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The Racist War on Drugs

the wire

From John Cochrane at The Grumpy Economist,  Work and Jail


So, bottom left, in the last census, 19.2% of 20-24 year olds were employed, and 26.4 (!) percent were in jail. Read up, and it was not always thus. Of the cohort born in the 1930s, at the same age, 68% were employed and 6.7% were in jail — in a society and criminal justice system that was, whatever our current faults, much more overtly racist. The numbers for older men are just as shocking if you haven’t see these before.

Interesting observations fro the New York Times Review:

The war on drugs mangled, if not destroyed, any trust between residents of distressed urban communities and the authorities.

Young men like Mike often avoid girlfriends for fear that the women, for their own reasons, might turn their paramours in.


The war on drugs may have destroyed more institutions than we realized.  It may have caused worse outcomes in the minority communities than the perverse incentives of other misguided government policies.  And it may be a cause of sustained high unemployment in minroity communities.

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Worse than Apartheid


Kevin Williams in National Review,  A Shocking Number:

Fifty years into the Democrats’ declaration of a war on poverty and President Kennedy’s first executive order for affirmative action, while spending $300 million a year onworthless diversity workshops and singing endless verses of “We Shall Overcome,” after enduring endless posturing from Barack Obama and the moral preening of his admirers, that is what black American families have to show for themselves: an average household net worth of $4,955. The average white household in these United States has a net worth of $110,729. Black Americans’ median net worth is less than 5 percent that of white Americans.

By way of comparison, black South Africans under apartheid had a median net worth about 6.8 percent that of white South Africans. Repeating: Black Americans are worse off relative to their white countrymen than black South Africans under apartheid were to theirs….

Everywhere it has been tried, the Democrats’ dependency agenda has been a social and economic catastrophe for black Americans — and a full-employment program for Democratic apparatchiks. This is not a conspiracy — it’s right out there in the open, every time a Democratic politician knows that he can count on 90 percent of the black vote without lifting a finger, winning the opportunity to add four more years to the 50 years of broken promises Democrats have made to black Americans, who lag their fellow countrymen on practically every social indicator. “These Negroes,” said alleged civil-rights hero Lyndon Baines Johnson, “they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppity-ness. We’ve got to give them a little something — just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”

So far, the LBJ plan seems to be working perfectly.


It seems a government program is never held accountable.

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The New Civil Rights- An Exchange of Evils

Marching In Time in The National Review

Another mark is the decrepitude of today’s civil-rights movement. The evils the movement fought — state-sponsored segregation, pervasive racial discrimination — have been vanquished. In their place are evils that are, alas, less amenable to marches. And so King’s heirs flail about. Where he spoke of a “bank of justice,” they just trade in grievances. Today Al Sharpton, whose chief political success has been to foment enough racial hatred to yield arson and murder, can present himself as a civil-rights leader without much fear of contradiction. We will have to look elsewhere for answers to the evils that now afflict Americans, and especially blacks: lousy schools, a thriving drug trade and a misguided governmental response, the collapse of marriage.

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Hiding Fraud and Corruption Behind Racism


From Walter Russel Mead at The American Interest, Note to Paul Krugman: It Took More Than Markets to Ruin Detroit:

Krugman is right that Detroit is essentially Ground Zero of the disruptive changes wrought by an economy in transition. But as this story and others like it show, it’s difficult not to conclude that the city is also the victim of rampant fraud and stupidity on the part of an all-Democratic political machine. Officials decided time and again not to fund the promises they made to city pensioners, and feds and regulators just as often declined to do anything about it. If something this egregious and destructive were happening in the private sector, Mr. Krugman would (rightly, in our view) be all over it, demanding that people go to jail and regulations be tightened. He would want to investigate the ties of influence that allowed serious financial wrongdoing to go on for years without serious oversight. He’d name names and pin shame on the wrongdoers and their political allies.

Detroit didn’t just wither in the face of changing economic conditions. It failed to adapt. Motor City is littered with dumb “recovery” ideas like the grandiose and badly named “Renaissance Center” in the dead heart of downtown. Race baiting politics by corrupt hacks who cynically invoked racial stereotypes and stoked hatred to build popular support for criminal rule (a milder, home-grown style of the politics of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe) made a bad situation much worse. The soft bigotry of low expectations meant that neither federal nor state prosecutors intervened until very late as the thieves looted the ruins. The civil rights establishment kept its eyes devoutly averted and its lips firmly sealed as a generation of fraudsters ruined the city, wrecked the pension system, turned city administration into a swamp of ineffective and corrupt failure, and denied a generation of schoolchildren any serious educational opportunity.


tips to Instapundit

it is intellectually weak to write off this disaster to the market’s creative destruction of Heilbroner, and ignore the disastrous policies, political corruption, and decades of fraud. Any criticism of this decades old regime and its wasteful projects was demonized as anti union or racist.  The true liberals who fought for equality are turning over in their graves seeing their cause used to hide fraud and corruption.

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A Victim of Their Own Success

Shelby Steele

Shelby Steele

Shelby Steele writes in the Wall Street Journal The Decline of the Civil-Rights Establishment.


This would not be the first time that a movement begun in profound moral clarity, and that achieved greatness, waned away into a parody of itself—not because it was wrong but because it was successful. Today’s civil-rights leaders have missed the obvious: The success of their forbearers in achieving social transformation denied to them the heroism that was inescapable for a Martin Luther King Jr. or a James Farmer or a Nelson Mandela. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton cannot write a timeless letter to us from a Birmingham jail or walk, as John Lewis did in 1965, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., into a maelstrom of police dogs and billy clubs. That America is no longer here (which is not to say that every trace of it is gone).

The Revs. Jackson and Sharpton have been consigned to a hard fate: They can never be more than redundancies, echoes of the great men they emulate because America has changed. Hard to be a King or Mandela today when your monstrous enemy is no more than the cherubic George Zimmerman.

Why did the civil-rights leadership use its greatly depleted moral authority to support Trayvon Martin? This young man was, after all, no Rosa Parks—a figure of indisputable human dignity set upon by the rank evil of white supremacy. Trayvon threw the first punch and then continued pummeling the much smaller Zimmerman. Yes, Trayvon was a kid, but he was also something of a menace. The larger tragedy is that his death will come to very little. There was no important principle or coherent protest implied in that first nose-breaking punch. It was just dumb bravado, a tough-guy punch.

The purpose of today’s civil-rights establishment is not to seek justice, but to seek power for blacks in American life based on the presumption that they are still, in a thousand subtle ways, victimized by white racism. This idea of victimization is an example of what I call a “poetic truth.” Like poetic license, it bends the actual truth in order to put forward a larger and more essential truth—one that, of course, serves one’s cause. Poetic truths succeed by casting themselves as perfectly obvious: “America is a racist nation”; “the immigration debate is driven by racism”; “Zimmerman racially stereotyped Trayvon.” And we say, “Yes, of course,” lest we seem to be racist. Poetic truths work by moral intimidation, not reason.


Are we to believe that the main threat to black youth is an overzealous neighborhood watch program?  The furor has stretched beyond any rational interpretation of events.  Older civil rights activists just like older feminists and federal bureaucracies created to solve problems fifty years ago are most threatened by their own success.  No longer intimidated by pejorative name calling , we are able to get closer to a truth that we should welcome.