Social Skirmishes

It’s often said that to be a good social worker you need faith. Not necessarily the religious or spiritual kind, but at least a faith in human nature. This, naturally, assumes that human nature is inherently a good thing. But a new book published last month, Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, suggests that human nature is somewhat contrary to social work ideals.

The authors, Alan S Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa, produce documentary scientific evidence to prove, among other things, that men like blond bombshells (and women want to look like them), humans are naturally polygamous, most suicide bombers are Muslim, beautiful people have more daughters, and that men sexually harass women because they are not sexist. Like it or not, they say, but human nature is simply not politically correct. (Visit

I mention this because I took our five year-old to a theme park last weekend. Watching her ride the carousel, I recalled the US journalist, William D Tammeus’s quote: “You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.”

Nonetheless, I was delighted to hear that the international prestige with which that doyen of parenting Homer Simpson is held by those in the field has been rewarded with the acceptance of his glorious utterances into the Oxford Book of Quotations. His advice to shopkeeper Apu makes it: “Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the Internet and all.” As does: “Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.” Amen to that.

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