Cynicism rises to fill the emptied space of exaggerated and failed hope. It’s all simple math. If you follow the money rather than the blather, it’s clear that the American system is a bipartisan fusion of economic models broken down along generational lines: unaffordable Greek-style socialism for the old, virulently purified capitalism for the young. Both political parties have agreed to this arrangement: The Boomers and older will be taken care of. Everybody younger will be on their own. The German philosopher Hermann Lotze wrote in the 1870s: “One of the most remarkable characteristics of human nature is, alongside so much selfishness in specific instances, the freedom from envy which the present displays toward the future.” It is exactly that envy toward the future that is new in our own time.
This is ridiculously true and a really important read, regardless of your age. One of the passages that particularly stood out to me:
Compared with their parents, high school kids who graduated from college into the teeth of the recession are a Republican fantasy. They want a good job in order to raise a family, and it’s exactly that arrangement that is going to be denied them. The deal they were promised, that if you work hard and make smart choices you will have a good life, is not working out. A Great Disappointment will no doubt follow.
As a high school senior heading to a name brand college, I’m on my way towards what my parents (adult immigrants) have always wanted for their children. And yet, reading this article, I keep nodding my head as it examines the ways in which that future (comfortable living, self-discovery, etc.) is simply impossible for today’s youth.
Youth should be the only issue of the 2012 election, because all the subsidiary issues — inequality, the rising class system in America, the specter of decline, mass unemployment, the growing debt — are all fundamentally about the war against young Americans. But the choice young Americans face is between a party that claims to represent their interests but fails to and a party that explicitly opposes their interests and actively works to disenfranchise them.
The protesters, the occupiers, the kids who screamed themselves hoarse in the parks of New York and Oakland last year have spent the winter nestled underground nurturing their strategies. Has there ever been a movement so full of people who don’t want to be there, who would rather be working?
A super-neat article (well, let’s be honest, all of Malcolm Gladwell’s articles are neat) explaining the “power-law” model of homelessness. The proposed solution—creating dependence instead of trying to prevent it—has some important ramifications for what welfare could look like.
We also believe that the distribution of social benefits should not be arbitrary. We don’t give only to some poor mothers, or to a random handful of disabled veterans. We give to everyone who meets a formal criterion, and the moral credibility of government assistance derives, in part, from this universality. But the Denver homelessness program doesn’t help every chronically homeless person in Denver. There is a waiting list of six hundred for the supportive-housing program; it will be years before all those people get apartments, and some may never get one. There isn’t enough money to go around, and to try to help everyone a little bit—to observe the principle of universality—isn’t as cost-effective as helping a few people a lot. Being fair, in this case, means providing shelters and soup kitchens, and shelters and soup kitchens don’t solve the problem of homelessness. Our usual moral intuitions are little use, then, when it comes to a few hard cases. Power-law problems leave us with an unpleasant choice. We can be true to our principles or we can fix the problem. We cannot do both.
President Hugo Chávez’s daughter, Rosines, angered Venezuelans by posting this picture of herself on the web. (Instagram)
Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto is not the only politician who must cope with a controversial daughter.
This week, Hugo Chávez’s 14-year-old daughter, Rosines, angered Venezuelans and embarrassed her father, by posting the above picture of herself on the web.
Well done, Ms. Chavez. (How dumb can one be, even at 14?)
As per request, this post is now rebloggable, so that others may share in the disdain for Ayn Rand:
I’ve been awake for 2 days and can barely focus, let alone form any sort of a coherent thought. So, I’ll let her quotes simply speak for themselves.
- “Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue.”
- “Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation’s troubles and use as a justification of its own demands for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen.”
- “One can’t love man without hating most of the creatures who pretend to bear his name.” - She’s, forgive me, a crabby bitch.
- “What is greatness? I will answer: it is the capacity to live by the three fundamental values of John Galt: reason, purpose, self-esteem.”
- “Businessmen are the one group that distinguishes capitalism and the American way of life from the totalitarian statism that is swallowing the rest of the world. All the other social groups- workers, farmers, professional men, scientists, soldiers- exist under dictatorships, even though they exist in chains, in terror, in misery, and in progressive self-destruction. But there is no such group as businessmen under a dictatorship. Their place is taken by armed thugs: by bureaucrats and commissars. Businessmen are the symbol of a free society- the symbol of America.”
- “The hippies are a desperate herd looking for a master, to be taken over by anyone - anyone who would tell them how to live without demanding the effort of thinking. Theirs is the mentality ready for a fuhrer.”
- “If you mean whose side one should be on, Israel or the Arabs, I would certainly say Israel because it’s the advanced, technological, civilized country amidst a group of almost totally primitive savages who have not changed for years and who are racist and who resent Israel because it’s bringing industry, intelligence, and modern technology into their stagnation.”
- “The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures. They are typically nomads. Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it’s the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are.”
- “They (Native Americans) didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using. What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their ‘right’ to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.”
- “Poverty, ignorance, illness and other problems of that kind are not metaphysical emergencies. By the metaphysical nature of man and of existence, man has to maintain his life by his own effort; the values he needs—such as wealth or knowledge—are not given to him automatically, as a gift of nature, but have to be discovered and achieved by his own thinking and work.”
Really, I could go on all day but reading her really makes me sick. It’s too easy for Rand to make herself look bad. Then, there’s also the fact that she dedicated her entire life towards criticizing those who relied on government assistance and actually relied on it herself.
My manager told me one day that she thought I’d like Ayn Rand.
I once considered sending away to the Ayn Rand Institute for more scholarship on and by Rand. I was flirting with the idea of becoming a Rand scholar so that I could (essentially) dash the dreams of every misanthropic teenager and most of the people from the internet who want to date me in a institutionally sanctioned and very pretentious way.
It still might happen if I don’t get in to grad school.
This is one of the best Tumblr threads I’ve seen in ages.
Canada’s paper money, with its rainbow of colours and picturesque drawings, had become one of the most forged currencies in the G20, a group of the world’s biggest economies – ranking behind countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Italy, France and Spain for the number of counterfeit notes detected in circulation. For every one million legitimate banknotes out there, Canada was finding 470 counterfeits. While that figure seems small – representing less than 1 per cent of bills in circulation – it was almost 10 times what countries in the G20 consider acceptable, since small amounts of counterfeits are typically symptomatic of a much bigger problem.
Well worth a read for anyone interested in minting, currency development, or counterfeiting. Or even, you know, bored people.
First and foremost, I call shenanigans.
Second, I like how you carefully worded your choice of education. ”Moderately priced” and “in-state”: aka barely accredited (enjoy when you get passed over for every job and/or promotion because someone else has a better education - one that taught not to use phrases like “I got good grades”).
Third, I’m happy that you can spend 30 hours a week working. It must be nice to not have an elderly parent to care for in that time or kids to raise.
Fourth, I’m happy you were able to begin saving for college at age 17. It must’ve been nice not to have any medical bills (maybe you should thank your parents here for having medical insurance) or to have to help your family pay for electricity, water or groceries.
Fifth, it’s cute that you assume everyone has the same opportunities, IQ, and background you do. Sure makes it easier to feel superior, huh?
Sixth, take one fucking sociology class and realize that the system is designed to make people fail — people’s own “bad” choices often have nothing to do with it.
And finally, take your arrogant, privileged white ass and put yourself in the life of somebody born into poverty. I bet you give your precious bootstraps one tug and society will break them in half. Then see if you still believe everything you just wrote.
Just gonna put this here.
Bless this commentary
I have to acquire some gifs to bless this commentary myself.
At the end of his remarks, Obama turned to Warren and kissed her on the cheek. She smiled gamely, though if there are kisses a woman can do without, this was one of them. A Judas kiss, some would say. But if so, the betrayal was not just of Elizabeth Warren. In his remarks, Obama would hint at what had happened to Warren, commenting that she had faced “very tough opposition” and had taken “a fair amount of heat.” He also alluded to the powerful forces arrayed against her, and against the C.F.P.B.—“the army of lobbyists and lawyers right now working to water down the protections and reforms that we’ve passed,” the corporations that pumped “tens of millions of dollars” into the fight, and “[their] allies in Congress.” But he was mincing his words. The fight against Warren and the C.F.P.B. was one of the most brutal Washington battles this year, up there with the debt-ceiling showdown and now the looming battle over the jobs bill—but part of the same war. Arrayed against Warren, and today against the very existence of the C.F.P.B., was the full force of what many, most notably Simon Johnson, the M.I.T. professor and former International Monetary Fund chief economist, have called the American financial oligarchy: Wall Street firms and banks supported mainly by Republican members of Congress, but also politicians on the other side of the aisle, along with members of Obama’s own inner circle.
Right now, there are few living public officials I respect as much as I do Elizabeth Warren. Keep on fighting the good fight!
Who Pays Teachers Best for their Time?
Hours primary school teachers spend working on the left.
Teachers salary after 15 years of experience / GDP per capita on the right
The biggie version of this infographic also includes: how much teachers around the world make (Luxembourgh tops), average class size (Mexico tops… or bottoms if you will) and salary levels vs student achievement (Finland tops).
A wonderfully designed and hugely important infographic.