The abject failure of liberalism

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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