used, more families would get their young people into such activities. Everyone would gain - the school in granting practical degrees, the parents for their efforts, and the student in getting a head start. Regarding the second recommendation above - mental health: schools should require students mature for obvious reasons, but also so the political students don’t end up on the extremes of the Far left or far right People believe what they want to believe; and they want to believe certain things because of how their minds work. The far left and far right go to extremes because they are immature. It seems the far left (hippy types in the late 60s) grew up spoiled, irresponsible, unconditionally loved, and learned to get by on charm and rhetoric. They came of age idealistic and unprepared. They found reality too harsh and rebelled radically. They tear down the establishment, yet expect it to cure society’s problems the way an adolescent criticizes his folks, yet expects them to solve every problem. They don’t hold the poor responsible because they (the far left) never learned responsibility. They put it aside and look for a world that is secure, loving, socialistic, egalitarian, positive, psychologically oriented, well-educated, and rational. They don’t find it and become cynical. The far right (John Birchers) is the other extreme. They are immature in a different way - repressed. They didn’t develop emotionally, establish their identities, or become fully in touch with their feelings. They never resolved many issues, and are angry, fearful. They feel under siege and don’t know why. Their security is the past. They make fetishes of guns, the bible, the flag, and the constitution - beacons in a threatening world of change. They plod through life doing their ‘duty.’ Talking about sex is taboo, homosexuality is an abomination, and issues are black and white - sometimes the work of God, the devil, or communists. Security is the biggest military, biggest police force, and biggest gun in the closet. They overidentify with their leaders and want them to do their thinking, fight their battles, be macho (and ride a white horse). They don’t find these and remain frustrated, threatened, and angry.

Identity……………………… Love is……………………… Sensitive……………………. Outlook……………………..

Far left

Moderate

Far right

groping…………. everything….…… overly……….….. idealistic…….…..

settled……………………. part of life………………... somewhat………………... realistic…………………...

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11 Believe in…………………… theories……..…. Orientation……………….… future………..….

practicalities……………… dogmas present…………………… past . Intellectual approach……… objective………... objective…………………. subjective, mean Social classes……………... anti………………. accepting…………………. regimented Superiors…………………… too chummy……. some distance…………… obedient Traditional values…………. anti………………. valued…………………….. dogmatic Discipline…………………… permissive……... firm……………………….. repressive Responsibility………………. pass the buck….. valued…………………….. burdensome Sex…………………………. permissive…….... prudent…………………… repressed Change……………………… worship…………. accept…………………….. fear Future………………………. revolution………. evolution…………………. turn the clock back Leaders…………………….. anti………………. work with…………………. venerate Religion…………………….. anti…………….... neutral……………………. fundamental Soc. Problems…………….. guilt……………… empathy………………….. intolerance Psychology………………… worship………… use……………………….. fear See mankind as…………… perfectible……… good& bad………………. bad Maturity……………….……. immature……….. mature……………………. immature See the poor as…….…….. victims…………… limited…………………..... fools See hardened criminals as. ‘ill’………………… immature (by choice)...... evil Priorities…………………… social programs… ……………………………. defense Priorities…………………... ‘compassion’……. ……………………………. order Approach………………….… sloppy………….… flexible………………….. rigid Approach……………….…… carrot…………….. carrot& stick………….… stick Lifestyle……….………….…. non-conformist….. straight………………….. too conventional Appearance……………….... non-conformist….. appropriate……………… unimaginative Humor………………………. scoffing………..… natural…………………… lacking Results……………………… jaded……………. acceptable…………….… frustrated Seen as…………………….. bleeding heart…… mature…………………… mean The far right is uptight and often mixes church and state. The far left is irresponsible, idealistic, patronizing, and too generous. A close look at each would probably show many in these groups have not found fulfillment in their personal lives; they seek it in their beliefs, which become their ‘family.’ They seek beliefs that provides all the answers and pervade and control most aspects of life. They want a world that doesn’t and can’t exist. Both can be arrogant, smug, self-righteous, and fanatical. One has only to look at what happens when either has come to power in a foreign country - a left or right wing dictatorship as a ‘temporary’ measure - a Fidel Castro of the left or an Muslim fundamentalist of the right. Another reason schools should require students mature is so they graduate realistic about life, not idealistic. Beware of idealism Back to top


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When we are children we are idealistic in planning to be astronauts, cowboys, movie stars (at the same time) - and we grow out of it. When we are teenagers we are idealistic in dreaming of the perfect romance, best school, best job, non-stop success, and changing the world. These dreams should be tempered with realism from our elders, but often they are not.In college, students are told they can create a ‘new man,’ eliminate poverty, level the classes, educate everyone, eliminate prejudice, stop war, ‘save’ the 3rd world, etc. Many liberal students believe this, and go into journalism, teaching, or social work. Some churches contribute to this by preaching: a sublime brotherhood, only positives, good intentions are enough, a cult of personality, etc. The more immature the young adult, the more susceptible he is to going off the deep end. Some join communes, cults, sects, or ill-founded protest movements. Some join the Peace Corps with stars in their eyes, and finish their term having accomplished little or nothing. (I saw this when in the domestic version of the peace corps - VISTA). Some go to Wash. D.C. to ‘clean up’ politics. But Washington needs ‘cleans’ only temporarily at a high level after a scandal to quell controversy. Once the scandal fades, they are discarded as Washington is more comfortable with leakers, gamesmen, and backstabbers. Idealistic young people get into the wrong work or marry the wrong person. Idealistic brokers lose money. Idealistic military officers risk their men in battle. Idealistic parents spoil their kids. Idealistic preachers lead their flocks to disaster (Jim and Tammy Bakker, Jim Jones). On a much larger scale the greatest danger, of course, lies in revolutions. Idealistic intellectuals fan the flames to burn everything down so they can come to power. They are hostile to compromise. They lack maturity and patience, and become more authoritarian than the regimes they replaced. In the past some have created communism and fascism, abolished money, and persecuted people wearing glasses. They’ve purged, committed genocide, and started wars. Other idealists have gone off to fight them, thinking the war would be over in a few weeks. During the Spanish Civil War, idealists joined the International Brigade to fight for democracy. Later they found their side was autocratic and backed by communists. In China the idealistic young were unleashed as the Red Guards from 1966-76, bringing one of the worst periods in China’s history. Idealism is the pitfall of youthful inexperience. Older people must expose the young to reality at every step of their development. I graduated highly idealistic with a degree in Political Science and little understanding of capitalism and socialism. I hadn’t heard of Milton Friedman, or the liberal misconceptions in Appendix, or that college campuses and the media are mostly liberal, or anything against unions or minimum wage. I hadn’t read anything sensible (then or since) about how to discipline youngsters. I had driven a school bus in college, and learned how to discipline (Appendix A). This was to turn out to be very important, as later in social work, my supervisors believed in everything but discipline. I was to go through great anguish and testing on this. If I hadn’t driven a Back to top


13 school bus, I’d have ended up in the nut house.

Chapter II

Oh, to save the world

After graduating wet behind the ears and verbose, I moved to the slums of liberal New York City. A

Baptism by fire

Living in slums I wanted to learn about ‘the downtrodden victims of society who lived in abject poverty.’ I lived in Spanish Harlem and the lower eastside – both in New York in the late 60sand later behind the capitol in Wash. D.C. in the early 70s.Rather than ‘the pitiful and oppressed poor held down by the establishment,’ I found something different. Cars were benches - people sat on them, which ground the grit into the paint. Some stood or walked on them. Occasionally a car found itself up on milk boxes in the morning with the back tires off. The next day the front tires and engine parts disappeared, and later kids used it as a jungle gym. Some were set afire. So much trash and litter filled the gutters, the streets were almost level with the sidewalk, although cleaned every two days. You knew you were in the slums when coming up the subway stairs. When your eyes came to the level of the street, they saw broken glass, litter, and sidewalks darkened by gum and fuel oil. I got so used to it, when I came up the stairs in a clean neighborhood, it was a pleasant shock. When furniture caught fire or was unwanted, it was thrown on the sidewalk. People ‘air mailed’ trash out the windows. Many phone booths didn’t work, were used as urinals, and were vandalized for change. I couldn’t get insurance on my apartment. When I had people over, they had to come Back to top


14 by cab. Kids didn’t yell when playing; they screeched. You never knew when it was an emergency. The laundromat had plexiglas windows and ‘iron putty’ covering the bolts holding the washers down. Once I stopped a 7th-grade boy from beating a terrified girl. He couldn’t understand what I was doing. The local SAFEWAY was the only supermarket in one neighborhood. It had Plexiglas windows. Kids ran in and out flirting, chasing, and stealing. People double parked, left their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle, and coughed on you in the slow-motion line. A nearby social agency sent around flyers saying, ‘Let’s stop SAFEWAY from abusing the neighborhood,’ ‘Let’s get SAFEWAY to lower prices and improve service.’ These came through the mail slot on a regular basis. Then a long interval. Finally one came through: ‘Since SAFEWAY closed, let’s car pool to the nearest market.’ Incredible. Instead of bugging SAFEWAY, the social agency should have been trying to keep it open. The agency held LOUD dances. The decibels could have taken the paint off the walls. They blasted out of the building like a locomotive, practically shaking the windows across the street. Inside no one could even shout. These were put on with no notice to neighbors and lasted until 2:00 a.m. The slums had dogs on three legs, blaring stereos and TV’s, babies crying and dogs barking for hours, rock-throwing, windows used as doors, baleful, sullen stares, graffiti, and horn blowing right outside your window in the middle of the night from cab drivers scared to leave their cabs. The pets were vicious or spooked; and when you told a kid to stop doing something, he took it as a challenge to be smart-aleck. Many of the poor didn’t like themselves nor each other. Life was cheap. People spat, cursed, threatened, fought, drank, and took drugs. There must have been a higher percentage of accidents. The mailboxes in some buildings had been broken into so often, people waited out front for their welfare checks. The apathy and the danger affected teachers, police, and other city workers. Some must have done only the minimum amount of work, burned out, or transferred. Chain stores, banks, and supermarkets avoided the area because of: bad checks, shoplifting, phony accidents and claims, shopping cart losses, crime against employees, vandalism to buildings and cars, and time lost in handling food stamps. (I read Ralph’s in Calif. lost money in nine out of ten of its inner city markets.) That is why prices are higher. The slums didn’t need the peace corps; they needed the marine corps. Everything was down 40 notches. But this isn’t what we hear. Somehow the media and academia are compelled to excuse those who live in the slums and blame everyone outside: 1 Blame ‘society’ Most of the problems are the fault of the poor. Where are ambition and responsibility? In sending to school kids who haven’t bathed in days? In the TV on all night instead of homework?In the empty library, the lack of interest in schools, markets, parks, or voting? How long do you have to live in a slum before losing ‘understanding and compassion’ for people who abuse you, their pets, kids, property, and each other? How long do you believe it is ‘racial, economic, or political?’ 2 Blame the police Back to top


15 Some cities put their worst cops in the slums, but this doesn’t account for all the nonsense. 3 Money is the answer False. Millions have been spent on social programs and we still have slums. In fact, many programs have done more harm than good by causing dependence and resentment. 4 No dignity in poverty Only partly true. Slum living and slum schooling are undignified, but being poor isn’t. I have known many who were poor in money and rich in everything else. (Many of our parents and grandparents were poor and didn’t feel they had less dignity or that the government owed them a living.) 5 The poor are ambitious Many people, poor or not, are not ambitious. 6 Mix the slums with better areas This is idealistic, unfair, and enrages middle class people of all colors, some of whom have worked hard to escape the slums. What’s the answer? a Look at history Poverty has been helped more by capitalism than by government programs (socialism). The definition of poverty has been expanded over the years. The American poor have consistently been told they are bad off, when they live like kings compared the way most Americans lived 80 years ago. Our elderly can tell us about this (and how the poor then had more hope and pride). Our poor and are far better off than the poor of many countries b Be realistic Approach the subject without rhetoric or emotion. Find the literature that describes slums honestly and doesn’t excuse the poor who mismanage their affairs. Learn about the poor from merchants, insurance companies, creditors, realtors, city employees, bus and cab drivers, and the working and sensible poor. Learn that higher prices in the slums are the result of the added costs of doing business there. Study how the good people in slums there raise good kids despite enormous odds. Study how poor immigrants do the same and pass our poor. c Avoid liberals Most of those in the media, academia, social work, and the ACLU are liberals. Most have never lived in a slum, nor been poor. They are the ‘excuse industry.’ Even after the facts about many of the poor mismanaging their affairs are glaring clear, liberals are still turning over every rock looking for ‘oppression, cultural deprivation, inequity, exploitation, violation of rights,’ …. d Plain Language No jargon, rhetoric, psychobabble, feel good, or slum jive. Back to top


16 e Fair share of services and competent city workers. This is difficult as better workers gravitate to better neighborhoods, and some cities dump their worst workers into the slums. f Fix responsibility for noise, rundown property, abandoned cars, illegal dumping, crime. g Law enforcement The small matters of noise, litter, parking, panhandling, vagrancy, add up. They are symbolic, they affect morale, and cleaning them up causes interest in going after bigger problems. h Traditional values Whether the law enforcer is from the slums or not, he has to understand the slums on one hand, but BELIEVE in society’s values on the other. He doesn’t think noise, threats, screeching, drunkenness, crime are normal. Such enforcers need maturity, confidence, and conviction as their work is all uphill and totally thankless in today’s permissive society. Such people are usually clean cut. The disheveled ones are often ineffective. They often have more problems than the poor. i

Privatize

Housing Turn housing projects over to tenants. In part of Wash. D.C.this raised rent collections 105%, cut vacancy rates 13%, and cut administrative costs 60%, crime 5% and teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency 50%. In other cities the same arrangement cut vacancy 18%, robbery 77%, and crime 66%. Next comes tenant ownership. Phase out rent control; it creates inequities and a housing shortage. Allow cheaper housing, urban homesteading, and subletting of rooms. Work Allow ‘right to work’ and ‘work at home.’ Allow kids under 14 to work part time. Study lowering (or phasing out) the minimum wage. This would create thousands of jobs for dropouts, delinquents, criminals, derelicts, addicts, the homeless, and others - many of whom need to develop work habits. They should be able to offer their services at a competitive wage. Education Allow parents to teach their kids at home and to have a choice of schools with vouchers. Schools would have to compete for students and teachers. Misc. Privatize fire depts., parks, transportation, mail, education, justice, and charity. These have been successful. Welfare reform: see chap II, c, 4 th essay

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17 All of these would let the poor who are motivated get ahead, and not be held back by those who aren’t. People could live with more dignity and hope - as they did in the past. (Some of the above came from the N.Y. Times, G. Gilder, E. Banfield, H. Hazlitt, Wash. Post, the L.A. Times.)

Domestic version of the peace corps I was two years out of college and floundering in social work when I got a telegram urging me to quickly volunteer for VISTA (the domestic version of the peace corps). It said my background would be good for working with migrant farm laborers. (It wasn’t, but they were looking for bodies.) This was the start of the War on Poverty in 1965. We volunteers were flown to Oregon for ‘intensive’ training three weeks of classes (no tests), and three weeks of living in migrant camps (best part). There some of us picked crops for an hour before we got tired, played with and taught migrant kids a few things, dug dry wells, helped a tuberculin family, looked for Job Corps prospects, looked into migrant wages and living conditions, improved privies with lumber we solicited, and worked on a contaminated water problem. Some volunteers got into a labor dispute and were kicked out of one camp. Living with the poor and receiving volunteer wages were basic to VISTA. We were paid $l80/mo., which seemed more than what some poor families lived on. We were asked by outsiders what we were doing and found it hard to answer. We asked our trainers what we were supposed to do when we got to our assignments and were told, ‘You’ll find out when you get there.’ When we got ‘there’ and asked, our sponsors said, ‘We don’t know; what were you trained to do?’ (while telling the papers we were receiving ‘in-service, on-going orientation.’ As it turned out, only a few volunteers were assigned to migrant farm labor.) I was assigned to Pecos, a half hour outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. It had 1200 people (and lots of gossip). Outside town there were bald peaks of 13,000 feet and alpine valleys, quiet but for the ring of a cowbell. Six miles away was a town of 13 families without electricity, and below was the Pecos River, from which farmers channeled water with 300 year old ‘ditches,’ governed by ‘ditch associations.’ On the horizon were silent storms with constant lightning. The reddish, clay soil when dry was like cement and when wet, was sticky enough to pull your shoes off. During the rains it washed into the river, turning the falls a reddish color. Some of the adobe homes had this coloring, which gave them a glow at sunset. Back to top


18 When I arrived, I drove past these becoming enchanted. It seemed like a Shangri-La. No travel loghad shown such a place (nor captured the deep gazes of the Spanish beauties. ……………. a good beginning). The people were said to be descendants of the conquistadors; and the towns were supposed to be some of the oldest in the U.S. The people and ballot were bilingual. When thinking about tearing down a house, they would say ‘We have to `throw’ that house.’ When going to someone’s house they’d pull up and honk for the person to come out - even in freezing weather. When invited for lunch, I was told they’d start ‘feeding’ at 2:00. They thought nothing of eating a bowl of red chili - straight. On weekends there were dances with drinking and fighting. (The drinks cost; the fights were free.) About half the homes used natural gas, the rest wood. I bought several cords (4 by 4 by 10 ft.) of piñon wood to warm the two room adobe I rented. I had to chainsaw it into 1 ft. lengths and chop those up. Dry wood was for starting a stove or heater and green wood was for overnight heating, during which the sap hissed gently. Cedar wood was preferred for baking. The stoves and heaters had vents that could whip the flames into a roar or keep the coals glowing. Some were highly efficient, burning most of the ashes. Water jackets heated water and provided humidity. Some people insisted food cooked on a wood stove tasted better. I tried it once, but it was so much trouble, I ate out of the refrigerator the rest of the year. I used an outhouse, drew water from a well, and showered at school. My job was ‘community development,’ which was made to seem exotic, but was simply working on any feasible project to promote self-help. I moved into the less developed part of town and went around to merchants and whomever asking what the problems were (‘felt-needs’ in anti-poverty talk), saying the War on Poverty might have funds to help. I was directed to the leaders and their reaction was good. Then I went to public agencies to look for assistance. Soon it was time to have a meeting. I made the preparations and, as the hour neared, there were a spectacular sunset, a rain, and a wedding. I didn’t expect many, but 25 came, an organization was formed and officers elected. The next meeting only four showed up, and the chairman turned to me and said, ‘What was the purpose of this meeting?’ (Oh no.) The meetings continued and an acceptable issue came up - roads. We got ‘the county’ to help haul gravel donated by Greer Garson’s ranch. She contributed $200 and $500 was collected locally. Soon the county trucks and grader came out, and local trucks were enlisted. A compressor was borrowed from the Fish and Game Dept. for drilling boulders to be blasted. When people saw the work start, they cooperated with money or work. It lasted three weeks and brought great improvement. A water truck was rigged to settle the gravel, and later culverts and lumber for a bridge were obtained. People came from other towns to the meetings; and later a meeting with the governor was arranged where pavement was promised. Such luck after only two months made me heady; but as it turned out, very little happened the rest of the year. In working on these projects, I visited the homes, and noticed in talking to the man and his wife, I was soon talking to the man. Also that only two women shyly showed up at one meeting and looked like they wanted to crawl out under the rug. On the outside, it was a man’s world. I got some female VISTA volunteers to organize the women and they began Back to top


19 to meet. Whereas the men’s meetings were formal with minutes and procedure, the women’s meetings were informal, crazy, and fun. They had a tamale sale that quickly raised over $100, but didn’t know what to do with it. I said the men’s organization might use it on the road and asked one of the men. There was a long pause and he answered begrudgingly, ‘Well ... the women can give it to us ... but we don’t want any damn female telling us what to do.’ (Hilarious, but I bit my tongue.) ‘Community development,’ as it turned out, was anything but ‘technical.’ It meant: making no promises, - ‘planting’ ideas so other people would think they thought of them, a few people did most of the work, - the ones that criticized the most, did the least, - many wanted something for nothing, - you could lead a horse to water, but you couldn’t make him drink, - sometimes the boat had to be rocked diplomatically, but firmly, - 20% of those who said they would come to meetings showed up, half late, and occasionally one boozed, everything had to be kept strictly practical as people got sick of meetings, - anti-poverty workers could be dreamers, and - exposure to the ‘outside world’ and an education enabled an outsider like myself to help with the reading, writing, math., thinking and coordinating with public agencies, (but could lead to taking oneself too seriously). People believed everything was political (somewhat truer here), and the poor man had no chance. There was a lot of envy and jealousy. Some believed anyone who got ahead had to be cheating. He was resented and envied. Other obstacles were the spoils system, and nepotism. Those and the ‘compadre’ system of each child having a godparent, caused problems with law enforcement. Also the district attorney was said to be lenient in order to gain votes. On the other hand, the people had superior human values. They would raise their relatives’ and other people’s children. They were gregarious, human, genuine, warm, good natured, polite, and hospitable. When there were lulls in the conversation, they didn’t feel they had to fill in; they enjoyed the quiet. This was the War on Poverty to help the ‘poor,’ but ‘low income’ was a better term as these people were poor in money and rich in everything else - family life, friendships, enviable mental health, and a healthy, robust, close to nature, lifestyle. This was especially true of one prison guard, his wife, and 11 kids - a wonderful bunch - straight out of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Income aside, the rich would have traded places with them in a minute. Anti-poverty work was frustrating and disillusioning. I worked hard and was lucky; however, I had thought I’d get more done. I wasn’t surprised to hear some volunteers accomplished nothing in their year. We volunteers got a lot out of our experience - far more than we contributed. We didn’t bring big changes, and sensible volunteers weren’t ‘radicalized’ (as claimed by one article). A few years later at a party in New York I ran into one of the ‘field support’ people who had visited me in Pecos. She was sitting on the floor. I tried to talk to her realistically about poverty work. She didn’t want to hear it, made up excuses, and looked out the window with glazed eyes. Later in the mid-80s I saw Sargent Shriver on TV explaining the War on Poverty and the Peace Corps, both of which he headed. I found his reasoning full of holes. These two were chasing dreams that could never be. Later in the 90s President Clinton started AmeriCorps – which incorporated VISTA. Back to top


20 Did his staff contact former volunteers like me or respond to copies of this article? No. Would they have taken a balanced approach to these views? No. It goes on. Dreamers go into this type of work. Some learn; some don’t. (Note: One should also be skeptical of the claims of the Peace Corps that serves in foreign countries. Volunteers have the additional obstacles of a foreign language and a much different culture.)

B

Reflections

I had accomplished some things in VISTA, so when I returned to NY, I thought my career would take off. Not so. I wished I’d seen this first: Social work in the past In the 19th century social workers saw some of the poor as improvident and irresponsible. If a man came to a social agency hungry, he had to chop wood to get a meal. If a woman came, shehad to sew. This sorted out those who wouldn’t work, and made others feel they had done something to earn their meal. If a person needed further aid, his background was checked and he was categorized as: a. Unwilling to work. b. Willing to work. c. Unable to work, through no fault of his own, and worthy of relief. When giving short term relief, the charity gave: - in small quantities, - the minimum, what was least susceptible to abuse, - less than what the person could get by working, and for the shortest period of time. When the relief was long term, the charity would:    

Restore the ties between the person and his family and friends. Get their assistance. Assign a volunteer to the person. Require the person to work. This helped those who were motivated. Nothing was more demoralizing than loafers or the criminal poor who got by or ahead without working. Meet the person only half way. Handouts were seen to be as dangerous as drugs; dependency was ‘slavery with a smiling mask.’ Welfare was the worst as it came to be regarded as a right. Back to top


21 In those days, knowing when not to give assistance was seen as important as when to give it. This also helped fund-raising efforts, as donors knew their money was used efficiently. These practices continued until the 1890s when the ‘Social Gospel’ emerged, claiming:  None of the poor were improvident, intemperate, lazy, or irresponsible.  Charity must be universal and unconditional.  Requiring a person to work for a meal was cruel.  A person would not change if challenged, but would change when put in a pleasant material environment where his benevolent nature could come out. Thus government was to provide agreeable housing.  Compassion equaled money.  Raising money through taxes forced compassion from the public.  Professional social workers were best; volunteers got in the way.  Private charities were bad as they made it easy for government to evade responsibility. The 1960s accelerated this trend. Welfare was given on the basis of entitlement, not need, with the result that the poor became worse off, with less hope, less pride, less reason to work, and greater resentment over being dependent. Welfare has broken up families, set fatherless boys on the streets, and polarized those who work against those who don’t. Bad charity (welfare) has driven out good. We’d do well to study the past. I went through many jobs: welfare, child abuse, narcotics, community centers, a detention center, a mental hospital ... each worse than the last. I blamed myself, but noticed no one was getting anything done. Government money for President Johnson’s Great Society program was pouring in and everyone was climbing on the band wagon. (The disastrous results in New York are brilliantly described in THE COST OF GOOD INTENTIONS by Charles Morris.) Many of the social workers used everything but common sense:

How not to study a gangbanger

To learn about gangs, a woman drove around a hardened 17 year old gang member named Faro, who had 60-year old ‘graveyard eyes.’ (She didn’t think to set conditions about weapons or risks.)During the ride they pulled up next to two other youths, and Faro said, ‘I’m gonna look crazy at ‘em. You watch what they do.’ He did. The other driver glanced over, his eyes widened for an instant with fear. Then he looked away. Faro giggled. When the signal changed, the other driver sped off and Back to top


22 turned the corner. The author asked to see the look Faro gave and saw a nightmare face. She asked him what would have happened if the other driver answered the challenge. Faro said they would have gotten into it and he would have killed him. He had a gun in his shoe. A gun?!!!! She was shocked and didn’t know why. (Does someone have to tell her?) She felt betrayed and was angry. He said if you come into this neighborhood, you can’t get angry if it gets too real for you. (Nonsense, but she agreed.) He went on about how young people gangbang as they have nothing to live for. (Nonsense.) Gangbanging is a chance to get even with those who hurt your family. (Stretching it.) That, if the people you love most are dead, you might as well be dead. (Not really.) That after seeing so much death, you want to die so you don’t have to see more. (Not necessarily.) She didn’t challenge any of this. (Why not?) She accepted his reasoning, criminal behavior, and immaturity. This is typical of many people who study crime or go into social work. In their rush to show compassion and understanding, they don’t use common sense. Another example:

Liberal psychobabble One story on T.V. told of a housing project in Chicago. The poor there received many benefits from the government. They wanted the best for their children, but one third of the girls got pregnant by 15. They vowed not to have another child, but did. Many didn’t consider abortion because of an ‘appreciation for life.’ One had seven kids and left them with her mother to ‘self-medicate’ on drugs. (‘medicate?’) She wouldn’t change because ‘chemically dependent people aren’t ready for help.’ (When would she be ‘ready?’) Many of the students didn’t have ‘classroom skills.’ ‘It never occurs to these people to look in the paper for work because the habits of work aren’t available to them.’ (wow) They didn’t look for work because of ‘psychological barriers’ - like racism. (Racism didn’t stop others.) A bunch of young people looked for work. ‘One found a job; for the others, there were no jobs.’ (an assumption.) Many people reached their mid-20s having never held a job. (Many immigrants reach their mid-20’s having never had a vacation.) The people didn’t have the ‘resources’ to visit other parts of the city. (No shoe leather, bicycles, bus fare?) The young people had ‘nothing to do.’ (There are jobs if others can find them, and in this case, there was a nearby vocational school with a 75% placement rate. Despite recruitment drives, it had many openings.) The housing projects appeared ‘hopeless.’ (No mention of how tenant management of projects in other cities had performed miracles.) The people had no ‘daily management skills’ or ‘support systems.’ (What could these mean, but by now who would care? This babble was just excuses.) Too many professionals use jargon, rhetoric, theories, and twisted logic to excuse the poor from responsibility. Until they use plain language and common sense, the condition of Back to top


23 the poor will continue to appear hopeless. After many articles, jobs, and programs like the above, I came up with a list of

Social work myths The public would be shocked to learn how little is being done in social work. They’ll probably never know, however, as results are hard to measure and because social workers don’t believe in measuring. One yardstick, though, is the failure of the War on Poverty of the 60s. We spent millions fighting poverty and poverty won. Social work fails because it postpones traditional values indefinitely: Emotion The poor are portrayed as downtrodden ‘victims’ of bad teachers, landlords, employers, merchants, police, clinics - whatever. They have ‘fallen through the cracks,’ are ‘trapped,’ ‘down on their luck,’ etc. …………………………… (Whether they’ve drunk and gambled their money away, committed felonies, or never worked isn’t brought up. Facts don’t count, emotion does.) Psychology Each social problem has some deep ‘psychological’ origin......... (This is taken to great lengths which relieves the poor of responsibility.) Relationships Only through a very close relationship with the social worker can the poor be motivated to improve. .............. (This creates patronizing, unreal relationships which often backfire.) Values are relative This becomes ‘Who are you to impose your middle class values on people in the ghetto?’ ......... (Sounds reasonable, but middle class values are traditional values; they apply to everyone.) ‘Society’ is wrong It is seen as hypocritical, oppressive, exploitive, and racist. ...... (This outlook, tolerated in college, is impractical in the real world.) Back to top


24 The poor are victims (if misguided). They must be helped to come up with values without being prejudiced. ………………… (This extremely indulgent, blank slate, approach postpones traditional values and doesn’t hold the poor accountable for their behavior.) No negatives ....... (Nonsense - if there are positives, there are negatives; if there is reward, there is punishment, joy/pain, pride/shame, love/hate, success/failure.) No Authority nor discipline, and certainly no punishment. It’s all carrot and no stick ... results in chaos.)

(This

No ‘humiliation’ Even minor teasing is considered ‘humiliation.’ Lure the poor Programs have to be so appealing the poor will want to join, where society’s values might eventually rub off. This is far too indulgent. ‘Equality’ Everyone has to be included and everyone has to progress together. ..... (Naive. It allows the bad apple to hold the rest back.) An example of these myths is a picnic for poor youths from the inner city. Most of them don’t have the interest or skills for preparing the food and making the arrangements for the picnic, and they are not asked to. Some show up, some don’t. Some expect everything to be done for them. Some complain. Some of the table manners are awful. If there is a baseball game, there is often profanity, cheating, screaming, and bullying to win. There can be property damage, injury, verbal abuse, a fight, annoying others nearby which can increase ethnic or class prejudice, the chance of getting kicked out of the park, and embarrassment for the staff (if they will to admit it). The next day, however, the staff laughs off everything and talks about all the ‘fun,’ ‘growth,’ ‘relationships,’ and ‘colorful’ stories. In my many jobs, social workers spoke psychobabble and spent months developing ‘relationships’ with the youths in hopes some values would rub off. There was a lack of basic literature, and what there was, was unreadable or worthless. The poor were portrayed as miserable, when many were happy (some happier than their social workers). Programs lacked definition and management, and the poor stagnated. The window dressing kept changing, but the work stayed the same (babysitting), and social workers became disillusioned. There were only a few good programs. They swam upstream against the nonsense above, doing thankless work, and producing results, but were constantly criticized by bleeding hearts in academia, the media, and the ACLU. If social work wants to take its place, it should:  Drop emotion, guilt, and love and be realistic. Back to top


25      

Use plain language and short, sensible titles. Rate the programs and literature. Find out how poor immigrants with limited English pass our poor who are fluent in English. Find why non-professionals are effective. Instill traditional values. Gear its programs to the real world by starting with getting the poor volunteer work or jobs at any wage and later consider education, job training, counseling, etc.

In those days in New York City, if you worked for more than a year in the Welfare Dept., you were considered a martyr. After a year and a half, I left, concluding: To reform welfare   

  

Turn it over to competing private agencies which are rewarded for getting people off welfare (like America Works). Require fathers be identified, pay child support, and help raise their children. Require the person receiving welfare to do volunteer or paid work (in the private economy) at least part time for the welfare she receives to earn part of it. (Broken furniture, lost checks and winter coats and would mean more work.) Those with youngsters could work at places that provide child care. Require youngsters maintain certain levels in school or do volunteer or paid work. Allow parents and children, after fulfilling their obligations above, to get side jobs and save money up to a point of self-sufficiency. Then phase them out of welfare. Knowing when to phase out assistance is as important as knowing when to start it. Promote abortions.

These steps would cut down on resentment, abuse, fraud, additional births, stigma, and moving to another state to get higher benefits. Taxpayers would get a ‘return’ on their money, and welfare recipients would gain pride, responsibility, and some independence. I got tired of social work and took a job teaching English to foreigners. I got more done in the first three weeks than I had in five years of social work. If a student was troublesome, I put him out of class for a day. I’d have NEVER done that in social work. Later I had the fortune of stumbling upon career counseling. A godsend. (Why didn’t we have it in school? Why don’t counselors in many fields mention it?) It brought out my interests in politics. I didn’t want to have anything to do with New York City politics (too liberal, too crazy) and moved to Wash. D.C. With all the social work on my resume, interviewers said it looked like I should work for a flaming liberal. (One interviewer even suggested I take off being born in Berkeley.) After doing volunteer work and working on ‘the hill’ for some congressmen during Watergate, I moved my vagabond self home. (Looking back I wished I’d applied for work at one of the think tanks.) Back home in Calif. I managed a shelter for Back to top


26 The homeless They are portrayed as the ‘nation’s failure,’ the ‘disenfranchised,’ who were ‘abandoned’ by the economy, ‘never had a chance,’ and have ‘fallen out of the mainstream.’ They are ‘victims’ who are owed food, lodging, clothing, and services. Some are shown on a food line with mountains of hair and dirty, matted beards. No one would hire them that way; yet they’re never asked to get a haircut and shave in return for meals and lodging. We are rarely given the views of those who deal directly with them - bus depots, blood banks, merchants, neighbors, thrift stores, parks, libraries, burned-out relatives, and burnedout public servants. We rarely hear, ‘90% of them don’t want help’ (from one shelter worker), or ‘one-third are crazy, one-third lazy, and one-third drunk’ (from one who used to be homeless). We’re told nothing can be done about skid row. We were told the same about prostitution in Los Angeles before it was cleaned up. Free food is supposed to be temporary, yet one patron of a mission didn’t miss a meal in 30 years. Shelters in New York were for temporary housing, yet the average stay was 11 months. One skid row drifter won a huge jackpot, blew it, and returned to skid row. Another thought he would ‘go on welfare, when it began to rain.’ The subject needs cold-blooded realists to cut through the rhetoric, emotion, and finger-pointing, to contact the neglected sources above, and to come up with recommendations like: - Study what has worked in various cities and countries. - Clarify rights: the homeless have a right to provide their own shelters (in some areas under certain conditions) when the city doesn’t. The public has a right not to be panhandled and not to have derelicts sleeping about. - Find out why there were homeless during a labor shortage and why few immigrants become homeless. Find out why one homeless man said it’s easier to be homeless than to work for low wages. - Consider returning to the past customs of dealing firmly with vagrants, mental patients, runaways, alcoholics, and addicts. - Promote private solutions, realizing the government has done a poor job of running shelters and welfare hotels. - Encourage non-professionals to run shelters, by making it profitable. Let them use campgrounds, farm labor camps, abandoned buildings, parts of military bases, and fallout shelters. - Let businesses hire the homeless for sub-minimum wage plus room and board. - Require each community provide shelter, only for their share of the homeless. Require they be run strictly and fairly. - Study the shelters that are run by the homeless. Study the ‘poorhouse’ in Sacramento, CA. in the 80s. - Let the homeless homestead abandoned buildings, homes and vacant land. - Allow tents and shanties next to city dumps, where the homeless can use cast off material. - Wave liability for impure food from restaurants, markets, and other outlets. This would give access to eatable, but unsalable food. - Permit powdered milk and donated or homemade food in shelters. - Require work, haircuts, and resumes in exchange for food, clothing, & shelter. A stricter approach in general with the homeless would: - Show that some people prefer to live near destitution, - Make the homeless accountable for their hygiene, grooming, clothing, manners and participation in self-help groups and volunteer work. - Make shelters safer and less infectious. - Bring responsibility, which would separate the motivated from the Back to top


27 free-loaders. We shouldn’t be misled by idealists and guilt-mongers. They give the homeless reasons for self-pity, and never look for nor credit the few good shelters. They blame society, yet tie it’s hands. If immigrants with little English can get ahead, the homeless can, when the responsibility is imaginatively, firmly, and gradually put on them. I gained further insight into the poor by discovering a book by Henry Hazlitt at a book sale. (Where were books like this in college?)

Hazlitt on poverty After fruitless years in social work, it was with relief I read Henry Hazlitt’s THE CONQUEST OF POVERTY. Published in ‘73, his insights are as pertinent as ever. They explode the following myths:  The amount of wealth is limited. (False, there is a much as people want to create.  The poor are trapped. (False).  The rich get richer, the poor, poorer. (False, both progress proportionately.)  The rich cause poverty. (False).  The owners of a business get most of its income. (False, most goes for workers’ wages.)  Capitalism helps the rich the most. (False, it helps the masses the most.)  Social programs help the poor. They are: guaranteed income, negative income tax, minimum wage, laws increasing union power, government spending, graduated income taxes, opposition to automation, ‘spread-the-work’ schemes, and punitive taxes on capital gains, inheritance, and corporations. (False, they hurt the poor and society.) Hazlitt says to gain perspective we should be aware that:   

There had always been mass poverty until the mid-18th century, when it was reduced in the advanced countries by capitalism. All poverty cannot be eliminated as some people prefer to live near destitution. Government handouts easily get out of control. This happened in ancient Rome; and it happened in 19th century England to such a degree, laws were passed to keep benefits beneath the lowest wage so the poor would every reason to look for work. Hazlitt says in order in order for social programs (and I add foreign aid) to be effective:

 

They have to be keyed to promoting work, saving, and skills, which is best done through capitalism. Capitalism depends on the enterprise of the few and the labor of many. Back to top


28  

The large salaries of the few are irrelevant when considering the many jobs and valuable products they create. Trying to redistribute the wealth of those few is pointless and suicidal.

He says we have been led astray by social workers who: - Talk as if anti-poverty is a recent effort. - Never define poverty. - Pity the pauper, but not the worker nor the taxpayer. Insist on seeing the poor as ‘exploited victims of maldistributions of wealth and heartless laissez faire,’ - Haven’t faced the disastrous results of social programs. - Want no loss of dignity for a person when he gets on welfare, but a gain when he gets off. - Coddle the poor despite their agency’s policies to the contrary. - Work to make everyone equal by leveling down, never summoning up. - Preen themselves on compassion. - Systematically ignore the reasons for poverty. - Don’t learn from the past. - Don’t distinguish between poverty caused by misfortune and that caused by folly. After many jobs in social work, I couldn’t agree more. Why haven’t we heard more of such views? Let’s take a break from liberal guilt and change the air with these ideas. Another approach to poverty I’d never heard of was that of looking at

Why immigrants pass our poor With the help of the spokesmen for the poor, we have come to believe our poor are trapped. Yet we know that poor immigrants can get ahead. Our poor are fluent in English and are ‘left behind,’ yet poor immigrants with limited English get ahead. How did we develop these double standards? To find out, let’s compare both groups: Many immigrants come from countries where they’ve seen: squalor, illiteracy, disease, civil unrest, war, hundreds of homeless kids on the streets, low status for women, and corruption we could never imagine. Some have had relatives taken away. Some have left or escaped through great hardship, been preyed on by smugglers and pirates, and lived in miserable refugee camps. The American poor, on the other hand, have never had such hardships; but are pictured as ‘victims of a post-industrial, technical society,’ where they have ‘fallen through the cracks,’ and are ‘caught in a cycle.’ Some immigrants here live in slums, garages, and converted chicken coops. When Americans live like that, it’s ‘dehumanizing, substandard, and stigmatizing.’ Many immigrants come from countries where there is no minimum wage, welfare, medicaid, unemployment insurance, poverty ‘line,’ etc. They had to work. Here they pick crops, wash dishes, work on assembly lines, collect newspapers from trash, get parts from junk yards, shop at thrift shops, save pennies, never eat out, etc. Many American poor thumb their noses as such practices. They are told menial work is undignified and welfare reinforces this by making it impractical. Their work habits deteriorate, and they fall out of the mainstream. Back to top


29 Many immigrants avoid gambling, alcohol, drugs, and crime and illegitimacy. When the American poor get into these, it’s blamed on ‘poverty, discrimination, peer pressure, boredom, lack of alternatives, stress …’ Immigrants pool their money and start small businesses in ghettos where it was thought impossible. Some work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some of the American poor criticize them, their prices, their not hiring locals, and say these immigrant shopkeepers should give something back. Give back? They provide a service no one else will! Some American poor harass immigrants, boycott their stores, beat them up, and worse. They’re a scapegoat. Many immigrant youth are taught respect, obedience, manners, chores, and hard work. They have to honor their folks and retain their culture - often going to language schools on weekends. Since their parents sacrificed to come here and hack out a living, they are obligated to get an education they could never have dreamed of in their country.

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30 Some are not allowed to date till their late teens or out of college. Some stand when the teacher enters the room. Some carry a text under one arm and a bilingual dictionary under the other. They crowd the libraries. Some have gone from arriving without English to graduating from high school five years later with top honors. In their youthful idealism, they only hope to pay back their new country. Many American poor fight the schools. They have been told schools should lure them into education, which is supposed to mean social success, mental health, career, and maturity. When they don’t study, drop out, get pregnant, commit crimes, and can’t get a job, it was the fault of the school, ‘society,’ immigrants, or the economy. Some cry ‘discrimination,’ yet the Jews and Japanese advanced most when discriminated against the most. Some cry ‘color,’ yet the Blacks here that came from the Caribbean are far ahead of American blacks. Immigrants have different meanings for ‘poverty, family, work, saving, and education.’ Little wonder they despair about what the American view of poverty is doing to some of their people. American poor

Immigrant poor

Live like kings compared to 3rd world……... ‘Street’ values………………………………… Getting ahead means luck………………….. Weak families………………………………… Become homeless…………………………… Won’t take any job…………………………… Panhandle…………………………………….. Often poor work habits………………………. Can’t save money……………………………. Retain poor English………………………….. Some harass teachers………………………. Drop out……………………………………….. Reach mid-20s without working…………… Rarely start a small business………………. ‘Decent, living’ wages & benefits………….. Look to government…………………………. Self-pity, resentment, protest………………. Are ‘alienated’………………………………… Bored………………………………………….. Disprove the Am. dream…………………….

have seen absolute squalor traditional values means hard work strong don’t will don’t superb ones do & send it abroad to relatives try to improve their English most respect teachers study hard without a vacation often start one any wage to selves gratitude are the real aliens never enough time prove it.

Poverty spokesmen

Immigrant poor


31 Crowded living is subhuman………………... More subsidies……………………………….. Welfare is a right…………………………….. The poor are ‘oppressed’…………………… Yell about rights……………………………… Am. is discrimination, exploitation………….. Schools ‘fail’ the poor………………………. Crime, drugs, alcohol, illegitimacy, etc. are due to poverty…………………………………

is nothing fewer a cancer have seen no freedom of speech, press, protest, business, etc. much quieter opportunity they are a blessing no excuse for these.

Advice to the poor Be aware that many social workers:  Have never been poor nor lived in a slum.  Put down unskilled work (flipping hamburgers, etc.)  Feel sorry for bums and criminals and ignore decent, working people.  Are sure poor Americans cannot get ahead, yet are sure poor immigrants will get ahead.  Try to push the poor into college when they generally don’t have the interest and often drop or flunk out.  Promise to rebuild riot torn areas, but don’t.  Have no business sense - no address on the building, no sense of time, bottom line, efficiency, management etc.  Don’t look for the difference between poverty caused by bad luck and poverty caused by foolishness.  Think they are Robin Hood, talk psycho-babble and talk forever. They know more, but you often know better.  Are ‘bohemians’ with more problems than those they are trying to help.  Get too soapy and buddy-buddy. Look for a social worker who is sensible, clean cut, uses plain language, is like an agent (not a buddy), has something practical to offer, meets you only half way, understands your situation, but doesn’t encourage you to feel sorry for yourself. Beware of the poor who are ‘lowlife’ They don’t plan ahead. They live for the moment, work only when they have to, are often violent, and neglect and abuse their kids. They have a short adolescence, little interest in school or public service, and little privacy. They are


32 afraid of failure and rejection, and they prefer to live in the slums. They could get ahead, but choose to remain spoiled, immature, and irresponsible. Avoid vice: alcohol, drugs, and gambling The middle class has money to spend on these; the poor do not. The poor gamble more often and a bigger share of their paychecks than others. Many of them believe getting ahead is luck, and gambling reinforces this. Getting ahead comes from traditional values. Misc - Avoid living places (like New York City), where the poor are encouraged to feel sorry for themselves and to look to government. You’re better off where people believe in self-reliance. - Consider the benefits of being around your relatives, your ethnic group, and a good climate. - Avoid welfare. The longer you’re on, the harder to get off. - Watch how poor immigrants get ahead. - If you have to put a relative in a social program, look for the strictest as most are too lenient. - Learn about self-help groups. If you can’t find one, perhaps you can start one. - Give yourself credit for raising good kids in bad neighborhoods. - Use humor o ‘If it wasn’t for my bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck.’ o ‘I got so low, I had to reach up to touch bottom.’ o ‘If poverty builds character, I must be a saint.’ o How many social workers does it take to change a light bulb? Five – one to change it and four to ‘share’ the experience. Your rights - To live in quiet, safe, clean neighborhoods. - To have a choice of decent schools. - To have less. - To not be misled or patronized by dreamers who think everyone should go to college and become an executive. - To not be flattered or patronized by people looking for votes or trying to be Robin Hood.

C

Independence

Next I worked in a couple of ‘board and care homes.’ These sound like they are supposed to be halfway houses, but they just ‘warehouse’ people. After a


33 while I decided to run my own as I craved independence. I could have run an aged or retarded home, but the mental health field interested me as psychology is the backbone of social work. I started one for mental patients and soon clashed with liberal mental health workers. How to kill a care home I started a home for men in their 20s and 30s with mental illness (not retarded). I rented a home, furnished it, and called county agencies to get it licensed. In the rush away from anything ‘institutional,’ social workers stressed making everything ‘homelike.’ Dishes had to match; dining room chairs had to match, etc. No mention was made of what patients would do once they got to the home. The county sent mental patients with the barest details, though required to provide a full report. I had to go through hard times to learn what was common knowledge. What I learned was vital, yet therapists and others were not interested. I sent my notes to them and called. After talking a while, they began to see the value of the information. Did they follow up? No. These frustrations outside the home made me determined to run things properly inside the home. I was gung-ho and ... naive. I insisted the patients handle their hygiene, chores, and manners, and go to some sort of day program. The patients met these with lip service, minimum cooperation, and resentment. Responsibility was the last thing they wanted. I held meetings about who was making these matters as well as noise at night, botching the dish washing, missing appointments, tying up the bathroom, etc. Everything was resolved, everything fine; next day, same nonsense. There was no purpose having a home without these meetings; but some patients didn’t like them, rules, nor authority. They complained to their social workers, who believed whatever they said, and came right out to protest. The social workers tore down meetings, rules, as too much ‘structure,’ but had no alternatives. They were good with theories, but had nothing for practical matters like chores, part time work, manners, getting people up after 12 hours in bed, etc. Enter the one resident who would not complain to social workers, because he rarely talked. He would not cooperate on simple matters. I cut his cigarettes down - no cooperation. I cut them further - still the same. I cut them off. He collected bottles for money and later got his first job in 12 years. Everyone was amazed. He went on to get other jobs. Much later he told me in the nine years he had been in the system, I was the only one to crack the whip. (You live to hear such things.) County social workers taught patients arts and crafts when patients didn’t know household chores. They tried to recruit patients for college. Extremely naive. They took the side of the patients in all matters, including assault, cheating,


34 and swindling. They gave classes on how to run a home (though none of them had). (The classes had nothing on paper.) They didn’t get my patients the right pills 12% of the time, which caused serious problems, one of which was a patient putting himself and his mother in the hospital. One patient had never gotten an artificial leg replaced. I made a few calls and it was done - one of the few good moments. Another patient drove a stolen car without a license, landing in jail. The judge let him off because he was a mental case. His Dr. sought to put him on a more restrictive status. A jury trial over this was narrowly averted, and he was on the new status. What did it mean? Nothing. So why was he entitled to a jury trial?! Much later he assaulted me over money matters. The police said not to press charges as the judge wouldn’t look at a mental case. A social worker twisted this, saying the patient ‘had to get the police to get his money.’ Matters were going downhill fast. I had accomplished a lot, but credit wasn’t given. Instead social workers picked away at rules, meetings, turnover, and using powdered milk. Without a hint they stopped sending patients and my business died on the vine. All this was similar to what social workers did to Roloff’s Homes (seen three times on 60 Minutes). The homes didn’t want a state license nor the meddling of social workers. The homes were some of the best in the country. They were doing the government’s job, doing it far better than the government, and doing it without government money. Yet government bureaucrats fought the homes 13 years, jailing Brother Roloff twice. It was easy to get into this type of work and run a home which only warehoused people. But if one believed in traditional values and wanted to help people, this was not the place. Incompetent and idealistic, social workers tied your hands, which allowed patients to abuse each other, you, and your staff. It was one of the worst ways to make a living. (Like the other jobs I had in social work, there was more dignity in pumping gas.) I complained to a grand jury and there was an investigation, but it produced little. I had lived with the patients for two years. It took a lot of time, discussion, and soul-searching to appreciate their characteristics. These were seen differently by liberal professionals and by the conservative live-in staff. (I’d seen this gap throughout social work.)

The professionals saw patients as:

The live-in staff saw patients as:


35 Immature

Irresponsible

Self-centered………………………………. Past dependence on folks……………….. Low self-esteem…………………………… Unmotivated……………………………….. Rigid Unassertive Overly sensitive Resentful……………………………………

selfish clinging to folks refusing to take pride lazy

extremely so unhygienic

Mental Identity problems, buried emotions, isolated, private logic ………………….…

little effort to resolve these Spoiled

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I gathered a great many notes about these approaches and wrote an article. (Being new at writing, it probably took six months of full time work.) It was published in Dr. William Glasser’s JOURNAL OF REALITY THERAPY, Spg ‘83. Amazing. I sent it to Dr. Garth Wood, author of THE MYTH OF NEUROSIS.) He wrote back saying it was ‘wonderfully perceptive.’ Incredible. After a spotty career, I’d been published in a professional journal by one well-known figure and been commended by another - from rags to riches. Such experience gave me insight. Now I saw one of my friends much differently.

My suicidal friend I had a friend off and on for 25 years; he was always depressed. I believed his stories about his various mental ‘conditions’ and trying to improve. I was blind to his parasitical nature. He was always dumping his problems on me and on


36 complete strangers. That’s how he got attention. When I had problems, he didn’t care. This went on over the years as he moved around the country going through self-help groups, therapists, jobs, acquaintances, and infatuations. He never seemed to improve. (He didn’t want to.) He had a high IQ, an Ivy League education, and great talent for comedy, but was an encyclopedia of misery. He let everyone know how awful life was and made a career of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. He began to talk of suicide. About then I ran the home for mental patients. They were 10% crazy and 90% spoiled, immature, and irresponsible. Ah ha - a light went on. I began to see why my friend didn’t take care of his hygiene, wardrobe, car, apt. money etc. He didn’t want responsibility. If he could blame everything on ‘life,’ he wasn’t responsible. Once we made plans to go out as a foursome, but when he saw his ‘blind date,’ he wanted to cancel. He went, but was a brat and ruined the evening. Another time he was invited to a party. He made a play for a much younger woman, who didn’t respond, and left without saying a word. Later he dropped out of sight for four years, and then resumed the friendship with no explanation or apology. In his 60s now, he chased women in their 30s and 20s. He drove with no license, or insurance, and had his car repossessed. He got a mysterious inheritance of $2000, spent it on a TV, a VCR, and a bike, and gave the bike away. By now his depressing stories were worse. I had no desire to see him, and soon didn’t want him to call. All that was left were the great jokes by mail. They had a richness unequalled. But he didn’t see this nor the worth of a mutual friend, the good times the three of us had had, nor women, work, life, relatives .... He resented everything and wanted his folks to take him in. He wrote I was all he had. I let slip something critical of him and he dropped me. Why, if I was ‘all he had.’ Another game. His unwillingness to accept responsibility and his decline could have been charted on a graph. However ‘mental’ he was, his behavior was increasingly inexcusable. He might fool psychiatrists, but I knew better. All his life he had done everything to keep from growing up … and paid the price. How does this relate to liberalism? Liberals put off responsibility forever and indulge in psychoanalysis forever. The mental health field is full of them. I used the same lessons on another friend, who did want help. I kept after him about taking more responsibility for his life. Slowly he did, got better, and said he owed it all to me. You live to hear such things. My home for mental patients had been in a residential neighborhood. Liberals love this - putting such homes in regular neighborhoods. I had had blinders on and thought it was OK, but it didn’t belong. Even though I ran a good home, I’d never do it again in a residential neighborhood. After a year and a half, two neighbors got wind of it, overreacted, and petitioned the city, which asked me to move. It made headlines.


37

Neighborhood care homes

Many people believe in homes for the disadvantaged, but ‘not in my backyard’ (NIMBY); and after working in several and starting and running one of my own for mental (not retarded) patients, I agree. Many of these homes are noisy, boring, dirty, with nonstop TV, no privacy, and mutual abuse among the disadvantaged residents of the home (the retarded, aged, mentally ill, alcoholic, poor, etc.). There is a lot of this because of their ‘rights,’ and because it’s easier for staff to go along with it. It’s glorified babysitting. The disadvantaged vegetate and staffs burn out. Neighbors too. They chafe over parking, yelling, profanity, panhandling, poor grooming and attire, depressed behavior, traffic in and out of the house, etc. Homes are run permissively despite what is claimed - especially smaller homes, as when a resident moves out, the drop in income is substantial. If the staff of a home wants to do more than baby-sit, they are in for a difficult and thankless job. They have to fight the disadvantaged, the relatives, sometimes the neighbors, but most of all, permissive social workers, who (with the media) take the side of the disadvantaged. Obligation The public is made to feel it is their obligation to accept the substandard behavior of the disadvantaged (and possibly lower property values). Not so. It is the obligation of the disadvantaged (with the help of social workers) to learn how to live in society, find work, and then move into regular neighborhoods. In the meantime these homes can locate in industrial areas or on the outskirts of town. ‘Family-like’ A myth. No sensible family operates the way these homes do. Licensing This sounds like a good idea, but are their unlicensed home that outperform the licensed ones? Size Since large institutions are supposed to be bad, these small homes are supposed to be good. But small homes don’t have a fraction of the resources and aren’t any more successful. The reason California wanted these homes is that mental patients could be housed for one fifth of what it would cost in an institution.


38 These homes should be: outside residential neighborhoods, unless they are an overwhelming asset. They should be run and monitored by competing private agencies. They should require the patients hold part or full time work in sheltered workshops or regular employment; and they should use a no-nonsense approach to teaching traditional values.

Chapter III

Land lording

I moved my care home to county land for less harassment. I found a home in a neighborhood that wasn’t too fancy, and had no neighbors on three sides, which meant less chance of problems. I bought it. Here came another set of lessons [written in the present tense:]


39 A run-down neighborhood There are liberals in universities and the media who believe bad neighborhoods are caused by prejudice, the economy, absentee landlords, neglectful city agencies, poor education, etc. Most of them don’t live in a bad neighborhood. I do and this is what it’s like: Some people leave their trash barrels out for days. Some leave shopping carts around, sometimes taking sections off to use as barbecue grills. Some don’t get rid of their gophers or weeds. Some don’t water, cut, or edge their lawns; or when they do, don’t sweep up for days. Some never trim their bushes or trees which block the sidewalk. Some fences tilt forever; junk cars and debris stay on front lawns. Some lawns have as many cars as will fit. Some have vehicles in the drive, a boat on the lawn, and an RV on the side of the house. One had six vehicles on the front lawn, though the street was empty. Another had nine vehicles in the driveway and two in the street. Noise: TVs, stereos, yelling, horns, and tires squealing. One kid had a radio turned up OVER his lawnmower. Some people rev up the car or boat engine they’re working on for long periods - some without mufflers. Untrained dogs bark for hours, their owners home, but oblivious. Some ice cream trucks are merciless, coming around 12 times a day with their brainless music heard 7 blocks away. They can get away with more in unincorporated areas like this as the sheriff’s deputies and county officials will do nothing. Occasionally there will be a tremendously loud stereo or a live band in a backyard, heard 10 blocks away. Outrageous, yet people do not call the police. If I call, I do it anonymously. If I’m leaving the house, I do nothing. If neighbors don’t want to call, they can suffer; and after they’ve suffered enough, maybe they will call. (Doubtful) When I call, the deputies say the noise is disturbing my peace, not their peace. (Oh boy) They will ask the neighbor to turn it down; but beyond that I have to sign a complaint, which means the neighbor will find out who it was. Why can’t the deputies park around the corner, hear the noise, and stop it? The last thing you can have is your neighbors finding out you turned them in - especially in a bad neighborhood. When complaining to the authorities about dogs in my county, your neighbor WILL find out it’s you. You can handle the young kids with problems on the street, but with those from middle school on, you’d better know what you’re doing as they can do things to your property or car. You wonder how they can be so bad until you see their homes or meet their folks. It’s disappointing to know them when young and cute and see them grow up to become tough. Many times I put out a HELP WANTED sign. It was knocked over a lot. Only one teen responded per month; and most weren’t worth minimum wage. Then I hired ‘undocumented workers,’ who did 10 times the work for the same wage. Dogs run loose without collars. If you coax one into your yard to keep it from being hit and call the animal shelter, you’d best do it on the sly. It’s


40 ‘meddling.’ When you have helped a dog from being hit, don’t expect to be thanked by the owner. The same with stopping a fight or helping at wrecks. The next day the kid who could have gotten hurt badly walks by. You ask if everything’s OK. He says yes and maybe smiles, but doesn’t think to thank you. There are a lot of wrecks. People come out of their houses to watch with their hair in their face, their underwear and tattoos showing, and their dog loose. Some get in the way. Some say ‘Gee you’re bleeding.’ Some joke and yell across the accident to their friends to get attention. A lot of the wrecks are hit-and-runs. You learn to rush out to get license numbers. People abandon cars, dump trash on public land, steal from construction sites, and harass Asian refugees. When they call you by mistake, they don’t excuse themselves; they just hang up. Profanity, name calling, and letting property run down - some seem to take pride in being a mess. The school district here is the poorest in the county. For years a nearby school didn’t keep up its grounds, wasted heat and tons of water, and threw out desks, lumber, books, and supplies. I called everyone, got few results, and no follow up. ‘Nobody cares’ as a cop said, and realtors agree. You don’t realize it pulls you down. When I visit a good neighborhood, it is a pleasant shock. When I come back to mine, it’s with resignation. Improving the neighborhood requires comparing these observations with those of realtors, creditors, police, insurance companies, merchants and others who know such neighborhoods and are never asked (not academic and media liberals who’ve read about them from idealistic books). This would point to law enforcement (preferably by a private group like a homeowners association) - no theories, psychobabble, nor endless meetings - just constant enforcement of all laws, big and small, to discipline and slowly shape up the neighborhood. I rented rooms in my house there for 25 years. I learned things I should have been told in social work.

Living with bums Most of the roomers were working-class guys and good tenants. If there were problems, things could be worked out because they were self-respecting, mature, and responsible. There were others, however (who slipped through my screening process), who were bums and problems could not


41 be worked out because they were immature (by choice). They lacked empathy and wanted lots of favors - stamps, envelopes, change, jump starts, tools, etc. They wanted attention and wanted to talk about themselves at their convenience, not mine. They were overly sensitive, defensive, and wouldn’t sit down, stay seated and discuss matters when a problem arose. They got buddy-buddy too fast, and expected their messes to be forgotten because we were ‘friends.’ They thought they could find a job and a woman far beyond their reach. They had companions, not friends. They were impulsive in eating, drinking, entertainment, and spending. They ignored the house rules or tested them; if you gave an inch, they took a mile. Some ate very greasy food, had terrible manners, needed haircuts, kept locking themselves out, left shopping carts out front, stole food from others in the house, slammed doors or didn’t close them, broke things and denied it, wasted my utilities, wasted their food, clothing, and tools, and seemed to yell or mumble. They got behind with their rent, which brought lots of stories, moving out in the middle of the night, and bouncing checks. Some put off small repairs on their cars, costing them twice as much. Some told adult stories around youngsters. One hid a motorcycle in his room to work on. They resented banks, bosses, cops, girls - life owed them a living. They wouldn’t manage their weight, diet, health, belongings, or money and drifted from job to job. They drove uninsured cars with no spare or jack, and they ate out always broke, but always ate out. Some stole, gambled, drank, and smoked pot. Many counselors would say their problem was mental, educational, intelligence, alcohol, ‘deprivation,’ etc. Nonsense; it was immaturity. Take Pete: he was 40, had nothing, and promised he would be a good tenant. He had a new job. Save his money and get ahead? No, he gambled and drank it away. His room smelled terrible, he had a bad attitude, and he made messes in the kitchen and bathroom. He loaned his uninsured car for months at a time. He got terribly drunk on a work night, and he fell behind on his rent. I asked him to leave, and he did - sleeping in his car in front of the house! The police picked him up on outstanding warrants and put him in jail. Enter Bob, a divorced 36 year old escapee from a communist country, father of two, with a high paying, skilled job. He was happy, fun, big-hearted, and very likable. He had a strong body odor. He knew it, but did nothing about it. He even went on job interviews that way. He was in and out of love every other week with barmaids, one of whom took his money. He went through a number of jobs and ran out of money. He worked around the house for minimum wage, but still ate out. Once, when totally out of money during an emergency, he worked for me four days, was paid each day, and at the end of the 4 th day was broke! He needed a loan for a big date who stood him up to go to bed with someone for $50. The next day he was way down in the dumps. He called his kids, cried, and swore off his night life. Then what? He went out again that night! (You have to see such things to believe them.) Eventually he moved out, leaving a big mess and the police on his trail.


42 If these bums didn’t respect their property, why should they respect mine? If they didn’t respect themselves, why should they respect me? There were thefts, property damage and near fights. I had to ease them out gently, taking a loss so they wouldn’t retaliate. They knew where I lived; I would never know where they lived and couldn’t collect as they didn’t have anything. Someone else who had been in social work, learned the same after having 25 homeless families on her ranch for seven years. It wasn’t until she was personally affected that she understood. You can read, hear, and discuss this, but you won’t understand till it affects your property, your time, and your peace of mind. These bums and criminals take an enormous toll on society. It can be assumed they were the kind of people who in one survey of St. Paul, Minn, were the 6% of the families that absorbed 77% of the welfare, 51% of the health services, and 56% of the mental health and correctional services. These are the kind that loot during a riot or natural disaster. Most middle class people are unaware of such people, but the working class and the police are, as they have more contact with them. They call them ‘riff-raff, rabble, trash, deadbeats, animals, slobs, punks, wise guys, lowlife’ and worse. They know what they are talking about. Many counselors, however, are middle class, have gotten their ideas from books, and keep excusing bums and criminals. Bums and common criminals have chosen to remain immature and irresponsible. Any rehabilitation should meet them only half way and involve lots of discipline and hardnosed counseling. They have the slow, painful job of growing up. Cold-blooded realism is needed, not hearts and flowers. Strangely enough … most would agree.

Legal nightmare over rented room I’d had some bad tenants, but eventually they would move out. Enter Sharon who would NOT. She had a poverty lawyer. I called my lawyer friends, paralegals, landlords, and the courthouse. Paralegals wanted $25 to fill out each form, so I tried it myself. I began the clerical ordeal of serving Sharon with different notices (on obsolete forms as it turned out), running from the post office to the courthouse to the copy place to home to read the LANDLORDS LAWBOOK. (All this over a rented room?) I learned the court had to ‘file’ some forms, ‘conform’ others, and ‘enter’ others, and all of them had to be typed in black ink. No one doing this the first time could avoid mistakes. I ran around filling out a ‘complaint’ and went through the tricky business of serving her with it. She didn’t respond in time. Ah ha! I ran in to file a ‘default,’ which would win the case. I was elated. But


43 wait; something was wrong with my paper work. Her lawyer filled a ‘demurrer’ later that day; and, I was not only back to square one, but liable for her lawyer’s fees! Now I had to get a lawyer. He told me her lawyer was a zealot, this could go to a jury trial (over a rented room?!), I couldn’t cut off Sharon’s cable hookup, phone, etc., and, if I locked her out, I could get sued so bad I could lose my house! I also learned if I won my case and the Marshall came to put her out, she could declare bankruptcy. Then I would have to pay $600 for a ‘lift of stay’ to get her out. Every time I turned around she had more rights, I had nightmares. (Who made up these laws?) After three and a half months of this, she moved. Throughout she had a free lawyer, I didn’t. She could sue me. I couldn’t sue her and get anything. She gained about $1000; I lost $l400 on a $200/mo. room. She and her lawyer made my life miserable; I couldn’t touch them. It caused me anguish and great amounts of time; it caused them little. What was the point? The poverty lawyer didn’t benefit her by helping her cheat a landlord, earn a bad credit rating, and lose an inexpensive room. I lost my shirt and became embittered against tenant laws. Everyone lost. The laws regarding rented rooms are elitist, senseless, petty, unfair, and far too technical, time-consuming, and expensive. They coddle cruel tenants and persecute and endanger landlords. What if Sharon had been a criminal and I had had a wife and kids in the house? Other states and countries are not drowning in legal nonsense and ridiculous rights. Our laws should be simple, sensible, and fair. When a landlord wants to evict someone from his home, the legal part should be handled in a few hours by a qualified, private arbitrator, and not cost over a week’s rent.


44

Chapter IV

The light goes on

Through renting rooms, investments, frugality, and being single with no kids, I gained some degree of financial independence in the late 70s. I had gone from often out of work, frustrated, social worker, poor man to retired (busy body). What luck. Paradise. I was free to spend my time writing (as a hobby). I started with a typewriter, which spent most of its time in a repair shop, and later switched to a computer. I was happy to be reading and writing about everything I’d been in and thought about. My Christmas newsletter to friends describes this: The creative life Having been in several fields, I wanted to put my pen to paper. I went to writing clubs and learned writers are bright and different - some write standing, some in restaurants; some share everything, others nothing. Some say there are no rules; just write. I learned you can say a lot in a few words, you write the way you talk, you write 10% of what you know (like other fields), and you reveal yourself. If you don’t make money nor get much recognition, you’re writing for yourself. Friends and family don’t understand, but get used to it. Such a life offers: no commute, no 9 to 5, no interruptions, meetings, deadlines, explaining, compromising, office politics, or big wardrobe. Ideas come out of the blue, so I keep one recorder on the night table and one in the glove compartment. I listen to cab drivers, check-out clerks, gas station attendants for the wisdom of the common people. I clip things from papers and


45 watch documentaries. Once a subject takes form, the ideas percolate. I take notes, organize them, and write the piece. Then comes revising. It never stops, which makes a computer indispensable. After I got one, my writing exploded. Each article is its own reward; and if it gets published, that’s extra. If I know a particular field and criticize it, I don’t send it to a publication in that field; they often don’t want to hear it. I send it to a paper or magazine. The public can see what I’m saying; the field sees what it wants to see. I send copies to people who feel the way I do and they love it! I’ve gotten notes from Milton Friedman, the president of Boston U., the principal in the movie LEAN ON ME, people running half-way houses on TV, and others. You learn to tell good writing and TV programs from bad, and the importance of objectivity, firsthand experience, and age. Creative work is self-absorbing, impractical, difficult, solitary, intuitive, vindicating, engrossing, compelling, and a privilege. Harkin to the voice within.

In the past I’d taken the NEW YORK TIMES and the WASHINGTON POST when living in those cities, and by now I had been taking the LOS ANGELES TIMES for years. (These and the WALL STREET JOURNAL were considered the top four papers at the time.) I watched most of the documentaries and programs like 60 MINUTES, and clipped a zillion articles. I could more clearly understand many errors by liberals and some by conservatives.

A

Liberal pitfalls

Liberal myths Having received a liberal education (in conservative Orange County, Calif.) and spent years in liberal social work in liberal New York City, where I daily read the liberal N.Y. Times, I found ‘liberal’ is used as the good housekeeping seal of intellectual thought. One might think conservatives would have good ideas, but not so. ‘Liberal’ is seen as ‘progressive, educated, compassionate, and generous.’ But many liberal programs have been disasters. How could that be if based on such good intentions? It’s because they were based on the false assumptions of: Ideal The liberal believes a better world is just out ahead. We need only to be ‘freed’ from the ‘repressive’ past to ‘express’ ourselves, our good intentions and new ideas, and we’ll create a society of equality, peace, and security. This sounds


46 good in school but isn’t real. Guilt As the world isn’t ideal, the liberal is quick to point the finger. He blames the older generation, the establishment, the upper classes. They have more because of greed or capitalism and become mean conservatives to preserve it. Those with less are victims. This is why the (mostly liberal) media, are so negative. Old is bad The liberal thinks that our problems came from the past. An example is the 19th century. He consistently runs it down as one of exploitation of the masses by the robber barons of Wall St. who conned Main St., bled Mid-western farmers, and fleeced immigrants. He’s mistaken; the standard of life for the common man rose dramatically. In disparaging the past he doesn’t learn from it - a fatal mistake. The past contains the wisdom of traditional values gained at great cost, but he believes old is bad and New is good New ideas from new fields are something he can sink his teeth into; psychology, socialism, ‘modern’ economics, and other social ‘sciences’ are ‘technologies’ which can ‘engineer’ a ‘new man,’ New Deal, New Frontier, Great Society, etc. While he might claim to believe in traditional values, he postpones them indefinitely. Equal As Robin Hood he wants redistribute the wealth. He wants to push working class people through college, when many are not interested. He is sure our poor are trapped, when immigrant poor, with limited English, pass them every day. When it comes to bums and criminals, he has a thousand excuses. Secure He wants a world free of risk and want. The earlier days of heroism, tragedy, and the free market are to be leveled for predictability and safety. This can only be done through programs that promote: Socialism Where socialism (heavy government involvement) has been tried (India and East Germany in the 50s & 60s), development has been hindered. Where it has been held back, development has flourished (Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and West Germany). Thus he tends to be: Anti-private He’s not interested in understanding private schools, charity, prisons,


47 nursing homes, fire depts., mail, transportation, utilities ... Anti-business He sees the high salaries of top executives as great inequities. Henry Ford st the 1 put the country on wheels, but the liberal sees that Ford was rich while others were poor, and goes on to support the graduated income tax, capital gains taxes and other measures which penalize the Ford types. He sees profit as mean. If nursing home A makes a profit and clearly does a better job than non-profit nursing home B, A is bad and B is good. Nursing home A can be ten times better than B, but liberals are reluctant to give it credit because it makes a profit. Caring The liberal claims to have a corner on caring and ‘love.’ His is the soapy, coddling kind. It spoils those he’s trying to help. He can’t imagine anything hardnosed or authoritarian as ‘caring.’ He needs to know that coach Vince Lombardi and General Patton were hard on their men because they cared about them. Permissive Seeing the past as repressive, believing in psychology, and seeing himself as a ‘caring’ person, he is tolerant of vice and seeks to ‘understand’ crime. He doesn’t believe strongly in authority or discipline, and considers punishment ‘medieval.’ If ‘boot camp’ programs help delinquent youth, you won’t hear much it’s outside his frame of reference. Overly-generous He spoils children; spoils the poor by paying them not to work; and spoils 3rd poor countries with foreign aid. His programs pay farmers not to grow and the American Indian to be dependent. The conservative disagrees. He is often older and more experienced and realistic. He venerates the establishment, capitalism, and traditional values; he sees social classes as overlapping, natural, and healthy; his ‘caring’ meets a person only half way; he holds bums and criminals responsible for their behavior; he shows how the private sector has taken over many government functions and done a better job. Let’s hear more from the conservative side. Let’s promote it in academia and the media. Let’s remind our youth, as people get older, they get more conservative because a lot of liberal ideas are idealistic and flawed. As much damage as liberals have done, they deserve credit for:


48         

More rights for minorities, women, gays, the handicapped. More openness about battered spouses, addiction, child abuse, incest, abortion, impotence, etc. More acceptances of ethnic diversity and intermarriage. More acceptances of separation & divorce. More use of psychology to get to the roots of one’s problems instead of ‘keeping it all in’ and enduring ‘long suffering.’ More openness about public figures instead of putting them on a pedestal. More open-minded about premarital relations in long-term, responsible relationships. More questioning of religion. Integrating newsrooms.

Liberals led the way with these because of their challenging old ideas, being open to new ones, and because of their interest in those who have less. A look at history shows they led the way in abolishing slavery, getting women the vote, civil rights …

The liberal media The importance of the news media cannot be underestimated as most issues are decided by public opinion. But are the media fair? We get an idea from a widely quoted survey taken in ‘82 of ‘the prestige media’ (NY Times, Wash. Post, Wall St. Journal, Time, Newsweek, the 3 major networks and PBS). It said the media have a liberal bias as:    

Three times as many of their newsmen considered themselves liberal as conservative. 80% favored affirmative action. 79% believed in the welfare state. 80% voted democratic from ‘64 to ‘76.

Why are the news media liberal despite the fact most Americans are conservative? One reason is liberals tend to go into the media, and conservatives tend to go into business according to David Brinkley. What is the liberal bias? In my opinion it is: an ideal world is possible, old is bad - new is good, anti-establishment, anti-business, pro-union, less defense, more social programs, and level the classes for ‘equality.’ (Conservatives take the opposite positions.)


49 The following show the liberal tilt of the news media. History  Many in the media snicker at ‘status quo’ presidents like Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and Eisenhower. They prefer men of ‘action’ like Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and JFK.  Many find the 50s sterile and glory in the protests of the late 60s.  Many didn’t like Reagan. John Chancellor called him and archconservative; Walter Cronkite gave him a low rating; Harry Reasoner implied he was a cowboy; and Gloria Steinem said he was just lucky.  When George H. Bush promised a ‘kinder, gentler’ day, the media jumped on this and milked it. Brokaw said Bush had started ‘the process of healing.’ Leslie Stall said Bush was a rejection of the Reagan values.  John Chancellor said, ‘The 80s are over and Carter is more popular than Reagan.’ March ‘90. Anti-business The media and business have been hostile for years. Each sees the other as dominant, and each would like to dominate.  The media say capitalism caused the Depression and government got us out of it. But conservatives say the government caused it and made it worse.  When the price of gas goes up, the media raise a fuss; when down, silence. When profits in business are big, the media complains; when losses are big, silence.  If G.M. makes big profits and closes a plant, it’s a conspiracy.  When Polish citizens drove long distances to sell goods in West Berlin in ‘89, a reporter said they were ‘greedy.’  When more college freshmen than usual signed up for business, it was a rise in the ‘greed index’ (John Chancellor).  When David Stockman left the Reagan government in the 80s to make more money, it was our ‘greedy’ system (said Chancellor, whose high salary comes from the ‘system’).  When AT&T was broken up and banks deregulated, these ‘helped the rich and hurt the poor’ Ray Brady, CBS.  When capitalism brought great progress to parts of China, our media stress the problems. They said the economy there was ‘overheating’ and the government should restrain it. A reporter interviewing a new millionaire there, asked him if his success hadn’t created ‘inequality.’  When the free trade pact with Canada brought benefits, the media stressed the problems. The same in ‘91 when talking about free trade with Mexico.  The media continually suggest the business community fill in for schools,


50  

family, and government with education, health care, child care, etc. Once there was a report on 20/20 about how much better various businesses did when government got out of regulating them. Reporters Hugh Downs and Tom Jerrel were surprised. Reagan and Thatcher were never understood by the media, nor fully credited. Those two understood the free market; the media don’t and don’t want to.

‘Equality’  An article in TIME said Avril Harriman was ‘born almost embarrassingly rich ....’  Mike Wallace asked Brook Aster if she felt guilty about being rich. Donald Trump said he did.  The media blame the haves, and fawn over the have-nots:  Labor is right; management is wrong. Tenants are right; landlords wrong. The poor are right; the rich are wrong. Minorities are right; whites are wrong. Consumers are right; big business is wrong. Those over 30 are wrong; those under 30 are right. Detention for illegal aliens is ‘dehumanizing.’ Confronting a delinquent about his crime is ‘brutal.’ Getting up at 6:00 am for recovering alcoholics is ‘tough.’ Spanking is ‘beating.’ Rules are ‘regimentation.’ Innocent teasing is ‘humiliation.’  The media pity the poor without talking to those they hurt: merchants, insurance companies, employers, credit bureaus, teachers, police, public utilities …. They feature the poor who do not work, not the poor who do.  The media endlessly indulge criminals who excuse their crimes with asinine logic.  The media support admitting under-qualified blacks and Hispanics to college, at the expense of better qualified whites and Asians.  The media blame drug addiction on poverty and discrimination, and ignore the poor and minority people who do not take drugs. When treatment programs (only 25% successful) are not immediately available, it’s society’s fault that addicts continue to take drugs.  During and after a riot, they feature mostly the rioters, not the locals who hate riots and have to live next to burned-out buildings. Years later the media warn society of the chance of riots over growing tensions. They don’t warn the poor not to riot by pointing out the damage that will never be repaired, the flight of business, and the rise of insurance rates.  The media think equal opportunity should bring equal results. Poverty  A noted author wrote of the 60s and 70s, ‘White liberals saw the ... ghetto through a romantic haze and extolled its music, warmth, aliveness - missing the child abuse, brutality, abandonment, drunkenness, addiction, disease.’


51     

When the gays, the rich, or immigrants improve a neighborhood, the media say the poor were ‘pushed out.’ When the poor ‘push’ the middle class out, we don’t hear much. They assure us being black is hopeless, not mentioning that poor blacks from the Caribbean come here and our blacks. Same with other poor immigrants passing our poor. The media run down menial work - the traditional route out of poverty. They talk of heat subsidies when the low at night is only 52. The media were indignant about Reagan’s cutting back social programs. They don’t ask if the programs worked or if they did more harm than good.

Crime  Connie Chung did a program on a teenager whose crimes were so bad, he was labeled a ‘poster child for capital punishment.’ (Why ‘child’?) It was about how the system had ‘failed’ him, not how he failed the system.  The FBI asked newspapers to publish posters of fugitives, but some papers said it would violate fugitives’ rights.  When an incorrigible in prison was put in a diaper and shackles, a reporter called it ‘draconian.’ When another was put in shackles by a guard, a reporter (Tom Jerrel of 20/20) asked if the guard was ‘paranoid.’  Mr. Jerrel also did a one-sided report on a home for delinquents, portraying them as victims of a heartless staff. Socialistic  Bill Moyers called himself a son of the New Deal.  Tom Brokaw said congress has to ‘face up’ to providing child care.  Another time his program criticized our health system for several nights, then praised Canada’s socialized medicine.  Former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill said on TV all he and his colleagues ‘ever wanted was to provide a chance for the average guy to make a decent living for his family ....’ Sounded good, but what did it mean Medicaid, unemployment insurance, job training, affordable housing, rent subsidies, heat subsidies, food stamps, counseling for substance abuse, gambling, mental illness - on and on.  In 1990 with the deficit looming ever larger, the media often quoted polls showing the public would pay higher taxes for more programs. The media didn’t go into cutting spending.  They favored Castro, when he first took over Cuba.  They reported the breakup of communism in eastern Europe without explaining the reason - central planning (which liberals like). They say those countries are not ‘ready’ for capitalism; they should try socialism. (J.K. Galbraith).


52

Education  The media have put more responsibility on schools, while taking away the tools (authority, accountability, values, and standards). They helped bring open classroom, new math, no grading, pass/fail, dual admissions… . Classes were supposed to be so interesting, discipline wouldn’t be necessary. These caused many to graduate functionally illiterate.  The media anguish over the failure of public schools, ignoring the success of private schools - because they think in terms of the public sector, not the private sector.  They say some colleges (Columbia, Yale, Univ. of So. Calif.) are centers of privilege and inequality which ignore the ghettos around them. Let’s see: The ghettos are not the responsibility of the colleges. The colleges provide work for many in the ghetto; and colleges have to spend a lot for security because they are surrounded by ghettos. This, yet the colleges are somehow guilty. The examples go on in housing, health, legal aid, etc. It’s time we become more aware of this bias and counter it with facts. Now the forbidden subject of Social classes      

American liberals resist the idea of ‘social classes,’ assuming: Classes mean ‘inequality,’ ‘stratification,’ and conflict. If the gap between rich and poor grows, something is wrong. Those with more exploit those with less. The working class is oppressed, and the ‘underclass’ is ‘trapped.’ If capitalism isn’t the cause, it must be close. Government should redistribute the wealth and power to level the classes.

To get a picture of classes, let’s consider what noted conservative E. Banfield describes as the four classes: upper, middle, working, and lower, and how liberals view them. Housing The lower class of bums, common criminals and the improvident can afford only the worst housing (and let it run down, as we’ll see). The other classes can afford better, but they maintain it. They fight to keep the lower class out. (When this is middle class blacks keeping out lower class blacks, liberals are baffled as


53 they assume all blacks stick together.) When the middle class ‘push’ the lower class out of a neighborhood, liberals complain; when the lower class ‘push’ the middle class out, liberals are quiet. Education Liberals consider private schools ‘elitist.’ They ignore them and anguish over public schools. The latter are supposed to be the great equalizer, but, in fact they help the upper class; and, after the 9 th grade, hurt the lower class. The lower class doesn’t value education. The working class Archie Bunkers value it somewhat, but not as much as liberals think. Many are ready to leave school after 14, get a job, and start a family before too long. The middle and upper classes want to stay in school longer. The liberals, most of whom come from these classes, assume this is better and that others have or should have the same interests. Not so. Liberals have wanted so badly to help the working and lower classes, they have dropped educational standards since the mid-60s. They wanted to include everyone and not have anyone feel bad about getting low marks. They have also taken responsibilities from the family and put them on the schools, but have taken away - authority, discipline, punishment, and standards. The disastrous results are well-documented. At the college level liberals support taxing all the classes to pay for public colleges. This is one of the great injustices in our system as those who benefit are primarily middle and upper class students, says Nobel winner Milton Friedman. Work Liberals have appointed themselves champions of the ‘working man.’ They are sure he is being exploited by management, so they support unions whose policies: cost the country thousands of jobs, raise prices, monopolize, discriminate, and support raising the minimum wage. Liberals have gotten many people to frown on menial work. They’ve decided it’s boring and numbing, because that’s what it is for them. But many working class people are content with it. They raise families on it and their kids often do the same (and don’t need their jobs put down). Liberals have made welfare so generous, people are paid not to take menial work. (But such work and working harder than the class above have been the traditional route out of poverty.) Liberals keep raising the minimum wage which costs thousands of entrylevel jobs, depriving many teenagers of a chance to develop work habits. Some feel life owes them something, and with no job, have a greater inclination toward crime. Business Various businesses use demographic studies to determine what social classes exist in which neighborhoods and target their products accordingly. The military uses them when recruiting. Insurance companies use them to ‘redline.’


54 Liberals would like to interpret this as class or racial prejudice, but it’s economics. When businesses operate in a ghetto, they have to raise their prices as it costs more to operate (security, theft, vandalism, staff turnover). Liberals call higher prices ‘exploitation.’ They say businesses in ghettos are ‘taking money out of the neighborhood and giving nothing back.’ Nothing back? They are providing services no one else will! Liberals continually want business to take on more social responsibility: child care, health insurance, comparable worth, family leave, 60 day plant closing notice, helping local schools etc. Taxes Liberals don’t mind ‘soaking the rich’ through the graduated income tax, inheritance tax, and capital gains tax (highest in the modern world). Social programs According to noted conservative E. G. Banfield the lower class is made up of people who choose not to become self-sufficient, self-respecting, and mature. Education can’t prepare them for work and adulthood. There is no chronic poverty outside this class. You don’t hear this from liberals. In ‘64 they created a ‘poverty line,’ which allows this class and other poor - food stamps, Medicare, legal aid, school lunch, rent & heat subsidies, job training and fewer taxes. They are paid not to work. This has caused polarization and resentment - especially from the working poor. Liberal programs have caused more harm than good with some of their programs: rent control has created inequities and a housing shortage, and welfare has broken up families and created dependence. Refugees When early waves of refugees from communist Cuban and Vietnam come to the U.S. and become rich and later waves don’t, liberals blame our system, missing the matter of class. First came the upper class, then the middle class, then the working class. The upper class does better because they arrive with more skills. Conclusion We all believe in equal opportunity, but starting in the 60s, liberals began to think this should produce equal outcome. It didn’t: many education programs failed, many public housing projects became notorious, and welfare caused dependency, resentment, and polarization. Liberal permissiveness increased crime, and affirmative action was often reverse discrimination. It’s time for realism. Broad overlapping social classes are a fact of life. They don’t conflict; they complement each other. They are natural and healthy in an open society. People gravitate to their own level. They should be left alone to do so and not be manipulated by liberals, whose programs have often left


55 everyone worse off.

Liberal spin on riots Reporters did a good job covering the riots in Los Angeles of Spring, 92, but afterwards most fell into their tendency to favor those with less. They featured the rioter’s side and didn’t challenge it with facts: Liberals

Facts

It was a ‘rebellion, uprising, war’…………...

it was a riot

The looting was ‘payday,’ the goods were ‘free,’…………………………………… Looters were ‘opportunists’…………………

It was theft were thieves

Their motives were ‘complex’………………

were greed

Rioters were ‘protestors’…………………….

Many were hooligans and thugs

Rioters had nothing to lose…………………

but supermarkets, stores, a post office, a DMV office, a library, and electricity and rates would skyrocket for some and probably be cancelled for others by making businesses move out and property values go down?

Insurance would pay for the damage…….. It was the only way to get justice…………. It sent a message…………………………… It was to get respect ………………………..

by attacking news teams and shooting at news copters? by attacking firemen, paramedics, and school busses?

Rioters were tired of prejudice…………..…

and did everything to increase it.

Riots don’t make it right, but make it even..

by burning your own neighborhood?

The riot showed black rage, frustration, desperation, fatigue, frustration, hurt……… They protested racism………………………

in the carnival atmosphere of clowning looters? by pulling non-blacks out of their cars and beating them senseless?


56

It protested the lack of jobs…………………

and cost 5,000 - 20,000 more jobs.

It showed nothing had been learned from the civil rights movement and the watts riot of ‘65…………………………………………..

that violence doesn’t work.

It protested hopelessness………………….. The riot protested discrimination, injustice, etc…………………………………………….. . Rioters were getting back at merchants with high prices……………………………….

It’s not hopeless for poor immigrants (of all colors). Other minorities experience these and don’t riot periodically.

Prices are higher because it costs more to do business in the inner city - vandalism, theft, security, insurance, & staff turnover. It paid back Koreans………………………… jealous, moronic scapegoating.

We heard a lot about the rage of the rioters, and a little about the rage of those who were beaten by rioters or who lost their homes, jobs, and stores. We were told the riot was a matter of class, not race, implying the poor supported the riot. Fraid not. The majority of the poor are self-respecting. They hate riots as they suffer the most from them. Another item was rebuilding. Many people felt the government didn’t owe the riot areas a dime to rebuild. (Why should government money go where private money won’t.) But the media did. Garrick Utley of NBC spoke as if rebuilding should have started the day after the riot. Being an election year, the politicians, who had been proving how broke government was, tripped over themselves with promises to rebuild. If anyone believes this will restore the communities, they should look at Newark, Detroit, and Watts which rioted in the 60s. Most of the media are doing what they did after the riots in the 60s - leading us down the liberal path of guilt, promises, idealism, some rebuilding, and ‘new’ social programs, which will fail, and increase dependency, self-pity, and a victim’s mentality. This will increase the chance of future riots. We need more attention to moderate journalists and leaders. They channel unrest into legitimate forms of protest: marches, lawsuits, picketing, boycotts, initiatives, referendums, and recalls. They seek progress through: - Avoiding job quotas, charity, subsidies, and preferential treatment. - Supporting work skills, education, business experience, workfare, right to work, work at home, a sub-minimum wage, and traditional values.


57 B

Economics

When in college I’d majored in Political Science and minored in History. Neither gave enough attention to the economic factors that shaped them, nor did they mention Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt, and a host of others. Luckily I now ran across their books.

Discovering Milton Friedman It was refreshing to read Friedman’s book, FREE TO CHOOSE. He pointed out a number of myths:  Government must play a dominant role in a modern society. (False, as proven by 19th century America and 20th century Hong Kong.)  The answer to problems is more government. (False, the role of government in the U.S. has multiplied ten times in the last fifty years and we are worse off in many ways.)  Natural resources are crucial to a nation’s economic success. (False, as shown by 19th century Great Britain and Japan and by 20 th century Hong Kong.)  There is only so much wealth: when one person gains, it’s at the expense of another. (False, a voluntary exchange between two parties won’t take place unless both believe they will benefit.)  Free enterprise means the rich exploit the poor. (False)  Free enterprise is unstable. (False, government causes economic instability.)  The 19th century was one of exploitation of the masses by the robber barons of Wall st. who conned Main st., bled Midwestern farmers, and fleeced immigrants. (False, living standards for the average person rose dramatically, the number of farmers rose, as did their property values, the flood of immigrants persisted, charity and private education flowered, and libraries and cultural activities grew significantly.)  The Depression was cause by free enterprise. (False, it was caused by the government.)  The Depression meant government intervention was necessary. (False, price supports caused surpluses, price ceilings caused scarcities, and the minimum wage caused unemployment.)  Government regulations are needed to protect the consumer. (False, regulations have brought shoddy postal service, poor elementary and secondary schooling, and poor long distance train service. Little or no government involvement brings better products, like appliances, shopping


58 

   

 

 

centers, and cars.) A centrally planned economy is best. (False, the socialist countries with this approach (India, , and East Germany) have been far behind the capitalist countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and West Germany.) The energy crisis was caused by the oil industry, consumer waste, and OPEC. (False - by government price controls.) Tariffs protect our industries from ‘unfair’ foreign competition. (But they keep our industries from adjusting to world markets.) Improved working conditions over the past 200 years are due to unions. (False - they are due to the free market) When unions have won higher wages, everyone has benefited. (False, the number of jobs affected has dropped, the price of the product has gone up, and the wages of the rest of the workers have dropped.) Equal opportunity somehow means equal outcome. (False) Equal outcome is a worthy socialistic ideal. (False, such efforts brought New York City to the brink of bankruptcy, brought less production and efficiency in the U.S., a 25% drop in the employment of senior males, and a rise in crime and welfare. In England, such efforts caused lower production and efficiency, and the emigration of some of its best trained citizens.) The high unemployment rate of black teenagers is due to discrimination. (False - it’s due to minimum wage) Public education should be untouchable. (False, it’s a monopoly which needs to be opened to competition.)

Developments have borne out Friedman’s views: deregulation has benefited consumers, the capitalistic U.S. had a far stronger recovery after the ‘82 recession than socialistic Europe, socialism is retreating, and communism is in decline. Our liberal media might balance their coverage with conservative views like these. Discovering Thomas Sowell It was also a new experience to run across the ideas of Thomas Sowell, a noted black conservative. They are profound, but mostly surprising is that we rarely hear such things:  

The U.S. is being hindered by the growth of the two classes that brought about the decline of China in the 16 th century - intellects and bureaucrats. Intellects are anti-military, anti-business, and anti-establishment. They seek ‘social justice’ with no concern for cost effectiveness. They feel years of


59

 

 

 

book learning make ‘experts’ whose modern, sophisticated methods are paramount. The layman’s simple, traditional methods are portrayed as archaic and irrelevant. The methods intellects have supported for handling children since the mid60s have brought unprecedented rises in delinquency, teen suicide, teen pregnancy, and a drastic drop in school performance. Parents have been blamed for delinquent youth, when it was the intellects who, through the law and schools, took more and more decisions out of the hands of parents. We have been told poverty causes crime, but during the depression, we never had the crime we have now. Minority problems have been described as matters of color, ignoring the element of ‘class.’ When new working class immigrants move into a neighborhood, the older middle class moves out. This happened when the old Anglo-Saxons fled the new Irish, the old Germans fled the new Jews, and the old Blacks fled the new Poles and new Italians. I.Q. tests have been described as ‘racially biased.’ Not so. Test scores correlate with advancement. As of 1930, any number of Europeans ethnic groups in the U.S. had low I.Q. scores. As those groups rose economically and socially, their scores rose. We’ve been told the condition of blacks is due to racism. We’re not told West Indian blacks in the U.S. have an average income 44% higher than American blacks, twice as many professionals, and rates of unemployment and fertility below the national average. Slavery has been credited with causing the disintegration of black families. However, these families throughout slavery and afterward were male-headed and two-parented. It has been welfare that has ravaged families by subsidizing male desertion. It is said the high rate of black teenage unemployment is due to racism and discrimination. Not so. Their unemployment rate was 1/5 th in the 50s what it was in the 70s. Its rise was due to the rise in minimum wage. We’ve been told busing is a way to promote integration, yet it is opposed by every segment of the population. We are told quotas in hiring and college admissions is a way of improving the status of minorities, yet this is opposed by the Voting Rights Act and by every regional, educational, and income group studied by the Gallup Poll. We are told discrimination holds back minorities, yet the Japanese and Jews advanced most when most discriminated against. Previous to the mid-60s, not one prison warden had a college degree. By the mid-70s most had advanced degrees. Murders in prison tripled, gangs in prison gained more control of daily life and of the more frequent riots, and attacks on guards rose, as did their turnover. Trying to eliminate poverty has led to more dependency on welfare, while jobs have gone begging.


60  

Price supports have brought surpluses and price controls have brought scarcities. In education the cost per student went up while performance went down. The number of students went down; the number of administrators went up. Sex education was started to combat venereal disease and teen age pregnancy, yet both went up. At the college level, learning was sacrificed in the rush to fill classrooms (to get federal money). Ill-prepared minority students were recruited and eventually half flunked out. (One, recruited for his athletic ability, couldn’t read a menu.) We need to hear more such views.

Through Friedman, Sowell, Banfield, and others it became clear to me what the free market could do for the poor and society as a whole.

What the free market wants Those who believe in the free market claim, and can usually prove, that it provides the most benefits for the most people. Their advice is: Education  Privatize the management of public schools.  Admit students on the basis of ability, not color, nor athletic ability.  Group students according to achievement, not age.  Hire teachers for ability, not credentials.  Pay schools on the basis of how much they educate.  Let parents choose which school to send their kids to with vouchers. Let them home school their kids. Foreign affairs  Trade, not aid.  Show how capitalism intertwines the economies of countries and lessens the chance of war.  Show that capitalism promotes political stability, which is basic to attracting investment. Capitalist countries progress more quickly than others. The people in authoritarian countries learn of this and press their governments for more capitalism and later democracy.  Show how capitalism has helped Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan.  Show the damage caused by socialism.


61

Health  Let the market bring down the costs.  Explore the usefulness of the unlicensed health clinics used by the poor.  Allow nurses, when qualified, to treat patients. Allow dental hygienists, when qualified, to do some of the work restricted to dentists. Housing  Phase out rent control.  Allow urban homesteading and cheaper, basic housing.  Privatize public housing. Labor  Allow right to work, work at home, and automation.  Reduce or phase out the minimum wage. Wages would seek their natural level. This would pull down union wages, which are often double, and save consumers great amounts of money.  Allow many of the working class to leave school at 14 if they have jobs, as it is their orientation to go to work and start a family earlier than middle and upper classes youth. (Laws requiring the 11 th and 12th grades were supported by unions to keep the young from competing for jobs).  Hire competence, not credentials nor color.  Let employers decide when to retire workers.  Show how the decline of unions has helped the country. Minorities  Show how capitalism helps minorities who are underrepresented politically by giving them economic power and representation. Privatization  Show the success of private management of fire departments, parks, transportation, mail, schools, hospitals, and charities.  Promote private justice through ‘rent-a-judge,’ mediation, and arbitration.  Privatize regulation. Private inspectors would bring order to the chaos of local, state, and federal codes. A manufacture would choose among private inspectors like Underwriters Laboratories which inspects electrical equipment. The private inspector would be more honest as his company is liable for mistakes. To avoid penalties or loss of business, the company would have to do a good job. The public would get the benefits of high technology and life-saving drugs made safe by private inspectors; not what we have now - high cost public regulation with no sense of safety, and in


62 some areas, bribery. Social programs  Phase out the minimum wage to create thousands of jobs for mental patients, runaways, dropouts, delinquents, derelicts, addicts, minorities, refugees, students, the retarded, aged, and handicapped. As former governor of Calif. Pete Wilson said, ‘The best social program is a job.’  Consider setting welfare payments below the wage of the lowest worker. Then they would have reasons to look for work. (This was done in 19 th century England.)  Require those on welfare to work part or full time to earn at leastsome of the money they receive. These three steps would help the poor more than anything by making them more responsible for themselves. There would be fewer youths with free time and no work habits to fall into crime. Service would improve as people would have to be more conscientious.     

Let social agencies make a profit. This would bring better management. Let the homeless settle next to dumps, where they could use cast-off material for building shanties. Find out why some prisons are almost self-sufficient. Find out how immigrants pass our poor. Show how capitalism makes the disadvantaged responsible, and how socialism does not.

U.S. economy  Show where less government involvement promotes better goods and services, like appliances, shopping centers, and cars.  Show where more government involvement causes poor goods and services: shoddy postal service, poor elementary and secondary schooling, and poor long distance train service.  Phase out tariffs. This would lower prices and force industries to face the realities of the international market. Misc  Show how the free market could probably alleviate the: nursing shortage, water shortage, solid waste disposal problems, protection of wildlife, cost of medical care, cost of insurance, illegal immigration, lack of science and math teachers, drug abuse, ‘amateur’ sports in college … .  Deregulate. Lower taxes.  In farming, phase out government involvement, as price supports have brought surpluses and price controls have brought scarcities.  Allow paralegals, where qualified, to do the work of lawyers.


63 Most government functions were handled by the private sector at the turn of the century. Returning to this would break up public monopolies. It would utilize people who are less credentialed but often more able - as is done in private schools. All of this is opposed by bureaucrats and unions as it threatens their jobs and turf. It’s also opposed by many liberals in the media and academia who are leery of profit and feel solutions should come from government. A freer market would mean changes in the Minimum wage Earlier version in the SAN DIEGO UNION, 7/5/89 We have been told that when the minimum wage was raised, it was done out of ‘decency, humanity, and compassion.’ But who wanted it raised? - Unions, because the higher it is, the higher the wages they can bargain for. - Politicians, as it gained them votes and - Misguided liberals, who need to be reminded that: - A person’s first job is for learning work habits (following instructions, being prompt, dependable, alert, courteous, etc.). There are many people who need these. They should have the right to offer their services at any wage wherever (as long as safe). - A lot of people are not worth minimum wage (being unskilled and inexperienced). If a person isn’t, he doesn’t find work and the public doesn’t get his services. With fewer such openings and less competition for them (due to welfare), service has declined. ‘You can’t get help’ because the minimum wage priced it out of the market (and welfare made it pointless). - Minimum wage is unfair. It isn’t adjusted for tips, student and marital status, training, the cost of living, piecework, etc. The government can’t make these adjustments; only the free market can. - The higher the minimum, the less business has to spend for training and fringe benefits, and thus the fewer jobs it can provide. Thus fewer deliverymen, parking lot attendants, laundry attendants, movie ushers, gas station attendants, caddies, fruit pickers, dishwashers, elevator operators, baby sitters, nannies, cowboys, and domestics. One raise of the minimum caused 70% of the restaurants to cut their hours, 48% to cut workers, 28% to automate, and 90% to raise prices. This is more critical in small businesses, as they are more marginal; and critical to the economy, as small business is where most of the new jobs and companies are created.


64 - For every 10% rise in the minimum, unemployment rises 3%, mostly among the handicapped, part time workers, minorities, and teens - especially black teens. When a state raises its minimum, it’s less attractive to investors. - When the minimum goes up, employers automate (which hurts the poor), other wages go up, prices go up (which hurts the poor), but production does not go up. This contributes to inflation, a less competitive position for the U.S., more companies moving out of state or abroad, and more support for the underground economy - like hiring illegal aliens off the books. - We’re told raising the minimum is to help the poor, but minimum wage workers that might be the heads of households are less than l% of the work force. Most people making minimum wage are not poor. - The minimum wage puts out of work those that need it most: mental patients, runaways, dropouts, delinquents, substance abusers, refugees, the aged, the retarded, and the thousands of idle youth. Most of these need the esteem and work habits that comes from a job, no matter what the wage. Phasing out the minimum wage would cause training, benefits, service and the number of jobs and hours of work to go up; and it would cause prices, inflation, unemployment, and welfare to go down. It would get many of the young involved in the real world at an earlier age, teach them work habits, the link between effort and reward, and keep them busy. This might do more to reduce crime than any other measure. Phasing out minimum wage would help thrift shops, junkyards, recyclers, and city dumps - low wage workers could fix much of what we throw out. Some immigrants and others are ingenious at this and it would reduce our landfills. Let’s not distort the issue with emotional talk about the minimum not supporting a family. That’s not its purpose nor really the case. Let’s not raise it. Let’s talk about phasing it out, lowering welfare benefits, and increasing workfare so people would have every reason to work at any wage. If these were done, the free market would perform wonders at that level. It pays people what they are worth and gives them every reason to progress. A free market means:

Privatization With budget squeezes, government agencies have been turning work over to the private sector and the results have been remarkable as of the 90s. Housing


65 Tenant management of public housing in one location raised rent collections 105%, cut vacancy rates 13%, cut administrative costs 60%, crime 75% and teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency 50%. In other cities the same arrangement cut vacancy 18%, robbery 77%, and crime 66%. Parks Some have become self-sufficient. Transit 300 transit systems contract their services saving 10% - 50%. Fire One fifth of Arizona’s cities contract with a private firm for about a third the national cost, bringing better service and lower insurance rates. Education Many private schools with 1/5th to 1/2 the budget of public schools consistently outperform public schools. Health The growth of profit hospitals has caused non-profit hospitals to be more efficient by limiting charity care, increasing collections, and reducing staff. Justice There is a rent-a-judge arrangement in Calif. which is fast and takes some of the load off the courts. There is ‘mediation’ in many states which handles cases in 2-3 weeks instead of the usual 47 months. It’s not as good as trial justice, but it’s faster, cheaper, and offers greater access. Since it’s voluntary, clients are usually more satisfied. Mail Contracting rural mail to thousands of private carriers brought savings of up to 2/3rds. The success of UPS and Federal Express is well known. Sports The ‘84 Olympics were handled by the private sector bringing excellent results and a large surplus of money. Travel Lower rates and more ticket outlets. Local government 73% savings on janitorial work and 42% on refuse collection.


66 Federal government Bidding saves 20%. Regulation The private sector regulates some electrical equipment (through Underwriters Laboratories). This could be extended. A manufacture would choose among private inspectors and have his work inspected at his convenience, which would save money. He would pay for the inspection and pass the cost on to the consumer. The private inspector would be more honest as his company is liable. To avoid penalties or loss of business, the company would have to do a good job. Private inspectors would bring order to the chaos of different local, state, and federal codes. The public would get safe products faster, like life-saving drugs. It would get the benefits of high technology made safe by private inspectors, not what we have now - high cost regulation with no sense of safety, and in some areas, a lot of bribery. Other countries As of 1993, 29 of Africa’s poorest countries had sold 5% of their operations to the private sector. After England sold Jaguar, sales doubled, 1000 jobs were added, and the company made a profit. Most government functions were handled by the private sector at the turn of the century. Returning to this would break up public monopolies. It would utilize people who are less credentialed but more able (as private schools do). It is opposed by bureaucrats and unions as it threatens their jobs and turf. It’s also opposed by many liberals who are suspicious of profit and tend to think solutions should come from government. Liberal ideas have contributed greatly to the decline of

C.

Values

The decline As a former social worker, teacher and political aide, I think many of our problems can be traced to a decline of values since the mid-60s. Before then people were quiet in theaters and libraries; people didn’t disturb others as much with loud radios. There wasn’t as much public profanity; movies didn’t have to be rated, nor Halloween candy checked. Graffiti wasn’t exhibited as art; and drunks, runaways, and bums were dealt with firmly. There wasn’t neighborhood watch. There


67 weren’t live-in guards nor metal detectors at schools, nor as much gambling, pornography, and drugs. There weren’t as many rock concerts getting out of hand, nor young kids involved with drugs, alcohol, and weapons. College kids didn’t pull off girls bathing suits during Easter break. College professors didn’t date or sleep with their students, nor did cops with civilians. The suicide rate for those under 15 was a third less, as was the number of girls under 15 who had sex. The number of kids in single-parent homes was less than half of what it is. People in institutions didn’t have so many rights they abused themselves, fellow patients, and staff. People had more respect for teachers and police who had more authority and less burn out. People had less, but were happier and more hopeful. They led more wholesome lives like ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ and ‘Happy Days.’ Since then there has been a great slide in six areas. 1

Sex Too much titillation - each year in the media, more bosoms, rears, ‘naughty’ poses, teases, suggestive movements and comments. 2

Work We are told: menial work is undignified; assembly line work is unforgivable; the laboring man is abused; capitalism exploits people; every wage should support a family; there are no jobs for the poor (yet poor immigrants find them); job security is a right; something is wrong when both parents have to work; and something is terribly wrong if the present generation won’t have more than the past one. What’s been the result this type of thinking? Unions for a long time were getting more wages for less work; jobs have gone begging while we deported illegal aliens eager to work; people don’t take the pride in their work they used to; it’s hard to get good help; service has declined; and some people in the ghetto laugh at the idea of regular work. 3

Crime The rise has to be traceable to less discipline, responsibility, punishment, and respect for authority, property, and people. Many young people haven’t learned these. They’ve been kept out of work by the minimum wage, welfare, unions, and child labor laws. Some in their mid-20s have never held a job. They are spoiled and immature. They’ve been told life owes them thrills. Their crimes are more violent with less remorse; and this is excused by social workers, mouthing psychobabble. Criminals have more rights and police have less power. Police even have trouble stopping loud stereos. 4

Education We have seen the feel-good permissiveness of open classroom, grading fads, snap courses, open enrollment, dumbed down texts, no dress codes, social promotion, and far less discipline. An issue was made of spanking a student with a


68 ping pong paddle. A ‘no pass, no play’ case was taken to the supreme court. Little wonder 41% of the teachers Los Angeles wouldn’t chose teaching if starting over. Some teachers fear for their safety. Students graduate functionally illiterate, and colleges and employers have to make up the difference. 5

Poverty It persists because many of the poor are paid not to work, the definition of poverty has been expanded, and social ‘scientists’ make excuses for the poor. Great efforts and sums of money were spent on the War on Poverty in the 60s with few results; yet we are constantly told we didn’t do enough. 6

Drugs We consume 60% of the world’s drugs. This must have some connection to the decline of: restraint, prudence, foresight, thrift, moderation, deferred gratification, facing reality, resolving one’s problems, and getting pleasure the natural way. It’s fly now, pay later. Take a pill, be young forever, the fast lane, no one’s responsible. The decline of values is worst for the poor and minorities. They used to get ahead through hard work, family teamwork, and hope. Nowadays they are told the government owes them a living, slums are someone else’s fault, they are victims of class, economics, and race. This relieves them of responsibility. Many are of them are fatalistic to begin with; lower values are the last thing they need. What can we do about the decline? 1

Sex We could drastically reduce the amount of titillation. Sex education should point out how sex has been cheapened by the media. It should stress restraint, modesty, wholesomeness, and responsibility. Penalties for sexual harassment and misconduct should be increased. 2

Work We should talk less about a day’s pay and more about a day’s work. We should never disparage menial work. We should work toward the freest economy as it provides the most jobs and rewards the best workers. This means reducing tariffs, capital gains tax, regulations, licensing, union power, and minimum wage. The latter would create thousands of first jobs for teens. This would teach work habits, build responsibility, and reduce crime. Young people under 18 should be allowed to work in the trades, and those under 14 should be allowed to work part time. 3

Crime We could start with quiet in libraries and theaters, no public profanity, boom boxes, verbal abuse, threats, nor panhandling. Runaways, alcoholics, and mental


69 patients could be dealt with firmly. We could put less stock in psychology and hold people accountable for their behavior regardless of their poverty, alcoholism, addiction, or other ‘diseases.’ Court backlogs could be cut through ‘private justice.’ 4

Education School choice and privatization could bring better and more practical education through dress codes, discipline, parental involvement, tougher grading, career counseling for 1/3rdthe cost. 5

Poverty We could compare our poor to poor immigrants, who, with limited English, have been successful. We could get information from those abused by the poor: landlords, merchants, employers, creditors, etc. We could realize: - the poor are not ‘oppressed’ or ‘trapped,’ - discrimination hasn’t held back blacks from the Caribbean who moved here, - poverty doesn’t excuse crime, alcohol, addiction, gambling, promiscuity, illegitimacy, and child and wife abuse, - the poor have been hurt by some social programs (guaranteed income, negative income tax, minimum wage, welfare, graduated income taxes, and ‘spread-the-work’ schemes). We could consider England’s policy in the 19th century of setting of welfare beneath the lowest wage. This would give the poor every reason to look for work. We could avoid job quotas, charity, subsidies, and preferential treatment; and instead promote, self-reliance, work, education, business experience, and saving. 6

Drugs We could close ‘head shops’ and prohibit portraying drugs in a favorable light. We could promote drug testing, and penalize users. What can we do in a general sense about these six areas? We can stop apologizing for being adults and for traditional values. We can stop relieving everyone of responsibility. We can stop claiming: problems are ‘diseases,’ everyone is a ‘victim,’ everything is ‘complex,’ and any firmness violates someone’s ‘rights.’ We can cut back on self-pity, introspection, and psychology. We can cut down on cheating, violence, and drugs in sports. We can show how success is due to traditional values. Liberal thinking has contributed to Our growing self-pity On one hand we draw inspiration from heroes; on the other, we look for reasons to give up. On talk shows and in advice columns, we are told: a job transfer brings ‘pain,’ and moving to another country means ‘cultural shock.’ Being ‘thrown’ out of work is ‘traumatic,’ and standing in an unemployment line brings ‘the stigma of a rape victim.’


70 The media wallow in doom. They tell us inflation is bad, then deflation is bad; the strong dollar is bad, then the weak dollar; higher oil prices are bad, then lower. Unemployment and inflation make up a ‘misery index.’ (Why get out of bed?) Budget cuts are an ‘assault’ on blacks and the poor, which will cause malnutrition. Canceling school breakfasts will ‘tear the fabric of family life.’ The poor can’t go a week without meat. Living in a garage stigmatizes a child, causing his grades to drop. Not having a phone is a tragedy. There are ‘few incentives for the poor to give up drugs.’ A raise in fees of $100/yr at community colleges is a ‘threat to education.’ ‘Withdrawal’ from heavy TV watching is ‘painful’; moving to another house is ‘traumatic’; and cloudy days send people to therapists. Even good times are bad: yuppies have to ‘cope with the stress of success’ and lottery winners suffer from ‘post-jackpot depression syndrome.’ People think that since things aren’t as easy as before, the American dream is dead. We’ve never had it so bad. On any day of the week we’re victims of the rich, the poor, government, labor, big business, or the media. Doomsayers run down our economic system (which pays their high salaries). They run down the country (but are in no hurry to leave). No mention of the immigrants who sacrifice to get here and take ‘menial’ work, no mention of those among the poor who are happy, no mention of the well-adjusted majority. We only think we have more stress today. Life is basically not more stressful or complex. Discontent, despair, and failure at times are normal and healthy. Being unhappy when the circumstances warrant it, is a mark of good health. We don’t need self-pity. It’s useless and it’s an escape from responsibility. So end the essays I could group in chronological order. I write and sometimes speak on these subjects - the journey continues.

Appendix -- - - - - - - - - Those with less

Those with more

Tenants…………………………………………... Labor……………………………………………... Consumers………………………………………. Minorities………………………………………… Criminals, bums………………………………….

landlords management big business whites ‘society’


71 The 3rd world Under age 30…………………………………….

the U.S. over

Liberal

Conservative

Intellects are usually right……………………… The media and colleges present balanced views……………………………………………… An ideal world is possible………………………. Since it’s not ideal, blame what is old………… If old is bad, new is good………………………. The old establishment is guilty………………… Blame or postpone traditional values…………. People in olden days were simpletons……….. The past is a burden…………………………….

false

FDR and the ‘New Deal’ saved the country….. The 50s were dull and antiseptic……………… The late 60s were noble………………………... The 80s were a time of greed…………………. Venerate the young…………………………….. Adults must understand youth………………… These are new times…………………………… People are different now……………………….. Generation gap………………………………….. Individualism means greed……………………. The masses……………………………………… Security………………………………………….. Revolutionary reform…………………………… Change for the sake of itself………….……….. Liberals care more……………………………… Caring means emotion…………………………. It means generous……………………………… It means permissive……………..……………… Matters are complex……………………………. People are not responsible for their behavior... Life owes us a living…………………………….. Good intentions are enough…………………… Be positive……………………………………….. School, work, & life should be fun, easy, and feel good………………………………………….

false, they are predominantly liberal naive false false is praiseworthy fatal anything but it teaches wisdom, gained at great sacrifice false some of our best times some of our worst false they have their place and visa-versa not necessarily human nature doesn’t change not among well-adjusted people false the individual rugged individualism evolutionary change only when appropriate possibly not necessarily not necessarily it often means strict not necessarily worst possible advice self-reliance naive be realistic partly


72 Love is all you need……………………………. Don’t discuss negatives and they’ll go away… Don’t prohibit something or someone will try it. Never impose values…………………………… Tolerate small stuff……………………………… More tolerant of panhandling, graffiti, profanity, sexual titillation, gambling, prostitution, drugs, alcohol……………………... Authority is bad………………………………….. Use a carrot……………………………………… Punishment is vengeance……………………… Rehabilitate, don’t punish………………………. Disciplining kids is mean……………………….. Teachers, businessmen, cops, landlords should be semi-social workers………………… Less emphasis on manners, honesty, good faith……………………………………………….. More rights for students, runaways, criminals, derelicts, mental patients, the poor, etc……… A day’s pay………………………………………. Whites have a monopoly on prejudice………...

Forced mixing (busing, quotas)……………….. Don’t judge people by their appearance………

false false laws are a fact of life instill them. nip it in the bud less tolerant is a fact of life and a stick it’s often justice punishment is part of rehabilitation is basic should do their jobs first more the firmness of the past was better a day’s work everyone has prejudice about color, age, class, ethnicity, gender, income, education, occupation, race, religion, accents, lifestyles, etc. voluntary mixing it tells a lot

POLITICS Government is good……………………………. Government is under taxed……………………. Government must play a dominant role……… The answer to problems is more government.. Money solves problems………………………… More foreign aid………………………………… Don’t export democracy and capitalism……….

is a necessary evil is overspent false, as proven by Hong Kong, and 19th century America the role of government in the U.S. has multiplied over the years, and we are worse off in many ways not necessarily aid promotes dependence, socialism, poverty, inefficiency, waste and resentment do


73 ECONOMICS 19th century robber barons exploited the masses……………………………………………

Capitalism is taking……………………………... Capitalism is profit ..……………………………. Capitalism is best for the rich…………………. It’s inefficient…………………………………….. Capitalism caused the depression……………. Thus government had to get more involved…. The minimum wage is beneficial………………. Tax substantially………………………………… The trade deficit is bad…………………………. Tariffs are beneficial……………………………. Industrial policy………………………………….. Price ceilings are beneficial……………………. Price supports are beneficial…………………... Public utilities have to be monopolies………… Automation means a loss of jobs……………… Licensing helps workers……………………….. The government should create jobs…………... Job security……………………………………… Most jobs are created by big companies…….. Improved working conditions are due to unions…………………………………………….. When unions win higher wages, everyone benefits…………………………………………… A worker should be able to buy the product he makes…………………………………………….. If new jobs don’t pay much, something’s wrong……………………………………………... Help labor………………………………………… Laws adding 11th and 12th grades were passed to benefit teens………………………. Since communism failed, Eastern Europe

false, the standard of living rose dramatically, charity and private education flowered, and libraries and cultural activities grew significantly is giving and loss is best for all but superior to other systems the government did false harmful the bare minimum false false free market they cause scarcities they cause surpluses false and the creation of about as many new jobs false, it overpays some and it lowers the number of jobs false, the private sector is best at this your security is your skills etc. by small to capitalism false, the number of jobs drops, the price goes up, and the wages of the rest of the workers drop false not necessarily by deregulating false, they were passed to protect union jobs from teens


74 should try socialism…………………………… Corporations have a social responsibility…… Forgive student and foreign debts…………….

false, they should keep developing capitalism not as much as we’re led to believe that increases the burden on others

CLASS Social classes mean people are unequal…….. Classes conflict………………………………….. Class lines are rigid……………………………... Classes are determined by education, income and occupation………………………………….. Class means snobbery…………………………. Elites are bad……………………………………. The upper class keeps out others…………….. It has more success and happiness…………... If the rich get richer and the poor, poorer, something’s wrong………………………………. Everyone wants to get ahead………………….. The lower class is oppressed………………….. The lower class can be helped………………… Equal opportunity will produce equal results… The government should make everyone middle class………………………………………

equal but different they complement each other anything but false, by interests, ability, and outlook false not when open to competition always room at the top false not necessarily false is carried false extremely naive false

EDUCATION Schools are the primary guides for kids……… Permissive………………………………………. Public education is a sacred cow…………….. It’s the cure for unemployment……………….. It’s the cure for poverty and slums…………… It can prepare the lower class for work and adulthood………………………………………… Social promotion………………………………… Public education is the equalizer……………… More money and staff help students………… Students are helped most by: experienced teachers, large budgets, small classes,

families are firm false, it’s a monopoly which should be opened to competition false, most skills are learned on the job false false false false, it helps the upper class, and, after the 9th grade, hurts the lower class both increased dramatically during the 60s and 70s and test scores fell


75 compensatory education, desegregation, vocational education……………………………. A diploma should mean: social success, career, mental health…………………………… College for all……………………………………. Public colleges benefit everyone……………… You can never get too much education………. Education breeds compassion…………………

Educating wardens was supposed to improve prisons……………………………………………

false, they’re helped most by their attitude and their families false, it should prepare students for work or college for those interested false, they benefit the middle and upper classes who should pay for them false false, it was highly educated people that caused both world wars, eliminated 60 million people in Russia, and millions in Cambodia and Vietnam the opposite took place

RACE The U.S. is a melting pot………………………. Discrimination is the main obstacle to minority advancement…………………………………….

false, it’s a salad bowl of ethnic groups and social classes false, the Japanese and the Jews progressed the most when discriminated against the most not blacks from the Caribbean

Being black in the U.S. holds one back………. Discrimination caused high black teenage unemployment………………………………….. minimum wage caused it Job quotas, charity, subsidies, and preferential treatment help minorities………… false, they are helped by self-reliance, work skills, education and business experience CRIME

Crime is due to poverty…………………………. false, even during the depression we didn’t have the crime we have now Crime is due to lack of money, education, and opportunity………………………………………. then big cities should have less crime than rural areas, but they have more Black crime is a protest against whites……….. not so; most victims of black crime are blacks Riots are a legitimate form of protest…………. false Knee-jerk forgiveness of crimes, debts………. restitution Many criminals had bad childhoods………….. as did others who did not choose crime


76 Find the cause of crime……………………….. A 17 yr. old criminal is a ‘child’………………..

enforce the law. is a teenager

PSYCHOLOGY Psychology comes first………………………… Blame your folks………………………………… Problems come from wrong thinking………….. Self-expression whenever……………………… Traditional values hamper relationships……… Getting fired is the end of the world………….. Flee stress and depression ……………………. Avoid problems…………………..……………… Instant gratification……………………………… It’s hard to spoil a child…………………………. Postpone maturity……………………………….. Self-pity when things go wrong………………... Tough times can break you……………………. Mental patients are sick…………………………

responsibility does take responsibility false when appropriate they enhance them false they are part of life face them false it’s easy and disastrous false get on with life or make you many are 10% sick and 90% spoiled, immature, and irresponsible

POVERTY Anti-poverty work is recent……………………. There is a no dignity in being poor…………… An income should be able to support a family.. Wealth is money………………………………… The rich cause poverty…………………………. The rich exploit the poor……………………….. They are unhappy, trapped, and can’t work…. They can’t live without welfare and food stamps……………………………………………. The poor crave work……………………………. The poor can’t find work……………………….. Menial work is unacceptable…………………… Slums are hopeless for small business………. Slum conditions are the fault of ‘society’……... Decent housing brings traditional values……. Slums are hopeless……………………………..

it’s existed for centuries one’s dignity doesn’t depend on one’s income false wealth is morale, ingenuity, skills, and capitalism false false false half do they’ve been paid not to poor immigrants can false, it’s the traditional route out of poverty, and it’s vital to teenagers for developing work habits not for immigrants. mostly of slum dwellers the opposite not necessarily


77 Banks &chain stores owe slums a branch…... Have kids………………………………………… Right to welfare…………………………………. Help the needy………………………………….. Be generous…………………………………….. The poor can leapfrog menial work with education and credentials…………………….. All social programs help……………………….

The poor shouldn’t pay income taxes………… Redistribute the wealth…………………………. To redistribute, soak the rich…………………... Working with the poor radicalizes volunteers... Money will cure the slums……………………… Mix slums with better areas……………………. A social agency should not make a profit……. Outsiders have no right to impose middle class values on the slums………………………

false wait till you can do it right welfare benefits should be below the lowest wage so the poor would have every reason to look for work the deserving meet them 1/2 way bad advice as every group that got ahead in the U.S. did so by taking menial work and working harder than the class above. False: rent control creates inequities and a housing shortage, guaranteed income hasn’t worked, and welfare polarizes and breaks up families. false unwise suicide as they are the manufactures, investors and the most productive false false false false false- such values are universal.

American poor

Immigrant poor

Live like kings compared to 3rd world………… ‘Street’ values…………………………………… Getting ahead means luck…………………….. Weak families……………………………………. Become homeless………………………………. Won’t take any job………………..…………….. Panhandle…………………... …………………… Often poor work habits…………………………. Can’t save money………………………………. Retain poor English…………………………….. Some harass teachers…………………………. Drop out…………………………………………. Reach mid-20s without working……………….

have seen absolute squalor traditional values means hard work strong don’t will don’t superb ones do & send it abroad to relatives try to improve their English most respect teachers study hard without a vacation


78 Rarely start a small business…………………. ‘Decent, living’ wages & benefits……………… Look to government…………………………….. Self-pity, resentment, protest………………….. Are ‘alienated’…………………………………… Bored…………………………………………….. Disprove the Am. Dream……………………….

often start one any wage to selves gratitude are the real aliens never enough time prove it.

Poverty spokesmen

Immigrant poor

Crowded living is subhuman…………………… More subsidies………………………………….. Welfare is a right………………………………… The poor are ‘oppressed’………………………

is nothing fewer a cancer have seen no freedom of speech, press, protest, business, etc. much quieter opportunity they are a blessing

Yell about rights…………………………………. Am. is discrimination, exploitation…….………. Schools ‘fail’ the poor………………………….. Crime, drugs, alcohol, illegitimacy, etc. are due to poverty……………………………………

no excuse for these.

Traditional values Responsibility (the most important). Capitalism, limited government, the private sector, right to work (non-union), the individual, self-reliance - (rather than a welfare state). Foresight - (thrift, saving, planning). Golden rule - (reliability, honesty, good faith, fairness, manners, respect for property, authority, elders, and ethnic groups). Law and order, authority, punishment, family teamwork, hard work, discipline, diligence, moderation, restraint, wholesomeness, modesty, self-respect, practical education, some censorship, some conformity. Modifications of some traditional values for which liberals get credit: More rights for minorities, women, homosexuals, youth, the handicapped. More openness about battered spouses, the gay world, addiction, child abuse, incest, abortion, impotence, etc. More accepting of ethnic diversity and intermarriage. More accepting of separation & divorce.


79 More use of psychology to get to the roots of one’s problems instead of ‘keeping it all in’ and enduring ‘long suffering.’ More openness about public figures instead of putting them on a pedestal. More open minded about premarital relations in long term, responsible relationships. More questioning of religion. Integrating newsrooms. Recommendations Realize our society is not as gloomy as liberals think. People in the various ‘classes’ are basically equal, but different. It’s OK to have more; it’s OK to have less. Give liberals credit for the short list above, butmake most traditional values your primary guidelines. Support only charities that promote them. Shrink government and privatize it. Go over this with your young people occasionally. Steer them into ‘career counseling,’ a practical education, apprenticeships, and experience in the real world.

Incomplete and very old lists People The far left Jane Fonda & Tom Hayden in the 60s. Jessie Jackson Julian Bond Liberals Ed Asner Hodding Carter John Chancellor Ramsey Clark Barry Commoner Alan Cranston Mario Cuomo Phil Donahue Barney Frank J.K. Galbraith Ellen Goodman

[bear with my lack of capitals.]


80 Mark Green Michael Harrington Gary Hart The Kennedys The Clintons Michael Kingsley John Lindsay George Mcgovern Howard Metzenbaum Fritz Mondale Daniel Moynihan Bill Moyers Tip O’neil Robert Reich Arthur Schelsinger Pat Schroeder Martin Sheen Donna Shalala Sargent Shriver Paul Simon, senator Dr. Spock Dennis weaver Tom wicker Ray Brady Walter Cronkite Brian Gumble Tom Jerrel Bill Moyers Conservatives George will William F. Buckley William Safire Spiro Agnew Pat Buchanan Martin Feldstein, economist Milton Friedman - nobel laureate Gingrich - congressman Barry Goldwater - former senator Jessie Helms - senator Jack Kemp Charlton Heston - actor Sidney hook - writer Jeanne Kirkpatrick - former ambassador to the un


81 Arthur Laffer - economist Richard Nixon Robert Novak - columnist Ronald Reagan Richard Perle - former assist. sec. of defense Senator Phil Graham Thomas Sowell - economist Margaret thatcher Gasper Weinberger - former secretary of defense George Will - columnist Walter Williams - economist The far right Phil Crane - former congressman Howard Phillips - of the conservative caucus. Paul Weyrich - of the free congress assoc. Richard Viguiere – mass mailer John Schmitz - former congressman Pat Buchanan Phylis Schlafly Bruce Hershenson Rush Limbaugh Geo. W. Bush The Neocons Bill O’reilly Sean Hannity Laura Ingraham Ann Coulter Rush Limbaugh Michelle Malkin The religious right - Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell Places

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Liberal New York City Brookline, Mass. Cambridge, Mass. Georgetown section of Wash. D.C. Univ. of Berkeley Univ. of Michigan San Francisco Hollywood


82 Conservative The South Orange County, CA Hillsdale College, MI Publications ================================================= Liberal publications Mother Jones The Nation New York Times New republic Village Voice Washington Post Conservative or far right publications American Spectator American Opinion Cato Journal Commentary Conservative Register Conservative Digest Freeman Human Events Inquiry Liberty Manchester Union Leader Nat. interest Nat. Review New Leader New Guard Policy review Public interest Reason Orange County Register’s editorial page San Diego Union The American Enterprise The Washington Times The Economist Wall St. Journal’s editorial page Weekly Standard Conservative books

with my comments


83 The Unheavenly City Revisited, by edward g. banfield - profound. Free to Choose, by Milton Friedman - tops. Bright Promises, Dismal Performance, by Milton friedman. Tyranny of the Majority, by Milton friedman. Conscience of a Conservative, by barry goldwater. Race and Economics. Pink and Brown People. Both by Thomas Sowell. Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder The Conquest of Poverty by Henry Hazlitt Think tanks

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Liberal Brookings Institute Ford Foundation Rockefeller Foundation The Council on Foreign Relations Conservative Am. Enterprise Institute Bradley Cato Institute Claremont Institute Heritage Foundation Hoover Institute Hudson Inst. Milbank ……………… Mt. States Legal Foundation Reason Foundation Smith-Richardson Foundation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - - - - - - - - - - - - ----

Author’s bio: Al Garner, laguna woods, california … was in domestic version of the peace corps … lived in NY slums during SERPICO … worked in welfare, child neglect, drug abuse, juvenile detention … taught Eng. … worked on Capitol Hill during Watergate …started home for mental patients (living with them for two years) … has rented rooms in his house since ‘78…writes (as a hobby).

These and related essays are on www.timelessissues.com


84 End ================================================== = = = = = = = = ====== Š Copyright 2012 A. Garner - former social worker, teacher, political aide, landlord. All rights reserved.30,000 words