We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I am, as it happens, evicting my mother’s fourth husband’s fifth wife from a modest house (much more modest than the condition I left it in) in which she resided rent-free for a decade or so. I inherited the house from my mother when she died, and her husband inherited a “life estate” in it, meaning a legal right to reside there so long as he kept current on the taxes and such. He remarried (these are marrying people) and lived there with his new wife until his life estate ended the way life estates end, and I came around to take possession of the house and sell the damned thing. They’d had years and years to prepare for this moment, and, of course, they hadn’t.
These are, in fact, like some of the people Murray describes as residents of Fishtown. They are full of excuses for their disappointing and feckless lives. In my experience, the passive voice reveals that these are people who lack the inner resources to act affirmatively or planfully, to adapt to change or bad luck, adjust, or to learn from experience. It is sad to see, and there is no cure for it. Lots of boats, and lives, end up on the rocks.
In another era, they might have done fine on the family farm with the support, resources, and teamwork of an extended family and a small, healthy community. The post-agricultural, post-industrial world today is far more demanding of us all. It's tough out there.
"with the support, resources, and teamwork of an extended family " Yeah, a family to kick them in the butt for motivation. Oral family history is chock full of these kind of people, now it seems society has a "responsibility" to help them, whether they want help or not.