The abject failure of liberalism

Posted by: ST on December 23, 2007 at 12:36 pm

I know this is the time of year where we’re supposed to show “good will” towards others in the spirit of the holiday season, but I’m not feeling especially charitable towards the left these days. Christmas is 2 days away. I’ll leave the left alone on that day and that day only.

I read this blogpost by Michelle Malkin this morning about a fanatical black woman shouting down white people during an angry New Orleans city council hearing last week in which a debate was held about razing public housing. The woman, Sharon Jasper, would have you believe she’s a poor, helpless, victim, but in reality this woman is a known activist in the area who lives in the projects – and just so happens to have a mammoth wide-screen TV sitting in her livingroom. Check out the picture of Jasper’s livingroom here, and take special note of the quote underneath the picture. Here’s what it reads (emphasis added):

Sharon Jasper sits in the living room of her voucher-backed private residence. “I might be poor but I don’t like to live poor. I thank God for a place to live but it’s pitiful what people give you.”

To say that this is the epitome of the severe damage liberal “entitlement” programs have done to society would be an understatement of epic proportions. We have an entire class of people in this country who “expect” others to do everything for them, including subsidize their very existence, and they don’t want it done “on the cheap.” Oh, I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, and that there are a minority of people who live in poverty who are fighting to get out of it, but for the most part, if you look around you, if you do your research, you’ll see that poverty is, for the most part, generational, and by that I mean if you read up on the projects today, you’ll find third generation families who live in public housing much like the generation before them did. I’ve read about it in the Charlotte Observer (a virtual re-print of the NYT) in sympathetic articles about public housing and how the city should “do more” to “clean up” public housing developments and do more to make them “crime free.” These third-generation “slum” dwellers know how to work the system because they learned it from generations before them who did the same thing.

This is a direct result of the Great Society programs implemented by the Johnson administration in the mid 60s, programs that were put into place to “correct” problems that were exaggerated by the “enlightened” of the time, “problems” that were, in actuality, declining – no thanks to any major “help” from the federal government. The great Thomas Sowell wrote about this extensively in his 1995 book Vision of the Anointed, which should be required reading for any conservative who wants to truly learn how big of a failure Great Society programs have actually been. Hint: It’s much worse than you suspect.

Sowell writes about this issue often in his opinion pieces, and a good one to start with is one he wrote in May 2006, which is sort of a short version of VOTA:

While liberals may think of the 1960s as the beginning of many “progressive” trends in American society, cold hard facts tell a very different story. The 1960s marked the end of many beneficial trends that had been going on for years — and a complete reversal of those trends as programs, policies, and ideologies of the liberals took hold.

Teenage pregnancy had been going down for years. So had venereal disease. Rates of infection for syphilis in 1960 was half of what it had been in 1950. There were similar trends in crime. The total number of murders in the United States in 1960 was lower than in 1950, 1940, or 1930 — even though the population was growing and two new states had been added. The murder rate, in proportion to population, in 1960 was half of what it had been in 1934.

Every one of these beneficial trends sharply reversed after liberal notions gained ascendancy during in the 1960s. By 1974, the murder rate had doubled. Even liberal icon Sargent Shriver, head of the agency directing the “war on poverty,” admitted that “venereal disease has skyrocketed” even though “we have had more clinics, more pills, and more sex education than ever in history.”

Liberals looking back on the 1960s take special pride in their role on racial issues, for civil rights laws and the advancement of blacks out of poverty. Those riots that threatened to tear the country apart were race riots — and supposedly the liberals saved us all.

But what do the facts show?

Both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had a higher percentage of Congressional Republicans voting for their enactment than the percentage of Congressional Democrats.

You can check it out in The Congressional Record.

As for black economic advances, the most dramatic reduction in poverty among blacks occurred between 1940 and 1960, when the black poverty rate was cut almost in half, without any major government programs of the Great Society kind that began in the 1960s.

Liberals love to point to the rise of blacks out of poverty since 1960 as proof of the benefits of liberal programs, as if the continuation of a trend that began decades earlier was proof of how liberals saved blacks.

One of the biggest failures – if not the biggest – of liberalism is its failure to encourage personal responsibility. They suggest that any ills suffered by the poor/less fortunate are not their fault but instead the government’s, and therefore the government should take care of the problem, for a lifetime if necessary. We see it in not just in debates about poverty, but also over healthcare, disease, crime, jobs, etc. Simply put, liberals believe the less fortunate are “entitled” to things they haven’t earned, party because the left doesn’t put much stock in the concept of personal responsibility, but also because they know that keeping people poor and uneducated means there will always be a victim class around to vote for them. It’s not only a sick way to preserve a voting bloc, but it’s also a form of soft racism, because of the poor in our country, a disproportionate number are black. Ironically, black people were a group of people the “enlightened” back in the mid 60s decided needed the government’s “help” yet we see what the government’s “help” has done for black people in terms of income, illegitimacy, disease, crime, and the breakdown of the family structure. Ask any of the few honest and upfront liberals left out there about this, and they’ll begrudgingly admit it.

It’s a vicious cycle, and anytime a conservative tries to make any changes to “the system” as we know it, the typical charges are screamed out by the Usual Suspects (remember Gingrich’s welfare reform?), who allege conservatives are cruel and heartless, are infested with racists and bigots, don’t care about the poor and sick, want to kick old people out of their homes, etc etc, when the debate is obviously much, much deeper than their empty emotional rhetoric suggests. If the left really cared about the poor in this country, if they really wanted to help people get off the public dole, they’d encourage open and honest discussions about the results of their attempts at “fixing” the problems that they, in reality, helped create. But I think they subconsciously realize that in doing so, they would indict not just themselves, but the liberals who’ve come before them, liberals they’ve held up as standard bearers of what’s so great and wonderful about liberalism in and of itself. So to come out and criticize Great Society programs, and to acknowledge the harm they – and successive attempts by Democrat Congresses years later to “add on” to those programs – have done to our country, would mean that they would essentially have to disavow themselves of the Democratic party, because who wants to knowingly be a part of a party that has been the author and enabler of so much failure?

That failure, of course, extends on to the foreign policy front, which we’ve seen for a long time now, but which has especially has front and center since 9-11. We’ve seen the same people who opposed the “empirical” and “failed” Iraq war whine about how much money is being “wasted” on Iraq and how that money should be kept here in our own country in order to build new schools, firehouses, roads, etc. Funny how these same pseudo-isolationists don’t extend that “keep our money here” philosophy to the millions and billions we send to places like Africa, where the disease and poverty situation there has not gotten any better as a result of the US pouring money into the continent for several decades now. In essence, they’re ok with the US continuing to invest in a failure-ridden Africa with our tax dollars, but not ok with the US continuing to invest in a success-driven Iraq, a long-term success of which would mean more stability in the Middle East and, hopefully, a decline in Islamofascist terrorism worldwide.

If willfull ignorance could be classified as a disease, there would be an (incurable) epidemic in the Democratic party.

None of this is meant to suggest that conservatives are perfect. They aren’t by any means. An example of this is how Republicans treat the illegal immigration issue, where far too many elected officials look at illegal immigration from a political perspective rather than a social, economic, and most importantly, safety perspective. But for all the problems I have with conservatives, the basic components of conservatism which attracted me back in the early to mid 90s when I was converting to the “dark side” from liberalism still attract and hold me today: the emphasis on personal responsibility, the belief that the 2 parent man and woman family is essential to raising healthy, well-rounded children who are productive to society, the understanding that a fetus is not just a “blob of tissue,” the intelligence to know that the federal government is not and never will be a magic cure-all for all of society’s ills, and their belief that America is not the root of all evil in the world, among other things.

60s-era liberalism – which is still very prevalent today in the Democratic party, embodied currently by the Clintons and the Edwards and the Kennedys and the Kerrys – recognizes none of that, and is a destructive force that must continue to be reckoned with. If nothing else, we can thank the Sharon Jaspers of this country for reminding us this holiday season that the fight against the ravages of liberalism rages on, and we must never, ever give up the battle.


Thanks to Memeorandum for the “featured post” link.

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20 Responses to “The abject failure of liberalism”


  1. Tango says:

    I learned many years ago (firsthand) that poor people (as a group) have poor ways. And it’s why they tend to remain in poverty. That phenomenon is by no means unique to these United States, either.

    Unfortunately, the well intentioned “hand up” has been hijacked and morphed into generations of HAND OUTs. We reap what we sow – in this case an entire class of people whose only “work” involves their efforts at milking the system.

    Jesus Christ was spot-on when he proclaimed that “the poor will ALWAYS be with you.” b-)

  2. Jonathan says:


    I take your argument at face value, and for the most part I agree.

    So logically you then must be disgusted with the Bush administration which has expanded the role of government in virtually every way possible, right?

  3. Great White Rat says:

    “I might be poor but I don’t like to live poor. I thank God for a place to live but it’s pitiful what people give you.”

    To liberals, “the law of supply and demand” means that the taxpayer is expected to supply whatever they demand.

    Do check out the big screen TV in the picture of her apartment. I’m reasonably well off and I couldn’t begin to justify buying anything half that exhorbitant. The city should bill this leech for the retail cost of that set – and any other luxuries it finds in her apartment – before it gives her another dime.

    ST says:

    If the left really cared about the poor in this country, if they really wanted to help people get off the public dole, they’d encourage open and honest discussions about the results of their attempts at “fixing” the problems that they, in reality, helped create. But I think they subconsciously realize that in doing so, they would indict not just themselves, but the liberals who’ve come before them, liberals they’ve held up as standard bearers of what’s so great and wonderful about liberalism in and of itself.

    True enough, but it goes beyond that. If the poor get off the public dole and get productive jobs, they become taxpayers. Once they get a peek at how much of their pay goes for taxes, they might rethink their attachment to liberalism and start voting for candidates who will be better stewards of their money, and even cut taxes…in other words, conservatives. The best anti-poverty program in the world is a good job – but that won’t help get leftist politicians re-elected. So the left will always talk the talk about improving the lot of the poor, but really walking the walk would be political suicide. So they’ll continue to peddle their snake oil as long as the poor can be deluded into buying it.

  4. Proof says:

    Maybe if she pulled the plug on that 60″ TV, she wouldn’t have such high utility bills.
    Of course, with the TV off, maybe she could be inspired to, I don’t know, maybe get a job???
    Didn’t that article say she’d been “on the dole” 57 of her 58 years?
    It’s bad enough that she leeches off society full time. But, you’d think at some point she’d show some gratitute, knowing that virtually everything she “owns” was bought with someone else’s money!

  5. Proof says:

    Plus, if you checked her girth in the picture, it doesn’t look like she missed too many meals!

  6. Ryan says:

    So logically you then must be disgusted with the Bush administration which has expanded the role of government in virtually every way possible, right?


    You must be new here, because many of us regulars have been very upset at the expansion of government under President Bush. However, the alternative would have been much, much worse.

  7. Not only that, Ryan, but for people (mostly the left) to attempt to paint Bush as some flaming liberal now when they’ve been calling him a dangerously right wing conservative for years is doing nothing but covering up and avoiding some 40 years of failed liberal policies. Not only that, but let’s also not forget that the President has waged a war against the war on poverty, realizing that many liberal ideas have kept the very people down that they claim to want to “help.”

    I’ve seen a lot of attempts either in my email, at liberal blogs, or incoherent comments liberals tried to post here that use the avoidance tactic. Instead of examining their own failures in depth, they try and change the subject and make the last 40 years of failures somehow Bush’s fault. Now, I realize that everything bad that’s happened in the last 6 years is Bush’s fault, but I had no idea his reach extended back to the days the Great Society programs were implemented.

  8. Ryan says:

    So very true.

  9. This is an excellent piece on examining poverty in America.

  10. Severian says:

    From ST’s link:

    The typical American defined as “poor” by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs.

    It’s pitiful what people give you…..:@)

  11. gary fouse says:

    Thomas Sowell and other black conservatives are the most intellectually stimulating people in America. It takes courage for them to speak out against the philosophy of victimhood because they are always castigated as “Uncle Toms”.

    Their voices should be heard-not silenced.

    gary fouse

  12. Steve Skubinna says:

    ST, I have just ordered from ABE The True Believer, by Eric Hoffer. I was stimulated by an e-mail forest sent me (kudos to you, forest!). In it, if I understand his thesis correctly, Hoffer demonstrates that modern liberalism is in fact, despite its claims, motivated by contempt for and distrust of people, and by a desire to restrict personal freedom.

    I am looking forward to reading and digesting it. Hoffer wrote the book over a half century ago, so if my precis is indeed accurate it must make him one of the most prophetic philosophers of the 20th century.

    But modern liberalism appears, to me, to be concerned with destroying humans as individuals and recreating them as merely group members. Which makes it a betrayal of classical liberalism, which was driven by freedom and intellectual inquiry.

  13. forest hunter says:

    Thanks Steve, your grasp and susequent explanation are akin to mine own as well. It should prove to be an interesting read, to say the least.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Forest is home for a couple months of R and R, arrived just hours ago.

  14. Severian says:

    Hope you had a good trip Forest. I’ve ordered “The True Believer” as well thanks to Forest’s pointing it out. Should be here soon, and Hoffer’s thesis seems to be remarkably accurate. The losers of the world want to control it. I think it’ll shed some light on not only contemporary liberalism, but also as to how people are so easily taken in by cults such as Global Warming despite the massive evidence against it. The quote from the Nazi youth about how Nazism freed them from the tyranny of thinking was chillingly true unfortunately. It’s just so hard to have to think and decide for yourself, it’s much better to be a sheep and follow the herd and obey orders…gods help us.

  15. Great White Rat says:

    Whoa…that makes three of us ordering one book. Forest, you started something here. Hope there were no problems on your trip home. Enjoy the holidays!

  16. Severian says:

    My book just got here not 10 minutes ago! Perfect timing, as I just finished reading an outstanding sci-fi book “Light.”

  17. forest hunter says:

    Hey did I mention I’m a co-author and receiving royalties………:d, no?

    Thanks for the updates fellas………great flight in GWR, guess we’ll carry on with this in the open thread, ST just posted.

  18. a simple engineer says:

    I have nowhere near that level of furnishings in my house. Even her floor is much nicer than mine. Am I to be moved to give her an even BIGGER TV? She can have my only TV – an 18 year old 21 incher. That pitiful enough? :-w