The immature at a traffic school

Long ago I went to traffic school in an upscale part of my county and it was all right.  Later I went to another in a less affluent part and it was dreadful.  The1st session was marked by nail-bitters, knuckle-crack­ers, pickers, fidgeters, scofflaws, and smart-alecks.  Many had to ‘test’ the instructor to see if he drank, bent the law, was hypocriti­cal, etc.  There was a lot of joking about booze, drugs, and sex.  I thought I was in junior high.

Cheapo car auction

I’ve been to a number of car auctions without problems, but one was miserable.  Imagine yourself going:   You can get easy credit [at high interest?].  You can look over the cars and start them, but not drive them.  They are very appealing.  You take notes.  Then you enter the auction room, take a seat, and can’t use your brain till it’s over.  One guy in dark glasses mumbles a lot of information into the mike.   [The thunderous volume in this room of terrible acoustics hurts your ears.  One helper and one security guard wear ear plugs.]   He introduces the helpers and then the auctioneer who we are supposed to clap for.  [Are these our new friends?]  He mumbles more info and the 1st car is driven in. The helpers slap the fender, kick the tires, jump up on the bumper.  Oh boy.  The bidding starts, but what is the starting price?  Is it real or is there a ‘plant’ in the audience.  The auctioneer frantically rattles off his auction mumble and praises the car.  [Super hype].  He mentions one price [what is it?] and another.  The helpers are jumping all over, hurting your ears by shouting and blowing their whistles and the car horn, making signals that are suppose to be the price, and getting too close to you.  You can’t hear normally, you can’t think, everything is happening at once.  You can’t underSTAND what they are saying.  A car that sold last week is here again this week, cars are offered ‘as is’ and sold- at some final- price [what was it?] and driven off.  Next car comes in, same ordeal, carefully crafted to separate you from your money.  It goes against everything you’ve learned about reasoning, clear expression, calm deliberation, manners, dignity – a terrible experience.

Living with bums

THE FREEMAN 7/90 (bought all rights). Reprinted in 8 newspapers with the title ‘Low-life.’

Any discussion of crime, addiction, welfare abuse or other anti-social behavior should involve a realistic look at bums and common criminals. After years of social work I thought I knew something about them, but it took renting rooms in my house for 25 years to find out.

Most of the roomers were working-class guys. If there were problems, things could be worked out because they were self-respecting, mature, and responsible.

Why not rate social programs?

During my years in social work and since, I’ve seen a crying need for some kind of ratings. No one has an idea of what are the best programs for addiction, crime, mental illness, or whatever. There is hardly even a direc­tory of them. Many programs sound good, but are disappoint­ing. No one seems to know what works nor why because:

(l) Social work floats on emotion.

We are asked to contribute to some charity because there is a ‘need’ for a ‘disad­vantaged’ person and the charity ‘cares’. Whether there are greater ‘needs’, just how ‘disadvantaged’ the person is, or whether ‘caring’ makes a difference, is never gone into.

Social classes and liberals

American liberals resist the idea of social classes, assuming:

  1. Classes mean ine­quality,strati­fication, and conflict.
  2. If the gap between rich and poor grows, something is wrong.
  3. Those with more exploit those with less.
  4. If capitalism isn’t the cause, it must be close.
  5. Government should redistribute the wealth and power [to level the classes].

(Conservatives disagree with all these.)

To get a picture of classes, let’s consider what noted conservative Edward Banfield described as the four classes he saw in American society – upper, middle, working, and lower.  (I will add my opinion of how liberals view them.)

Bad neighborhood


I lived in a bad neighborhood for 25 years – not a slum, but not middle class.   Some people left their trash barrels out for days.  Some left so many shopping carts around, a truck had to come by periodically to collect them.  Some took parts of them to use as barbecue grills.  Some didn’t get rid of their gophers or weeds. One left the parking strip next to his property bare dirt for 25 years.  Some didn’t water, cut, or edge their lawns for weeks.  Some never trimmed their bushes or trees which partly blocked the sidewalk.  Some fences tilted forever; junk cars and debris stayed on front lawns.  Some had vehicles in the drive, a boat on the lawn, and an RV on the side.  One had six vehicles on the front lawn though there was plenty of room on the street; another had nine vehicles in the driveway.

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