Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What is the White Thing to do?

The state of African-American America, particularly the specific subset descended from chattel slavery, makes for very depressing reading.The blanket statistics hide an even more awful reality in poor neighborhoods.
That 70 percent illegitimacy rate, troubling in itself, isn’t evenly distributed but is concentrated in poor neighborhoods, where it soars above 85 percent and can approach 100 percent.
Ghettos like Detroit, Washington D.C., Memphis, etc. have become nearly perfect distillations of self-reinforcing social pathologies. African-Americans, in contrast to the experience of other immigrant groups, have a very low intermarriage rate, most of which is attributable to black men. For these areas, the intermarriage rate must be very close to zero. We cannot count on the time honored method of blending disparate social groups to make this problem go away.

Despite an improvement in US racial relations so rapid and substantial that there is probably no parallel in human history, large portions of black America are intractably mired in self-reinforcing pathology, made somewhat ignorable to the rest of us by it being confined to areas we need not ever see.

These self-perpetuating hells, for which the term "dystopian" does not qualify only because they are not imaginary, are the spawn of chattel slavery, institutionalized racism, and Great Society welfare policies that proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the road to ruin can be lavishly paved with good intentions.

The article at the top of this post, as well as this one, indicate that African-Americans are moving from victimology (the Left's default position) to personal accountability. Unfortunately, the corrosive effects of welfare and denial of human agency have so riddled African-American culture that all these efforts run head on into charges of acting "white", while denying some essence of blackness that is as essential as it is undefined. Stating, or doing, the obvious has become group betrayal.

For we white's, who collectively, if not at all individually, bear some responsibility for this, what is the right thing to do? Is there even a right thing to do that won't be completely counterproductive?

Standing back and watching with the best wishes for success amounts to nothing more than benignly knowing which parts of the country to stay the hell out of. However, absent dynamiting the school system (which runs into the problem of whites imposing a solution on blacks), what are the options?

Listing all the ones I can think of would leave a fresh sheet of notebook paper unblemished.

72 Comments:

Blogger Susan's Husband said...

1) Stop feeding the pathology.

2) School vouchers, so that parents can make their own choices and not have them imposed (or become revenue generating pawns for corrupt city officials and unions).

July 29, 2008 6:58 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

In middle and high school: pay the students $50 for every A and $10 for every B. (I can't remember where I read this, but I think this approach was successful in significantly increasing learning in inner city schools).

July 29, 2008 9:36 PM  
Blogger erp said...

Skipper, it's not a question of white's imposing a solution on black, but the community imposing its will on a blight in its midst.

Bret, instead of paying kids to get good grades, how about, making parents pay (or having their entitlement/welfare check reduced) for every F and D their kids get?

Attending publicly funded schools should be seen as the entree into the greater world it is.

July 30, 2008 6:40 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Give the welfare queens a rest, OK? Reagan is dead. Let his fantasies die with him.

Whatever is wrong, since there were in absolute numbers way more whites than blacks on welfare during the War on Poverty, welfarism cannot be the whole or even the main explanation.

I blame, primarily, employers, who would not hire qualified black people.

Attending publicly funded schools was not seen as an entree, because it wasn't and in many cases still isn't.

I dunno how you undo that.

July 30, 2008 2:09 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

SH:

Stop feeding the pathology.

Welfare reform went a fair distance in that direction. What else is there?

School vouchers ...

Yes, that seems obvious, but. The worst areas, think DC or Detroit are African-American dominated cities with African-American city governments.

Having lived both places, my take is that they have the victim syndrome that, for lack of a better term should be called anti-colonialism. All ills are the fault of the colonial oppressor; in essence, they have deprived themselves of their human agency (a brilliant idea that I fully credit to you, BTW).

The schools are huge patronage machines that are as grotesquely awful as they are expensive. DC spends something like $13,000 per student for the rock bottom worst school system in the country. Possibly because it is further from Congress, Detroit gets less awful results for about half the money.

The problem with the voucher solution is imposing it in the face of the anti-colonialism mentality -- the only way it will succeed is if the entire country funds primary and secondary education exclusively through vouchers.

Bret:

In middle and high school: pay the students $50 for every A and $10 for every B.

In principle, very locally and specifically applied, perhaps. But at what shore do these bounty payments stop?

The worst objection to this, though, comes from the Vietnam war. College students were deferred from the draft. That was the point source of the grade inflation that still plagues colleges.

erp:

Skipper, it's not a question of white's imposing a solution on black, but the community imposing its will on a blight in its midst.

Correct, but. Even now, without imposition of any kind. doing things that seem completely obvious to every other group, African-Americans ostracize as "acting white".

This should be self-evident nonsense: if the goal one has is to build a bridge, there are a few principles that must be adhered to if you want the thing to preserve some decorous distance from the river bottom. Nobody would say that bridge is being white simply because whites happened to build it.

Just so here -- getting a high school diploma, avoiding pregnancy outside marriage, and having two parent families are the principles that come about as close as one can get on this mortal coil to enjoying a decent life.

If Bill Cosby gets stick for pointing out the obvious, it seems to me that any outside imposition will encourage more backlash than anything else.

Harry:

The causes aren't the point, unless they bear on a solution. That said, lifetime entitlement to welfare was part of the problem. Since its elimination, the pathologies afflicting African-Americans have declined somewhat. The reason welfare affected blacks much more than whites is because poor whites are far more evenly spread than poor blacks. The combination of welfare and concentration was toxic.

Employers were, in fact, guilty of not hiring qualified blacks. That is no longer the case.

++++

Which takes me back to the insoluble problem. The solutions, in principle are obvious.

Whether we can actively do anything to effect those solutions upon them is far less so.

Maybe changing the way we pursue the war on drugs?

WRT drugs, I used to be very libertarian. Now (because there is a serious contradiction in the libertarian position that might be the subject for another post) I feel strongly both ways. The risk premium that is the consequence of prohibition funds the gang activity that goes a long way to making poor black neighborhoods so awful.

Ending prohibition, though, is a non-starter.

The ghettoization of poor blacks -- remember the extremely low intermarriage rate? -- is creating an unintended eugenics experiment.

As if things weren't already bad enough.

July 30, 2008 2:43 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

'That is no longer the case.'

Don't be so sure of that.

There were, in fact, places with heavy concentrations of po' white trash. One was called West Virginia.

One difference, though, is that whites were more mobile. Until recently, a black man couldn't just pull up stakes and relocate close to an open job for which he was qualified. No housing, too dangerous, etc. That's less true today than it used to be, but it's true to some extent even now.

You can blame Reagan for the deliberate hollowing out of the good jobs that were reachable by the residents of great black slum cities -- except Anacostia, a unique situation all around.

Being unable to get to a job is a real problem for many people. If the job is close to Ricardian anyway, why bother?

A lot of Guy's chickens come home to roost here.

I recommend an excellent investigation by Ken Auletta, 'The Underclass.' It's about 20 years old, and he left open the question, does America have an underclass?, with a tendency toward answering yes.

If it was only forming then, it exists now.

July 30, 2008 5:09 PM  
Blogger erp said...

Skipper it's counterproductive to ask the sick portion of our society whether they want to be cured, we take appropriate steps to set things right and then let them take it from there.

Neither do we buy into to the poverty pimps notion that whites shouldn't be making decisions for blacks. We don't live in the Balkans. We have one country here and everybody who lives here is an American. Too bad blacks have been taught that doesn't apply to them.

If there's anything we've learned, it's that handouts make things worse.

July 30, 2008 6:00 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

Mr. Eagar;

The only one who has mentioned welfare queens is you. As for Reagan, you're the one who can't seem to let go of him as The Source of Evil. My reading of history is that it was the late 1960s race riots, which trashed mostly black neighborhoods, that hollowed out the inner cities.

If blacks couldn't move to jobs, what accounts for the great migration north? Is your claim that race relations were worse in the last half century than the half century after the Civil War?

Skipper;

What's left? This.

The interesting thing about vouchers is that they are most popular among inner city black parents. The political machines are controlled by people whose children don't suffer, so getting the kids out from under their looting would go a long way. And if it didn't rescue everybody, it would still be better to let some escape than none. The way to turn around the victim mentality is to stop rewarding victims and let education pay, which it won't do under current inner city school systems.

July 30, 2008 8:19 PM  
Blogger joe shropshire said...

I was born in Maple Shade, New Jersey. That's about ten miles east of Camden. In 1973 my dad took early retirement from Rohm and Haas, and we moved to South Paris, Maine, where we lived until Dad died. That was in July of 1980. Now, a decision to move to Maine, in 1973, is well, let's say it's debatable. A decision to get the hell away from Camden is perfectly rational. What I owe the people who live in Camden today, is nothing.

July 30, 2008 10:53 PM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

Gimme that old time religion...

July 31, 2008 5:36 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Even if erp didn't use the words 'welfare queen,' that sure seems to be what she's talking about.

We can hardly say that things in the black slums were OK before the riots, I think.

The Great Migration makes my point. Blacks left insupportable conditions in the rural South (read the labor chapters in 'Rising Tide' about the 1927 Mississippi floods, especially the part of what the employers considered a 'proper kit' for housekeeping).

They went to cities where there were jobs for unskilled and lightly skilled people, and also opportunities for small entrepreneurs, like cooks, hairdressers.

The Reagan Republicans deliberately detroyed those jobs, shipped them overseas in order to impose discipline on overpaid (in their view) American labor.

The mobile blacks (and whites, although nobody ever talks about the city hillbillies some of whose children started going to school) did migrate to jobs. That left a more or less hopeless residue, and what you got what exactly what you'd expect to get.

Another thing happened, which I never, ever see mentioned, although when I was a sports writer it was obvious: the black population of the industrial cities aged.

Although they were better off than in the rural South, these workers were not exactly living the American dream. The strivers worked long hours, often many jobs. Conditions were not very good for family life.

Child care often consisted, especially with young boys entering their rambunctious years, of shipping children down South to live with grandparents or old aunties. It was very common, in fact almost the default, for me to encounter young athletes living hundreds of miles away from their parents.

This was not a particularly good situation, but usually better than leaving them to city gangs.

The old grandparents died off, the young people stayed in the cities without jobs.

Increasing pool of people who would have been satisified with fairly modest economic opportunities, combined with decreasing modest opportunities, multiplied by arrival of 12 million Asian and Latin peasants who would accept working conditions akin to what the Irish accepted in New York in 1840. The outcome is not hard to predict.

It was the Iron Law at work.

July 31, 2008 9:45 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Harry, I have way too many words of my own in my mouth, so you don't need to put any more there. If I meant, "welfare queens" that's what I would have said. I've never been accused of being coy.

However, I said and meant "welfare pimps," so go with that if you like.

July 31, 2008 11:35 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Besides, whether anybody here said it or not this week, Reagan sure said it, hundreds of times, and acted on it.

Let me tell you a little story about how black schools actually worked in real life.

In Norfolk, Va., where I worked in the '60s and '70s, there were 2 nice white high schools and 1 rundown black high school. The black school was to be replaced with a new building on a new campus.

Completion of the new school was a couple of years off. Meanwhile, the plumbing at the old school, Booker T. Washington High School, was in such disrepair that the showers in the boys' gym quit working. The school board declined to repair them, on the grounds that the students were going to get a nice, new school.

The bad ol' MSM that I worked for embarrassed those Republican racists into doing the right thing, at least on this one item.

Multiply this by about a million and you begin to get some idea why some students didn't embrace education.

July 31, 2008 11:51 AM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

"We can hardly say that things in the black slums were OK before the riots, I think."

We can hardly say that things in the black slums were OK before "Reagan hollowed them out", I think.

I have to say, though, the idea that Reagan could not have affected the collapse of the USSR but was able to "hollow out" the inner cities by forcing the export of all those jobs.

And we get the old Eagar Bait'N'Switch, where we've gone from the current problems being the fault of racism

"Until recently, a black man couldn't just pull up stakes and relocate close to an open job for which he was qualified. No housing, too dangerous, etc."

to being the fault of capable blacks moving out and leaving a "hopeless residue", illegal immigration, plus some aging.

P.S. If your story is rooted in Republican racism, what's your explanation for the same thing happening in Chicago, Detroit, and Washington DC under Democratic Party / black administrations? Why can't that apply to your story?

July 31, 2008 4:01 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I just threw that in because I'm tired of Republicans claiming they were not the party of racism in the period after 1964.

July 31, 2008 4:10 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

I think you have missed my reason for writing the post in the first place. Which is this:

Whites collectively, even if scarcely anyone younger than 60 individually, bears at least some responsibility for the dystopian circumstances of poor African-Americans.

The question is -- and I left out a couple words in the original post -- as a libertarian-conservative what is the right thing to do?

If I was part of the MAL, the answers would come fast and furious, like this, for example. Unfortunately, the best that can be said for that is, unlike most of what the left proposes, it will be no worse than useless.

Unfortunately, along with the racism, of which there can be no doubt, government actions (welfare, primarily) made things much worse.

School vouchers, obviously. Past that, though, what? How much good can vouchers do if resuming above ground nuclear testing would actually improve family structure? Is drug prohibition making things worse?

erp says for the community to impose its will on the blight. What to impose? Do you advocate forced Norplant for African American girls?

It isn't like no one saw this coming.

Daniel Moynihan, 1965:

The United States is approaching a new crisis in race relations.

In the decade that began with the school desegregation decision of the Supreme Court, and ended with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the demand of Negro Americans for full recognition of their civil rights was finally met.

The effort, no matter how savage and brutal, of some State and local governments to thwart the exercise of those rights is doomed. The nation will not put up with it — least of all the Negroes. The present moment will pass. In the meantime, a new period is beginning.

In this new period the expectations of the Negro Americans will go beyond civil rights. Being Americans, they will now expect that in the near future equal opportunities for them as a group will produce roughly equal results, as compared with other groups. This is not going to happen. Nor will it happen for generations to come unless a new and special effort is made.

There are two reasons. First, the racist virus in the American blood stream still afflicts us: Negroes will encounter serious personal prejudice for at least another generation. Second, three centuries of sometimes unimaginable mistreatment have taken their toll on the Negro people. The harsh fact is that as a group, at the present time, in terms of ability to win out in the competitions of American life, they are not equal to most of those groups with which they will be competing. Individually, Negro Americans reach the highest peaks of achievement. But collectively, in the spectrum of American ethnic and religious and regional groups, where some get plenty and some get none, where some send eighty percent of their children to college and others pull them out of school at the 8th grade, Negroes are among the weakest.

The most difficult fact for white Americans to understand is that in these terms the circumstances of the Negro American community in recent years has probably been getting worse, not better.

Indices of dollars of income, standards of living, and years of education deceive. The gap between the Negro and most other groups in American society is widening.

The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence — not final, but powerfully persuasive — is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated. There are indications that the situation may have been arrested in the past few years, but the general post war trend is unmistakable. So long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage will continue to repeat itself.

The thesis of this paper is that these events, in combination, confront the nation with a new kind of problem. Measures that have worked in the past, or would work for most groups in the present, will not work here. A national effort is required that will give a unity of purpose to the many activities of the Federal government in this area, directed to a new kind of national goal: the establishment of a stable Negro family structure.

This would be a new departure for Federal policy. And a difficult one. But it almost certainly offers the only possibility of resolving in our time what is, after all, the nation's oldest, and most intransigent, and now its most dangerous social problem. What Gunnar Myrdal said in An American Dilemma remains true today: "America is free to chose whether the Negro shall remain her liability or become her opportunity."

July 31, 2008 10:30 PM  
Blogger David said...

Whites, as whites, don't owe blacks anything. And vice versa. Once we've legitimized those categories as carrying moral weight, we've lost.

Americans, however, do owe Americans. Slavery is our Achilles' heel. It warps everything we do and its legacy is the one thing that will undo us. So curing the ills caused by slavery, or just alleviating the symptoms, isn't something that whites owe blacks. It's something that American must do for ourselves to secure our own future.

If I thought that we could do this simply by handing out an apology and a big chunk of money, I'd be all over it. Nothing's easier than an apology for something someone else did centuries ago, and we've got a lot of money. The problem is that both the apology and the money would just make things worse.

August 01, 2008 5:57 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

Racism is not to blame, the 60s were a long time ago. African immigrants to the US tend to earn higher salaries than white Americans. That's because they're skilled professionals with bourgeoisie values. A post-industrial economy is hungry for those, the unskilled and barely literate not so much.

Vouchers would only help the gifted few. The reason US public schools in black districts give poor results is because the quality of the students is terrible and the interest in gaining an education is minimal. The higher levels of criminality and illegitimacy make things even worse.

There isn't going to be any change. It needs a wholesale cultural shift and there's no obvious source for that. The black middle-class got away from the ghetto a long time ago. All the country can do is insulate themselves from the underclass, offer a few occasional token gestures and keep ignoring it.

August 01, 2008 7:16 AM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

"Vouchers would only help the gifted few."

We'll just have to disagree on that. Vouchers would help any child who wants to become educated, regardless of how gifted he is.

"The reason US public schools in black districts give poor results is because the quality of the students is terrible and the interest in gaining an education is minimal."

While those are contributing factors, you'd have to see a inner city school system in operation to really understand how much political correctness, neglect, and corruption destroy any possibility of learning regardless of the quality of student. Mr. Eagar's story is quite typical, if not better than expected (at least at some point, a new school was going to be built).

August 01, 2008 8:23 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Skipper, I don't advocate imposing Norplants, but I do advocate forcing people to fend for themselves by not making it possible for them to have a marginal existence without exerting themselves.

If a child is born into a situation where there are no responsible adults to care for it, then, specters of Dickensian orphanages not withstanding, I do advocate community homes where children can be cared for and brought up to become contributing citizens for all our sakes.

Ali, I'm not as pessimistic as you about a permanent underclass. Just as poor nutrition, lack of fresh air and exercise take their toll on the physical development of children, so do other deprivations like love, attention, guidance and support take their toll on the intellectual and emotional developments.

Every child is worth saving.

August 01, 2008 8:42 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

David:

Whites, as whites, don't owe blacks anything. And vice versa. Once we've legitimized those categories as carrying moral weight, we've lost.

Americans, however, do owe Americans ...


Ummm, how to say this diplomatically.

You are completely right.

It is easy to do as I did, put it in terms of Melanin Challenged Americans vs. Melanin Gifted Americans.

Easy, but wrong.


ali:

Racism is not to blame, the 60s were a long time ago.

And well within my lifetime. Thanks, by the way, for calling me an old geezer.

The racism that was pervasive through the 60s, has receded to the point where it is no longer a real barrier only over the last twenty or so years.

It will take a lot longer for the knock on effects to go away.

There isn't going to be any change. It needs a wholesale cultural shift and there's no obvious source for that.

Precisely. One would think the cause and effect relationships are so clear as to be sufficient in and of themselves.

However, they aren't. Instead, we are faced with areas that have a seemingly endless self-reinforced cycle of mass self-destructive behavior.

So, as David puts it, as a libertarian-conservative American offended by other Americans in such dire straits, what is to be done?

Absent vouchers, the list still seems vanishingly small.

erp advocates compulsory group homes to raise neglected children. Sounds good, but getting from theory to practice without making matters worse seems problematic.

The government's track record in the realm of child welfare would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic. I don't see how more will get to better.

August 01, 2008 10:06 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Peter:

Gimme that old time religion...

African Americans are probably the most ardently religious group in the United States.

August 01, 2008 10:08 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

'the quality of the students is terrible and the interest in gaining an education is minimal. . . The black middle-class got away from the ghetto a long time ago.'

The second part of that is undisputably correct. I used to live in Virginia Beach, a thoroughly racist place. Some years after I had moved away, I saw a news story.

Seems Va.Beach had become the Daytona of the black college students for spring break, and there was a riot. Acting 'white,' in a sense, I guess; but what got my attention was the attendance: 100,000 or thereabouts.

When I was in Cow College, there were perhaps a dozen blacks students in my entering class of around 4,000.

Those 100,000 kids went to school somewhere, and they were public schools, and many of them had largely, even wholly black student bodies.

The first part of Ali's statement I partly agree with. The motivation of the students is zero or close to it, for too many. A big part of the problem is role models.

If you have a society where very few adults have decent jobs, or jobs at all, then kids don't have something to aspire to.

I could give endless, non-white examples of antieducation street learning.

Here's one. A girl I went to college with got a job teaching hillbilly children how and why to brush their teeth. (There's an important passage about teeth cleaning in Booker T. Washington's 'Up from Slavery,' too.)

As part of the deal, the kids were given a dental package to take home.

My friend quickly learned what the social teaching was: Why bother? You'll lose all your teeth by the time you're 40 anyway?

People who rail against the schools, or the teacher unions are not understanding how kids learn and where they learn it.

Or don't. Another example. Another college girl I knew became a Vista volunteer. She worked with a small group of black families who lived in a coal terminal (no kidding!) in a corner of Norfolk, Va.

This neighborhood, pop. maybe 1,000, was cut off from the rest of a city of several hundred thousand by a wide street. There was nothing -- I mean nothing -- in that neighborhood except houses, coal tips, a church and a school. My friend encountered 10- and 12-year-old kids who had never in their lives crossed that wide street.

August 01, 2008 11:46 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Because I did not provide enough background, SH (and presumably others) missed the point I was making about Washington H.S.

This was 1969-70, just 10 years past Massive Resistance to integration. The school board in Norfolk was run entirely by racist whites (nominally non-partisan, actually Southern Democrats who would all, within another decade, be Reagan Republicans). The unions' impact was negligible.

There were 3 high schools, all dating from the '20s. B.T. Washington, falling down, and the white schools, Maury and Granby (the names will turn out to be important), showplaces.

The only reason Washington high was being replaced was that Norfolk was under court desegration orders with 'forced busing.' (As we know, no racists complained about forced busing when the black kids were bused past the white high schools. They started complaining and bleating about 'neighborhood schools' only after the national government forced the buses of black kids to stop at the white schools.)

Washington high was replaced not because it was falling down around the ears of black kids but because white kids (the ones who couldn't run to the seg academies) were going to have to attend.

So a new school was built, but suddenly, although Norfolk had always named its schools after prominenti, the board came up with a new policy: schools would henceforth be named geographically (although Maury and Granby would not be renamed). The new Washington was not Washington High but North High.

The reason was that the racists didn't want their blond darlings to nave to say to their frat brothers or sorority sisters at the University of Richmond that they went to Booker T. (or Boogardie, as they said it).

Now, you tell me, who valued education of black kids in Norfolk, Va., less -- the kids and their parents, or the white political and social elite?

August 01, 2008 8:05 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

So

"I just threw that in because I'm tired of Republicans claiming they were not the party of racism in the period after 1964."

is no longer operative?

I am still not quite grasping your point.

"Now, you tell me, who valued education of black kids in Norfolk, Va., less -- the kids and their parents, or the white political and social elite?"

My point is that the "white" in that sentence is gratuitous. Remove it and the answer remains the same. Replacing the white racists elites with corrupt exploitative black elites hasn't improved the situation. Don't results count?

August 02, 2008 8:42 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

You're blaming the victims.

Want an underclass? There wasn't one in 1960. Now there is. (The point of Auletta's inquiry, which was, does America have an underclass?)

You can put plenty of blame on welfarism, but if you do not put just as much on the deliberate pauperization of the black (and, in some places, non-black) working class, you're not seeing what happened.

The demoralization was deliberate, and the elimination of the means of subsistence was deliberate.

August 02, 2008 10:58 AM  
Blogger blog editor said...

Harry said, "Want an underclass? There wasn't one in 1960."

Okay so now I'm officially in an alternate universe. Don't know which one it is. Pls. tell me if you know.

August 02, 2008 12:37 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

Mr. Eagar apparently also doesn't note that 1960 marks roughly the start of Great Society welfarism, so he's providing claims that refute his own thesis.

I'm also a bit unclear on how claiming that big city elites before and after 1960, white or black, weren't concerned with educating the poor is "blaming the victim", unless it's those elites Mr. Eagar sees as the victims of failing city run schools.

August 02, 2008 12:48 PM  
Blogger David said...

I had to go back and remind myself what the point of the post is.

What policies can and should libertarian/conservatives push to ameliorate pathologies rampant in the black community?

I think we should focus, while erring on the side of helping, on those people whose problems can rationally be traced to slavery. This would stop the nonsense of Barak Obama's kids (or BHO himself) benefiting from affirmative action. It might work us past reifying "black" and "white," although that would be a lot to ask for.

As for what tools to use, particularly as libertarian/conservatives, that's toughter, since l/cs probably don't want to just collect new borns and give them to the state/non-underclass families to raise. We could start by getting rid of the policies that got us here and realizing that, if it took as 40 years to get here, it might take us 40 years to get out.

August 02, 2008 1:25 PM  
Blogger erp said...

There has to be a point at which society steps in and stops the cycle from repeating yet again. Are you comfortable with throwing away a couple of generations of kids? I'm not.

August 02, 2008 2:07 PM  
Blogger David said...

Well, I'm definitely against generation wasting and pro society, but I'm not sure where we go from there.

This is a mistake the OJ always makes; he confuses "society" or the nation with the government. It's not society that would step in and take the kids, it's the government. I don't think the government should be allowed to do that absent threats to the kids physical safety. If I though the government could be given that power, I'd still be nervous that they'd only take the kids that I'd want taken. After all, my kids have been to a pistol range and are getting a religious education. There are people around who think that either of those two things is child abuse.

August 02, 2008 2:26 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

It was society/government working hand-in-hand that created the problem. The victims did not victimize themselves, although that is what the victimizers would like to think.

I already said I dunno what you can do now to undo fundamentally flawed decisions in the past. There are sacks you can crawl into that you cannot crawl back out of.

Ask Bear Stearns about that.

August 02, 2008 4:48 PM  
Blogger erp said...

In the US, society tells government what to do, not the other way around and I would never presume to compare myself to oj.

The kids in question here are at risk in a fundamental unnuanced way -- there aren't any adults to take care of them. It wouldn't be that hard to set up minimum standards for child care before care givers get financial help. Anyone who's seen how the system as it no stands operates would be appalled. The kids are at risk and nobody, and I mean nobody, cares.

BTW -- I hope we never get to the place where parents are turned into the nanny police for bringing up their kids as they see fit.

August 02, 2008 6:26 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Haven't you heard? AFDC is up and out after 5 years. And out even if not up.

We reformed welfare like we reformed care for the mentally ill -- we're letting the market take care of it.

I don't know why you l/cs aren't happy with the results, though.

August 02, 2008 9:21 PM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

Granted this is a thorny and painful issue, but I'm a little surprised everybody here seems to be so, well, at sea as to how to even define the problem. Harry wants more government support to deal with the racism he insists a little too eagerly is an eternal constant and the right wants tighter welfare and coercive education, but these have both been tried many times in many different ways with unimpressive results, and yet all both sides can say is: "More". Plus are we all as sure this problem divides as racially as Skipper's post suggests?

Is it not screamingly obvious that the one glaring constant in all this is family breakdown, or perhaps more accurately, family non-existence? And is it not equally obvious that the problem isn't going to just dissipate by itself like a winter flu epidemic or be turned around by higher welfare cheques or tougher school principals? One thing I have learned over several years of blogging is that, right or left, it is extremely hard to get any traction on so-con issues like divorce laws and sexual behaviours, because that gets us too close to the area of (cue the scary music!) societal morality, and we can't have that. The self-inflicted blindness on this astounds me and I'm beginning to think that old ranting curmudgeon, Malcolm Muggeridge, was right when he went on frothing about how the only freedom that is really important to modern man is his sexual freedom.

The Victorians we all love to scorn inherited a society wracked by poverty, poor health and both rural and urban pathologies too numerous to name. Their response was one of the most successful civil renewals in history. Although inspired by churches and based on notions of individual responsibility and improvement, there was also lots public and private charity and, as we all know, lots of legal and social coercion. It was seen as a war and it some ways it was. Priggish they certainly, but by the 1920's, Britain had probably the most stable, patriotic, reverent, crime-free, family-intact, civil society in it's history, with many in the working classes expousing a stricter middle-class morality than even the middle classes. (Harry, put the book away, I know all about Glasgow slums and Welsh mines and I didn't say it was the Graden of Eden.)

Sorry folks, life's a bitch and made up of hard choices. If your notion of tyranny is a society that won't let you fulfill your sexual pleasures and "needs" by letting you walk away from your spouse and children without bringing a hammer down hard, then you are simply saying the mobile upper middle class is the only one that counts and you are going to have to accept a pathological underclass. Best to stop the hand-wringing, concentrate on defensive containment measures (like flight) and just hope the economy is robust enough to keep you a step ahead in the game.

August 03, 2008 4:07 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Peter, I was with you almost to the end. I can't throw up my hands, build a virtual wall around the ghettoes and pretend children in there aren't being mistreated in the most cruel way possible.

Sexual freedom, like all freedoms, isn't free. Someone pays. I don't care what adults do, but when what they do produces a helpless fellow human, we must step in and stop them from harming it.

Isn't it bad enough that they're killing children by the millions before they're born, must we allow them to continue harming those who manage to get born alive.

August 03, 2008 8:18 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

I don't know why you l/cs aren't happy with the results [of Welfare reform] though.

Huh?

The results of welfare reform speak for themselves, to the extent that even left liberals are admitting it was the right thing to do.

The victims did not victimize themselves, although that is what the victimizers would like to think.

So African-Americans are just helpless victims?

Regardless of how we reached this deplorable state of affairs, the way out is obvious, and the means are readily available: finish high school, stay away from drugs, don't have kids outside of marriage.

So, to the extent African-Americans fail to do the obvious, they victimize themselves.

To the extent that conditions within ghettos help incline the African-Americans therein to avoid the obvious en masse, then the conditions are doing the victimizing. Regardless of what went before, and there is certainly enough blame to go around, institutionalized racism is simply a thing of the past.

Since you apparently find letting the market take care of it entirely wrongheaded, what do think the rightheaded answers are?

While I am leery of post hoc reasoning, while African Americans were clearly on the short end of the economic stick prior to 1960, entrenched, hopelessly pathological ghettos were unknown until after the Great Society, with its lifetime entitlement to welfare, AFDC, and some truly insane notions of housing for the poor. Cabrini Green, anyone?

erp:

In the US, society tells government what to do, not the other way around ...

I wish. The toxic effects of welfare were obvious to society for a good twenty years before government did anything about it.

You say there should be minimum standards for child care before care givers get financial help.

Fine.

Let's say such standards are, in fact, possible to elucidate and implement. As a consequence, many mothers lose their only source of income.

Then what?

Isn't it bad enough that they're killing children by the millions before they're born, must we allow them to continue harming those who manage to get born alive?

Unless you have an alternative, yes you must.


Peter:

Plus are we all as sure this problem divides as racially as Skipper's post suggests?

These pathological, multi-generational, communities are exclusively black.

That isn't to say everyone else is living in high clover, but there is simply nothing like the conditions in African American ghettos afflicting any other group. So, to that extent, this problem cleaves very cleanly along racial lines.

Is it not screamingly obvious that the one glaring constant in all this is family breakdown, or perhaps more accurately, family non-existence?

Ummm, yes. I think I noted that specifically right off the bat.

Just as obviously, not only do I think families are essential, I am convinced the problem will not disappear, despite its self-evidence, and the means to do so readily at hand.

Your railing against an apparent widespread aversion to "societal morality" misses the mark, though. There is very little debate, aside from self-diagnosing lunatics on the left, that intact families are a Very Good Thing.

The disagreement comes from this alone: the degree of tolerable coercion.

So what degree of coercion are you willing to apply to the problem, and how?

++++

As a l/cs, school vouchers are obvious. Regular drug testing as a prerequisite for receiving public money of any kind isn't particularly offensive. We could probably toss in a review of drug sentencing policy.

The whole notion of being a libertarian, or, for that matter, a conservative, rests upon individuals choosing to act, by and large, in a manner consistent with some rational notion of self interest. In ghettos, that seems to be manifestly not the case.

So maybe there are no l/cs solutions, only palliatives working around the margins.

And no reason to expect anything from the left will do anything but make matters worse.

This what a council of despair sounds like.

August 03, 2008 11:01 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

'Harry wants more government support to deal with the racism he insists a little too eagerly is an eternal constant'

Actually, I said -- twice -- that I dunno what to do about it. I also didn't say anything about sexuality, because I believe the problem is economic: Black Americans were an undercaste up to the '60s but they did not consider themselves an underclass. They thought they had a good a right to the American dream as anybody, and they were better educated than their white overlords wanted them to be.

Nobody can deny that the Great Society improved the physical conditions of living the black slums -- at least, nobody who was in a black slum prior to the 1960s can.

The way I dope it out is -- and I was a participant, so I didn't get this out of any books -- that hope soared and then soured when it became obvious that the civil rights acts weren't really going to change employment opportunities for the mass of unskilled/semi-skilled blacks.

It's all very well for well-educated people to say, well, why don't they just get master's degrees in computer programming or marketing -- plenty of jobs there. Not how the world works.

The Reagan Revolution nailed and clinched the lid shut on it.

Capitalism has a lot to answer for on the score of pauperizing the working people. In Hawaii, the population under the Kingdom was among the most literate in the world, and one of the few up until that time where most people were literate in two languages.

Once the whites took over, the plantations preferred to have an uneducated work force and manipulated the public schools (by what was known as English Standard) to turn a highly literate population to a functionally illiterate one in two generations.

August 03, 2008 11:07 AM  
Blogger Bret said...

harry eagar wrote: "Capitalism has a lot to answer for ... the plantations preferred to have an uneducated work force and manipulated the public schools ... "

Those evil capitalistic public schools strike again! Let's get rid of them!

August 03, 2008 11:47 AM  
Blogger erp said...

... many mothers lose their only source of income. Skipper right you are, but I don't care if the "mothers" lose their only income. It's all the same to me if they get a job or starve as long as their kids are in a safe environment and get a shot at living a different life than the one they were born into.

I've had more than one conversation with social workers who lamented leaving children in "homes" where the mother's boyfriend took the welfare check and beat the kids up, but since it was her only source of income, what could they do?

As for the government taking 20 years to take action on welfare reform -- that's because society, aka we, the people, didn't tell it that's what we wanted it to do.

We bought into the propaganda that being judgmental is wrong. It's not wrong and it's not wrong to care enough to stop the cycle dead, not wait and hope the next couple of generations solve the problem by attrition -- you know enough blacks kill each other off or spend their childbearing years in prison so the population of the ghettos declines.

August 03, 2008 11:47 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Bret, I enjoy sarcasm as well as the next guy, even at my own expense, but you don't know what you're talking about here.

August 03, 2008 1:17 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

I find it humerous to blame capitalism for the failures of government run public schools.

It's mostly due to your quirky definition of capitalism which is "anything that can possibly be wrong with a socio-political system".

August 03, 2008 2:14 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

'there is simply nothing like the conditions in African American ghettos afflicting any other group.'

Come on, Skipper, you live in Alaska. The bush is just as bad, and, in the bush, welfare, in the form of oil revenue checks, is alive and well.

++++

Bret, quit digging. In the first half of the 20th c. in Hawaii the government was the Big Five. It was the most capitalist place there ever was.

That's why we don't have billboards: the wives of the guys who ran the Big Five didn't like 'em, so, in defiance of the First Amendment, we don't have 'em.

August 03, 2008 8:30 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

Hawaii was essentially a feudal system under the "Big Five". That's not capitalism in my book (though I know it is in yours). There was little free about those markets.

August 03, 2008 9:35 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

I am just left wondering where in the penumbra of the First Amendment there is a right to have bill boards.

August 03, 2008 9:47 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Free speech on your own property. Same as, or very similar to, your right to put a political campaign sign in your yard even if there is a municipal ordinance or private CCRs forbidding it.


Bret, quit digging. Hawaii in the 20th c. was not in any sense feudal. Capital reigned supreme over all, including over the courts and legislature. If that isn't capital, what could be?

August 03, 2008 11:12 PM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

So what degree of coercion are you willing to apply to the problem, and how?

Fathers with shotguns might be a good start.

Seriously, call me wet but I'd be the last to argue for the summary reintroduction of the Victorian criminal code. I just needed a good therapeutic rant before leaving on holiday. But I see a small subset of this issue a lot. You'd be surprised how many family law lawyers will privately agree over a beer that no-fault divorce and modern parenting theories are disasters, but after two beers they are all screaming at one another in disagreement as to what should constitute fault. I simply don't know, but some honest and less self-indulgent debate among the more successful classes about the issue might be a good start. In the end, this gets back to David's point that public freedom rests on private piety or at least reverence, and there sure isn't a lot of reverence for family stability around today.

Nice ducking of the religion issue, Skipper. Am I to asume you believe religion among American blacks is a cause of family breakdown and social dissolution? OK, let's scorn the churches and hire more cops instead.

August 04, 2008 4:12 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Anecdotal -- sure, but also a hideously graphic example of neglect.

FTA Danielle, she [her mother] says, was born in a hospital in Las Vegas, a healthy baby who weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces.

Between then and the child's removal from Plant City, there were child-abuse investigations and documents. Somehow, incredibly, nothing was done.


All those caring social workers did nothing, but cash their checks and go to meetings lamenting their heavy work loads.

Is this the best we can do for kids?

August 04, 2008 7:21 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

Come on, Skipper, you live in Alaska. The bush is just as bad, and, in the bush, welfare, in the form of oil revenue checks, is alive and well.

I doubt the bush is as bad, but never mind. Yes, you are right that welfare is alive and well there.

Which makes the indictment against Welfare all the more damning.

While on a Boy Scout outing, I met a dad who is a dentist. He spent fifteen years working for the NIH to provide dental services to these communities.

By his own admission, when he started he was a liberal. Not any more.

It's all very well for well-educated people to say, well, why don't they just get master's degrees in computer programming or marketing -- plenty of jobs there. Not how the world works.

Actually, there are plenty of jobs out there. All the wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments when the unemployment rate hits all of 5.7% is astonishingly ahistorical. Putting that into comparison with Europe, which has remained blessedly free of the Reagan Revolution doesn't help your argument any.


erp:

It's all the same to me if they get a job or starve as long as their kids are in a safe environment and get a shot at living a different life than the one they were born into.

It is everything after "as long as" that I was referring to when I asked "then what?"

Simply asserting a goal is not the same as getting there: considering the large numbers of African-American kids already in foster care, just how do you propose to put many more into "... a safe environment?"


Peter:

...and there sure isn't a lot of reverence for family stability around today.

Perhaps you could find a link to something not welded to the wacked out feminist left that criticizes family stability, or champions single parent households, or praises high divorce rates.

I'll bet you can't do it. However, it would be a doddle to find just the opposite.

By the way, what has been the trend on divorce rates over the last ten years?

Nice ducking of the religion issue, Skipper. Am I to asume you believe religion among American blacks is a cause of family breakdown and social dissolution? OK, let's scorn the churches and hire more cops instead.

You may assume that, but not sensibly. I think what I said, and meant, was pretty clear: African Americans are already America's most religious group. More of that old time religion, where there is so much already, isn't likely to have much effect. So, no, I don't believe religion is a cause of family breakdown and social dissolution; rather the opposite, in fact. But more of it will provide an excellent example of how diminishing returns work.

August 04, 2008 10:09 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Foster care hasn't been that successful. Many, if not most, people are in it for the money.

I think it's past time for a modern version of orphanages be put into place. It's not a perfect solution, but it couldn't be worse than the situation we now have.

No warehousing. Small, homey and run locally, not run by the huge federal bureaucracy and the public service unions.

August 04, 2008 1:42 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Skipper, my brother the bishop, who is not a liberal fo the kind you dislike, headed a team hired by the state to figure out how to create genuine employment in the bush.

He quit. Couldn't see any point in creating jobs for people who said they wouldn't work.

And the overall unemployment rate is not the point. The employment rate, and, even more so, the unfilled jobs rate where the underclass live is what counts.

The unfilled jobs rate is not one of the economic statistics that analysts pay attention to; so far as I know, no one even collects it, except indirectly though the newspaper classified activity index, which is no longer as useful as it used to be.

But you can sit down with your Sunday paper and easily get a general idea of what kinds of jobs are going begging and where.

There aren't a lot of unfilled jobs around the slums, for a variety of reasons, just as there aren't a lot of supermarkets in those areas, for different reasons.

No question, though, the Reagan Revolution was designed to and did drastically reduce the number of jobs available to the marginally employable.

There's a big shortage of orthopedic surgeons, but that's not very helpful if all you got is a high school diploma or a community college AA.

New Mexico, not very full of underclass black people and very full of tech jobs, contradicts just about every antiblack sentiment that's shown up on this thread. It has the highest percentage of Ph.Ds and SDs in the country and the highest percentage of poor and illiterate or semiliterate people.

Go figure.

August 04, 2008 4:27 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

"No question, though, the Reagan Revolution was designed to and did drastically reduce the number of jobs available to the marginally employable."

That you believe this kind of thing is not only capable of being planned but successfully executed is, IMHO, at the heart of your deep misunderstanding of how the real world works. What happened to those large, impersonal, societal forces that brought down the USSR instead of Reagan?

August 04, 2008 5:59 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

... contradicts just about every antiblack sentiment that's shown up on this thread.

Huh?

It is clear that poor African Americans are in uniquely dire straits. There is no question white racism is largely, if not exclusively responsible for that.

There is also no question that poor African American communities are uniquely pathological, and show no signs of getting better.

Which really raises several questions. My immediate one, given the overwhelming good will that most Melanin Challenged Americans now feel towards their Melanin Gifted compatriots, is how best to reduce or eliminate those pathologies.

Secondarily, of course, are the same questions that plague properly assessing the Iraq war: how accountable are poor African Americans for their own actions?

Obviously, it is not 100%; there is no ignoring the lack of employment opportunities in, or near, ghettoes.

However, it seems uniquely dehumanizing to expiate such things as rampant illegitimacy, or demonizing any attempts at academic success.

None of that constitutes "anti-black" sentiment (in fact, I think you would have a tough time quoting one in this thread) -- it is simply a description of ugly reality.

Other than measures that I don't see as doing anything more than nibbling at the edges of that ugly reality, I see no reason to believe numberless generations of black children are going anywhere other than into that same maw.

No question, though, the Reagan Revolution was designed to and did drastically reduce the number of jobs available to the marginally employable.

Sorry, I think the first half of that "and" statement is bogus, and the second unavoidable reality -- unless, that is, you are going to somehow vote China off the planet.

There are jobs going begging, and poor, jobless, blacks.

What the heck will it take to bring them both together?

August 04, 2008 11:16 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

erp:

Sounds like what Lenin wanted ...

I agree with you completely in principle, but simply don't see how to get that into practice.

August 04, 2008 11:20 PM  
Blogger erp said...

Skipper - We already have what Lenin wanted -- state control of education and child care. Kids are taught their "rights" in school and we know several people who have had a visit from the police because their kids called to report child abuse -- defined as losing TV or internet access or being forcefully restrained from kicking and hitting them or the other kids in the family.

A particularly long-suffering hard-working single father actually spent a night jail before the judge looked at the record and sent him home. After being put through the hell of school counseling, etc., his kid finally wound up in a juvenile facility for 18 months, was arrested within 24 hours of his release and sent to jail where he'll be for a good long time.

The schools went downhill when the state stepped in to make all school districts equal/fair. We lived in Vermont when towns began to be penalized for having a good school system as defined by educrats in Montpelier and in no time at all, all the school districts were equally awful and in the thrall of the teachers unions.

Group homes for at-risk children run by local religious or non-religious groups might work if there was no profit motive. I would support a local tax to fund pilot programs on a trial five-year (a bit of Soviet-era nostalgia) plan, but anything that smacks of federal funds or draconian federal regulations would be the kiss of death IMO.

Harry - re-read this string (and others like it on this blog). There is nothing remotely racist in any of the comments. Simply stating the obvious isn't racist.

Black "leaders" and black organizations have created an environment far worse than slavery by convincing inner city blacks that white people are keeping them down -- that they are incapable of fending for themselves, so their plight can be used to stir up white guilt and make it easier to shake the money tree.

There are no jobs in these areas because there are no willing and able workers.

Ronald Reagan had nothing to do with it.

August 05, 2008 6:24 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

So, where's all the handwringing about the poor Mexican-Americans in New Mexico (not to mention the Indians), who rank as low as or lower than slum-city black Americans by most any measure you want to name.

It is actually the case that the Reagan Revolution was designed to destroy American jobs. It isn't clear to me whether Reagan himself, a fantasy-prone personality who doubtfully ever knew for sure what was going on around him, understood this, but the bishop and I sure did, and we got it from the horses' mouths.

I recall, for example, one conversation the bishop had at the height of the revolution with a Reaganaut, who told him that it was a good thing that American jobs were being driven offshore, because it would impose labor discipline, and after the unions were crushed, the jobs could be brought back. This particular Reaganaut did not say, at Iron Law rates, but that's what he meant.

The bishop just shook his head in disgust. I can just about quote him from memory: "If you ship a lathe to Taiwan, and the guy in
Taiwan understands that he can make a million dollars a month with it, when you ship it back here, the jobs don't come back with it. He'll get his own lathe."

And that's how the deal went down.

It would have gone down eventually anyway, and you can argue that in the long run it was better for it to go down faster than slower; but you cannot simultaneously argue that somehow it was the fault of the American labor force that it happened as rapidly as it did.

It was engineered to have the effect it had, and if you guys didn't read the fine print, well . . .


. . . it's the market at work, and black unemployment must be a good thing, because that's what the market demanded.

I don't get your beef.

August 05, 2008 9:32 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

So, where's all the handwringing about the poor Mexican-Americans in New Mexico (not to mention the Indians), who rank as low as or lower than slum-city black Americans by most any measure you want to name.

Because they don't.

I have spent some time in West Virginia -- my wife is from there.

I have lived in New Mexico.

There are many places in both states that are not monetarily rich, no doubt about that.

But they were always that way. SFAIK, there has been no exodus of jobs from either place during or following Reagan's presidency. By all means, though, show me how job numbers or per capita income plummeted after 1980.

What is true of both places is that none of the stats I listed at the top of this apply in anything like the extent they do to poor blacks.

You could walk through just about any area of either place and notice that people don't have a lot. But you wouldn't be looking at gallopingly dysfunctional communities, and you sure wouldn't fear for your life.

[The descendants of original Americans represent an entirely different problem, due largely to a genetic susceptibility to alcohol.]

erp:

Regarding Lenin, I speaking somewhat, but not totally, tongue in cheek. What Lenin wanted was to take all children from their parents at birth, and make the state the parent. That is precisely what you want for neglected black children. Unlike Lenin's goal, yours is impossible to argue against in principle. Group homes sound like a great idea; why isn't the landscape littered with them?

And I agree with much of what you say regarding schools. I can't help but note, though, that this contradicts your assertion above that government does what society tells it to.

Did anyone in Vermont like what the schools became?

August 05, 2008 10:11 AM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

So if Orrin Judd tells you that it's a good thing gasoline prices are going up, because that will encourage conservation, efficiency, and economic growth, you'll conclude that OJ is part of an organized effort that planned to and then successfully drove gasoline to $4/gallon?

August 05, 2008 2:30 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

So Harry, you're telling us that the inner city blacks to which hey skipper is referring had lots of high paying union jobs prior to Reagan?

August 05, 2008 3:41 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Some did. Most, no. But there used to be more stepladder jobs for people who wanted to work. Ever hear of the Garment District in Manhattan?

Not now.

This was a deliberate policy. Welcome to the market.

August 05, 2008 4:27 PM  
Blogger erp said...

Skipper I know you were speaking tongue in cheek, but this isn't a subject on which I can do my usual sarcastic riff. Black ghettos aren't dysfunctional because they're poor, they're dysfunctional because of the reasons already stated.

If you were familiar with Vermont, you wouldn't have to ask if the people were satisfied with the schools. The people running things, think the former governor and current DNC chairman Howard Dean, don't send their kids to public school. Much of Vermont is Appalachia north and the small middle class is as liberal as their bettors, so I guess the people were satisfied.

Why aren't group homes for kids dotting the landscape? Because the compassionates don't give a tinker's damn about abused kids except in the abstract.

August 05, 2008 5:08 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

harry eagar wrote: "Most, no."

That makes your argument pretty weak in my eyes.

From my perspective, the high paying union jobs drove up the costs of goods and services which hurt the poor blacks. Therefore, Reagan, by weakening the unions (yes, I agree that was intentional and actually a very good thing), helped everybody not in a union which includes poor blacks, the vast majority of which did not have high paying union jobs.

August 06, 2008 4:07 AM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

Bret;

Mr. Eagar's claim is not that Reagan weakened unions, but that he destroyed jobs and opportunity.

August 06, 2008 7:16 AM  
Blogger Bret said...

The context of harry's claim made me think that he meant union jobs, especially given that one of Reagan's goals was to weaken the unions.

If Reagan intended to push all jobs overseas, he obviously failed miserably given that there were millions more people working at the end of his 8 years than at the beginning and the unemploylment rate was 3% lower.

August 06, 2008 8:52 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

There weren't millions more working in the areas Skipper wants us to talk about. There were millions fewer.

It was deliberate. Whether it was done for racial reasons or out of colorblind ideological ones, the results were, as Skipper keeps demonstrating, antiblack.

You can be antiblack without being a racist.

Whether the destruction of American unions was overall good or bad depends, in part, whether you give a damn about Americans overall, or just about certain groups.

August 06, 2008 10:58 AM  
Blogger Bret said...

harry wrote: "Whether the destruction of American unions was overall good or bad depends, in part, whether you give a damn about Americans overall, or just about certain groups."

So given the order you wrote this statement, it looks like you believe that the destruction of american unions was good for Americans overall. It that case, we agree!

August 06, 2008 12:21 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Nope.

What isn't clear is whether unions have, or could possibly have, somehow short-circuited the Iron Law, given that capital has been given all power to operate the economy.

If we assume -- though I do not believe it to be correct -- that the untrammeled operation of capital will, of itself, raise the overall level of economic output, then the question would become: Will the depression of US wages be slow enough that they will meet the rise in world wages coming up? Or will they simply fall to world rates which are rising slowly relative to US conditions?

It is unarguable that, since the Reagan Revolution, the second condition has prevailed. How much unionism prevented or delayed the second condition before 1980 is, in my view, difficult to determine.

(To explain, I believe that the general increase in prosperity is due to technique, which can be shown to be independent of capital dominance. Singer's 'History of Technology' does not investigate this proposition, but it leaps out of his data.)

August 06, 2008 12:51 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

harry eagar wrote: "It is unarguable that, since the Reagan Revolution, the second condition [falling US wages] has prevailed."

Which wages? If you're talking all wages, then it's easily arguable. Total compensation (which includes all benefits) is significantly up since the Reagan revolution (for example, see http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2008/06/real-compensation-has-risen-with.html).

August 06, 2008 3:39 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

For hourly wage earners, real income is down.

Shifting of relative income up the scale has been consistent.

August 06, 2008 4:43 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

Ahhhh. So it's not "U.S. wages", but rather wages for one particular group. That I'll agree with.

August 06, 2008 11:04 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

There weren't millions more working in the areas Skipper wants us to talk about. There were millions fewer.

It was deliberate. Whether it was done for racial reasons or out of colorblind ideological ones, the results were, as Skipper keeps demonstrating, antiblack.


I need reminding -- when did nearly all the race riots happen?

Your claim is shaky, at best.

Reagan's economic policies were simply not targeted at any particular group, poor blacks were living in ghettos long before, which concentrated the work ethic and family destroying effects of welfare and AFDC.

All of that preceded Reagan.

++++

erp:

Group homes might help, but the only way I can see that happening is if they are philanthropically funded.

By rich African Americans.

Any other option would likely prove there is no such thing as a good theory that doesn't work in practice.

August 08, 2008 2:02 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Skipper, what a brilliant idea, but after the trashing Bill Cosby got for speaking some home truths far less radical, I wonder are there any rich blacks with the courage?

August 08, 2008 5:43 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home