I had almost forgotten that Ben Stein existed — Expelled seems to have been the last sad gasp of his marginal cinematic career. But he still lives on, whining on the virtual pages of wingnut webzines like The American Spectator. His latest is a discussion of all that is wrong with poor people.
My humble observation is that most long-term poverty is caused by self-sabotage by individuals. Drug use. Drunkenness. Having children without a family structure. Gambling. Poor work habits. Disastrously unfortunate appearance. Above all, and counted in the preceding list, psychological problems (very much including basic laziness) cause people to be unemployed, have poor or no work habits, and enter and stay in poverty.
Impoverished people have personal problems. They may have had terrible childhoods. They may have been the victims of abuse. They are often the victims of their own abuse of drugs and alcohol. But they are not the victims of corporations or of the Federal Reserve. Their sad backgrounds lead them into self-destruction.
It is all their own damn fault. Also, they aren’t actually poor, because they have indoor plumbing. How can they be complaining about their situation if they’ve got a working toilet?
Meanwhile, rich people are good.
But there are just some people who are better with money than others and will wind up with a ton of money. There will be people who strike oil, who create new Internet toys. They fund symphonies and ballets and schools for inner city kids. They are a bulwark against tyranny because they can afford lawyers to fight overweening government.
We want for there to be a high number of rich people who function as a brake on government just as the nobles did on the crown in long ago England.
They fund symphonies! Without rich people of good taste, all those inner city kids might have to listen to is that godawful rap crap, you know. Rich people have a mission to dictate taste as well as to set an example for the poors.
Why is it that I think that the rich are paying lawyers not to fight for equality and fairness and justice, but mainly to make sure that they don’t have to pay as many taxes as they should?
Don’t warry, though, Ben Stein has a solution.
What will make the genuinely poor stop sabotaging themselves? Maybe, just maybe, if we let God back into the public forum it would help. I have seen spiritual solutions work miracles.
Jebus. What an idiot.