What do we do with all the dumb people?

My friend Bob wrote a note today and it got me to thinking about a question again that I thought about when I was in Grad School when I worked with the homeless, the mentally ill, and their kids.  My question then was, for lack of a better phrase, “What are we going to do with the “dumb” people?”

I hear all the time that the new jobs are going to be in high-tech or computer this-or-that and that all the other jobs are going to be in “service” — or retail.  In addition, I hear all the time that a College Degree is required “or you get nowhere”.

But I work with people, or meet people all the time, that simply aren’t intellectual, aren’t good at school, and never will be. What do we do with them? In the old days, if you dropped out of school or weren’t interested in it, you could find work at a factory, or as a mechanic, or at a trade, or as a farmer.  And if something happened where you lost your intellect (car accident, health crisis, drug abuse, trauma), what should you do then?

Now there aren’t as many factory jobs, you have to use computers and gizmos to fix a car (screwdrivers and such don’t work anymore), and fewer and fewer people know a trade.  So what do we do with these people?  We can’t just let them die. We don’t want to pay for them to live. We can’t figure out how to make meaning of their lives. In addition, people are living longer, so now we have a longer time for them to hang around on the planet with nothing to do with their lives.

And if they’re going to do “service” jobs — McDonalds, WalMart, etc, should they HAVE TO work 60 hours per week to feed their kids? Where is the new factory job, the new skill that can be done with the hands, the new craft or trade that gives people something to do all day?

Like all the “smart” people, in my estimation, they (the below-average intelligence people or manual laborers) are created by God and have a mission in life. What that is, however, I don’t have a clue. They also have kids to raise and families to deal with. They, too, want homes to call their own.  What will they do with their lives if there’s nothing for them to do?

As our country tries to answer the questions supposedly raised by the electorate, “How do we create jobs?”, I want to also ask, “What jobs can we create for people if we keep raising the standards they need to meet?  And I’m not blaming our educational system — better education and more education is not the answer for people who can’t understand or aren’t good at or aren’t inclined to get an education. So now what?

I don’t have an answer, by the way. I only have a question.  I would love to have an answer.  Any suggestions?

 

Peace,

 

John

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10 thoughts on “What do we do with all the dumb people?

  1. We should blame teachers. It is obviously the fault of teachers that everyone is not qualified to be an astrophysicist or a brain surgeon.

    And, though blaming teachers will not actually help anyone, it will give politicians someone to identify as “special interests” to distract us from, oh, say, corporations like Haliburton (whose contamination of drinking water through the practice of “fracking” for gas and oil is probably responsible for at least some “dumb people” being “dumb,” but whose money is very useful for running campaigns now that money = speech).

    And it will make everyone feel better.

    • Touche’ ! LMAO!!!! Isn’t that the plan we already have in place? As a teacher, I was hoping you’d be more creative

      Thanks for a great response!!!!

      Peace,

      John

      • See? And even this lack of creativity in your comments section is the fault of whom? That’s right… a teacher! Voila! A one-size-fits-all answer, the kind we Americans like best!

      • Cathi:

        We’re number 1! We’re number 1! We’re number 1!We’re number 1!We’re number 1!We’re number 1!

        (at lack of creativity) 🙂

        And if we’re not?

        We’re number 1!We’re number 1!We’re number 1!We’re number 1!We’re number 1!

        (ah, such inspired poetry…)

  2. Unbelievably elitist.

    So if someone isn’t intellectual, they are dumb?

    And if I have to work 60 hours / week, why shouldn’t everyone?

    How about lowering taxes so people can retain the wage they earn? And stop making employers pay the government a fee, just so they can hire workers? Government is taxing the bejeezes out of everyone, which ultimately has one effect- discourage people from working and discourage employers from hiring.

    Of course they need to tax the heck out of everyone, just to support the people who can’t afford to work. It is all SO backwards.

    (With regards to education: I say that it is time for schools to stop trying to make non-intellectual people into intellectuals, and figure out that different people should be educated in different ways (even ways that don’t include reading). Some people only need to learn how to run a power saw and drive nails with a hammer, or to push a broom, or to pick crops. Just because someone does poorly in a literature class with crap like metaphors and symbolism and foreshadowing, doesn’t mean they are DUMB- it just means they are smart in other ways. Our teachers mostly do a fine job in their given subject areas, but those areas are much to narrow to consider all types of intelligence.)

    Personally, I know three people (under retirement age) who depend primarily on the government for their survival. Of that group, two of them drive newer cars than me and two of them have bigger TVs than I do (but none of them pay for their own health insurance because they can’t “afford” it). And, more importantly, of that group NONE of them are “dumb” or unable to get a job – but because there is no incentive (all of their earnings would just be taxed anyhow, so why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free), they don’t. And employers don’t have an incentive to hire them, because in addition to paying their wages & benefits, the employers’ taxes will also go up. And we wonder why Chinese stuff is cheaper?!?!? (BTW, all of the manual work you describe went to China because of our screwed-up government policies.)

    Big government which interferes in the economy is KILLING this country. Get government out of our lives, lower taxes, and allow EVERYONE to flourish!

    You can call them dumb if you want (typical elitist liberal attitude). However why don’t you ask those people if they are dumb- I bet they’ll disagree. Fact is, our school systems label people as dumb if they don’t fit a certain mold – too bad that we don’t recognize that people can be smart in different ways.

    You’ve admitted before that you are fairly ignorant (which is not the same as dumb – ignorance can be cured) regarding economics- I wish I could enlighten you here, but there is not enough space. Suffice it to say, however, that the key to a flourishing economy is to have people WORK and discourage “leeches” on the system. But our government panders to voters by promising to add social programs, which in fact is the opposite of what is needed to allow the country (at ALL levels) to flourish. Our country did not become great because of its safety net – it became great because it allowed people to work hard. Too many people don’t understand that the bigger the safety net, the worse off we ALL are.

    Are there mentally ill in this world, who can’t survive on their own? Of course, but it’s a LOT fewer than are currently supported by the government. So what do we do? Here are some suggestions:
    1) Encourage employers to hire the “mentally challenged”. Fact is that people with Downs’ Syndrome perform better at certain types of jobs than regular people.
    2) Allow insurance companies to sell just-in-case policies, so if a child is born with a brain defect that the policy will provide financial support to allow them to live. (And, of course, lower taxes so parents-to-be can afford to buy said policy).
    3) Encourage giving to charitable organizations and churches who support the mentally ill.
    4) Get rid of the “dump them on the government” mentality and restore the attitude that families should take care of each other. I know several people who have dumped relatives into the “system” instead of taking care of their own family members. What a shame, but that’s to be expected when we think that the government should solve all of our problems. The family is falling apart.
    5) Develop an attitude of self-reliance, instead of reliance on the government. And get rid of the attitude of entitlement.
    6) Stop enabling people who *could* be contributing members of society, but make dumb decisions. If you screw up your life, YOU should fix it. (You’ll find a lot fewer people who screw up their lives!)
    7) Take away voting privileges from anyone who chooses not to support him/herself. You’ll find a lot of people who can suddenly support themselves – and people who are genuinely mentally ill generally don’t have a desire to vote anyhow. You’ll also find a lot fewer politicians who pander to voters by promising more spending programs.
    8) Reduce (or eliminate) taxes, which only discourage people from working and discourage employers from hiring. (With fewer people “on the dole”, you’ll realize that you don’t need nearly so many taxes anyhow). Did you know that the three largest expenses of the federal government are social programs, interest on the debt, and the military? Two of those could be eliminated, and the third could easily be reduced.
    9) And let’s get over the attitude that people are entitled to a given lifestyle. The bible calls on us to work hard, six days a week.

    By the way, there are certainly other things our government could do to improve the economy, such as putting import tariffs on Chinese goods (which would DRASTICALLY restore the US manufacturing sector), but I’ll leave that for a separate discussion.

    This oversized, overbearing government has screwed up our once-prosperous society. What a shame.

    There are your answers!

    -Bob C.

  3. Bob: you’re just getting to the article NOW? Wow. You really do read slow! Just kidding.

    I think you missed my point if you think I’m elitist. I’m trying to show concern for people I know in a changing world. I said in the article that “dumb” was the word I used “for lack of a better term” and I meant it. By the standards I’m talking about, my father is “dumb” and I have nothing but admiration for him. But he couldn’t get a job today that paid him enough to feed our family.

    Re: working 60 hours per week — I don’t think people are meant to work that hard in a week. In fact. I’m sad that YOU have to, but I understand that things happen in a free-market economy. — the kind you idolize.

    In the preFDR era (before big government) families stuck together … And died poor without food or a home. That’s why FDR did what he did . Did it go overboard? Possibly. There will always be a tension between “being” and “doing”, between taking advantage and genuinely needing help.

    I refuse to believe the only problem we have is taxes, which you seem to indicate. I think the Chinese engage in slave labor, which is why they make things cheap. I don’t however believe that’s a moral way to be.

    • Your response lies somewhere between hypocrisy and a flat-out lie.

      Your political position is that the government should give out free stuff to lazy people. If you really cared about how much I worked, you would advocate for people to work for themselves and stop riding my coattails.

      – You reap what you sow.
      Democrat’s version: Reap what other people sow. Let the suckers keep working, and the government can just steal the merits of their labor and hand them out for more votes from the lazy.

      – Teach a man to fish, he eats for a day…
      Democrat’s version: The government should take fish from people who catch them, and hand out fish to people who don’t want to do anything.

      Eventually, if you keep breaking the backs of the working class, all of us suckers will stop working. Then you can have your utopia where nobody works. Right? We can just keep borrowing money from China maybe? (That’s what we are doing now to support the lazy people, our taxes are not high enough to support the social programs that currently exist.)

      BTW, there are plenty of mechanisms in today’s world to allow people to retire just fine, in contrast to pre-FDR. But the government has to stop stealing the money which we could be putting toward retirement.

      Taxes is just one of the problems, along with people who make stupid decisions and refuse to pull their own weight. They all add up. Taxes are a matter of policy, and caring for ourselves is a matter of culture, but they are inextricably intertwined.

      I don’t know your father, nor do I know most of the people that you are so concerned about, but I’d bet most of them have caused their own problems and are relying on the government to fix them (which, by the way, takes away the charitable money that would be available to those with a true need).

      As an aside, here is an interesting article for you:
      http://www.truecrimereport.com/2011/01/paul_mason_worlds_fattest_man.php
      That is an article about a man who is intending to sue the British government because he is so overweight. Instead of taking responsibility for his own problems, he sat around waiting for the government to solve his problems. THAT is the country that the democrats are driving us toward! I wonder if his parents raised him properly? I wonder if his parents ever taught him that his actions have consequences? Or, did his parents have a history of poor decisions and reliance on the government (which is really just reliance on the people around you)?

      By the way, perhaps you would enjoy the book “If everybody did”.
      http://www.amazon.com/If-Everybody-Did-Ann-Stover/dp/0890844879
      It’s a children’s book about how the world would be if we all behaved in a manner which does not consider others in the world around us. I’m not sure whether that book was entirely responsible for my adult mindset, but it surely highlighted the consequences of being a “detractor” instead of a contributor in society. You might not want to read it to your kids if you want them to grow up to be democrats, however.

      Does our society need a mechanism to take care of those who are TRULY in need? Sure, but those people are VERY few in number and could be supported by families, churches, and charities if the government didn’t take so much of our money in the first place.

      • Bob: you continue to amaze me.

        No, you don’t know my father, nor do you know most of the people that I am so concerned about, but you’d “bet most of them have caused their own problems and are relying on the government to fix them”.

        “[My] political position is that the government should give out free stuff to lazy people. If [I] really cared about how much [you] worked, you would advocate for people to work for themselves and stop riding my coattails”

        Wow. You don’t know my father, you don’t know hard working poor folks, you don’t think I care about how hard you worked and you’re convinced you understand my political position?
        You don’t know me and that’s a pity.

        Here’s the reality: I am a democrat and in many ways possibly a socialist. But I’m also a Christian and a therapist. These things all inform who I am and what I think. I suspect that most Democrats are a lot more complex than you give us credit for. I tell my clients — who are frequently on disability — to get jobs, even part-time ones to fill up their day and give their lives meaning. That includes volunteering if they aren’t “allowed” to make money. Yes, many of them have made poor choices. Should they die because of them because they can’t afford insurance?

        Those who are mooches off the system even I don’t like because they’re doing evil — and destroying their own souls\psyches in the process. Those who just can’t get a break, those who want to get their lives together, those who want to stop destroying the lives of others without spending your hard-earned money in jail — those people I like. I don’t expect the government to always fix them. As you know, I take clients at times at no or little cost.

        Bad luck happens to people, racism happens to people, a poor economy happens to people and unless you’ve been one of those people who literally has to decide between spending your one dollar on a bus ride or buying food, I don’t buy the idea that taxes are the problem or that people who need a safety net shouldn’t have one. You’re a Social Darwinist, which is ironic, given your religious bent. And as far as relying on churches (which should be helping the people out there), they simply don’t have the means — at least not the ones I go to — to do the work). People without parents who stuck around are on their own — not everybody has a family to take care of them. I think these things are wrong, too. I agree that they shouldn’t be this way, but they are.

        I just refuse to let people die until Jesus comes back and straightens it all out. To that end, in addition to everything else I do, I don’t mind paying my taxes.

        Peace,

        John

  4. I think it was a morally poor choice to give China most-favored-nation status.

    Btw I think that people should take care of each other in families or any other structure.

    Peace,

    John

  5. I’m a Social Darwinist? No.

    What I firmly believe is that there are way too many CAPABLE people who will find a way to take advantage of these entitlement programs. These are people who find excuses not to work, then some doctor who will write a note or whatever, then they sit at home watching Oprah while they take money from me to support themselves.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I have satellite radio because I am in the car so much. One of the things about that is I get to listen to a lot of obscure programming that would never go on the mainstream media. About a week ago, there was a show with two black men from New York City. They were not radio hosts, they were regular guys. One was a former security guard who had been out of work for almost two years, and the other was a trash collector for the City and works 50-60 hours per week. During the program, it was blatantly apparent that the one with the higher status was the *unemployed* man. Turns out that in that community, the working man is the IDIOT – all night the trash collector continued to get flack for working. The unemployed man *thanked* the working man for paying for his apartment (via some entitlement program). In fact, when the working man went out to “pick up chicks”, he had to lie and say he was unemployed so that he could be cool for the women.

    You might want to read that paragraph again.

    I believe that previously I have mentioned that in my personal life, I am acquainted with three people who survive on money from the government. EVERY ONE of them is, in reality, perfectly capable of pulling their own weight and earning a living and surviving, but they have CHOSEN to be dependent on the rest of society.

    The fact is, there is a large portion of our society who has decided that they DESERVE a lifestyle, instead of EARNING it. And, that working people are idiots.

    I know that previously you’ve claimed that you are not very well informed about economic issues. Well let me tell you right now- the US Dollar is about to lose its status as the world’s reserve currency, because our government’s debt is SO huge and inflation is SO high. The government has been borrowing like CRAZY to try to sustain all of the interest on the national debt and entitlement programs. You think the recession of 2008 was bad? You think the great depression was bad? You haven’t seen nothin yet! I promise you, within the next 12-24 months, this country is going to collapse like you can’t even imagine. Why? Because the government pays more than it collects, and we’re about to suffer the consequences.

    The answer is simple- more contributors and less takers. But until the culture of entitlement is broken, there is NO hope of avoiding this complete collapse.

    You want to complain that insurance is too expensive? Look into the issue and you will realize that government has FORCED it to be expensive. Same with non-insured medical care. Do you really think it should cost a doctor’s office $350 to operate, even after paying a deservedly-high salary to the doctor? Not even close, except for the interference of government.

    Are there people with legitimate needs? Of course. But there are so few of them, that the only sane thing to do is cut all of these insane spending programs, and put the truly needy people into the churches, families, and charities where they belong. Then we might be able to pay down the debt and minimize the impact of what’s about to happen (although in reality, there is probably already too much momentum for taking away the USD’s status as the Reserve Currency).

    You don’t believe me? Read about the Asian economic collapse in the early ’90s. Read about when the British Pound lost its status as the reserve currency in the late ’60’s. Read about the 100% inflation PER DAY in Brazil in the ’90s.

    We’ve spent ourselves into oblivion, and we have to STOP.

    But it may be too late, I fear this country is already doomed. We’re past the point of no return with our spending addiction.

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