The Welfare Society. Lazy Slobs or Victims of Mismanagement?

by TessaSchlesinger

Every time I hear about how the welfare society leads to laziness and it being a lifestyle choice, my blood boils. At best, it’s fuzzy logic; at worst, it’s political rhetoric.

There are numerous causes for the situation, all of which combined, have resulted in the current situation where an underclass has developed due to a lack of education, work, and opportunities. This has been caused by a combination of political mismanagement, extreme greed by entrepreneurs, the devolution of the education system, overpopulation, the loss of moral and ethical structure, the constant indoctrination of marketing messages, the emergence of a technological society which results in fewer and fewer jobs, and numerous other issues. To label welfare recipients as lazy and suggest that theirs is a lifestyle choice is not only beyond ignorant, it is downright malevolent.

Benefits in Other Countries

If it was true that welfare societies caused laziness and entitlement, then this would follow through internationally. On the contrary, some of the countries with the most generous benefits (Finland, Norway, Australia, etc.) do not have this problem. What they have, however, that those countries with ‘lazy and entitled people’ do not have, is an outstanding education system where all members of the public are educated to their highest level. Norway and Finland also do not have private schools which permits some people to be better educated than others.

Take a look at benefits in Norway for foreign workers. One’s for locals are much better! Here are benefits in Australia and benefits in Canada.

 

Education Defined

Dumbing down of Education

Education comprises the learning of skills, moral and ethical values, a broad perspective of the world around one, and the tools to continue educating oneself after one has left schooling.

In the 60s, liberal educationalists were of the opinion that all the evil in the world was caused by a lack of self esteem and an inability to accept those who were different to them. They thought that if everybody went to university, then all the problems would stop. They thought that if they praised everybody for everything they did (even when the work was below par), then the child would develop self esteem. They thought that children would learn to spell by themselves just through reading so it didn’t have to be taught. They changed the way math and reading were taught. It’s no accident that 1969 is known to be the most highly educated scholars that ever matriculated high school. After that it was downhill all the way and it never stopped. What happened? The new education system was introduced for those graduating high school from 1970 onwards.

So here’s what happened as a result of all those changes made to the traditional classical education system.

People have become semi-literate. I read a study that said that 95% of four year university students in the USA couldn’t write a grammatical sentence. And I’ve met numerous Ph.Ds who are semi-literate as well.Crooks, thieves, the massively ignorant and tragically unskilled now have high self-esteem. And the world is actually in a far worse place than it was in the 60s. There is a massive divide between the very rich and the rest of us plus we haven’t even remotely begun to resolve the social evils. Educationists have failed massively.

 

If you've got an hour, this is the most accurate evaluation I've ever heard on the real issue - wealth inequality.

The Disappearance of Morality and Ethics

Alexander Pope said, ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing…” He was right. Morals and ethics are the pillars of society. They are rules that ensure we don’t harm and abuse each other. They also ensure that we don’t harm ourselves.

The shortsightedness of those who haven’t understood this and started the ‘politically correct’ movement will probably be judged by society if we survive. However, we might not survive… 

Here are two or three examples. 

Why should children born out of wedlock be called bastards and condemned for the sins of their parents? Quite right. They shouldn’t be. But to stretch that into a situation where there are now more children born outside marriage without father because the shame of single parenthood has been removed has caused more issues than the original. Shame is a means of social pressure to stop people doing things that in the medium to long term harm society (humanity). 

Here’s another example of where shame has been removed.

Obesity was scorned when I was growing up. It acted as a pressure to ensure that people started looking at their weight long before they reached obesity level. In my twelve years at school, there was only one obese person. 

Then it became politically correct for ‘fat people’ to be acceptable, and very soon, instead of looking at what was causing people to become fat and handling the problem, there was no pressure to fix the situation. Obesity is now a major threat to health. 

Morals, ethics, and shame are there for a reason. They may well be social constructs, but those social constructs have served humanity well for millions of years. With their disappearance, we are in danger of destroying ourselves. 

Incidentally, religion was a means of enforcing morality and ethics. Ethics are rules that come into being as a result of observation.  It was wrongly taught that God was the initiator of ethics and morality. He wasn’t. It was human thought. And it had a very real purpose – the survival and well being of the human species as a group.

 

A perfect example of someone who came out of the welfare system...

Eight Great Myths about Welfare
These programs have succeeded and are succeeding in getting people out of poverty and homelessness. As Michael Harrington reported in The Other America (originally printed 1962, most recently printed 1997) not everyone was living like Ward and June Cleaver in the 1950's. Poverty hovered around 20 percent. In 1964, Johnson declared "war on poverty" with his "Great Society" program. The increased welfare payments reduced poverty to 12 percent by the end of the 60s.

British Social Attitudes 25th Report | findings
Having a generous welfare state does not make people lazy and work-shy. Indeed, comparison of work morale and welfare state generosity in 13 countries in Europe, North America and Australasia shows that work morale is actually stronger in countries with more generous welfare states.

An Australian documentary on America - what the world sees and Americans don't.

The Disappearance of Meaningful Work, Increased Technology, and Jobs

I have absolutely no idea why it is that some can’t grasp the fact that if there are only jobs and work for 90% of the people and 10% are out of work, that the fact that the people aren’t working has nothing to do with them being lazy. It has to do with the fact that there aren’t jobs for 10% of the people and that the 10% of the people who don’t get the jobs are the bottom of the barrel. They don’t have the skills or the education, or maybe they are so ugly that nobody wants to employ them. Even if one educates everybody and there are jobs for only 50% of the people, the other 50% are going to be without jobs. That’s math. 

While many jobs vanished with the exporting of industry to other countries and still others vanished because large corporations killed most of the trade for small business, it is the increasing role of robots and automation that is removing jobs and work now. 

The middle and upper classes are fond of ignoring problems until it hits them. But they, too, will find that within the next decade, all the knowledge industries will begin to be replaced by automated robots which are quicker and more accurate than they are in providing information. 

And if human beings had a solid understanding of the role work played, then that wouldn’t be a disaster so much. Instead it would free us up to begin lives of education, service, and pleasure, and we could make our world a garden. But that’s not going to happen until the profit motive and personal aggrandizement goes out the window.

 

Capitalist Pigs, Socialist Morons, Welfare Queens, and other Political Definitions.
Welfare Queens These are the misfits who are peeved that they cannot find jobs where they can maintain self respect and earn a livable wage. Rather than work in unpleasant, underpaid surroundings, they prefer for the government to pay them for doing nothing...

Why Slavery Pays
He was able to produce goods at a very low cost and his profit margin was, therefore, much greater than if he had paid a living wage to his workers. The extra profit permitted him to live like a king of the universe, and, of course, as befitted his position, use his money to buy the power he needed to keep the system intact. And he could justify that, of course. People won on both sides.

Advertising and its deadly message.

If you’ve never heard of Edward Bernays, you’re probably unaware that advertising was designed to indoctrinate you to keep buying goods so that the Great Depression can never happen again. Yes, the human brain believes everything it is told repeatedly – from religion through political dogma through being told that Mars Bars and Palmolive soap are good for you.

When you have unemployed people with relatively little education, limited skills, and the only entertainment options TV, sex, and drink, then you can hardly blame them for being indoctrinated by the messages on TV. They’re victims of a societal system that eats people for breakfast and spits them out for supper. 

How would you feel if you constantly saw these rich people on TV and you thought that was the norm, and you lived in these terrible circumstances. Remember, you’ve been brought up in an amoral society, have relatively little education, don’t understand outcomes, and you want some of the good stuff , too? 

These issues are nowhere near the simplicity of ‘laziness’ and ‘entitlement.’

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Looks at Welfare Queens
Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Loo...
Myth of the Welfare Queen: A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist's Portrait of Women on the Line

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Zucchino spent a year sharing the lives of Odessa Williams and Cheri Honkala -- two "welfare mothers" in Philadelphia -- to gain an intimat...

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The Other America: Poverty in the United States

This powerful account draws on research by sociologists and economists to reveal the depth of the poverty crisis, analyzing why such "invisible" citizens as the elderly, childre...

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Political Mismanagement

The biggest problems with politics are power and money. Unfortunately, the money has crept into politics and power has corrupted the ego. When that happens, then people are easily bought. 

It surprises me that people are elected to government on the basis of popularity, what they think the government will do for them personally, and what they are indoctrinated by their peer group to vote. 

I’ve yet to see politicians elected on the basis of intelligence, wisdom, ethics, a record of public contribution, hard work, strength of character, and whether they actually have a detailed, workable plan showing outcomes. Why is it that when one goes to the bank to get a loan for the business, one must have a business plan that shows reliable source of income over a period of time, and how the debt will be paid off, but when one becomes a politician, all that is required is an ability to do public speaking and flatter the hell out of one’s constituents? 

Human vanity, I guess. 

But until people begin to elect politicians that actually govern, we are stuck with our current woes.

Lazy, stupid, lifestyle choices, a sense of entitlement?

If you want to make my blood boil with your condemnation of other human beings, use the above words to me. You will never, never, never have my respect or admiration. You’re narrow in your thinking and as much a victim of indoctrination as anyone else. Also, people who condemn other people generally feel themselves superior, and in my world, nobody is that good or superior that they have a right to cast a stone in someone else's direction. Not that I'm a Christian, but someone once said, "If you remove the mote form your own eye, you will see well enough to remove the mote from someone else's."

 

Updated: 06/04/2013, TessaSchlesinger
 
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teddletonmr on 02/20/2014

Good article Tess, thanks for your thought provoking words.
Appreciated, and much deserved respect, Mike

poutine on 06/02/2013

Very insightful article

TessaSchlesinger on 05/23/2013

:)

katiem2 on 05/23/2013

My pleasure, it is always such to read your insightful work, keep em coming.

TessaSchlesinger on 05/16/2013

Thank you Katie. :)

katiem2 on 05/16/2013

Very thought provoking article.

TessaSchlesinger on 05/13/2013

glockr, I find that incredibly difficult to believe. Normally there are reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that someone isn't offered any work and they are too embarrassed to say it. Nobody is going to tell you that business out there doesn't want one. They would rather tell you that they haven't had any good offers.

I have been in the States just on 10 years. I've finally got a job as a writer (which is what I am). My daughter graduated with high honors in business and it took her 4 years to find a full time job.

I think there's probably more to it than you know.

glockr on 05/13/2013

My brother in law hasn't had a job in seven years. He's not disabled, he's not un-educated, it's just that he hasn't had any job offers that are worthy of him. He spends his days pontificating on Facebook. My sister regularly tells me I'm selfish because I don't want to pay higher taxes so he can get "free" health care. He certainly seems entitled to live off the benefit of OTHER's labor (including my sister's) but if that word makes you angry, what word would you use to describe him?

TessaSchlesinger on 05/13/2013

Thank you Bhavesh. :) however, the link says, "This video contains content from New Video Group and Harmonia Mundi, one or more of whom have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds." I'm not sure what that means.

Bhavesh on 05/12/2013

Thanks for putting this article together. To broaden out some of the arguments you make to an international scale, you might enjoy a documentary called "The End of Poverty?" with Joesph Stiglitz. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnZCuy....


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