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Initial post: Sep 16, 2006 11:15:15 AM PDT
KK says:
so you can feel better & superior. LOL. Let's just ignore the overwhelming power of the current status quo - the poor are poor because they are lazy, dumb, etc. & the rich are rich because they are industrious and righteous. A poor man's time is worth so little he must work 3 jobs in the US in order to allow his wife to stay at home and care for the children & household. I am often amazed that people who were lucky, talented and ambitious enough to get where they are just can't understand that not all people were so fortunate. And this kind of thinking comes from people who call themselves conservative, people who usually profess some kind of belief in christianity. Apparently, they either have not read or willfully ignore the teachings of Jesus - unconditional love, compassion and sacrifice to HELP THOSE WHO ARE LESSER THAN YOU ARE. And I am not saying there aren't manipulators out there, I am criticizing a mode of thinking that seeks to demonize any group of people that makes the priveleged classes feel uncomfortable. "Hate not the evil doer but the evil that is whithin him - seek to eradicate that evil that he may be free and whole as you are." But I guess that might entail too much effort and compassion - it's far easier to remain within one's frame of reference & invent explanations & lay blame.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2007 7:45:26 PM PDT
So what do YOU do for the poor, KK?
Yes rich people are industrious. Perhaps they had an advantage going in, but they had to do the work to get there. You are labeling people as well.
It's ok to have compassion but the poor need to do their part: stop having illegitimate kids, don't rob, rape; finish high school. Jesus wouldn't advocate continuous hand-outs. HE would expect you to work.
So please spare us YOUR self-righteousness too, OK?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2008 10:32:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 16, 2008 10:32:51 AM PST
Setting aside the tone of the post, I have one serious contention: the title. KK chose to call this discussion "blame the victim." Who, exactly, is the victim? Are we to assume that because one is poor he is also a victim? Beyond that, every victim must have an oppressor. I am uncertain who is doing the oppressing as well, although it appears that KK would name "conservative[s]" as the oppressors. This sort of identity politics is base and patronizing in the least and at its worst leads to calls for class warfare.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2008 3:23:50 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 10, 2008 2:40:08 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2008 12:53:14 PM PST
Dalrymple is not blaming the poor, he is reporting his observations on what creates and perpetuates an underclass across more years of doing good for that selfsame underclass than most could have tolerated.

You speak the right words: "Hate not the evil doer but the evil that is whithin him - seek to eradicate that evil that he may be free and whole as you are." To seek to eradicate evil, one must first be willing to perceive it, to name it, to declare it to indeed be evil, and then lovingly help those mired in it to find their way out. Compassion requires clarity of vision, not blindness, if your goal is to aid another rather than simply to bask in the warm feel-good glow of having accepted evil as just another legitimate form of behavior.

Dalrymple is not a comfortable read, nor are his portraits in any way reassuring, but he does clearly delineate an evil which is flourishing both in his native England and abroad. He sees the refusal to accept personal responsibility as a core part of that evil, and makes his case quite strongly for that. To me, the great and unanswered question raised here is how to reverse this abdication of personal responsibility.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2008 8:54:57 PM PST
C. Allen says:
Poverty is a mindset, not a financial situation. I'm a farmer and financially, I live on very, very little. However, I do not, nor have I ever lived in poverty. Despite our financial situation, I give handouts, I don't need them. I don't have any expensive vices, I don't have any illegitimate children, I'm married and intend to stay that way. I don't buy pizza, chips and pop. I don't ask for welfare, food stamps, or free school lunches. We could qualify for all the above financially. But, we don't need it.

I've discovered from personal experience it's impossible to help people who don't want help. Oh, I can give them money, buy them cars, feed their kids, even offer them a free education, but very, very few want more than a handout. It takes an attitude change to bring someone out of poverty. There are those who through bad luck (medical crisis, fraud, or other truly unusual circumstances) are at the bottom for awhile, but those usually don't stay there, and they make the best of opportunities offered. But for the majority, forget it. You can't help them, they're "underprivileged" and happy to stay that way. Ironically, most of them get more money from the government than I do from my job and farm. Funny, isn't it?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2012 11:29:03 AM PST
mh says:
Thank you for your integrity and hard work. Those in your sphere of influence are more fortunate than they realize.

Posted on Mar 16, 2013 6:23:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2013 6:25:20 PM PDT
I grew up very poor in post WW2 England. One of six children, my dad was a decent white collar worker but never made enough money to support his big family. My parents received a " children.'s allowance" at the time just a few shillings a week for each child. Sad to say that went into paying bills and the kids did not benefit much. Health care was "free" thanks to the new National Health Service, although we did not see the doctor very often. No dental care at all! I was 17 when I first saw one!
However, life though hard in some ways was much easier in many others. We felt safe on the streets, we trusted the big London bobbies who walked the beat.
There was a sense of order in daily life. That reserved British outlook was much in evidence.
In my 20's I emigrated to the USA. I have enjoyed a very good life over here. However, for some time, I have been concerned about what I have seen happening in the UK. Crime is much much higher and a real lack of civility is very evident when I visit. My family have many distressing anecdotes about living there. One brother will not go out of his house after dark. He says he has to turn his eyes away when " things happen" in the streets. His fear of getting involved is more because he fears being injured if he does. He was a decorated soldier in the 1960's so is not a coward.
I fear that some of policies of the current US administration seem bent on leading us onto the same path as that of the UK. More dependency on government and more handouts.
Being poor is not a disease, not a social pathology. It should not lead to criminal behavior and a sense of entitlement. We need to assume responsibility for our own behavior.
Another underlying problem in England is that it really has become a post Christian society. I don' t think Dalyrymple touches on this. Very few people go to church or seem to see any need for religion. If you never hear basic moral teaching things like ' Do not Steal' etc how can you expect to grow up knowing this.
I am very glad that Dalyrymple is shining a light on the current state of life in the UK. His is the only voice I have heard or read. I have friends there who regard the USA with loathing as a completely uncivilized place because of gun violence etc. They will never accept that the view that all is not well in their own country.

Posted on Mar 16, 2013 11:44:32 PM PDT
So my question to both you, Brenda, and to the rest of the folks in this thread remains the one I wish I could have asked Dr. D directly: once clearly seen and acknowleged, how can the evils detailed in this book be reversed?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2013 1:35:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2013 1:46:35 PM PDT
You cannot change people's attitudes by outside force, or governmental regulations. It has to come from within.
Slavery and later, civil rights in the USA and apartheid in S Africa to name two societal scourges seemed very entrenched, but were changed by the desires and yearning for freedom that grew in people's hearts.
My comment Re church may give you one clue. If people followed the real tenets of Christianity, society would be greatly improved.
' love one another"
Go the extra mile" Turn the other cheek.'
Hard to do but the fruit of loving and gentle behavior is evident in those who practice it. Many of the people involved in the above examples, were Christians....Wilberforce, Martin Luther King etc
It might take a huge catastrophe to get people on their knees...I did notice that the churches were packed after 9/11
I realize that this idea will be dismissed by many in the anti- religious milieu in which we live, but conversion of hearts and minds to a better way to live is the way to go, as I see it.

Posted on Apr 6, 2013 1:38:48 PM PDT
I think that this type of poverty has been around for a long, long, time. After all, Aesop told the tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper. Only now, we are subsidizing individuals and families who could have worked harder and made better choices along their life paths. Our public schools need to educate children's character explicitly, not just throw math and reading curriculum at them. Teaching basic character values in the schools would at least expose kids to the notion that stealing, killing, and bullying is wrong and should not be tolerated by a civil society. I am a Christian, but believe that our society is choking on it's own materialism and greed. When I traveled to Bali, Indonesia, I witnessed a culture that reverenced relationships and art. I came back to the USA wishing we could all treat each other with kindness and consideration. We have too much "stuff" and not enough caring for others. People don't need handouts, they need relationships with others and a hand "up." True religion does this. Ghandi said, "I like your Jesus, I just don't like your Christians." Even the middle class forms comfortable cocoons to insulate themselves from the needs all around them. How can we help the people at the bottom? Try volunteering at a low income school or in a nursing home. It just might change a life or two.
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Participants:  9
Total posts:  11
Initial post:  Sep 16, 2006
Latest post:  Apr 6, 2013

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Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass by Theodore Dalrymple (Hardcover - 2001)
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