What they need most is a check, a reality check. Lower class value systems do not believe in planning for the future. They do not believe in sacrificing today for your own benefit tomorrow. There is a conflict between delayed gratification and the high that comes from fulfilling fleeting desires. As a result, lower class culture suffers from an epidemic of immediate gratification regardless of future consequences. Prudence, patience, and planning are not lauded enough, if at all. And yet, these are the very facets of character that allow a person to grow, accomplish, and, should they persevere, achieve excellence.
Following Gresham’s law, the issue is that in lower class culture values such as prudence, patience, planning, and delayed gratification are undervalued while disvalues such as misogyny, crime, immediate gratification, and pretention are overvalued. What follows is that those choosing to espouse prudence, delayed gratification and the like flow out of the culture while those espousing disvalues flow in and only reinforce the negative.
Even America’s mainline religious institutions have contributed to the debasement of values. Think about the positions of various religious organizations on abortion, illegitimate births, marriage, homosexuality and the behavior of the clergy. Many of these positions would have been unthinkable only a generation ago.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. This permissive Cultural Revolution has many attractive aspects. People can do what they want, with whom they want and when they want. However it has created a moral hazard in our society of causing us to excuse irresponsible behavior and takes people off the hook for acting without personal responsibility. It has created a society where anything goes. It has changed America from a culture which venerated the values of individual responsibility, self sacrifice, hard work, accomplishment and savings to one which marginalizes these values. This culture blames people’s problems on society in general and, as a result, the victims of society are discouraged from improving themselves because the government will bail them out.
If you choose to call my comments condescending you are falling into the middle class trap of making excuses to avoid criticism from the liberal establishment that uses the lower class as a power base and a podium for its own agenda.
Become part of the solution to the problems of the poor by recognizing their plight and steering them towards the culture changes that lead to success in a market based world.