American Elephants


It ‘s Going to Be a Long Hard Summer: The Police and the People by The Elephant's Child
May 26, 2015, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,

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Memorial Day weekend. In Baltimore, 29 were shot, 9 dead. In Chicago, 43 were wounded and 12 were killed. This has been the deadliest month Baltimore has seen in more than 15 years. That makes well over 100 murders this year, compared with 71 at this time last year, and it’s only (almost) June.

Any time Baltimore police officers respond to calls on the city’s west side, scene of the Freddie Gray Riots, as many as 50 people threaten them. Police Chief Anthony Batts (who is black) says “We have to send out multiple units just to do basic police work” he said. “It makes it very difficult to follow up on violence that takes place there.”

Police officers have just been gunned down in Omaha, New Orleans, Rio Rancho N.M. Victims can blame the crime surge on politicians who give criminals “space” to break the law. Who order cops to stop “stop and frisk.” Officers are called “racist,” their morale is low. Cops fear for their own safety and worry about being unfairly accused of using excessive force against Black criminals. Obama’s police reform task fore urges police to “de-escalate and retreat” when trying to arrest violent offenders, and Obama has unilaterally disarmed local police by banning military-style anti-riot gear.

Those who had the unmerited good fortune to grow up in stable, loving families, attend good schools, and belong to nurturing communities have the inside track to the acquisition of habits and dispositions that will serve them well throughout their lives, not least by eliciting the admiration of others. Conversely, no one deserves  to grow up in a dysfunctional or abusive family, attend crappy schools, and be raised on mean streets. The shortcomings we discern in the products of these environments reflect forces that have worked on them from the outside in, rather than facets of character that manifest themselves from the inside out.
But exempting the poor from otherwise widely applicable standards of conduct, like sparing them the strain of personal initiative and responsibility, calls into question how there can be moral agents in the pews capable of being inspired or abashed by liberals’ sermons.
Liberalism presupposes, then, that people are capable of responding to compassionate appeals, and can be justly blamed and criticized if they fail to heed them….If it is possible to induce and expect people to be more compassionate in order to alleviate the suffering of others, it should also be possible to induce and expect people to be more disciplined, responsible and provident to prevent and alleviate their own suffering.*

Economist Walter Williams writes that “Hustlers and people with little understanding want us to believe that today’s black problems are the continuing result of a legacy of slavery, poverty and racial discrimination. The fact is that most of the social pathology seen in poor black neighborhoods is entirely new in black history.”

Today’s black illegitimacy rate of nearly 75% is also entirely new. In 1940, black illegitimacy stood at 14%. It had risen to 25% by 1965, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” and was widely condemned as a racist.

By 1980, the black illegitimacy rate had more than doubled, to 56%, and it has been growing since. Both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks.

Much of today’s pathology seen among many blacks is an outgrowth of the welfare state that has made self-destructive behavior less costly for the individual. Having children without the benefit of marriage is less burdensome if the mother receives housing subsidies, welfare payments and food stamps….

The bulk of today’s problems for many blacks are a result of politicians and civil rights organizations using government in the name of helping blacks when in fact they are serving the purposes of powerful interest groups.

*William Voegeli: The Pity Party, New York 2014

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