May 25, 2017

"I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind," said Ben Carson.

"You take somebody that has the right mind-set, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there...."
You take somebody with the wrong mind-set, you can give them everything in the world — they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom....

If everybody had a mother like mine, nobody would be in poverty. She was a person who absolutely would not accept the status of victim.

71 comments:

Kevin said...

This is the real Inconvenient Truth.

Rene Saunce said...

I'm pretty sure that is racist, illegal, and a mind crime.

Guards, seize him.

Kevin said...

A ton of people on my facebook feed keep posting this quote as an example of the extreme insanity of Republicans. I thought it was so common sense it doesn't even need to be said.

Amadeus 48 said...

My father said the same thing about my mother-in-law. She didn't have much money, but she was a rich, cultured person.

Michael K said...

This is why he is hated by the left along with Clarence Thomas who was raised by his grand parents.

rhhardin said...

Poverty just means no internet.

Matthew Sablan said...

I mean, yes and no.

While you can't keep a good dog down, there are some things people just can't recover from just with a tough mindset.

Eleanor said...

I also think we need to redefine what it means to be poor. As long as the "poverty line" is defined as below a percentage of the median income, there will always be people who are poor. We need to define what the necessities of life are, and define poverty as not having enough resources to provide them for yourself and your family. I grew up solidly middle class, but we had 5 kids, one bathroom, one car, one TV, no AC, and we rarely ate out or had takeout. The Cleavers' lifestyle wouldn't satisfy a lot of people who consider themselves "poor" today. Wally and the Beave had to share a room, and poor June didn't have a car.

MisterBuddwing said...

Movie producer Mike Todd once said, "I've never been poor, only broke. Being poor is a frame of mind. Being broke is only a temporary situation." I'd like to think there's truth to that - I just don't want to test it first-hand.

Expat(ish) said...

My grandfather, born 1898, was one of 11 on a south Louisiana truck farm. He got his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton and taught college physics for 49 years, interrupted by, as he said, "2.5 wars."

Except for Huey Long making it somewhat easier for him to attend LSU, I am pretty sure he'd have attributed 100% of his success to his mom insisting he go to school after chores.

He'd have 100% understood Ben Carson.

-XC

Mattman26 said...

Oh boy is he in trouble.

dreams said...

That's mostly true, most people are smart enough to improve their lives if they're not so lazy and are willing to try but the liberals by using big government welfare have provided a lot of poor people an easy way to drop out, to not even try but it's also a trap because it prevents them from having a better life that might have otherwise been possible.

tcrosse said...

There's a difference between poverty and squalor. Even the rich can achieve squalor.

Fernandinande said...

If everybody had a mother like mine, nobody would be in poverty.

That's pure nonsense but the rest of what he said is mostly true.

"In fact, about 70 percent of people who win a lottery or get a big windfall actually end up broke in a few years, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education."

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

Carson is just showing his white patriarchal privilege.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Get him back on the plantation!! Now!!

YoungHegelian said...

What I find interesting about the reaction to Secretary Carson's opinions is his opponents' utter self-righteousness & assurance that they truly understand the sociology of poverty.

Actually, the sociology of poverty in 1st world countries seems to be a very complex & difficult thing. While I'm not going to just swallow Carson's "by-your-bootstraps" bromides, I'm sure as hell not going to assume that he's totally clueless & his opponents have God on their side, either.

eric said...

This is so obviously true, of course Democrats are going to freak out about it.

Remember, when you vote for a Democrat, you're voting for someone who thinks Carson is the crazy one.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Good points, Eleanor. I know a couple who told me that now that they had two girls they would have to find a bigger house because they couldn't expect the girls to share bedrooms.

Why not? I had to share a bedroom with my sister. Most of my friends did too. Since when did expecting a child to share a room become abuse?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Those defined as poor in this country - whether black, white or brown - own cell phones, fancy tennis shoes, and wide-screen TVs. They are often obese. It's not like living in a shack in Calcutta.

But I'd still call many of the American poor poor - because of the poverty of the values, ambitions and world view they are raised with. If you grow up with the attitude that The Man is out to get you and the only way to cope with it is by either becoming an athlete or a criminal, you are poor.

Gahrie said...

Poor people today have a higher standard of living than the middle class did when LBJ started the war on poverty.

The real problem isn't poverty...it's dependency and the destruction of the family.

n.n said...

Revitalization. Rehabilitation. Reconciliation of moral, natural, and personal imperatives. As important, people need to discover their dignity. [class] diversity (e.g. race, sex, "=") has sabotaged positive progress.

William said...

What could Ben Carson possibly know about poverty? Next thing you know, he'll be lecturing about race elations. I prefer to listen to someone who knows about such things like Katy Perry.

William said...

Poverty is a portable stench. It sticks with you. I grew up very poor, and I've never really accepted the fact that I'm no longer poor.

n.n said...

People need to be productive members of family, community, and society. While smoothing functions are effective means to maintain short-term environmental stability, they are spiritual destructive and force corruption in the long-term.

This is where China gets it almost right. However, packing people in high density population centers was likely counterproductive, even if it opened the space to low density energy production (balanced by diversification) and resources recovery.

Michael K said...

The interesting thing about Carson, and Thomas and even Charles Payne, who has a show on Fox, is that they had single parent families.

Clarence Thomas mother was a druggie and his grandparents raised him.

They had one parent or two grandparents who provided supervision and who cared about them and wanted them to amount to something.

That's why vouchers and charter schools are so critical to blacks. There are parents who want their kids to grow up right.

OGWiseman said...

A "mindset" seems to me like something that can be easily changed.

"If everybody had a mother like mine" seems to imply a LOT more than a mere mindset.

Carson seems to think that "attitude" is the biggest thing he got from his mother, but tenacity and focus and ambition are a lot deeper than "mindset". If we need people to have the right parents in order to get them, then there definitely ARE a lot of people who are just hopelessly poor and in need of help. They didn't have his mother, after all, so I guess it's too late for them.

Bad Lieutenant said...

OG, other than being snotty, what is your point? The sad fact is that many of the people immured in the culture of poverty and dysfunction are never going to make it out.

All your dogoodism sincere or otherwise won't blot out a line of it.

The thing is to stop the cycle from perpetuating.

You don't want that.

I know you don't want that, because you reject the wisdom necessary to solve the problem.

Jim Grey said...

Sure, determination is where you start when you want out of poverty. But then you have to live a mistake-and-setback-free life, because even a small mistake or setback can snowball fast and leave you worse off than when you started. Who's capable of not making any mistakes? Who never has a setback, even a small one? I lived essentially in situational poverty once and what let me recover from mistakes and setbacks was family who were not in the same place and could help me over such humps.

Larry J said...

Eleanor said...
I also think we need to redefine what it means to be poor. As long as the "poverty line" is defined as below a percentage of the median income, there will always be people who are poor. We need to define what the necessities of life are, and define poverty as not having enough resources to provide them for yourself and your family. I grew up solidly middle class, but we had 5 kids, one bathroom, one car, one TV, no AC, and we rarely ate out or had takeout. The Cleavers' lifestyle wouldn't satisfy a lot of people who consider themselves "poor" today. Wally and the Beave had to share a room, and poor June didn't have a car.


Good points. My father was a carpenter and my mother a seamstress. I'm the youngest of 5 kids. I don't know if we were lower middle class or upper lower class, but my brothers and I shared rooms growing up. We had 1 bathroom for 7 people, no air conditioning (in Alabama), one family car, and we didn't own a TV until I was 6 years old and that was a used black & white set. Hand-me-down clothes were the norm most years. One of my happiest memories was when I outgrew my older brother and he had to wear my hand-me-ups. My parents were married for 18 years before they were able to buy their first home. Still, live was pretty good. When I was in high school, I volunteered to deliver food and toys to poor families at Christmastime. I often found them living better than I was.

I remember watching two women on welfare being interviewed years ago on a local news program. They were both obese, sitting in a filthy kitchen drinking sodas and smoking. They had an endless list of excuses why they couldn't possibly be expected to work. As an aside, they were white. That's the mindset Dr. Carson is talking about. They were given everything and demanded more, but nothing would ever be enough for them. I've known quite a few people who started out poor and raised themselves out of poverty. When my wife and I married 34 years ago, our income was clearly in the bottom 10% nationally. That's far from the case today. Not everyone is able to do anything, of course. Some people are too badly handicapped (mentally or physically) to work so we as a society have a duty to help them.

mockturtle said...

tcrosse rightly contends: There's a difference between poverty and squalor. Even the rich can achieve squalor.

And even the poor can live well and in dignity. I had some Mennonite friends once who were very poor. The father had lost his job and they had to move from their house into a small mobile home with their five children. Their simple home was always clean and uncluttered, meals were nourishing and hearty and the family healthy and happy.

At a food bank I once volunteered for we put on a series of seminars on how to cook with dried beans, rice, staple ingredients. [I still have the excellent booklet we gave out to customers]. Unfortunately, people remained uninterested in cooking basics and wanted prepared foods. Some Ukrainian immigrants called beans and rice 'dog food' and wanted meat.

There may be excuses for poverty but never excuses for squalor. A brand new tract home will look like something from the third world in no time if the people simply don't care.

Bay Area Guy said...

This is quite refreshing. Thank you Ben Carson.

On a personal note, in the Bronx, circa 1950, my Grandparents had 5 small kids, while Grandpa worked as night janitor at the Brooklyn Army base, for probably $1.50/ hour or less (not a union job).

No car, no home ownership, probably no bank account until the mid 60s. Most importantly, no welfare.

And yet my Mom and 4 uncles and aunts all turned out well.

By any measure, they were not yet middle class, but solid working class. But life turned out reasonably well, because they kept the marriage intact and rejected the poverty mindset.

My name goes here. said...

OMG, what a bunch of whiners!
Carson said "I think poverty to a large extent is ALSO a state of mind,"

ALSO

Not ONLY a state of mind, but ALSO a state of mind. Yes there are setbacks that make it really hard to get out of poverty, Carson's statement does not refute that. He is saying that part of the problem about getting out of poverty ALSO includes a correct mindset.

Just an old country lawyer said...

The very best way to keep people poor, oppressed and dependent is to convince them that they are victims. If you refuse to accept that definition of yourself, even if you may objectively qualify as a victim, you never will be one and you can rise to what ever level of success you desire and expect of yourself.

Fen said...

"as an example of extreme insanity"

Same with that smug cartoon about airline passengers voting on who should land the plane.

It was meant to deride those silly enough to ignore the "experts", ie. tbe elites who insisted Hillary should he elected you stupid rubes.

But what I saw was a Regional VP of Macy's, a grandmother retired from NASA, a student majoring in engineering, a paralegal, a plumber and a US Marine on leave... all huddled in the back of coach, trying to save the plane.

My question was: how badly have the "experts" screwed things up when you have complete strangers banding together to see who can land this thing.

Suicide Squeeze said...

I wonder if in France Carson's comment would be banned because it might someone feel guilty for accepting public assistance.

Michael K said...

There is a certain percentage of the poor who are not going to get out of the hole they are in. What is important is to help those who want to get out and one big way is better schools and that means vouchers and charter schools.

Renee said...

When you live in a liberal state and there are services left and right, and yet still people will end up being 'no shows' to job mentor programs that pay and enrichment programs for their children, yes poverty can be a state of mind.

mockturtle said...

Country lawyer proclaims: The very best way to keep people poor, oppressed and dependent is to convince them that they are victims.

Bingo!

Fen said...

The "poor" obsese women sitting in their filthy kitchen drink soda and smoking cigs are our secret WMD in the war to come.

Across America, every blue city state is invested with tens of thousands of these welfare brats. The Left has enslaved them to the Party through dependency. Many are 3rd generation welfare - never worked a day in their life, never known anything other than a government check. In their mind it's THEIR money, they are OWED it. And cutting off their sodas and cigs is theft.

So on day one of a civil war, we hack the EBT system and take it offline. Looting (recently Target) in 2 days, and when the shelves are bare and truckers avoid zones that are too hot, hunger riots that make Ferguson look like a block party.

Inside of 2 weeks, every blue city state will be in flames. And urban liberals will be hanging from overpasses.

Checkmate in 3

Seeing Red said...

Staying out of poverty:

1. Get a HS diploma

2. Get married after 20

3. Don't have kids until at least 9 months after you're married

From a study done around 1978 and reconfirmed 30 years later.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Of course, it’s not just determination. There is also a whole set of mores and habits you internalize growing up in a non-poor family that those raised in poverty might simply be ignorant of. My parents told me to never be late for work, to dress up for job interviews, even if the job was burger flipping, to send a thank you note after the interview. I remember reading about some organization – I think it was “House of Ruth” in DC who not only gave poor women food, baby supplies, etc. but tried to prepare them for the world of work, conducted mock job interviews with them on and so on. Some of it was very basic etiquette but if a person was raised in a home where very basic etiquette was not taught, I can see him not understanding why employers weren’t giving him a chance to do even menial work, and becoming frustrated and angry.

That is true even of middle class kids these days. Jennifer Bartolotta, the wife of the owner of several upscale restaurants in this area, used to offer a course in table manners. She came up with the idea after local businessmen told her how they would take recent college graduates out to lunch and discover the kids didn’t how to conduct themselves in a good restaurant. It wasn’t a matter of drinking out of the finger bowl or using the wrong fork – Bartolotta said the complaints were about things like chewing with their mouths open, not using the napkins, and lunging over the table to grab the salt shaker. She said people of even modest means used to learn manners from Sunday family dinners, but not that many people do that nowadays and often families don’t even eat weekday dinners together because everyone has a different schedule.

If you are never taught certain things, you don’t pick them up by omosis.

Fen said...

Infested not invested, stupid smartphone.

Seeing Red said...

Our poor are better off than some middle class in parts of Europe.

David Baker said...

Poverty of a third kind:

Drudge headline: "FOXNEWS BACKS HANNITY"

(i.e., start waving goodbye to Hannity)

Seeing Red said...

Destroy middle class values and they'll turn us in beggars cos we'll be easier to please!


Gotta break down the middle class to destroy America so we can live in socialistic EUtopia. Except that's just old world serf/bein peasant/anointed class. Now it's who you know and top 10 schools which start the divide.

I Callahan said...

It IS a state of mind. NFL players who have 12 kids from 8 different women with whom they've never been married, running fighting dog rings, Hip Hop artists getting shot for "street cred".

This isn't even up for debate with me. It's the cold, unvarnished truth. Pouring money on poor people won't make them change their mores to middle class mores. I don't care how many social programs you put into motion.

Jake said...

I saw a movie like this with Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.

stlcdr said...

With all the anecdotal, but very valid, examples of people overcoming 'poverty' (whatever that even means, today), and everything that is the Internet, why is it that capable people are still struggling (a very loose term) with their own poverty?

That's rhetorical of course. There's a whole litany of excuses. I guarantee that not one who complains of poverty states the reason as 'they made some bad choices'.

Birches said...

I'm not sure how anyone can argue with him on his points, especially the point about his mother. How many Asian immigrants do you know who become enmeshed in the cycle of poverty? I'm going to venture a guess that most Asian mothers act a lot like Ben Carson's mother.

I've read a lot about and by Michael Oher and in some ways his story is like winning the lottery. But in other ways, it seems completely obvious why he got out. He was drawn to people who worked for a living. He was taken in by other people before the Tuohys. He may not have been an NFL player, but I don't think he would have ended up in the projects either.

cubanbob said...

Unless they are actually handicapped and unable to work, time limit benefits to not more than five years with a required five years between applications and for single mothers once on the dole no extra money for additional kids. Being poor isn't a good enough reason in of itself to force other people to support you if you can support yourself.

John said...

Preach it, Brother Ben!

John Henry

Swede said...

Burn the heretic!

Ron Winkleheimer said...

You know, Spike Lee made a bunch of movies with this exact same message. I remember in one of them, can't think of the name, some friends, all young teenage women, are sitting around talking and one of them says she has to leave to go to work.

This offends one of the other girls, to the point that she physically attacks the girl. She is upset that she would rather go to work than hang out with her friends. At least, that is the reason she gave.

Its true that some people are poor through no fault of their own. And society should help those people. Though I think the government does more harm than good and private charity would be preferable. Government assistance robs people of agency and people without agency are going to feel helpless.

As someone said above, if you want to get out of, or stay out of poverty.

Finish school.
Get (and stay) married.
Don't have kids out of wedlock.

In addition, I would add don't live beyond your means.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb8hTzUoI54

exiledonmainstreet said...

" I'm going to venture a guess that most Asian mothers act a lot like Ben Carson's mother."

In his book "Ethnic America" Thomas Sowell made the point that the reason immigrant Jews made it out of the Lower East Side sweatshops within a couple of generations is because they had "middle class" values before they even got off the boat. Work hard. Get married before you have babies. And, of course, study, study, study.

Etienne said...

Carson is a very smart man.

The problem is, he leaves out mental illness and drug addiction.

People who are retarded don't fit into the equation. They can't go up, they can't go down...

...they just are.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Probably the biggest character traits needed to get out of and stay out of poverty are a future orientation and the ability to delay gratification.

epador said...

Etienne:

I beg to differ, at least in an absolute sense. Some people carry their mental illness as a get out of work (or Jail) free card, others battle it successfully. Same for drug addiction. Depending upon the level of retardation, folks with "mental retardation" can live independently successfully. The ones I have seen fail were due to interventions by well-meaning outsiders.

Paul said...

Yes Carson is right.

But note he said they would be right back up there.

In other words, their drive and determination was so great they would dust themselves off and climb back up the ladder.

In short, self-confident self-reliant individuals.

And that was the kind of people that America was but by.

lgv said...

I grew up poor. Paid my way through 6 years of college. Had a seemingly normal life turn upside down. I was living in my car at age 31, an old Buick. I took any job that came along. I finally got a decent one. I worked hard. I got promoted. With my help the company grew 5 fold. The owners sold it. I left and started my own company. That was 20+ years ago. I'm not a 1%'er, but close enough. Yes, poverty can be a state of mind. Poverty itself has never been the problem, it was who remains in poverty. In the old days, the x% living in poverty stayed x%, but the actual people that were living in poverty changed. It was more fluid. Those in poverty didn't stay in poverty. We have a safe space for poverty.

DanTheMan said...

What many seem to be missing in this discussion is that, pre "Great Society", the difference in income between not working, and working was the difference between eating and not eating.

The poor today are often choosing between a public assistance benefit standard of living, and a very slightly higher 'working poor' standard of living.

If you can get X and work 0 hours a week, and get 1.1 X for 40 hours a week, many will choose the "0" option.

n.n said...

It depends on the meaning of "also" also.

Kevin said...

ML: Look at those Korean motherfuckers across the street. I betcha they haven't been a year off da motherfucking boat before they opened up their own place.

Coconut Sid: It's been about a year.

ML: A motherfucking year off the motherfucking boat and got a good business in our neighborhood occupying a building that had been boarded up for longer than I care to remember and I've been here a long time.

Sweet Dick Willie: It has been a long time.

Coconut Sid: How long?

ML: Too long! Too long. Now for the life of me, I haven't been able to figger this out. Either dem Koreans are geniuses or we Blacks are dumb.

Coconut Sid: It's gotta be cuz we're Black. No other explanation, nobody don't want the Black man to be about shit.

Sweet Dick Willie: Old excuse.

ML: I'll be one happy fool to see us have our own business right here. Yes, sir. I'd be the first in line to spend the little money I got.

Sweet Dick Willie gets up from his folding chair.

Sweet Dick Willie: It's Miller time. Let me go give these Koreans s'more business.

ML: It's a motherfucking shame.

Coconut Sid: Ain't that a bitch.

Jamie said...

Harking way back to Eleanor at the top - as long as you define poverty as either a dollar amount, a percentage of "average" or "median" or whatever, or (worst of all, I think) the lowest quintile, you guarantee not only the continuing presence of (what passes for) poverty, but also the perception by "rich" and "poor" alike of what poverty is, and most importantly class envy - which is the purpose of the entire exercise. You have to create and maintain an underclass in order to provide a pretext for such redistribution. If the underclass has everything the upper classes do, why do its members need your "surplus" income? Why, because the things the underclass have are not as nice as the things the upper classes have.

So you have to keep defining poverty in terms that emphasize the differences between the richest and poorest, or somewhere in the middle people stop believing that there is a reason for the fruits of their labor to go to someone who didn't perform that labor. "Wealth inequality" - it amazes me that that term is even acceptable to Americans. It's part of our fabric that not everyone gets the same stuff - that one can improve one's lot through hard work, intelligence, and most of all grit. "Wealth inequality" is the death of grit.

Jamie said...

I'm sorry, of course I meant income inequality - distracted by Top Gear!

Etienne said...

One thing different today, is that when you get sick, you are going to be in poverty.

Gahrie said...

One thing different today, is that when you get sick, you are going to be in poverty.

yeah!...Of course in the old days, you usually just died.

Gahrie said...

The poor today are often choosing between a public assistance benefit standard of living, and a very slightly higher 'working poor' standard of living.

It's even worse than that. Often the "working poor" standard of living is actually lower (at least in the beginning) than public assistance. Compounding this, many poor people have a problem with delayed gratification.

Big Mike said...

Not long ago there was a study done that determined that a family of four needed an income in excess of $60,000 before they were better off than making zero.

Jonathan Graehl said...

The strength of your physical+mental instrument is unfortunately limited to what mom+dad gave you, no matter the can-do attitude.

1. talent. 80% genetic at least
2. attitude + ability to delay gratification + explore for future reward. no idea. 50% genetic?
3. knowledge+connections. 0% genetic causally, but very entangled by correlation with who the good/connected parents are. once you have skills+connections and know how to get them, you're a leg up no matter if you temporarily lose it all. put someone w/o any special preparation, average talent, and great attitude at the bottom rung and they'll climb out of poverty, but only modestly

carson got all 3 to some degree from his mother and father

Gretchen said...

The left really hates any notion that doesn't make the poor and minorities, including women, the majority minority, victims. People who realize they control a great part of their destiny vote Republican.

Carson also went on to say government has a role in shaping mindset and helping people move from poverty.