Gratitude: Friend of happiness, enemy of progressives

From The Greater Good:

What Barbara Ehrenreich Gets Wrong about Gratitude

In an opinion piece published in Sunday’s print edition of the New York Times, the bestselling author criticizes a movement to encourage thankfulness, suggesting that it’s “all about you, and how you can feel better.”

No it isn’t “all about you, and how you can feel better,” but come to think of it, the loyalty points program for gratitude is pretty good too.

But her harshest criticisms are political. To Ehrenreich, gratitude is nothing less than a plot to maintain an unjust social order. … Ehrenreich considers a Walmart employee who saw her base pay increase this past year from $8 to $9 an hour, and suggests that she’d be a “chump” to feel grateful toward Walmart’s executives. Far be it from me to tell this hypothetical employee that she should be grateful to people who make as much in a week as she makes in a year, and I hope that she—and the rest of us—can close such socioeconomic gaps.

Will gratitude actually interfere with changing your life—and your world—for the better, as she suggests it does? More.

Reality check: Wow. Are there ever some screwed-up people in that field (Ehrenreich).

Life doesn’t owe anyone anything; it’s all the other way around. Gratitude for what has worked is a critical first step to making things better.

How be: I have a job with a big company, and I get paid every hour I work. Lots of people couldn’t say that.

If WalMart raises that woman’s pay only $1/hr and she thinks she can do better, she should ask herself, okay, how?

If she is going to make changes, the extra $1/hr will help. That’s about $2000 over a year, and she is free to try to save it to make changes. She might have to go to night school or back to day school. But this is an information society and information-based skills is what people pay for these days.

If she does go that route, the only person who isn’t benefiting is the progressive, who makes a living as a parasite off people who are unhappy and unsuccessful—who, in many cases, could solve problems on their own, with all the happiness and freedom that such an achievement brings.

So the progressive has to stop them somehow. And it is getting harder all the time to get the progressive out of the picture, even as it becomes more necessary to do so.

See also: “Identity” as a club to beat, not meet

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

  • Alain

    She embraces the entitlement mentality. Being grateful for a pay increase whatever it may be is not wrong, especially when you were not forced to work in the place. I find this entitlement mentality one of the major problems today.

    • All Too Much

      Not only not wrong, its always right.

  • Katyn

    I have personal dealings with a number of people on Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). I have to say that with few exceptions (generally being older 50+ European types) they are the singularly most ungrateful people I have ever known. They are like children and simply expect to be taken care because, “They owe me.”


    • Kathy Prendergast

      I know this type as well. Personally, I try to stress to the young people in my life who often seem to have failed to learn the basic lessons of civilization that the ability to feel and express gratitude is what sets us apart from other animals. If I feed a stray cat I do not expect it to show gratitude; in fact, even if it hisses at me I will still keep feeding it because it’s only a cat and I cannot reasonably expect any more of it. Humans are something else altogether. The habitually-ungrateful need to be reminded that the one purely self-serving reason why gratitude is a good attitude to cultivate is that nothing sours the milk of human kindness like surly ingratitude. If you don’t say “thank you” the first time, don’t expect there to be a second time.