Thursday, January 6, 2011

Big City Reforms: What Works And What Doesn't


Restoring the Social Order by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal 6 January 2011. This part is money:


Liberal urban policy was based on several core assumptions. Number One: multigenerational poverty was the result of structural forces—above all, of rapacious capitalism and racism. It could never be the result of bad decision-making or a deficit of personal responsibility. Number Two: though men were still, alas, required for conceiving a child, they were purely optional for raising one. (Corollary: the role of illegitimacy in creating and perpetuating poverty could never be acknowledged.) Number Three: low-wage work was demeaning and pointless. It was better to receive a monthly welfare check than to labor at an entry-level job. Number Four: crime was an understandable and inevitable reaction to economic injustice and discrimination. (Corollary: the police could not lower crime; only government social programs and wealth-redistribution schemes could.) Together, these four conceits composed the most dangerous idea of all: that the bourgeois values of order, self-discipline, and respect for the law were decorative afterthoughts to prosperity, rather than its very precondition.



In a nutshell, the utter failure of the Great Society Mentality is in its (presumably) unintended consequences. I say "presumaby" because there is some conservative postulation that the entire Cloward-Piven strategy was to break the system in order to build support for an even more radical version.


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