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(Slate)   "A drunkard in the gutter is just where he ought to be"   (slate.com) divider line 113
    More: Obvious, GOP, just society, Spanish-American War, Gilded Age, public intellectuals  
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4299 clicks; posted to Politics » on 29 Mar 2012 at 11:54 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-03-29 09:23:10 AM  
I really hope Santorum wins the primary. With all these soundbites, the Obama camp will be like kids in a candy shop.
 
2012-03-29 09:24:28 AM  
I find it rich that a certain set of people wholeheartedly believe in Social Darwinism, but believe that regular Darwinism as applied to organisms is an affront to God.
 
2012-03-29 09:40:13 AM  

hillbillypharmacist: I find it rich that a certain set of people wholeheartedly believe in Social Darwinism, but believe that regular Darwinism as applied to organisms is an affront to God.


Those are the very same people who will cling to old testament scripture that supports their world view while ignoring a lot of what Jesus actually said. In other words, "whatever it is, it's true when it supports my world view, but false when it doesn't."
 
2012-03-29 09:44:08 AM  
I have no problem with the more creative, intelligent, educated and hard-working being richer than I. They earned it. I just have a problem with those who swindle, cheat and manipulate things to make that extra buck.

So, I guess I'm somewhere on the middle on this...
 
2012-03-29 09:51:53 AM  

xanadian: I have no problem with the more creative, intelligent, educated and hard-working being richer than I. They earned it. I just have a problem with those who swindle, cheat and manipulate things to make that extra buck.

So, I guess I'm somewhere on the middle on this...


Only petty people hate winners who win honestly where the rules are fair.

They should go back further than Sumner, all the way to Fitzhugh. He defended slavery, claiming that without a slave class we all become slaves to capital.
 
2012-03-29 10:03:07 AM  
There are people who ruin themselves, and there are people who simply refuse to work in a meaningful way. But it's not that many people.

Most of the poor people are poor because they don't see the way out, don't have the tools to accomplish it if they did, and don't have the time even if they had the other two.

Let's say that a blind man is in a room with no doors, but there is a hatch overhead that might be reachable with a heroic jump. Of course, he doesn't know it's there, because he can't see it, and some people have told him there is not a hatch. Moreover he works 12 hour days so he can afford food.

Blaming the poor for their plight is something akin to blaming that guy for being in his prison. Could he get out? Yes, but it's highly unlikely, and I don't see it as a moral failing if he doesn't.
 
2012-03-29 10:08:06 AM  
covers.openlibrary.org
I read this little tome so let me summarize it for you:

"Nothing."
 
2012-03-29 10:18:06 AM  
Mind you, this is likewise comes from a time when eugenics was enormously popular...
 
2012-03-29 10:21:22 AM  

hubiestubert: Mind you, this is likewise comes from a time when eugenics was enormously popular...


Considering the current GOP stance on health care is to wish poor people would just die quietly and not bother their social and economic betters, I would say that it's still popular with at least one major sector of society. "Can't improve the breed will the leeches still breed" is just one step away from being the new GOP rallying cry.
 
2012-03-29 10:27:10 AM  
k.wigflip.com
 
2012-03-29 10:27:25 AM  
www.columbia.edu

"Not wishing to be disturbed over moral issues of the political economy, Americans cling to the notion that the government is a sort of automatic machine, regulated by the balancing of competing interests."

"People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages."

"Americans like to think of themselves as the most individualistic people in the world, but among them the impersonal corporation has proceeded the farthest and now reaches into every area and detail of daily life... The story of the American economy since the Civil War is thus the story of the creation and consolidation of this corporate world of centralized property."

-C. Wright Mills
 
2012-03-29 10:27:46 AM  
The guy was a farking sociology teacher. Anyone have to take sociology in college? It's for people who had their ass kicked by art history.
 
2012-03-29 10:39:47 AM  

Mugato: The guy was a farking sociology teacher. Anyone have to take sociology in college? It's for people who had their ass kicked by art history.


I read him in American Intellectual History.
 
2012-03-29 10:45:29 AM  
Luckily, not every Republican thought in this manner...

lh6.googleusercontent.com

lh3.googleusercontent.com
 
2012-03-29 10:52:35 AM  

Mugato: The guy was a farking sociology teacher. Anyone have to take sociology in college? It's for people who had their ass kicked by art history.


Actually, I nearly wound up with a triple major, with Sociology being one of them. Even had a few papers published back in the day, on the role of the Yakuza in modern Japanese society. Sociology is often given a bad rap by folks who tend to forget that it isn't just trends and numbers, but people attached. When you forget that grounding, it becomes more games theory than anything else, and that leads to odd places for theory to go.
 
2012-03-29 11:04:48 AM  
The problem is not that there is income inequality or social classes, the problem is the number of classes and the gaps between them. The gap between poor and middle-class has shrunk to many people that are middle-class feel that they are poor, while the gap from middle-class to rich has grown to such and extent that the difference is hard to comprehend.
What is the ratio, 90% of the wealth in the country is held by 1% of the population?

Can you imagine if even 50% of the wealth was held by the middle 75% of the population? 200 million consumers with the power and confidence to spend money freely? Talk about a booming economy.

I am not saying we need to just take money away from the rich and give it to the poor, I don't know how to change things, but we need to change it.
 
2012-03-29 11:26:10 AM  
The continent of Atlantis was an island
which lay before the great flood
in the area we now call the Atlantic Ocean.
So great an area of land, that from her western shores
those beautiful sailors journeyed
to the South and the North Americas with ease,
in their ships with painted sails.

To the East Africa was a neighbour, across a short strait of sea miles.
The great Egyptian age is but a remnant of The Atlantian culture.
The antediluvian kings colonised the world
All the Gods who play in the mythological dramas
In all legends from all lands were from fair Atlantis.
Knowing her fate, Atlantis sent out ships to all corners of the Earth.
On board were the Twelve:
The poet, the physician, the farmer, the scientist,
The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends.
Though Gods they were -
And as the elders of our time choose to remain blind
Let us rejoice and let us sing and dance and ring in the new
Hail Atlantis!


A drunkard in the gutter. Is where you ought to be. She may be.
 
2012-03-29 11:59:28 AM  
I have to admit, I'm surprised to see this wasn't another Romney gaffe.
 
2012-03-29 12:00:23 PM  
The Republican Party: A Bridge to the 19th Century.
 
2012-03-29 12:00:36 PM  
"You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to."
 
2012-03-29 12:02:16 PM  
Maybe people should really start accusing the Republicans of believing only the wealthy, multinational corporations, and unborn fetuses have any fundamental rights. It's getting harder to make the case that they don't.
 
2012-03-29 12:04:08 PM  
Jesus Christ Santorum.

I understand what you were trying to imply (no income equality means we're a communist state! WHARGARBL!), but giving your detractors ammunition like that is a rookie mistake.

Yes, there will always be income inequality. There will always be haves and have nots.

The question society must answer is "What is an acceptable level of income inequality". Too much and you have riots and revolutions. Too little, well, I don't know what happens then, I don't think we've ever approached anything resembling a very tiny income inequality.

Personally, I think we have far too large of one in this country, and the numbers put us at a comparison with unstable banana republics. The only reason we have relative stability is our poor tend to be better taken care of; and that old gem of "The poor in America don't see themselves as poor, they see themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires".
 
2012-03-29 12:06:51 PM  

meat0918: The question society must answer is "What is an acceptable level of income inequality".


Or, rather, what political benefits do those of large incomes have over those of small incomes?

I could care less if a rich person is rich, I suddenly start to care when a single rich person is capable of funding an entire Presidential candidate's campaign while an entire community of poor people couldn't even fund a single meet and greet.
 
2012-03-29 12:08:23 PM  

hillbillypharmacist: There are people who ruin themselves, and there are people who simply refuse to work in a meaningful way. But it's not that many people.

Most of the poor people are poor because they don't see the way out, don't have the tools to accomplish it if they did, and don't have the time even if they had the other two.

Let's say that a blind man is in a room with no doors, but there is a hatch overhead that might be reachable with a heroic jump. Of course, he doesn't know it's there, because he can't see it, and some people have told him there is not a hatch. Moreover he works 12 hour days so he can afford food.

Blaming the poor for their plight is something akin to blaming that guy for being in his prison. Could he get out? Yes, but it's highly unlikely, and I don't see it as a moral failing if he doesn't.


Who are you and what did you do with Hillbillypharmacist?
 
2012-03-29 12:09:02 PM  
FTFA: Much of the staying power of Sumner's arguments came from his ability to describe the class divide in cultural rather than economic terms. On one side were the virtuous rich, guardians of liberty and individual ambition. On the other were a host of interlopers seeking to drain wealthy entrepreneurs of their creativity, freedom, and resources.

This sounds suspiciously like Ayn Rand's philosophy as well.

What a surprise; naked greed never goes out of fashion, it just gets new and more elaborate justifications.
 
2012-03-29 12:09:56 PM  
si.wsj.net

The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need is to change the conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which is not for the general welfare that they should hold or exercise. We grudge no man a fortune which represents his own power and sagacity, when exercised with entire regard to the welfare of his fellows. Again, comrades over there, take the lesson from your own experience. Not only did you not grudge, but you gloried in the promotion of the great generals who gained their promotion by leading the army to victory. So it is with us. We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary.

No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar's worth of service rendered - not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective - a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.


The New Nationalism
August 31, 1910
 
2012-03-29 12:12:14 PM  
For the billionth time. I don't see anybody arguing against income inequality. I make more money than some because I put the time in at school, and have continued to work hard and invest in more training. Some other people make more than I do because they chose to go to grad school, or to take on more responsibility at work that I was not willing to deal with. Good for them; they deserve to make more money than me.

This entire argument coming from the right is a strawman. Almost nobody is against some amount of income inequality. There has to be a reward for taking risks, working hard, investing in your education, etc. What people are against is people who are already obscenely wealthy buying government officials, who in turn continue to stack the deck in their favor. People are against the idea that we should just let the sick and the poor die, because Jesus. People are against the idea that everyone who is down on their luck is there because they deserve it. Christ, the leader in the GOP presidential primary was just laughing about his daddy laying off 4300 people so he could line his own pockets even more. People are against the idea that just because the doctor pulled you out of a rich vagina, that had a rich dick in it 9 months earlier, that you are somehow better and more deserving than the rest of us.
 
2012-03-29 12:12:44 PM  
Democrats are the party of Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion - drunkard Catholics who supported the Confederacy. Unlike the prim and proper Republicans, who are good Protestant stock, understand hard work, and appreciate industry and capitalism.
 
2012-03-29 12:13:57 PM  
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
 
2012-03-29 12:16:36 PM  
For some reason the headline reminded me of this:

One evening in October, when I was far from sober
To keep my feet from wandering I tried,
My poor legs were all a-flutter, so I lay down in the gutter
And a pig came up and lay down by my side.
We sang,"Never mind the weather just as long as we're together"
Till a lady passing by was heard to say,
"You can tell a man who boozes by the company he chooses"
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.
 
2012-03-29 12:17:14 PM  

Don't Troll Me Bro!: For the billionth time. I don't see anybody arguing against income inequality. I make more money than some because I put the time in at school, and have continued to work hard and invest in more training. Some other people make more than I do because they chose to go to grad school, or to take on more responsibility at work that I was not willing to deal with. Good for them; they deserve to make more money than me.

This entire argument coming from the right is a strawman. Almost nobody is against some amount of income inequality. There has to be a reward for taking risks, working hard, investing in your education, etc. What people are against is people who are already obscenely wealthy buying government officials, who in turn continue to stack the deck in their favor. People are against the idea that we should just let the sick and the poor die, because Jesus. People are against the idea that everyone who is down on their luck is there because they deserve it. Christ, the leader in the GOP presidential primary was just laughing about his daddy laying off 4300 people so he could line his own pockets even more. People are against the idea that just because the doctor pulled you out of a rich vagina, that had a rich dick in it 9 months earlier, that you are somehow better and more deserving than the rest of us.


You're making a very big assumption there.

Tennis instructors and pool boys are rarely very rich.
 
2012-03-29 12:23:14 PM  
Everyone seems to be forgetting about ocam's razor. We know we're heading down a slippery slope in regards to income inequality but what can we do to solve this deliema? Tax the rich? Screw the poor?

There is no true answer to this age old question so instead we must ask ourselves where we stand now. Currently the US has a 75% difference between the median of poor and rich which means that we can vastly improve our situation. By lowering captial gains tax we can increase investment in the financials which will then help our real estate positions by approximately 30%. Of course then you have to take a look at China's involvement in our real estate because it is similar to Japan's in the late 80's. They did take over pebble beach, well almost.

Secondly, where are you going to form the breadlines? Its only fair that the food thrown away everyday goes to the people who truly need it. Now you may be saying, "What about the drug addicts, should we really be encouraging their habit?" To this I say, YES! Think about the poor starving children of the meth addicts and then think about the poor sweat shop owners who would not have this source of labor were it not for the starving children. Its almost similar to the maquilladora situation along the mexican border.

Going off of that, of course, we must take a look to our south. However that is best saved for another time, we will see what happens in due course.
 
2012-03-29 12:25:32 PM  

meat0918: Tennis instructors and pool boys are rarely very rich.


They've traded money for other....perks.
 
2012-03-29 12:26:30 PM  

Don't Troll Me Bro!: For the billionth time. I don't see anybody arguing against income inequality. I make more money than some because I put the time in at school, and have continued to work hard and invest in more training. Some other people make more than I do because they chose to go to grad school, or to take on more responsibility at work that I was not willing to deal with. Good for them; they deserve to make more money than me.


Well, you also have to consider that simply working hard or getting an education isn't always enough to be successful. Take Michael Jordan for example. Imagine if his middle / high school only had a baseball field and no basketball court. If he worked just as hard at playing baseball as he did at basketball, he'd probably be good enough to get a full ride at some college and get a degree, but he wouldn't be able to make it out of the minors. Instead of a multimillion dollar athlete, he'd have ended up a high school baseball coach.

Hard work and education will take you a long ways, but you also need the opportunity to use those resources. And if anyone thinks the poor in America have as many opportunites as Romney or Santorum's kids ... well, they're probably die-hard republicans.
 
2012-03-29 12:31:50 PM  
The rich don't owe anything to the poor but society owes everyone access to medical advances made possible through the collective suffering and subsequent understanding of the processes of life which affect all of us.
 
2012-03-29 12:33:31 PM  
"He even went so far as to denounce democracy itself, viewing mass voting as a modern experiment perilously close to mob rule."


I think that's all we really need to know in regard to the character, or lack thereof, of this royalist.
 
2012-03-29 12:33:33 PM  
Every time I hear some rich jerk whining about being persecuted because he is successful, I think about pigs like Grover Norquist or the Koch brothers, who didn't earn a single penny of their fortunes because they grew up as spoiled rich kids in a silver-spoon world. These are the ones who scream the loudest about taxes and regulation.

I think part of the popularity of Steve Jobs was that yeah he was a jerk and had an ego the size of Jupiter, but by god he at least worked his way up and earned his bazillions. Another example is J.K. Rowling, who was on welfare when she was writing her first Harry Potter novel. These are people I respect because they know what it's like to have to skip meals, or to struggle to pay the bills month after month.

People like that who earned their own Scrooge McDuck money vaults get more of a pass from me than some trust fund punk who shoots off his mouth about how he should be superior over others.
 
2012-03-29 12:35:01 PM  
Many political observers have since ridiculed this stance, declaring Santorum "unhinged," or at least unfit to conduct a serious presidential campaign.

It took them this long?
 
2012-03-29 12:35:43 PM  

DarwiOdrade: meat0918: Tennis instructors and pool boys are rarely very rich.

They've traded money for other....perks.


Porn movies?.
 
2012-03-29 12:35:59 PM  

sweetmelissa31: [k.wigflip.com image 250x328]


Get a load of the boot straps on THIS guy. Why they could lift a fully loaded 747!
 
2012-03-29 12:37:09 PM  

xanadian: I have no problem with the more creative, intelligent, educated and hard-working being richer than I. They earned it. I just have a problem with those who swindle, cheat and manipulate things to make that extra buck.

So, I guess I'm somewhere on the middle on this...



No. In the US, that actually makes you a radical lefty.

/wish I were exaggerating . . .
 
2012-03-29 12:37:29 PM  
How come nobody has ever asked Santorum or Romney their interpretation of Matthew 19:24 / Mark 10:25 / Luke 18:25?
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God
 
2012-03-29 12:38:15 PM  
'Twas a cold winter's evening, the boys were all leaving, O'Leary was closing the bar
When he turned and he said to the lady in red, "Get out, you can't stay where you are."
She shed a sad tear in her bottle of beer as she thought of the cold night ahead
When a gentleman dapper stepped out of the crapper, and these are the words that he said:
"Her mother never told her
The things a young girl should know
About the ways of college men
And how they come and go (mostly go)
Now age has takern her beauty
And sin has left its sad scar
So remember your mothers and sisters, boys
And let her sleep under the bar."
 
2012-03-29 12:38:27 PM  
So the modern Republican political strategy of White Knighting the rich while trying to still assert in their cognitively dissonant way that they are really looking out for the "Forgotten Man" comes to us all the way from the 19th Century?

From a guy who considered rich people virtuous by the sole fact that they were rich and who considered poor people lazy slobs deserving of their fate?

Why am I utterly unsurprised by this revelation?

/"We could hire our own midget, even shorter than his."
 
2012-03-29 12:39:11 PM  
Prosperity Doctrine biatches. If you're wealthy then God loves you. If you're poor you just aren't praying hard enough.
 
2012-03-29 12:39:48 PM  
And beginning in the 1920s through the New Deal we ignored this Gilded Age claptrap and built the most powerful nation on Earth.

Meanwhile, down in Mexico the political, economic, and social policy never changed from what this guy said.
 
2012-03-29 12:40:06 PM  
Ultimately, though, it was neither the rich nor the poor who were the greatest objects of Sumner's concern. Even as he cheered the richest of the rich, he positioned himself as the champion of a far more humble social figure, an ordinary taxpayer-citizen dubbed the "Forgotten Man." In Sumner's formulation, the "Forgotten Man" was the backbone of American society, the sort of fellow who "watched his own investments, made his own machinery safe, attended to his own plumbing, and educated his own children." It was this earthy taxpayer-citizen-not the wealthiest Americans-who truly stood to suffer under a regime of government regulation and social reform. "He is an obscure man," Sumner explained. Moreover, this hidden figure was usually too busy or too disgusted to engage in political debate. "He might grumble sometimes to his wife," Sumner wrote, "but he does not frequent the grocery, and he does not talk politics at the tavern. So he is forgotten."

Suddenly, I recall Joe the Plumber.
 
2012-03-29 12:41:32 PM  

QU!RK1019: How come nobody has ever asked Santorum or Romney their interpretation of Matthew 19:24 / Mark 10:25 / Luke 18:25?
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God


Or-

Deuteronomy 12:32 See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it...


"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." Deuteronomy 15:11

"Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name." Psalm 74:21

"blessed is he who is kind to the needy." Proverbs 14:21

"whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Proverbs 14:31

"He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done." Proverbs 19:17

"If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered." Proverbs 21:13

"A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor." Proverbs 22:9

"He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses." Proverbs 28:27

"The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern." Proverbs 29:7

"If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." Ezekiel 16:49

"Jesus answered, If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" Matthew 19:21

"Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys." Luke 12:33

"Cornelius stared at him in fear. What is it, Lord?' he asked. The angel answered, Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.'" Acts 10:4

"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:17-18
 
2012-03-29 12:41:33 PM  

Rapmaster2000: And beginning in the 1920s through the New Deal we ignored this Gilded Age claptrap and built the most powerful nation on Earth.

Meanwhile, down in Mexico the political, economic, and social policy never changed from what this guy said.


And now the GOP is taking tabs from Mexican Politicians, so the cycle is complete.
 
2012-03-29 12:44:05 PM  

Fart_Machine: Prosperity Doctrine biatches. If you're wealthy then God loves you. If you're poor you just aren't praying hard enough.


I've noticed that the more money you have, the more likely you are religious and go to church.

I can see the logic for that. If you're set and well-fed, of course you would subscribe to the notion of an all-caring all-loving giant invisible man living in the sky who is working 24/7 to keep that status-quo going for you.

If richiness is next to godliness with these people, you can imagine how they look upon those who are poor.
 
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