The first three posts for this week have been fairly in-depth, and I'm trying to make major financial decisions at the moment. In the meantime, please continue to enjoy Monday through Wednesday. Oh, and this. Chew on this for a while too.

I recently asked my neighbors' little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents, are liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, 'If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?'

She replied, 'I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people.'

Her parents beamed with pride.

'Wow…what a worthy goal.' I told her, 'But you don’t have to wait until you're President to do that! You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I'll pay you $50. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.'

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, 'Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?'

I said, 'Welcome to Conservatism.'

Her parents still aren’t speaking to me.

I place the odds that this happened at around 0%. But true story or not, it teaches us all a valuable lesson: that the guy who wrote this is an unbearable d-bag.

68 thoughts on “I'M SURE THIS HAPPENED”

  • bingobangoboy says:

    The writer seems to believe that he has led Glaucon — er, I mean, the little girl in his story — to question/debunk a core value of liberalism, but actually she's calling him on his bullshit. Because her question has an answer, and it's "because there's not really a job to be had; I'm not *really* offering a job to anybody, least of all that homeless guy. I just made up an imaginary situation because reality doesn't fit my rhetorical purposes."

  • @Bingo: The conservative answer to (the little girl's/your/liberal) question is: "How many homeless people have you hired?"

    It's there in the comments. So your final summation appears to be correct.

  • @Black: not just a person, but a child. Not that I disagree w kids doing age appropriate jobs around the neighbourhood. Having kids earn money towards their iPod is good for them. But I guess he can't get away w slavery.

  • Of course, this implies that there's a surfeit of jobs and those lazy bums just won't take them.

    When confronted with that line of argument, I point out that must mean Obama's doing a great job with the economy – what with all those jobs going unfilled.

    They can't have it both ways.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    Here's how that conversation would have ended, had it ever taken place in the real world:
    'She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, 'Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?'

    'And I said. "WHAT! PAY HIM? Let him come and work for me for free. Then he can put that on his resume and find a job in his own neighborhood, not my gated one."'

    And the little girl said, "Yeah,you want people to work, demand it, but you don't want to hire them and pay them. That's CONSERVATISM!"

  • It would be bad enough if conservatives actually acted this way towards children(remember the article about the free lemonade stand), but what is worse is that these people clearly MAKE these stories up. They're so pathetic that they can only trounce little children in their own made-up parables.

  • "So mister, are you going to hire the guy and give him $50?"


    "So what the fuck is he supposed to do if nobody's hiring?"


    "Welcome to the real world, jackass."

  • Grumpygradstudent says:

    How about, "because the homeless man believes he is being hounded by dragon demons constantly and would be too distracted to mow the lawn."?

    The "homeless=> mental illness" connection has been exaggerated in popular rhetoric, but it has a core of truth to it.

  • The bigger issue is that of the strawman argument which the original post concerned. No "liberal" policy suggests that you should work and give all of your money to some "homeless" person, so the entire basis of his "story" is a crock of propagandist crap.

    It also assumes that:

    a) Contributions to the "homeless" person are person-to-person gifts, rather than a contribution to a shared societal network
    b) Everyone exists in a vacuum (the classic Libertarian argument), as 50$ of labor somehow equals 50$ of payment with no expenses. It's definitely a children's story, if that's the way he's choosing to frame it.
    c) The "homeless person" is somehow capable of the work. (This point has been brought up earlier.)

    Serious logical arguments generally aren't that easy to destroy. This guy is using bumper sticker logical theory to try to attack an ideology using a pretty basic logical fallacy. Conservative fail, anyone?

  • @Black_Rose: Well, no. Whatever 'conservatism' is about, he's not saying. He's talking about "Conservatism!, Fuck, Yeah!", which is a very different ball of fish and kettle of wax. Sort of a ludicrous mash-up of the drunken musings of Ayn Rand and Mussolini*. "Conservatism" is about paying** people*** a pittance**** to do***** a shit job******. I hope this clarifies things somewhat.

    *In your face, Godwin!
    ** but only if it can't be avoided, and even then, see if you can get back on the swings what you lose on the round-abouts.
    *** imaginary stereotypical figments of Ronald Reagan's fevered imagination, and a couple of those fake panhandlers that seem to have sprouted up like mushrooms over the past decade. I hear they make so much money from begging that they refuse to take honest work if it's offered!
    **** and it's more than they deserve, the mutinous dogs!*******
    ***** as they're told and keep their mouths shut.
    ****** which is only imaginary, to boot. But if it was real, it would be shit.
    *******[/Tim Curry as Long John Silver]

  • Monkey Business says:

    …The child looked at me and said "Well, why is he homeless?". I told her that he used to work in a factory, but after his factory was taken over by a Wall Street hedge fund his job was shipped to Vietnam where they pay someone a small fraction of his salary and benefits to do the same job. His life savings and retirement were wiped out by the stock market crash in 2008, and because he was a factory worker with no college degree, he couldn't find another job. He lost his home to foreclosure, after the bank refused to modify his mortgage.

    She ponders that for a second and says "Well, what if everyone gave him $5 instead? There's a bunch of us; if we all gave him $5, he'd have way more than $50. He could buy food, rent an apartment, find a job, and take night classes at a community college. Then, when he's back on his feet, he can give $5 too."

    And I looked at this little girl, and I said to her, "That's called socialism, and besides, why should I help anyone when I already have all the money I need?"

    And she looked back at me and said "No, that's called being a decent human being. And you should help him because someday, that homeless man could be you. Asshole.", and promptly gave me a raspberry.

  • @MonkeyBusiness:

    { applause }

    But "welcome to conservatism" is the 100% accurate riposte. Because what is modern conservatism but a political ideology based on a purely fictional scenario in which both the problem posed and the solution offered have no basis in actual fact but rather the imaginings of a smug and self-satisfied narrator. It's Ayn Rand 101.

  • This is the same conservative "parable" told over and over again to prove…umm…something.

    1. Your roommate is failing and you feel bad for her…Why don't you give her some of your A's and B's?…That's not fair since i worked hard and she did not!…That means you are conservative. WHEEEE!
    2. A father gave his son $40…He invested it but lost it based on his own decisions…instead of whining and asking for more money, he realized he could make the $40 for doing just 5 hours of minimum wage work…He didn't blame anyone for his misfortune and got working…Bootstraps! YEEARGH!!
    3. College students argue with a professor that socialism works…he says, "Okay then we will average all the test scores and give everyone the same grade"…the students scores get progressively worse as the year goes on and they all fail the final…professor claims that this proves socialism does not work because no one cares to work hard…WOLVERINES!!1!11!

    Even if the discussion was real, which I can readily assume never happened in reality, the only thing it proves is the author is capable of stumping a 10-year old. Not the greatest debate win I've come across. It is a simplistic, pointless story that covers as a way to demean liberals, when the true moral of the story is the same: Greed is good and fuck you I got mine.

  • Fer sure it's a make-believe story. I received it in an email at least 2 years ago.

    Hackenbush @10:33 am does a good job of deconstructing it, but it is not a conservative fail. It is a rousing conservative success. Just glance at the comments on the sight. it's high fives all around for the profound insights that vignette illustrates, to the edification (i.e. epistemic closure) of the conservative mind.

    Conservatism is all about simple talking points that make one feel not just good, but superior – both morally, and in some way that implies an intrinsically better intellectual status, irrespective of any unfortunate contrary reality. Hence the close alignment of regressive conservatism and religious fundamentalism.

    Sound bites always have the advantage of simplicity over real thought and analysis, which requires actual mental effort. Just as a liar always has a tactical advantage over someone telling the truth. Making shit up is so much simpler that dealing with the complexities of messy reality.

    Welcome to the 1890's. It's our next stop on the way to the 12th century.


  • And that little girl grew up to be a buxom co-ed at a Small Midwestern College, later forced into white slavery, to the heartbreak of her parents, a cabdriver/Applebee's salad bar attendant and a wildly overpaid teacher.

  • This has got to be the dumbest political parable I've ever come across. So, being a conservative means re-enforcing market inefficiencies? How is is that something to be proud of? Truly bizarre.

  • I'm not sure which is more concerning:
    The possibility that this story is a fake yet they're high-fiving each other for their little morality tale. Particularly the parts where the author gleefully trashes a little girl. Yup, he's Da Man!

    The fact that part of that trashing involves running counter to what America stands for, that anyone can achieve their dream — yeah I know, I know that's starting to become less of a reality, but the current President proves that it's possible. Maybe it's not so surprising as she's a girl, and only middle-age+ white males can be President. The dark guy's an anomaly they intend to prevent.

    Or worse yet, the focus of the trashing is on traits and behaviours that were once deemed the most important ones to instill in children. Charity and compassion. Concern for the weak. Outward focus. All of the hallmarks of Christian belief and living. Instead we get this. Like that open letter sent to Ryan by the faculty of Georgetown, they even named his influences as closer to Rand than Jesus.

    They're constantly going on about the "Christian ideal of self-sufficiency". There isn't one btw, because all things come from God. Yes there's being industrious, but Jesus on more than one occasion "had compassion" and fed people. The key words in Paul's epistles on receiving charity are *if he is able* he must. That means a person who can needs to earn their keep, if for some reason they can't, then it's different.

    Whatever it is that came with St. Ronnie, it certainly isn't Christian.

  • JazzBumpa @ 12:24:

    I figured that a complete logical failure indicated a failure of the underlying ideology, but my reality-based logic has no place in the world of the Michelle Bachmanns, Rush Limbaughs and Alan Wests of the so-called "Conservative movement".

    Also, I believe you give them far too much credit in assuming they only want to go back to the 1890s. I think the bygone age of feudalism and serfdom is a much more realistic ideal for them — and don't forget the Dark Ages, where Religion trumped Reason (at least in dogma, if not in any sort of reasoning).

  • @Xynzee:

    No, this tale is classic hippie punching. That's really all it is. The hero here "wins" not because he had a good argument but because he PUNCHED THOSE HIPPIE PARENTS!

    Really, that is all conservatives live for.

  • Really, that is all conservatives live for.

    Then why in the world would you spend all day psychoanalyzing a silly little parable?

    Makes no sense.

  • …She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, 'Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?'

    I opened my mouth to speak, smug with the assuredness that I had just bested a ten year old in a political debate, but I was interrupted by her father as he strode forth, gently placed his hand on his daughter's shoulder, and gave me a sort of smile that chilled what was left of my shriveled husk of a heart.

    "Well dear, that would be because he got hit by a pickup truck, bring driven by old Mr. Jameson who had just come back from voting Republican in the election and was more than a little drunk behind the wheel. When he got to the hospital, they presented him with a medical bill in the five figures or so to heal his injuries. Interestingly enough, neither of the two healthcare policies he had from his two employers actually wanted to render the services they were being paid for, and argued with each other over who had to foot the bill, until eventually they both decided that NEITHER of them was going to pay a dime and left him with the entire bill to pay on his own. That was when the bank took his home and everything else he owned that would enable him to continue working — or, more accurately, to find new work, as both of his employers fired him after 10+ years of loyal service because he couldn't be at work for two months while he was learning how to walk again."

    For the briefest of moments, I felt what I thought might be sympathy or compassion for the homeless man's plight. But then I remembered that I was a Conservative, damnit, and it was MY fifty bucks, so fuck him and everyone else!

  • @Dennis, you seem to be confused as to how the Intenet works. Nobody "spent all day analyzing a silly little parable." The blogger took a few minutes to post it, all the regular readers came on their own time and at their convenience to read it and post comments, and some of them are making conversation about it and the related issues it reveals–again, all at their own convenience. But thanks for proving what I said earlier, that conservatism tracks closely with stupidity.

  • But thanks for proving what I said earlier, that conservatism tracks closely with stupidity

    You seem to be on some sort of crusade to prove something, Sarah. Coming from a liberal viewpoint, that doesn't exude strength on your part.

    Just sayin'.

  • Conservativism: the political science wisdom of a 10 year old

    Other pieces of conservative 10-year-old wisdom include "if you're poor, you should go earn some more money" and "exercise every day so you won't get sick. That way you won't need health insurance!"

  • localnebula says:

    @Sarah, obviously the internet is really only one person. I am not a lurker popping up to point and laugh. I am you, and you are me, as is everyone else. Except poor Dennis, who can only know us through our own unreliable account of our interactions with ourselves, and his few fleeting encounters with us.

    It's like Steppenwolf, but with cats.

  • @Dennis

    We're totally evil, granted, but most of what goes on around here is just good-natured ribbing.

  • "Then why in the world would you spend all day psychoanalyzing a silly little parable?

    Makes no sense."

    Dennis is the perfect resident concern troll. This parable, wherein our "hero" bests a 10-year-old girl with a terrible analogy, is a perfect example of how childish and quite frankly fucked-up conservative thinking is. Yet when caught red handed acting like idiots, they change the subject and pathetically try to turn it on you.

    Why are we analyzing this parable? Because it's entertaining when we pick apart pathetic conservative thinking. It doesn't require any effort because you can sink this meme with one shot from virtually any angle.

  • @Dennis: "Then why in the world would you spend all day psychoanalyzing a silly little parable?

    Makes no sense."

    Well that's salami sandwiches for you!

  • And right after this, an Army vet walked up, said "God was busy so he sent me," and then punched the girl in the face.

    Totally true.

  • @ deep:

    Dammit JzB, why do you always have to have such depressing comments!?!

    Realistic observations about depressing shit tend to run that way. I guess I have very little disdain for the obvious.

    hackenbush @ 1:33:
    You're right, it is a failure of the underlying ideology, and in quite an epic fashion. But as rhetoric, it is a smashing success. And, as I just read at another site, "Rhetoric, after all, has always been about making the worse case defeat the better."


    Plus, you missed what i was getting at, above.

    "Welcome to the 1890's. It's our next stop on the way to the 12th century."

    I think we're on the same (depressing – if you remember deep's concept of depressing) page.


  • Effectively, your hero gave the girl an equally irrelevant answer to the girl's question.

    Now unlike the hero I shall explain,

    Because the parable concludes with the hero not answering the question posed by the girl. Who walks away gloating that he'd bested a child with infantile logic, and returns to a congratulatory circle jerk about what a big strong *man* he is. Still the question hangs there…

    If I were the parents I'd avoid a douche like that too. To prove your point by going after a kid who asks quite a good question, and then claim victory by giving a non-answer…

    Kid probably learned a valuable lesson, conservatives make weird non-sensical analogies that have no contact with the world, and are best to be avoided.

    You really are an elite athlete aren't you.

  • $50 to use toward food and a new house

    Because $50 will totally buy food and the down payment on a house!

  • I am overjoyed with this thread. All the criticism of the most idiotic aspects of conservative memes ALL in one thread! We've got the grown man picking on a child(from the original story), the idiotic non-sequiter that doesn't apply to the real world(again from the original), but then we've got contributors bringing up other chain e-mail classics(like the socialist college class) and best of all- the hard-punching army vet sent from God. Can this get any better?

  • Arslan –

    The only thing that could make it better would be a totally irrelevant non-sequitur from Dennis.

    JzB (apologizing for yet another depressing comment)

  • Dennis, you seemed to have made the crucial mistake of assuming that there are many Obama supporters here. I for one never gave a fuck about a word that guy said, before and after the election.

  • @Dennis

    Despite his many faults, he's still infinitely preferable to the traveling freakshow that would have been a McCain/Palin administration or Romney/Anybody.

  • Kevin (NYC) says:

    "But thanks for proving what I said earlier, that conservatism tracks closely with stupidity."

    lol you are wise Sarah… I have never seen a troll here before.. but I don't read every comment.

    "Remember when Obama blah blah blah.." gee Dennis I don't remember.. and I can't be bothered to watch!!

    because who cares? Obama may be a scardy cat regulation snuffer, who bombs and kills people with a wave of his hand, who let Bush and Woo and Cheney et al war criminals go without a boohoo and who locks up whistleblowers and makes deals with insurance companies and wall street tycoons..

    but so what. The last person out of the clown car, now it's Romney… will be far worse. twice the bad and none of the good.

    so it does not matter all the bad stuff Obama did. You Repukes like at that stuff anyway.

  • Heh. I thought the the video of Obama stammering about sacrifices he'd ask students in exchange for free stuff was apt, and a fairly obviously parallel to the topic of the post. The parents are pissed at even the suggestion of someone working for the handout, even an innocent child wondering why that could not be the case. Just as Obama thinks it might be a good idea at first,and indeed his wife repeated that suggestion many times that her husband would challenge people to do more, but reality set in with him and he soon realized that was a political loser for him to put the plan in place. Occupy kids today don't want mere help with their student loans, they want complete forgiveness….."and screw the volunteerism, are you kidding me? Bail me out like you did Wall Street, Obama! C'mon, you can do it, just tax the rich."

  • LOL, yeah Dennis… How dare those kids want a free pass for attending Bumfuck State University so that they can provide the economy with the mid-level cannon fodder that it needs to function?!?!1?

  • Actually I think Dennis is onto something here. Maybe we can ask the oil companies to "sacrifice" in exchange for all the subsidies we give them?

  • Why not just pick four or five companies and do like the Romans did, Major….just crucify them. The rest will do what you want them to do then, amirite?

  • Dennis is set up in his office. He goes left.. No! He goes right he shoots! He scores!

    Dennis. You truly have exceeded any expectations what's so ever. Not only are you a naturally born, highly talented douche. But like a top performing athlete, you practice daily to hone and improve your skills. You are the Federer of douches.

    Care to stop while you're ahead or just keep going?

  • @Dennis

    Hey, not a bad idea. After all, corporations are people now.

    But I'm a reasonable man. I'd settle for an "Exxon can't buy Senators" law.

  • "Exxon can't buy Senators"

    But money is speech and corporations are people, so it's only natural if legislators respond to all of the "speech" that they receive from "people".

  • I'm not sure what I find more offensive about that little piece: the smugness of the author, or that he thinks a demonstration of a child's empathy is a policy position that must be debated. Either way, ugh.

  • Thanks a lot.

    I started reading the comments at the link, now I can't sleep. Those people are effin' mean!

  • Dennis, you do realize that Bush, McCain, and Palin all supported the bailout and stimulus too, right?

  • Rusty Troller says:

    Fifty bucks? A Cheap Labor Conservative would never pay a child that much money in exchange for house & yard work… at least not when there are 'guest workers' who will do it for ten cents on the dollar. The first rule of trickle-down economics is "trickle".

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