Home | About | Donate

12 Rules for Spitting on the Poor


12 Rules for Spitting on the Poor

Noah Berlatsky

Self-help books have no politics. Indeed, in self-help books, there is, to quote Margaret Thatcher out of context, “No such thing as society.”

If the essence of neoliberalism is an ideological faith in the righteous virtue of individual choice, then self-help books are the true heirs of Milton Friedman. In self-help, the self is all, and “help” consists in convincing readers that there is nothing else.


An excellent article touching on a facet of modern society I had not considered before. Thanks for this.


There is an “I” in “humanity”

And it only has meaning within the whole


i hope this essay gets a lot of likes. it’s an excellent primer for those wanting to understand in accessible language how the culture of the modern corporation and its avatars destroys the societies in which it embeds.

And for those of us that are poor, it’s always good to hear someone remind you to stop beating yourself up over it. Just as the rich don’t get rich on their own, neither do the poor get poor by their own efforts.


Great article; as Wm. Pannapacker (@Werner Twertzog) put it on Twitter: “…It’s important to tell the young they can be ‘anything they can dream,’ so that one day, they’ll blame themselves instead of the system.”


Great article. I think Oprah needs to read it.

Stripped of all its glamor and intellectual pretensions, the self-help moment is basically just about being a smarter and more effective rat in the overall rat race. We don’t need more rats learning how to climb higher over more dead bodies to get to the top. We need human beings working together to solve problems, the way humans have done since the beginning to survive.


There’s nothing about not helping in the book or the ideas. The issue is the justification of forcing innocent people to serve your desire to help via govt.

Help away, view society as a whole, etc etc.

But with your own ideas time, choices and resources. Not someone else’s.

It doesn’t count as ‘working together’ or ‘cooperation’ when it’s done by force. All it is then is precisely the dominance and power game you’re arguing against.


How cynical can one get? So it’s their fault they get shot in school as children, not the adults who run the entire society? And saying that these kids “Blame it on the system”— what a moral cop-out.


The self help industry is yet another “system” that exploits those less fortunate than them for their own gain. They create a vicious cycle by playing the blame game… when the reader internalizes everything they say he/she is doing wrong it actually makes the reader feel worse. Then readers go out and buy the next big book of so called advise. It’s the biggest scam. It also very arrogant… and wrong. Why does it always seem self help books are mostly written by the elite? People with PhDs who have never fallen in hard times to understand the situation from that person’s point of view. Very sad times in which we live.


So a ship is capsizing and the lifeboats launched. Is there one question I could ask when climbing into one to ensure that I’m not climbing into a lifeboat which contains a person with this mentality?


This is the main reason that HRC lost the election. Her whole career has been pushing the neoliberal agenda and she came up against a jerk running on the platform that he wasn’t going to tolerate that anymore. That he was obviously lying is beside the point. HRC by the time of the election had a long history of being a neoliberal and it is the main reason that many people were not in favor of her or couldn’t bring themselves to get enthusiastic about backing her.

Even if she had adopted Mr. Sanders’ program from the beginning of the campaign, it would have been too late. She knew that between her and Mr. Sanders, the majority of the voters would have much preferred Mr. Sanders, and if she had even the least sense of concern for the welfare of the nation, she would have dropped out or at least accepted the position of VP in the Sanders/Clinton ticket.


“Neoliberal ideology broadly argues that the market, when left to its own devices, chooses winners and losers based on merit.”

There’s a trend, at least on this site, to use the word “neoliberalism” when they seem to be talking about capitalism. Not sure why this is; maybe authors are afraid of directly criticizing capitalism so they don’t get branded as communists or socialists.

I could be wrong (that’s not sarcasm), but I was under the impression that neoliberalism was a somewhat recent (hence the “neo”) trend of the U.S. and allies to use economic regulations and international trade to effect an empire of a new, soft colonialism, backed up by the constant threat of more traditional, military-style colonialism.


The gov’t comes into my workplace each week and extracts money from my paycheck, with the threat of force implicit, and gives it to further enrich the likes of General Dynamics, Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin. Where and when did I consent to that? And why does my desire to give aid and comfort to my less-fortunate neighbors via gov’t draw more skepticism than the corporate welfare in which I have no say?


As near as I can figure, “neo-liberal” is meant to distinguish between real liberals, like Thomas Jefferson and FDR, and people like the Clintons, who use the trappings of classic liberalism to cloak their elitist intentions.

Compare that to “neo-conservative,” which tries to make people like the Kochs appear to be real conservatives even as they hate and fear democracy and try to destroy it from within.


I suspect that the secret wish as evidenced in neoliberal policies supported by pseudo-psychology is to see to it that there is an ever expanding pool of workers who will work for slave wages and work till they drop dead to enrich those without scruples or conscience. I have resisted that all my life and, yes, I am poor financially but why the hell should everything cost so damn much? Besides, most people really search for meaning in their lives and for a good many of us the capitalist exploitive way has no meaning whatsoever.


I think these books of pseudo-wisdom are based on misunderstanding of ancient wisdom teachings. Besides, when you see the price tags they come with, be it a book or a workshop, you know they are out for them selves only.

If I am not for myself, who shall be for me? If I am for myself only, what am I? Hillel


Communism forgets people are individuals and capitalism forgets people are social, we need something inbetween the two. Social democracy. We need to investigate the edifices of our government and stop blaming different groups of people for the failure of those edifices.


Exactly! For more on this check out Ruth Whippman’s exc. bk America the Anxious; most of the “how-to-be-happier-no-matter-what-happens” industry is exactly that: an industrial/corporate ploy to get less complaining no matter how much work & how many pay-cuts they dump on their employees. Phooey on that.