Wednesday, 2 April 2014

All The Best Intentions?

I couldn't help but be touched by excerpts from a new book by former Congressman and retired Lieutenant Army Colonel Allen West, an African American himself, “Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom.”
How misguided policies, however well intended, (if that is what they are, or were) can have serious and unforeseen consequences difficult to undo. Residential schools in our own history, "climate change" or shutting down freedom of speech and conscience in the name of tolerance in our own generation?

From here...

LBJ and the Great Society promoted the disintegration of the black community. 

“When I revisit my neighborhood in Atlanta, I see the blight facing most urban neighborhoods: Section 8 housing, food stamps, EBT card signs, and the breakdown of the family. Of all the consequences of the Great Society programs and the War on Poverty, intended or otherwise, the destruction of the black family has been the most disastrous. More than 70 percent of black children are born outside of marriage. That is an epidemic. And if you take into account the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s statistics that close to three hundred thousand black babies are aborted annually, are we looking at racial genocide?  

The brilliant idea for this tragedy came from the progressive socialists of the Johnson administration who thought government should provide welfare payments to women who purposely had children out of wedlock and did not seek to get married or have a male living in the same home. 

In other words, the Johnson administration was promoting the disintegration of the moral fiber of the black community. Furthermore, the government would send our social workers to inspect the households and ensure there were no males residing in the home, because if there were, the benefits would be cut off. As long as women remained single, they could stay on these programs and receive free health care, housing, and babysitting services for life.

The most dangerous consequence of President Johnson’s misguided policy is the abdication of individual responsibility in the black community.” 

“When Booker T. Washington talked about education, self-reliance and entrepreneurship, he was describing economic independence. But the Great Society has left a legacy of economic dependence, a new form of slavery, and to me, a far more dangerous one, because it destroys the will and determination to excel. As President Franklin Roosevelt said, welfare is “a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.” And that is what I see when I go back to the ol’ Fourth Ward and drive along Boulevard… 

The Great Society has turned out to be a big lie, and sadly, those in my community who bought into it are stuck on the twenty-first-century plantation.”


Warren said...

Would you apply your criticism to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada - and many Canadian Governments, both Liberal and Conservative, over many years?

Warren said...

Although expressed differently, Cliven Bundy appears to hold essentially the same view:

John K said...

Hi Warren. I don't know if you were accusing me of sharing Bundy's attitude, but I do agree that in his example, both situations are a kind of slavery; one in reality, the modern one in effect. But the question is not which one is better. IMO, neither should be acceptable. There must be a better way. It is the same with our own Native population. There has been, beyond question, injustice in the past, even today, but let's set aside the guilt, the fear of being negatively labelled and find the solution.
As an aside, a funny thing happened at church today. Three of us were discussing temporary foreign workers and newcomers to Canada (in light of my ESOL conference mentioned on my other blog) Oddly enough, it was two of us political arch-conservatives who had the greater sympathy for their plight, while the political liberal was the one complaining about them.

Warren said...


I'm definitely not accusing you of sharing Bundy's attitude, and I suppose my thinking isn't entirely clear, but there is something in the original quote that doesn't sit well with me. And Bundy's comment shows that similar political and sociological perspectives can lead to quite different places - and can appeal to those with racist inclinations. It just seems to easy and convenient to put blame on policy decisions made many decades ago when the world was a much different place. I am anything but convinced that, had Col West had his way when the policies were first implemented, that the outcome would have been more positive.