October 15, 2012

Repeating the old marshmallow test — the one about kids' capacity for delaying gratification.

And changing the results by exposing the kids — pre-temptation — to untrustworthy/trustworthy adults.
“Being able to delay gratification — in this case to wait 15 difficult minutes to earn a second marshmallow — not only reflects a child’s capacity for self-control, it also reflects their belief about the practicality of waiting,” says Celeste Kidd, a doctoral candidate in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester and lead author on the study.” Delaying gratification is only the rational choice if the child believes a second marshmallow is likely to be delivered after a reasonably short delay.”
You can imagine the social policy the researchers would like to support. The ability to delay gratification is tied to future economic success (according to the old study), and if the capacity for delaying gratification is purely a matter of character, it seems to justify different economic results. One can feel good about being a big old conservative, who favors equal opportunity and scoffs at equalizing the results. You want differential outcomes, because they are deserved and they are incentives.

But if we find out that a child raised around unreliable adults will adapt by taking the rewards that are available in the present and that this child has shown good aptitude in refraining from delaying gratification, our conservatism won't feel so comfortable anymore and we're amenable to arguments about equalizing outcomes.

67 comments:

Croppy Boy said...

Government should always be there with a second marshmallow. And a third, maybe a bag in the mail first of each month.

Henry said...

that certainly could the the study's intent--but what a failure! is there anything more conservative than the notion that children depend on family to learn about the world? The importance of trustworthy adults in a child's life fits right in with the concern conservatives have about the disintegration of the family unit.

but more broadly, we might talk about the trustworthiness of institutions, and the importance of preservation of same.

which is all to say: you can imagine a liberal writing a post speculating on the secret conservative machinations behind this new experiment.

Ann Althouse said...

"is there anything more conservative than the notion that children depend on family to learn about the world?"

So what do you say to the child who's deprived, who grows up without that advantage? He's likely to turn into a parent who does the same thing to the next generation, propagating failure?

You feel reconfirmed in your conservatism? Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?

wyo sis said...

How about concluding that supporting families in their family interactions is more productive than replacing what families may or may not provide? How does it change people if they fail to do something and someone else does it for them at no apparent cost?

Dante said...

This seems like an argument for conservatism, and less welfare.

What kids need is an expectation that if they don't do well with the opportunities presented to them, they won't get free marshmallows.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, I reject your thesis entirely. Even if one grows up in a disfunctional family, one can learn delayed gratification. Ask me how I know.

"Let the children of losers lose" is a pretty loaded statement. Let me rephrase your argument slightly. I think what you mean is "let everyone's children be losers except for a favored few that get cossetted through life."

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
"is there anything more conservative than the notion that children depend on family to learn about the world?"

So what do you say to the child who's deprived, who grows up without that advantage? He's likely to turn into a parent who does the same thing to the next generation, propagating failure?

You feel reconfirmed in your conservatism? Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?"

What a steaming pile. We have families with generations of life on the dole. Fuck these idiot "studies", we have proof of the total failure of liberal policies.

Henry said...

Heh. No, I'm just trying to describe a different way to see these results--and perhaps to question the idea that the scientists had an obvious agenda. I have no idea what the solutions are. But (to get to what I do think): more kids need reliable parents and/or adults in their lives. And no, I don't think children of bad parents deserve their obvious disadvantages.

dreams said...
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Zach said...

I disagree that the study has an obvious political meaning. You could just as easily argue that children will benefit from the more stable and consistent environment provided by two biological parents.

The original study gets cited so often that it's in danger of becoming a fable or a just so story. Better to measure every possible variation and wrinkle. That way, you'll end up with a lot more confidence that the original study was correct and not just an illusion.

dreams said...

We used to depend on church and community but big government usurped that role and look what that gave us but liberals still see themselves as the good people and big old conservatives as bad people.

Witness said...
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clint said...

Interesting.

There's something a bit Rorschach about this experiment.

My take was that it showed how society crumbles as we lose faith in our "leaders" -- how corrupt governments lead to failed states. If the courts are seen to be corrupt (different justice for the rich or politically connected), the law ceases to be respected. If corrupt government officials are just going to take your home to give to corrupt developers and tax away any income you manage to save through incomprehensible fees and forms, the incentive to work hard for a better future just evaporates.

Witness said...

"our conservatism won't feel so comfortable anymore and we're amenable to arguments about equalizing outcomes. "

Alternatively, we remain comfortable in our conservatism, continuing to say things like:

"[T]he best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity to the inner cities, is to help people get out of poverty in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character. That is civil society, that's what charities and civic groups and churches do to help one another, make sure they realize the value in one another."

Original Mike said...

I still have all my marshmallows from childhood.

Original Mike said...

It turns out that all of us marshmallow savers have been screwed by the politicians who derive their power by catering to the spend thrifts.

Dante said...

You feel reconfirmed in your conservatism? Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?

Some of us feel that the relatively comfortable life the Welfare state provides has trained a group of people to not strive, but to wait for the marshmallows.

Some of us feel that's a terrible waste of people, and a destruction of human dignity.

I have a child with learning disorders, and he can't do very well in almost any endeavor. But he is smart enough to realize he is low on the totem pole. I tell him there is no shame in doing the best he can.

It seems, and forgive me for being ugly, Ann, that a whole group of people have been told they are not responsible for their lives and to sit, like baby birds, with mouth open waiting for momma government to shove another worm down their throats.

This is achieved by lies. The government is racist. Banks are racist. That's why you don't get enough marshmallows.

BDNYC said...

Um, no. The fact that some traits might have some cultural or environmental, rather than inherent, component does not justify equalizing results. It's called life lessons.

Perhaps it can be said that before the age of 18 we as a society bear some special responsibility to children, especially those raised by terrible parents. This is a pretty uncontroversial proposition, actually, across the ideological spectrum. But once you reach adulthood, your results are your business, your problem, and your responsibility.

Witness said...

When conservatives try to say the exact thing this study purports to prove, it's racist.

Tim said...

"But if we find out that a child raised around unreliable adults will adapt by taking the rewards that are available in the present and that this child has shown good aptitude in refraining from delaying gratification, our conservatism won't feel so comfortable anymore and we're amenable to arguments about equalizing outcomes."

Which is why liberalism creates moral hazards.

Study that, and then figure out which is the better approach.

Jonathan Card said...

Actually, I'm not sure either is incompatible with Conservatism. I like that it drives the point home that delaying gratification can be the rational decision despite not being wealth creating, and it is not just for children or "the wrong" children. There is a case that this demonstrates why the savings rate can be expected to go down in the presence of "regime uncertainty". If you don't expect the government to be a "trustworthy adult", then you would be foolish to save and then have your savings confiscated.

There was an interesting talk on EconTalk in the last few months about this. The guest said that teenagers will save $5 or $10, but they also know if they get a birthday check for $100 their parents will force them to save it for college, so they "convert it to hard assets" at the mall. I thought that was a funny analogy, and probably true on an unconcious level.

acm said...

So what do you say to the child who's deprived, who grows up without that advantage? He's likely to turn into a parent who does the same thing to the next generation, propagating failure?

You feel reconfirmed in your conservatism? Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?

------------------

The conservative answer, imperfect though it is, is that the churches, charities, good neighbors and good uncles and aunts should step in and make sure that the children of the losers get that second marshmallow if they earned it. The government sucks at this job, because when they *do* reward/help the innocent kids, they do it by blatantly rewarding the parents who put the kids at a disadvantage in the first place.

Of course, encouraging more stable homes, where the children can trust the adults is a big part of it---the idea is that if you stigmatize being a loser, losers won't have so many kids for everyone else to pass marshmallows to. It's not a perfect world, and neither conservatives nor liberals have the perfect answer for what to do about people who are untrustworthy parents or who allow untrustworthy adults around their kids.

Chip S. said...

Will no one speak out on behalf of those unfortunate kids raised by parents who always deliver on that second marshmallow? They're being raised as sheep ready to be sheared by the cynics who learned at an early age not to trust, but to verify.

Tim said...

"You feel reconfirmed in your conservatism? Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?"

Because the state will do a better job?

Seriously.

Get real.

There are other options.

Can you think of any?

Pogo said...

"So what do you say to the child who's deprived, who grows up without that advantage? He's likely to turn into a parent who does the same thing to the next generation, propagating failure? ...Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?"

Welfare ceated more an more of these unreliable families. Government did that. Sen. Moynihan prove that a generation ago.

So separate the arguments:
1) Focus on creating families with reliable parents. "Fix welfare" and remove the incentives for unreliability.

2) For those currently fucked up by the government, the choices are fewer. However, subsidizing adults who are unreliable will make them even more unreliable. They need education and incentives to do right, and disnincentives when they err.

Obama:: "When there are people who are homeless, veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder from this war in Iraq, and thousands of children aging out of foster care, we can't expect them to have all the skills they need for work. They may need help with basic skills-how to show up to work on time, wear the right clothes, and act appropriately in an office. We have to help them get there. That's why I ...blah blah blah."

Mitchell said...

My parents were reliable but they would make me balance the marshmallow on my nose before I could eat it.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Perhaps the real takeaway is that some children do poorly in school because they doubt that the delayed gratfication (stay inside doing homework as opposed to going out and playing, for example) will result in a longterm reward.

"All the promises our teachers made, if we worked hard, if we behaved--now we're waiting here in Allentown.."

If the delayed gratification of scholastic success and the instant gratification of slsckerdom both end with life on the dole as the economy stagnates, isn't slacking the economically rational choice for these kids?

Pogo said...

Obama was correct in the diagnosis, that people raised by fuck-ups need to be trained out of their fucked-upedness.

Instead he game them cell phones and Medicaid.

Don't give them a fish, teach them to fish.

wyo sis said...

It's all about what we incentivize, the trick is to figure out if the incentives are really what we think they are. Any parent can tell you youbdon't always get the result you think you're going to get.

There is a reason old tried and true methods work. The bugs have been worked out.

acm said...

Really, it is conservative when you think about it---it goes back to the soft bigotry of low expectations. In certain parts of the country, people have the notion reinforced that they should get what they can get, now---welfare in its many forms---instead of holding out for what may or may not come. If you take away the instant gratification of welfare, what do they do?

Next experiment: DON'T give the kid the first marshmallow, but see if he/she behaves or completes a task with the promise of 2 marshmallows if good, zero if bad.

ricpic said...

...if the capacity for delaying gratification is purely a matter of character...

The very inconvenient fact that Althousians can't get around, so they make it *poof* disappear, is that the capacity for delaying gratification is first and foremost a matter of conceptualization: the clild has to be intelligent enough to be future oriented, to understand that restraint now will result in a reward in the future then. Yes, there's no getting away from the ugly toad in the road, IQ. So they fly *whee* right over it.

Tim said...

"So separate the arguments:

1) Focus on creating families with reliable parents. "Fix welfare" and remove the incentives for unreliability.

2) For those currently fucked up by the government, the choices are fewer. However, subsidizing adults who are unreliable will make them even more unreliable. They need education and incentives to do right, and disnincentives when they err."


Right.

Except, you forget, this blog is performance art.

Serious policy discussions beyond notable USSC cases?

Not gonna happen.

It's about feelings.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If a child or adult lives in an environment where promises always get broken and outcomes are unreliable, the most rational response is to eat the marshmallow right in front of her — and not wait for the promised marshmallows of the future.

As children this.....eat the marshmallow now and screw planning or waiting for future marshmallows....can be a logical result of living in an environment where the marshmallows are controlled by the unreliable adults.

HOWEVER, as adults we should be able to realize that we can get our OWN marshmallows and begin planning to do so instead of remaining a dependent child. (Waiting for the government to dole out the goodies).

Unfortunately, we have, through our welfare programs raised generations of adults who only have the capacity to act as children. THIS was on purpose despite the bleeding hearts and sympathy of the Althouses of the world.

Tim said...

"The very inconvenient fact that Althousians can't get around, so they make it *poof* disappear, is that the capacity for delaying gratification is first and foremost a matter of conceptualization: the clild has to be intelligent enough to be future oriented, to understand that restraint now will result in a reward in the future then. Yes, there's no getting away from the ugly toad in the road, IQ. So they fly *whee* right over it."

No.

Much too early to make that call.

The discussion immediately vectored off into the Althouse's " Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?" slur.

IQ most assuredly has something to do with it.

But even then, within our known history, people with lesser IQ's have proven themselves responsible.

One does not need an above average IQ to live a responsible, productive life in America.

But you wouldn't know that anymore.

Real American said...

"You feel reconfirmed in your conservatism? Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?"

if there's some sort of criminal neglect or abuse, it's a different story, but that's not what we're talking about here. basically, here you have parents who are less motivated or lazy or unable to control their impulses and their children end up with the same bad habits. there's NO role for government in that situation.

this isn't about leveling hte playing field. What is there going to be a Delayed Gratification Program? Can you imagine?

Anyway, do we really think that POLITICIANS (!) are the best people to come up with a "SOLUTION" to people's inability to delay gratification? Seriously? We're gonna have government officials in regulating personal attributes?They're more likely to create a Department of Marshmallows than have an iota of positive impact in this area.

So yes, let the losers lose. Shit happens. It's called life.

EDH said...

The marshmallow test with "unreliable adults" is much more analogous to the government denying the earned benefits of delayed gratification (i.e., a positive return on investment) than a parent failing to deliver gratification unearned.

The subject in the marshmallow test starts with an endowment (wealth, not poverty) and is given the expectation of a 100% return in exchange for the opportunity cost associated with delayed consumption. In the "unreliable adult" scenario, that return on investment is further delayed or denied completely. But there still has to be an initial wealth endowment whose immediate consumption is delayed based on a promised return.

Can it involve people who have no wealth in the first place, or the delivery of gratification in the absence of an investment in delayed gratification from an existing endowment?

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

There are few more unreliable adults than the government.

And it seems cruel to make adults get thier marshmallows from the same leviathan that fucked up their parents.

In the end, they learn it's better to just destroy their own homes (see: Detroit).

How is teaching someone self-destructive behaviors considered compassionate?

kimsch said...

...our conservatism won't feel so comfortable anymore and we're amenable to arguments about equalizing outcomes.

No.

That's the big fallacy of the left. Equal outcomes. Outcomes depend on input. Yes, you can work hard and never seem to get ahead, and others can seem not to work at all and get far ahead, but those are mostly outliers and we hear/know about them because they are.

With nearly half the country on food stamps, it's getting "comfortable" to be in that position. Free/reduced price breakfasts, lunches, and now even dinners let parents spend their food stamp dollars on other things and remove the responsibility to feed their children.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want people to have to worry about a "choice" between having a place to live and feeding the family, but that's not what many of the choices are. It's a choice between a movie or food, or a new pair of sneakers or food, or cigarettes or food. With food stamps and free meals at school, those choices don't have to be made. One can have their cake and eat it too.

Hubby and I, back before 9/11 and two layoffs (both of us out of work at the same time for a while) used to have a "date" night every week. We'd go to dinner and a movie and pay the baby-sitter. She had a weekly gig of guaranteed money so it was good for her too. At that same time we paid a kid down the street to mow the lawn. He also had a pretty much guaranteed weekly or bi-weekly gig.

It's been years since we did the "date" night thing. We need to pay the mortgage, pay the bills, and feed the family. I finally quit smoking 6-1/2 years ago and I am very glad both for my health and the cost has risen so high.

kcom said...
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t-man said...

There used to be a cultural consensus of what values should be taught, and generally, they were the values that would help kids learn the value of delayed gratification. Some kids got a triple does, at home, in school, and in the general culture. Some kids may not have had a strong family, but there were other avenues, school, TV, etc., where they could see those values presented.

The counterculture undermined all three. It would take a long time to repair the damage, but I don't think we can do it.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

So yes, let the losers lose. Shit happens. It's called life

It bears repeating. This is what happens.

Can we try to help by providing an unbiased, good educational foundation that provides skills and knowledge.... not a propagandized liberal education that just furthers the dependency cycle. YES. If we can get the government and unions out of the way.

This would go a long way towards getting those children who have the skills and mindset to lift themselves from poverty.

Poverty is a learned lifestyle but many can overcome this by willpower and knowledge. On the other hand, being born into wealth is no guarantee that you will stay in that strata. You can learn the culture of poverty on your own and be a loser.

Winners win and losers lose. Such is life.

kcom said...

"We're gonna have government officials in regulating personal attributes?"

I didn't read it that way. It was more: Because they have personal attributes that cause them to fail we'll just give them free stuff to make up the difference. Something for nothing -- because we feel bad.

But then you get into the situation where you're trying to fill up a bucket with a hole in the bottom. You can pour and pour and it never fills. And then, as the hole corrodes away and gets bigger you have to pour even more in. The only real hope in the long run is to repair the bucket.

n.n said...

The children of losers cannot be predicted to be losers. Their parents become merely one more obstacle in their path to success.

Perhaps the children of losers should be removed from the custody of losers. Then the losers will be neutered and spayed, and lose all social benefits. There have to be consequences for choosing to be a loser.

Incidentally, I would suggest the same treatment for men and women who choose elective abortion. They also demonstrate themselves to be losers and cannot be trusted with developing human life.

There is another class of individuals who have "shown good aptitude in refraining from delaying gratification": criminals.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

our conservatism won't feel so comfortable anymore and we're amenable to arguments about equalizing outcomes.

Conservatism isn't comfortable and should not feel comfortable. That is how Progressives think.

Equalizing outcomes, which is an impossible goal, is the reason that our society is in the shit hole that it is in now. The reason that our educational system is turning out illiterates and non functional adults. The reason that our work force is being outsourced due to the lack of educated or competent workers who have a willingness to actually....you know..>WORK.

The equal outcomes in the form of affirmative action has been shown to be an abysmal failure.

Yet.....the Liberals and Progressives insist on shoving this false premise down our throats. It didn't work before and it will NEVER work, unless you want us to ALL be equally stupid and poor.

Fernandinande said...

"So what do you say to the child who's deprived, who grows up without that advantage? He's likely to turn into a parent who does the same thing to the next wneration, propagating failure?"

You're assuming a lot there. Like other personality characteristics, the ability to delay gratification is far more influenced by genetics and peer groups than by parents,

"Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?"

There's always going to be winners and losers, and nobody deserves anything.

You seem to prefer to let the children of winners lose by swiping their cash and giving it away to people who'll just waste it - because they're losers.

ricpic said...

Tim - Did I say anything about above normal intelligence? The great bulk of the white population lies in the band between IQ 110 - 90. These people, of average intelligence can delay gratification and in great numbers do. Since any disinterested discussion of average black intelligence is off limits at Althouse as ugly, why go on?

Tim said...

It is transparently obvious (if one thinks, that is, setting aside feelings) the arc of social welfare policies that seek to cure "Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?" ultimately results in fostering greater numbers of losers incapable of individual responsibility, increasingly dependent upon government and an ever-shrinking class of productive, responsible citizens.

The underlying truth of "that which you subsidize, you get more of; that which you tax, you get less of" is proven by our social welfare policies. The liberals "War on Poverty" has only created a permanent, self-reproducing underclass utterly dependent upon productive citizens.

Liberalism creates moral hazards that become societal cancers: our policies are hollowing us out from the inside.

There is a critical distinction between a social safety net and a cradle-to-grave social welfare system; think about that, and dwell on a social liberalism that does not destroy American as a by-product.

The onus here is on liberals, NOT conservatives.

DADvocate said...

But if we find out that a child raised around unreliable adults will adapt by taking the rewards that are available in the present and that this child has shown But if we find out that a child raised around unreliable adults will adapt by taking the rewards that are available in the present and that this child has shown good aptitude in refraining from delaying gratification, our conservatism won't feel so comfortable anymore and we're amenable to arguments about equalizing outcomes., our conservatism won't feel so comfortable anymore and we're amenable to arguments about equalizing outcomes.

"good aptitude in refraining from delaying gratification"???

What the hell does that mean? I suppose if a child has shown good aptitude for thievery we should change our social policies for that too?

We should teach/promote delayed gratification in school. If teachers can't be reliabe, we're in a helluva mess. We try to teach all the "good" liberal values in school how about a little how to succeed skills?

I can see the dynamic identified in the study in action in people I know, though. My kids interact with their mother like that. She's unpredictable, unreliable. So when she gives them something, they take all they can get as fast as they can get it. With others, they understand they'll get what they want/deserve/work for but it may not be immediate.

Geoff Matthews said...

Basically, culture matters. It matters to have a culture that teaches you to delay gratification (hello protestant ethic!). And it matters if government promotes or denigrates this.
As far as Ann's question is concerned, what do we do? Judge, guilt, shame, etc. Some will catch on an prosper, others won't, and will not. At some point, positive (cultural) traits need to be selected.

traditionalguy said...

This is true to life. The children of thieves and robbers are never trustworthy.

Rusty said...

Ann Althouse said...
"is there anything more conservative than the notion that children depend on family to learn about the world?"

So what do you say to the child who's deprived, who grows up without that advantage? He's likely to turn into a parent who does the same thing to the next generation, propagating failure?

You feel reconfirmed in your conservatism? Let the children of losers lose? They deserve it?


So all behavior is determined?
There is no chance for free will?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Maybe the purpose of the study is to show just how fundamentally damaging it is to society when someone ( say, for example, a presidential candidate ) lies to people in an effort to make the country appear more racist ( and therefore less trustworthy ) than it actually is.

Texan99 said...

Or maybe we'll just learn what we knew already, which is that children can be ruined by crappy parenting.

Then the question becomes, what to do about the ruined kids? Give them a lifetime supply of free marshmallows?

pduggie said...

We have a plan: lock up or prevent from breeding all the unreliable adults.

edutcher said...

Boortz nods.

The problem when it turns into carrot and stick is that Barack's stick is so big.

Joe Biden said so.

dreams said...

I think this Althouse's post is confirmation of or tending to confirm the quote below.


"I don’t have a good answer, but I speculate that it has to do with the contempt in which they hold their political opponents. Obama frequently expresses such contempt in his own way. He even did so famously in Ryan’s case after Ryan unveiled his budget plan. (In case you need a refresher, Neo-neocon reviewed the incident most recently in this post.)"

Conservatives are just bad people, they think.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/10/abiding-biden.php

Peter said...

"So what do you say to the child who's deprived, who grows up without that advantage? He's likely to turn into a parent who does the same thing to the next generation, propagating failure? "

So, at what point do you become fully responsible for your actions and choices? At 26? At 46? Never??

EMD said...

The equal outcomes crowd also mistakenly believe that equal outcomes have equal value.

There are plenty of distraught, disappointed, and unhappy millionaires out there.

Life is not about the possession of material goods.

Synova said...

You know what I think of when I read about the study?

Communist fish farms.

You know. The ones where do-gooders show up in poverty stricken villages in Africa and build a fish pond that belongs to everyone and then they fill it with fry and instead of waiting until there are nice big fish in sustainable production all the locals net out all the fry and eat them.

Or I think of the behavioral incentives related to tax insecurities, where you can't know what's going to happen in the future. Or poor fruit sellers in countries run by corrupt people who steal anything you buy, like a scale, as you try to build your business.

The children aren't dumb. If they trust that their *property* will be protected, they'll wait. If they don't trust that their promised property will be protected they won't wait.

This is about security incentives and property protection.

And the worst possible thing anyone could do for the children is promote insecurity and irresponsibility and the expectation that one must grab what one can before it's gone in the adults around them. Because the adults are in the same situation which is made worse because they know that if they attempt to accumulate property in order to build, their support will be taken away from them.

Chip S. said...

This study's sole finding is that kids are savvy enough to discount future returns by the probability of default, and somehow Althouse's takeaway is that they're hopelessly incompetent at decision-making?

WTF?

Synova said...

"The very inconvenient fact that Althousians can't get around, so they make it *poof* disappear, is that the capacity for delaying gratification is first and foremost a matter of conceptualization: the clild has to be intelligent enough to be future oriented, to understand that restraint now will result in a reward in the future then. Yes, there's no getting away from the ugly toad in the road, IQ. So they fly *whee* right over it."

Perhaps "Althousians" are reluctant to imply that urban poor (read "black") children have low IQs?

It's not a hard concept, though. Kids aren't too dumb to get it. They know very well from their own lives that trusting future rewards is a lie and a scam. That's not a matter of IQ. It's a matter of truth.

Synova said...

And to answer Althouse's question... the answer to that is changing the truth of those kids' lives.

Not that it's just the poor either, anymore. College graduates can't get jobs. Law school graduates can't get jobs. "Get a degree so you can get a good job" is a lie.

Also, at a bit of a tangent to that, this is why the race baiting white-privilege Republicans-are-all-racist political game-play is so evil. The "liberals" saying so are creating and reinforcing an "everyone is against you, it makes no sense to try" message to precisely those they claim they care about and want to help.

It hurts real people to tell them day in and day out that they aren't going to be able to make it because people who want them to succeed are actually racist haters who are trying to keep them from success.

DADvocate said...

All this ignores what happens if the kid doesn't like marshmellows. I never liked uncooked marshmellows. If you told me to wait 15 minutes and I'd get two marshmellows instead of the one sitting in front of me, I'd wait. Then I'd have two marshmellows I wouldn't eat. Yippee.

n.n said...

How society should choose to cope with losers by choice and the people they stand to harm, especially their children, depends on the ubiquitousness of this dysfunctional behavior.

For example, in our society, there is a large minority who advocate for the normalization of involuntary exploitation (i.e. redistributive change). This has to be controlled, but its support remains in the minority, and so any response has can still be measured.

Another example, also in our society, a majority of women choose to reproduce in the minority; a minority of women choose the elective termination of their unwanted children; a majority of men and women would prefer to normalize behaviors which constitute evolutionary dysfunction; etc. These are clearly behaviors which cannot be tolerated, let alone normalized, and their consequences are visible after only a single successive generation. The response to a dysfunctional behavior which has reached critical mass must necessarily be forceful. A society can literally not afford the normalization of behaviors which constitute evolutionary dysfunction.

We cannot afford to normalize policies which denigrate individual dignity and devalue human life. Nor can we normalize policies which normalize involuntary or fraudulent exploitation. If we hope to preserve our liberty, then we must be capable of self-moderating behavior, and we must encourage our children to follow suit. There is rarely instant gratification, whether physical, material, or ego, without consequences.

ricpic said...

Life is not about the possession of material goods.

Uh...the misery of poverty is the constant struggle to maintain the bare minimum of material goods commensurate with very modest comfort, known as keeping ones head above water; as opposed to failing to maintain that minimum of material goods, known as going under or going broke.

The poor can't afford the sentiment you express.

Which, by the way, in no way legitimizes the lefties' spread the wealth lie. It only legitimizes Robert Frost's instruction: Provide, Provide.

Maguro said...

Ah yes, we must have socialism because...for the children!

Of course.