Monday, June 20, 2011

Alternate opinion

[OOPS, I just realized I posted this twice. Blogger had a temporary glitch and I didn't realize both posting attempts went through. I would delete one of them, but people have already posted comments on both so I'll leave both identical posts up. Sorry for the confusion!]

I didn't want to post this in the comments section because it had some bad language, and I can't alter an incoming comment in any way. However it was an interesting perspective and I didn't want it to get buried, so I thought I would post it here.

This is in response to my WND column The Forgotten Fathers. On the WND site a liberal reader had posted a comment as follows:

Patrice, you're making it sound as though the problem were the result of some sinister liberal plot to make fathers unimportant. Wrong. The problem is due to adverse socio-economic conditions in America. Hardly any one is saying that it's not good for children to grow up in intact families with loving, responsible fathers. This is a very good thing. But given the poverty, the lack of opportunity due to economic difficulties, etc, it's very tough for so many people to live this kind of stable and economically secure life.

Also on the WND site, there was a reply to this comment I would like to include:

As usual, you confuse cause and effect. The socio-economic plight is the RESULT of the breakdown of the family, not the cause of it. Is there a positive feedback loop? Of course. Money problems create stress that can break marriages that are not on a firm foundation, but the primary cause is the breakdown of the family, which was indeed a malicious plot by subversives who WANTED to undermine the nation at its core. They INTENTIONALLY created these socio-economic conditions by encouraging single-motherhood.

Anyway, in response to the first viewpoint, a blog reader tried to post a reply. As I said I deleted the comment but I'm posting it here, language cleaned up:

I agree with the [above] comment. My mom died of cancer when I was young and we drowned in medical bills while my father worked his butt off working several jobs. These things happen. And they happened under Reagan. I worked full-time just out of high school and still had to apply for aid because despite the hours that I worked, I still couldn't afford to pay for rent and food. Welcome to small town America where jobs are few and they pay [expletive]. Eventually, decades later, I moved up a little, but I was lucky. I didn't have any major health issues or children to take care of. America has been in decline for over 30 years. Wages have been stagnet for 30 years while debt has gone up. The social fabric of this country has been tearing for a long, long time and no it doesn't have a [irreverent expletive] thing to do with your god (whatever your god is). And no, it's not because of this or that political party. We have one party in this country: The Corporate Party. Everything else is simply designed to keep you entertained while they steal your money. They've succeeded. The ship is still sinking while all these stupid culture wars and political rants go on.

I welcome your thoughts.


  1. Ronald Reagan is the only U.S. President in my lifetime that I actually liked. That does not change the fact that the stagnation (in real dollar terms) of working wages took off in the 1980s.

    Reagan did not start the trend of borrowing your way to "property", but he did not stop it either. While it is true that the Federal Debt was paid off under Clinton, to some degree that was simply a shift from the public to the private sector. This debt was increased in both sectors under Bush.

    Rural America has been in decline. It is showing some of the same demographics and problems as the inner city did when manufacturing left in the late 1960s and 1970s. Media presence is negligible in these areas so it is not notices. Although a bit "breathless" the book Methland will give some idea of how bad it can get.

    The United States has its work cut out for itself. IMO the first key to getting back on an even keel is to realize that we are not as wealthy as we think we are, nor have we been as wealthy as we thought we were for some time.

    We are looking at the prospect of a lot of people retiring at the same time as we are stagnating economically. It is immaterial if SS, Medicare, or Medicaid, etc. balance in nominal dollar terms, if the overall output of the economy goes down.

    I am all ears as to solutions. My one partial solution, painful in the short term, would be to fire the finance sector as your engine of economic growth. It is a sector that is vulnerable to looting, and tends to be better at fueling bubbles (going back to 19th century at least) than real growth. The U.S. was lucky with the railroad bubble and the telecom bubble. But not all bubbles end so well: Ask the Dutch about Tulips.

  2. If readers want to better understand how the family unit was intentionally undermined and if they want to learn about race in this country I invite them to read this book - Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? By Walter E. Williams (March 2011). More on Dr WIlliams can be found at this link

    In my opinion, the left intentionally destroyed the family unit but read the book cited above for the opinion of someone DIRECTLY AFFECTED by the policies that are noted.


  3. I agree with the second comment - the socioeconomic mess is more a result of the breakdown of family than a cause of it. Carol Swain makes a strong case for exactly that idea in her book Be The People if anyone is interested in exploring the topic further.

  4. I work full time, and my wife stays home to tend the house and develop her blog. We're not rolling in it but we're not starving, either. I figured at one point that if she worked outside the home, the tax hit and the costs for daycare would cause us to lose money in the long run. Not worth it.

    As far as the socioeconomic mess goes, the breakdown of the family ranks up there with the unions getting greedy and driving the corporations with their jobs and money overseas (with the government complicit in the whole deal).

    How to fix? I don't think it IS fixable at this point. I think the world is headed rapidly toward the Mark system and there's not a lot we can do to change it. Personally I'm waiting for that shout to "Come up here!", but that's me.

  5. Patrice, I'm not sure that liberals have what it takes to put together a vast conspiracy that your commenter referred to. As self-centered as they can be, i don't think it would take long for them to start blabbing about what a wonderful job thay have done making fathers second-class.

    that being said, I have no doubts that the liberal establishment has no problems with running down fathers. All one has to do is look at contemporary media to see how fathers (males in general) are made to look stupid and worthless. Take a look a commericals on TV. Who always seems to save the day? It's not the dad, but the mom who comes through in the end. On your average sitcom, dads are baffoons who couldn't even feed themselves if it wasn't for the mom (female figure).

    Additionally, the media does a wonderful job of making men who shirk their parental responsibilities out to be these free-as-a bird men about town. We've grown a couple of generations of ne'er-do-wells that wou;dn't know waht responsbility was if it bit them in the butt.

    In the court system, a dad has little to no chance of gaining sole custody in the event of a split, unless the circumstances dictate (mom's a drug user, etc.).

    Then there are social services. They encourage absent fathers by reducing assistance if the father is present. It would be nice if the mindset of the social assistance environment encouraged men to be dads to the child(ren) they have brought forth into the world.

    I realize (after re-reading) my comment does make it seem like there is some sort of grand plan to eliminate fathers, but I really don't think it exists. I just think it is a natural by-product of this whole feminist movement where women are supposed to be everything to everyone. It is pounded into their heads they can do whatever they want, all by themselves, males need not apply.

  6. russell1200 says "the federal debt was paid off under Clinton." What...? Since when? He promised when running for prez that he would balance the budget within 2 years after being elected. 2 years later when asked about this promise, he said he wasn't able to do it in 2 years, but he could in 4. After 4 years, when he was running again, he promised he'd balance the budget before he left office in 4 years. He did NOT balance the budget! He just kept promising to do so, year after year after year after... The federal debt hasn't been balanced in a long, LONG time!

  7. In the beginning of the post, it sounds like she has unresolved anger, pain, and forgiveness. It's possible she felt alone with her dad at work and her mother deceased. She was out on her own. She didn't have the support during her childhood and as a young adult, so she had to take out a student loan. She wants to blame somebody, and the "somebody" is the government and those who represent conservatism.

  8. Oopps, sorry to be gender specific. The person whose mother died of cancer could easily be a man.

  9. Both the break down of the family and the decline of the economy have been long time in coming. Both a result of the progressive/Keynesian philosophies which took hold the first of the last century.
    And at this point I don't think that either of the two major parties have any idea what to do about it. The measures required to hit the brakes, let alone turn things around will be drastic and I think that too many have been on the government teat to long and that none of our politicians have the guts to take the serious measures required.
    This could be a long hot summer in our country.

  10. anon at 6:45 is correct. By various countings the budget went into a surplus by the end of Clinton's term.

    He did actually decrease the debt as a % of GDP, but that is cheating when you use a lot of debt to do it.

    My point was not to give Clinton credit, but to counter the tendency of some people to look at our indebtedness issue as a Government one, or a private one, but not combine the two.

    The use of debt to fund our "growth" has been going on for a long time.

    Per the family issues, the erosion of the traditional American family started somewhere around 1870, certainly by 1890. It can be fairly closely linked to economic changes in our economy. These were a time period of very high growth. We took the money and ran - so to speak. The social revolution between then and now has completely turned over our views of society since then- your post on sexism in old advertisements is as much a part of the change as the erosion in family values, so I am not saying that it was all bad.

    But we are going through that same social change today with information technology, and micro-miniaturization. People are not aware today how powerful the cultural changes from the 19th century were, and they are unaware of how powerful they will be in the future.

    Whether these changes are good from our point of view today is a little immaterial as people will likely think of us a bunch bumptious fools without a clue - just as we do the people who made the sexist advertisements.

  11. I have seen poverty up close and have been there myself ,at least what I concidered poverty, only a few worn sets of clothing one set of underware no money for heat, Thank God for a fireplace and a few trees , unbranded mac and cheese or "cherrios" for meals for months, I would dream of an apple or orange ,driving a $200. car with a broken frame to work barely having money for the gas to get there and back. constantly having the electric shut off ,no phone or tv. What I see is drugs, drinking, poor choices and single parenthood.I didn't blame the government or anyone else and when I decided to stop making poor choices life got very much better quickly .My relatives all blame "big brother" or the " rich people " for keeping them in poverty, even though they constantly make stupid choices . after 30 plus years poor choices just become stupidity.None of them can seem to keep a marriage together or see any point in encouraging a father child connection or doing anything much about parenting than providing all the latest electronic toys (this is poverty?) I really do not have a lot of compassion for the poor in general except the truely widowed and orphaned . This problem could be cured in the homes in this country but we have such low standards for everything because we want not to offend anyones stupid choices. Sounds like I went off on a rant....

  12. I would like to address the evil “corporate party” part of this persons statement. The companies are legally functioning within a system. You still have the choice to purchase their goods and services or not. No one is holding a gun to your head saying you must eat at Subway. At the extreme end of the spectrum you could raise your own cotton to spin into thread to weave into cloth to sew into clothing. You could build the spinning wheel and loam from the boards hewn from the tree you felled by hand and make needles from the bones of the deer you hunted for dinner. Personally I will buy off the rack from a company that conducts itself in a manner I see fit. You have to make your own choices. Maybe a start could be to turn off the TV, shop local, live within your means, get involved in politics to try to bring about change if that is your desire. Here is a novel idea. Start your own company and use the generated revenue to contribute to a politician in an effort to change the system you see as broken. Too bad at that point you would then be a part of the “evil corporate party” steeling the money from the pockets of the people by magically forcing them to buy your goods.

    I dislike people blindly complaining when they have not put in the effort to make a difference. It’s like griping about a politician when you didn’t take the time to cast a vote. It drives me crazy especially considering voter turnout is so low.

  13. Anon 4:13, your "rant" was excellent. You're living proof of the premise of my Simplicity book, namely MAKING GOOD CHOICES. In fact you could be my poster child. Congrats on doing the right thing.

    - Patrice

  14. Russell - Excellent post (first one). I've been banging my head on a wall for years about the financial sector. I was a financial & economic analyst for several different industries before I had kids. I've always contended that one of America's biggest problems is that we no longer produce much of value. Manufacturing is jobjacked overseas to the lowest cost producer. Food production rounded up (no pun intended) into huge corporate farming. And financial and services are our leading sectors. You cannot produce wealth by simply pushing money around from one company to another. You build no wealth, you build no value. Indeed, the amount of wealth available gets increasingly smaller as each point in the circle skims off their fee.

    Anon 6:34am - I think "evil" corporations is probably incorrect. But labeling them "greedy" is ok. I've my MBA and my share of corporate work. I believe in free market principles and the original idea of capitalism. The problem I see is that corporations have taken it too far. In what I've been able to find of the book "Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith (the first book to describe capitalism - and if anyone can point me to the original version I'd appreciate it) the idea of capitalism was companies that had a **vested interest** in the communities they operated in. Indeed, if Joe Blow is employed by you, but Joe Blow is not paid enough to afford your product, who will buy your product?

    Look at when Sam Walton was alive and one of WalMart's marketing pillars was "Made in America". He was invested in the community the company functioned in - America. Then he died, his kids took over, and all the board cares about is the bottom line. There's a difference between "optimum" profit - profit which benefits the most and "highest" profit - profit where profit itself is the only motive. We've gone so far over to the point where the only care companies/corporations have is the stock price. If firing 500 people will drive the stock price up, they'll do it.

    Unfortunately, the rise of huge conglomerate corporations has also increased the barriers to entry, thus restricting competition and a truly free market place. When the companies can afford K street lobbyists and "gifts" to our lawmakers, it's easy to put up roadblocks to anyone who might want to compete with you.

    Whoops, I think I got off topic... I also think fathers are of utmost importance in a family unit.

    Becky (not the troll) :o)

  15. The destruction of the family unit was intentional. Read Cloward and Piven.

    The destruction of our eoconomy was intentional. Read Cloward and Piven.

    The destruction of Western Civilization is intentional. Read George Soros

    These events were long in coming, they didn't happen overnight. The only way to fight them and return to the basic tenents in our Constitution is to be self-reliant, educate yourself (don't take the word of anybody, do your own research), and to live an honest life. If you life an honest life, then you can demand honesty in business and honesty in government. If you live a dishonest life, you perpetuate the trend and all is lost.

    Glenn Beck is prophetic, he is the new Thomas Paine and Paul Revere rolled into one. The enemy is coming, and this time he is us. Change yourselves if you want to change America. That is the only true and lasting solution. Government is not the answer, we are.

    Anonymous Patriot

  16. Right on, Anonymous Patriot!

    If every one of us would start taking responsibility for ourselves and our families, we'd see a completely different America.

    One commenter stated that the decline started in the 1890's, and it's my opinion that it increased speed starting in 1918, when attendance in the government's schools became compulsory throughout the United States.

  17. I believe that the welfare system robs people of their ability to dream. I wrote the following for my Comp class, but I believe it with all my heart:

    Finally, we are granted the pursuit of happiness. Certainly, we are not guaranteed happiness, rather the pursuit of happiness. For the first Americans, that pursuit was often considered happiness of the public at large, the contentment of the citizens. According to Jefferson, it was closely related to safety:
    That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is
    the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government,
    laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form,
    as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (80)
    Today happiness is far more personal. It is measured by the personal satisfaction of individuals. There are those who equate happiness with possessions and feel entitled to a better life without being willing to put in the work required. And, when their lives are not what they expected, they cast blame upon the government. Sadly, they are missing the point. The pursuit of happiness is far greater than any promise of happiness, for the pursuit gives birth to a dream, and who can deny the power of a dream?

  18. Some of you seem to be under the impression that we live in a democracy. God help you.

    If voting actually worked then it would be illegal.

    If you're so scared of words that you feel the need to censor them then there's no hope for you.

  19. 4:57am, you confuse me. We are, in fact, not a democracy. The founding fathers were very specific on the downfalls of democratic governments. The United States was founded as a Constitutional Republic, as named in our Pledge of Allegiance and as spoken of in President Washington's inaugeration speech.

    Unfortunately, our schools have taught it incorrectly for the longest time, though I'm still puzzling over why. A true democracy, where 50% + 1 vote can decide to take the rights and property of another, is a truly frightening idea.

    Another unfortunately, the government, in it's current state, is not what our Founding Fathers intended. Serving in government was never supposed to be a life time occupation. Corporations were not supposed to be able to buy votes. Government "servants" were not supposed to enrich themselves at the expense of those they purport to represent. The whole thing is a mess now.

    Becky (not the troll...)

  20. Anon 4:57, I find that an intriguing comment. "If you're so scared of words that you feel the need to censor them then there's no hope for you." Are you referring to the four-letter and religious profanity that was laced in the original post? Bwahahaha. I'm not "scared" of such words -- I merely find them offensive. Hate to break it to you, but this is my blog and I prefer to keep it family friendly. I call the shots.

    - Patrice