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Kitchens: “The Tyranny of the Weak”

Posted: July 8, 2017 - 8:20pm

Actor Anthony Hopkins once said, "Beware the tyranny of the weak. They just suck you dry."

Much earlier, writer Oscar Wilde believed that "the worst form of tyranny the world has ever known is the tyranny of the weak over the strong."

I'm pretty sure I've written about this subject before, but it probably bears further discussion.

First of all, I'm not some old, cruel evolutionist promoting the survival of the fittest or blanket adaptation. There are those who warrant and deserve our assistance, protection and compassion.

However, I am incredibly weary of people who use pseudo-depression, overblown illness or generally common-to-all circumstances to bully the rest of us into not only feeling sorry for them, but bending to their every whim and walking on eggshells while we do it.

You may have endured brain surgery, open-heart surgery, gallbladder surgery, ectopic rupture surgery, liver surgery, uterine radiation for cancer and two broken bones that required pins and plates, all while living with blood that has practically no platelets, but phony emotional exploitation experts get hysterical over a hangnail.

Your spouse or child might have died a slow, agonizing and tragic death, but let some folks lose a goldfish and it's time for extended mourning.

As I said, there are folks who are genuinely and understandably despondent, sick or worried. They have legitimate problems that hurt themselves or someone they love.

Such individuals need and deserve our support. Lately, though, it seems I'm surrounded by people who can't - or won't - pay their bills, go to school, hold a job, raise their own children or get out of bed. Their only malady is what we used to laugh and call "the can't help its."

They seem to make it their mission to latch on to the nearest patsy like a starving leech. Just watch Dr. Phil now and then. Every week or so, he has some twenty- or thirty- or forty-something who blames mom and dad and storms off stage once the truth of his manipulation and selfishness comes out.

These same people appear to have no trouble whatsoever smoking, drinking or taking drugs as long as someone else foots the bill.

They feel strong enough to have one baby after another, but once the umbilical cord is cut, so is any vestige of responsibility. Let the state see to the children's medical and dental care, food, housing and so forth. And what our government doesn't provide, various and sundry churches and charities will make available.

As my great-grandmother, a skilled and practical midwife, once said of a basically worthless aunt who birthed 13 children and then locked her bedroom door unless her husband, or some other man, was on the other side of it, "If they'd let Willie hurt a little more when she had those babies, maybe she'd think twice before donning that push-up bra and false eyelashes!"

Another relative, who'd once been an elementary schoolteacher, told of the time (among many), when she was "chewed out" by an irate mother because her child hadn't brought home one of the free lunchboxes distributed at the beginning of the year.

"But he said he didn't need one, that he wanted the free hot lunch we also offer," said my astounded cousin.

"I want him to get everything out there!" was his mama's furious cry.

I suppose what bothers me most about the whole scenario is the fact that the weak are holding court, and power, over the strong, the ones who do try to take care of their own. The balance of common sense and concern has gone askew.

We spend thousands of dollars more on prisons than schools. We all too frequently give out free phones to dead people, and food stamps to drug addicts who just sell them to get more drugs.

When do we finally say, "Get up, stand up straight, have some gumption and dignity. The bank or clinic or service desk is closed"?

The world doesn't owe anyone an easy road, and tyrants, of any persuasion, may eventually bring down any civilization they invade. We're only as strong as our weakest link.


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