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October 16, 2013

Victimhood

“Pessimism changes what we think is possible. It shrinks our horizons.”

Essential Liberty

Columnist John Stossel: “Since the 80s, there has been a 300 percent increase in disability claims for hard-to-prove illnesses like back pain, stress and other ‘non-exertional restrictions.’ Over the past two decades, the number of people receiving Social Security disability benefits grew from 4 million to 11 million. … We all want to help the genuinely disabled, but a wide range of subjective ailments are affected by attitude. Labeling people victims, telling them they need help, teaches some to think like victims. Social scientists call that ‘learned helplessness.’ Private charities are pretty good at separating real victims from malingerers. But government is not. Its one-size-fits-all rules encourage people to act like victims. Whether people have real physical ailments or just see the economic deck stacked against them, the most damaging thing say to them is: Give up. You can’t make it on your own. Wait for help. Pessimism changes what we think is possible. It shrinks our horizons. … America is full of success stories. But if we obsess over stories about victimhood, that is what we’ll get.
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