FT148: “You only know what someone taught you.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 14th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

If we Grew up on a Deserted Island isolated from Hate we’d Probably Grow up Better Adjusted to live with One Another

No one is born a racist.  It’s something you have to learn.  Someone has to teach it to you.  If a parent is a racist chances are the child will be bombarded with racial slurs growing up.  And become a racist.  Just like his or her parent.  But if you raised a bunch of babies of different races together on a deserted island in isolation would any of them grow up to be a racist?   No.  For they wouldn’t even know what racism is.  Because the life they knew would be normal.  It would be normal for black, white, brown, red and yellow to live together.

Catholics and Protestants have spent a few centuries killing each other.  Ever since the Protestant Reformation in 1517.  People have been persecuting Jews since forever.  The Palestinians, Hezbollah and Hamas have been killing Israelis for decades.  Shiite and Sunni have also been killing each other for a very long time.  These people have hated each other so much that they just want to see the other dead.  Yet if you took a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Palestinian, a Shiite and a Sunni baby from their parents and raised them on a deserted island in isolation they wouldn’t grow up wanting to kill each other.  They wouldn’t even know they were supposed to hate each other.

Europe was just itching to go to war.  Nationalistic fervor was just bursting at the seams.  Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, French, Russians and British were ready and waiting.  Filled with nationalist pride.  Just jonesing to open a can of whup-ass on anyone that wasn’t from their own great nation.  Having learned nothing from the Crimean War.  Or the American Civil War.  Thinking they would march their magnificent armies onto the field of battle, fight a glorious battle and watch the enemy throw down their arms and run away.  Even though tactics hadn’t changed much from the Crimean War and the American Civil War.  Though the weapons were far more lethal.  Making World War I one of the bloodiest wars of all time.  But had you taken a German, an Austrian, a Hungarian, a French, a Russian and a British baby from their parents at the turn of the century and raised them on a deserted island in isolation they wouldn’t have grown up wanting to go to war with each other.  As they wouldn’t know that they were supposed to hate each other.

Of all the Things the State did Poorly perhaps the Worst was being Husband and Father

When our parents grew up they often went to bed without locking the doors to their houses.  Even during the days of Prohibition when armed gangs shot each other in the street with automatic weapons.  Today we have deadbolts and alarm systems.  And metal detectors at our schools.  For kids today are taking guns to school.  And they’re shooting people.  This didn’t happen during the days of Prohibition when gangs were armed with Thompson 45-caliber submachine guns.  Why?  Because during Prohibition there weren’t violent video games, graphic violence in movies & television and rap & hip-hop songs glorifying gun violence.  So even though we have less lethal weapons on the streets today we have more gun violence than before.  Because kids have been so desensitized to violence that killing people just isn’t a big deal to them.  Raise these kids on a deserted island away from this violence in our pop culture, though, and they’re not going to kill indiscriminately.  Instead they’ll stay innocent kids longer.

Add to this violence in our pop culture our secular progressive culture.  The Left’s quest to remove religion and God from as much of our lives as possible.  And their attacks on Christianity.  For imposing their moral code on people.  And opposing free love and abortion.  They have gone so far as to call for the removal of the Ten Commandments from our government buildings.  And our schools.  Because teaching kids things like ‘Thou shall not kill” is a bad thing.  Or any other morality lesson.  For who’s to say what is right and wrong?  Of course when we teach our kids growing up that there are no moral absolutes it sure weakens the argument for them not to do bad things.  It detaches them from society.  And makes them lack empathy for their fellow citizens.  Making it easier to hurt them.  If you pulled these kids out of our public schools and put them and their parents on a deserted island away from this secular progressive culture and filled them with the fear of God for misbehaving they probably could sleep at night with their doors unlocked.  For hurting one another would be the last thing on their minds.

When LBJ passed his Great Society legislation it included Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  An unmitigated disaster for poor people.  For it let men father and abandon their children.  Leaving women to turn to the state to act as husband and father.  And of all the things the state did poorly perhaps the worst was being husband and father.  It just decimated poor families.  Single mothers filled housing projects.  Their children, with no male role model, turned to the street.  Got into a lot of trouble.  And into drugs.  Even taking that behavior into their schools.  Which is part of the reason why metal detectors are needed today at our schools.  Forcing organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to pick up the parenting slack.  Had these deadbeat dads lived on a deserted island untouched by AFDC there would have been less fathering and abandoning of children.  Like there was before AFDC.

Keynesian Policies have Historically Resulted in High Unemployment and Painful Recessions

After World War II the world went Keynesian.  Classical economics (that favored savings over consumption, low taxes, the gold standard, little government intrusion into the private sector and responsible fiscal policy as in DON’T spend so much) that made America a superpower went out the window.  In came the disaster we call Keynesian economics (that favored consumption over savings, deficit spending, printing lots of money, high taxes and a lot of government intervention into the private sector.  Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge in the Twenties were the last of the classical economists.  Their policies gave us great prosperity.  JFK adopted policies of the classical economics variety to pull America out of a recession in the Sixties.  Nixon, Ford and Carter were big Keynesians whose policies destroyed America.  Ronald Reagan rebuilt America in the Eighties by returning to policies of the classical economics variety.  As George W. Bush did to pull us out of the bad recession caused by Bill Clinton’s dot-com bubble bursting.

So the record shows the success of classical economics.  And the failure of Keynesian economics.  Yet about half the population voted for the Keynesian policies of President Obama in 2012.  Why?  Why did they vote for more of the failed policies of the past?  Because most Americans learn only of Keynesian economics in their economic courses.  While politicians, economists and the mainstream media endorse Keynesian policies as if they have a record of success.  They do this because Keynesian economics does something that classical economics doesn’t.  Empowers big government.  Sanctions class warfare.  Giving them the moral high ground when raising taxes.  And printing money.  Despite these actions causing the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.

President Obama won reelection for one of two reasons.  Either people want more free stuff.  Or they don’t understand economics.  Or the consequences of handing out all that free stuff.  For if they understood economics they would not have voted for a Keynesian.  For Keynesian policies have historically resulted in high unemployment and painful recessions.  So even if you’re voting for the free stuff you’d vote for the classical economics candidate.  For without people working there is no income to tax to pay for all of that free stuff.  But few people understand economics.  Which is lucky for President Obama.  In fact, few people understand the disaster that has been the liberal agenda as the liberals control the public schools, our colleges, the mainstream media and the entertainment establishment.  So few are learning the long record of liberal failures.  Which helps liberals win elections.  For you only know what someone taught you.  And if the liars are in charge of teaching us the only things we will learn are their lies.  Unless, of course, we can find some deserted island to grow up on where their policies can’t reach us.  Then when we come back we can make the world a better place.  A place with sound economic policies.  With no racism, no religious intolerance, no blind nationalist fervor, no culture of gun violence and no epidemic of deadbeat dads.

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LESSONS LEARNED #61: “The political elite has always exploited blacks.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 14th, 2011

The New World leaves old Prejudices in the Old World

Americans hated Catholics.  And why not?  Most Americans were British.  In the 18th century.  When Protestant Great Britain was forever at war with Catholic France.  Since the Reformation, it’s what Protestants and Catholics did.  Hated each other.  You just did it.  Eventually you would learn why.  But by then you were already hating.

Also, in the 18th century, slavery was part of normal life.  As it had been for centuries.  Slavery was often the misfortune of a conquered people.  Part of the social strata.  Or simply an economic tool.  Such as used in Mercantilism.  As European powers established colonies, they needed bodies to exploit the raw material and send it back to the mother country.  And the ‘godless’ people they were able to buy from African slave traders were perfect.  These ‘savages’ were little more than animals.  Struggling to live in a hostile environment.  They were better off in slavery.  In the New World they would have food and shelter.  And their masters would protect them from their hostile environment.  The way they saw it, they were doing them a favor.  Or so went the prevailing thought of the day.

During the Revolutionary War, George Washington commanded an army made up from all the colonies.  They were mostly Protestant.  But it also included Catholics.  So he had to tone down the anti-Catholic sentiment that was pretty pervasive among many of these British Americans.  And then there was a march into Canada by General Benedict Arnold.  To get the Catholic Canadians (once a French colony) to join the American cause.  (They passed on the offer.)  And so it was in the Army that the American cause transcended religion.  For it was in the army where the Protestant fought side by side with the Catholic.  As well as the free black.  Who yearned for that liberty, too, that the Americans were fighting for.  Giving Washington pause for thought.  Protestant.  Catholic.  Black.  White.  They were all people.  Americans.  This thing they were fighting for was greater than the individual colonies.  The New World would in fact be a new world.  The prejudices of the past would be left in the Old World.  And he learned that in the Army.  Where America was truly born. 

The Three Fifths Compromise Empowers the Planter Elite

It was many of these Army veterans that championed religious freedom.  And the abolitionist movements.  But the pull of the Deep South was strong.  Their planter elite, though a minority of the population, dominated political power.  Much like the landed aristocracy of feudal Europe.  They had money, power and influence.  Their view of the Revolutionary War was different than George Washington’s.  They weren’t looking to build anything greater.  No.  They just wanted to get rid of the British.  And go back to the way things were.

With the war won, that’s exactly what a lot of people did.  Go back to the way things were.  There were problems, though.  War debt, for one.  And a lack of unanimous consent.  The Confederation Congress required a unanimous vote to do anything.  Which was a rare thing.  The sectional interests were just too strong.  So in 1787, they gathered in Philadelphia to write a new constitution.  And create a new nation.  It wasn’t easy.  During the ratification process, some holdouts agreed to ratify if they added a Bill of RightsJames Madison agreed to this and worked tirelessly in the first Congress to deliver on this promise.  The issue of slavery?  That was a different story.

The Deep South would join only if the subject of slavery was off the table.  They agreed.  Tabled it for 20 years.  Give the South time to figure out how to end slavery.  Then they settled on issues of taxation and representation.  The majority of the southern population were slaves.  If they couldn’t count them to determine representation in the new government, the Deep South would have no say in the new federal government.  So they agreed on the Three Fifths Compromise.  They would count slaves as 3/5 a person.  It was a high price to pay for compromise.  For it gave the planter elite of the Deep South a disproportionate vote in Congress.  And in the Electoral College.  Which meant that this minority in the Deep South determined much of American policy until the Civil War.  Thanks to a large black population that couldn’t vote.

Liberal San Francisco:  White, Right and Out of Sight

San Francisco is an interesting town.  They don’t come much more liberal.  Or whiter.  Liberals are lucky if they’re 20% of the national population.  But a good chunk of that 20% apparently lives in San Francisco.  Nancy Pelosi coasted to reelection in 2010 with 80% of the vote even though her national approval numbers were horrible.  Her favorable ratings barely broke 10%.  In other words, the American people were sick of her and her far left liberal agenda.  They voted a bunch of her cronies out of the House of Representatives, and her from the Speakership, transferring control from the Democrats to the Republicans for the first time in a long time.  Her views are definitely not America’s views.  But they’re clearly San Francisco’s views.

Of course, many of the good people of San Francisco think that the other 80% of Americans are just too dumb to know better.  We exasperate them.  For they are the enlightened people.  The intelligentsia.  The caring.  And they were the first to drive hybrids.  Even South Park ridiculed them for that.  Calling San Francisco the smuggest place in America.  Where they like the smell of their own farts.  And they may very well like to smell their own farts.  But you know what they don’t like?  Black people (see Blacks and Republicans by Thomas Sowell posted 3/15/2011 on National Review).

The black population of San Francisco is less than half of what it was in 1970, and it fell another 19 percent in the past decade…

Blacks are being forced out of San Francisco — and out of other communities on the San Francisco peninsula — by high housing prices…

The black population in three adjacent counties on the San Francisco peninsula is just under 3 percent of the total population in the 39 communities in those counties.

It so happens that these are counties where voters and the officials they elect are virtually all liberal Democrats. You might be hard pressed to find similarly one-sided conservative Republican communities where blacks are such small percentages of the population.

So, in other words, rich liberals love to have black people vote for them.  But they don’t want to live anywhere near them.

AFDC and Abortion and the Black Family

America changed in the 1970s.  The sexual revolution was in full force.  Women’s liberation.  Abortion and birth control.  And all the feel-good programs of LBJ’s Great Society to end poverty and racial injustice.  The liberals were changing America.  The black community.  And the neighborhoods of San Francisco.

Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) caused an epidemic in children being born out of wedlock.  Because the government was paying single women per baby they had.  So they kept having babies.  Because an inexperienced young man couldn’t get a job that would match the generosity of the government.  And it was a lot easier than being a working single-mom.  So kids grew up without a father.  Spent a lot of time on the streets.  Getting into trouble.  This destroyed families in poor neighborhoods.  Which also tended to be black neighborhoods.  It was the worst of unintended consequences.  But it sure did make the recipient of these benefits life-long Democrats.  Because if you have no skills and a large family to raise, what else are you going to do but depend on those government benefits?

Of course, liberal policies weren’t all about having babies.  They were also helping to provide a lot of abortions, too.  To empower women.  To fully liberate women and make them equals in the workplace.  Because they could now do anything a man could do.  Except pee while standing up.  But they could fool around like a man.  And not have to worry about the consequences.  Just like a man.  So with abortion, birth control and a sexual revolution going on, you can guess what a lot of people were doing.  Having consequence-free fun.  If you know what I mean.  But much like AFDC, this liberation appears to have hit the black population especially hard.  A black woman is three-times as likely as a white woman to get an abortion.  And it is the only demographic where abortions exceed live births. 

Abortion is a very controversial subject with data that is often politicized.  Also, there may be other extenuating circumstances that result in these numbers.  But it shows a trend.  Liberal policies have unintended consequences.  And blacks have suffered a disproportional share of these consequences. 

The Democrat Party is the Party of Slavery and Institutionalized Discrimination

So what does this tell us about rich liberals?  First of all, they’re mostly white.  They claim that they are not the racists yet their actions indicate otherwise (San Francisco is mostly liberal and mostly white).  Their views are a minority view.  The 2010 midterm elections clearly showed that.  Yet they wield some of the greatest political power.  How do they do that?  By pandering.  To the labor unions.  The public sector unions.  The teachers.  That usual bunch that benefits by liberal policies and liberal spending.  And, of course, blacks.

When you look at the history, the Democrats haven’t been all that kind to black America.  It was the Southern Democrats who did their best to perpetuate the institution of slavery.  It was the Southern Democrats that institutionalized discrimination in the South following the Civil War.  Yes, the Civil Rights Act was passed by the Johnson administration but it was the Republicans in the House and Senate that made that possible.  The Democrats had majorities in both houses but about a third of their members were against it.  Whereas only a fifth of the Republicans were against it.  In the final House vote, all the Southern Democrats needed was to get 37% of the Republicans to vote against it to stop its passage.  Instead, 80% of Republicans voted in favor of it.  And then, of course, there’s AFDC.  Thomas Sowell blames this (and the liberal welfare state) for destroying the black family.  And the black abortion stats would probably be called genocide in another country.  Some even call it that here.

Which brings us back to the teachers.  Because when you look at these numbers, it is clear that liberal policies have not been good to black families.  But the teachers are in tight with the liberals.  I mean, with their generous pay and benefit packages they get without the taxpayer having a say in their contract negotiations, why wouldn’t they?  The government takes care of them and they take care of government.  They emphasize multiculturalism, fairness and progressive thought.  And downplay history.  The Founding Fathers play minor roles in today’s textbooks.  But students today can all tell us that the Founding Fathers owned slaves.  But they seem to forget the part about Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, being a Republican.  And that the freed blacks voted for Republicans to protect themselves from racist Southern Democrats.  

Meet the New World.  Same as the Old World.

And then along comes Barack Obama.  The ideal liberal candidate.  And first black presidential candidate.  Because of our public education there is a lot of white guilt over slavery.  So a lot of white America would probably vote for Obama to assuage that guilt.  Which included a large part of those crucial independent voters.  Things were looking up.  But could he deliver the black vote?  He graduated from Harvard Law School.  Columbia University.  He’s an Ivy League guy.  Very professorial.  He could lecture the people.  So well that it offended some.  The Reverend Jesse Jackson said then candidate Obama talked down to black people.  He didn’t like that in the least.  Even said that he wanted to “cut his nuts off.”  So it wasn’t a sure thing.  The black vote.

Of course, Obama won that election.  He took 53% of the vote to McCain‘s 46%.  And the black vote?  All but 4% voted for Obama.  No one gets 96% of the vote.  Unless you’re a dictator in a third world country.  With blacks making up approximately 12% of the U.S. population, it is clear that the black vote determined the election.  For if the black vote followed the same percentage break down of the general vote, McCain would have won the election.

So here we are, some 150 years after the Civil War and the black population is still being exploited by the political elite.  The planter elite maintained power for half a century thanks to the Three Fifth Compromise.  And liberal Democrats today use the liberal welfare state to make as many blacks as possible dependent on government.  Use their control over the public school system to hide the failure of their policies.  Their destruction of the black family.  And their racist past.  To maintain their political power.  And minority rule.  Some things never change.

Meet the New World.  Same as the Old World.  Sadly.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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LESSONS LEARNED #28: “Politicians love failure because no one ever asked government to fix something that was working.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 26th, 2010

THE TELEVISION SHOW Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. aired from 1964-1969.  It was a spinoff from the Andy Griffith Show.  Gomer, a naive country bumpkin who worked at Wally’s filling station, joined the Marines Corps.  And there was much mirth and merriment.  To the chagrin of Sergeant Carter, Pyle’s drill instructor (DI).  Think of Gunny Sergeant R. Lee Ermey’s Sergeant Hartman in the movie Full Metal Jacket only with no profanity or mature subject matter.  Sergeant Carter was a tough DI like Sergeant Hartman.  But more suitable for the family hour on prime time television.

Gunny sergeants are tough as nails.  And good leaders.  They take pride in this.  But sometimes a gunny starts to feel that he’s not himself anymore.  This was the subject of an episode.  And Gomer, seeing that Sergeant Carter was feeling down, wanted to help.  So he stuffed Sergeant Carter’s backpack with hay before a long march.  While the platoon was worn and tired, Sergeant Carter was not.  He was feeling good.  Like his old self.  Until he found out he was not carrying the same load his men were.  He asked Pyle, “why hay?”  He could understand rocks, but hay?  Because if he outlasted his men while carrying a heavier load, he would feel strong.  But knowing he had carried a lighter load only made him feel weak.

This is human nature.  People take pride in their achievements.  They don’t take pride in any achievement attained by an unfair advantage.  Self-esteem matters.  And you can’t feel good about yourself if you need help to do what others can do without help. 

AN OLD CHINESE proverb goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  Let’s say I am a fisherman in a small village.  I catch fish to feed my family and sell/trade for other family needs.  There’s a man in my village who asks me for a fish each day so he can eat.  I’m a caring person.  So I give him a fish each day.  So a pattern develops.  Each day he shows up when I come in from my fishing.  He takes the fish and goes away.  It works out well for him.  He doesn’t have to work.  He can live off of my kind charity.  Then I move.  Without me being there to give him a fish each day, he no longer can eat.  And dies.  If I only had taught that man to fish. 

Kindness can lead to dependency.  And once dependent, you become lazy.  Why develop marketable skills to provide for yourself when someone else will provide for you?  The problem is, of course, what happens when that charity ends?  If you’re unable to provide for yourself and there is no longer someone providing for you, what do you do?  Steal?

Dependency and a lack of self-esteem are a dangerous combination.  And they feed off of each other.  This combination can lead to depression.  Behavioral problems.  Resentment.  Bitterness.  Envy.  Or a defeatist attitude.

These are often unintended consequences of government programs.  A failed program, then, has far reaching consequences beyond the initial economic costs of a program.

LIQUIDITY CRISES CAUSE a lot of economic damage.  If capital is not available for businesses to borrow, businesses can’t grow.  Or create jobs.  And we need jobs.  People have to work.  To support themselves.  And to pay taxes to fund the government.  So everyone is in favor of businesses growing to create jobs.  We all would like to see money being easy and cheap to borrow if it creates jobs.

But there is a downside to easy money.  Inflation.  Too much borrowing can create inflation.  By increasing the money supply (via fractional reserve banking).  More money means higher prices.  Because each additional dollar is worth a little less. This can lead to overvalued assets as prices are ‘bid’ up with less valuable dollars.  And higher prices can inflate business profits.  Looks good on paper.  But too much of this creates a bubble.  Because those high asset values and business profits are not real.  They’re inflated.  Like a bubble.  And just as fragile.  When bubbles burst, asset values and business profits drop.  To real values.  People are no longer ‘bidding’ up prices.  They stop buying until they think prices have sunk to their lowest.  We call this deflation.  A little bit of inflation or deflation is normal.  Too much can be painful economically.  Like in the Panic of 1907.

Without going into details, there was a speculative bubble that burst in 1907.  This led to a liquidity crisis as banks failed.  Defaults on loans left banks owing more money than they had (i.e., they became illiquid).  They tried to borrow money and recall loans to restore their liquidity.  Borrowers grew concerned that their bank may fail.  So they withdrew their money.  This compounded the banks problems.  This caused deflation.  Money was unavailable.  Causing bank runs.  And bank failures.  Business failures.  And unemployment grew. So government passed the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.  The government gave the Federal Reserve System (the Fed) great powers to tweak the monetary system.  The smartest people at the time had figured out what had gone wrong in 1907.  And they created a system that made it impossible for it to happen again.

The worst liquidity crisis of all time happened from 1929-1933.  It’s part of what we call the Great Depression.  The 1920s had a booming economy.  Real income was rising.  Until the Fed took action.  Concerned that people were borrowing money for speculative purposes (in paper investments instead of labor, plant and material), they put on the brakes.  Made it harder and more expensive to borrow money.  Then a whole series of things happened along the way that turned a recession into a depression.  When people needed money, they made it harder to get it, causing a deflationary spiral.  The Great Depression was the result of bad decisions made by too few men with too much power.  It made a crisis far worse than the one in 1907.  And the Roosevelt administration made good use of this new crisis.  FDR exploded the size of government to respond to the unprecedented crisis they found themselves in.  The New Deal changed America from a nation of limited government to a country where Big Government reigns supreme.

ONE PROGRAM OF the New Deal was Social Security.  Unemployment in the 1930s ran at or above 14%.  This is for one whole decade.  Never before nor since has this happened.  Older workers generally earn more than younger ones.  Their experience commands a higher pay rate.  Which allows them to buy more things.  Resulting in more bills.  Therefore, the Great Depression hit older workers especially hard.  A decade of unemployment would have eaten through any life savings of even the most prudent savers.  And what does this get you?  A great crisis.

The government took a very atypical moment of history and changed the life of every American.  The government forced people to save for retirement.  In a very poor savings plan.  That paid poorly by comparison to private pensions or annuities.  And gave the government control over vast amounts of money.  It was a pervasive program.  They say FDR quipped, “Let them try to undo this.” 

With government taking care of you in retirement, more people stopped providing for themselves.  When they retired, they scrimped by on their ‘fixed’ incomes.  And because Social Security became law before widespread use of birth control and abortion, the actuaries of the day were very optimistic.  They used the birth rate then throughout their projections.  But with birth control and abortion came a huge baby bust.  The bottom fell out of the birth rate.  A baby bust generation followed a baby boom generation.  Actually, all succeeding generations were of the bust kind.  The trend is growing where fewer and fewer people pay for more and more people collecting benefits.  And these people were living longer.  To stay solvent, the system has to raise taxes on those working and reduce benefits on those who are not.  Or raise the retirement age.  All these factors have made it more difficult on our aged population.  Making them working longer than they planned.  Or by making that fixed income grow smaller.

FDR used a crisis to create Social Security.  Now our elderly people are dependent on that system.  It may suck when they compare it to private pensions or annuities, but it may be all they have.  If so, they’ll quake in their shoes anytime anyone mentions reforming Social Security.  Because of this it has become the 3rd rail of politics.  A politician does not touch it lest he or she wishes to die politically.  But it’s not all bad.  For the politician.  Because government forced the elderly to rely on them for their retirement, it has made the Social Security recipient dependent on government.  In particular, the party of government who favors Big Government.  The Democrats.  And with a declining birth rate and growing aged population, this has turned into a large and loyal voting bloc indeed.  Out of fear.

A PROGRAM THAT straddled the New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society was Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  Its original New Deal purpose was to help widows take care of their children.  When program outlays peaked in the 1970s, the majority of recipients were unmarried women and divorced women.  Because this was a program based on need, the more need you had the more you got.  Hence more children meant more money.  It also reduced the importance of marriage as the government could replace the support typically provided by a husband/father.  Noted economist Dr. Thomas Sowell blames AFDC as greatly contributing to the breakdown of the black family (which has the highest incidence of single-parent households).

With the women’s liberation movement, women have come to depend less on men.  Some affluent women conceive and raise children without a husband.  Or they adopt.  And the affluent no doubt can provide all the material needs their children will ever need.  Without a husband.  Or a father for their children.  But is that enough?

The existence of ‘big brother’ programs would appear to prove otherwise.  Troubled children are often the products of broken families.  Mothers search for big brothers to mentor these fatherless sons.  To be role models.  To show an interest in these children’s lives.  To care.  When no such role models are available, some of these troubled children turn to other sources of acceptance and guidance.  Like gangs.

AFDC has compounded this problem by providing the environment that fosters fatherless children.  And another government program compounds that problem.  Public housing.

POOR HOUSING CONDITIONS hurt families.  They especially hurt broken families.  Without a working husband, these families are destined to live in the cheapest housing available.  These are often in the worst of neighborhoods.  This is an unfair advantage to the children raised in those families.  For it wasn’t their fault they were born into those conditions.  So, to solve that problem, government would build good public housing for these poorest of the poor to move into.  Problem solved.

Well, not exactly.  Public housing concentrates these broken families together.  Usually in large apartment buildings.  This, then, concentrates large numbers of troubled children together.  So, instead of having these children dispersed in a community, public housing gathers them together.  Where bad behavior reinforces bad behavior.  It becomes the rule, not the exception.  Making a mother’s job that much more difficult.  And because these children live together, they also go to school together.  And this extends the bad behavior problem to the school.  Is it any wonder that public housing (i.e., the projects) have the worst living conditions?  And some of the highest gang activity? 

Government didn’t plan it this way.  It’s just the unintended consequences of their actions.  And those consequences are devastating.  To the poor in general.  To the black family in particular.  AFDC and public housing enabled irresponsible/bad behavior.  That behavior destroyed families.  As well as a generation or two.  But it wasn’t all bad.  For the politicians.  It made a very large constituency dependent on government.

THERE ARE SO many more examples.  But the story is almost always the same.  Dependency and a lack of self-esteem will beat down a person’s will.  Like an addict, it will make the dependent accept poorer and poorer living standards in exchange for their fix of dependency.  Eventually, the dependency will reach the point where they will not know how to provide for themselves.  The dependency will become permanent.  As will the lack of self-esteem.  Conscious or not of their actions, Big Government benefits from the wretched state they give these constituencies.  With no choice but continued dependence, they vote for the party that promises to give the most.  Which is typically the Democrat Party.

But how can you fault these politicians?  They acted with the best of intentions.  And they can fix these new problems.  They’ll gather the brightest minds.  They’ll study these problems.  And they will produce the best programs to solve these problems.  All it will take is more government spending.  And how can you refuse?  When people are hungry.  Or homeless.  Or have children that they can’t care for.  How can anyone not want to help the children?  How can anyone not have compassion?

Well, compassion is one thing.  When the innocent suffer.  But when government manufactures that suffering, it’s a different story.  Planned or not the result is the same whenever government tries to fix things.  The cost is high.  The solution is typically worse than the original problem.  And the poorest of the poor are pawns.  To be used by Big Government in the name of compassion. 

Of course, if Big Government were successful in fixing these problems, they would fix themselves right out of existence.  So as long as they want to run Big Government programs, they’ll need a stock of wretched, suffering masses that need their help.  And, of course, lots of crises.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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