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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectlet's get macy gray
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=25270&mesg_id=25275
25275, let's get macy gray
Posted by bshelly, Sun Apr-08-01 06:32 AM
and talk about how life is.

>Therefore, if you are describing low-income
>earners as "less fortunate" (a
>term devised by Democrats and
>leftists alike I may add),
>it implies they simply were
>not lucky in life, instead
>of partially being victim of
>the decisions that they made
>in their own lives.
> But of course, rarely
>has it been stated nowadays
>of people that come from
>poor conditions and a harmful
>environment that have become the
>exception of the norm and
>made their way to the
>top and become high-achievers.

The Horatio Alger myth, to use language designed to pull your chain, is no more than one of the most potent of the opiate of the masses. Yes, in hayday of early American industrialization, America had a fair bit of social mobility, but those days are over. By whatever index you look at, America now has the least social mobility of any industrialized nation. People stay in the same income bracket they're born, they have the same level of education as their parents, they live as long as their parents did, etc.. Before you come back with a "well, that's just the way of the world" argument, remember that in every Western European country and Japan, supposedly bastions of evil leftist thought, people now overcome those obstacles at a much higher freqency than they do in the US. I might also add, whatever social mobility we've had in the last 40 years has had a lot to do with affirmative action, but now that that's been curtailed things will probably get even more bleak for the less fortunate.

>Likewise, there have been people
>that were born in luxury
>that have taken a hard
>fall while being rich, and
>have either ended up in
>jail or have lost a
>fortune (some might be facing
>the latter on Wall Street

Name five. Really. Name five people who have fallen from millionaire status to renting on MLK Boulevard. Time in a white collar jail or having to move from a five million dollar house to a half a million dollar house doesn't really count, since bankruptcy laws in several states allow you to sink as much money into a house as you can without paying your creditors.

>failure? Do we actually
>live by the term, "Life
>is 10% of what happens
>to me and 90% of
>how I react to it.",
>or do we sit around
>miserably or even naively thinking
>that we live in a
>virtual caste system, and our
>situations, especially black people, will
>never change no matter what
>we do?

Look, as personal mantra I think this philosophy is ideal. Every individual should think they can rise above the bad around them and lead a fulfilling life. The question is, as a society can we help people do that? Can we make the playing field a little bit more level, so merit does rise the top? Because if you think that happens now, you're just ignorant.

>But is that actually realistic more
>often than not to the
>"poor" in the US?
>Sure, there are isolated spots
>in this country in which
>there are people that are
>indeed in need of help,
>such as Appalacia, but are
>all poor seen in the
>same standard?

So do we give up on the people of Appalachia?

Can all
>welfare recipients be classified as
>poor, even though they have
>the luxuries that most people
>in America have: televisions,
>phones, VCR's, etc? There
>is a television in 99%
>of the homes in the
>United States; 98% of those
>televisions are color. However,
>the "poverty rate" in America
>is supposed to be 10%,
>and hasn't dropped in the
>last 40 years.

The following is stolen from a "This Modern World" cartoon: are you familiar with the credit card industry? No matter what your credit card rating, no matter what your ability to pay, so long as you're breathing they will issue you a credit card with a backbreaking interest fee and collect what they can when you can't pay. I'd agree with you that these people should be held accountable, except for the fact our education system is so god awful that I honestly don't think people understand what they're getting into. This says nothing about renting, layaway, and all the other wonderful devices capitalism has come up with to take money away from the poor and leave them, in the end, with nothing.
>Hence, is your idea of poverty
>in America for the most
>part (emphasis on most part)
>an illusion? Or are
>you actually taking the luxuries
>that they happen to possess
>in consideration?

What's illusory is your reality. I think you're a good person, and you seem to be active, but it's obvious you've never ventured outside your shell (either geographically or mentally). Go volunteer at an AIDS shelter for two months and see if you still feel the same way.

bshelly: railing against the Industrial Revolution since 1999. Even Adam Smith recognizes:

"The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are, perhaps, always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occassion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become." That's my word.