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I would like to start off with by introducing my readers with a new disease that maybe running rampant in the mansions of America. It is affluenza…the illness of having too much money and the power it grants people in an unequal society.
It seem this term was invented when it was used as a defense in the trial of one 16 year old called Ethan Couch in Texas. Ethan one night got very drunk, 3 times the legal limit, took a truck from his dad’s business with some friends and ultimately plowed into a stranded vehicle killing 4 people and severely injuring several others.
The defendant’s lawyers came up with the defense that Ethan was not responsible because quote the teen’s parents should share part of the blame for the crash because they never set limits for the boy and gave him everything he wanted.
The psychologist who testified to this defense, later went on CNN to defend his diagnosis…He pointed out that the children of privilege suffer from improper moral education.
The term highlights the issue of parents, particularly upper-middle-class ones, who not only refuse to discipline their children but may protest the efforts of others — school officials, law enforcement and the courts — who attempt to do so.
Of course, if we take the parental supervision argument to its logical end, then children of the poor are also sufferers of…well if not affluenze and poverty-itus…parents working 3 or more jobs haven’t the time to morally instruct their children or properly punish them for transgressions.
Or let’s take it the other way, if the parents share in the responsibility, doesn’t that make them accessories to the crime and thus chargeable under the law?
What Ethan was sentenced to was 10 years probation to a “treatments” institution and become a ward of the state. First issue, is the place normally only deals with people for 45 to 90 days…10 years is a lot – A LOT longer and it is plausible that in a year or so, he will be returned to his parents custody.
What will he be doing there? Yoga, cooking lessons, equine therapy (riding horses), nutritional counselling, swimming, person therapy…and it costs $450,000 a year…which his parents are paying for.
Should there be a separate system of justice just because they have money…just because their family can pay for a 450,000 dollar a year rehab facility?
These parent have the money to send their son to a treatment facility…everything about this case has to do with wealth. From the team of lawyers they hired, the psychologist that invented affluenza to their ability to pay for the spa…er, treatment center he is being sent to.
Let’s compare it to the quote justice the rest of us live with. A 14 years old poor child who punched a guy who fell and hit their head and died from the fall, he was given a 10 years in juvie hall.
Now, here is the kicker folks…I kind of agree with this verdict. that another youth, who was convicted of murder was given a prison sentence…well, one thing the psychologist who invented affluenza said made perfect sense…if there is any way to prevent a child from entering prison, we should take it…I do not think that Ethan sentence was necessarily wrong, but that the poor child’s one was wrong.
That said, it is obvious that the justice system was not concerned with what was best for society but how much money it would cost the state…that it is not that Ethan avoided jail…that’s a good thing, it the innate inequality that this exemplifies.
This ties in nicely with another issue that has just occurred. Our own James Moore, Minister of Industry…while bragging about how wealthy Canadians are becoming…on must wonder what Canadians he palls around with, most of my friends are barely keeping afloat.
When asked about child poverty, he said it was a provincial issue and not a federal one…when pressed, he said “Is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don’t think so”
He has apologized and said the comment was taken out of context…well, let’s listen to it in context…
It’s the laugh at the end that brings us back home. The mindset that the idea of helping one’s neighbor…seeing society as more than just individuals…to think there is some shared community responsibility is SO out there that its laughable. Or so our current government seems to think.
Affluenza may be a real disease but not of the individual but of society where a rich minority cannot even conceive the hardships of the poor majority.
Find out more:
- ‘Affluenza’: Is it real?
- Texas teen Ethan Couch gets 10 years’ probation for driving drunk, killing 4
- Affluenza: The Latest Excuse for the Wealthy to Do Whatever They Want
- Federal minister says child poverty not Ottawa’s problem
- James Moore sorry for remarks about hungry children
- Child Poverty – Canada
You first heard about the World Federalist Movement on the show when there events were mentioned in Skeptic Highlights. Then, you last heard about them when they sponsored an anti-vaccination event. Well, we finally invited them on the show to explain what they are all about.
I am joined by Vivian Davidson from the World Federalist Movement of Canada, Vancouver branch. We discuss what World Federalism is all about, what there goals are and why they sponsored THAT event.
A great discussion where we learn about a world parliament, a UN army (well, really peace-keeps taken to the next level), the importance of economic equality, and how the only way to solve global issues is with global democracy.
Find out more: