Jan 18 2010

White privilege = having a father?

Category: government,politics,societyharmonicminer @ 9:32 am

I’ve written before about the real nature of the problem in “black America” (in quotes to make the point that there are MANY middle class black families doing just fine in the USA).  The articled linked here, Chicago’s Real Crime Story by Heather Mac Donald, covers the background of the problem of black crime in Chicago, most of which is black-on-black crime, of course. It’s a great article, worth reading completely for the perspective it brings. Here is how it ends:

Barack Obama started that work in a startling Father’s Day speech in Chicago while running for president. “If we are honest with ourselves,” he said in 2008, “we’ll admit that . . . too many fathers [are] missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. . . . We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.”

But after implicitly drawing the connection between family breakdown and youth violence—“How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands of another child?”—Obama reverted to Alinskyite bromides about school spending, preschool programs, visiting nurses, global warming, sexism, racial division, and income inequality. And he has continued to swerve from the hard truth of black family breakdown since his 2008 speech. The best thing that the president can do for Chicago’s embattled children is to confront head-on the disappearance of their fathers and the consequence in lost lives.

This kind of statement ought to be as obvious as 2+2=4.  It should be blindingly clear to everyone that when society and government provide incentives for bad behavior, we will get lots more bad behavior.  Nevertheless, the incentives to black women and girls to make babies out of wedlock are still there, despite “welfare reform.”  The lack of incentive to postpone sexual activity until marriage is also there, in the form of abortion mills ringing inner-city neighborhoods, making huge profits for white males who own them and operate them, and perform abortions in them.

The really tough fact to face is that even if we remove the incentives for early sexual activity and child-birth today, it will take a least a generation, perhaps two, to undo the damage that has been done by those incentives, however well-intended they may have been on the part of the politicians who enacted them.  It took us three innercity generations (about 15 years each, sadly) to get where we are today after the enactment of the Johnson Great Society programs that created those incentives, although the effects were obvious twenty years ago.

This means that it will take a degree of political will, in removing those incentives, that can withstand all of the horror stories, accusations that removing the incentives didn’t work and merely caused suffering, etc.  It will take about 20 years, at least, for the results to become unambiguously clear that removing incentives for bad behavior reduces the bad behavior, resulting in fewer births out of wedlock, fewer children abandoned by their fathers, fewer abortions, etc.

It’s much easier to blather on about environmental “sustainability,” without dealing with how well our culture can sustain itself with fewer and fewer fathers in the home, especially in minority neighborhoods.

We do need to do what we can do for those who are now in our society, but not at the cost of dooming yet another generation to the same circumstances.  But that is exactly the effect of nearly all current public assistance and welfare programs, because they encourage more people to engage in the behaviors that will create more and more people who “need” such assistance, and encourage the birth of more and more children in worse and worse situations.

There are many people now living whose situations we simply don’t have the power to fix, absent their own realization of their responsibilities, and determination to do something about them.  We DO have the power to reduce the number of people in the future who are born into similar circumstances, if we use it, simply by reducing the incentives to make babies who will be raised without fathers, and by increasing incentives to postpone sexual activity until marriage.

Sadly, I doubt that our politicians, of either party, will summon the necessary will to make the case with sufficient clarity and force that such changes in entitlement law are necessary, and are the only way to solve our current problems of poverty and crime.