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.
Assistant Village Idiot
This is a very moving story, and I have a lot of respect for the author. I too have seen a lot of down and out people, and I feel sorry for them; it's only natural to wonder if something might be done. But the truth of the matter is nothing can be done for these people. 99% of them will never recover. And trying to help them is a mistake, for several reasons. First of all, most "down and outs" already receive financial aid in the form of Social Security. Technically, they could move into a drug-free halfway house if they wanted to. But they don't. They want the freedom of a Crack-Whore, a Hobo, and a Thief.
Secondly, the whole point of maintaining a society is not to integrate the bad people in with the good people. The bad people must be separated; and then disposed of. You don't punish good people by forcing them to accept a bunch of blacks and drug addicts as neighbors. Also, I disagree with the author on one point: Having a good job and living well is not a privilege. It's something that has to be earned, through responsible conduct. He knew that as a bond trader, he was expected to achieve certain results. So Chris Arnade also knew that if he got fired, he wouldn't become a "down and out." He would simply have to look for another job. He is refusing to hold other people to the same standards of conduct to which he holds himself. That's hypocrisy masked as social conscience.
The only answer is to round-up all of the "down and outs" and euthanize them. They are a terrible burden on society, they can never change, and they cost a fortune. Tent camps are springing-up everywhere; and they are dirty, disgusting, and make life dangerous for good people. So in my view, it's time to clean these people out: Lock, Stock, and Barrel.
I've seen quite a few of life's failures, including both the redeemable and the lost. Having known more than a few of the self-redeemed, I disagree with your numbers, which I think are profoundly prejudiced. But - Congratulations on your new found lease on humanity and love for your fellow man. What are you personally doing about it, to make things better? Even if it's by your own definition of 'better'?
Excellent read. I liked many things he said but one that I want to point out here is his drawing a distinction between what we can measure and what we cannot, and over-valuing that which we can measure just because we can measure it.
I.e. deriving meaning and importance from the ability to quantify.
I've made this same observation many times. Far too often, we let ourselves become obsessed with things we can measure at the expense of the things that provide meaning and direction in our lives.