REAL CLEAR POLITICS
Liberalism Versus Blacks
by Thomas Sowell
January 15, 2013
San Francisco is a classic example of a city unexcelled in its liberalism. But the black population of San Francisco today is less than half of what it was back in 1970, even though the city's total population has grown.
Severe restrictions on building housing in San Francisco have driven rents and home prices so high that blacks and other people with low or moderate incomes have been driven out of the city. The same thing has happened in a number of other California communities dominated by liberals.
Liberals try to show their concern for the poor by raising the level of minimum wage laws. Yet they show no interest in hard evidence that minimum wage laws create disastrous levels of unemployment among young blacks in this country, as such laws created high unemployment rates among young people in general in European countries.
The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals' expansion of the welfare state. Most black children grew up in homes with two parents during all that time but most grow up with only one parent today.
Liberals have pushed affirmative action, supposedly for the benefit of blacks and other minorities. But two recent factual studies show that affirmative action in college admissions has led to black students with every qualification for success being artificially turned into failures by being mismatched with colleges for the sake of racial body count.
The two most recent books that show this with hard facts are "Mismatch" by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., and "Wounds That Will Not Heal" by Russell K. Nieli. My own book "Affirmative Action Around the World" shows the same thing with different evidence.
In all these cases, and many others, liberals take positions that make them look good and feel good -- and show very little interest in the actual consequences for others, even when liberal policies are leaving havoc in their wake.
The current liberal crusade for more so-called "gun control" laws is more of the same. Factual studies over the years, both in the United States and in other countries, repeatedly show that "gun control" laws do not in fact reduce crimes committed with guns.
Cities with some of the tightest gun control laws in the nation have murder rates far above the national average. In the middle of the 20th century, New York had far more restrictive gun control laws than London, but London had far less gun crime. Yet gun crimes in London skyrocketed after severe gun control laws were imposed over the next several decades.
Although gun control is not usually considered a racial issue, a wholly disproportionate number of Americans killed by guns are black. But here, as elsewhere, liberals' devotion to their ideology greatly exceeds their concern about what actually happens to flesh and blood human beings as a result of their ideology.
One of the most polarizing and counterproductive liberal crusades of the 20th century has been the decades-long busing crusade to send black children to predominantly white schools. The idea behind this goes back to the pronouncement by Chief Justice Earl Warren that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."
Yet within walking distance of the Supreme Court where this pronouncement was made was an all-black high school that had scored higher than two-thirds of the city's white high schools taking the same test -- way back in 1899! But who cares about facts, when you are on a liberal crusade that makes you feel morally superior?
To challenge government-imposed racial segregation and discrimination is one thing. But to claim that blacks get a better education if they sit next to whites in school is something very different. And it is something that goes counter to the facts.
Many liberal ideas about race sound plausible, and it is understandable that these ideas might have been attractive 50 years ago. What is not understandable is how so many liberals can blindly ignore 50 years of evidence to the contrary since then.
Read more: http://goo.gl/U05xn
Liberals: The Necessary Delusion
by Christopher Chantrill
January 15, 2013
Normally, I can't get interested in the daily liberal partisan output, but when I saw RealClearPolitics' link to Andy Kroll of Mother Jones on "Revealed: The Massive New Liberal Plan to Remake American Politics" I decided to make an exception.
Nancy Pelosi has been promising to take back the House in 2014: maybe the lefties at Mother Jones knew something I didn't know.
The "massive new liberal plan" turned out to be a meeting of all the usual suspects to commit resources and staff to a three-point plan. The plan calls for:
- getting big money out of politics,
- expanding the voting rolls while fighting voter ID laws, and
- rewriting Senate rules to curb the use of the filibuster to block legislation.
Kroll is full of the usual rubbish about "wringing our hands over the Koch brothers" and the "40-plus-year strategy by the Scaifes, Exxons, Coors, and Kochs of the world...to take over the country."
Now I like to say that there are only five things wrong with liberal thought and politics: its cruelty, its corruption, its injustice, its waste, and its delusion. The delusion bit begins with the need for lefty-liberals like Kroll to insist that those awful Kochs and Scaifes and Exxons are trying to take over the world, so they can demonize them.
Let's stipulate that Karl Marx had a point when he worried about capitalists replacing the landed warrior class as the overlords and oppressors of the modern era. Way back then, who could tell how the power contest of the industrial era would turn out?
But the answer eventually became clear, at the very latest when the US government broke up Standard Oil a century ago. If the capitalists were really running things, why would they let the politicians smash up their capitalist corporations?
In our own time we have the recent evidence of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. When President Obama told BP to fork out $20 billion -- before any regulatory finding or legislative action, just on his say-so -- BP merely asked whether to pay with their usual eftps.gov account. If you are not living a delusion that act has to tell you something.
This week we have the Boeing Dreamliner problem. Does Boeing tell the FAA and the flying public to go take a hike? They wouldn't dare.
The left needs the idea of vast corporate power to populate its tableau of oppression. It needs oppression to justify its lust for government power. And it needs to divide employers and employees to maintain its power.
However, advanced lefties realize that the old tableau of capitalists vs. proletarians needs freshening up. So Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in their Empire-Multitude-Commonwealth trilogy declare that the capitalists are now merely surplus. In the new economy of "biopolitical production" the capitalists just get in the way of the spontaneous exchanges of the multitude, the "labor of the head and heart, including forms of service work, affective labor, and cognitive labor." Hardt and Negri call for an end of the power of both capitalists and the welfare state in favor of the spontaneity and self-governance of the multitude. But first we need a "global initiative to provide the basic means of life to all:" income, health care, and education.
Isn't it odd that a book advertising the wonders of spontaneous order among millions of "singularities" in the multitude wouldn't have one, not even one index entry for F.A. Hayek, who wrote the book on the subject.
Hardt and Negri call for revolution (of course!) to purge the "common" of its "corrupt form." They mean "the family, the corporation, and the nation."
One is reminded of Winston Churchill line that democracy was the worst form of government "except all the others that have been tried."
One day in the glorious future the history of the last century will be written as the repeated and delusional attempt by people like Andy Kroll and Hardt and Negri to force on us a society stripped of the most stunning and most beneficial forms of social cooperation ever established by settled science: the nuclear family to organize generation, the limited liability corporation to organize production and service, and the nation state to create a society based on the tie of common language rather than common blood.
It's this combination of the common in its corrupt form that got us from $1-3 to $120 per person per day in 200 years.
There will come a day when people will ask of us, as we wonder about the Romans, how could we end up so stupid, so deluded?
Read more: http://goo.gl/8ECvt
Obama: GOP 'holding a gun at the head of the American people'
by David Harsanyi
January 14, 2013
President Barack Obama held the final press conference of his first term by demanding that House Republicans raise the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. Republicans, alleged the president, were “holding a gun at the head of the American people” by demanding Democrats cut deficit spending.
Obama reminded everyone that “the American people” agree with his take on the debate. (To the surprise of many Americans who hold alternative opinions, no doubt.)
President Obama, who twice said that the United States is “not a deadbeat nation,” reiterated that raising the debt ceiling was about paying the bills that Congress has already amassed and not a debate about deficit spending. In one long, tortured analogy, the president maintained: “You don’t go out to dinner and eat all you want, then leave without paying the check. And if you do, you’re breaking the law.”
Then again, if your credit card has a trillion-dollar outstanding balance on it, you may have no choice.
Obama has consistently claimed he will not negotiate the debt ceiling, claiming that House Republicans were “absolutists.” Yet, of course, he voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 as a senator. When challenged on his vote by Major Garrett of CBS News, Obama claimed that historically speaking, the debt ceiling was not held up over negotiations over spending, despite the fact that that’s exactly – as the National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru lays out — what happened in 1985, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2010 and 2011.
Read more: http://goo.gl/YZgrX