Insight on the News
Fraud: Victims Are “Greedier”
● Police report that each year in the United States elderly people, mainly older women, are robbed of more than $10 million by a common fraud or “confidence game” called the “pigeon drop.” In this deception, usually a younger woman has “just found” an unmarked bag or envelope filled with money. She approaches a lone, elderly woman and persuades her to withdraw from her bank a large sum of “good-faith” money in order to share in the find. Recently, a wealthy 80-year-old New York woman handed over $1 million in jewelry, securities and cash to a team of pigeon-drop operators, hoping to increase her wealth by sharing in an envelope “find” of $50,000—tax free.
Why are so many older people each year so easily fooled by the “pigeon drop”? Police call the deception a crime of greed. Greedy swindlers, yes; but who is the more greedy? Says the police supervisor of Manhattan South Senior Citizens Robbery Unit: “In a choice of who is greedier, it’s got to be the victim.” Greed beclouds the good judgment of the victim. How often those who lose large sums of money were greedily seeking to increase it quickly! Well are Christians warned against greediness in the Bible, as it can cost one not only a large sum of money but loss of God’s favor.—Eph. 5:5.
Happiness Is: “Old-fashioned” Discipline
● Are the new-fangled methods of bringing up children as good as the old-fashioned way? England’s highly respected “New Scientist” magazine recently reported on a study made to determine the answer. Two groups of preschool children were carefully observed at play. Children in the “new” or “progressive” group were given creative toys and an outdoor play area, but supervision was minimal. Children in the “old-fashioned” group were restricted to an indoor location with less equipment, but their conduct was closely supervised. Those who broke the strict rules of acceptable behavior were confined to a “naughty corner.”
What did the study reveal? That children playing under the “new” methods were far more aggressive, with behavior ranging from verbal threats to actual physical violence. Among the boys in the “new” group, there were 89 aggressive incidents (56 involving an exchange of blows), compared to only five in the “old-fashioned” group, and these were all merely verbal abuse. The girls in the “new” group had 42 aggressive incidents, while the “old-fashioned” group had none.
The study’s significance? Explained “New Scientist”: “The children in the old-fashioned group were just plain happier than those in the progressive group. . . . Our observations are certainly entirely consistent with the old-fashioned view that children are happier and more secure if they are given an imposed code of conduct and know what the rules are and what punishment to expect from transgression, than if they are raised in a free-range style with no clear guidance to expected behaviour.”
Clearly, new methods, which contradict what divine wisdom has made clear about rearing children, will have poor success. The one loving his child, says Proverbs 13:24, “is he that does look for him with discipline.”
Churches Abet Mental Disorder
● As of January 1, 1980, the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association added “pathological gambling” to its list of mental disorders. Yet, according to a typical survey, the majority of the 127 priests in the 10-county Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Roman Catholic Archdiocese approved church-sponsored gambling in the form of bingo. They did not see bingo “as a moral issue.” However, in a recent issue of “U.S. Catholic” magazine an article by Nathan Kollar develops the theme “Church Gambling Is Immoral.” “The player wants others to lose because it is the only way to win,” he writes. “What can such an attitude produce except Christians who are egocentric—hateful of the good luck of others—and rejoicing in the good luck of themselves? Is this Christian?” Furthermore, does not church gambling encourage some on the road to “pathological gambling”?