The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, September 15, 2005
You first, Dave
David Brooks clearly needs to relearn the greatest failure of the 1960's:
If we just put up new buildings and allow the same people to move back into their old neighborhoods, then urban New Orleans will become just as rundown and dysfunctional as before.
That's why the second rule of rebuilding should be: Culturally Integrate. Culturally Integrate. Culturally Integrate. The only chance we have to break the cycle of poverty is to integrate people who lack middle-class skills into neighborhoods with people who possess these skills and who insist on certain standards of behavior.
Of course, that wouldn't be Mr. Brooks' neighborhood...
No, of course not. Mr. Brooks and his peers would never tolerate a bunch of section eight's living next door.
It will be some working class neighborhood that will be suddenly infested with Jim Bob Trailerpark and his cousins or Ms. Crackwhore and her seven unruly children.
And the result is quite predictable: the socially-engineered neighborhood will deteriorate.
The crime rate will go up, the local government services will be overwhelmed, and the schools will suffer.
Ambitious people will move out, and a cycle will begin: property values will go down, making it affordable to other lowlifes, bringing property values down further still.
Call it "white flight' if you want, but it is really just simple economics - and it makes complete sense even if you completely negate the race card.
All people want safe neighborhoods and good schools for their children, and these things are valuable assets that people will move out and pay elsewhere to get.
This is how government - under the guise "ending poverty" - actually sows it.
Through non-judgmental welfare programs and dispersed section eight housing, it nurtures little seedlings of despair. Eventually, they grow into the weeds that choke off the last sprigs of hope in the neighborhoods where they're planted.
In the Philadelphia area, places like Bristol, Norristown and Chester used to be nice places to live.
Government has horrendous record in "breaking the cycle of poverty."
It has an excellent record of doing the opposite.
Democrats are attempting to use the Katrina disaster to get Americans to charge across the field in yet another pointless assault on American poverty. American poverty exists certainly, but what we call poverty here actually passes for middle class in Europe (and upper class in most of the world).
American poverty is a poverty of values, which is why gearing up for another assault on material poverty won't work, and the Democrats would be fools to try it.
It won't work, because most Americans - the vast majority of whom are not poor - don't see poverty as their failing.
The girl who drops out of school, gets addicted to drugs and has three children by the time she is 25....she did not do these things because of anything I did or didn't do.
She did those things because she was never taught any better.
The left has a terrible habit of attributing every problem in the world to "our" failings.
Osama bin Laden would have been a wonderful person if not for our support of Israel.
The Cambodian killings fields never would have happened if not for our wreckless venture into Vietnam, and Vietnam would have never happened if we weren't so frightened of a little socialism here and there.
And had the American government had given out more checks in the sixties, Ms. Crackwhore would be a doctor today.
The world is full of people in the world who are just wrong. They make the wrong decisions in their lives. They do stupid and violent things. They are sociopaths, dictators, mass murderers and criminals.
And the first responsibility of our government is to keep them away from the people who do not do stupid things.
That is, government's first job must be to protect the people who actually build the country and make it better: people who hold down jobs, raise families and live responsibly.
These people have been trending Republican over the years, and when you look at the modern Democratic Party, it is no mystery as to why.
The US response to the poverty "exposed" by Katrina? We will rebuild their houses, and hopefully we will build them outside of a flood plain. We will repair the levees and pay for the damage.
But when it comes to the assault on poverty, we will do the only thing that has worked in the past: quarantine.
Because the people - otherwise known as the voters - have no stomach for using our children to try to reform their children.
For every virtue my sons may teach them, they will receive two vices in return.
There are already enough vices in their world. My job is to keep those vices simple: on their walk to school, they might see a discarded Coke can, not a crack vial. I will try keep them from playing too many video games or watching too much TV.
In my neighborhood, those are the vices that afflict us. If that were to change, we would change neighborhoods - as quickly as we would change our underwear.
Most people - even the liberals - think this way, even if they refuse to admit it.
Just as Bill and Hillary weren't stupid enough to send Chelsea to DC's horrendous public schools, I have no desire to see my children riding a bus into West Philadelphia.
That blighted area is off limits to them.
It is quarantined.
Most people think this way, but elites like the people who run the Democratic Party (and the hapless columnist David Brooks) do not.
I wonder who's going to win?