Personal Correspondence Pt. 2

My friend to me: There’s a lot that you wrote there and I can’t address it all, so I’ll just deal with the comment about not being able to get a top-notch education unless your family is wealthy.

By top-notch I assume you mean Harvard, Yale, Ivy League, etc… Yes, those schools are expensive but they also have a policy to accept people based only on their merits and then figure out a way for them to afford it, even if it’s all paid for through scholarship.

Other than that we have an excellent state school system that is easily affordable and a junior college system that is practically free. Yes, this isn’t top-notch, but is that the state of entitlement in this country- that people complain that there is some sort of injustice if they can’t afford to go to Harvard?

The truth is that anyone can go to college here. Any single young person can work nights and go to school during the day. It might be hard, but it’s completely possible so there’s no excuse otherwise. No one can’t afford to go to college unless they have other obligations (kids, etc…)

And if someone is really ambitious they can (no matter their socio-economic status) go to an elite University and succeed. Plenty of people have done this before and plenty more will in the future.

Of course plenty more people are too lazy, stupid and manipulatable to achieve, so it’s a lot easier for them to complain that it’s everyone else’s fault. But I don’t care about them.

We live in a country of enormous opportunity for anyone willing to try. Probably the fairest country that ever existed. Could it be fairer still? Yes, of course, and we should strive towards that goal. But that’s a far cry from entitlement. I have no time or patience for anyone that thinks that they “deserve” anything more than their basic human rights.

Interestingly, I would never place you in that category. You’re a hard-working, free-thinking, independent and ambitious bloke. Why would you not hold others to the same standards that you hold yourself?

My response: the short answer: not everyone had the fortunes (meager as they may have been) that i have had in life.  i was born into a middle-class family – father a dentist, mother an executive secretary.  yes, i am hard-working because i have had good examples and a hard-working ethic instilled in me.  i never struggled for food, shelter or familial love and encouragement.i would say that about 50 to 60% of the country has had a worse lot in life.  born to addicted, uneducated, abusive, or uncaring parents/families.  bottom line, i have compassion for those less fortunate than i.

don’t get me wrong, however.  i am not advocating that all who are born into poverty/abuse/neglect should get a free ride in life.  i feel that they have special needs that are not being met by the current system… primarily due to the fact that those with wealth are NOT compassionate and not willing to aid their fellow suffering human beings.

i am no bleeding heart, but neither am i made of stone.  i am not wealthy, so i am not able to directly help others financially myself.  the wealthiest 10% of society, however, can and should assist the downtrodden by paying into a compassion and assistance fund.  if i am ever in that bracket, i would not complain.  especially if that meant that i would not have to see my neighbors, my fellow Americans starving, homeless, struggling for the basics.

to me, it is not about holding others to a standard.  it is about helping those that need it.  if that means teaching them how to manage money, write a business plan, manage a business and prepare for retirement, so be it.  if that means providing food, shelter and clothing, so be it.  if that means providing medical care and alcohol/drug abuse rehabilitation, so be it.  if that means taking children away from abusive/neglecful parents, so be it.

hell, i would hate it if everyone had the same standards as i do.  that would make life much more challenging for me i think.  but for those Americans that have millions/billions in the bank or investments, i think they should be able to accept being taxed so that this country’s children born into bad situations can live a better life… for a brighter future for our entire society.  seems like a small price to pay for such a dramatically positive change.

My friend to me: I gotta totally disagree.The short response: You said you never struggled for food, shelter or familial love and encouragement.

First, no one is this country struggles for food and shelter.

Second, familial love and encouragement know no economic boundaries. There are plenty of people in wealthy families brought up with little love, and vice versa. There is no correlation, and if you wanted to, you would be better able to prove the opposite. I’ve seen many immigrants from poor families come here and their children succeed because they were brought up in a healthy and loving household.

Your being the way you are is either due to your basic nature (how you born) or your nurturing (how you were raised) and has nothing to do with entitlement programs.

Is XXXX’s alcoholism due to some failure with society? Is XXXX’s loserness something that would not happen under Edwards? Would XXXX be a better father and husband if there were more social programs?

My response: Damn. You’re Randian!

My friend to me: There are plenty of idiots and losers in this country. We’ve seen
that in mass support for the Iraq War and the election of Bush.

I’m not wasting any of my time worrying about people that are too
stupid/careless/lazy/cowardly to think and look out for themselves.

My response: but don’t you see?  what i am saying is that these so-called “stupid/careless/lazy/cowardly” people are the result of the system as it currently is.  you are the result of the system as it currently is.  the system is designed to have zero compassion.  that is what i have been talking about.  you have no compassion for others who suffer.  and when a society as a whole has no compassion, you are bound to have more suffering.  suffering leads to dramatically increased violence and crime.

and when you say there is no one in America that struggles for food or shelter, you are just being ridiculous.  you and i don’t even see the poorest neighborhoods in this country.  “In 2005, 37.0 million people were in poverty… Poverty rates remained statistically unchanged for Blacks ( 24.9 percent) and Hispanics (21.8 percent) between 2004 and 2005. The poverty rate decreased for non-Hispanic Whites (8.3 percent in 2005, down from 8.7 percent in 2004).”

there are MILLIONS of Americans who are struggling – YES “struggling” – to pay their rent and utilities bills and pay for food for their families.  if you are denying this fact, you are in a total irrational state of denial.  you never heard of people getting evicted because they cannot pay their rent?  or having their power shut off because they cannot pay their bill?

it is funny how people who are wealthy or come from wealthy families tend to throw around the word “entitlement”.  well, by “funny” i mean sad.

i believe that instituting a sound, well-thought-out program of compassion and assistance by taxing the upper 10% of this country we could in 3 or 4 generations eliminate poverty and human suffering by 90% in this country.  but people in power or with wealth don’t want to focus on such problems.  they want to get richer and more powerful by keeping things the way they are… and making it even harder for poor people to get by.  wealth has got to come from somewhere, and the upper 10% of this country’s wealthy have discovered that poor people are defenseless against their tax laws and their lending regulations and their heartless free-market-capitalism.

the wealthy are bleeding the rest of the population dry.  and they don’t care about the negative consequences such as increased suffering and crime.  they simply blame those that are suffering or committing crimes out of desperation.  “it’s not my fault,” they say.  well, if you chose to ignore human suffering, then it is your fault.

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