Tossing coins from the carriage

largess

THERE ARE NO two abutting nations on earth more different than the United States and Mexico.

They are not just economically different, the two nations embrace very different mindsets, which include different priorities.

On happiness scales, and you see such things in the news on occasion, Mexico usually ranks higher than the United States. This does not surprise me at all. I’m happier here too.

Mexicans live differently than Gringos in a million ways, some voluntarily, some not so voluntarily. The average Mexican earns far less than the average American. In spite of this, the overwhelming majority of Mexicans have a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, food in the tummies and cell phones in their pockets.

They’re doing okay, thank you.

Many Mexicans live the way Americans lived a century ago, but without the cell phones, of course. Did Americans in the early 20th century lack food, shelter, clothing, the necessities of life? Most did not. Most Mexicans in 2019 do not either.

The Mexican lifestyle is simply different than that above the Rio Bravo.

Having said that, let me add that Mexico has a significant middle class whose lifestyle is not all that different from the American middle class. This is no Third World nation.

Now to my gripe:

Americans come down here, either visiting or even living here full or part-time, and they see a country of woebegone, downtrodden, “oh, so friendly” people. Their hearts go pity-patty. Oh, these poor, poor people, look how they live. Gringos morph into “help” mode, and this expresses itself by their tossing cash around like drunken sailors.

This makes them feel very good about themselves.

I know how Mexicans react to this, but just to be sure I asked my child bride for an honest reaction, and she responded thusly:

Pensamos que son mensos y no saben el valor del dinero.

“We think they are stupid and don’t know the value of money.”

This often flagrant overpaying manifests itself in various ways. There is the colossal overtipping.  And there is the extreme overpaying for work done.

Why is this a bad thing? After all, Mexicans are “unfortunate” and need all the help we can provide, poor babies. Aside from the inherent paternalism, it tells Mexicans that Gringos are foolish spendthrifts and easily separated from their riches. This results in Gringos being routinely overcharged, and that affects all of us who live here.

My advice: Tip like Mexicans tip, which is normally 10 percent. I go up to 15 percent if the service is above average. If a tradesman does work for you, the price he quotes is what he considers fair even if it seems paltry by the mindset you’ve imported from above the border. Pay him what he asks. If you think the work was superlative in some way, give him a bonus, which should not be a staggering increase of 100 to 500 percent.

Yes, Gringos down here actually do that. They should not. This is a different world with different standards and price structures. Mexicans live by these standards, and so should you. They will take your money with a smile, but they won’t think better of you.

They’ll think you’re menso. El valor del dinero is different than what it is up north. Mexicans get alone fine without your charity. They’re already happier than you.

Alternatives to collectivism

COLLECTIVISTS BEAT conservatives handily in two areas: profanity and propaganda.

charityThat leftists curse like sailors was beautifully illustrated in the last presidential campaign. I addressed the issue then with a post titled What the (bleep)?! which links to a couple of NDP (New Democratic Party) television spots starring foul-mouthed celebrities who love Barry.

It is unthinkable that the Republicans would have countenanced something similar for Mitt Romney.

We are nice, polite people.

Collectivists also beat the pants off conservatives with propaganda. Collectivists have effectively pounded into the noggins of low-information voters (who are legion) that conservatives don’t care about poor people, that we want to end Social Security and Medicare which is, of course, arrant nonsense.

Conservatives want to modernize Social Security, for instance, bring it into the 21st century and make it more financially viable for the long haul. Right now, it is not, of course. And Medicare, which has served many people well, including my mother, needs reform too. Losses to fraud are scandalously massive.

Conservatives advocate improving that type of social program. The NDP says otherwise, and that’s baloney.

Let’s look at poor people. The NDP would have you think conservatives want poor people to starve in the streets. This too is malarky. Conservatives simply favor private-sector charities to government. Given the well-documented fraud and waste in Medicare, the conservative preference for private charities makes sense.

Conservatives are not fond of government coercion, and you should not be fond of it either.

That welfare programs, run by government, are spectacularly abused is no secret — unless you get your information from HuffPost, the Nation and MSNBC. Conservatives want assistance, preferably via the private sector, to go to those in need only. That, almost exclusively, means old people, the chronically ill and the handicapped. People who truly cannot help themselves. Private charities do this more efficiently.

Private charities do not put ne’er-do-wells on the public tit.

There are many privately run charitable organizations that touch the needy around the world. Here are two:

1. Kiva. This provides micro-loans. I was a contributor for a few years, withdrew to participate in another organization, but I have recently returned to Kiva. It does great work. My new team (Team Mexicano) could use some more members. You just need $25, for Pete’s sake. Join us.

2. Heifer International. This outfit provides worldwide help to the poor in a very novel way. Check it out. I recently discovered this group via a link on my ex-wife’s Facebook page. Gracias, Julie.

The opportunities to share the wealth (a collectivist goal) are countless, but it’s best to do it without being coerced, and it’s best to do it efficiently, with the truly needy getting the help, not folks like the Surfer Dude.

Conservatives aid the poor intelligently. And they don’t cuss up a storm while they’re at it.

Don’t be fooled by NDP propaganda. Be smart.

The collectivists’ vastly superior talent at propaganda is beautifully illustrated by their use of the word “immigrant.” They do not use the phrase illegal alien, of course, nor even illegal immigrant if they can weasel out of it. They love to say conservatives “hate immigrants.”

Of course, this is bogus. All but the most extreme xenophobes, who are no more numerous on the right than Bolsheviks on the left, have no problem with immigrants. It is lawlessness that we oppose. Illegal aliens, not law-abiding immigrants. Conservatives do not “hate immigrants.”