Monday, October 17, 2016

Random Thoughts! Sowell and The Left Regarding The Masses!

An author friend and fellow memo reader's book is interviewed:
Random thoughts:

a) Can you imagine a platoon of Republican politicians?  The minute the enemy fires at them it becomes every man for themselves.

b) The beauty of Marine Corps training and why they are so effective, is that every Marine thinks more about protecting his fellow Marine than himself.

c) You have to give credit to "Halitosis Hillary" and her "staff of goonies" because they know how to put the "bad mouth" on their opponent. Donald, how do you counter punch a knock out blow?

When women can accuse you some thirty years after "the fact?" and four weeks before a campaign's end you are dead meat.

d) Furthermore, when "Gutter Girl" can deliver "When they go low I go high." with a straight face you know you have met a pro.

e) When you can lie to the families of four men you let die because they were "video victims" and then claim you have the temperament to become president I believe you do.  Politicians once aspired to being associated with the art of diplomacy now they simply lie.

f) The 2016 Campaign proved two things: Trump's hair is real what is underneath is questionable and Hillary can cover up a lot of sins with her pant suits.

g) You would think women voters would care about the education their children receive, the respect their husbands in police, fire and military uniforms receive, how the deficit is crushing their children's future and would want their families protected by the 2d Amendment but no, their vote is more determined by toilet talk and sex. Alas, who shall be appointed to wear black robes escapes them.
Sowell explains the left and the masses in three parts. (See 1, 1a and 1b below.)
Erick Erickson finally comes around. (See 2 below.)
1)The Left and the Masses By Thomas Sowell

The greatest moral claim of the political left is that they are for the masses in general and the poor in particular. That is also their greatest fraud. It even fools many leftists themselves.

One of the most recent efforts of the left is the spread of laws and policies that forbid employers from asking job applicants whether they have been arrested or imprisoned. This is said to be to help ex-cons get a job after they have served their time, and ex-cons are often either poor or black, or both.

First of all, many of the left's policies to help blacks are disproportionately aimed at helping those blacks who have done the wrong thing -- and whose victims are disproportionately those blacks who have been trying to do the right thing. In the case of this ban on asking job applicants whether they have criminal backgrounds, the only criterion seems to be whether it sounds good or makes the left feel good about themselves.

Hard evidence as to what actual consequences to expect beforehand, or hard evidence as to its actual consequences afterwards, seems to have had very little role in this political crusade.

An empirical study some years ago examined the hiring practices of companies that did a background check on all the employees they hired. It found that such companies hired more blacks than companies which did not follow that unusual practice.

Why? This goes back to decision-making by human beings in general, with many kinds of decisions in general. Since we seldom have all the facts, we are often forced to rely on generalizing when making our decisions.

Many employers, aware of higher rates of imprisonment among blacks, are less likely to hire blacks whose individual backgrounds are unknown to them. But those particular employers who investigate everyone's background before hiring them do not have to rely on such generalizations.

The fact that these latter kinds of employers hired more blacks suggests that racial animosity is not the key factor, since blacks are still blacks, whether they have a criminal past or not. But the political left is so heavily invested in blaming racism that mere facts are unlikely to change their minds.

Just as those on the left were not moved by hard evidence before they promoted laws and policies that forbad employers to ask about job applicants' criminal records, so they have remained unmoved by more recent studies showing that the hiring of blacks has been reduced in the wake of such laws and policies.

Moreover, the left is so invested in the idea that they are helping the disadvantaged that they seldom bother to check the actual consequences of what they are doing, whether that is something as specific as banning questions about criminal behavior or something as general as promoting the welfare state.

In the vision of the left, the welfare state is supposed to be a step forward, in the direction of "social justice." Tons of painful evidence, from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, that the welfare state has in fact been a step backward toward barbarism -- among low-income whites in England and ghetto blacks in the United States -- does not make a dent in the beliefs of the left.

The left's infatuation with minimum wage laws has likewise been impervious to factual evidence that the spread and escalation of minimum wages have been followed by far higher rates of unemployment among young blacks, to levels some multiple of what they were before -- and to a racial gap in unemployment among the young that is likewise some multiple of what it was before.

Those who doubt this need only turn to the data on page 42 of "Race and Economics" by Walter Williams, or to the diagram on page 98 of "The Unheavenly City," written by Edward Banfield back in 1968. The facts have been available for a long time.

Surely the intelligentsia of the left have access to empirical evidence and the wit to understand such evidence. But the real question is whether they have the stomach to face the prospect that their crusades have hurt the very people they claim to be helping.

Examining hard evidence would mean gambling a whole vision of the world -- and of their own role in that world -- on a single throw of the dice, which is what looking at hard evidence amounts to. The path of least resistance is to continue going through life feeling good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake.

1a)The Left and the Masses: Part II

It is never easy to tell what people's motives are. But, when the political left proclaims their devotion to improving the lives of others in general, and of the poor in particular, we can at least get some clues from the way they go about it.

One of the first things the left does is take away the right of other people to make their own choices.

For example, under current California law, Hispanic school children cannot be taught in Spanish if their parents want them taught in English. Like parents in other immigrant groups before them, Hispanic parents tend to want their children to learn English, so that those children will have more opportunities when they become adults in an English-speaking country.

But the left in general, and Hispanic activists in particular, have fought against leaving Hispanic parents with that choice. At the heart of the left's vision of the world -- and of themselves -- is that they know better what is good for other people. This means that the left sees itself as having both a right and a duty to take away other people's options.

This issue was fought out 18 years ago, in a California referendum on so-called "bilingual education," which in practice meant largely teaching Hispanic school children in Spanish. All the forces of political correctness, including the media and the educational establishment, argued in favor of teaching those children in Spanish, even when their parents wanted them taught in English.

Despite a barrage of propaganda from the media and other organs of the left, a majority of California voters sided with Hispanic parents, and passed a law forbidding schools from imposing Spanish on children whose parents wanted them taught in English.

But the left never gives up on their pet notions. This year there is a new proposition on the California ballot -- Proposition 58, very misleadingly phrased -- that would take that choice away from parents, and let schools impose teaching in Spanish to Hispanic children, whether the parents want it or not.

The Spanish language issue in the schools is just one example of the left's vision, which applies to many other issues.

There is the same dogged resistance on the left to allowing black parents to choose to have their children educated in charter schools that are part of the public school system, but are not subject to all the bureaucratic rules that lead to such bad results in other public schools.

Many years ago, in a debate on William F. Buckley's program "Firing Line," I was told by a left-wing lawyer that black parents without a good education themselves could not make wise choices for their children's education.

But hard evidence says otherwise. There are whole chains of charter schools, such as the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools and the Success Academy schools, where ghetto kids have academic achievements equal to those of children in affluent suburbs -- and sometimes higher achievements.

Many of these charter schools are located in the very same buildings in ghetto neighborhoods where children in the regular public schools are failing miserably. Black parents who enroll their children in charter schools have apparently made better choices than the know-it-alls on the left.

Meanwhile, black children by the tens of thousands in New York alone are on waiting lists for charter schools because politicians, beholden to teachers' unions for money and votes, fight against the expansion of charter schools. Not all charter schools are successful. But at least unsuccessful charter schools can be shut down, while other failing public schools keep right on failing.

When it comes to crime and violence, the political left, including much of the media, are having a great time demonizing the police. Blacks are the biggest victims of the sharp upturn in murders that has followed. But, yet again, hard evidence carries very little weight when the left is feeling good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake.

The absurdity to which this kind of media frenzy about the police can lead is shown by the fact that a black policeman in Charlotte, North Carolina, shooting a black suspect who had a gun, has been blown up into a racial issue across the nation. Have we become so gullible that we are so easily manipulated and stampeded?

1b)The Left and the Masses: Part III

Claiming the role of champions of the masses is something the political left has been doing ever since there has been a political left -- which is to say, ever since the late 18th century, when people with such views sat on the left side of the French National Assembly.

Like so much that is claimed by the left, their compassion for the masses has seldom been subjected to any factual test. Both their words and their deeds reveal their low opinion of the people they claim to be championing.

When Barack Obama referred to ordinary working people as people who are "bitter," and who "cling to guns or religion," that was not just a peculiarity of Obama. He was part of a centuries-long tradition on the left.

No one so epitomized the 18th century left as Jean Jacques Rousseau, who likened the masses to "a stupid, pusillanimous invalid." In the 19th century, Karl Marx said, "The working class is revolutionary or it is nothing" -- in other words, millions of human beings mattered only if they carried out his vision.

Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw included the working class among the "detestable" people who "have no right to live." He added: "I should despair if I did not know that they will all die presently, and that there is no need on earth why they should be replaced by people like themselves."

It sounds very much like Hillary Clinton's view of the "deplorables" who support her opponent, or Bill Clinton's characterization of the same people as "standard rednecks."

What role is there for the masses in the vision of the left?

One role is to provide a moral basis for the left to claim power, as defenders of the downtrodden. No secular doctrine has so swept across the world so swiftly, and with such widespread political impact as Marxism in the 20th century. Its central premise is that the workers are poor because their employers have exploited them.

That was not a hypothesis to be tested but an axiom to be accepted as sacred dogma. Nowhere in the three volumes of Marx's classic "Capital" was there the slightest attempt to test that belief empirically.

It would not be difficult to put the Marxian exploitation thesis to a test. If capitalists' exploitation of the workers is what makes them poor, then in countries run by Marxists, the workers should have a higher standard of living than in countries with a capitalist economic system.

But among the many Communist countries that emerged around the world in the 20th century, there has not been a single one where the workers' standard of living has been as high as that of working people in the United States.

The political left in general has been able to claim that they have more compassion for the less fortunate, and to depict their opponents as lacking in compassion for others. For none of these assertions have they felt a need to offer hard evidence.

Such evidence as exists contradicts those assertions. An empirical study titled "Who Really Cares" by Arthur C. Brooks found that conservatives donate a higher percentage of their incomes to philanthropic causes, as well as more hours of their time as volunteers, and they donate far more blood.

Another study showed that President Ronald Reagan donated a higher percentage of his income to philanthropic causes than such liberal icons as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Senator Ted Kennedy.

What may be more remarkable than these findings is that the left was able to get away with asserting the opposite for years, without evidence being asked for or given.

What is also remarkable is the extent to which the left's preservation of their own self-flattering vision is defended at virtually all costs -- with both facts and thoughts to the contrary being dismissed, rather than answered, using such words and phrases as "stereotypes," "blaming the victim" or "racism."

People with a different vision of the world are not answered but characterized -- as people needing to have their consciousness raised or as people who "just don't get it."The near-monopoly of the left in academia allows such evasions to pass muster. But it cheats students out of practice in confronting opposing views on innumerable subjects, which they will have to do after they leave the insulated confines of academia.

A Special Prosecutor Is Needed

While Democrats rail against Donald Trump for undermining the democratic process with wild claims about stolen elections, Barack Obama is undermining the trust Americans have in our institutions of justice.
As more emails come out from Wikileaks, we are finding reporters colluding with Democrats to shape partisan tinged stories. We are finding deputy secretaries of state offering bribes to the FBI. We are finding that so much of what we were told is not so.
Our system of government cannot function without basic trust. It is why Donald Trump is trying so hard to undermine that trust. His campaign is committed to breaking the systems of government and institutions of government we depend on. But Barack Obama and the left, for all their high minded rhetoric and outrage at Trump, are really no better. They are undermining the very basic institutions of justice and public trust by willfully treating the Clinton email scandal as a partisan matter and not as a serious matter of law and ethics.
The only way to restore the trust of the American people is to appoint a special prosecutor. The Justice Department, as demonstrated by the leaks, cannot be trusted to fairly review this matter and make fair determinations. The department is too wrapped up in the partisanship of 2016.
Democrats who are outraged by Donald Trump’s statements are just as willing to undermine public trust in our government and its institutions. Ironically, they think that by protecting Hillary Clinton they will stop Donald Trump. That may be true this year, but it will only make what comes next even worse. The only way to head that off is to have a special prosecutor who dispels the legitimate public concern of bias and special favors

No comments: