In Thomas Sowell’s book “The Vision of the Anointed” (You know who the anointed are: the sensitive, the caring, the compassionate, and the humanitarian liberals!) Sowell notes how the critics of the “anointed”, such as Malthus, Burke and Hayek, always spoke generously of the motives of the Left even while questioning their policies.
Milton Friedman criticized the Great Society, but he always said it was born of noble intentions.
However, the responses of the “anointed” to their critics were always personal. The critic’s motives were questioned. They were called mean spirited, hard hearted and cruel. (Sound familiar?)
Read Sowell’s comment: “Malthus attacked a popular vision of his time, exemplified in the writings of Godwin and Condorcet. He said, “I cannot doubt the talents of such men as Godwin and Condorcet. I am unwilling to doubt their candor.” Yet Godwin’s response was quite different. He called Malthus ‘malignant’, questioned ‘the humanity of the man’, and said, ‘I profess myself at a loss to conceive on what earth the man was made’.
During the welfare reform debate a decade ago, Democrats equated Gingrich and the Republicans in the House to Hitler and the Nazis. (Where have I seen that tactic before?) That was a new low for those who substitute name calling for debate. (The names bigot, nativist, etc. come to mind in this regard.)
Nothing has changed. While attacking conservatives on personal grounds, it is increasingly apparent that liberals have less interest in program beneficiaries (except perhaps for their vote) than in the power to decide. That is what the 2008 election is about. The power to decide. And they will stop at nothing to gain it — including lying.
G.K. Chesterton said, “I believe in liberalism today as much as I ever did. But, oh, there was a happy time when I [also] believed in liberals.”
Oh, there was a happy time. It was between 1948 and 1968 (called the Mayberry period by some) when poverty dropped from 32% to 13% and specifically black poverty dropped from 90% to 32%. We witnessed the largest migration of blacks into management in the history of our country. In 1960 black illiteracy was 16% and the black family was the most conservative, spiritual and family oriented segment of our society.
Then the poverty programs kicked in. After 30 years and 7.5 trillion dollars, illiteracy among blacks is rising. Nearly 70% of black babies are born out of wedlock and the black family is under serious assault. In 1965 a larger percentage of them were poor, and the government helped them the most, helped them to stay dependents of the government so that they could be patronized by liberals.
If you grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota near the Chippewa Indian reservations, you would have seen the Indian children going to the same schools as other children. Every fifth grade class has an Indian child at the top of the class. They were smart and artistic but they didn’t graduate. Teen age pregnancies, crime, alcohol, violence, no fathers in the homes were the mode for the reservation Indians.
For over a hundred years America rounded up the Indians and placed them on reservations. Bureaucrats told them where to go to school, which dentist and doctor to see, where to buy school clothes, and we paid the bill. The influence of the breadwinner was replaced by a bureaucrat with a government check and the breadwinner left, taking with him or her, the remaining vestiges of Indian self esteem.
A pitcher on the Inger Indian baseball team had a curve ball that looked like it was coming at you from third base. He was offered a minor league contract one summer, but he didn’t know if he should take it. The only white guy on the team, the catcher, said, “Look, you’re 26 years old and you have never had a job. Take the contract.”
Six weeks later he was back home. His friend asked him what happened. He said, “I just couldn’t take it. I didn’t know how to get an apartment so the baseball club owner had to help me. I kept forgetting where to change buses. I didn’t know if I should get a black and white or color TV. I just couldn’t make all of those decisions.
At age 17 his friend realized that government paternalism steals from people the ability to make decisions about their own lives.
The other Indians on the team are all dead now. Richie Robinson, Esica Ogema, Tom Bowstring, Frank Rabbit, Johnny Wakanabo, Sammy Goggleye – dead too young - not because government did too little. But because government did too much and in the process robbed them of their initiative, their self esteem, their ability to make decisions and any number of other positive traits that would have enabled them to survive.
Having done so well with the American Indian, government replicated the reservation in every major city in America with the same results: Teenage pregnancies, crime, drugs, violence, gangs, and no father in those homes and not because government did too much.