Just had an argument with an old dear friend. She kept insisting the problem with things was all the welfare mothers and social security cheats.
I came up with three metaphors to explain my point of view. Although, I said, I hate lazy deadbeats as much as anyone, I don’t think it works to go after them. The major problem is not small cheats. You can’t make workable laws keeping people from being lazy. You CAN make workable laws keeping the rich and powerful from stealing people blind.
I think the meme of the “welfare queen” is a trick pulled by the crooked owners of this country to distract the average citizen from just how crooked and corrupt the whole system is. Get all worked up about the small-timers, and you won’t notice the big crooks stealing all your money and killing people.
My three metaphors: A rich man is so rich he doesn’t use horses to pull his carriage, he uses human slaves. He sits up there with a whip, lashing them to go faster. One of the carriage-pullers is honest and hard-working, but the other is lazy and dogging it. But the rich man whips them both just as cruelly. So what does the hard-working person do? Get mad at the man with the whip? No. That person gets mad at his or her fellow slave.
The situation is like a dike with a bunch of little holes in it, while there has been a great big hole blown in part of it, and the sea is pouring in. Blaming the small-time cheats is like running around shouting at all the people who won’t stick their fingers in the little holes but not even trying to fix the big on.
The situation is like getting mad at the fellow who stole your breakfast while there’s somebody standing there with a gun fixing to blow your brains out.
So what was her response?
She told me to lighten up and claimed that I was in favor of making it easy on cheats. She gets insulted if I don’t agree with her, but doesn’t see any insult in telling me to lighten up or in totally misrepresenting my argument (straw man style).
I should have known better. I really should. No good can come of contending with people who argue that way. Reference my earlier post about the shameless murderers in Mississippi. It’s as obvious as anything in the universe that these are lying despicable bastards, but simply because I point that out, I am suddenly the enemy.
I grew up with this shit. It’s bullshit. That’s all there is to it, and I don’t care how many people are buying it. You can spend your life savings on bullshit thinking it’s gold, but the smell won’t change.
The best I can do is not argue. It doesn’t do any good, and it only makes me despair of the very people I learned to care about growing up.
Read recently a post that argued, based on solid studies that show neocons follow authority, not reason, that there are really two different species here, which only look similar.
Like the farmer in Frost’s Mending Wall. Everybody says the name of the poem with the accent on the first syllable, but that isn’t right. It isn’t a wall where you go to do your mending. It is the activity of mending a wall, and the accent belongs on the third syllable. Similarly, everybody quotes the famous line of the poem, Good fences make good neighbors, as if that were the meaning of the poem.
But it isn’t. The meaning is precisely the opposite. Frost describes the fellow who says it as looking to him like “an Old-Stone savage armed.” The fellow is so proud of the fancy-sounding line, he doesn’t even think about it.
If you think about it, it is obviously false. Good fences do NOT make good neighbors. Good neighbors make good fences, I would say. If you have a bad neighbor, one lousy fence isn’t going to help much.
I have become convinced that, given a choice between a difficult idea which is right, and an easy idea which is wrong, 99.9% of the people in this country will pick the easy idea.