Sweet Sorrows
Friday Ephemera

Unwise Counsel

In news that will shock no-one, Laurie Penny is once again unhappy. Today we find her telling the world that, “People are not poor because they… made bad choices. People are poor because capital requires a surplus population.”

This of course is the same Laurie Penny who tells her followers to “Fuck social mobility. Fuck money. Fuck marriage, mortgage, monogamy and every other small ugly ambition.” And who urged her readers to “destroy marriage,” to reject romantic love as “a systemic lie,” to champion “polyamory,” and to wage “war” on capitalism. Because employers can’t resist job applicants who want to wage “war” on capitalism. And shunning monogamous coupledom and opting instead for unstable family structures, or no family structure, and sneering at bourgeois values and conventional avenues of advancement, these things couldn’t possibly have sub-optimal consequences, could they? They couldn’t possibly be bad choices.

Laurie and her followers are also being outraged by a Telegraph article by Frank Field, who dares to mention the fact that two parents are generally more able to cope and less dependent on the state - and less likely to be poor and to stay poor - than single parents. And so Laurie’s Twitter circle of 19-year-old students and self-styled misfits are now telling each other how “angry” the article makes them. Presumably on grounds that one mustn’t acknowledge the fact that poverty is very often caused, and prolonged, by a series of bad choices.

Of course Laurie has the considerable advantage of being raised, comfortably, in a stable family by two middle-class parents with the terribly bourgeois values she now claims to hold in contempt. If instead she’d been raised in keeping with her own professed standards – say, by a disaffected single parent with multiple transient partners and no lifelong commitment - I somehow doubt she’d have been able to spend time at Wadham College finding herself politically and playing “riot girl.” In effect, and like so many of her type, our leftist guru is coasting on the legacy of values that served her well but which she claims to despise and urges others to reject.

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