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Dear Conservative Life Coach…

 

1983

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

I’m 23 and just graduated from college and I’ve met the most wonderful girl. Neither one of us believes in sex before marriage so ‘shacking up’ is out of the question. Should I ask her to marry me even though my career is still in its infancy?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

Absolutely! We know that the way to prosperity is to get married and have children.

CLC

1993

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

I’m 33 and just got a nice promotion at work. My wife and I have been renting but the kids are growing and we’re thinking about buying a home. Should we make the leap?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

Absolutely! Home ownership is a surefire way to prosperity! Plus home ownership makes for stronger neighborhoods and stronger communities in general. And with all the tax breaks and programs designed for first time buyers there’s never been a better time!

CLC

2005

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

My wife’s father has Alzheimers. We’ve been looking at extended care facilities but neither of us liked what we saw. Should we add a room on to the house or petition the government to expand care to the elderly?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

First of all, we conservatives know that government is never the solution to any problem. If I were you I’d take out a small loan, build your father-in-law a room and take care of him! Nobody is going to do that better than family. And to encourage and reward good people like you we’re working on providing tax breaks for caregivers.

CLC

2013

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

My oldest just graduated from high school and we’re looking at colleges. Are Federal Student Loans really the way to go?

Bob in Ohio

Dear Bob,

Absolutely! With the changing economy you know your child is going to to have to have at least a Bachelor’s degree to compete in the job market. Besides, we’re working to pass new changes to the Dependent Child Tax Credit that will reward good people like you!

CLC

2017

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

I’ve done everything you told me to do in the past. I’m 57 and farther and farther away from retirement with all the changes in Social Security. Now it seems my company is moving production overseas. All of the tech jobs here in the home office are being filled by H1B visa workers from India. I’m losing my job and my health insurance. I had to refinance the house after the ’08 crash plus I have those additional loans that I took out for the addition for my elderly father-in-law and college loans for both kids. And the real estate market here is pretty depressed. What do I do now?

Trump Voter in Ohio

Dear Ohio,

Why are you asking me? If you voted for Trump you’re obviously not a true conservative. Stop whining and looking to others to solve your problems! You should have thought about this a long time ago.

CLC

2019

Dear Conservative Life Coach,

Screw you.

Angry in Ohio

Published in General
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There are 197 comments.

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  1. Member

    Bravo.

    You win Ricochet today.

    • #1
    • January 11, 2019 at 7:33 am
    • 19 likes
  2. Member

    Brilliant and devastating!

    • #2
    • January 11, 2019 at 7:34 am
    • 9 likes
  3. Member

    He is still married? Unlikely.

    • #3
    • January 11, 2019 at 7:53 am
    • 1 like
  4. Member

    So is the moral of the story don’t get married, have kids, buy a home and take care of your sick parents? What should the government do for this person? 

    • #4
    • January 11, 2019 at 8:01 am
    • 9 likes
  5. Member

    I understand the larger point you’re making, but…

    If someone bought a house in 1993, I have a hard time believing the 2008 crash would not have knocked them underwater or caused them to need to refinance the 30 years mortgage that they’d be halfway through by that point.

    • #5
    • January 11, 2019 at 8:06 am
    • 4 likes
  6. Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    Miffed White Male: If someone bought a house in 1993, I have a hard time believing the 2008 crash would not have knocked them underwater or caused them to need to refinance the 30 years mortgage that they’d be halfway through by that point.

    You have no idea what the rest of this poor guy’s life has been like, what job changes or other circumstances have come his way. This is but a snapshot. You don’t know the size of the house, the neighborhood, or anything else.

    Go with the larger point. 

    • #6
    • January 11, 2019 at 8:17 am
    • 8 likes
  7. Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    thelonious: So is the moral of the story don’t get married, have kids, buy a home and take care of your sick parents? What should the government do for this person?

    The moral of the story? Maybe conservative commentators shouldn’t be sanctimonious pricks? Maybe not everyone is Tom Joad and can pick up the family and move for a new job?

    • #7
    • January 11, 2019 at 8:20 am
    • 27 likes
  8. Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    thelonious: So is the moral of the story don’t get married, have kids, buy a home and take care of your sick parents? What should the government do for this person?

    The moral of the story? Maybe conservative commentators shouldn’t be sanctimonious pricks? Maybe not everyone is Tom Joad and can pick up the family and move for a new job?

     Wasn’t the advice generally what most conservatives have always believed in. Now is it a bad idea to get married have a family and not rely on the government? No doubt many have to deal with really difficult circumstances. What solution besides bite the bullet and move away would you give this person? 

    • #8
    • January 11, 2019 at 8:44 am
    • Like
  9. Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    thelonious: Wasn’t the advice generally what most conservatives have always believed in… What solution besides bite the bullet and move away would you give this person?

    You have to put this in the larger context. You’re almost there but not quite. 

    • #9
    • January 11, 2019 at 9:15 am
    • 1 like
  10. Thatcher
    She

    Funny post. And in the context of a site like this one, a reminder that decrepit and unwoke members such as myself may have learned something from the school of hard knocks, and that younger members (such as some of you) haven’t swallowed the book on everything (yet). Sooner or later, real life catches up with us all. Perhaps there’s room for growth and learning, between the generations and the slightly differently-minded, and among members and non-members alike.

    NB: This is not to imply that there’s hope for Occasional Cortex. I long ago recognized that there is such a thing as the “lost cause,” and that wasting time on it is pointless and ultimately self-destructive. (That’s one of the lessons that comes with age and experience, BTW.)

    • #10
    • January 11, 2019 at 9:22 am
    • 8 likes
  11. Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    thelonious: Wasn’t the advice generally what most conservatives have always believed in… What solution besides bite the bullet and move away would you give this person?

    You have to put this in the larger context. You’re almost there but not quite.

    Really I’m just asking question which you don’t even attempt to answer. The only answer you give is many conservative commentators are sanctimonious pricks. It seems to me the sanctimonious prick was giving out pretty good advice. I may be a bit dense but please enlighten me on the larger context I’m missing.

    • #11
    • January 11, 2019 at 9:32 am
    • 4 likes
  12. Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    I understand the larger point you’re making, but…

    If someone bought a house in 1993, I have a hard time believing the 2008 crash would not have knocked them underwater or caused them to need to refinance the 30 years mortgage that they’d be halfway through by that point.

    I’d like to see some stats on how many people who bought a home to live in were brought down by the 2008 crash, compared to the number of people who were buying real estate as investments.

    • #12
    • January 11, 2019 at 9:37 am
    • 12 likes
  13. Member

    thelonious (View Comment):
    It seems to me the sanctimonious prick was giving out pretty good advice. I may be a bit dense but please enlighten me on the larger context I’m missing.

    Did you notice the disconnect between “don’t rely on the government” and “count on these government tax incentives”?

    • #13
    • January 11, 2019 at 9:45 am
    • 9 likes
  14. Member

    thelonious (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    thelonious: Wasn’t the advice generally what most conservatives have always believed in… What solution besides bite the bullet and move away would you give this person?

    You have to put this in the larger context. You’re almost there but not quite.

    Really I’m just asking question which you don’t even attempt to answer. The only answer you give is many conservative commentators are sanctimonious pricks. It seems to me the sanctimonious prick was giving out pretty good advice. I may be a bit dense but please enlighten me on the larger context I’m missing.

    Maybe if you imagine the CLC as a Bill Kristol or a Mitt Romney, including those a little less wealthy or high-born, but nevertheless comfortable and established. 

    It may have been good advice if they hadn’t abandoned the underpinnings of their assumptions along the way as things got dicey for their allies.

    Our lords and protectors pulled up the bridge over the moat and took refuge behind the castle walls, leaving the middle class outside with the enemy.

    • #14
    • January 11, 2019 at 9:48 am
    • 11 likes
  15. Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    I thelonious: I may be a bit dense but please enlighten me on the larger context I’m missing.

    The larger context is this debate we’re having on who is a “true conservative,” the Tucker Carlson brouhaha, and the question about unintended consequences in past policy that no one in conservative media or government want to talk about.

    As you say, all of the advice offered was solid conservative viewpoints in the Reagan and post-Reagan Eras. But the other decisions made, the other policies that were pushed – like making it easier to export jobs and reimport the formerly American-made products – worked against the supposedly “true conservative” advice they’re all pushing now. Getting married, buying a home, having kids and sending them to college, taking care of your parents – all of those things are anchors for the middle class. And to callously sniff your nose in the air and say, “You should have seen this coming. You need to call U-Haul and go to where the jobs are. Why are you whining and looking to government?” is just too much. They want to wash their hands of the problems they helped to create and blame the poor slob who’s stuck.

    • #15
    • January 11, 2019 at 9:49 am
    • 20 likes
  16. Member

    You’ve got to consider this thread in light of this one.

     

    • #16
    • January 11, 2019 at 9:58 am
    • 4 likes
  17. Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    You should have seen this coming. You need to call U-Haul and go to where the jobs are.

    If you leave out the “you should have seen this coming” part, “go to where the jobs are” has been good advice in this country for 200-plus years.

     

    • #17
    • January 11, 2019 at 10:57 am
    • 7 likes
  18. Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    Miffed White Male: If you leave out the “you should have seen this coming” part, “go to where the jobs are” has been good advice in this country for 200-plus years.

    But it’s always easier said than done. And skills aren’t exactly as transferable as the used to be. “You were an assembly worker at Carrier? No problem, you’ll catch on to this coding for 3-D printing in no time! Sure, we’ll be patient while you learn! Here’s 100k to start, mkay?”

    • #18
    • January 11, 2019 at 11:13 am
    • 8 likes
  19. Moderator

    Wow … who could have thought the sometimes the best advice people gave you might turn out wrong, whether it was outdated or you were just unlucky? I mean, besides folks like me who lost our houses in foreclosure of our subprime loans, waited so long to be ready to have children that we’re now infertile, and are carrying student loans bigger than the average mortgage. 

    Do you feel like you’d rather meet your maker having lived a life of shacking up, siring bastards, leaving aging relatives to die alone, letting your kids be weighed down with debt in their 20s, and not having a home to be free to gallivant around? Following the advice you now think is so terrible has blessed your life in thousands of ways, and I’m sure if you looked around on Ricochet you would find people here who would trade the life you find so disappointing in a heartbeat. 

    Yeah, life didn’t turn out the way you wanted. Join the club. 

    • #19
    • January 11, 2019 at 11:17 am
    • 8 likes
  20. Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    Amy Schley: Yeah, life didn’t turn out the way you wanted. Join the club. 

    Yep. All of those things happen to good people. And still the Conservative Commentariat mock them, question their bonafides and even their faith.

    All people ask for is for their government not to change the rules on them and not to actively work against them. And for the rest, just a little respect. It’s really not too much to ask.

    • #20
    • January 11, 2019 at 11:25 am
    • 15 likes
  21. Thatcher
    She

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Amy Schley: Yeah, life didn’t turn out the way you wanted. Join the club.

    Yep. All of those things happen to good people. And still the Conservative Commentariat mock them, question their bonafides and even their faith.

    All people ask for is for their government not to change the rules on them and not to actively work against them. And for the rest, just a little respect. It’s really not too much to ask.

    I think that really, all people ask for is an unswerving commitment to what is moral and right. I don’t think what the “conservative commentariat” has to say about it matters a damn.

    • #21
    • January 11, 2019 at 11:43 am
    • 6 likes
  22. Inactive

    Excellent post. Devastating and accurate.

    • #22
    • January 11, 2019 at 11:48 am
    • 6 likes
  23. Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    She: I think that really, all people ask for is an unswerving commitment to what is moral and right.

    Moral and right for their fellow Americans or for the rest of the world? And yes, before you ask, they’re not always one and the same.

    • #23
    • January 11, 2019 at 11:50 am
    • 7 likes
  24. Moderator

    EJHill (View Comment):
    And still the Conservative Commentariat mock them, question their bonafides and even their faith.

    May I suggest staring deeply at the cover of National Review and repeat after Jennifer Connolly in “Labyrinth”: “You have no power over me.”

    Seriously, why do you give a [rodent’s hindquarters] or a [aerial fornication] about what any talking head says, right, left, or center? Do you need their approval to live your life? Are they actually reducing how many customers your business has? Are they making your state or township less business friendly or harder to sell a house? 

    If you’re going to blame people for why your choices didn’t work out, why not start with the people who are actually causing problems? Right now, it just looks like you’re blaming those whose only sin is saying things you don’t want to hear but still listen to in order to get your daily two minute hate on. 

    • #24
    • January 11, 2019 at 11:57 am
    • 7 likes
  25. Member

    Amy Schley (View Comment):
    Seriously, why do you give a [rodent’s hindquarters] or a [aerial fornication] about what any talking head says, right, left, or center? Do you need their approval to live your life? Are they actually reducing how many customers your business has? Are they making your state or township less business friendly or harder to sell a house? 

    Inasmuch as they have an effect on public policy, the answer could very well be yes to both those last two questions.

    • #25
    • January 11, 2019 at 12:03 pm
    • 10 likes
  26. Podcaster
    EJHill Post author

    Amy Schley: Seriously, why do you give a [rodent’s hindquarters] or a [aerial fornication] about what any talking head says, right, left, or center?

    Seriously, do you have any idea what this site is about? I give a flying f-word because these issues are dividing us and creating great opportunities for the left to come in and make things even worse. 

    If you’re going to blame people for why your choices didn’t work out, why not start with the people who are actually causing problems? Right now, it just looks like you’re blaming those whose only sin is saying things you don’t want to hear but still listen to in order to get your daily two minute hate on.

    Who said this are exactly my problems? And my choices? And who said you can’t have empathy for people who do have problems like this? And for the record, saying things are not their only sin.

    • #26
    • January 11, 2019 at 12:11 pm
    • 14 likes
  27. Moderator

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    I understand the larger point you’re making, but…

    If someone bought a house in 1993, I have a hard time believing the 2008 crash would not have knocked them underwater or caused them to need to refinance the 30 years mortgage that they’d be halfway through by that point.

    I’d like to see some stats on how many people who bought a home to live in were brought down by the 2008 crash, compared to the number of people who were buying real estate as investments.

    Right. If you purchased a home in 1993 and then lived in it, the 2008 crash ought not to have affected you. By the time of the 2017 job loss, the mortgage ought to have mostly been paid off. The median house in the US was worth a little over two and a half times as much in 2017 as in 1993, implying a ~4% annual growth rate through good years and bad; the life coach was right to suggest buying a house, but in hindsight wrong to suggest the particular location of that location has done particularly poorly or to suggest buying a larger house than could be afforded if mortgage payments have been skipped.

    Another harm that have befallen our letter writer is that he has kids who have gone through college; it’s not obvious to me how this is a bad thing, but the context suggests it is a reason for discontent.

    The third harm is that the government is not taking someone else’s money to look after the writer’s father. Since the writer is apparently middle class and benefits like that would primarily be paid for by the middle class, it’s not obvious how this sort of reform would have been helpful (unless one assumes the government would provide care more efficiently than the writer was able to).

    The final harm is that he’s lost his job and there were “no” tech jobs available. It doesn’t say when in 2017 this occurred, but if it was in the middle of the year, the professional, scientific, and technical services sector had an unemployment rate of around 2.4%, which suggests that *some* native born workers could find employment. That he has responded to what is, for the great majority of people in his position, a relatively brief period of unemployment with hostility does not speak highly of him, but we should reflect on the degree to which following the conservative life coach’s advice has given him a good life without the need for him to have a better character.

    • #27
    • January 11, 2019 at 12:31 pm
    • 5 likes
  28. Moderator

    EJHill (View Comment):
    Seriously, do you have any idea what this site is about?

    Yes. I didn’t think it was for hating Emmanuel Goldstein Jonah Goldberg and Kevin Williamson and whomever else you assign to the “Conservative Commentariat.” You want to make an argument it’s better to shack up than get married? That it’s better to raise bastards? That it’s better to let elderly loved ones die neglected so you can have more money to play with? That it’s better to never have equity or roots? Make those arguments. 

    But no, instead, somehow it’s the fault of talking heads that generally good advice didn’t work for you (or whomever this was based on). I’m half your age, but here’s a tip based on my life experience: if something works for 95% of the people who do it, that it didn’t work for you means that you’re just the unlucky 5%, not that the advice was crap. 

    The free market that the “Conservative Commentariat” advocates doesn’t guarantee success for everyone who works hard. It just works better than any other system. Somebody will always get screwed through no fault of their own. Free trade and all the other things advocated by “those rich guys who look down on me” just try to minimize the number of people who get screwed. 

    • #28
    • January 11, 2019 at 12:55 pm
    • 10 likes
  29. Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    thelonious (View Comment):
    It seems to me the sanctimonious prick was giving out pretty good advice. I may be a bit dense but please enlighten me on the larger context I’m missing.

    Did you notice the disconnect between “don’t rely on the government” and “count on these government tax incentives”?

    Also, the bit about buying a house should have read, “with interest rates this low there’s never been a better time to buy.”

    • #29
    • January 11, 2019 at 12:58 pm
    • 2 likes
  30. Moderator

    EJHill (View Comment):

    I thelonious: I may be a bit dense but please enlighten me on the larger context I’m missing.

    The larger context is this debate we’re having on who is a “true conservative,” the Tucker Carlson brouhaha, and the question about unintended consequences in past policy that no one in conservative media or government want to talk about.

    As you say, all of the advice offered was solid conservative viewpoints in the Reagan and post-Reagan Eras. But the other decisions made, the other policies that were pushed – like making it easier to export jobs and reimport the formerly American-made products – worked against the supposedly “true conservative” advice they’re all pushing now.

    If a manufacturer cannot import parts as cheaply as his rival, he will not be able to sell as cheaply as his rival. If he cannot perform outsourcable jobs as efficiently, likewise. The reason that Americans are better off than foreigners today is, in part, because Reagan et seq. have made it possible for American manufacturers to compete with foreign manufacturers. Because American manufacturers can buy parts from Taiwan, they are able to compete with German manufacturers in selling goods to Brazil. If Reagan had, instead, adopted a Latin American approach and legislated that US manufacturers had to use only US inputs, we would not be competitive and there would be little in the way of US manufacturing exports to anywhere. Today, the US is a manufacturing success story, producing about 18.2% of the world’s goods (compare China at 17.6%). 

    Similarly, if you’re selling services it is important to be able to assemble the best possible team. In part because Reagan et seq. avoided the temptation to prevent transnational cooperation, the American tech and financial sectors dominate the world. Envisioning an alternative in which the economy was just as large, but all the money went to native born Americans is somewhat similar to AOC’s view that if you tax the rich at 70% you can pay for amazing amounts of stuff. We employ fewer people in manufacturing because mechanization has made the people we employ vastly more productive (we do pay them more), but the alternative path of banning automation would have led to there being essentially no factory jobs, not to there being more.

    Reagan made the country more successful and more prosperous in part by creating vastly more jobs (or, at least, creating an environment in which vastly more jobs were created) by liberating people from government control.

    Getting married, buying a home, having kids and sending them to college, taking care of your parents – all of those things are anchors for the middle class.

    This is true. Other than buying a home, these are all good ideas for the great bulk of people. I’m not sure I follow the complaint here.

    And to callously sniff your nose in the air and say, “You should have seen this coming. You need to call U-Haul and go to where the jobs are. Why are you whining and looking to government?” is just too much. They want to wash their hands of the problems they helped to create and blame the poor slob who’s stuck.

    If the conservative commentariat created the problem of economic change over time, they appear to have done so quite a long ways back and over a considerable portion of the globe. Did our hunter gatherer ancestors cover the globe because Mona’s ancestors created shortages of food relative to the opportunities offered by migrantion? When or where has labor market mobility not been a thing?

    The U Haul thing sounds like a Williamson reference. It seems uncharitable to believe that Kevin is responsible for small town poverty, but even more so to suggest that his argument that the government should supply help to people who who need help to move was an attempt to avoid engaging with people in that situation. For those in the media, that is what engagement looks like. He also engages with them somewhat outside of the media; his family are small town people and he engages with that community personally.

    • #30
    • January 11, 2019 at 12:59 pm
    • 8 likes
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