Fatherly advice

My dad has only ever given me two pieces of advice (he’s not much of an advice giver). They are:

1) You can’t change people. A corollary to this piece of advice is, as he always put it, "fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke;" and

2) Always spend less money than you make.

Growing up, I always thought that these were relatively simple pieces of advice. Perhaps they are.

But, as I’ve grown older and as I’ve recently begun to think about what advice I would give to my own son, I seen them in a new light. In fact, I’m not sure that I could improve on them.

The fact is, you can’t change people. On the micro level, you’ll be much happier if you accept the people around you for who they are. Sure, they’ll do annoying shit, but you’re not going to be able to change their behavior. If you try, you’ll only end up upsetting yourself more. If you roll with it, you might even learn to enjoy it. On the macro level, most of the world’s problems seem to be caused by one group of people who want to change another group of people – from trying to turn poor immigrants into average American homeowners to trying to turn Afghans into law-abiding democrats.

The corollary is also worth addressing. I’ve yet to meet someone that doesn’t have a sense of humor about himself that is worth my time.

Most of the rest of the world’s problems seem to be caused by people (or states) spending more money than they make. I don’t think he would care if I didn’t make much money, but regardless of how much I made, he would have been upset if I spent too much. In other words, if I made $50 and only spent $30, he’d be fine with that. He simply can’t understand how people don’t save money – regardless of their income.

Of course this advice is hopelessly reactionary these days. You’re a fool to not want "change" or to not take advantage of incredibly low interest rates to borrow as much money as some retard is willing to lend you. The most popular lifestyle among my peers is to go deep into debt while working to change poor people. Unsurprisingly it never works.


14 Responses to Fatherly advice

  1. Of course this advice is hopelessly reactionary these days.

    Indeed, as real interest rates are actually negative, saving in the classical sense of in a bank account or in the cookie jar, it’s not only reactionary but (for now) a sucker’s game.

    But who made these real interest rates negative? Who, in other words, decided to subvert this timeless wisdom and call evil “good”? Shame on him. Wo to him.

  2. dearieme says:

    (3) If you can’t hold it, don’t drink it.

  3. Obsidian says:

    Foseti, I have a question for you, in that you’ve recently become a dad to a son…

    What if your boy grows up to be a seriously socially awkward nerd who utterly sucks with Women, and the whole of the Roissy archive couldn’t help him? Would you dad’s advice about not being able to change people, would all that you’ve said about HBD and the immutability of certain groups of people, apply there as well? And if not, why?

    Please explain?



    • Foseti says:

      I think a person – with lots of work – can change themselves. They just can’t force change on others. Trying to do so is a waste of time.

      • Obsidian says:

        No, Foseti. No. You know Roissy as well as I do, so I know you’ve read his writings on the very real limitations of Game. And they ARE real. Simply put, there are Men out there who will NEVER have the skills it takes to woo a Woman into his bed and by extension his life. NEVER. I am asking YOU, what if YOUR son, was one of those Men – and let’s be clear here. It’s a much more common thing than we’d like to admit. You don’t need me to tell you about how most Men down through the ages never had a genetic heir.

        You see, I think a lot of the HBD crowd does what it does because it can break on groups that are for the most part abstractions from themselves. But the door swings both ways, Foseti. And now that you’ve got some real skin in the game, you too will have to begin to grapple with real “what if?” scenarios. There is a very real chance that your scion will be a hopelessly Gameless nerd, socially inept to the Nth degree. What do you do then? How do you break the news to him that his lot is for the most part, immutable? How do you explain it to your neighbors, friends, you and your wife’s parents, etc?

        Have you ever even thought about that?

        Your response?


      • Foseti says:

        I’m not sure what your point is.

        You’re right that I haven’t thought about this situation much. I rather hope that I’m not confronted by such a situation.

  4. Obsidian says:

    Oh come on now, Foseti. You’re going wobbly on me.

    YOU, are the one making the case that there are immutable differences in and among human beings, right? Aren’t YOU the one saying that certain human populations simply cannot be taught? Wasn’t that the entire point of our debate last year wrt the schools? That certain populations simply didn’t have what it took to function in society? Isn’t your other post above on your blog, that chronicles the experiences of a teacher in the UK, isn’t that saying the same thing? aren’t most of your posts along these lines?

    If so, why the hemming and hawing now? What, because its your own flesh and blood? You said you haven’t thought about that – funny that. You, a diehard HBD, haven’t thought about something so basic? You assume that your son will be reasonably on the sociability ball to get at least one Woman to mate with him – yet, all of the data we have down through the ages tells us, that MOST Men do NOT have genetic heirs. And in our time, where Women most certainly do have maximum choice of mates, and where Game is a necessity for many Men, it is entirely possible for your boy to be left standing when the music stops.

    Let’s say that your son is really, really smart. Has no problems in school. Has a great job. But utterly SUCKS at dealing with Women. Nor can he be taught.

    How do you deal with that, Foseti? what do you tell your inlaws? Your parents? How do you break the news to your boy that he just won’t be good with Women?

    Come on, Foseti. Don’t go soft on me, now…


  5. Obsidian says:

    Yes, you are. You are so much more forceful and decisive when it comes to how we should deal with the spawn of others, right? Why can’t you apply that same singleminded purpose to your own kin? After all, if he proves himself to be less than you and the wifey bargained for, then what? What if he’s a genetic reject in some way? Wil you have the balls to tell him so to his face? And if not, why?

    Have you talked to your wife about this? If so, what does she think? Is she in agreement with you about HBD?


    • Foseti says:

      Like I said, it would be crappy. I’d certainly try to help him understand what to expect in life. Do you honestly think that – assuming a kid is a “genetic reject” – that he’d be better off with parents who would pretend that he isn’t? Who told him that he should aim for the stars, or whatever?

  6. Jehu says:

    I’ve got two children now, and I’m hoping for a 3rd in a few years. Your kids tend to have various positive and negative attributes centered around your own and your wife’s, but there’s a fair bit of random variance there. Some kids are easier to coach than others also, and thus easier to get closer to their maximum potential. But make no mistake, life isn’t fair, and it sucks for some people and sucks hardcore for some others. My guess is Foseti will deal with whatever hand has been dealt his kids, try to stack the deck (choosing your wife wisely is the biggest factor there), and help him play it as best he can. That’s all honestly I ask of anyone in a parental role.

  7. Ugh, not only have I stopped reading Obsidian long ago, now I realize I must also avoid reading the answers to him by normally respected commenters, to avoid contact with the implied argument.

    That such a wretchedly fake, servile and disingenuous toad blights the face of this Earth and my beloved blogosphere is an offense to aesthetics.

    Letting this Caliban parade his cringing, preening psyche fosters a more visceral racism than any I wish to entertain.

    I beg those present to ban, block, ignore, or otherwise cauterize his pustulent presence.

  8. […] Foseti – “Fatherly Advice” […]

  9. Yalc says:

    Jesus Christ Obsidian, relax.

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