Self-Esteem is out and a Useful Education is in at Schools in Perth, Australia

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 26th, 2013

Week in Review

I’ll never forget this classic episode of Gomer Pyle – USMC.  Sergeant Carter was feeling old.  Which depressed him.  Gomer wanted to help him recapture the vigor of his youth.   So on a long march Gomer emptied Sergeant Carter’s pack and filled it with straw.  Late into the march his men were fatigued.  But not Sergeant Carter.  He was fresh as a daisy.  Until he went into his pack and saw it was filled with straw.  Which made him feel old and depressed again.

Gomer’s mistake was making the pack lighter instead of heavier.  For if he completed the march and learned he had carried a heavier pack than everyone else he would have felt strong again like in his youth.  For making it through things when they are hard builds confidence.  Even if you fail once or twice along the way.  This prepares you for whatever the future has in store for you.  But making it through something because you had it easy or never faced criticism or suffered a failure doesn’t really prepare you for anything.  But extreme frustration as you are unable to handle adversity.  Or recover from failure (see Students to learn about failure by Bethany Hiatt posted 5/25/2013 on The West Australian).

One of Perth’s most prestigious and academically successful schools is cutting back on praise and rewards for students.

It has concerns that society’s focus on boosting self-esteem leaves many struggling to cope with failure on leaving school.

St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls wrote to parents explaining why it introduced strategies this year to minimise praise, reduce reward stickers for participation and provide work that was deliberately too difficult so students could experience failure.

Junior school head Julie Quansing-Rowlands said the prevailing wisdom in schools for many years had been that building up children’s self-esteem would lead to high achievement.

But recent research showed this simplistic approach backfired.

Over-praising meant children were less able to cope with disappointments they faced later in life…

Heaping praise on students also gave them a false sense of their ability and led to a sense of entitlement…

“We’re beginning to understand that it actually damages children to constantly praise them, constantly tell them they’re special and build up their self-esteem,” he said.

“New research is demonstrating that it’s not self-esteem but self- respect and self-control that really are the best predictors of how well kids are going to perform in high school…”

WA Primary Principals Association president Stephen Breen said schools and parents had probably gone too far in puffing up children’s self-esteem by praising everything.

“As a consequence, a lot of kids don’t accept criticism,” he said.

This is what liberals did to the American public schools.  Ruined them by trying to build self-esteem instead of preparing our kids for life.  Which has fed into an entitlement mentality where kids today expect life to be handed to them without having to work hard to get ahead.  That’s why so many go to college and get worthless degrees.  Because they just expect to get a good job when they graduate. Even though they learned no marketable skills in college.  But they had a good time.  And have the student loan debt to prove it.  Which they’ll never be able to pay back working a service job that they could have gotten without a college education.

If you’re looking to move and you have kids you may want to consider Perth, Australia.  For I hear if your kids go to school there they’ll learn how to work hard.  They’ll earn good grades.  Maybe a bad one or two.  But they will be able to complete a degree program at a college that will have real market value.  Preparing them for the real world after school.  No matter what life throws at them.  So they won’t be coming back home to live in your basement.  But they will have you move in with them so they can take care of you in your golden years.  Because your parenting and a good Perth education allowed them to achieve more in life than you did.  The way it should be.  Not having future generations achieving less than their parents.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #30: “Liberal talk radio is not successful because liberals are not deep thinkers.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 7th, 2010

LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE

The Left has long searched for an answer to talk radio.  It is one of the few mediums they do not control.   And it’s a powerful medium.  Lots of people listen to talk radio.  Few of them liberal.

When you hear ‘talk radio’, what do you think of?  Rush Limbaugh?  Probably.  Most people do.  When you hear ‘conservative talk radio’, what do you think of?  Rush Limbaugh again?  Probably so.  Now think of Liberal talk radio and what do you think of?  Silence?  Silence that is so silent that you can hear crickets chirping?  Probably.  Successful talk radio and conservative talk radio are synonymous.  Why?  America is a center-right country.  Limbaugh’s success isn’t due to any genius on his part.  He just says what a vast majority of Americans think.  And the Left hates that.  Because they’re not in the majority.

They sound big.  But that’s because they’ve got big mouths.  Sort of a mouse that roared kind of thing.  They’ve got the vast majority of the network news and print media.  The college professors.  The Hollywood elite.  And a bunch of rich people who assuage their guilt over their unearned wealth by proclaiming their liberal tendencies.  This is not a lot of people.  In fact, it’s quite few.  However, if we read or watch the news, watch a movie or a program about entertainers, go to college or hear the obscenely rich talk about helping the ‘little people’ they can’t stand and want nothing to do with, they’re there.  They’re in our face.  Some in positions of credibility.  So people see them as…credible.  However incredible they are.  Which makes it seem like there are a lot more of them than there actually are.  So, then, who are they?  Really?  These liberals?

THE GUILTY RICH

Some people have amassed vast fortunes for doing nothing. Some inherited it.  Some married into it.  Others have made vast fortunes by pretending to be other people (actors).  Some wrote books.  Others made it big in pop ‘music’.  Others rode a wave of celebrity for silly behavior for which they have no shame.  These people don’t live in the real world.  The kind of world where you get up with an alarm clock and go to work 5 days a week (or more) for a paycheck that barely pays your bills.  No.  These people don’t need alarm clocks.  And they never want for anything.  Except to be loved.

Because there are some in politics (i.e., Liberals/Democrats) that like to make everything into a class struggle, these rich people feel guilty.  For in class warfare, the rich are always the bad guys.  And they don’t want to be the bad guys.  Because people don’t love the bad guys.  So they show how much they care for those less fortunate.  They call themselves liberals.  And we forgive them for all that wealth.  The kind of wealth we say CEOs shouldn’t have.  But it’s okay for rich liberals.  Even though they don’t create jobs.  Or make things that make our lives better.

THE YOUNG AND THE STUPID

Kids are stupid.  Don’t believe me?  Ask a parent.  You tell them not to drink, do drugs, have sex, drive recklessly, skip class, lie, cheat, etc., and they still do.  Not all of them.  But many do.  They engage in reckless, stupid, irresponsible behavior all of the time.  And parents find drugs in their rooms.  Deal with a teen pregnancy.  Or an abortion.  Comfort a child with an STD.  Or help her deal with the trauma she suffers when her ‘private’ nude photos aren’t so private anymore (and seeing her arrested for distributing child pornography).  Or hearing from a child’s teachers (or your priest) that they were forwarded a sexting from your child.  Seeing a daughter in a Girls Gone Wild commercial (and seeing her lose a job because of it).  Go to the emergency room because of a car accident or drug overdose.  Enroll a child into rehab.  Or go to the morgue to identify a dead child.  Or something less traumatic, like babysitting a grandchild while your daughter dances at a topless bar.  Or is out turning tricks. 

Kids live in the now.  And they want to have a good time.  All of the time.  Sex, drugs, abortion and STDs.  That’s what they’re thinking about.  And the ‘skankification’ of women.  Of girls.  Boys want only one thing.  Sex.  And girls want to be loved.  So they’re liberals.  They’re all for the liberation and empowerment of women.  Of girls.  Anything that makes girls ‘easier’.  And helps a girl’s self-esteem by making them more ‘popular’.  So legalize drugs.  And lower the drinking age.  Makes it easier to get girls into bed.  And keep abortion legal.  So a girl doesn’t have to worry about getting pregnant.  Makes her less hesitant in putting out.  And cure those incurable diseases, damn it.  Sometimes you’d like to hook up with a girl without having to get her drunk first.  And she’d be a whole lot more cooperative if she didn’t have to worry about an STD or two.

LOOK AT ME

I drive a Prius.  Because I care.  And I’m better than you.  That’s the message.  But when a rich celebrity drives a Prius and then flies away in their private plane for some fun in the sun, they give a different message.  They’re saying, “I’m a hypocrite.”  And, of course, that they’re better than us.

There comes a time in a rich celebrity’s life when they realize they haven’t done anything worthwhile.  I mean, sure, they’ve become rich and famous.  But they did that by pretending to be someone they’re not.  Or by writing some songs that Big Music marketed well.  Or simply for being good looking.  At some point in that ’empty’ life they need validation.  That their life has meaning.  So they champion a cause.  Warn us about the oceans.  Global warming.  The hungry.  They become politically active.  And provide expertise in things they know little about.  They’ll testify before Congress not because they have scientific credentials.  But because they played someone in a movie who did.  And to show their cerebral prowess they’ll call themselves liberals.  And warn us not to vote for George W. Bush.  For if we do, he’ll legalize rape or send all the gay people to one state.  (And, no, I won’t say who said these things.  I’m sure they’re embarrassed enough.)

And we love our celebrities.  Want to be like them.  So we, too, drive a Prius.  Because we, too, care.  And, of course, because we’re better than you.

THE SELFISHLY NARROW MINDED

The single-issue people care only for single issues.  Gays and lesbians who vote based on only gay and lesbian issues are single-issue people.  People who vote based only on a person’s abortion stand are single-issue people.  People who vote based only on environmental issues are single-issue people.  Etc.  Social Security.  Welfare.  Anti-war.  Anti-nuclear power.  Race.  Redistribution of wealth.  Animal rights.  People can be passionate about any one issue.  And if they are only passionate about any one issue, they’ll vote to advance that one, narrow issue.  And damn the unintended consequences that result from advancing that one narrow issue.  And they’ll call themselves liberals.  Because they’re about the enlightened ideal.  Not profits.  National security.  The rest of us.  Or common sense.

IT’S JUST A JUMP TO THE LEFT, AND THEN A STEP TO THE RIGHT

Liberals are indeed a minority of the population.  And yet our government governs very liberally.  How does this happen?  Simple.  Politicians lie.

During the primary election, they have to appeal to their base.  And their base includes all the small little groups of people noted above.  And more.  To get that liberal vote, they have to show how liberal they are.  Once they get the nomination, they have to move to the center and lie to the independents and moderates in the general election.  Convince them that they are centrists.  If elected, they move back to the left to pay off the far Left that financed their election.  When their poll numbers fall, they then move back to the right.  It’s a dance.  Like the Time Warp.  From the Rocky Horror Picture Show

It’s just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
Put your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it’s the pelvic thrust
That really drives you insane,

Let’s do the Time Warp again!

And there is some pelvic thrusting going on.  But it’s not the good kind.  If you know what I mean.

IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?

So why isn’t there a ‘Rush Limbaugh’ in liberal talk radio?  Because liberals are a small demographic.  And it’s a demographic created from small, narrow, special interests.  And a lot of them have things on their minds other than monetary and fiscal policy.  Foreign policy.  Affordable housing.  They’re thinking about sex and drugs.  Where to jet off to next.  Or checking into rehab.  They’ll rock the vote at election time.  But after that, they have better things to do.  You add it up and there is simply no market for liberal talk radio.  At least, not like there is for conservative talk radio.

When Liberal talk radio succeeds, it’s often by shocking the audience.  Belittling conservatives.  Name calling.  Like on SNL.  Or John Stewart’s The Daily Show.  It’s heavy on the comedy.  Light on the issues.  Because their audience is there for the entertainment.  Not for deep, intellectual thought.

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LESSONS LEARNED #28: “Politicians love failure because no one ever asked government to fix something that was working.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 26th, 2010

THE TELEVISION SHOW Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. aired from 1964-1969.  It was a spinoff from the Andy Griffith Show.  Gomer, a naive country bumpkin who worked at Wally’s filling station, joined the Marines Corps.  And there was much mirth and merriment.  To the chagrin of Sergeant Carter, Pyle’s drill instructor (DI).  Think of Gunny Sergeant R. Lee Ermey’s Sergeant Hartman in the movie Full Metal Jacket only with no profanity or mature subject matter.  Sergeant Carter was a tough DI like Sergeant Hartman.  But more suitable for the family hour on prime time television.

Gunny sergeants are tough as nails.  And good leaders.  They take pride in this.  But sometimes a gunny starts to feel that he’s not himself anymore.  This was the subject of an episode.  And Gomer, seeing that Sergeant Carter was feeling down, wanted to help.  So he stuffed Sergeant Carter’s backpack with hay before a long march.  While the platoon was worn and tired, Sergeant Carter was not.  He was feeling good.  Like his old self.  Until he found out he was not carrying the same load his men were.  He asked Pyle, “why hay?”  He could understand rocks, but hay?  Because if he outlasted his men while carrying a heavier load, he would feel strong.  But knowing he had carried a lighter load only made him feel weak.

This is human nature.  People take pride in their achievements.  They don’t take pride in any achievement attained by an unfair advantage.  Self-esteem matters.  And you can’t feel good about yourself if you need help to do what others can do without help. 

AN OLD CHINESE proverb goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  Let’s say I am a fisherman in a small village.  I catch fish to feed my family and sell/trade for other family needs.  There’s a man in my village who asks me for a fish each day so he can eat.  I’m a caring person.  So I give him a fish each day.  So a pattern develops.  Each day he shows up when I come in from my fishing.  He takes the fish and goes away.  It works out well for him.  He doesn’t have to work.  He can live off of my kind charity.  Then I move.  Without me being there to give him a fish each day, he no longer can eat.  And dies.  If I only had taught that man to fish. 

Kindness can lead to dependency.  And once dependent, you become lazy.  Why develop marketable skills to provide for yourself when someone else will provide for you?  The problem is, of course, what happens when that charity ends?  If you’re unable to provide for yourself and there is no longer someone providing for you, what do you do?  Steal?

Dependency and a lack of self-esteem are a dangerous combination.  And they feed off of each other.  This combination can lead to depression.  Behavioral problems.  Resentment.  Bitterness.  Envy.  Or a defeatist attitude.

These are often unintended consequences of government programs.  A failed program, then, has far reaching consequences beyond the initial economic costs of a program.

LIQUIDITY CRISES CAUSE a lot of economic damage.  If capital is not available for businesses to borrow, businesses can’t grow.  Or create jobs.  And we need jobs.  People have to work.  To support themselves.  And to pay taxes to fund the government.  So everyone is in favor of businesses growing to create jobs.  We all would like to see money being easy and cheap to borrow if it creates jobs.

But there is a downside to easy money.  Inflation.  Too much borrowing can create inflation.  By increasing the money supply (via fractional reserve banking).  More money means higher prices.  Because each additional dollar is worth a little less. This can lead to overvalued assets as prices are ‘bid’ up with less valuable dollars.  And higher prices can inflate business profits.  Looks good on paper.  But too much of this creates a bubble.  Because those high asset values and business profits are not real.  They’re inflated.  Like a bubble.  And just as fragile.  When bubbles burst, asset values and business profits drop.  To real values.  People are no longer ‘bidding’ up prices.  They stop buying until they think prices have sunk to their lowest.  We call this deflation.  A little bit of inflation or deflation is normal.  Too much can be painful economically.  Like in the Panic of 1907.

Without going into details, there was a speculative bubble that burst in 1907.  This led to a liquidity crisis as banks failed.  Defaults on loans left banks owing more money than they had (i.e., they became illiquid).  They tried to borrow money and recall loans to restore their liquidity.  Borrowers grew concerned that their bank may fail.  So they withdrew their money.  This compounded the banks problems.  This caused deflation.  Money was unavailable.  Causing bank runs.  And bank failures.  Business failures.  And unemployment grew. So government passed the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.  The government gave the Federal Reserve System (the Fed) great powers to tweak the monetary system.  The smartest people at the time had figured out what had gone wrong in 1907.  And they created a system that made it impossible for it to happen again.

The worst liquidity crisis of all time happened from 1929-1933.  It’s part of what we call the Great Depression.  The 1920s had a booming economy.  Real income was rising.  Until the Fed took action.  Concerned that people were borrowing money for speculative purposes (in paper investments instead of labor, plant and material), they put on the brakes.  Made it harder and more expensive to borrow money.  Then a whole series of things happened along the way that turned a recession into a depression.  When people needed money, they made it harder to get it, causing a deflationary spiral.  The Great Depression was the result of bad decisions made by too few men with too much power.  It made a crisis far worse than the one in 1907.  And the Roosevelt administration made good use of this new crisis.  FDR exploded the size of government to respond to the unprecedented crisis they found themselves in.  The New Deal changed America from a nation of limited government to a country where Big Government reigns supreme.

ONE PROGRAM OF the New Deal was Social Security.  Unemployment in the 1930s ran at or above 14%.  This is for one whole decade.  Never before nor since has this happened.  Older workers generally earn more than younger ones.  Their experience commands a higher pay rate.  Which allows them to buy more things.  Resulting in more bills.  Therefore, the Great Depression hit older workers especially hard.  A decade of unemployment would have eaten through any life savings of even the most prudent savers.  And what does this get you?  A great crisis.

The government took a very atypical moment of history and changed the life of every American.  The government forced people to save for retirement.  In a very poor savings plan.  That paid poorly by comparison to private pensions or annuities.  And gave the government control over vast amounts of money.  It was a pervasive program.  They say FDR quipped, “Let them try to undo this.” 

With government taking care of you in retirement, more people stopped providing for themselves.  When they retired, they scrimped by on their ‘fixed’ incomes.  And because Social Security became law before widespread use of birth control and abortion, the actuaries of the day were very optimistic.  They used the birth rate then throughout their projections.  But with birth control and abortion came a huge baby bust.  The bottom fell out of the birth rate.  A baby bust generation followed a baby boom generation.  Actually, all succeeding generations were of the bust kind.  The trend is growing where fewer and fewer people pay for more and more people collecting benefits.  And these people were living longer.  To stay solvent, the system has to raise taxes on those working and reduce benefits on those who are not.  Or raise the retirement age.  All these factors have made it more difficult on our aged population.  Making them working longer than they planned.  Or by making that fixed income grow smaller.

FDR used a crisis to create Social Security.  Now our elderly people are dependent on that system.  It may suck when they compare it to private pensions or annuities, but it may be all they have.  If so, they’ll quake in their shoes anytime anyone mentions reforming Social Security.  Because of this it has become the 3rd rail of politics.  A politician does not touch it lest he or she wishes to die politically.  But it’s not all bad.  For the politician.  Because government forced the elderly to rely on them for their retirement, it has made the Social Security recipient dependent on government.  In particular, the party of government who favors Big Government.  The Democrats.  And with a declining birth rate and growing aged population, this has turned into a large and loyal voting bloc indeed.  Out of fear.

A PROGRAM THAT straddled the New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society was Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  Its original New Deal purpose was to help widows take care of their children.  When program outlays peaked in the 1970s, the majority of recipients were unmarried women and divorced women.  Because this was a program based on need, the more need you had the more you got.  Hence more children meant more money.  It also reduced the importance of marriage as the government could replace the support typically provided by a husband/father.  Noted economist Dr. Thomas Sowell blames AFDC as greatly contributing to the breakdown of the black family (which has the highest incidence of single-parent households).

With the women’s liberation movement, women have come to depend less on men.  Some affluent women conceive and raise children without a husband.  Or they adopt.  And the affluent no doubt can provide all the material needs their children will ever need.  Without a husband.  Or a father for their children.  But is that enough?

The existence of ‘big brother’ programs would appear to prove otherwise.  Troubled children are often the products of broken families.  Mothers search for big brothers to mentor these fatherless sons.  To be role models.  To show an interest in these children’s lives.  To care.  When no such role models are available, some of these troubled children turn to other sources of acceptance and guidance.  Like gangs.

AFDC has compounded this problem by providing the environment that fosters fatherless children.  And another government program compounds that problem.  Public housing.

POOR HOUSING CONDITIONS hurt families.  They especially hurt broken families.  Without a working husband, these families are destined to live in the cheapest housing available.  These are often in the worst of neighborhoods.  This is an unfair advantage to the children raised in those families.  For it wasn’t their fault they were born into those conditions.  So, to solve that problem, government would build good public housing for these poorest of the poor to move into.  Problem solved.

Well, not exactly.  Public housing concentrates these broken families together.  Usually in large apartment buildings.  This, then, concentrates large numbers of troubled children together.  So, instead of having these children dispersed in a community, public housing gathers them together.  Where bad behavior reinforces bad behavior.  It becomes the rule, not the exception.  Making a mother’s job that much more difficult.  And because these children live together, they also go to school together.  And this extends the bad behavior problem to the school.  Is it any wonder that public housing (i.e., the projects) have the worst living conditions?  And some of the highest gang activity? 

Government didn’t plan it this way.  It’s just the unintended consequences of their actions.  And those consequences are devastating.  To the poor in general.  To the black family in particular.  AFDC and public housing enabled irresponsible/bad behavior.  That behavior destroyed families.  As well as a generation or two.  But it wasn’t all bad.  For the politicians.  It made a very large constituency dependent on government.

THERE ARE SO many more examples.  But the story is almost always the same.  Dependency and a lack of self-esteem will beat down a person’s will.  Like an addict, it will make the dependent accept poorer and poorer living standards in exchange for their fix of dependency.  Eventually, the dependency will reach the point where they will not know how to provide for themselves.  The dependency will become permanent.  As will the lack of self-esteem.  Conscious or not of their actions, Big Government benefits from the wretched state they give these constituencies.  With no choice but continued dependence, they vote for the party that promises to give the most.  Which is typically the Democrat Party.

But how can you fault these politicians?  They acted with the best of intentions.  And they can fix these new problems.  They’ll gather the brightest minds.  They’ll study these problems.  And they will produce the best programs to solve these problems.  All it will take is more government spending.  And how can you refuse?  When people are hungry.  Or homeless.  Or have children that they can’t care for.  How can anyone not want to help the children?  How can anyone not have compassion?

Well, compassion is one thing.  When the innocent suffer.  But when government manufactures that suffering, it’s a different story.  Planned or not the result is the same whenever government tries to fix things.  The cost is high.  The solution is typically worse than the original problem.  And the poorest of the poor are pawns.  To be used by Big Government in the name of compassion. 

Of course, if Big Government were successful in fixing these problems, they would fix themselves right out of existence.  So as long as they want to run Big Government programs, they’ll need a stock of wretched, suffering masses that need their help.  And, of course, lots of crises.

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