'I blame the schools'

What do you say when your three daughters, aged 16, 14 and 12, give birth to out-of-wedlock babies? Val McQueen writes on TCS about Julie Atkins, a welfare mother and grandmother in Britain.

Their twice-divorced mother, who lives with her daughters and their babies in a free three-bedroom council house told the papers, “Frankly, I blame the schools.”

Sex education is inadequate, the mother complained.

When the neighbors, reading this, lost no time in calling the papers to report that Mrs. Atkins had been allowing her then-11-year old daughter to have sex with her 13 year old boy friend in the family home, Mrs. Atkins widened her sphere of culpability for her daughters’ pregnancies to include “the government.”

For the older girl, it was her fourth pregnancy; she had two miscarriages and an abortion when she was 14 and 15. Her 38-year-old boyfriend has visited the baby a few times; the younger girls’ babies haven’t seen their fathers and aren’t likely to meet them.

I was startled to read that 49 percent of births in Britain occur outside marriage.

Update: As an antidote, here’s part of a San Francisco Chronicle series on outstanding high school graduates.

The college admissions essay was intriguing: Who is the one person, living or dead, you’d spend a day with if you could?

Patrice Webb chose a man who had long piqued her curiosity — and her anger — though she couldn’t conjure up his face if she tried.

She chose her father. “I would spend a day with him because I know so little about him,” she wrote in her essay.

Patrice is graduating from a Oakland high school that graduates only a third of its students. Pushed by the school secretary, who got her a summer job at a jazz radio station, she’s going to San Jose State to study music and business.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Elam Bend says:

    Read anything by Theodore Dalrylmple. Until just recently, he was a public doctor in Britain. His patients were among the underclass, as he put it: mothers bearing out of wedlock children, men leading freckless and abusive lives. It’s pretty grim reading. This woman’s situation is similar to many he descibes in his book “Life at the Bottom: the Worldview that Makes the Underclass”

  2. Amritas says:

    I blame the “parents” (note the scare quotes), not “the schools,” “Tony Blair,” “socialists,” etc. AFAIK, nobody forced these girls to get impregnated. They CHOSE to do so, and everyone has to pay the price for THEIR stupidity:

    Currently, including the council-provided house, the Atkins family is estimated to be costing British taxpayers around £650 — $1,178 — a week, or around $60,000 a year.

    Yes, socialism has greatly exacerbated the situation by allowing these animals to live off others. But the ultimate fault still lies with these animals. Some pets have more self-control than these overrated talking bipeds.

  3. By “they CHOSE to do so,” I meant that they chose to have sex and the girls chose to keep their babies.

  4. Catherine says:

    What I want to know is, how come Every Single Living Soul in England writes so well.

    When I have five seconds to spare I’m going to go snooping around their edu web sites and Divine The Secret.

  5. “Every Single Living Soul in England”? I don’t know about these Atkins animals, uh, people. I don’t want to know *their* secret either. Dalrymple’s secret, OTOH …

  6. Tom West says:

    Amritas, just because you or I don’t approve of their habits hardly makes them animals.

  7. “Habits”? These Human Beings with Dignity™ or whatever you want me to call them have a “dysfunctional” (more euphemistic language) *lifestyle*.

  8. Tom,

    Given the total lack of anything else to call them, what would you suggest? Do you approve of them in your high-mindedness and think it is fine to support this “lifestyle” (I hate that word!!) or is there some other word that you think would describe their manner of living better. Any way you cut it, they are a blot on the neighborhood and some way should be found to have them make up some of the costs of paying for this “lifestyle.” They chose it, why should the rest of the community have to be penalized so these people can have their “lifestyle.”

  9. BadaBing says:

    The point of calling them “animals” is that they might as well be animals since they act like animals. If the shoe fits, wear it.

  10. gearmouse says:

    “‘Frankly, I blame the schools.'”

    “Their twice-divorced mother”

    great role-model.

  11. gearmouse says:

    It saddens me to see the likes of Mrs. (or maybe Ms. by now) Atkins even existing.

    Would genocide be quite as sad if you knew it was only the likes Mrs. Atkins being dumped into mass graves?

    hmm. A pity, that children who could have been nurtured into a civil, pure existence were lead into promiscuity by a corrupt mother.

  12. Ross the Heartless Conservative says:

    Tom,
    “Amritas, just because you or I don’t approve of their habits hardly makes them animals.”

    Aren’t we all animals? It has been a long time since I have taken any life sciences classes but I seem to recall something about that. (I know what you meant.)

    Most of the rest,
    YIKES!!!
    “Would genocide be quite as sad if you knew it was only the likes Mrs. Atkins being dumped into mass graves?”

    Please tell me you are not a Christian. I chose Heartless as my monikor because I think people should pay the consequences of their actions but I don’t think genocide of the ill-behaved is the final solution.

    Mrs. Atkins has issues that need to be dealt with and are reflected in the larger society as a whole. It is one thing to point out that she is not the type of person any of us would want to hang around with. But let’s try to keep in mind that we are talking about a fellow human being. It is a pretty tough crowd when I am the touchy-feely one.

    Don’t make me suggest that we all join hands, stand in a circle, and sing Kum Ba Ya.

  13. gearmouse says:

    “Please tell me you are not a Christian. I chose Heartless as my monikor because I think people should pay the consequences of their actions but I don’t think genocide of the ill-behaved is the final solution.”

    True, genocide would only be cutting the head off of a weed, but it certainly would help. You seem to be saying that the problem is larger societal issues, but don’t you think genocide of people with “issues that need to be dealt with” could help unite everyone else? perhaps genocide is a means to unite the world, forge lost kinship in blood, good sir! i certainly think it could be. you’re a christian? you believe in armageddon, aye? would not this be an armageddon? a fight between “good” and “evil?” or should we wait for God to descend and Lucifer to rise? that would be sloth in its purest form.

  14. Walter E. Wallis says:

    I told them they never should have stopped puting saltpeter in the food of the underclass.

  15. Ross,

    Well done. Not only did we receive a quick tutorial on how there are badly flawed supporters on both sides of these debates, but you also gave us an excellent reminder of how the people I assume are on “our side” [roughly a more Conservative, common-sense point of view on education, etc.] are shooting themselves – and us – in the foot.

    To most of those who posted before Ross: Please stop.

    The contempt, the mock-anger, the fatalism of the hell-in-a-handbasket/society-is-in-decline trite bullshit doesn’t help us make anything better. I’m sure that many of us are tired of Conservatives and/or their viewpoints not always being taken seriously, but when one makes posts like Amritas has [this is not ad hominem, this is accountability], one invites difficulty and, more importantly, is ignored – and rightly so. We have many sound arguments on our side, and the reckless presentation of them or the irresponsible rejection of their antitheses hurts us and undermines what many of us have spent our lives doing.

    Yes, you’ve read Faust, or at the least you know who wrote it. And you value Burke 100x more than Marx and you would rather study Hellenic culture than the 1920’s Queer Thai Immigrant Experience. You know that money doesn’t result in automatic solutions and you know that some colleges charge well-intentioned but ignorant parents $120,000 to teach a child everything but the critical/analytical skills, fundamental knowledge, etc. that will allow for a well-lived life and a positive contribution to society.

    I think we are, for the most part, on the same page here.

    The unnecessary intellectual circle jerk, always dripping with sarcasm, contempt, and bitterness, serious or not, that takes place in the ‘blogosphere’ – including this site, which Joanne is so kind to provide and maintain – could use a swift kick in the pants. Yes, a kick even harder than the one that so many of us are giving ourselves whenever our passions or methodologies or habits or frustrations overtake our reasonable arguments and embarass ourselves and those with us.

  16. I apologize for singling out Amritas – I intended to cite a few examples but forgot to include them, such as gearmouse’s suggestion, however light, that genocide might not be a horrible solution.

    There’s no need, it’s all here anyway.

  17. Jack Tanner says:

    ‘Sex education is inadequate, the mother complained. ‘

    Sounds like they were getting too much education in sex not enough in saying ‘No’

  18. Michelle Dulak Thomson says:

    Matthew is right about the tone of the comments, of course. All the same, the ranters have some excuse. I still can’t get my head around this story.

    So the (grand)mother has been divorced twice, but neither of her husbands fathered any of her daughters; another man is said to have fathered two (meaning yet another fathered the other). The 16-year-old has a 38-year-old “boyfriend,” the same age as her own mother. The youngest got pregnant at 11. I do realize that children do best when their fathers are involved in their upbringing, but as that doesn’t seem to be happening here anyway, can’t the whole family be relocated to some place remote from . . . oh, I don’t know, men?

  19. This reminds me of the debate as to whether or not repeat drug offenders should be required to have Norplant installed. While I’m not terribly comfortable with that as a solution to the drug baby problem, I understand the impulse. A crack baby is one of the saddest things you will every see. Drawing blood from a 5 year old for an HIV test (because their parent is an HIV positive heroin user) brings tears to your eyes.

    It may be that the sex education those girls received was not adequate or that they hadn’t the whit or background to understand the information. My friend worked in a free clinic for a time and had many people tell her they were using safe sex before they mysteriously got pregnant. One actually had sperm show up on one of her lab tests but the patient still insisted that she and her boyfriend were “safe”. Add to that the general assumption that oral sex somehow prevents you from getting STDs and you have a “right mess” as they might say in England.

    Those of you with comfortable lives, educations, and computers to blog with may not understand the mire of ignorance many people dwell in with regard to health and sex. Our president’s abstinence only policies don’t help. We need to get good info out there for people so they can make good decisions. We need the morning after pill to be available over-the-counter. And we need activist pharmacists and other intruders to stay out of the way when women and men try to be responsible about their sexuality.

  20. wit not whit….

  21. Michelle Dulak Thomson says:

    Ivory,

    Those of you with comfortable lives, educations, and computers to blog with may not understand the mire of ignorance many people dwell in with regard to health and sex. Our president’s abstinence only policies don’t help. We need to get good info out there for people so they can make good decisions. We need the morning after pill to be available over-the-counter. And we need activist pharmacists and other intruders to stay out of the way when women and men try to be responsible about their sexuality.

    Hmmm . . . in my own “comfortable life,” I was introduced to the basic facts about how women get pregnant in sixth grade. This was in a public school in a conservative mostly-lower-middle-class neighborhood in upstate New York, during Reagan’s first term.

    Astonishingly, despite the fact that my school didn’t hand out free condoms, and the morning-after pill wasn’t even a glimmer in a pharmacist’s eye, and condoms were not then the supermarket staple they’ve since become, I did not get pregnant in high school. Nor, incidentally, did anyone I knew. Go figure.

    You cannot tell me that a sixteen-year-old who has already had two miscarriages and an abortion hasn’t a clue how women get pregnant; still less that her 38-year-old mother, with two marriages and three children by two other men, hasn’t figured it out.

    And the idea of a mother letting a thirteen-year-old boy have sex with her eleven-year-old daughter in her own flat is repulsive in about seventeen different ways. Ditto the 38-year-old “boyfriend” of the 16-year-old.

    My point is just that you can’t “fix” situations like this by feeding kids more information, or giving them more access to contraceptives. A lot of them, I’ll warrant, want to get pregnant in the first place. Practically all of them know how women get pregnant.

    So the best attempt at a solution, it seems to me, is to convince the girls that having a baby as an unmarried teen is a really bad idea, and to give the boys as convincing a list of reasons as possible that they should keep it in their pants. Which is pretty much what Bush has tried to do.

  22. ragnarok says:

    “…can’t the whole family be relocated to some place remote from . . . oh, I don’t know, men?”

    Hmm, bit snobby and elitist, don’t you think, picking on men? 🙂

  23. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Sex with what we called “San Quentin Quail” should result in seperation of the father for a while. If statutory rape is illegal in England, why no prosecution?

  24. Maybe the only good solution to the problem is for us reasonably intelligent folks to get to work and try to outbreed them, instead of letting them outbreed us as we are now. Of course, since they get a head start each generation, at age 13 or thereabouts, we’re kind of screwed, at least until we open some schools that will let students complete (not drop out!) at that age.

    Because, when a mother lets her children have unprotected sex in her own house without any attempt at correction, and then proceeds to claim that her kids got pregnant because the school didn’t offer adequate sex education, well, I can’t think of a course of education that can remedy such mind-boggling flat-out stupidity.

    We’re breeding a strain of birth-control-resistant humans. Unfortunately, the adaptation that produces this resistance is slack-jawed idiocy which leads to an inability or unwillingness to use the damned things…

  25. BadaBing says:

    Talking about birth control and sex education is a waste of time. The problem is values, or the decline of values. Liberalism has dealt traditional Judaeo-Christian values a death blow, and the chickens are coming home to roost. Liberalism is all about feelings and compassion. Hence, the government rewards people for having these children. Gearmouse is correct when he says that genocide would only cut off the head of the weed because people living in a world without taboos naturally tend toward man’s baser intincts. Defining deviancy down and legitimizing such behavior is the Liberal’s way of making the problem go away. So the problem becomes not that of the deviants, but that of those who would condemn the deviants. This loathesome woman and her three skank daughters are like pimples on a gravely ill body. The cure is not to remove the pimples but to kill the disease that causes them. Of course, it’s too late for that now. Sick, decadent societies fall prey to others. They are destroyed like the Amorites of old. And the beat goes on.

  26. Sex education in school loses to sex training at home.

  27. Money talks.  If the government asks people to behave responsibly but then pays them enough for a comfortable living if they don’t, guess what people will do?

    The solution is to END free council housing and payments for irresponsible parents, and force the fathers to pay support.  Instead of letting the irresponsible drive the nation into poverty, make them appreciate the gravity by making those responsible suffer the consequences themselves.

  28. “Our president’s abstinence only policies don’t help. ”

    Amazing. British teens and preteens having sex and babies – it MUST be Bush’s fault.

  29. Engineer-Poet says:

    Ours are too.  Maybe they wouldn’t if they got a message more sophisticated than “don’t”, with the implication that all is lost if they do.

  30. Michelle Dulak Thomson says:

    Engineer-Poet,

    The solution is to END free council housing and payments for irresponsible parents, and force the fathers to pay support.

    That would be contingent on

    (1) The mother knowing who the father is; and

    (2) The father having any income from which to pay support.

    Neither can be taken for granted, to say the least. Not in this country, and not in England either, if Theodore Dalrymple’s vivid and chilling accounts are to be believed.

    I am curious about the council housing thing, though. It can’t be that all you need to do in England to get a rent-free three-bedroom house is to have three kids and not take a job. Can it?

  31. Tom West says:

    Liberalism has dealt traditional Judaeo-Christian values a death blow, and the chickens are coming home to roost.

    Oh, for goodness sake. Next you’ll be telling me that until the 60’s nobody ever had sex before marriage. Tell that to the Victorian poor. (And yes, it lead to an awful lot of dead babies.)

    This may be a particularly egregious example (age 11!), but it’s not particularly different from what has occurred for some segment of society since the dawn of man.

    The point of calling them “animals” is that they might as well be animals since they act like animals.

    And the use of the term “animals” is disturbing, as it implies the withdrawal of the protection that we humans generally accord each other. It wasn’t greatly suprising to hear someone advocating execution for those who violate our social norms to such an extent. The two sentiments have historically gone hand-in-hand. It’s why it was disturbing to find it used by an esteemed as occasionally quoted commentator.

    Money talks. If the government asks people to behave responsibly but then pays them enough for a comfortable living if they don’t, guess what people will do?

    Actually, humans, being on the whole a pretty decent bunch, will generally behave responsibly. However, expecting that *no-one* will take advantage of the state’s generosity is to deceive oneself. The question is how many responsible, but unfortunate, people must perish because of fear of aiding the irresponsible?

  32. Engineer-Poet says:

    What are you arguing here?  Society has to subsidize irresponsible behavior because looking at personal contributions to circumstances means making judgements?

  33. Tom West says:

    I am arguing two points:

    First, forming social policy based on extreme cases like this is counter-productive (if you believe in any social welfare for the unfortunate at all – if you don’t, then you don’t need a case as egregious as this to decide that).

    It is far too easy to look at a case like this and decide that we really should cut off social benefits because we feel that they are being abused, without realizing that those same cuts will doom people we might otherwise consider “deserving”.

    Or as a teacher of mine put it, we will lose the last welfare cheat only after we’ve cut off the last orphan.

    Second, people have been having children when they were not prepared for them forever. For most of that time the children and occasionally the adults have died. This is not a case of suddenly failing values. We’re fortunate enough to be in a wealthy enough society that this no longer has to be the case. Perhaps it’s time that we decide to debate again whether we want a society that spends our resources to prevent people and their children dying from their choices.

    I am, however, fairly certain that in most of the Western world, our current system (which generally attempts to discourage self-destructive behaviour) would still be the favourite of the majority. Trying to prevent this behaviour is generally favoured. Allowing the participants to self-destruct if they engage in this behaviour despite our efforts is generally not.

  34. Didn’t we just have this debate?

    I’ll say it again: eliminate the welfare state. Allow the individual to choose who is helped and who is not. Those deserving of help will receive it, those who aren’t(like in this article) will die off and the world will be a better, healthier place for all.

  35. Engineer-Poet says:

    Tom West:

    Or as a teacher of mine put it, we will lose the last welfare cheat only after we’ve cut off the last orphan.

    I don’t know what’s more pathetic:  that a teacher would assert that a benevolent state can’t distinguish between orphans and welfare cheats (or would reward the latter over the former), or that you are credulous enough to believe it.

  36. Tom West says:

    <cranky>As a *child*, I could tell that it wasn’t meant literally, and what it actually meant. Are you being deliberately obtuse?</cranky>

    Okay, let me explain.

    It simply means that no matter what criteria you choose to include “deserving” people and exclude “undeserving” people, some deserving people will be excluded and some undeserving types (for any definition of “deserving” and “undeserving” we choose to define) will be included. It’s simply a reality given our imperfect world and the impossibility of defining “deserving” and “undeserving” perfectly (I’ll leave out the quotes now).

    The only hope of covering 100% of the deserving is to allow anyone to obtain benefits. The only hope of excluding 100% of the undeserving is to exclude everyone. Hence, in the real world, we try to determine where between the two extremes we want to place ourselves, understanding that we won’t be 100% successful in including and excluding the appropriate groups. If we really want to cover 99% of the deserving, we’re going to have a lot of people who are “undeserving” sneak in. If we are absolutely intent on letting very few undeserving sneak past, we have to be willing to accept that a number of the deserving (no matter what our measure) are going to be excluded by measures meant to keep out the undeserving.

    For example, in this case, there are many people here calling for sanctions against what they see as egregious failure of responsibility. Fair enough, except they have to realize that any set of laws they make *will* exclude some that they consider deserving. They need to at least consider the cost. (Note, people who say that if anyone is unfairly excluded by a rule, the rule must be discarded, are just as silly if they think that means they can exlude anyone at all.)

  37. BadaBing says:

    “The only hope of covering 100% of the deserving is to allow anyone to obtain benefits. The only hope of excluding 100% of the undeserving is to exclude everyone.”

    Isn’t that the either/or fallacy, sometimes referred to as bifurcation? I don’t buy it for a nanosecond. The government teat should be withdrawn from this bunch of victicrats immediately. Do you apply that either/or rubric to other spheres as well?

  38. Engineer-Poet says:

    Fallacy of the false dichotomy or exluded middle.  Tom would have us believe that all benefits must be given without checking qualifications to keep people from starving, and can’t do things like grading levels of need and watching people’s efforts at self-help vs. self-destructive behavior and adjusting aid accordingly.

    If you cannot make such judgements in reality, welfare will destroy productive effort by diverting all production to a class of leeches; it argues not for the status quo but immediate shutdown of the welfare state.

  39. Tom West says:

    Do you apply that either/or rubric to other spheres as well?

    Absolutely. The only hope of convicting *all* the guilty is to convict everyone despite the evidence. Likewise the only way to *never* convict the innocent is to convict noone.

    In our imperfect world, we *do* forge a set of rules that lean towards letting the innocent go at the expense of freeing some of the guilty. It sounds like you’d be unwilling to acknowledge that as a false bifurcation. Do you believe that perfect justice is possible?

    The government teat should be withdrawn from this bunch of victicrats immediately.

    As long as you are aware that changes to the rules to exclude this bunch of victicrats (?) will in all likelihood exclude some people you’d consider deserving of help. Unless, of course, you’d consider nobody a recipient worthy of state help.

    The left-wing blogs can come up with exactly the opposite. The retarded 18 year old that was forced to pick through garbage not to starve because he filled out a form wrong once. Obviously he should be included, and damn the fact that changing the rules will let thousands be included who most feel should be excluded.

    If you cannot make such judgements in reality…

    You can’t make them about the justice system. Do you shut down the justice system? No.

    What is means is that in designing any system like this, you must take *both* desires into account simultaneously and weigh them against each other. We’ve designed out justice system so that it is better than “10 guilty men go free than 1 innocent convicted”. We haven’t designed it so that 10,000 guilty men go free before 1 innocent convicted because that would require incredible standards of proof that prevented innocents from being convicted that would render our justice system useless.

    We don’t look at a case of a single individual being framed by the testimony of his friends and claim that witness testimony is no longer sufficient guard against an innocent being convicted. We look at both sides at the same time to come up with a middle ground that will fails as little as we can make it, while acknowledging that it will, on occasion, fail.

    Policy decision by outrage, which these sort of articles foster (in either direction), is about the worst way of designing a system.

    Life may be much easier in black and white (let them all die if they can’t survive, we must not let a single human suffer), but quite frankly, it’s not much help (and can occasionally be quite damaging) in forming the policy of a society in which the great majority of us want to live.

  40. Jack Tanner says:

    ‘First, forming social policy based on extreme cases like this is counter-productive ‘

    ’49 percent of births in Britain occur outside marriage.’

    Maybe not so extreme cases. At least there’ll be steady work for social workers, EMTs and prison guards.

  41. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    What do you say? I say free tubal ligations and vasectomies and financial incentives to get them for the irresponsible in our society. (Obviously, in a free society, we can’t force cretins to be responsible, but we can give them incentives). Cretins can have all the indiscriminate sex they want, just make it financially attractive for them to get fixed (as we do for dogs and cats) so they don’t force your procreation on the taxpayers. Pay a little now or pay in a huge way (schooling, police, hospitals, etc.) in the future when those children of the cretins repeat the vicious cycle.

  42. carpeicthus says:

    Nice bunch of eugenicists you have here, Joanne. Heck, even a Neo-Nazi stroking precious genocide like it’s an object of affection. I knew when I saw the number of comments that there would be a good deal of congealed thought in here, but this is … wow.

  43. Michelle Dulak Thomson says:

    carpeicthus,

    Yep, pretty nasty. People, you’re talking about human beings here. Do try to keep that vaguely in mind, if only for objectivity’s sake.

    All the same (yeah, I suppose it was obvious there was going to be an “all the same”), what can you do but throw up your hands in frustration at a case like that? These kids and their kids are doomed to more of the same, because their (grand)mother thinks it’s the schools’ job to teach them otherwise. I stand by what I wrote earlier here: as long as the family is to be in Council housing, and no one has a job or is looking for one, I’d say this is a good argument for single-sex Council housing, near a single-sex school and rather far from anything else. Skye comes to mind.

  44. Engineer-Poet says:

    It’s an argument for deeming the 3 girls and their mother as unfit parents, and removing the infants from the home for adoption and the girls to foster care.  Then kick the grandmother out of her comfy council house to a bed-sit (efficiency apartment to Yanks) somewhere; if she has no children at home she obviously doesn’t need anything bigger or nicer.

    Do this a few times and people will get the idea that it is NOT right to have babies when you’re fourteen, nor allow your children to do so.

  45. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    I am greatly amused by the sophistry and shallowness of the people who scream “eugenics” and “Neo-Nazism” at the thought of demanding personal responsibility in a free society. There is no “freedom” without responsibility–otherwise, there is anarchy and chaos. Fascism or communism is when the government enforces its idea of responsibility. In a free society, the People either provide incentives or disincentives for specific behaviors. Freedom isn’t free. The welfare state has proven very expensive, and not just in $$$$.

  46. A decent society provides safety nets for those who fall through the cracks, but in order to keep people from wandering too close to the cracks, the safety nets should be “ad hoc” safety nets, kept hidden away and then rushed into place at the last minute, rather than highly visible permanent ones, which remove any worry from those who are prone to wander near the cracks. Who mans the ad hoc safety nets? People who would become alarmed at the removal of the permanent ones. Concerned citizens who would then be motivated to use their time, talents and resources to deal on a one on one basis with those who fall through the cracks. There are millions of people like this, people who would volunteer to help, but they’ve become complacent in the face of the permanently installed safety nets.

  47. Put another way, our social policies could use more uncertainty. Certainty about the existence of safety nets produces carelessness amongst those who are likely to need safety nets, and complacency amongst those who believe we should have safety nets. Uncertainty as to whether a safety net will be for you helps promote a more wary, thoughtful approach to life amongst those who are likely to need one, and a sense of urgency about providing them amongst those who could probably do a more efficient and effective job of providing them, more effective than the government.

  48. Engineer-Poet says:

    Au contraire, I think they could use less uncertainty.

    People should be absolutely certain that if they screw up in a way which forces the government to pick up the pieces, the cleanup is not going to be done in a way which values their personal happiness.  They should expect to have to work hard as a consequence of their mistake, or be miserable.

  49. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    Engineer-Poet~~~

    Exactly…..you hit the nail right on the head.