To the College Student Drowning in Debt and the Single Mother Who Can’t Afford Insurance


You’re in a bad situation; you’re depressed, frightened, and need a solution. I’ll do my best to give you one. But first, please believe me that I know what it’s like to be in desperate circumstances.

I’m offering you advice, earned the hard way. What you do with it will be your choice, but unlike politicians, I’m not trying to get anything from you and my plan actually works.

Step #1

You’re in a hard place. Job number one is to solve your immediate problems… to survive into another day.

So, if you’re so deep in debt that you can’t afford a safe place to live, just stop paying the debt. The government will chase you and punish you, but while that’s unpleasant, it’s survivable. Living where you could be shot may not be.

Being unable to afford medical care for your child is a harder problem. In that situation, you’ll have to come up with something. Finding a decent free hospital is probably your best bet. The free hospital is far better than no hospital at all and probably better than any hospital was a generation or two ago. Move to a different area if you must, but get your kids access to basic care.

You must also work to keep those kids healthy. If you’re living a corrupt lifestyle, your kids will suffer, and it will be your fault. No one can save you from that except you. Live like a fool and you’ll get the results of a fool… and all your complaints will mean nothing.

If you feel you must go to a government program, okay, but don’t ever let yourself think of them as your saviors. That’s the crew that put you into this situation.

Step #2

Your next step is to figure out how you got into such a bad situation and fix it.

With student debt, this is easy: You were told all your life that not going to college would brand you as a loser, with a capital L. Skipping college, you were made to believe, meant a second-rate spouse, a second-rate life, and second-rate children.

So, when they put insane loan papers in front of you, you caved in and signed… just as you were conditioned to do. You probably did a few other stupid things along the way, but they wouldn’t have been horrific on their own. The loan scam amplified them.

And who set you up for this? The school systems, the universities, the governments that control them, and the bankers who gave you those abusive loans. They all worked together to create your mess, so don’t ever pretend they didn’t realize what they were doing. They knew all too well.

As a single mom you got into trouble in more complex ways. Either you made a baby with an unfit guy, an accident happened, or something. In any case it sucks, but you have to face it.

Get clear on this: You have a child depending upon you. You owe it to this child to face what went wrong and fix it so it won’t go wrong again. It doesn’t matter how that makes you feel, you have to do it.

Step #3

Now, you must decide what you want your life to be like. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been avoiding that decision for a decade or more, afraid that you’ll fail. You have to pick something, and now. Pick something good.

Step #4

Define a path to that goal. Again, you have to do this whether you like it or not. Grow up and get to it.

And yes, you will fail along the way, probably several times. It doesn’t matter; you’ll have to pick yourself up, revise your plan, and get moving again.

This is hard for everyone, but we still have to do it.

Step #5

Get busy on your plan. Let people criticize you for it. Let them call you a traitor. Just move toward your destination.

Nothing can ever replace action. And you’ll never really feel good about yourself until you do this.

Mission Accomplished?

No, not accomplished; mission started.

More importantly, it’s your mission, not one that was thrust upon you.

What Not to Do

First, don’t look for someone to save you. That keeps you powerless. Understand this: The politicians who play savior are using you as a tool. They want you to accept the role of the victim. Do you really want that? Is that how you want your children to live?

You see, “saving the 99%” sounds good, but it requires you to join a victim class, so politicians can pretend to save you. And this is crucial:

Look hard at the people whose families have been on welfare for decades. Those are “the saved.” They’re the past generation’s “99%.”

Second, understand this: It’s the system that screwed you over. With school loans this is obvious, especially when you consider that the entire political establishment wrote laws so you can never escape those loans.

And it’s true for the single mom too. Have you noticed that insurance isn’t sold nationwide? They can sell only in certain areas. And why? Because the insurance companies (who fund the law-makers) don’t like competition; they get rid of as much of it as they can.

And why can’t you and your friends create your own insurance fund? Because it’s outlawed of course… for your safety.

Third, if you jump into battle against rich people (“we’re going to make you pay”), you’ll lose every time. They can bribe the politicians much better than you can, and no one gets elected without those… um… donations.

Finally, get clear on this: The system is designed to screw you over. It screws everyone over, except for the people who feed on it.

In the End…

In the end, you have to decide what you want your life to look like. And you’ll have to build it yourself.

Is that hard? Yeah, it is. Is it scary? Yes. But it remains the only thing that works.

So start doing it.

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Paul Rosenberg

At Eight Years Old We Learned to Torture

Sometimes their faces pop up in my mind and I shudder. I don’t want to recall their suffering but I also can’t pretend it never happened. They were tormented, day after day, and for extended periods. I can only hope and pray that they recovered.

I am torn over using their names; I wouldn’t want to drag them back to their sufferings, but at the same time, their suffering mattered, and I don’t want to devalue them by blotting out their identities.

We were children torturing other children. And it’s still going on.

  • Carly was tortured mostly by other girls. They would surround her, laugh at her, point at her, and mock her… over years. She was told, loudly and publicly, that she had an ugly face, ugly hair, ugly clothes, and that she was stupid. This happened five days per week, nine months per year.

  • Ron was tortured by the boys. I still have images in my mind of him being forced to play baseball, surrounded by at least twenty boys who laughed at his every move. They laughed so loudly that you could hear them from the far side of the field. This torture was not limited to sports humiliation, and forced his entire family to move to a distant location.

  • Debra was humiliated with purpose and malice. Both boys and girls called her “dog” to her face. This went on for years, until her family moved.

  • Martin was surrounded by other boys and slapped around by them, one after another.

  • Deirdre was chased down by a group of boys who held her down, pulled off her underwear, and examined her genitals.

  • Stanley had his physical appearance ridiculed on a daily basis for many years. He was occasionally slapped around and was criticized continually.

All of this, if you haven’t guessed, happened at or around school. I made a quick count of ten schoolmates of mine (at small schools) who were tortured this way in my early years. In rough numbers, that means that for 5% of my schoolmates, being forced to walk into a school meant walking into a torture chamber. The rest of us had momentary torments, but nothing like what these kids experienced.

And I want you to understand something about this:

I went to the very best public schools in the city of Chicago, with some of the best children in the city of Chicago. Our neighborhood approached being a Pleasantville. Nearly all of us had stable homes and families, plenty to eat, family vacations, and so on. Nearly all of us went on to have stable and productive adult lives.

Yet, everything recorded above is true, and these tortures were applied hundreds of times per year, and in some cases thousands… to children.

What It Did to Them

In cursory searches, I’ve found very little information on these victims. (I didn’t want to violate them by digging.) So, I can’t really say what happened to them, but I have done research on the subject.

On the left are the effects of Abu Ghraib style torture, courtesy of Wikipedia. And on the right are the effects of “school bullying,” also courtesy of Wikipedia:

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder









Memory lapses

Excessive stress

Guilt and shame


I can tell you from my experience that “guilt and shame” should definitely be included in the school bullying list, as should, almost certainly, nightmares.

So, yes, those kids were tortured. To call it “teasing” or “bullying” is both to lie and to spit on these children once again.

To make it even worse, this is still going on, and probably more so. People just block it out of their minds because modern society places “school” in a position of worship. They haven’t the courage to combine the words “torture” and “school” in their minds.

But psychological defenses be damned, I can tell you one thing that I know all too well:

For millions of children, walking into a school building is the same as walking into a torture chamber.

Adults block such thoughts from entering their minds, but in so doing, they are closing their eyes to the persistent torture of millions of children. If it seems that I’m being harsh, I’m not – how do you think those children feel?

Shall we continue to abandon them to torment because facing the truth is uncomfortable?

Why It Happens

Since the torture of children angers me, I will be blunt: The proximate cause of this is the forced grouping of government schooling. Yes, schooling.

This is where people run away from the subject, calling upon approved models of the world and repeating, “That can’t be.”

But since I believe that you, dear reader, are not so inclined, I shall continue.

Forced grouping breeds bad conduct. When you mix that with hierarchical domination, it gets much worse. And that is precisely what mass schooling does.

Laws force children to attend these institutions, where they are forced to submit to authority. Learning from this example, the children turn around and apply the same domination on others, putting themselves above them in the all-important order of hierarchy.

Probably nothing could make this point better than Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment, which created a very school-like situation… and which had to be disbanded after only six days, because the dominators became sadistic.

And it is important to note that the Stanford experiment’s sadistic dominators were all students at an elite university – from “good families,” just like the ones in my neighborhood.

The lesson is clear and documented: Forced grouping plus hierarchical dominance breeds torture.

We can either accept this or close our eyes to it, but the evidence stands. And so long as these systems continue, 5% of the children (or whatever the actual number is) will be continually tortured.

Applying additional hierarchical pressures to this situation (as with anti-bullying laws and punishments) will never work; it’s just another dose of the same things that are causing the problem.

The system is the problem, and that problem is beyond obscene.

A Final Note

I’m relieved to say that I had very little to do with torturing my schoolmates and even feebly defended them a few times. But I was young and frightened myself, and if I could, I’d love to go back and do things differently.

Still, if any of the tortured kids from my youth ever read this: I’m sorry. I wish I had done more to help you. You deserved it.

Paul Rosenberg