Monday, November 21, 2005

Why I Am Stupid

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." --Henry David Thoreau

Recently, I inserted my own humble comments into the comment thread on another blog and found myself in the uncomfortable position of being a minority of one with my perspective on the subject.

I maintain that personal experience is more valuable than book learning in assessing the pros and cons of our present welfare system. In a nutshell, my opinion is that welfare unintentionally inhibits the ability of the poor to improve their lot in life by creating a dependency on the government.

It was implied that I am ignorant and possibly just plain stupid because, as I understand it, I have not received a degree in sociology or political science or journalism, or economics.

I spent a very short amount of time on welfare many years ago, and I lived for 5 years in public housing, more commonly known as "the projects".

I was told that in spite of personal experience, I know nothing about the result of the social experiment known as welfare. Apparently, one has to have spent endless hours in a classroom studying the social patterns of those less fortunate than ourselves to fully understand that 2nd and 3rd generation welfare recipients do not really sit in their front yards getting fatter, while popping out babies one after the other, dealing crack, selling their food stamps to buy more crack, praising the expansive and expensive government programs that supply those $300.00 monthly cash benefits and food stamps with one face while complaining that Uncle Sam owes them even more with the other.

My former neighbor, Yolanda, did exactly those same things, and she was the rule, not the exception. She had lived in that same apartment in the projects for years before I moved in, and is probably still there, if she hasn't died from a stroke or a massive coronary due to her sedentary lifestyle. She has absolutely no ambition or desire to rise above the squalor. And why should she? Why work for something that is handed to you without any expectations of payback or accountability?

I'm not sure Sociology 101 (or even 202, or 303, etc) can really be taught in a classroom. I still believe that actual experience within the failed system itself gives a more accurate picture of the true results of throwing money at the problem of poverty in America.

But I don't know. I didn't take Sociology in college. I didn't even finish College. I guess that makes me stupid and ignorant.

29 comments:

Gayle said...

I didn't take Sociology either. I have reached the same conclusion you have, and I have reached my conclusion by observation, just as you have. It doesn't take a class taught by some liberal moonbat for one to understand what harm welfare does to people over the long hall. Our welfare system desperately needs to be overhauled, as does most liberal's brains. I could write a book about the welfare abuses I've seen in my lifetime.

I've looked over your blog (spent about an hour here cruising around) and concluded you have a great site. You are astute in your observations, but way too kind in your response to liberal moonbats. When I first began blogging I attempted a debate blog between liberals and conservatives at Let Our Voices Be Heard, but they (the lieberals) nearly drove me nuts! There are about two liberals whose comments I will let stand, because they aren't disrespectful. Most others I delete. It is no longer a blog welcoming debate from liberals. I have learned my lesson well. :)

I will link this site to both of mine and be proud to do so. Thanks for visiting.

Pamela Reece said...

Welfare definitely needs to make some changes. What was once started as a temporary way to help, has become a permenant lifestyle only to be handed down from generation to generation. The hardest part to swallow is that it is my hard earned tax dollars that support it. If I were to contribute to any other charity, I would at least get a tax write-off, but I can't write off the money I contribute to welfare. Somehow, that doesn't sit well with me. Then again, according to some, I am not even worthy of tax cuts, period.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

It was implied that I am ignorant and possibly just plain stupid because, as I understand it, I have not received a degree in sociology or political science or journalism, or economics.

I was told that in spite of personal experience, I know nothing about the result of the social experiment known as welfare.

That's just plain foolish and elitist and out-of-touch when so-called "intellectuals" think like that; certainly they might have good observations to make, but to devalue your personal experience like that is plain foolish. It also ignores their intellectual peers, like Thomas Sowell, who disagree with their economic theories.

And of course, there are those who share your similar experience of being on welfare, and have come to a different conclusion.

Then again, according to some, I am not even worthy of tax cuts, period.

I so disagree with the liberal bumper-sticker charge, "tax-cuts for the rich".

The top 1% of wage-earners pay around 35% of the tax burden; top 10% pay 65% of it; those in the top 25% income-bracket pay 85%! How much do the bottom 50% pay? Barely around 4%.

Sheila said...

Hi Mark,

The Question I have is this; were you blogging on the sites that 20 somethings with no earthly experience and a lot of rudeness blogg on? Probably the case. I rarely punish myself that way...unless I want my eyes and ears burning.

Conservative or Liberal, the young whipper snappers are rude and narrow minded because theres just not that much experience to back up their mouths.

Never take it seriously. Your too sensitive.

Back to work!

Son of Lilith said...

I was part of the same thread, and I saw no one call you ignorant or stupid because of your lack of a college degree. You invited ignorance and stupidity when you generalized everyone's experience to be a mirror image of your own. You lived in ONE housing project, and spent FIVE years on welfare. You can only speak for YOUR experiences. You want to convince me that EVERYBODY, or even the MAJORITY of people on welfare are fat and lazy? Fine. Show me some HARD EVIDENCE (numbers, data, what us educated idiots call "research to support your claim") and I'll buy it. Not until then.

Furthermore, if anyone is the elitist here, it's you. You obvioulsy were humiliated by your stint on welfare. More than likey you saw yourself as superior to those fat, lazy, crack-dealing, system-dealing peasants you had to stomach living amongst for five years. Your obvious disdain for the poor is evident in your discourse.

While you are criticizing us "educated idiots" for our snobbish attitude, try to practice some humility yourself.

Crazy Politico said...

The school of hard knocks is sometimes a better teacher. But some folks refuse to learn there, too. Like Yolanda.

Mark said...

Brandon. I didn't say they called me that, although those words were used in attacking me. I said, Implied...

im·ply ( P ) Pronunciation Key (m-pl)
tr.v. im·plied, im·ply·ing, im·plies
To involve by logical necessity; entail: Life implies growth and death.
To express or indicate indirectly: His tone implied disapproval. See Synonyms at suggest. See Usage Note at infer.
Obsolete. To entangle.

Re: "You invited ignorance and stupidity when you generalized everyone's experience to be a mirror image of your own. You lived in ONE housing project, and spent FIVE years on welfare."

And your point is?

How many years have you been on welfare? Do you seriously believe that reading about it makes you an expert?

"You want to convince me that EVERYBODY, or even the MAJORITY of people on welfare are fat and lazy?"

Yes. Except I bever said EVERYBODY. You do tend to read into things more than what's there, don't you?

"Show me some HARD EVIDENCE (numbers, data, what us educated idiots call "research to support your claim") and I'll buy it. Not until then."

You don't pay very good attention either do you? My whole point was I DOB'T NEED NUMBERS AND RESEARCH AND DATA! I lived it. I was there. I saw it first hand!

"Your obvious disdain for the poor is evident in your discourse"

Once again. you don't pay attention. I don't dislike the poor. I am one. I dislike the lazy welfare cheats that you educated idiot Liberals have created with your "programs", that have been proven, do not work! And how do you geniuses try to solve the problem? By throwing even more money at it.

And I am superior to anyone that lies and cheats to steal money from the honest hard working tax payers in this country.

And I am superior to people like you, because I can think for myself, not merely repeat what some Liberally biased college professor says.

Erudite Redneck said...

Mark, you've so mischaracterized that thread, it's amazing.

All any of us were saying is that your experience, minus any subsequent systematic study, makes you an expert on one thing: your experience. That has tremendous weight, and is something that commands respect. I respect it.

But, yes, years of study DO make one an expert on broader topics than one's own experience. And if you think that all college is is learning "what professors tell you," sorry, you really can't know, since you haven't had the experience. I mean, you get past freshman and sophomore-level classes and you really do have to think for yourself in college; and in grad school, it's all about research, at least in the arts and sciences.

Not a single person over at my place dismissed your experience. To a person, though, we insist that you are drawing too broad of a conclusion from it.

You got us all, I'm pretty sure, on living in the projects. More than a few of us over there have been on food stamps, though, and that ain't nothin' to dismiss, either.

You are better than this, Sir. I won't engage you further as long as you're so angry. You came in over there looking for a fight, and you found one.

Mark said...

No ER, I didn't come looking for a fight. I came to shed some light on the subject. Since I have first hand experience and have seen the results of Government failure first hand, I thought i had something to offer. Apparently, experience doesn't carry much weight with Liberals unless it validates what they have learned in school.Whether or not what was taught was accurate doesn't seem to matter.

I guess I am stupid. It was stupid of me to think people so sure of themselves would ever admit that someone with less education than them knows something they don't know.

Erudite Redneck said...

Well, you still don't get it. Your experience is your own, but anecdotes do not trump evidence, and if you think your experiences prove anything other than you were in a sorry situation with some sorry people, then, well, think what you will.

But NO ONE called you stupid. NO ONE. If you think "ignorant" and "stupid" are the same thing, well, you like quoting the dictionary: Look them up.

Ignorant means you lack information. I am ignorant on many subjects, and so are you.

Stupid means you're slow. Neither of us are slow -- so stop saying people think you're stupid, WHEN NO ONE EVER CALLED YOU STUPID, at least over at my place. You're not stupid.

You are, however, being dishonest by suggesting that anyone called you that.

And now, I'm done with you.

Mark said...

Anecdotes may not trump evidence but experience most certainly does.

Once again. I said it was IMPLIED that I was stupid and ignorant, which demonstrates I am very much aware of what ignorance means. That's why I inserted the conjunction "and" between the two words.

And I am never dishonest.

Show me hard evidence that giving away free money ends poverty. If it did, we wouldn't be having this discussion. America has been throwing money at the problem for decades and it is a bigger problem than ever. Besides experience, that is the most conclusive evidence that welfare doesn't work.

And don't blame it on Bush. He is the biggest spending Republican president ever.

Son of Lilith said...

You talking down to me, breaking down the exact textbook definition of "imply" to me, an educated man with a degree in ENGLISH for Christ's sake, only further perpetuates the elitist impression I have of you and renders null and void your arguments.

Erudite Redneck said...

"Ending" poverty is NOT the point. The poor, indeed, we will have with us always.

The measure of a people is how they TREAT their poor, dude -- and the example is Jesus, who cared not WHY the poor were poor. He just to take care of them.

All that talk about "the system" keeping people down, perpetuating situations and such -- that's great politics and economics and social commentary.

But it ain't scriptural -- and sorry, y'all nonbelievers, everything DOES boil down to right and wrong, which, for me, means it comes down to what the Bible, augmented by church tradition and scholarly theological research, appears to say.

Jesus just said feed 'em, and help 'em. He was that radical.

Anyway, we disagree. Not the first time, won't be the last, and if I personally insulted you I didn't mean to, and, while I can't speak for others, I'm sorry you got so worked up, for whatever reason.

I gave you a shout-out over at my place today.

Mark said...

Brandon, the fact that you seem to equate education with intelligence only further perpetuates the elitist impression I have of you and renders null and void your arguments.

I do tend to talk down to people to whom I feel superior. And I feel superior to anyone that thinks education is a viable preference to experience, except in certain applications like law or medicine or dentistry, etc. Education in English or sociology or economics or philosophy can be only further enhanced by hands-on experience in the field. Have you ever been councilled by a sociology graduate with no practical experience? It's laughable how litte knowledge they have.

Mark said...

ER, I appreciate your understanding in this. I believe you and I both tend to get worked up over things we feel very passionate about. My unfinished education has always been a thorn in my side. Bet you can't tell, eh?

By the way, Yes, Jesus does want us to help people but I believe he means for us, the individuals to voluntarily help the poor, not be compelled to against our will by the prevailing government, whether it be Rome or The United States. That is my whole gripe against robbing the rich to help the poor which I believe is a good description of taxation to supply welfare.

That, and the fact that it doesn't work.

Gayle said...

You are right on the money, Mark! Experience in regard to the "welfare" debate is way more important than sitting in a classroom. For heaven's sake, where do these people get off? I too have seen the welfare abuse, and most people I know personally who are on welfare intend to stay on welfare as long as they can get away with it and they are perfectly capable of working!

Even though "Ignorant" means uninformed and "stupid" means unable to learn, being called ignorant when you are commenting on a certain subject is far from flattering.

I think the liberals posting here are ignorant because their knowledge doesn't come from experience but only from a study, and I'll bet they don't enjoy being called ignorant.

Good post. My only question is, why are you putting up with these people? I'm not referring to all the people here, but I'm sure you know which ones I am referring to.

Mark said...

Gayle any forum represents the American ideal of the free exchange of ideas. Sometimes even an innane argument can educate you om many different levels.

Mark said...

Actually, I have no problem being called ignorant when I am indeed being ignorant. I just get insulted when someone implies I am ignorant when I have extensive first hand knowledge on a subject, such as this one.

jgaoehals14962 said...

The Bible says: if a man will not work, he will not eat.

That is the basic determination if a person should be helped or not. If they are poor, then you help them. But if they are lazy and in the system, refusing to move out of the system, then they should not be helped. You are only encouraging them to remain lazy, which the Bible condemns.

I know, this from a pastor. But that is what Jesus' word says...

Trixie said...

Well, Mark, I can see you still enjoy wearing the "Uneducated and Proud" banner. Don't you ever find it tiresome?

Are you also the only person ever to make it out of the welfare system? It sure sounds like that's what you're saying.

Mark said...

Trixie, Over on ER's blog, I mentioned there was ONE other person who managed to get herself out of the projects besides me. one out of 100's. It makes my point that most people on welfare don't want to rise above it because theyhave become dependent on the welfare system.

Erudite Redneck said...

Pastor Timoty, I don't have anything against pastors. I have a problem with pastors who look for excuses to be stingy in thre name of the Bible instead of looking for opportunities to give in the name of Jeuss -- and, sorry, but the words in the Bible and the words attributable to Jesus are not the exact same thing:

Explain this, please, specically explain all the caveats and limitation you want to impose come from it:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25:31-46

Daniel Levesque said...

Sorry to laugh, but it IS funny to know someone else goes through what I do when they comment on liberal blogs.

Don't worry too much. At the very least the debate will keep you shaord for a time when it really matters.

www.ravingconservative.com

jgaoehals14962 said...

ER,
All the words in the Bible are attributed to Jesus because He is the Word. He is the one speaking for God and through the Spirit to the apostles and the prophets and apostles.

All of God's word is God breathed. So each book has two authors. The first is the man who writes down God's truth, the second is God Himself. God is ultimately the author to all of Scripture, specifically the Second persons of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. It is ALL His word, not just the red letter ones.
Blessings

Kris said...

Mark I agree with you. I hate the welfare "system".
But I have concluded that our country and alot of the citizens here do not give out of needing to help, if they give its after they have something left over after they get what they want first, not need.

I hate labels like conservative, liberal or moderate. But I will use them here to get my opinion across.

Some conservatives, remember I said some, think that taking away all gov. aid(in which I hate the system used to dole it out) will stop the problem of "freeloaders". It might just do that but we still have the problem of selfish man not taking care of all the legitimate needs when all the aid is gone. Some of those who do need it might not get it and then we end up with a poor like the Roman empire had.

Some liberals, remember I said some, think that gov. and money is the answer to most every problem mankind faces. These are the ones that have concluded that more education is what all those who are lazy need to defeat their laziness. They don't believe in personal responsibility because then they couldn't consider themselves better individuals than those they help. I know that is harsh but think about it.

I have say that we need some kind of collective system to help those who need it but can put its foot down to those who don't. This would be very hard to do given the political climate.

So after all this I would have say that man cannot fix this. The more we try to give away to those who need it the more we hurt those who are using the system to get a free ride. If the gov. program in place now would have kept number of those in poverty at the same percentage of our population for the last 40 years then I would be the first one to say that it is a success, but of course everyone knows that this is not true, the percentage grows every year.

I'm not ready end it all just yet, that would be nice, we need to find a way to say no to those who are just lazy. I very much believe that we should fund and provide GOOD health care for children under 18 in this country. There is no reason all children should not have access to better health care.

You, me and ER all three are pretty head strong at times and say things sometimes and then have to back up and make things right when needed, but we usually always do.

This m.brandon roberts person needs to learn how to comment without being such a hateful person with words when someone doesn't agree. If this person doesn't learn then I would use my right has the part owner of my blog and delete every thing this person says.


Happy Thanksgiving.

Erudite Redneck said...

Pastor, that is our fundamental disagreement. I insist that the passages in the Bible be read within the context of who wrote what, when, and to whom for what purpose. You treat the whole Bible like a letter that God wrote, using Holy Ghost writers, if you will, to all believers at all times in all instances.

So, that difference in perspective has us looking at the same facts and seing totally different things.

That, and the fact that you like to take stuff that clearly is meant as guidance for how Christians should act toward one another within the community of believers, and apply it to the whole world, like the if-you-don't-work-you-don't-eat thing. I believe that is a misuse of Scripture.

--ER

Mark said...

Holy ghost writers....I like that. it takes on two totally different meanings depending on which word you put the accent on.

jgaoehals14962 said...

ER wrote:

But it ain't scriptural -- and sorry, y'all nonbelievers, everything DOES boil down to right and wrong, which, for me, means it comes down to what the Bible, augmented by church tradition and scholarly theological research, appears to say.

And then you write:
You treat the whole Bible like a letter that God wrote, using Holy Ghost writers, if you will, to all believers at all times in all instances.

Guess what, my position, which you just negated, is the position of tradition, and the church since the early days. Your position, is not traditional in the least. Your position, of understanding scripture, has only come about in the last 150 years with the rise of liberalism and liberal theology. Therefore you are out of sync when it comes to the traditional church view.

As for theological scholars, no, they don't determine truth. Scripture does, and Scripture alone. We have to come to scripture, study it, and determine the truth of what it is saying. If someone presents something that does not squre with Scripture, then it is not true. Your position of helping the lazy as being something that Jesus would accept, is not a Scriptural position and not a position that Jesus would hold to. He never advocates that. Again, your definition of the poor and what is a sluggard needs to be redefined. What you are saying is that Jesus would say it is OK to allow someone to remain in their laziness. This would not stand because it contradicts that which is found in Proverbs and the Old Testament, and the New Testament. All the Old Testament pointed to Him, and He doesn't come to condemn it, or get rid of it. He comes to fulfill it.

BTW, the last place in the world for biblical truth to be determined is by a bunch of scholars. The univeristy is the most unbiblical place in the world. The thought of that is repulsive.

As for my interpretation, yes, I do take the context, but the truth is still the truth and applies to us today, whether we like it or not. The passage I quoted from was within the Christian community, and in the Proverbs. The principles still apply for all believers, and non believer, for the truth is for all, whether they accept it or not.


ER,
Again, I am not opposed to helping the poor, but the lazy I will not help. Sorry that you can't make the distinction. The Bible condemns laziness. Sorry you can't handle the truth of Scripture.

Laziness is a sin. Those in the welfare system need to repent of their laziness, if it applies to them, and begin to work.

ER,
It really seems your major problem is trying to hold to belief in Jesus, and keep your good standing in the academic/liberal/intellectuall elite world... It is like you are trying to hold onto Baal worship and worship Christ. You cannot have it both ways. Christ wants your all, not just your heart and faith, he wants your it all and it seems that you want to give him a side that is acceptable to your intellectually elite worldies. I can see this every time you condemn Christians on the right. Jesus said that we cannot hate our brothers and love Him too. Yet, you seem to think it possible.

Also, as for the scholars that you hold to. Why on earth would I listen to them? Most of the liberal elite (religiously) reject the basic tenets of Christianity: virgin birth, miracles, bodily resurrection of Christ, physical return of Christ, etc. That being the case, they are not Christian at all, never mind the ridiculous piece of paper they hang on their walls given them some man-centered authority.

You might want to call me narrow minded. You bet. No problem here. Christ is the only way, His word is the only truth, by faith in Him is it. Most liberal scholars, John Shelby Spong, etc, don't hold to that at all, even though they are well accepted in the elitist culture you seem to want to impress.

BTW, I don't think of myself as stupid because I see Christ as the only way. I am not. But to sit and think you can rub hands with those that the Bible said would come, those wolves in sheeps clothing, and still hold to Christ is abusurd and stupid.

Again, try a church that actually believe the Bible as his has been presented throughout history, not given over to in the liberal mindset.

BTW, your position of interpretation on belief is Roman Catholic. Might as well forget the Reformation! Go join hands with Rome, brother. If that is your view. It is definitely not protestant.

ER,
You love to condemn Christians on the right, but I know these people. They are believers... They are christian. You may not like that, but that tells me that, once again, you want to have your feet in both camps. You cannot.

Politically you want to say that you can be liberal, but I don't see it. Liberals support an unbiblical position on abortion, unbiblical posion on helping the poor, an unbiblical position when it comes to war, and it goes on and on.

Reevaluate...

Puma said...

Guess what "pastor timothy." What you call a "position of tradition" has been thoroughly and roundly debated by the Christian theological community itself for about 20 centuries now. In fact there is no one "position of tradition" at all, but many, many interpretations, in many, many differing Christian denominations and traditions.

ER is out of sync? He isn't in the least out of sync with these traditonalists:

http://www.sojo.net/

Unfortunately for you, no matter how many times you claim that you know the "real" truth, and no matter how hard you stamp your feet when you say it, it doesn't make it so. And you own that problem, right up until you attempt to impose your ridiculous personal dogma upon the rest of us. You have a lot to learn about what the larger Christian community is about, and should step outside your own narrow little echo chamber once in a while.


And Mark,
Your own story about your own personal experience = anecdote. In other words, not evidence. Not a full picture. Not the whole truth. If you want your views to be taken seriously, you need to educate yourself about the whole subject, not imagine yourself an expert after a simple personal experience.

I will give you an example:

Your sister comes to visit you, betrayed and cheated on by her husband, screaming that she needs your help. You help her out, you calm her down, you give her some dinner, and a place to sleep. The next day she wakes up and says, "All men are disgusting cheats, I will never get married again, and I will do my best to make sure no other woman I know gets married either." She proceeds to do this, and tries to convince every woman she knows to never get married. She says, "I should know, because I have been cheated on."

But you know you aren't a cheater. You know many men who are not, and would never cheat on their wives. You know she doesn't know the full truth of men - only her own small, desperate experience. But she continues to believe this for the rest of her days. Because she has refused to see beyond her own small, personal sphere, she operates out of an emotional response and refuses to educate herself.

Do you understand yet?