The ruling political class in Washington D.C. is always making matters worse through what appear to be appropriate solutions for serious problems facing the country. Then when they don’t work out as advertised many years after they’ve been implemented, they tell us that they’ve got the solutions for the newer, more serious problems that to the unsuspecting and unknowing public seem as if they came out of nowhere, and who are clueless as to how they began in the first place.
Two good examples of the long reach of history and major problems originating with Washington are one, how a permanent underclass that exists today was created during the 60s by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs and the other, the Great Recession that began in 2008 when the country’s financial system melted down and in turn created the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression that began in 1929.
It was Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the last great Democrats before the party became unmoored from any roots it had in traditional constitutional principles, sounded the alarm as Assistant Secretary of Labor in the Johnson administration that the new welfare state was creating an abundance of unintended consequences that were destructive to blacks, the primary demographic whom it was supposed to help. He came out with his “controversial” Moynihan Report in 1965 officially titled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” that described those destructive consequences and how they started, the most significant one being the breakdown of the black family because of the perverse incentives created by welfare that was actually making poverty worse and creating a permanent underclass.
The origins of the financial crisis of 2007/2008 can be traced back to Jimmy Carter’s administration (another well-intentioned but misguided Democrat president) with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977. Like Johnson’s welfare programs, the CRA was supposed to benefit primarily low-income blacks, it turned out to be the big bang event that led to wickedly destructive financial consequences for everyone many decades later. The original purpose of the CRA was to loosen lending standards by banks so that more blacks could participate in the American Dream by being able to buy a house and to overcome what at the time was called “redlining,” an allegedly discriminatory practice by banks making it difficult for blacks to buy a home in non-urban neighborhoods.
Fast-forward to 1999, the last year Bill Clinton was in office as president, when on a bipartisan basis you had the wall between commercial and investment banking torn down with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. This allowed all the high-powered investment banks to bundle and securitize all of the mortgage loans from across the country into asset-back securities called Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO). With the low interest rates down to almost zero following 9/11 by the Bush Administration, the housing market took off like a rocket for the next six years helped along with a great deal more loosening and degradation of mortgage loan standards by banks as required by Congress that began in 1977 with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act.
Unfortunately, a trillion-dollar market for specialized investments turned out to be a house of cards built on sand constructed out of the housing boom’s easy-to-get home mortgages. Many were extremely risky loans (called subprime mortgages) and were doomed to foreclosure. And all the new CDOs with exotic names such as synthetic CDO, Mortgage-backed Securities and Credit Default Swaps crashed within weeks, bringing down the world economy with them.
The moral of these two stories is that government should stay out of the social engineering business, as history has proven time and time again that it has a terrible track record and usually makes matters worse either in the short term or the long term or both. The rhetoric rarely matches up with the intended reality of social policy objectives and instead policy prescriptions most often end up being weaponized to bludgeon the Republicans for being cruel and heartless for not always going along with the Democrats.
Government assistance has morphed from safety net to entitlement where there is no accountability for the failures of the ruling political class that perpetually creates problems, as well as government incentives to “right social wrongs” that do the same by distorting the marketplace in ways that are not good for anyone.
So as the sun always comes up in the morning, the ruling political class will always present itself as the savior to all those unknowingly and adversely affected by problems it created in the first place. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions, but in America, that’s okay with many, since the perpetrators will always be rewarded with re-election again and again in an endless and hellish vicious cycle.
Since the 1960s the federal government has initiated countless programs to close racial gaps. All have failed, some have even exacerbated these gaps, but failure aside, all posited logical connections between the program and the intended beneficial outcome. Head Start, for example, rested on the plausible idea that blacks disproportionately suffered early childhood deprivations, and this limited their future accomplishments, so enrich early childhood. The Empowerment Zones of the early 1990s offered tax incentive to entice urban businesses to hire unemployed blacks. Yes, these and countless other nostrums came up short, but they were logical and fact-based and did not, by themselves, aim to transform American society.
Matters have drastically changed with the emergence of the White Racism theory of the crime. It is now no longer necessary to link cures and the intended outcomes; whites by their very existence are now responsible for all black tribulations. Why even try to prescribe one ameliorative fix after the next to target a particular ill when eliminating whiteness is the Mother of All Cures? Nor is it necessary for blacks to take any responsibility for their misfortune—whites must do the job. How simple and seductive for social justice warriors exhausted by plain-Jane incremental politics and having to change their own behavior.
This “white racism did it” theory can be understood as a form of mental illness, specifically magical thinking, “ a disorder of thought…[that] denotes the false belief that one’s thoughts, actions, or words will cause or prevent a specific consequence in some way that defies commonly understood laws of causality.” In other words, every black problem, no matter how miniscule or gigantic can be traced back to toxic whiteness. Even more bizarre, the logic of this “theory” of evil exclusively stresses thoughts, even unconscious thinking, as opposed to overt behavior. An odd parallel exists with some religions where “bad thoughts” themselves are a sin, so thinking about discriminating against African Americans its tantamount to actually discriminating against them. This is a transformation that not only awards immense magical power to brain waves but contrives America’s legal tradition that criminalizes behavior not (with miniscule exceptions) “bad thinking.”
Since whites and their legacy are everywhere, and their toxicity resembles inescapable background radiation, blacks must energetically stamp out this evil wherever they find it. Nothing is too small in this crusade. The picture on Uncle Ben’s box of rice is tantamount to a physical assault. Why else would removing Robert E. Lee’s name from a largely black school become so urgent? What’s the concrete benefit? Did black students fail because they daily observed General Lee’s name cut in stone and this damaged their self-esteem? Logic doesn’t matter—Lee’s name just somehow radiates whiteness, even if students don’t know who he is, and like gravity, his very whiteness invisibly pulls blacks down.
The opportunity costs of embracing this faith are huge. The supply of crackpot solutions to any problem are infinite, and provided ample funding is available, foolishness can persist forever and thus there is never any need to align solutions to tangible tribulations let alone admit that the problem is intractable. Ridding society of white racism is the equivalent of a full-time job with an unlimited budget for inventing an anti-gravity automobile engine, and rest assured, success will be just over the hill, around the corner, at the end of the tunnel, awaiting one adjustment to the devise, tweaking the fuel etc. etc. Just obverse how many blacks at college campuses devote their existence to overcoming omnipresent white racism versus actual learning.
Consider how this escape from a difficult reality plays out in the “diversity industry.” Thanks to the Faith, why ask embarrassing question about why blacks cannot move up the corporate ladder despite putting the screws on whites to promote diversity and huge investments in education? Far easier to cleanse the workplace to toxic whiteness by hiring black experts to spend thousands of hours eradicating hidden bias, structural racism and countless other sins afflicting whites. The website compiled by SHRM lists some 83 such diversity consultants happy to toil long hours to exorcise evils debilitating African Americans. The firm OutSolve, for example, “… gives companies the advantage of effective affirmative action solutions that are comprehensive, customizable, and budgetable.” OutSolve, moreover, offers “… experienced consultants are ready to help, with the most comprehensive affirmative action planning services and consulting programs available” and services range from developing affirmative plans, devising bias-free compensation standards and navigating government rules and regulations. Keep in mind that these 83 firms are in addition to the hundreds of in-house departments in larger firms and especially universities, that likewise provide professional exorcisms. Now, thanks to the availability of all these exorcists, discussion can focus entirely on details of detoxification, so why bother with black IQ, work habits and similar awkward question?
Quackery also attracts those eager to accept endless failure provided the pay is decent. White racism is a pesky pathogen, so there can never be a “Mission Accomplished,” and a lifetime can be spent pushing the rock up the hill and, after a point, rock pushing is all the rock pushers know. Think all the Deans of Diversity and Inclusion spending careers seeking out racism in undergraduate admissions, choice of majors, grade point averages, faculty hiring and retention, research funding, and every other university function. And who knows what persistent digging will eventually uncover? Gaps in student participation in class discussions? Access to local stores selling black personal grooming supplies? Perhaps holistic admissions are insufficiently holistic or STEM textbooks ignore scientists of color but whatever the alleged defect, rest assured it will be scrutinized, assigned to some committee’s agenda, a report written and discussed, a few cosmetic changes suggested and when that, too, fails, onward to the next putative time-wasting panacea.
Most importantly, embracing the centrality of whiteness as the all-encompassing evil virtually guarantees totalitarian creep. Or to use the Soviet vocabulary, you have to break ever more eggs to make the omelet.
To understand this progression, suppose that white racism can be calibrated on a 0 to 1.0 scale, with 1.0 being totally racist society, e.g., apartheid-era South African. Further suppose that by daily mandatory anti-racism seminars, school textbook propaganda, fantasy interracial TV commercials, speech codes, de-platforming heretics, hate crime laws and lots more, racism among non-blacks is reduced from, say, .6 to .1, a seemingly momentous accomplishment. Is this reduction sufficient to eliminate racial gaps and all other inequalities? Can victory be declared? The answer is, sad to say, indeterminant since the theory of white toxicity fails to specify a numerical relationship between the causal agent (white racism) and any specific outcome. This is social engineering sans any benchmarks. Everything is just fighting white racism.
Conceivably, white racism resembles plutonium and an infinitesimal amount in the city’s water supply can kill the entire population. Or lethality depends on huge levels of whiteness. Of course, nobody can specify levels of lethality and, tellingly, this murkiness is hardly a problem for those insisting on the evil of whiteness. Toxic whiteness is toxic whiteness is toxic whiteness. The result of this scientific muddle-brained thinking is that the white-racism-is- culprit- theory is beyond falsification.
Actually, to be fair, theory confirmation can occur when the levels of Racist evil fall to 0.0 on the Racism Scale but how do we empirically establish this “0” point? Not easy given the belief that society might only appear free of white racism, especially since blacks can unknowingly internalize it despite their blackness (think black teachers in all-black Detroit to explain bad test scores). And whites can be asymptomatic or guilty of imperceptible dog whistle racism.
Here’s the answer to establishing zero white racism: it will be zero only when blacks and whites have identical average SAT scores, bar exam pass rates, out of wedlock births rates, murder rates, home ownership levels, infant mortality rates, drug abuse levels, identical life expectancies and incomes, proportional Nobel Prize awards and lots, lots more. Any remaining gap, regardless of where found and size, would be proof of lingering white racism since, after all, that is the source, and only source, of all gaps. Put formally, the independent variable (white racism) is thus measured by values of the dependent variable (gaps). The new frontier of statistical analysis.
A further fly in the ointment is that since the existence of toxic racism is often necessarily subjective, the likelihood of everybody agreeing on the extinction of racism is nil. Surely the Theory does not permit confirming the Utopian 0.0 level of venomousness by majority vote. Now, since there will always be white racism, and since any (unspecified) level of this toxicity drives black misery, de-toxification must necessarily be ongoing, if not perpetual, and with every greater coercion as past failure mount.
A racial version of Zeno’s Paradox is inevitable—America can go from .5 racism to .25 to .125 and even .00078125 on and on, but it will never be free of racism since the effects of racism will always be evident, somewhere, in unequal outcomes or beliefs about unequal outcomes. To paraphrase George Wallace, White racism today, white racism tomorrow, white racism forever.
Needless to say, assuming that zero racism, like zero degrees Kelvin, is reachable, the cost of attaining zero white racism would, in all likelihood, be exponential given past experience with narrowing gaps. What would it take, for example, to cut the black/white homicide gap by a factor of eight? Or asset differences by a factor of ten? And on and on across multiple substantial and enduring race-related gaps?
Chasing this unreachable fantasy of total de-toxification necessarily requires enormous coercion since not even spending the entire GNP would suffice. Only draconian laws and administrative dictates could ensure that blacks and whites were educationally identical, earned the same salaries, were equally incarcerated, suffered equal drug addiction rates and on and on. Remember, any gap “demonstrates” the persistence of white racism and thus achieving racial justice requires harsher and harsher exorcisms.
Can fervent racial egalitarians ever be convinced to abandon this fantasy? Reasoned discussions are pointless. Forget arguing about financial constraints—money from white taxpayers is never a restraint, especially among the innumerate. Ditto for demonstrating the unscientific nature of this “theory” of Great Evil–too complicated and would probably be interpreted as a white ruse (”white science”) to subjugate blacks. What about empirically demonstrating that whites are not especially racist or that racism has seriously declined? Irrelevant since, as per theory of toxicity, a racism score of .25 or even .05 is just as debilitating as a score of .5 (and who can disagree given zero data or, for that matter, no efforts to collect these data). Nor will the failure of this “white racism did it” theory-of-the-crime vanish simply because anti-racism efforts fail. If anything, shifting the blame entirely to whites will reduce “agency” among blacks and probably only widen racial gaps, but this irony hardly disturbs the faithful. Actually, increasing pathology will be a boon for the close-the-gap anti-racism industry.
Extinction will arrive politically. Whites will eventually realize that putting the onus on whites for all black woes is but extortion and, as for all similar tactics, it has its political limits. There are inescapable budgetary constraints, legal barriers governing racial preferences and norms regarding fairness. More important, American politics is Newtonian–pushes and counter-pushes, and African American activists are not the only players in the game. The pay-me-for-my-victimization game is highly permeable, and those dispensing the goodies regularly confront cries of sexism, homophobia, ageism, Islamophobia and countless other claims on the public trough. In all likelihood The Great White Racism theory of the crime will eventually gradually loose its allure, just as religious fervor wilts with time, and today’s believer will move on to some new, more exhilarating dogma.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue has noted history’s great irony that “no segment of society punishes the poor more than those who champion their cause.”
In a scathing essay Tuesday, Dr. Donohue insists that the latest Marxist to “screw the poor” is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is undermining the cause of the lower classes by alienating those who generate wealth and create jobs.
De Blasio’s scheme to raise taxes on the rich in order to “redistribute wealth” and to close the “COVID achievement gap” is senseless, Donohue observes, since “the rich are leaving New York in droves” because of the city’s absurdly high taxes and taxing them at a higher rate “will only encourage more to leave.”
“They are taking their tax contributions and their jobs with them,” he adds.
Despite de Blasio’s claims, “fleecing the rich will do absolutely nothing to enhance academic achievement,” Donohue observes. “We have known for decades that there is no correlation between spending on students per capita and academic achievement.”
While de Blasio focuses on race, he turns a blind eye to the real causes of poverty and underachievement, Donohue asserts, noting that Asians are “people of color,” yet they have no problem succeeding in school.
“That’s because, unlike African Americans, the typical Asian family has a father and a mother at home,” he adds.
“So the ‘color’ argument that de Blasio favors — structural racism is holding blacks back — is completely false,” he continues. “Black kids from two-parent families are not failing in school. The real issue is the family, not race.”
Like others on the left, de Blasio cares more about upholding the public school monopoly and protecting the teachers’ union than helping kids.
If he really wanted poor kids to succeed in school, “he would spend money on charter schools, provide scholarships to private schools, endorse school choice, and allow the poor to enroll in Catholic schools,” Donohue observes. “Instead, he fights every initiative that works.”
While pretending to be a champion of the poor, de Blasio’s actions harm those he claims to defend.
Thus, he “drives the rich out of New York, shrinks the tax base, and does nothing to help the poor succeed in school,” Donohue notes.
We’re all familiar with the cycle of poverty in Black urban neighborhoods that Democrat politicians have run for decades. Everybody assumes it’s because Democrats are so wedded to their policies, they keep throwing good money after bad. Maybe that’s not the problem, though. Maybe Black Democrat politicians don’t want to help these areas, and the citizens in those areas don’t actually want to be helped.
“Diversity” and “inclusion” are two of the most often heard buzzwords in our lives these days, with a heavy helping coming from the media, of course. Tucker Carlson addressed the subject very well recently in an opinion piece where he discussed diversity versus the meritocracy, using Biden’s recently-announced cabinet selections to make his case. The evident theme for Joe Biden’s picks has nothing to do with whether his picks are actually qualified for their postings. Rather, that must check off the appropriate victim identity group box: female, Black, Hispanic, gay, trans, or (Jackpot!) a combination of two or more, where being a black Hispanic lesbian is the pinnacle of the victim hierarchy.
In particular, I noted in the public remarks made by soon-to-be repeat offender against our economy, Janet Yellen, that a big part of her focus as Fed Chair is to address economic inequality, wage inequality, food insecurity, poverty — all seemingly benevolent causes until you peel back the onion just slightly and realize that she’s not talking about these things in the scope of helping everyone, regardless of race. No, she’s specifically talking about “communities of color.” Just so we’re clear, a group of people is going to receive different (preferential) treatment based solely on the color of their skin. I’m pretty sure that’s called racism.
Yellen goes on to say that she also wants to provide more opportunities for people of color, because, she says in so many words, these opportunities are denied to people of color. She specifically states that opportunities are denied, so I must ask the question: Who exactly is doing the denying?
If we look at the largest areas of concentration of Black people, which would be the large urban centers of New York City, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit, just to name a few (and I’m not even crossing the Mississippi!), those areas presumably contain large numbers of black-owned businesses or at least Black people who would like to start a business . . . you know, they’d like to, but they’re being denied the opportunity. (I think we all know the subtext when someone is saying that “people of color” are being allegedly mistreated, the alleged mistreatment is at the hands of Evil White Conservatives.)
So, again, who is doing this denying? All of the major cities that I just listed, and dozens more just like them across the country, have been run for decades by Democrat mayors and city councils, with assistance from Democrat Congressmen on both a state and federal level. One must therefore assume that these same people in charge are also very influential regarding who receives economic opportunities or assistance, right? Thus, this horrible denying is being done, in fact, by the very people now crying about the fact that the denying is happening!
As usual, it takes mental gymnastics on an Olympic level to reconcile leftist thinking. Democrats have had control of these cities for decades and what have their policies brought their “people of color?” Misery, poverty, violence, and addiction. Obama and Biden had eight years, with two of those eight having the benefit of both houses of Congress on their side, but they didn’t come up with any miracle salve to soothe the troubles of the inner cities. What on earth would lead us to believe that this will be any different under Biden and Harris?
Or is it more practical and pragmatic if we believe that, via Occam’s Razor, the simplest answer is the correct one: These so-called leaders in Democrat-run enclaves have no real interest in helping their constituents pull themselves out of the cycle of poverty. For decades, Democrats have had their faithful Black voters right where they want them; namely, poor and dependent on the government. We give you stuff, you vote for us. That’s the unspoken agreement. But when a true leader finally comes around who has a plan and the political will to do something to help these communities — like Kimberly Klacik in the Baltimore Congressional district formerly ruled by the late Elijah Cummings — she receives a paltry 28% of the vote. Now the always useless 10-year Congressional veteran Kweisi Mfume has Cummings’s old job and somehow those precious opportunities are still being denied.
I’ve already established solid evidence that Democrat politicians — even and especially Black Democrat politicians — have little to no interest in helping their Black constituents. But there is another side to that coin. The evidence seems to show that Black people themselves appear to not want to be helped. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. So, are Black voters in these areas insane? They keep voting for the likes of Sheila Jackson Lee, Maxine Waters, and Kweisi Mfume, but expect these serial grifters to suddenly start working for them.
In my eyes, that puts the blame squarely on both parties, the politicians and the voters who keep sending them back to their offices. Is it because the way things stand now, those voters are cozily wrapped up in their blanket of victimhood? Is it so comfy in there receiving their government subsistence handouts that they can’t be bothered to get out and do something about it? Is the alternative to this abusive, co-dependent relationship — personal responsibility, hard work, and entrepreneurialism — just too difficult to face?
My prediction for all of these cities that I’ve mentioned, and any other Democrat-run major cities around the country, is that if a Biden/Harris ticket sets up shop in the White House, in four years’ time those cities will look much the same as they do now, except with four more years’ worth of decay, addiction, and violent crime. But those citizens can comfort themselves that they still have someone else to blame for their problems.