Longing to be a victim
John Stossel in Reason : These days, being seen as a victim can be useful. You immediately claim the moral high ground. Some people want to help you. Lawyers and politicians brag that they force others to help you.
This turns some people into whiners with little sense of responsibility.
I had to overcome stuttering to work as a TV reporter. Had today’s disability laws existed when I began work, would I have overcome my stuttering problem? Maybe not. I might have demanded my employer “accommodate” my disability by providing me a job that didn’t demand being on-air.
Now that the laws exist, it’s no coincidence that more Americans say they are disabled.
Tad DeHaven of the Cato Institute writes that this is part of a disability-industrial complex: collusion between specialty law firms, doctors vouching for applicants with dubious claims and federal administrative law judges awarding benefits. It changes the way people calculate their options.
Since the ’80s, there has been a 300 percent increase in disability claims for hard-to-prove illnesses like back pain, stress and other “nonexertional restrictions.” Over the past two decades, the number of people receiving Social Security disability benefits grew from 4 million to 11 million.
“It’s like any other government program,” says DeHaven. “You start off with good intentions and then it becomes something that it was never supposed to be.”
The GOP-tea party civil war
Karen Tumulty in The Washington Post : The GOP establishment has embarked, once again, on a round of soul-searching. But this time, the question is: What will it take to save the Republicans from the self-destructive impulses of the tea party movement?
That the government shutdown was a political disaster for the party that engineered it is widely acknowledged, except by the most ardent tea partiers. And that near-unanimity presents an opportunity for the establishment to strike back — and maybe regain some control from the insurgent wing.
“You roll them,” advised former Senate majority leader Trent Lott, R-Miss. “I do think we need stronger leadership, and there’s got to be some pushback on these guys who think they came here with all the solutions.”
Only then, he said, can the party begin to push an agenda and “get things done,” rather than obstruct.
The shutdown strategy — to use must-pass bills to fund the government and lift the federal debt ceiling as leverage to gut the new health care law — never had a chance of succeeding.
To avoid a replay of the past few weeks, Republicans must figure out how to deal with several dozen of their most bellicose junior members in the House, and unapologetic figures such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz who have built a national following and fundraising base on the strength of their obstructionism.
What makes that more difficult, however, is that the tea party movement and some of the groups with which it is aligned have been aggressive about mounting primary challenges to incumbents they deem insufficiently committed to their cause.
Early Thursday, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook page: “Be energized. We’re going to shake things up in 2014. Rest well tonight, for soon we must focus on important House and Senate races. Let’s start with Kentucky — which happens to be awfully close to South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi.”
Boyhood is not a mental illness
Marta H. Mossburg in The American Spectator : All the employees of school districts on a witch hunt to expel and otherwise permanently punish young boys for shooting toy guns or forming their fists into the shape of a gun need to read “Back to Normal.”
The purpose of psychologist Enrico Gnaulati’s 2013 book is to argue how ordinary childhood behavior is often misdiagnosed as ADD, ADHD, depression and autism — frequently with lifelong, disturbing consequences. But along the way he raises the taboo question of whether we “label boys as mentally unstable, behaviorally unmanageable, academically underachieving, in need of special-education services, or displaying behavior warranting school suspension just because their behavior deviates noticeably from that of the average girl?”
He adds, “In a sense, girl behavior has become the standard by which we judge all kids.”
He cites numerous studies showing that typical boy behavior — wrestling, rough games of tag, good guy/bad guy imaginative play that involves “shooting” — are condemned by preschool and elementary school teachers, the vast majority of whom are women, without the behavior being redirected appropriately to release boys’ “natural aggression.” Boys who play in the way noted above are not on a path to mass murder, contrary to what zero tolerance school policies suggest. For the vast majority of them, they are simply on the path to manhood. I wonder how many of us who recognize that truth still stifle our boys’ rough play or cowboy shoot outs out of fear of the new rules —reinforcing the capriciousness of regulations in young minds who will one day asked to make them.