Yes, it’s that time again — when I go through my Progressive friends’ Facebook posts, culling the most stupid or irritating posters. Before I do that, though, I want to quote John Hinderaker, who was overwhelmed by the mean-spirited, illogical banality of a Leftist’s tweet.
Before getting to the tweet, which was the usual thing saying that conservatives love murder because they won’t ban guns, Hinderaker had something important to say:
Liberals pursue many policies that cause people to die. They release felons from prison, or never incarcerate them in the first place; they make war on the police, causing murder rates to spike; they impede the ability of pharmaceutical companies to bring life-saving drugs to market; they drive up the cost of energy, exposing the poor to dangerous temperature extremes; they promote gun-free zones that turn innocent people into sitting ducks; they pursue weak foreign policies that cause many thousands to be killed by tyrants and terrorists.
These are just a few obvious examples. Yet conservatives don’t call liberals murderers. We extend them the presumption of good faith. We debate policy, we don’t assert that liberals are pro-death. But liberals are not similarly fair-minded. The latest case in point is Josh Marshall, proprietor of TPM, who tweeted:
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 9, 2015
And with that in mind, let me do the full front attack on liberal thinking that conservatives should do routinely. Because the Left’s simplistic thinking ignores facts and analysis, a brief poster results in a lot of writing. I’m therefore breaking this post down into several posts, which I’ll publish over the course of the afternoon. Part 2, about gun grabbing, is already up here, while Part 3 (about abortion) is here. As always, I’ll lead with the poster and follow with my comments:
Let’s start with Paul Ryan, because he’s real, not hypothetical. Here are the basis facts: Ryan’s parents were married when they had him. His father had graduated from both college and law school. Ryan attended school and did well, throwing himself into academic, athletic, and social pursuits. He also worked while he was in school, raising money for himself and learning about workplace expectations and behavior.
When Ryan was 15, his father died (Ryan found his body, which must have been devastating). When Alzheimer’s afflicted grandmother then moved into the house, Ryan helped with her care so that his mother could attend community college to gain the skills to become a breadwinner. As a matter of law, when his father died, Ryan started receiving Social Security’s survivor benefits, which he saved so that he could spend them all in one place: college.
At college, Ryan majored in economics and political science. As at high school, he studied diligently, participated in myriad activities, and held a job. Upon graduation, Ryan continued to work hard, studying economics, not in theory, but as they play out in the real world. And what he realized was that endless government handouts don’t empower people, they dis-empower them, making them dependent on the government, rather than capable and self-reliant.
Ryan has never advocated doing away with welfare, which he recognizes as a moral imperative and an often necessary safety net. He simply understands that, both economically and morally, having a permanent welfare class is a generational disaster. The answer is to limit (not destroy, but limit) welfare.
Now let’s look at that hypothetical black mom who earns $22,000 and gets no public assistance, but can’t go to college because she doesn’t have the time or money. First of all, it’s unfair to compare a real person against a hypothetical person, but since that’s what I’ve go, I’m going to have to make some guesses about her.
One of my guesses is that the hypothetical black woman has never been married despite being a mother. After all, 70% of all births to African-American women are to single African-American women.
Another guess I have is that the child pictured isn’t her only child. And if I had to guess again, I’d also say that some or all of her children are half-siblings to each other. After all, 59% of black women with more than one child also have had these children with more than one partner. These are fractured families. Baby daddies tend not to contribute to their children’s economic well-being and, as this sad, powerful post says, that’s the culture.
I’m someone who’s raised two children while married to their father, a man who’s always brought in a good income (for which I will forever be grateful) but whose career meant that he was seldom home when the children were little. That “seldom home” part left me a wrung-out, exhausted, cranky mess for years. I can’t even imagine having to deal with the children alone plus having to bring in the only paycheck. (I should say that during those years, I was also working, but my husband’s income substantially outstripped mine.)
To be a single working mother alone in a bad neighborhood, without a support system, without a car, without an in-house washer and dryer, and without all the other middle-class accouterments I have always enjoyed strikes me as a hellish way to have children in America. I understand that someone in those conditions wouldn’t have time to go to school.
But you know what? I don’t totally believe that she gets nothing from the government. Because the situation is so dire — multiple children and no male help, either financially or in terms of hands-on support — single mothers naturally gravitate to government handouts. Indeed, they’d be foolish not to take free money, healthcare and food, since all of those are necessary for raising children.
Sadly, though, free money has an enormous price in that it allows this disastrous culture of single moms and multiple, absentee dads to continue. At some point, the money needs to stop so that the culture can reset itself.
The good thing is that we know culture can reset itself. As Thomas Sowell points out, despite the actual “legacy of slavery,” but before endless government welfare handouts came along, black families were thriving:
Although the Left likes to argue as if there was a stagnant world to which they added the magic ingredient of “change” in the 1960s, in reality there were many positive trends in the 1950s, which reversed and became negative trends in the 1960s.
Not only was the poverty rate going down, so was the rate of dependence on government to stay out of poverty. Teenage pregnancy rates were falling, and so were rates of venereal diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea. Homicide rates among non-white males fell 22 percent in the 1950s.
In the wake of the massive expansion of the welfare state in the 1960s “war on poverty” program — with the repeatedly announced goal of enabling people to become self-supporting and end their dependence on government — in fact dependence on government increased and is today far higher than when the 1960s began.
The declining rates of teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases in the 1950s both reversed and rose sharply in the wake of the 1960s “sexual revolution” ideas, introduced into schools under the guise of “sex education,” which claimed to be able to reduce teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases.
Black labor-force participation rates, which had been higher than white labor-force participation rates in every census from 1890 to 1960, fell below white labor-force participation rates by 1972, and the gap has widened since then. Homicide rates among non-white males reversed their decline in the 1950s and soared by 75 percent during the 1960s.
None of this was a “legacy of slavery,” which ended a century earlier. But slavery became the rhetorical distraction for the political magicians’ trick of making their own responsibility for social degeneration vanish into thin air by sleight of hand.
(You should also read Thomas Sowell on the degradation of the black ghetto culture.)
I don’t know of a single poster that can winnow down the arguments opposing that mean-spirited, nonsensical poster, but here is the information that challenges the combination of bathos and malice that the poster represents: Paul Ryan has earned the benefits that came his way, both through things over which he had no control (the fact that his parents were married and educated before they had him, and that, through the tragedy of his father’s death, he got a small college fund), and the things over which he had control (his hard work, diligence, frugality, etc.).
Meanwhile, that hypothetical black mom, if she is statistically aligned with the majority of black mothers in America, comes out of a culture that encourages terrible choices, leaving such women alone in poverty. And the sad fact, which Ryan fully understands, is that the only way to change this damaging culture is to cut off a significant part of the government monies that perpetuate it.