Longing to be a Victim

We’re becoming a nation of whiners with little sense of responsibility.

These days, being seen as a victim can be useful. You immediately claim the moral high ground. Some people want to help you. Lawyers and politicians brag that they force others to help you.

This turns some people into whiners with little sense of responsibility.

Joe Biden's niece was arrested recently for throwing a punch at a cop. The New York Post says she's addicted to alcohol and pills, but rather than take responsibility for her actions, she blamed them on the "pressure she faces" because her uncle is vice president.

Give me a break. America was founded by people who were the opposite of victims, by people with grit. Overcoming obstacles is the route to prosperity -- and happiness, too.

I had to overcome stuttering to work as a TV reporter. Had today's disability laws existed when I began work, would I have overcome my stuttering problem? Maybe not. I might have demanded my employer "accommodate" my disability by providing me a job that didn't demand being on-air.

Now that the laws exist, it's no coincidence that more Americans say they are disabled.

Tad DeHaven of the Cato Institute writes that this is part of a disability-industrial complex: collusion between specialty law firms, doctors vouching for applicants with dubious claims and federal administrative law judges awarding benefits.

It changes the way people calculate their options.

Despite improved medical care and the workforce's dramatic shift from physical to mental labor, the number of Americans claiming disability keeps growing. You start to feel like a sucker if you're not one of them.

On my TV show, DeHaven said today even poor parents "try to get their kids on psychotropic medications in hopes of qualifying for a check that goes to Dad and Mom."

Since the 80s, there has been a 300 percent increase in disability claims for hard-to-prove illnesses like back pain, stress and other "non-exertional restrictions." Over the past two decades, the number of people receiving Social Security disability benefits grew from 4 million to 11 million.

"It's like any other government program," says DeHaven. "You start off with good intentions and then it becomes something that it was never supposed to be."

We all want to help the genuinely disabled, but a wide range of subjective ailments are affected by attitude. Labeling people victims, telling them they need help, teaches some to think like victims. Social scientists call that "learned helplessness."

Private charities are pretty good at separating real victims from malingerers. But government is not. Its one-size-fits-all rules encourage people to act like victims.

Whether people have real physical ailments or just see the economic deck stacked against them, the most damaging thing say to them is: Give up. You can't make it on your own. Wait for help.

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  • Sevo||

    "Willietta Dukes, 40, has been working in fast-food restaurants since she was 26 years old. But she said she couldn't have raised her two sons without welfare programs."
    Yes, you stupid bitch, raising kids you can't afford makes you a victim.
    http://www.sfgate.com/business.....898447.php

  • Invisible Finger||

    She is a victim - of Democrat-controlled public school indoctrination.

    I like how Democrats came up with the "Workfare" idea 20 years ago and now they want to blame "Corporashunzzz" for it.

    "Why should I have to rely on government assistance when I work as hard as anyone else?"

    Because you have no skills that will get you a higher rate of pay. Also, because you DON'T work as hard as anyone else you lying sack of shit.

  • Tonio||

    Skills/pay - spot on.

    Not Working as hard as anyone else - that's highly subjective. Maybe she does work as hard or harder than the norm if you measure this as a percentage of her personal capabilities.

    It helps to remember that many of these people are just plain stupid, so there is only so high they can climb on the job ladder. Demonizing them only works against us.

  • JD the elder||

    It's a sad truth, but if somebody doesn't have any particular skills or other advantages, I don't know what the hell any economy is supposed to do for them (other than "let them be poor" or "give them welfare benefits"). Where is the economy on this planet where unskilled labor earns a solid middle-class living? Has there ever been such an economy anywhere? A legitimate question is why our economy seems to be turning out so many people with no particular skills, but that's not an answer to the problem of "but people with no particular skills or experience are struggling".

  • mtrueman||

    "why our economy seems to be turning out so many people with no particular skills"

    Because those who hire these workers have little or no incentive to train them? I think the impulse towards automation is responsible for deskilling workers and destroying jobs.

  • Sevo||

    "Because those who hire these workers have little or no incentive to train them?"

    Yes, and? What incentive should there be to train them?

  • mtrueman||

    As long as employers can rely on colleges and universities to give their workers the skills and knowledge they need, at the expense of the students/workers, heavily subsidized by the government, they have no incentive to make any changes to this arrangement. Having others pay for the training of employees saves employers money. That means greater profits.

  • ||

    Yes, employers should take on the risk of providing a worker with several years worth of specialized and expensive education to make him employable before they hire him and see if he's even any good at the job. That makes perfect sense.

    Or maybe in a knowledge economy where "training" consists of a lot more than "Here's how the loom works, here's the button to press if you get your finger caught", employer-provided "job training" isn't as practical as it was in a manufacturing economy.

  • mtrueman||

    "Yes, employers should take on the risk of providing a worker with several years worth of specialized and expensive education to make him employable before they hire him and see if he's even any good at the job. That makes perfect sense."

    It doesn't make sense. As long as others are willing to shoulder the costs, then employers are doing the right thing by letting them. Besides, they can always whine about the quality of the training of the schools are providing. Just remember everyone's a victim these days. It's the great equalizer.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    You may work hard, but digging holes and filling them back in isn't exactly a highly demanded skillset.

  • some guy||

    Al needs a ditch. He hires Bill and Charlie to dig the ditch. Bill has a shovel. Charlie has a spoon. Bill and Charlie work non-stop for 4 hours digging the ditch. What fraction of the pay should go to each man?

    We are rapidly converging on the answer "each man gets half".

  • ||

    We are rapidly converging on the answer "each man gets half".

    Marx came up with the labor theory of value a century and a half ago.

  • mgd||

    Labor theory of value would lead to the conclusion that a ditch dug with a spoon should be priced higher than an equivalent ditch dug with a shovel.

  • wwhorton||

    Maybe it should, for the same reason a hand-woven watch cap made with lacquered oak crochet needles probably costs a ton more to produce in terms of man-hours than a machine-made one I can buy at Bass Pro. And that is why I will always buy the one at Bass Pro that costs $10 but wasn't made by a Tibetan monk using needles made from tiger bones.

  • ||

    Labor theory of value was actually first proposed by Adam Smith. Ironically, Marxists are the only people on earth who still subscribe to it.

  • DarrenM||

    Also, because you DON'T work as hard as anyone else you lying sack of shit.

    So what does it mean to 'work hard'? Certainly her skills are not as valuable, but that does not mean she does not work just as hard, that she's not just as worn out (or moreso) at the end of the day as someone who happens to be making more money.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Joe Biden's niece was arrested recently for throwing a punch at a cop. The New York Post says she's addicted to alcohol and pills, but rather than take responsibility for her actions, she blamed them on the "pressure she faces" because her uncle is vice president.

    How can she face pressure when Biden holds the ultimate no-pressure job under the Constitution? The job of the VP is to wait for the President to die. A VP can (and many have) spend four years twiddling their thumbs and planning their own Presidential campaign.

  • Hyperion||

    I thought the job of VP was to serve as court jester? If not, then why is Biden doing such a good job at that?

  • fish||

    I thought the job of VP was to serve as court jester?

    That's secondary! Joe Bidens role is to ensure that President Obama doesn't die during his term(s) in office. Sort of a pasty political doomsday device.

  • Tonio||

    The VP does serve as President of the US Senate, which granted is a mostly ceremonial post. They do get to vote to break ties.

  • DH||

    Now hold your horses. He does hand out self defense and firearm information freely. Think about all the lives he's enriched ...

  • some guy||

    Didn't Biden head up some committee or other dealing with that issue? You know the one.

  • Hyperion||

    Responsibility, hard work, and success must be punished. Because it might hurt someone elses feelings and make them feel inferior.

    Sloth, irresponsibility, and dependence, must be rewarded. Because, social justice.

    Nothing could possibly go wrong.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Responsibility, hard work, and success must be punished. Because it might hurt someone elses feelings and make them feel inferior"

    Well that and also because self reliance and success threatens the strategy of politicians who use government dependency of ever incraseing swaths of the population as their primary leverage to power

  • Doctor Whom||

    "Responsibility" is a racist, Randroid, teathuglican dog-whistle word. Also, why take responsibility for yourself when politicians are ready, willing, and able to give you free stuff?

  • Doctor Whom||

    IOW, something about the wolf you feed.

  • some guy||

    "Randroid". Haven't heard that one before. Nice.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Have I mentioned I like Stossel?

  • ||

    Creating victims, and making being a victim have cache, fits perfectly into the statist/politician playbook. It's harnessing the losers of society for political power and votes. You give them free shit, and then tell them they are poor, poor victims and that you promise to give them more free shit and recognize their victimhood. This appeals to both their desire for free shit and their sense of entitlement ("poor me, I'm a victim and therefore deserve special treatment"). So now, as a politician, you have brought a bunch of people into your camp (they will vote for you) by using other people's money and some words. What could be better?

  • Tonio||

    cachet?

  • Tim||

    crochet?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Touche?

  • mgd||

    Croquet?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Crouton?

  • mtrueman||

    "It's harnessing the losers of society for political power and votes."

    I'm sure that's true but it's hardly surprising or interesting. What I find surprising and interesting about this willingness to claim victimhood is that it is also seen among those in society who are powerful. The winners rather than the losers. Remember how the banks shamelessly claimed they too were victims, how their loan applicants had lied to them in their applications? They are not fools. They know that to be a victim absolves one of responsibility for one's actions. They are correct too. Nobody has gone to jail for their actions, everyone is a victim, after all.

  • Almanian!||

    I may be a victim of computer malfunction. Either that, or no Alt Text was provided with that picture.

    Which I have dubbed: "Future Terrorist"

  • Tim||

    She's mad because the window doesn't roll down.

  • Robert||

    Not only no alt text, but not even an explanation or identification of the photo. "Here I am in a submarine, and I still have to push the baby carriage."?

  • Render Unto Caesar||

    Reading this caused such emotional distress that I through my back out while recoiling in disgust of all you monsters.

    I'm at work, so I believe this injury to be work related as well.

    1. Sue Stossel
    2. Workers' Comp

  • DH||

    3. Turn on spell checker.

  • Render Unto Caesar||

    Good one...

  • Bean Counter||

    Spell checker won't help. "Through" is spelled correctly, just misused.

  • DH||

    Yeah well, you know that's just like uh, your opinion man.

  • fish||

    Sue Stossel

    Yeah...I banged her once.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    Must have been before the surgery, he prefers to be called "John" now.

  • Render Unto Caesar||

    Another gem.

  • Dread Pirate Roberts||

    The dirty truth is that we're paying non-productive people not to work to avoid unrest. There's an argument to be made for that, but let's call it what it is instead of pretending that all of these people are "disabled".

  • sarcasmic||

    Most of these people are non-productive only because of regulation. If people were allowed to sell their labor in a manner of their own choosing, then many of these non-productive people would be able to produce wealth. But they can't because they will be treated as criminals for doing so. For example you can't legally mow your neighbor's lawn for a few bucks, or sell baked goods, or fucking anything else for fuck's sake. What choice do these people have but to accept government handouts?

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Yes, sarcasmic. That is true. A lot of these people would take to landscaping or starting up a coiffure salon in the homes or whatever. Like usual, it's government regulation that creates an underclass of otherwise perfectly abled bodies. Long ago, only the truly retarded (literally) and lazy fell through the cracks.

    How socialist policy meant to help those people (rightfully so) graduated to the mess we have now in North America I don't know.

    But the reality is, better to keep them off the street in the meantime, no?

    And therein lies the tragedy, I don't think we'll ever clean it up or change mindsets until an implosion of some sort.

    The sens of entitled is too deep rooted.

    Shit, your own leader pimps in favor for it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Leader? I don't see a leader. I see a ruler, and an illegitimate one at that.

  • DarrenM||

    But what matters is that they still vote.

  • some guy||

    Cutting spending alone won't solve our problems. It will just replace them with new problems. We also need to cut regulations at all levels of government.

  • mtrueman||

    "For example you can't legally mow your neighbor's lawn for a few bucks, or sell baked goods, or fucking anything else for fuck's sake. What choice do these people have but to accept government handouts?"

    They have the choice of mowing their neighbour's lawn illegally. I should have thought it was obvious. This deference to authority, and I suppose the fear of being gang raped in prison, on the part of Libertarians, is probably what holds them back from making more headway in changing society. Little good will come of any movement that is afraid to resist the man.

  • wwhorton||

    Since when can't you mow your neighbor's lawn? A no-shit homeless guy offered to mow my lawn (granted, with my mower) the other day for $30. I almost took him up on it even though I didn't need it just because I was so goddamn impressed.

    The problem is that people get confused about "deserving a fair wage" for hard work versus actually having something worth paying for. I'm sorry that there are people who just can't come up with the skills, education, or luck to make a middle-class income, but I don't think it's my fault or my responsibility to provide one for them.

  • Ketogenic Paleo||

    Not only can't you mow your neighbour's lawn apparently you're also not allowed to give him a handjob for cash anymore.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    DPR, it's the theory Canadian liberals operate from. Pragmatically, better to send a cheque to a welfare case and keep them off the streets causing trouble.

    In the arsenal of bat-shit stupid ideas from the left, that one I can digest.

  • sarcasmic||

    How does it go? Give a man a fish? No, that's not it. Teach a man to fish? No, that's not it. I know! Make it illegal to catch his own fish and he's dependent upon you for a lifetime!

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    A time honored axiom, one must mourn its fading importance.

    You can't go fishing anyway since you need a permit.

  • sarcasmic||

    Used to be able to fish in the ocean without a permit, but they nixed that too. At least around here they did.

  • JD the elder||

    Heh. Just earlier today I was quoting:
    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will whine that you're not giving him free fish anymore.

  • Killazontherun||

    On the lake trails near my home there is a spot a few miles in from the roads Mexican set up a nice barbeque pit by the water as they fished. It was made illegal to fish along the shore so people would be forced to pay to use the piers.

  • pogi||

    Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

  • Volren||

    Bread and circuses for everyone.

    I've been told there was a time when taking this stuff was considered embarrassing, not as your rightful due.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Nothing is embarrassing unless others are willing to ridicule you for it. And that would be bullying.

  • sarcasmic||

    Yeah. Once upon a time assistance came from local governments as opposed to from far away. And it was visible. So when someone received assistance, the money came from the community. They had to interact with the people who paid for it. So shame encouraged people to use it sparingly. The problem with this is that the people administering the programs wanted to "help" more people. So they removed local control of these programs in the name of centralization, but the true goal was to remove shame. And it worked. Boy oh boy did it work.

  • DH||

    And the Proggies rejoiced!

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Shame is one of the most under rated tool we can reintroduce.

  • some guy||

    But the federal dole has been around for generations now. There are kids out there right now with parents, grandparents and GGPs who have always been on the dole. Even if you teach these kids shame, will they know what to do with it? Or will they just wallow in it?

  • Major Johnson||

    The road to hell is paved with the unintended consequences of good intentions. We're building a superhighway.

  • some guy||

    The road to hell will most certainly be high speed rail.

  • DarrenM||

    We'd probably break down before we got there anyway, then.

  • Sevo||

    But the union workers will make a killing working on it on overtime!

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    You didn't build that!

    How are you going to build a road to hell and pave it with good intentions, without government?

  • ||

    Perhaps libertarians need to invent our own categories of victimhood.

    For starters, there are victims of eminent domain abuse.
    Then there are victims of civil asset forfeiture abuse. There are victims of the drug war (probably the biggest count of destroyed lives of any government program ever).
    There are victims of regulatory inequity (that covers just about anyone who has ever attempted to start a small business).
    There are victims of tax code inequity (anyone who has ever paid more in taxes because they didn't belong to a favored class, or couldn't exploit a special loophole).
    There are victims of immigration law (families separated for years based on technicalities, illegal immigrants unable to work because they don't have official permission).

    The list can go on an on. There is a bazillion ways in which our modern government victimizes people. Ways that are applauded by large swaths of the political class. Maybe we should have some EMPATHY for those victims.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Hazel, here's the problem as far as I can see. How do you do that without being singled out as extremist in the media? Unless you have the propaganda press behind you, people won't "believe" it.

    Man, ever talk about tax as confiscation with otherwise seemingly normal people? They look nervously around wondering if the paddy-wagon is gonna-cum-getya.

    I'm afraid we've lost the narrative. Getting it back is the magic question.

    That report on disability is probably scratching the surface of fraud and abuse. You need investigative journalists checking all of these departments out. Alas, this has become harder under President Obama and his war on the press. Transparency is apparently a relative term determined by him alone.

  • ||

    You don't have to talk about taxes as confiscation. Just point out the inequities in the tax code.

    Home owners get deductions. Renters don't. Blind people born before 1927 (or whatever) get deductions, others don't.
    People pay different rates based on how they earn their money, whether they are married or single, whether they have kids or not, what type of business they run, and all sorts of uber-specific loopholes for specific business activities.

    All of that is unfair because it gives some people an arbitrary advantage over others, just because they belong to the right interest group.

    Call it "tax code justice" or something. The tax code should be the same for everyone.

  • Bean Counter||

    Uh, blind people get a higher standard deduction regardless of age. And...where the Hell did you get 1927?

  • ||

    I can't quite remember, there's some box on the 1040 form regarding if you were born before X, you get this deduction, otherwise no.

  • mtrueman||

    "All of that is unfair because it gives some people an arbitrary advantage over others"

    The problem is that the existence of unfairness does not make one a victim. It's no doubt true that it's unfair that a person who makes a high salary is taxed at a greater rate than the lower salaried neighbour. That doesn't make the higher paid person, with his or her greater skills and experience, a victim.

  • ||

    I don't see how that fit. A rich person can be murdered, assaulted, raped. They can be victimized in many ways.

    Are you saying that if you get raped you're not really a victim because you're rich?

    If you win the lottery and then get robbed at gunpoint for 50% of your winnings, are you not a "victim" of crime because you're still better off than you were before?

  • mtrueman||

    "Are you saying that if you get raped you're not really a victim because you're rich?"

    No. In fact I never mentioned a wealthy person getting raped.

    "If you win the lottery and then get robbed at gunpoint for 50% of your winnings, are you not a "victim" of crime because you're still better off than you were before?"

    Anyone who is robbed at gunpoint is a victim. Having just won a lottery doesn't change this.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    "Having just won a lottery doesn't change this."

    Though I imagine it takes the edge off....

  • ||

    I think what is going on here is that some people are subtly redefining the word "victim" to mean something different than the traditional definition.

    In one case we have "victim" as "someone against whom a wrong is committed" and in the other case we have "victim" being narrowly construed as "a subject of systematic oppression or exploitation".

    But even then, arguably you could say that it's entirely plausible that you could have a class of relatively well-off people that are the subjects of systematic exploitation. For instance, the sums that most doctors have to pay for malpractice insurance are arguably a result of an unjust medical malpractice tort system.

  • mtrueman||

    "But even then, arguably you could say that it's entirely plausible that you could have a class of relatively well-off people that are the subjects of systematic exploitation."

    No doubt true. What I think bears noting is that these doctors willingness to claim victimhood is something new. Here's a short quote from Don Delillo's Underworld of 1997:

    "In the bronze tower we used the rhetoric of aggrieved minorities to prevent legislation that would hurt our business. Arthur Blessing believed, our CEO, that true feeling flows upward from the streets, fully accessible to corporate adaptation. We learned how to complain, how to appropriate the language of victimization. Arthur listened to gangsta rap on the car radio every morning. Songs about getting mad and getting laid and getting even, taking what's rightfully ours by violent means if necessary. He believed this was the only form of address that made an impact on Washington. Arthur recited lyrics to me once on the company plane and together we laughed his wacko laugh, those enunciated ha-has, clear and slow and well spaced, like laughing with words."

  • ||

    Honestly, I don't see anything wrong with claiming victimhood, if one has in fact been victimized. If you are treated unfairly by the law, you have every right to complain about it. Regardless of whether you are overall fairly well off or not.

  • mtrueman||

    I try to cultivate a more stoical viewpoint than you do, apparently. I look at adversity as a way to sharpen my potential strengths. There are victims, but to use whining as a matter of course rather than in desperation simply rubs me the wrong way. I understand this attitude won't get much support as claiming victimhood is now the norm. It wasn't always so.

  • DarrenM||

    It's unfair I was born in the U.S. but some other poor bastard was born in Somalia.

  • mtrueman||

    "It's unfair I was born in the U.S..."

    Certainly true. That doesn't necessarily make either of you a victim.

  • ||

    Unless someone caused her to be born in Somalia. For instance, by deporting her parents.

  • ||

    You've got that backwards. Everyone knows Somalia is libertopia!

  • mtrueman||

    "Perhaps libertarians need to invent our own categories of victimhood."

    The problem of claiming victimhood goes far beyond what the government does. Commenters here also regularly claim victimhood in order to win arguments with each other. I've noticed that those accused of racism, rightly or wrongly, often claim they are victimized by the accusations rather than confront the substance of the accusations head on. Another example, aren't the hard working readers of Reason victimized by the government's willingness to dole out money to their gold-bricking neighbours?

    The interesting thing about this willingness to claim victimhood is that it infects even those who are relatively powerful, and government is only one society force that is behind it.

  • ||

    Who is relatively powerful? The unlicensed cabbie? The underground restaurant? The drug dealer trying to sell a product to consenting adults?
    The small business owner who can't get ahead because he has to compete against companies that receive federal subsidies? The child born in poverty that gets a PhD and then has to pay 25% of her six figure salary to support people on SS Disability instead of being able to save to buy a home for the first time?

    Are those the "relatively powerful" people you are talking about?

  • mtrueman||

    "Are those the "relatively powerful" people you are talking about?"

    No, they aren't. The relatively powerful are those with the means and the gumption to take advantage of those federal subsidies. And they will often do so claiming the status of victims.

    Not being able to save to buy a home or private jet or swimming pool does not make one a victim. Even if one has a PhD and comes from a broken home.

  • ||

    Not being able to save to buy a home or private jet or swimming pool does not make one a victim. Even if one has a PhD and comes from a broken home.

    What if the REASON you can't save for a home is because you are taxed at a higher rate than other people, because you happen to not qualify for any special tax breaks, credits, or subsidies.

    The fact that some people benefit from government largess, and such benefits are spread unequally amoung the population is unfair, and I do say that the people who end up with the short end of that stick can justly claim to be victims of injustice.

  • ||

    Well in that case, fuck you for being rich. You should have thought about that before you had the gall to make money. That about, truman?

  • mtrueman||

    As long as you are taxed anything, that money you no longer have means that there are certain items that are no longer affordable.

    What I can't understand is how desperately you want to have your victimhood proclaimed. Victimhood is not a badge of honour. It's not something you have achieved through effort. Unfairly perhaps, there is always something a little shameful in being a victim. Do you believe you will only be taken seriously in so far as you are recognized as a victim? I think that's what Dellilo was getting at, and I think there is something to it. To me it's a rather pathetic turn of events, and I'm probably going to resist it.

  • Alan||

    As you note, all these fake victims create real victims - in several ways.

    Of course everybody has to pay to sustain the fakers, but in more than a few cases innocent or even benevolent people receive blame and punishment for things that hurt no one - and often for actions to help others.

    That is a recipe for disaster - and the statists have just started cooking.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Here's a link to an NRO article by Stanley Kurtz that discusses the wanna be victim angle of global warming agitation on College campuses.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....nley-kurtz

  • OneOut||

    ""Why shouldn't I be paid what I'm worth?"

    As long as the borders are wide open and there is someone waiting to take your job, you are being paid what you are worth.

    I don't know if it is true or not, but I have been told that some Wal-Marts actually hold classes teaching their employees how to maximize their salaries by efficiently making use of government support programs.

  • eubes||

    At least the interns set his italics this time.

  • some guy||

    Today's Non Sequitur is apropos. I wonder if Wiley and Stossel are in cahoots.

  • mgd||

    Labeling people victims, telling them they need help, teaches some to think like victims. Social scientists call that "learned helplessness."

    That's not what learned helplessness is. Learned helplessness is a phenomenon wherein an animal which has been repeatedly exposed to an adverse stimulus which it cannot avoid eventually ceases any attempt to avoid the pain. Later, when opportunities to avoid the stimulus are made available, learned helplessness prevents the animal from taking them.

  • ||

    And you can't see how that parallels what happens to people who become so dependent on government that they lose the willingness or ability to take care of themselves without it?

  • The Idiot||

    I agree with your interpretation. All behaviors are a choice. Although the choices may undesirable, humans still have the capacity to choose. Making a choice is responsible behavior whereas relinquishment of choice is irresponsible.

  • mgd||

    Acting like what you've been told you are is not the same as failing to take an opportunity to avoid negative stimuli because you have been repeatedly exposed and unable to avoid them in the past. That's all I'm saying. Learned helplessness is a specific concept which some view as a theoretical basis for clinical depression. What Stossel is referring to is labeling theory.

  • Mustakrakish||

    A debate group I frequent on facebook.gov is full of progs. I see mad blatherings constantly about "LIVING WAGES FOR ALL!!!111!11!!one!!!"

    Also fried chicken.

  • Locke||

    Funny. I just read this gem that my liberal, feminist, vegan high school friend who lives in SF posted: http://groupthink.jezebel.com/.....@laurabeck

  • Tommy_Grand||

    Good article, but I'm not 100% certain this line is true:

    "Private charities are pretty good at separating real victims from malingerers."

    unlezz we've reached the point at which "pretty good" = "exhibiting any capacity whatsoever"

  • thorax232||

    Well put as always John.

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