took me years to process--like they say-- what had happened. While the
physical disabilities and the brain damage that I have are inconvenient,
a drag even, they're not as bad as the treatment by friends, social systems
and especially the Do-Gooders.
course they said I'd never walk again. When I first started standing up
from the wheelchair I had a platform cane with four tips which I called
"four on the floor." Me and my brother Richy had to run a heavy con to
get a copy of it from the physical therapy people so I could practice
walking. I suppose that they were afraid that I'd fall... and sue....
"You can use it for a half an hour a day--under supervision." Somehow
Richy and I got one for my room. Unheard of. Boy, I wouldn't want me in
always say, "This is for the good of the clients," whereas you know
in your heart they're just covering their ass. CYA is in section B in
the hypocrites oath.
the phrase "helping professionals" is an
oxymoron and misleading. Doctor Professor John McKnight at Northwestern
University points out that the word "care" gets commandeered by everybody
including Medicare. "You know and I know that Medicare doesn't care,"
is always voluntary. You can't buy it, you can't manufacture it or produce
it," McKnight reminds us. Sometimes hookers or Do-Gooders will fake
it, if you pay them good. I forget, is it in hospitals or with hookers
where you're supposed to put the money on the bed?
their car payments, rent, insurance premiums and careers come out of
helping, maybe their altruism's not really what it's about. It's an
exchange of goods and services for money that we're talking about. You
can call that "care," but that would just be the standard PR in my book.
the pretense that we're trying to help people in this society is a lot
more destructive than trying to cut a fair deal with them," says therapist
Chris Ringer. "Our society has difficulty distinguishing between
the unwilling and the unable. Consequently it rewards the unwilling
who are good whiners and deprives the unable who just want a chance
to do for themselves as best they can."
hang the word helping on it gives the connotation of humanity, generosity,
and compassion. Give me a break. Obviously the Do-Gooders don't go into
that line of work for the money (except for some doctors, maybe) --
although they are making a better living than the people they serve
-- and even though the words are about supporting and serving, they're
basically trying to fill their own needs, to use the jargon.
mission, should you choose to to accept it, is to read Disabling Professions
by Ivan Illich, Irving Zola, John McKnight, et. al. (ISBN 0-7145-2510-2,
paperback). It's highly recommended because it explains the relationship
of the Do-Gooders to those helped. This short, juicy-with-ideas book
explains helping like it really is.
most reprinted essay in the English Language (in case you're ever on
a quiz program) is George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language."
He talks about the use of language to hide meanings. For example, the
use of multi-syllabic and complex phrases to euphemize things and make
them sound fancy-schmancy. Just look at the long names of some of these
agencies if you want to see how important they think they are. Or the
names they use for the clients. I used to be a closed head injured client
instead of brain damaged, but I think that they're on to some new trendy
lingo by now. There are even gimps who think of themselves as TBI, like
it elevates them some way. Not that I can ever keep up.
example, Do-Gooders call kids "at risk"
that we used to call delinquents when I was one. But, if you look at
it, the phrase at risk sets up a relationship between the Do-Gooders
and the kids. For ten points, whose values does that phrase validate?
Does clients & professionals and service providers make you think
the Do-Gooders think they have more in common with doctors or patients?
Language is always political. How could
it be otherwise? It's got to do with power and the distribution of goods
and services. Think about it: does a Mercedes mechanic see more doctors
or more patients? I suppose it's OK if you wanta hang some fancy monniker
on yourself, but you got to be careful and not get co-opted.
Ringer is a therapist who does a seminar about co-dependency for the
helping professions. You can see already that the lingo is spread on
a couple of inches thick. Used to be you was a drunk before the chemical
dependency industry showed failing hospitals how to get to the third
party reimbursements. See, they had these hospitals losing money in
the Fifties when some bright boy (don't want the feminists jumping down
my throat -- for all I know it was some bright girl) when some bright
boy or girl discovered you could charge the same day rate without the
heavy overhead of all that expensive scientific machinery. Fact o' business:
what they sell for drunks -- for the same day rate--is a higher power
(AKA God). Selling God and hooking Him to Health Care meant a trip straight
to the bank--do not pass Go. The words Health Care and care are really
a big part of the helping professionals' smoke screen. For example,
that care word gets appropriated by all kinds of systems -- excuse my
ass, I mean helping systems.
is the alcoholism state--actually the phrase chemical dependency has
more profit potential than alcoholism. Minnesota is the land of 10,000
treatment centers. One Governor tried to sell alky treatment as Minnesota's
new growth industry and [this is true] tried to have it named
the state disease. What state has a state disease? Must be good for
As a rule,
the Do-Gooders see themselves as different from and superior to their
clients. Because -- also, dig -- Do-Gooders make so much more money
than most of those they allegedly serve. "The culture says that it's
virtuous and commendable to be a helper," therapist Chris Ringer points
out. "But the other side is, those who need help are thought [to
be] probably responsible for their own misfortune. Who knows, it
may be God punishing them, so the very fact that people are helpers
is proof of their virtue...The underbelly of that is that we live in
a culture where suffering is thought optional. Where having problems
is optional. Or, worse, that suffering is God punishing you for being
of our helpless vegetable leaders just had a stroke. This view says
that it was probably his own fault for not eating the right kind of
new age food and drinking the right brand of bubbly water while talking
to his broker (on the cordless phone). Some people say that's a revision
of the Puritan ethic. You know, I'm wealthy and healthy because
God loves me. And you're not because you just
didn't do it right, and this is what you get for it. Suffering
is optional, remember? It's a very dangerous model.
are in a one-up position from those whom they help. A lot of this junk
seems to be about being better than someone else. While the Do-Gooders'
come-on isn't overtly superior, it's concerned in a smarmy and unctuous
way. And this charade gets them a steady paycheck and some kind of cockamamie
validation (about being better than you know who).
Ringer always calls the gimps, homeless, unwed mothers, etc., the customers.
He's constantly trying to remind us that this whole thing is an exchange
I think the mistake is in believing that the customers are the persons
served. In fact, the customers are the ones who pay for the service.
You know, like when you go to the hospital and the nurses want you to
fill out the three forms before you get the chicken soup. They are less
concerned with your comfort because they know who pays their salary.
The patients are not the customers; the third party reimbursers are
They talk like it's
and we like to believe that it's about care, but it's not. It's about
money and careers. You want to understand motivation, just follow the
allegedly helped by the Do-Gooders actually come last on the list after
the "other constraints" of the agencies and their "guidelines." And,
let's not forget the personal and psychological motivations of the Do-Gooders,
& their career trajectories.
the last few years it's been real trendy for the Do-Gooders to talk
about the "consumers" of their services. Nothing's changed. It's just
a language trend like when it was real hip to say twenty-three skidoo.
Linguist Noam Chomsky pointed that you used to have your Negroes, who
became Black, who became Afro-American, who became African American,
but behavior toward them and their opportunities did not change. The
system's still set up so that your chances are a lot better for going
to prison than going to the university if you're Black than if you're
and Do-Gooders think that if you change the language and say head injured,
or persons with disabilities, or African American, or woman, that attitudes
will change. It doesn't seem to work that way, liberals to the contrary.
I'm with Professor Chomsky on this one, and calling it Head Injury and
giving your money to George Zitnay and the National Head Injury Foundation
don't do diddly squat to make things better for the brain damaged.
one of the places where it's easiest to see the adversary roles of the
alleged Do-Gooders and those served is in the Social Security System.
Most of the "non-disabled" (another whistle in the dark term--like they're
not the standard) have the fantasy that "you'll always be taken care
of" and "nobody goes hungry" in this country. Those of us who live in
the opulence and plenty that the Social Security cornucopia provides
have a different feeling about the bounty of America.
of the deals about the Social Security system -- and probably every
big organization is the same -- is they won't tell you who you're dealing
with or who made the decision. You're supposed to get the feeling that
Social Security is a monolith; a person didn't do this. Something all
powerful like God, or the system, or the Wizard of Oz did this. 'Course
all Do-Gooders and their agencies use that come-on. You know, they've
got their "guidelines" and "I vas only followink horders." They're never
responsible, it's always someone else or their damn "policy."
like I say, the Social Security system is a clear example, like vocational
rehabilitation, or medical "assistance." Down that alley, when I got
a cost of living increase to $522 a month ("and don't spend it all in
one place"), it knocked me off medical assistance because I now make
"too much money." I've got to admit that living on $522 a month is too
much and I've considered hiring financial planners to decide how to
invest all that money.
who was just mangled by a car, loves to tell me that she was in coma
longer than the quarter of a year I was in the hospital. Janie used
to get $388, so there's no fairness or logic to it. Since they try to
cut people off the rolls, I'll bet that the Social Security attitude
is, "Shut up. You're lucky to get anything at all."
figured maybe I could supplement my $522 so I called Washington and
asked how much I could make and maintain my Social Security benefits.
They told me, "We can't tell you."
it happens, I'm a seasoned, award-winning journalist and I'm skilled
at getting answers. The Social Security people, like other government
employees, are skilled at dodging questions.
Mom was a big deal in business. Traffic Manager of 20 corporations .
She tried to find out. Wrote her Congressman and quack quack. She couldn't
find out how much you could make on top of your benefits.
Professor Shapiro teaches at the University, has been a consultant to
business, government and all manner of organizations. He tried to find
out. He knows people; called his congressman. Same brick wall.
aka Michael Nedenfer, a financial planner, tried. Kathleen, his wife
told me that she heard him make 15 phone calls. Same dead end.
later, I haven't been able to find out how much you can make. If you're
disabled, the government keeps you scared, and in the dark, and dependent
on some Do-Gooder to dispense information and interpretations to you.
And you better do exactly what they tell you.
you think someone grows up always wanting to work in one of those offices
keeping the gimps corralled? "Keep a-moving along, little dogies."
Ringer says, "Different kinds of people seem attracted to the helping
professions. Some of them seem to have high control needs. With those
high control needs there may, or may not be, empathy."
it can look like sadism"
doesn't just look like it's sadistic. Sometimes it is sadistic.
what attracts them, beyond a conscious awareness of wanting to do good,
is this "control need," like they say in shrink talk.
"I think it was the
that said, how many centuries ago," therapist Chris Ringer pontificates,
"that the most deadly of all human impulses is the impulse to control.
And, so the [self-appointed] saint has no choice It's their
God-given duty to stick their noses into other people's business." Or,
force their idea of what is 'right' on the world. To me it don't matter
if that crap comes from Do-Gooders or people who call themselves disability
activists. Control freaks look the same to me in white coats or in wheelchairs.
Control freaks are control freaks. Whenever anyone tells me that they
know what's best for me, or how I should act, a buzzer goes off.
heavy into autonomy, the control of one's own life. "I assume and presume
a value in autonomy," Chris Ringer goes on. "There are people who believe
that people are not responsible for themselves and should be controlled
from the outside." And this is just a microcosm of systems all over
the country in cities and counties and states and in the big Federal
Government. Some departments are worse than others, but all the time
they're patting themselves on the back for how they're helping, and
how they're professionals and quack quack.
is so you should know you're not the only one who feels this way.