Archive for March 10th, 2013

Rewards For Bad Behavior = More Bad Behavior!

March 10, 2013

Rewards For Bad Behavior = More Bad Behavior!

The following was published in the Indiana South Bend (In)  Tribune’s Voice Of The People, 2/26/13.

You would think that by 2013, those who make critical decisions in governments would know about something as psychologically elemental and profoundly impactful on cultural evolution as the Law of Effect…neatly summarized in Charles W. Bower’s concluding statement in the following short article. Mr. Bower is from Elkhart, Indiana.

I will give Mr. Bower an A+ for his practical example of how our ignorance of the Law of Effect is damaging America. You should know that a whole slew of such dumb psychological mistakes are over-taking America under the names of Progressivism and Socialism.

The following is Mr. Bower’s article:

A recent study by the Carsey institute at the University of New Hampshire claims that 16 million children in America live in poverty. How can so many children be in poverty when the government hands out billions of dollars annually on welfare programs such as food stamps, WIC food programs, HUD Section 8 housing, free preschool baby-sitting, heating assistance, Medicaid and free lunches and breakfasts at school?

Could the fact that 40 percent of all births in the U.S. today occur out of wedlock have anything to do with it? Certainly single adult men and women have the right to have unprotected sex. But it should also be their responsibility to rear and pay for children born as a result of their actions.

According to the Pew Research institute only 52 percent of American adults are married, down from 72 percent in 1960. It’s obvious that as marriage decreases in America, childhood poverty increases. As long as society continues to compensate people for having children, while at the same time failing to force the males involved to financially support the offspring, poverty among the young will continue to rise.

By serving as the surrogate bread winner the government is proving the old adage true: When you reward bad behavior you get more bad behavior.

End of quote.

Yes, folks, if you provide positive reinforcement for bad behavior, you will see bad behavior increase in frequency. Within a very large population, this influence will be augmented by a host of other psychological principles that fall under the rubric of Social Learning Theory. Taken in total, all of this is a fine example of bad behavioral contagion within America’s culture.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 3/10/13

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