“What’s particularly disappointing is that the authors are clearly trying to understand people with a perspective different from theirs and are simply unable to pull it off. “

That’s Glen Reynolds (better known, of course, as the Instapundit), reviewing Naomi Cahn and June Carbone’s book Red Families v. Blue FamiliesThis seems right on point with my frustration with many liberals recently.  I often feel like I can’t tell if they are being willfully dense or are really living in such a closed world that they simply cannot understand anything else. 

Slate’s Political Gabfest podcast reviewed this book a few weeks ago, and their understanding of “red states” (aka The South) seemed to be based on nothing further than the movie Deliverance.  They literally had no concept and no idea what life in the south is like (it’s pretty close to life in the north, but with different accents and buildings are further apart); their descriptions involved rampant shotgun weddings and teen brides.  Not that those things don’t exist (well, I’m skeptical about the shotgun weddings), but they don’t exist any differently from the way they do in other states.  There are cultural differences, but they are no where near as simplistic and downright cartoonish as the Slate gabbers seemed to think they were.  The differences between individual families are far broader.  (I’ve lived in New Jersey, Georgia, and Tennessee.)
 
It’s not even that they are not trying to understand; it’s that they are and they simply don’t understand that life is not a stereotyped cartoon outside of the world that they know.  
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How much did you spend in lottery tickets last year?

I turned 18 in 1998; lottery wasn’t legal in my state then, but I went to college close to the border, and sometimes friends and I would hop over the line and get a ticket and some cheap gas (Georgia stations were selling it at $0.75/gallon for a while back then!) and a (1 dollar) lottery ticket.  We probably did this six or seven times during my freshman year.  When they legalized the lottery in my state a few years later, I probably played a couple times, just for the novelty.  My husband put in a few dollars a week with some co-workers for a while several years back.  I don’t think either of us has bought a single ticket, or even really thought about it, in years, despite the fact that we certainly visit places that sell tickets several times a week, pass billboards for it on a daily basis, and are subject to some of the most irritating radio and TV commercials for it ever written. 

Of course, we’re middle class.  But if we were “less fortunate“. . . (via Nealz Nuze)

The devious slogan for the New York State lottery is “All you need is a dollar and a dream.” Such state lotteries are a regressive form of taxation, since the vast majority of lottery consumers are low-income. The statistics are bleak: Twenty percent of Americans are frequent players, spending about $60 billion a year. The spending is also starkly regressive, with lower income households being much more likely to play. A household with income under $13,000 spends, on average, $645 a year on lottery tickets, or about 9 percent of all income.

How many times have you heard some variation on “the rich are different from you and me”?  I think, instead, that the poor are the ones that are different.  The more I see in life, the more I see that, by and large (but of course, not without exceptions), the poor stay poor because they do things that make them poor.  Things that seem not only stupid but outright bizarre to me.  It’s not just throwing away significant amounts of all too scarce money on a “dream” (more like a fantasy) of a lottery, it’s a whole slew of things that demonstrate similar poor planning and lack of forethought, and an overall failure to accept that success almost always takes work and patience.