Monday, October 24, 2005

The War on Poverty is A Quagmire

ShrinkWrapped discusses "Race and the Unconscious". Here is an excerpt, but go and read it all:

Here is a hypothetical family constellation: A black person who has grown up in the entitlement system will have been subject to the message, over and over again, that he or she is unable to compete on a level playing field with whites. They are empowered by the liberal entitlement workers (social workers talk about "empowerment" which is defined as a better ability to extract what they are entitled to from the system) to maintain their status as a dependent on the state. Even without noxious government employees, this is a set up to feel humiliated and condescended to. A dependent adult struggles with feelings of inadequacy (after all, the message is that they are inadequate!) and internalizes such feelings. Unfortunately, even those black Americans who are successful are tainted by such stigmata. They will wonder if they are truly capable and qualified or have attained their position by virtue of assistance from the more powerful, more capable white man.

Matters become even more complicated when a generation grows up raised by parents who feel devalued and imagine themselves to be devalued, lesser people. When you add in that the father has been completely devalued and marginalized by the radical feminist "scholars" who hold sway in our liberal arts universities and the PC-thought that is an outgrowth of radical feminism, the young black male as an endangered species is inevitable.

Psychologically, the process that ShrinkWrapped delineates works in both directions. Not only are black persons who have grown up in the entitlement system subject to the message, over and over again, that they are unable to compete on a level playing field with whites; but whites who interface with this system end up believing the same thing about blacks--which only reinforces any latent racism or tendency to think of the poor black person as" inferior".

This reverse process also impacts the loving and compassionate social workers and other liberal do-gooders, who also absorb this toxic message, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Though they don't care to admit it, the effects of the message are demonstrated in their own behavior (see here, for example). Another example is discussed here by Betsy at Betsy's page).

So, many times in politics, programs that originate with the "best of intentions" end up doing exactly the opposite of what was intended. Yet, many people are so ideologically committed to one way of thinking that they not only refuse to change, but keep pouring money into programs that can be shown to actively harm the people they are meant to help; and reinforce the stereotypes they are meant to end.

What makes matters worse is that the "champions of the poor and oppressed" (as they like to think of themselves) then virtually demonize anyone who suggests an alternate strategy-- even when that strategy has been proven to work. We see this time and again in their attempts to portray the Republicans as the party that "hates the poor"; or that their policies reinforce racism, hunger, and deprivation. Since they are incapable of reasonable discussion on this point, one must conclude that it serves some intense psychological need for them to portray others in this light, particularly when their own rhetoric and behavior clearly demonstrate that these are their own beliefs. We refer to this psychological mechanism as "Projection".

Many people --both democrats and republicans-- genuinely want to end racism and poverty. Many sincerely want to help the poor to have better lives. So, why not go with what works, instead of what doesn't and has never worked?

I have said it before, and I'll say it again: POVERTY HAS A CURE --but it is not in the psychologically devastating social programs that promote victimhood and encourage a politically correct version of racism.

The cure is economic opportunity. It is not even more "compassionate" and condescending social programs that artificially encourage "self-esteem" or promote "Black history"; or endless affirmative action. Nor is the solution to continue to pour $$trillions into the "war on poverty".

Can we all admit that the so-called "war on poverty" -- a war that has been going on for decades--is in reality one war that actually meets any and all criteria for the "quagmire" designation? Not only is it a perpetual quagmire (as recent events in New Orleans aptly demonstrate), but it has victimized another generation of poor blacks who compensate for their humiliation through our young black culture's "glorification of their devalued status" (as SW refers to it). This is the antisocial and deplorable behavior campaigned against by Bill Cosby and other notable successful black thinkers. It is a subculture that devalues education; and extols attitude, violence, and hypersexualized misogyny.

Policymakers whose goal is fighting poverty need to pay attention to the link between economic freedom and prosperity. They need to empower the black family economically. They need to stop encouraging victimhood by their policies; and encourage personal responsibility that gives people a tangible stake in their own lives. If they do that, the psychological benefits will automatically follow.

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