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Race Science and the Pioneer Fund

Note: Originally published as “The Funding of the Science” in Searchlight No 277 (Jul7 1998). This version is slightly revised and expanded.

This special issue of Searchlight devoted to race science contains articles on American Renaissance magazine, Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve, Right Now! magazine, and two background articles on the history and modern applications of race science. If one scratches the surface of any of these topics one finds that the Pioneer Fund has played a significant role.

The Pioneer Fund has been involved in the history of race science since its establishment in 1937. One of its founders, Harry Laughlin wrote a model sterilization law widely used in both the United States and Europe. Many of the key academic racists in both Right Now! and American Renaissance have been funded by the Pioneer and the Pioneer was directly involved in funding the parent organization of American Renaissance, the New Century Foundation. Indeed, most of the leading Anglo-American academic race-scientists of the last several decades have been funded by the Pioneer, including William Shockley, Hans J. Eysenck, Arthur Jensen, Roger Pearson, Richard Lynn, J. Philippe Rushton, R. Travis Osborne, Linda Gottfredson, Robert A. Gordon, Daniel R. Vining, Jr., Michael Levin, and Seymour Itzkoff – all cited in The Bell Curve. (1)

The Pioneer Fund’s original endowment came from Wickliffe Draper, scion of old-stock Protestant gentry. Draper grew up in Hopedale, Massachusetts – a company town built by his family. Living in what one historian has called a “a quasi-feudal manor house.” The company maintained almost total control over the lives of company workers until 1912 when the IWW organized the Draper Company at Hopedale after a four month strike.(2)

Colonel Draper, as he was often called by his friends and admirers was a man searching for a way to restore an older order. Draper believed geneticists could scientifically prove the inferiority of Negros. According to Bruce Wallace, a geneticist who tutored Draper in the later 1940s, Draper “was sure that we had all the answers and that we were just too frightened to say what they meant.”(3) Under his direction, the Pioneer Fund’s original charter outlined a commitment to “improve the character of the American people” by encouraging the procreation of descendants of the original white colonial stock.

Abandoned by the political mainstream after World War II,(4) Draper turned more and more to academic irredentists still dedicated to white supremacy and eugenics. Most prominent among these early recruits was Henry Garrett, Chair of Psychology at Columbia University from 1941-1955. A Virginia born segregationist, Garrett was a key witness in defending segregation in Davis v. County School Board (1952) one of the constituent cases in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (1954).(5)

It is worth examining the changes in Pioneer grants over the past four decades. For those interested we are providing a spreadsheet of all Pioneer grants from 1971 to 1996. During the 1950s and 1960s, Garrett helped to distribute grants for Draper and was one of the founders of the International Association for the Advancement of Eugenics and Ethnology (IAAEE) in 1959. The IAAEE brought together academic defenders of segregation in the U.S. and apartheid in South Africa. The Pioneer Fund supported the IAAEE and other institutions working to legitimising race science, including the IAAEE’s journal, Mankind Quarterly. (6)

In the 1970s the chief beneficiaries were the Foundation for Human Understand, an organization directed by R. Travis Osborne; Arther Jensen’s Institute for the Study of Educational Differences, Shockley’s Foundation for Research and Education in Eugenics and Dysgenics; and the IAAEE.

By the decade of the eighties, the largest Pioneer grants went to the University of Minnesota, Arthur Jensen’s Institute for the Study of Educational Differences, the Federation for American Immigration Control, Roger Pearson’s Institute for the Study of Man, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of London.

During the 1990s, the major recipients of Fund grants have been the University of Minnesota, the University of Western Ontario, the Ulster Institute for Social Research, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Institute for the Study of Man, and the University of Delaware.

When Draper first founded the Fund in 1937, he was looking for “useful science.” He was convinced that scientists had the answers he was looking for, but were too timid to admit the truth of race differences, Negro inferiority and the value of eugenics. From the 1960s to the 1990s the Fund has singled out individual academics whose work proved useful in the political struggles against integration, open immigration and other right wing causes. While organizations such as FAIR have received significant funding, preference has always been given to the more general purpose (or multi-purpose) scholarship supporting biological determinism, genetically based race differences, and eugenics. In the early years, Pioneer funds were funneled through small organizations such as the IAAEE and FHU which were set up by marginalized scholars to disseminate work for which there were few mainstream outlets. By the 1990s, most of the funds were being distributed directly to universities for support of Pioneer affiliated scholars.

Leading Grant Recipients, 1994-1996

University of Western Ontario (J. Philippe Rushton) $334,405

Ulster Institute for Social Research (Richard Lynn) $289,000

University of Minnesota (Thomas Bouchard) $218,967

University of Delaware (Linda Gottfredson) $177,541

Institute for the Study of Man (Roger Pearson) $159,500

Federation for American Immigration Reform $100,500

___________________________________

Compared to the largest American foundations, the Pioneer Fund is very small. Its assets have never exceeded $6.5 million (£4 million) and its total annual grants have never exceeded $900,000. But the Pioneer Fund’s importance in the history of post-war race science far exceeds its size or the size of its grants. With almost laser-like precision, the Pioneer Fund has been at the cutting edge of almost every race conflict in the United States since its founding in 1937.

SHOCKLEY AND JENSEN

The Pioneer Fund has changed little since its inception. An article in the New York Times on December 11, 1977 characterized it as having “supported highly controversial research by a dozen scientists who believe that blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites.” In the 1960s Nobel Laureate William Shockley (1910-1989), a physicist at Stanford University best known for his “voluntary sterilization bonus plan” received an estimated $188,710 from the Pioneer Fund between 1971 and 1978. Arthur Jensen, an educational psychologist, garnered more than a million dollars in Pioneer grants over the past three decades. Three years after being recruited by Shockely, Jensen published his now famous attack on Head Start in the prestigious Harvard Education Review. Jensen claimed the problem with black children was that they had an average IQ of only 85 and that no amount of social engineering would improve their performance. Jensen urged “eugenic foresight” as the only solution. (7)

ROGER PEARSON

Roger Pearson, whose Institute for the Study of
Man has been one of the top Pioneer beneficiaries over the past twenty years ($870,000 from 1981-1996) is the clearest example of the extremist ideology of the Fund’s leadership. Pearson came to the United States in the mid-sixties to join Willis Carto and the group around Right magazine. In 1965 he became editor of Western Destiny, a magazine established by Carto and dedicated to spreading fascist ideology. Using the pseudonym of Stephan Langton, Pearson then became the editor of The New Patriot, a short-lived magazine published in 1966-67 to conduct “a responsible but penetrating inquiry into every aspect of the Jewish Question,” which included articles such as “Zionists and the Plot Against South Africa,” “Early Jews and the Rise of Jewish Money Power,” and “Swindlers of the Crematoria.” Taking account of all groups linked to Pearson, Pioneer support between 1975-1996 exceeds one million dollars – nearly ten percent of the total Pioneer grants for that period.

J. PHILIPPE RUSHTON

For the past few years, University of Western Ontario psychology professor J. Philippe Rushton has replaced Jensen as the top individual beneficiary of Pioneer largess. Since 1981 he has benefited from more than a million dollars in Pioneer grants. Rushton argues that behavioral differences among blacks, whites, and Asians are the result of evolutionary variations in their reproductive strategies. Blacks are at one extreme, Rushton claims, because they produce large numbers of offspring but offer them little care; at the other extreme are Asians, who have fewer children but indulge them; whites lie somewhere in between. Despite Rushton’s controversial race theories, he has been embraced by the scientific mainstream, having been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American, British, and Canadian Psychological Associations.

The Pioneer Fund seved as a small part of “a multimillion dollar political empire of corporations, foundations, political action committees and ad hoc groups” active in 1980s (Washington Post, March 31, 1985, p. 1; A16) developed by Tom Ellis, Harry Weyher, Marion Parrott, R.E. Carter-Wrenn and Jesse Helms. The Fund has served as a nexus between academic theory and practical political ideology. It’s leadership, especially, Harry Weyher, Thomas F. Ellis and Marion A. Parrott are part of an interlocking set of directorates and associates linking the Pioneer Fund to Jesse Helms’ high-tech political machine. Ellis, for example, simultaneously served as Chairman of the National Congressional Club and the Coalition for Freedom, co-founder of Fairness in Media, a board member of the Educational Support Foundation and Director of the Pioneer Fund. Harry Weyher, president of the Pioneer Fund served as lead counsel for Fairness in Media.

AFTER THE PIONEER FUND?

The Pioneer Fund has defined, in important ways, a distinct era in the history of contemporary thinking about race. This era began after World War II, when anti-egalitarian race scientists were scientifically and politically marginalized and defeated, and it continued long enough to witness their subsequent victory, with the Pioneer Fund’s support, in an aggressive campaign to rehabilitate the notion of incorrigible racial differences as a cardinal scientific and civic fact. This era may now be coming to an end. Harry Weyher and the others who have guided the Fund’s activities for several generations will probably soon pass from the scene, and many of the grant recipients with whom it has been most closely identified also are approaching the end of their productive lives.

The environment within which the Fund operates has also changed. Over the past decade the Fund has responded to these circumstances, and to the window of opportunity afforded it in recent years for advancing its agenda, by accelerating its grant-making to a rate sustainable only by spending its capital. Weyher was quoted in GQ magazine after the publication of The Bell Curve as saying, “It seemed to make more sense to spend the money than to save it, so we spent it. Once it’s gone, we’ll just quit.”(8) As a result of this policy, by the end of 1996 the Fund’s assets had declined in real terms to less than 40 percent of their 1986 level. If this trend continues, the Fund will not long outlast its current officers. At the same time, the development of alternative sources of funding is making workers in the fields that the Fund traditionally has supported less dependent on it. These changes in funding arrangements will change the character of discourse on immigration and individual and group differences in ways that cannot now be foreseen.

For now, however, it is a useful measure of the Pioneer Fund’s success that anti-egalitarian race scientists are more confident and better organized in the United States than at any time since the 1920s, and public policy internationally has begun ineluctably to reflect their assumptions and preferences.
Barry Mehler, Director
Keith Hurt, Research Associate
•Institute for the Study of Academic Racism, 1998

FOOTNOTES:
1. Pioneer Grants were made to the New Century Foundation (NCF) in 1994, 1995, and 1996. 1997 and 1998 data is not yet available (see our spreadsheet). The first Pioneer grant to NCF was $12,000 approved as of Sept 21, 1994 “for publishing & disseminating writings which enable the public to understand scientific findings about the human race and which otherwise might not be published.” A $500 grant was approved as of Dec 8, 1995 “for the distribution of scientific manuscripts.” And finally, a $4,990 grant was paid to NCF during 1996. It is probable that the material distributed included work by such major Pioneer grantees as J.P. Rushton and Michael Levin. They were among the speakers at the 1994 and 1996 AR conferences, and the money might have gone to supporting distribution of the proceedings of the conferences.

2. Margaret Crawford, Building the Workinginan’s Paradise: The Design of American Company Towns. Haymarket Series. London and New York: Verso, 1995.

3. Taped interview with Bruce Wallace 24 January 1990. Between March and May 1960, Ronald W. May wrote a series of articles on Draper’s relationship to the House Un-american Activities Committee. In preparation for these articles he interviewed a number of well-known geneticists, including Bruce Wallace. Wallace was quoted by May in “Genetics and Subversion,” The Nation (May 14, 1960). Defenders of the Pioneer Fund have raised questions about the authenticity of these quotes, so in 1990, I called Dr. Wallace. Dr. Wallace did not remember the interview with May, but after hearing the quotes attributed to him said: “I can say this and that is that the tenor of quotations you have cited to me are probably correct.”

4. Frederick Osborn, for example, a founder of the Pioneer Fund along with Harry Laughlin, distanced himself from the Pioneer Fund. In a dramatic parting of ways in 1954, Draper offered Osborn full support for the financially ailing American Eugenics Society if Osborn would support “measures for establishing racial homogeniety in the United States.” Osborn turned down Draper’s offer and resigned from the Pioneer board.

5. Newby, I. (1969). Challenge to the court: Social Scientists and the defense of segregation, 1954-1996. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press; Kluger, R. Simple Justice: The history of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America’s struggle for equality. (New York: Knopf, 1976).

6. Winston, A. S. (1998). “Science in the service of the far right: Henry E. Garrett, the IAAEE, and the Liberty Lobby.” Journal of Social Issues, 54, no. 1, 179-209.

7. Hirsch, J. “To Unfrock the Charlatans,” Sage Race Relations Abstracts 6 #2 (May 1981) pp. 1-68 and “Jensenism: The Bankrupcy of “Science” Without Scholarship Educational Theory 25 No 1 (Winter, 1975) pp. 3-27.

8. Sedwick, John. “The Menatality Bunker,” Gentlemen’s Quarterly (November 1994).

Discussion

20 comments for “Race Science and the Pioneer Fund”

  1. Charles Murray as a new op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about growing cultural inequality between the upper and lower classes in the US. He has solutions too! Apparently, families need to start acting in their self-interest, and the upper class need to move into poorer neighborhoods, become openly judgmental, and “preach what they practice” towards the uncultured lower classes about their poor morals(which is why they are in the lower class to being with, you see). Also, changing marginal tax rates and more college financial aide is definitely not going to help:

    JANUARY 21, 2012

    The New American Divide
    The ideal of an ‘American way of life’ is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated. Charles Murray on what’s cleaving America, and why.

    By CHARLES MURRAY

    America is coming apart. For most of our nation’s history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world—for whites, anyway. “The more opulent citizens take great care not to stand aloof from the people,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, the great chronicler of American democracy, in the 1830s. “On the contrary, they constantly keep on easy terms with the lower classes: They listen to them, they speak to them every day.”

    Americans love to see themselves this way. But there’s a problem: It’s not true anymore, and it has been progressively less true since the 1960s.

    People are starting to notice the great divide. The tea party sees the aloofness in a political elite that thinks it knows best and orders the rest of America to fall in line. The Occupy movement sees it in an economic elite that lives in mansions and flies on private jets. Each is right about an aspect of the problem, but that problem is more pervasive than either political or economic inequality. What we now face is a problem of cultural inequality.

    Why have these new lower and upper classes emerged? For explaining the formation of the new lower class, the easy explanations from the left don’t withstand scrutiny. It’s not that white working class males can no longer make a “family wage” that enables them to marry. The average male employed in a working-class occupation earned as much in 2010 as he did in 1960. It’s not that a bad job market led discouraged men to drop out of the labor force. Labor-force dropout increased just as fast during the boom years of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s as it did during bad years.

    As I’ve argued in much of my previous work, I think that the reforms of the 1960s jump-started the deterioration. Changes in social policy during the 1960s made it economically more feasible to have a child without having a husband if you were a woman or to get along without a job if you were a man; safer to commit crimes without suffering consequences; and easier to let the government deal with problems in your community that you and your neighbors formerly had to take care of.

    But, for practical purposes, understanding why the new lower class got started isn’t especially important. Once the deterioration was under way, a self-reinforcing loop took hold as traditionally powerful social norms broke down. Because the process has become self-reinforcing, repealing the reforms of the 1960s (something that’s not going to happen) would change the trends slowly at best.

    Meanwhile, the formation of the new upper class has been driven by forces that are nobody’s fault and resist manipulation. The economic value of brains in the marketplace will continue to increase no matter what, and the most successful of each generation will tend to marry each other no matter what. As a result, the most successful Americans will continue to trend toward consolidation and isolation as a class. Changes in marginal tax rates on the wealthy won’t make a difference. Increasing scholarships for working-class children won’t make a difference.

    The only thing that can make a difference is the recognition among Americans of all classes that a problem of cultural inequality exists and that something has to be done about it. That “something” has nothing to do with new government programs or regulations. Public policy has certainly affected the culture, unfortunately, but unintended consequences have been as grimly inevitable for conservative social engineering as for liberal social engineering.

    The “something” that I have in mind has to be defined in terms of individual American families acting in their own interests and the interests of their children. Doing that in Fishtown requires support from outside. There remains a core of civic virtue and involvement in working-class America that could make headway against its problems if the people who are trying to do the right things get the reinforcement they need—not in the form of government assistance, but in validation of the values and standards they continue to uphold. The best thing that the new upper class can do to provide that reinforcement is to drop its condescending “nonjudgmentalism.” Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices.

    That’s it? But where’s my five-point plan? We’re supposed to trust that large numbers of parents will spontaneously, voluntarily make the right choice for the country by making the right choice for themselves and their children?

    Yes, we are, but I don’t think that’s naive. I see too many signs that the trends I’ve described are already worrying a lot of people. If enough Americans look unblinkingly at the nature of the problem, they’ll fix it. One family at a time. For their own sakes. That’s the American way.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 22, 2012, 8:56 pm
  2. Here’s a Krugman piece about an argument just put forth by Tyler Cowan that maybe falling social mobility isn’t such a bad thing. Some of the arguments were reminiscent of the Charles Murray WSJ article in the previous comment. It’s a nice preview of rehashed arguments of yesteryear for a Dickensian tomorrow.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 25, 2012, 7:49 pm
  3. Oh my, it looks like Charles has a fan:

    Op-Ed Columnist
    The Great Divorce
    By DAVID BROOKS
    Published: January 30, 2012

    I’ll be shocked if there’s another book this year as important as Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart.” I’ll be shocked if there’s another book that so compellingly describes the most important trends in American society.

    Murray’s story contradicts the ideologies of both parties. Republicans claim that America is threatened by a decadent cultural elite that corrupts regular Americans, who love God, country and traditional values. That story is false. The cultural elites live more conservative, traditionalist lives than the cultural masses.

    Democrats claim America is threatened by the financial elite, who hog society’s resources. But that’s a distraction. The real social gap is between the top 20 percent and the lower 30 percent. The liberal members of the upper tribe latch onto this top 1 percent narrative because it excuses them from the central role they themselves are playing in driving inequality and unfairness.

    It’s wrong to describe an America in which the salt of the earth common people are preyed upon by this or that nefarious elite. It’s wrong to tell the familiar underdog morality tale in which the problems of the masses are caused by the elites.

    The truth is, members of the upper tribe have made themselves phenomenally productive. They may mimic bohemian manners, but they have returned to 1950s traditionalist values and practices. They have low divorce rates, arduous work ethics and strict codes to regulate their kids.

    Members of the lower tribe work hard and dream big, but are more removed from traditional bourgeois norms. They live in disorganized, postmodern neighborhoods in which it is much harder to be self-disciplined and productive.

    I doubt Murray would agree, but we need a National Service Program. We need a program that would force members of the upper tribe and the lower tribe to live together, if only for a few years. We need a program in which people from both tribes work together to spread out the values, practices and institutions that lead to achievement.

    If we could jam the tribes together, we’d have a better elite and a better mass.

    So after we move all the rich and poor folks into the same neighborhood, do the poor kids still get to work as the school janitor or will they have absorbed enough moral character from their neighborhood betters?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 31, 2012, 3:22 pm
  4. I would call this an instance of Derbyshire ‘dropping the mask’ if he was still wearing it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 7, 2012, 5:32 pm
  5. Oh look, Derbyshire just found a new home…at VDARE. Now he can pontificate on the unfair negative connotations associated with the term ‘white-supremacy’ in peace.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 14, 2012, 1:44 pm
  6. Charles Murray has a column in the WSJ about why capitalism has been getting a bad wrap lately:

    Updated July 30, 2012, 1:20 a.m. ET

    Why Capitalism Has an Image Problem
    Charles Murray examines the cloud now hanging over American business—and what today’s capitalists can do about it.

    mBy CHARLES MURRAY

    Mitt Romney’s résumé at Bain should be a slam dunk. He has been a successful capitalist, and capitalism is the best thing that has ever happened to the material condition of the human race. From the dawn of history until the 18th century, every society in the world was impoverished, with only the thinnest film of wealth on top. Then came capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. Everywhere that capitalism subsequently took hold, national wealth began to increase and poverty began to fall. Everywhere that capitalism didn’t take hold, people remained impoverished. Everywhere that capitalism has been rejected since then, poverty has increased.

    Capitalism has lifted the world out of poverty because it gives people a chance to get rich by creating value and reaping the rewards. Who better to be president of the greatest of all capitalist nations than a man who got rich by being a brilliant capitalist?

    But the problem of crony capitalism is trivial compared with the collusion engendered by government. In today’s world, every business’s operations and bottom line are affected by rules set by legislators and bureaucrats. The result has been corruption on a massive scale. Sometimes the corruption is retail, whereby a single corporation creates a competitive advantage through the cooperation of regulators or politicians (search on “earmarks”). Sometimes the corruption is wholesale, creating an industrywide potential for profit that would not exist in the absence of government subsidies or regulations (like ethanol used to fuel cars and low-interest mortgages for people who are unlikely to pay them back). Collusive capitalism has become visible to the public and increasingly defines capitalism in the public mind.

    Another change in objective conditions has been the emergence of great fortunes made quickly in the financial markets. It has always been easy for Americans to applaud people who get rich by creating products and services that people want to buy. That is why Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were American heroes a century ago, and Steve Jobs was one when he died last year.

    When great wealth is generated instead by making smart buy and sell decisions in the markets, it smacks of inside knowledge, arcane financial instruments, opportunities that aren’t accessible to ordinary people, and hocus-pocus. The good that these rich people have done in the process of getting rich is obscure. The benefits of more efficient allocation of capital are huge, but they are really, really hard to explain simply and persuasively. It looks to a large proportion of the public as if we’ve got some fabulously wealthy people who haven’t done anything to deserve their wealth.

    The objective changes in capitalism as it is practiced plausibly account for much of the hostility toward capitalism. But they don’t account for the unwillingness of capitalists who are getting rich the old-fashioned way—earning it—to defend themselves.

    And so capitalism’s reputation has fallen on hard times and the principled case for capitalism must be made anew. That case has been made brilliantly and often in the past, with Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom” being my own favorite. But in today’s political climate, updating the case for capitalism requires a restatement of old truths in ways that Americans from across the political spectrum can accept. Here is my best effort:

    The U.S. was created to foster human flourishing. The means to that end was the exercise of liberty in the pursuit of happiness. Capitalism is the economic expression of liberty. The pursuit of happiness, with happiness defined in the classic sense of justified and lasting satisfaction with life as a whole, depends on economic liberty every bit as much as it depends on other kinds of freedom.

    “Lasting and justified satisfaction with life as a whole” is produced by a relatively small set of important achievements that we can rightly attribute to our own actions. Arthur Brooks, my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, has usefully labeled such achievements “earned success.” Earned success can arise from a successful marriage, children raised well, a valued place as a member of a community, or devotion to a faith. Earned success also arises from achievement in the economic realm, which is where capitalism comes in.

    Earning a living for yourself and your family through your own efforts is the most elemental form of earned success. Successfully starting a business, no matter how small, is an act of creating something out of nothing that carries satisfactions far beyond those of the money it brings in. Finding work that not only pays the bills but that you enjoy is a crucially important resource for earned success.

    Making a living, starting a business and finding work that you enjoy all depend on freedom to act in the economic realm. What government can do to help is establish the rule of law so that informed and voluntary trades can take place. More formally, government can vigorously enforce laws against the use of force, fraud and criminal collusion, and use tort law to hold people liable for harm they cause others.

    Everything else the government does inherently restricts economic freedom to act in pursuit of earned success. I am a libertarian and think that almost none of those restrictions are justified. But accepting the case for capitalism doesn’t require you to be a libertarian. You are free to argue that certain government interventions are justified. You just need to acknowledge this truth: Every intervention that erects barriers to starting a business, makes it expensive to hire or fire employees, restricts entry into vocations, prescribes work conditions and facilities, or confiscates profits interferes with economic liberty and usually makes it more difficult for both employers and employees to earn success. You also don’t need to be a libertarian to demand that any new intervention meet this burden of proof: It will accomplish something that tort law and enforcement of basic laws against force, fraud and collusion do not accomplish.

    People with a wide range of political views can also acknowledge that these interventions do the most harm to individuals and small enterprises. Huge banks can, albeit at great expense, cope with the Dodd-Frank law’s absurd regulatory burdens; many small banks cannot. Huge corporations can cope with the myriad rules issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and their state-level counterparts. The same rules can crush small businesses and individuals trying to start small businesses.

    I’d also add the endless rehashing tired “all government is inherently bad and inefficient and free markets are the default best model for all circumstances” arguments we see in the above column to the list of factors contributing to capitalism’s current conundrum.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 30, 2012, 1:28 pm
  7. Be it noted that this is the same Charles Murray, co-author of the infamous racist tract “The Bell Curve”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Murray_%28author%29

    As an apologetic for Capitalism it’s a real potboiler. And it’s telling that such a notorious charlatan is deployed to do so.

    It’s primary thesis…

    “From the dawn of his­tory until the 18th cen­tury, every soci­ety in the world was impov­er­ished…”

    …is bunk.

    If the blessings of Civilization(tm) and Capitalism are so overwhelming how come so much blood has been shed to resist it and murderous oppression required to impose it globally?

    From the enclosure movements in Britain to the decimation of indigenous peoples in the Americas, Capital’s blood-drenched rise to global hegemony has been fought back by millions.

    Those poor benighted souls just could not grasp it’s many blessings I guess, eh Charles?

    Posted by ironcloudz | August 2, 2012, 8:17 am
  8. Whoops! The Heritage Foundation just had to issue a “we’re not racists we merely hire them!” statement in response to this uncomfortable little discovery about the author a recent Heritage Foundation study that made a big splash about the massive projected costs of proposed immigration reform. It tuns out the guy is … wait for it … kinda racist:

    Washington Post
    Heritage study co-author opposed letting in immigrants with low IQs

    Posted by Dylan Matthews on May 8, 2013 at 9:00 am

    The Heritage Foundation made something of a splash with its study suggesting that immigration reform will cost the public trillions. Past work by one of its co-authors helps put that piece in context.

    Jason Richwine is relatively new to the think tank world. He received his PhD in public policy from Harvard in 2009, and joined Heritage after a brief stay at the American Enterprise Institute. Richwine’s doctoral dissertation is titled “IQ and Immigration Policy”; the contents are well summarized in the dissertation abstract:

    The statistical construct known as IQ can reliably estimate general mental ability, or intelligence. The average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population, and the difference is likely to persist over several generations. The consequences are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low-IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust, and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market. Selecting high-IQ immigrants would ameliorate these problems in the U.S., while at the same time benefiting smart potential immigrants who lack educational access in their home countries.

    Richwine’s dissertation asserts that there are deep-set differentials in intelligence between races. While it’s clear he thinks it is partly due to genetics — “the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ” — he argues the most important thing is that the differences in group IQs are persistent, for whatever reason. He writes, “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.”

    Toward the end of the thesis, Richwine writes that though he believes racial differences in IQ to be real and persistent, one need not agree with that to accept his case for basing immigration on IQ. Rather than excluding what he judges to be low-IQ races, we can just test each individual’s IQ and exclude those with low scores. “I believe there is a strong case for IQ selection,” he writes, “since it is theoretically a win-win for the U.S. and potential immigrants.” He does caution against referring to it as IQ-based selection, saying that using the term “skill-based” would “blunt the negative reaction.”

    Update: Mike Gonzalez, VP for Communications at Heritage, emails: “This is not a work product of The Heritage Foundation. Its findings in no way reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation. Nor do the findings affect the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to the U.S. taxpayer.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 8, 2013, 2:42 pm
  9. Odds are Charles Murray isn’t much of a Frontline fan, but there’s a new episode that he really needs to watch…not that watching it will make a dent in his worldview…but still…

    The New Yorker
    The Fall of the American Worker
    Posted by George Packer
    July 2, 2013

    There’s a moment in Dale Maharidge and Michael S. Williamson’s “Someplace Like America,” a documentary account of three decades of American downward mobility, when Maharidge spontaneously decides to phone up Charles Murray. It’s around the year 2000, welfare reform is on the books, and Maharidge wants to know what Murray, the author of “Losing Ground” and the country’s harshest critic of the welfare state, has to say about the growing phenomenon of the working poor—Americans who have jobs but still can’t make ends meet.

    “Give me an example,” Murray says. Maharidge begins to describe a woman named Maggie Segura, employed by the state of Texas, whom Maharidge met, along with her daughter, at a food bank. “Is she a single mother?” Murray demands. Guilty as charged. Maggie Segura shouldn’t have had a child with the wrong guy—point Murray. He asks for another example, and Maharidge describes an intact family: three kids, mom, and dad, Obie, who works as a janitor but has to sell his blood plasma to make up for shortfalls in the family budget. Murray is undeterred. “What is the appropriate success for working families? The guy is making ten bucks an hour, the wife is working part time. They’ve got three kids. Should we feel bad?” Murray does some quick calculations. “If I had to, I could figure out ways to live on $550 a week with three kids. I probably wouldn’t live in Austin. I’d go someplace else, where it was a lot cheaper. I’d make choices.”

    Point Murray again. Whatever stories from around the country Maharidge hits his way, Murray kills with the return. You can win every point when your social theory tells you that the only poor people in America—especially the America of the nineties boom, when “the general trajectory is up and away. You can make a decent living without the government helping you”—are ones undeserving of help. Maggie Segura had a child by the wrong man. Obie should have moved his family to Appalachia. Everybody screws up.

    I was reminded of this scene from “Someplace Like America” while watching a new documentary film, “Two American Families,” which will air next Tuesday night, July 9th, on the PBS series “Frontline.” The film, produced by Tom Casciato and Kathleen Hughes (friends of mine), and narrated by Bill Moyers, follows the lives of two families in Milwaukee, the Stanleys and the Neumanns—the former black, the latter white—over the past two decades, starting in 1991. Both come out of the solid working class, and their fates are familiar ones. Jackie Stanley and Tony Neumann had factory jobs at the huge engine maker Briggs & Stratton, while Claude Stanley worked for A. O. Smith, a leading maker of chassis frames. All were union jobs, and all disappeared around 1990 as manufacturing went overseas. That’s when we meet the Stanleys and the Neumanns—just as both families are beginning to sink. The only work the men can find pays half the factory wage, without benefits—Claude waterproofs basements, Tony retrains and works the overnight shift doing light manufacturing. Jackie Stanley tries to sell real estate; Terry Neumann gets into a cosmetics-selling scheme, works at a school cafeteria, then drives a forklift. Without unions to support them, they are all at the mercy of indifferent employers and the harsh vagaries of the post-industrial economy.

    If you screened “Two American Families” for Charles Murray and other social critics who believe that the decline of America’s working class comes from a collapse of moral values, social capital, personal responsibility, and traditional authority, they would probably be able to find the evidence they’d need to insulate themselves against the sorrow at the heart of the film. None of the four parents finished college. The Neumanns’ divorce leaves Terry and the children in worse straits than ever. The Stanleys don’t move to rural Mississippi, where life is cheaper. The kids make plenty of their own mistakes. None of them thinks of inventing Napster. The Stanleys and Neumanns are punished to the fullest extent of the economic law for every mistake made, and for all the mistakes they didn’t make.

    But the intellectually honest response to this film is much less comforting, for the overwhelming impression in “Two American Families” is not of mistakes but of fierce persistence: how hard the Stanleys and Neumanns work, how much they believe in playing by the rules, how remarkable the cohesion of the Stanley family is, how tough Terry Neumann has to become. Both families devoutly attend church. Government assistance is alien and hateful to them. Keith Stanley says, “I don’t know what drugs or even alcohol looks like.” In the words of Tammy Thomas, whose similar story is told in my new book, “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America,” these people do what they’re supposed to do. They have to navigate this heartless economy by themselves. And they keep sinking and sinking.

    On Sunday, the Times reported that C.E.O. pay in 2012 increased by sixteen per cent over the previous year, with the median compensation package now at $15.1 million. The blessings at the top grow more fruitful year by year, in good times and bad. There must be a social or economic theory somewhere that explains why all this is necessary and just.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 9, 2013, 7:27 pm
  10. While not surprising(*snicker*), it’s worth noting that Charles Murray has picked a side in the GOP’s civil war:

    The Daily Caller
    Charles Murray hits back against Krauthammer’s view on Rand Paul [VIDEO]

    By Jeff Poor 6:19 PM 07/29/2013

    On Andrea Tantaros syndicated radio show on Monday, American Enterprise Institute fellow Charles Murray reacted to Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer and Gov. Chris Christie’s criticism of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, defending Paul and saying that he agrees with him.

    Late last week, Christie and Krauthammer were critical of Paul as he had drawn criticism from New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie for his libertarian position on many policy issues.

    “It was an extremely important moment,” Krauthammer said of Christie’s criticism. “Rand Paul represents the sort of isolationist wing of the Republican Party. By this direct, fearless attack on him by Christie, I think he takes up the mantle of the majority of the GOP, which is interventionist. And that’s a really important moment.”

    Murray, author of “American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History (Values and Capitalism),” advised the GOP to take a libertarian-leaning stand on issues to achieve a common goal.

    “My counsel is really simple,” Murray said. “It is that ‘We the Republicans,’ I want them to say, ‘We the Republicans are in favor of people being free to live their lives as they see fit; we’re in favor of enterprise where people can start business easily, where they are not hounded by these volumes of regulations; we want opportunity; and we are also against this collusive capitalism whereby the government and business sort of collaborate with each other, with sort of patting each other’s back. I want a Republican Party that is enthusiastically, aggressively in favor of liberty, opportunity and enterprise.”

    Murray then explained how he had been impressed with Paul when he heard him speak and found that he was in agreement with the junior senator from Kentucky.

    “I was actually around Rand Paul a few weeks ago and listened to him,” he continued. “I listened to him talk for about 20, 25 minutes and I said to myself, ‘You know, I can’t think of a single thing he has said that I don’t agree with.’ My views and Rand Paul’s are real, real close and much closer than my views are to Gov. Christie’s.”

    Tantaros referenced Krauthammer’s remarks, to which Murray said this was one of the rare times he was in disagreement with Krauthammer.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 1, 2013, 9:07 am
  11. Oooo…does this mean the greed-is-good mentality can finally go extinct?

    2 August 2013 Last updated at 06:29 ET

    Selfish traits not favoured by evolution, study shows
    By Melissa Hogenboom Science reporter, BBC News

    Evolution does not favour selfish people, according to new research.

    This challenges a previous theory which suggested it was preferable to put yourself first.

    Instead, it pays to be co-operative, shown in a model of “the prisoner’s dilemma”, a scenario of game theory – the study of strategic decision-making.

    Published in Nature Communications, the team says their work shows that exhibiting only selfish traits would have made us become extinct.

    Game theory involves devising “games” to simulate situations of conflict or co-operation. It allows researchers to unravel complex decision-making strategies and to establish why certain types of behaviour among individuals emerge.

    Let’s hope so, because it’s at the point where it a choice between ditching Social Darwinism as our socioeconomic paradigm or ditching society.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 2, 2013, 9:08 am
  12. Recall the solution to America’s socioeconomic woes as prescribed by Charles Murray in his recent book “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010”. The long-term solution is for the the rich to start “preaching what they practice” and just tell the lazy poor people that the reason they’re poor is because they’re so lazy and undisciplined. Here’s what that looks like in real life:

    US Republicans make the poor pay to balance the budget
    The impetus to cut food stamps is ideological not fiscal, and low-wages mean work provides no guarantee against hunger

    Gary Younge
    The Guardian, Sunday 3 November 2013

    During a discussion at the University of Michigan in 2010, the billionaire vice-chairman of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway firm, Charles Munger, was asked whether the government should have bailed out homeowners rather than banks. “You’ve got it exactly wrong,” he said. “There’s danger in just shovelling out money to people who say, ‘My life is a little harder than it used to be.’ At a certain place you’ve got to say to the people, ‘Suck it in and cope, buddy. Suck it in and cope.'”

    But banks, he insisted, need our help. It turns out that moral hazard – the notion that those who know the costs of their failure will be borne by others will become increasingly reckless – only really applies to the working poor.

    “You should thank God” for bank bailouts, Munger told his audience. “Now, if you talk about bailouts for everybody else, there comes a place where if you just start bailing out all the individuals instead of telling them to adapt, the culture dies.”

    Feeling motivated yet, all you lazy, shiftless poor people? Good. The dawn of the new blue-collar Golden Age should be right around the corner.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 7, 2013, 10:12 am
  13. London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, just managed to channel Charles Murray, Gordon Gekko, and John Calvin all in single speech. Johnson must be feeling pretty confident about his “spiritual worth” these days:

    London mayor Boris Johnson raises eyebrows with ode to the 1 per cent

    AFFAN CHOWDHRY

    The Globe and Mail

    Published Thursday, Nov. 28 2013, 12:08 PM EST
    Last updated Thursday, Nov. 28 2013, 12:19 PM EST

    He is known for his tongue-in-cheek comments, shameless publicity and boundless ability to cause a stir on any given day – whether it is being stranded 10 meters above ground during a botched zip wire stunt, likening women beach volleyball players to “wet otters,” or describing his support of fellow Conservative David Cameron as “purely out of cynical self-interest.”

    London Mayor Boris Johnson has previously sprung to the defence of the 1 per cent – or the super-wealthy, as he did in a newspaper column earlier this month.

    Last night, Mr. Johnson went further – reflecting on greed, envy and inequality in a speech to a London think-tank commemorating the legacy of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

    While the “Gordon Gekkos” of London – a reference to the character played by Michael Douglas in the film Wall Street – should do more to help the underprivileged, greed is a “valid motivator,” he argued, adding that economic equality was an impossible goal and that envy arising from inequality is a valuable spur to economic activity.

    His comments come as he reportedly contemplates becoming a member of parliament. Political observers believe he has ambitions to lead the Conservative party and be prime minister one day. Elections are to be held in about 18 months.

    But the capital that Mr. Johnson presides over has also come under criticism for being a refuge for the global super-rich. London house prices have seen double-digit growth recently, with more than a third of new construction being snapped up by foreign buyers from Russia, China and the Middle East – and raising fears of a housing bubble.

    One American expat lamented the exodus of families unable to afford London life. “This is what happens when property in your city becomes a global reserve currency,” wrote Michael Goldfarb in the New York Times.

    Mayor Boris Johnson has said the capital could see 4 per cent growth next year, outstripping the OECD forecast of 2.4 per cent for the country overall. In his speech, he said hoped a boom in London would be accompanied by a “sense of community and acts of prodigious philanthropy.”

    But it was his comments on wealth and inequality – and especially on IQs – that caused the biggest stir.

    Below is a selection of his comments – via the BBC and Guardian newspaper – as well as reaction to last night’s speech. The full prepared text of his speech can be found on Centre for Policy Studies web site and video excerpts can be found here.

    Individual IQs and equality
    “Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16 per cent of our species have an IQ below 85 while about 2 per cent … 16 per cent, anyone of you want to put up your hands? [some laughter in audience] … 2 per cent have an IQ above 130.

    “And the harder you shake the pack the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.”

    ‘Spirit of envy’
    “I stress – I don’t believe that economic equality is possible; indeed some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with the Joneses that is, like greed, a valuable spur to economic activity.”

    Greed is good
    “I hope there is no return to the spirit of Loadsamoney heartlessness – figuratively riffling banknotes under the noses of the homeless – and I hope that this time the Gordon Gekkos of London are conspicuous not just for their greed, valid motivator though greed may be for economic progress, as for what they give and do for the rest of the population, many of whom have experienced real falls in their incomes over the last five years.”

    The “Loadsamoney” reference is to a money-obsessed 1980s British TV character.

    Global competition and inequality
    “No one can ignore the harshness of that competition, or the inequality that it inevitably accentuates, and I am afraid that violent economic centrifuge is operating on human beings who are already very far from equal in raw ability, if not spiritual worth.

    The 1 per cent paying 30 per cent of all income tax
    “That is an awful lot of schools and roads and hospitals that are being paid for by the super-rich. So why, I asked innocently, are they so despicable in the eyes of all decent British people? Surely they should be hailed like the Stakhanovites of Stalin’s Russia, who half-killed themselves, in the name of the people, by mining record tonnages of coal?”

    “So why, I asked innocently, are they so despicable in the eyes of all decent British people? Surely they should be hailed like the Stakhanovites of Stalin’s Russia, who half-killed themselves, in the name of the people, by mining record tonnages of coal?”

    Now you know what the poor, put-upon global super-rich are all doing in London: mining coal. Record amounts of “coal”.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 29, 2013, 8:35 am
  14. Look who “moderate conservative” Paul Ryan is citing in the latest round of his “I care about poor people”-makeover.

    Think Progress
    Paul Ryan Blames Poverty On Lazy ‘Inner City’ Men

    By Igor Volsky on March 12, 2014 at 10:07 am

    House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) previewed his upcoming legislative proposals for reforming America’s poverty programs during an appearance on Bill Bennett’s Morning in America Wednesday, hinting that he would focus on creating work requirements for men “in our inner cities” and dealing with the “real culture problem” in these communities. “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with,” he said.

    Ryan also cited Charles Murray, a conservative social scientist who believes African-Americans are, as a population, less intelligent than whites due to genetic differences and that poverty remains a national problem because “a lot of poor people are born lazy.”

    Ryan’s comments come a week after he released a 204-page report analyzing the effectiveness of the nation’s anti-poverty programs 50 years after President Lyndon Johnson declared a national War on Poverty. The former GOP vice presidential candidate, who argues that federal anti-poverty programs have contributed to the nation’s high poverty rate and “created what’s known as the poverty trap,” is expected to offer reforms to the programs in his upcoming FY 2015 budget.

    “[W]e want people to reach their potential and so the dignity of work is very valuable and important and we have to re-emphasize work and reform our welfare programs, like we did in 1996,” Ryan told Bennett. Listen:

    Numerous anti-poverty initiatives already include work requirements, particularly long-term unemployment insurance and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Other programs, such as Head Start, allow parents to go to work while their children attend education programs.

    Work requirements have yet to significantly reduce poverty, particularly during a downturn economy. While Ryan touts the success of lowering the number of people on welfare after 1996, poverty has actually increased since the recession and the number of families whose incomes are below half the poverty line (less than $12,000 a year for a family of four) is actually higher now than it was when Congress and President Bill Clinton enacted welfare reform. Welfare’s rigid work requirements improved employment among single mothers initially, but those rates started to decline by 2001, once the economy went into recession. The work provisions also pressure some women to abandon the higher education that could lead to upward mobility in favor of lower-paying jobs that meet the law’s standards.

    But Ryan is prepared to double down on the welfare reforms of the mid-90s. “When you question this war on poverty, you get all the criticisms from adherents to the status quo who just don’t want to see anything change,” Ryan said. “We got to have the courage to face that down, just as we did in the welfare reform of the late 1990s and if we succeeded we can help resuscitate this culture and get people back to work.”

    Such courage…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 12, 2014, 12:41 pm
  15. Josh Marshall hits on a key insight in Paul Ryan’s recent Charles Murray walkback: There’s only so much of Murray’s worldview one can deny embracing before that worldview looks nothing like what Paul Ryan appears to believe even if you take him at his world and assume he’s completely non-racist:

    Talking Points Memo
    More on Ryan and Murray

    Josh Marshall – March 13, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT

    At Slate Dave Weigel picks up and gently critiques my post below on Paul Ryan, being misunderstood on race and relying on the work of Charles Murray. The gist of my argument was that it is easy to be ‘misunderstood’ when you use racially loaded language to describe the ingrained, intergenerational laziness of men from the “inner city”, especially when you cite the work of Charles Murray, a man best known for his 1994 book The Bell Curve, which argued that a key reason for persistent disparities between blacks and whites in America (test scores, incomes, et al.) is the genetically-based mental inferiority of black people.

    Weigel notes that it’s not necessarily clear that Ryan was referencing The Bell Curve. He might just as well have been talking about Losing Ground, the critique of liberal social policies, particularly welfare, which put Murray on the map in the 1980s or his more recent work on the ‘white underclass’.

    To which I would say, maybe? Who knows? And really, who cares? At the risk of sounding wrenchingly corny, The Bell Curve is a bell you simply cannot un-ring.

    As Joan Walsh notes here, in the years since publishing The Bell Curve, Murray has slightly softened his argument. He now refers to IQ and what he believes is the mental inferiority of African-Americans not as ‘genetic’ but rather as ‘intractable.’ By this Murray seems to mean that there are too many factors playing into intelligence to definitively say genetics are behind what he claims are the mental/intellectual shortcomings of black people. The deficit is simply ‘intractable’ – by which he means that whatever mix of genetics, culture and circumstance create it, nothing can be done to change it in any meaningful way.

    The Bell Curve isn’t something you can write off as one might a bad novel from an otherwise great writer. It is connected to all his other work on social policy and goes to the heart what he believes about black America. Indeed, it is probably fair to say that The Bell Curve made uncomfortably explicit what was implicit in Losing Ground.

    As I noted, you can set the issue of race aside entirely and simply see Murray as the chief exponent of neo-Social Darwinism: that any efforts to ameliorate society’s disparities and injustices only makes them worse. And we’re based leaving the marginalized to ditch their ghetto ways if they can and if nothing else not subsidize their having so many children.

    Yeah, un-ringing The Bell Curve and separating the eugenics arguments from the rest of the neo-Social Darwinism can’t be easy when the neo-Social Darwinism is clearly something Ryan has a lot invested in upholding. After all, it’s not just about him. The idea that helping other hurts us all is central to the GOP’s “we care about the poor that’s why we’re trying to starve them“-platform. Still, never say never, at least in terms of Ryan successfully shrugging off this latest bit of bad PR. The force is strong with this one.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 14, 2014, 12:44 pm
  16. If you’ve ever wondered “how can I be as compassionate as Paul Ryan“, the easy answer is “read lots of books by Charles Murray and Ayn Rand“. But don’t stop there. Compassion has had many champions throughout history. For example, just think about all the compassion that must have been flowing through Gilded Age poorhouses. Just think of it, especially if you want to be as compassionate as Paul:

    Huffington Post
    Paul Ryan’s Approach To Poverty Is Straight Out Of The 19th Century
    Posted: 05/14/2014 7:30 am EDT

    Bob Woodson recalled the day 11 years ago when two of his sons left the house to go buy some CDs at the now-defunct electronics superstore Circuit City.

    “Three minutes later I got a harried call from my [younger] son that they were turned over in their car on the highway right outside of my house,” Woodson said. “And my wife and I came there and the ambulance and fire trucks had not arrived yet, and we were the first ones to hear my son scream and to watch the body of my older son pulled from the wreckage.”

    “And at that moment I just screamed at the top of my lungs, ‘Jesus, save me! Help me, I’m drowning!'” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to live. I said then, ‘If my son dies, I want to die.'”

    Woodson told this story at the end of March to seven formerly down-and-out men and women who’d just completed a six-month regimen of sobriety, life skills and Bible study at the House of Help City of Hope shelter in Suitland, Maryland.

    His message to them was simple: Even when things are bleak, do not succumb to temptation or self-pity. Instead, find strength in faith and draw support from the community. Following his son’s death, Woodson was buoyed by the fact that more than 30 former gang members he’d counseled in the past showed up at the funeral to stand beside him. He couldn’t let them down by giving up.

    Armed with this exhortation to embrace discipline and personal responsibility, the program’s graduates crowded together with their families and friends, clapping, hugging and cheering, their arms raised in celebration as Bishop Shirley Holloway declared them graduates of her program.

    “Wherever you go with your family — whenever you go to your parole officer — just shine!” Holloway shouted. “Let him see Jesus in you!”

    Woodson is a 77-year-old former social worker and civil rights activist who has advised conservatives on poverty policy for decades. He has spent much of his life working with people like those at the House of Help. In 1981 he founded the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, a nonprofit that gives managerial advice to community and religious organizations around the country that help the nation’s poor help themselves.

    For the past year, Woodson has also served as an adviser to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), bringing him to places like the House of Help as the congressman attempts to position himself as the Republican Party’s foremost authority on the issue of poverty.

    As the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate in 2012, Ryan was mocked after he and his family donned aprons and washed pots and pans in an Ohio soup kitchen. Now, with Woodson by his side, he is shunning such photo-ops in favor of an earnest listening tour to uncover what truly ails the poor.

    “The reason that Paul Ryan is on this journey is to gain some perspective,” Woodson told The Huffington Post. “For the past 50 years, people both left and right of center have been parachuting into low-income communities [with] remedies designed by people that have never talked to people suffering the problem.”

    Fresh solutions are needed, Woodson said last month to the House Budget Committee, over which Ryan presides. The welfare state is suffering, he said, from “an absence of new and effective ideas.” This summer, Ryan plans to unveil a new blueprint for tackling poverty, the culmination of his work with Woodson and his trips to poor neighborhoods.

    Despite their calls for a new approach to poverty, however, Ryan and Woodson’s ideas are extremely old-fashioned. Indeed, they echo conservative views about welfare going all the way back to the English Poor Laws of the 17th century, which categorized poor people according to their deservingness of help. These ideas have gained popularity at different times since then in response to different crises, like when “tramps” terrorized American towns in the 1870s, when “welfare queens” birthed crack babies in the 1990s, and when the so-called “food stamp surfer” delighted the Fox News crowd by refusing to get a job in 2013.

    Whoever the bogeyman, the conservative response springs from the same core belief that too much government assistance causes the problem it’s supposed to solve, and that any decent person can make it in America if he or she tries hard enough.

    It’s an ideology that predates economic statistics, which don’t support it very well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,nearly 10 million Americans were unemployed in April, and 7 million more wanted full-time work, yet there were only 4 million job openings.

    Confronted with this data, however, and the suggestion that discipline and personal responsibility alone might not be enough to guarantee success, Woodson reacted viscerally.

    “Bullshit,” he told HuffPost. “That’s just bullshit.”

    In March, Ryan stepped in it when he spoke on a conservative radio show about what he saw as “this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.”

    Ryan apparently didn’t realize “inner city” is a common euphemism for “black.” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, called his remarks “deeply offensive.” Ryan quickly backtracked, saying he’d been “inarticulate,” and he attempted to repair the damage by meeting with the caucus at the end of April.

    As he emphasized during the dustup, however, Ryan had been attempting to make a point about class, not race. His office cited a 2012 Harvard study which found that young people from lower-class backgrounds tended to be more isolated from society and civil institutions — a problem Ryan felt needed to be corrected.

    “If you’re driving from the suburb to the sports arena downtown by these blighted neighborhoods, you can’t just say, ‘I’m paying my taxes, government’s got to fix that.’ You need to get involved,” Ryan said on the radio show. “You need to get involved yourself, whether through a good mentor program, or some religious charity, whatever it is to make a difference. And that’s how we help resuscitate our culture.”

    Ryan’s comment could have come straight from the late 1800s, an era of rapid industrialization, robber barons and unrest known as the Gilded Age.

    The financial panic of 1873 triggered a worldwide depression. Bank failures led to widespread layoffs, and welfare historians have documented increasing demands for private and public poor relief at the local level. Concern rose about tramps roaming from city to city to soak up whatever charity they could find. Welfare reformers at the time fought to stop the handouts, which they said only exacerbated tramping.

    “Next to alcohol, and perhaps alongside it, the most pernicious fluid is indiscriminate soup,” one reformer said in the late 1870s, according to historian Walter I. Trattner’s 1974 book, “From Poor Law to Welfare State.” Another said, “It is not bread the poor need, it is soul; it is not soup, it is spirit.”

    Ryan channeled the spirit and the language of these reformers he told the Conservative Political Action Conference in March, “What the Left is offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul.”

    In the 19th century, local governments worked alongside private charities to provide an ad-hoc patchwork of poor relief. Poorhouses, or “indoor relief,” served as the main alternative to handouts. The institutions varied greatly over time, but in general poorhouse inmates received food and shelter in exchange for control of their lives.

    As tramp fears escalated, a “scientific charity” movement arose to coordinate and stifle “outdoor relief,” the nickname for assistance not given within poorhouse walls. Hundreds of charity organizing societies sprang up across the country, and government-funded relief ended in more than a dozen cities.

    Instead of handing out cash, members of these societies, calling themselves “friendly visitors,” would go into poor people’s houses and investigate their claims of destitution. Often the wives of wealthy businessmen, they sought to help fill the souls of the poor.

    “The best means of doing the poor good is found in friendly intercourse and personal influence,” the Rev. R.E. Thompson explained in his 1879 Manual for Visitors Among the Poor. “The want of money is not the worst evil with which the poor have to contend; it is in most cases itself but a symptom of other more important wants.”

    Indiscriminate almsgiving, explained charity reformer William Slocum in 1892, “destroys the best element of true society. It destroys citizenship and those active powers of the human soul that put it in sympathy with the divine ideal.”

    Welfare reformers wanted to control the poor, but they also sought to inspire them to lift themselves up by dint of their own example — much as Woodson sought to inspire the those at House of Help to embrace a better way of life, and as Ryan encouraged suburbanites to volunteer as mentors.

    “The best way to turn from a vicious cycle of despair and learned hopelessness to a virtuous cycle of hope and flourishing is by embracing the attributes of friendship, accountability and love,” Ryan said this week at an event in New York.

    “That’s how you fight poverty.”

    Even among conservatives, few deny that government assistance has its place. Welfare reformers have always argued that proper poor relief is a matter of knowing which people need their stomachs filled and which need soul food. In his House Budget Committee testimony last month Bob Woodson explained that the key to rethinking welfare is differentiating between types of poor people.

    First, there are the victims of bad luck, like a factory closing or an injury. “Assistance to them serves as a bridge back to economic stability,” Woodson said. Then there are people who are disabled, who will need and should receive help their whole lives.

    But others, Woodson argued, have calculated that low-wage work will compensate barely better than welfare. And then there are the people who constantly make terrible life decisions.

    “Giving no-strings assistance to this group enables them to continue their self-destructive lifestyles and injures with the helping hand,” Woodson said. This category of poor people, he believes, needs a more paternalistic type of intervention.

    Gilded Age charity organizers similarly obsessed over the dichotomy between the deserving and the undeserving poor. Some kept meticulous records of their findings, which were based on the field work of friendly visitors.

    In 1883 for instance, almost 900 volunteers for Boston’s Associated Charities visited 2,000 families, ultimately finding 18 percent of all applicants “worthy of continuous relief” and 23 percent “worthy of temporary relief.” One third were referred to employment bureaus, and the rest were deemed unworthy of aid, either because they had relatives who could help or because they were thought to be lazy. They might have refused the “work test” — chopping wood for men, sewing for women.

    Yes, Paul Ryan gets his ideas about poverty from the same place the the rest of the GOP appears to be getting its ideas about poverty: the Gilded Age.

    As such, Ryan knows that the war on poverty can never be won with a government-run safety-net. That just leads to a cruel starvation of the soul for those in need of trickle-down morality.

    No, what is needed is an army of morally superior ‘Friendly Visitors’ that can visit all of the millions of people in need of assistance and make on-the-ground snap-judgements about their worthiness as human beings. It’s what compassionate societies do.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 14, 2014, 12:33 pm
  17. Rick Santorum still hasn’t decided if he’s going to make another attempt to win the White House in 2016 but that hasn’t stopped him from winning hearts and minds. Specifically the hearts and minds of people that already had their hearts and minds won by Jesse Helms:

    Right Wing Watch
    Rick Santorum Wishes Obama Would Be A Racial Uniter Like Segregationists Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms
    Submitted by Miranda Blue on Monday, 11/17/2014 11:44 am

    Potential Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum had an opportunity to speak at length to Iowa conservatives last week, when he guest hosted Steve Deace’s radio show on Veterans Day. The three-hour program gave Santorum plenty of time to muse on a variety of topics, including his admiration for segregation proponents Jerry Falwell and Jesse Helms and his belief that President Obama’s “greatest failing” has been his failure to end racism in America.

    Santorum mentioned that he had recently been invited to speak at Liberty University, which led him into a tangent on how much he admires the school’s founder, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Although “how the press treated Rev. Falwell was not necessarily positive,” Santorum said, he found Falwell to be “completely gracious, warm [and] affirming.”

    This made Santorum think of the late Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who he said exhibited “probably the starkest contrast of what the press used to portray and what the reality was.”

    “There was no one nicer than Jesse Helms,” Santorum said. “I mean, I don’t think a single Democrat would tell you that on a personal level, there was anybody that was more gentlemanly, more kind than Jesse.” (He might want to check with Carol Mosely-Braun on that.)

    He added that the “breakup of any kind of cooperation” in government is happening because people like President Obama are failing to be gentlemen like Jesse Helms:

    [hear audio]

    Just imagine everything that could have been avoided if only Obama had been more like Jesse Helms way back in January 2009. Or the stuff that wouldn’t have been avoided if we had a president Helms, especially in the realm of race relations. Just imagine.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 19, 2014, 2:20 pm
  18. Imagine that: Far right ‘journalist’ Charles C. Johnson decided to tweet about a theory he’s a fan of:

    It's a biological fact that there are innate differences in IQ among different races. If you can't deal with that, enjoy being a truther.— Charles C. Johnson (@ChuckCJohnson) January 30, 2015

    You can see where this is going…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 30, 2015, 10:59 am
  19. “I like Charles Murray books to be honest with you, which means I’m a total nerd I guess,” Bush said:

    TPM Livewire
    Can’t Unring That Bell: Jeb Bush Says He’s A Fan Of Charles Murray’s Books

    By Daniel Strauss
    Published April 30, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) declared himself to be a fan of controversial social scientist Charles Murray’s books at a forum Thursday in Washington.

    Bush lauded Murray’s books on two separate occasions during an interview with National Review editor Rich Lowry, at a forum sponsored by the conservative magazine.

    Lowry asked Bush, “… is there any policy or anything public officials can do to help turn back what has been a rising tide of family breakdown crossing decades now?”

    “Absolutely, there is,” Bush, a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, said. “It’s not exactly the core. My views on this were shaped a lot on this by Charles Murray’s book, except I was reading the book and I was waiting for the last chapter with the really cool solutions — didn’t quite get there.

    Later in the interview, Lowry asked Bush what he likes to read. Again, he cited Murray.

    “I like Charles Murray books to be honest with you, which means I’m a total nerd I guess,” Bush said.

    Bush didn’t say which of Murray’s books he was referring to. His political team did not immediately respond to TPM.

    Murray is the author of the highly influential 1984 book Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980 which argued that social welfare programs of the 1960s and 1970s actually hurt the poor rather than helped. It was and remains a seminal work in the conservative policy canon.

    Ten years later Murray authored the highly controversial The Bell Curve, which he co-authored with Richard Herrnstein. Critics denounced it as racist, saying it essentially argued that African-Americans aren’t as intelligent as white Americans because of genetic differences. In 1994 Bob Herbert, then a columnist at The New York Times, described the book as a “scabrous piece of racial pornography masquerading as serious scholarship.”

    “My views on this were shaped a lot on this by Charles Murray’s book, except I was reading the book and I was waiting for the last chapter with the really cool solutions — didn’t quite get there.”
    It’ll be interesting to hear Jeb’s view on Charles Murray’s “really cool solutions” if he ever gets around to reading them. Especially since Murray is one of the chief conservative advocates of a universal basic income.

    Granted, the right-wing universal basic income advocates tend to view it as an alternative approach to social welfare programs so such a system would most likely be used a as Trojan horse to slash public spending on the neediest Americans, much like the GOP’s plans to gut programs like Medicare and Medicaid by turning the programs into state-based block grants, cutting per capita spending, and waving the magic “it’s decentralized so we’ll get more for less!” wand. So it’s not like Murray’s proposal couldn’t achieve the GOP’s long-standing dream of shrinking “Big Government”…it would just replace all those maligned social programs with a big check that everyone gets. Then that check slowly shrunk over time and, voila, no more welfare state! So if Jeb hasn’t gotten around to reading about Murray’s solutions to poverty he should probably get on that.

    At the same time, a generous and humane universal basic income with strong guarantees that everyone will have enough to live comfortable is probably one of the most graceful and effective methods society has in a future where advanced robotics/AI, overpopulation, and eco-collapse necessitate radical shifts in the social contracts that ensure everyone can live comfortably without being subjected to some sort of roboticized Rat Race of the Damn. So the incentives for the GOP to at least give lip service to the idea of a universal basic income is only going to increase going forward because the incentives for every political party to jump on the universal basic income is only going to grow.

    And that’s all part of why it’ll be very interesting to hear Jeb’s comments on the topic should anyone ask him about the actual policy solutions advocated by one of his favorite authors. Not only is a universal basic income potentially one of those key ingredients for a fabulous future for almost everyone, but it also doubles as a possible Republicans Trojan horse for those that want to destroy the welfare state! In other words, the universal income is the future of American politics. Or at least should be.

    So hopefully Jeb will get some questions about the universal basic income now that he’s opened up the Charles Murray can of worms. And maybe he could get some questions about what else he found so appealing in the can. It’s a big can with a lot of worms.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 30, 2015, 7:22 pm
  20. Is Jeb Bush ashamed of his history of endorsing shame as a key tool for providing birth control to unwed women? No…maybe…no…maybe:

    MSNBC
    Jeb Bush says view on unwed births ‘hasn’t changed at all’

    06/11/15 11:15 AM—Updated 06/11/15 07:32 PM

    By Benjy Sarlin

    WARSAW, Poland – Facing scrutiny over his rhetoric and record regarding single mothers, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told reporters on Thursday that two-parent homes help children “live lives of purpose and meaning.”

    In a chapter of his 1995 book ”Profiles of Character” entitled “The Restoration of Shame,” Bush, who is in Europe this week on an international tour, complained that having children outside of marriage had become common because there was “no longer a stigma attached to this behavior” and that “parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior.”

    Asked by msnbc whether his views regarding the application of shame had changed, Bush suggested his book’s warning had proved prophetic and stressed the importance of encouraging young people to get married before having children.

    My views have evolved over time, but my views about the importance of dads being involved in the lives of children hasn’t changed at all,” he said. “In fact, since 1995 … this book was a book about cultural indicators [and] the country has moved in the wrong direction. We have a 40-plus percent out-of-wedlock birth rate.”

    Bush has talked on the trail about research showing improved economic fortunes for children who are raised with two parents and on Thursday reiterated the importance of family structure.

    “It’s a huge challenge for single moms to raise children in the world that we’re in today and it hurts the prospects, it limits the possibilities of young people being able to live lives of purpose and meaning,” he said.

    After a follow-up question on whether the chapter was meant to apply to policy, Bush said that he was “speaking of [marriage] in the policy context and the focus was on men.”

    In responding to the story, Bush’s staff has pointed reporters to a later passage in the book noting that raising the issue “does not mean we should demean the heroic efforts of single parents who are trying to raise good, decent children.”

    A number of news outlets and commentators this week are also revisiting a 2001 law Bush allowed to pass that included a so-called “Scarlet Letter” provision requiring mothers who give their children up for adoption to publicly post records of their sexual histories that might alert potential fathers about the birth. Bush raised concerns about that provision at the time but allowed the bill to pass into law without signing it. He later signed a repeal of the controversial section in 2003 after it was struck down by a court.

    Asked by msnbc whether he had regrets about how the issue was handled, Bush said he could not recall the full details but that the broader law was intended to support single mothers by improving collection of child support from fathers.

    “To assume you can create a fatherless society and not have bad outcomes I think is the wrong approach,” he said. “I don’t remember what the repeal was, I can remember the purpose of the law was to enhance the ability to collect child support because men have the responsibility of taking care of their children.”

    Huh, so Jeb wrote a book back in 1995 touting the value of publicly shaming the poor into living ‘lives of purpose and meaning’ and then refused to veto a ‘Scarlet letter’ law while governor. And today? He’s evolved. Sort of:

    “My views have evolved over time, but my views about the importance of dads being involved in the lives of children hasn’t changed at all,” he said. “In fact, since 1995 … this book was a book about cultural indicators [and] the country has moved in the wrong direction. We have a 40-plus percent out-of-wedlock birth rate.”

    After a follow-up question on whether the chapter was meant to apply to policy, Bush said that he was “speaking of [marriage] in the policy context and the focus was on men.”

    That sure sounds like an “I’d like to shame single parents, but I’m too ashamed to fully embrace it”-kind of answer. And that’s too bad considering Jebbers wants to be the next national nightmare. Honesty is nothing to be ashamed of, Jeb!

    So let’s hope Jeb finds his courage over this shaming issue. Better yet, lets encourage Jeb’s betters to shame Jeb into a more open public embrace of the the power of shaming. After all, back in 2012, one of Jeb’s favorite authors, Charles Murray, wrote an entire book about how convincing rich people to move into poorer neighborhoods so they can shame their wayward neighbors into more financially secure lifestyles is the key to national renewal. If anyone can shame Jeb into sharing his thoughts on shaming more openly, it’s probably someone that’s had a profound influence on Jeb’s thinking. Someone like Charles Murray:

    The Wall Street Journal
    The New American Divide
    The ideal of an ‘American way of life’ is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated. Charles Murray on what’s cleaving America, and why.

    By Charles Murray
    January 21, 2012

    America is coming apart. For most of our nation’s history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world—for whites, anyway. “The more opulent citizens take great care not to stand aloof from the people,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, the great chronicler of American democracy, in the 1830s. “On the contrary, they constantly keep on easy terms with the lower classes: They listen to them, they speak to them every day.”

    Americans love to see themselves this way. But there’s a problem: It’s not true anymore, and it has been progressively less true since the 1960s.

    People are starting to notice the great divide. The tea party sees the aloofness in a political elite that thinks it knows best and orders the rest of America to fall in line. The Occupy movement sees it in an economic elite that lives in mansions and flies on private jets. Each is right about an aspect of the problem, but that problem is more pervasive than either political or economic inequality. What we now face is a problem of cultural inequality.

    When Americans used to brag about “the American way of life”—a phrase still in common use in 1960—they were talking about a civic culture that swept an extremely large proportion of Americans of all classes into its embrace. It was a culture encompassing shared experiences of daily life and shared assumptions about central American values involving marriage, honesty, hard work and religiosity.

    Over the past 50 years, that common civic culture has unraveled. We have developed a new upper class with advanced educations, often obtained at elite schools, sharing tastes and preferences that set them apart from mainstream America. At the same time, we have developed a new lower class, characterized not by poverty but by withdrawal from America’s core cultural institutions.

    To illustrate just how wide the gap has grown between the new upper class and the new lower class, let me start with the broader upper-middle and working classes from which they are drawn, using two fictional neighborhoods that I hereby label Belmont (after an archetypal upper-middle-class suburb near Boston) and Fishtown (after a neighborhood in Philadelphia that has been home to the white working class since the Revolution).

    To be assigned to Belmont, the people in the statistical nationwide databases on which I am drawing must have at least a bachelor’s degree and work as a manager, physician, attorney, engineer, architect, scientist, college professor or content producer in the media. To be assigned to Fishtown, they must have no academic degree higher than a high-school diploma. If they work, it must be in a blue-collar job, a low-skill service job such as cashier, or a low-skill white-collar job such as mail clerk or receptionist.

    People who qualify for my Belmont constitute about 20% of the white population of the U.S., ages 30 to 49. People who qualify for my Fishtown constitute about 30% of the white population of the U.S., ages 30 to 49.

    I specify white, meaning non-Latino white, as a way of clarifying how broad and deep the cultural divisions in the U.S. have become. Cultural inequality is not grounded in race or ethnicity. I specify ages 30 to 49—what I call prime-age adults—to make it clear that these trends are not explained by changes in the ages of marriage or retirement.

    In Belmont and Fishtown, here’s what happened to America’s common culture between 1960 and 2010.

    Marriage: In 1960, extremely high proportions of whites in both Belmont and Fishtown were married—94% in Belmont and 84% in Fishtown. In the 1970s, those percentages declined about equally in both places. Then came the great divergence. In Belmont, marriage stabilized during the mid-1980s, standing at 83% in 2010. In Fishtown, however, marriage continued to slide; as of 2010, a minority (just 48%) were married. The gap in marriage between Belmont and Fishtown grew to 35 percentage points, from just 10.

    Single parenthood: Another aspect of marriage—the percentage of children born to unmarried women—showed just as great a divergence. Though politicians and media eminences are too frightened to say so, nonmarital births are problematic. On just about any measure of development you can think of, children who are born to unmarried women fare worse than the children of divorce and far worse than children raised in intact families. This unwelcome reality persists even after controlling for the income and education of the parents.

    In 1960, just 2% of all white births were nonmarital. When we first started recording the education level of mothers in 1970, 6% of births to white women with no more than a high-school education—women, that is, with a Fishtown education—were out of wedlock. By 2008, 44% were nonmarital. Among the college-educated women of Belmont, less than 6% of all births were out of wedlock as of 2008, up from 1% in 1970.

    Industriousness: The norms for work and women were revolutionized after 1960, but the norm for men putatively has remained the same: Healthy men are supposed to work. In practice, though, that norm has eroded everywhere. In Fishtown, the change has been drastic. (To avoid conflating this phenomenon with the latest recession, I use data collected in March 2008 as the end point for the trends.)

    The primary indicator of the erosion of industriousness in the working class is the increase of prime-age males with no more than a high school education who say they are not available for work—they are “out of the labor force.” That percentage went from a low of 3% in 1968 to 12% in 2008. Twelve percent may not sound like much until you think about the men we’re talking about: in the prime of their working lives, their 30s and 40s, when, according to hallowed American tradition, every American man is working or looking for work. Almost one out of eight now aren’t. Meanwhile, not much has changed among males with college educations. Only 3% were out of the labor force in 2008.

    There’s also been a notable change in the rates of less-than-full-time work. Of the men in Fishtown who had jobs, 10% worked fewer than 40 hours a week in 1960, a figure that grew to 20% by 2008. In Belmont, the number rose from 9% in 1960 to 12% in 2008.

    Crime: The surge in crime that began in the mid-1960s and continued through the 1980s left Belmont almost untouched and ravaged Fishtown. From 1960 to 1995, the violent crime rate in Fishtown more than sextupled while remaining nearly flat in Belmont. The reductions in crime since the mid-1990s that have benefited the nation as a whole have been smaller in Fishtown, leaving it today with a violent crime rate that is still 4.7 times the 1960 rate.

    Religiosity: Whatever your personal religious views, you need to realize that about half of American philanthropy, volunteering and associational memberships is directly church-related, and that religious Americans also account for much more nonreligious social capital than their secular neighbors. In that context, it is worrisome for the culture that the U.S. as a whole has become markedly more secular since 1960, and especially worrisome that Fishtown has become much more secular than Belmont. It runs against the prevailing narrative of secular elites versus a working class still clinging to religion, but the evidence from the General Social Survey, the most widely used database on American attitudes and values, does not leave much room for argument.

    For example, suppose we define “de facto secular” as someone who either professes no religion at all or who attends a worship service no more than once a year. For the early GSS surveys conducted from 1972 to 1976, 29% of Belmont and 38% of Fishtown fell into that category. Over the next three decades, secularization did indeed grow in Belmont, from 29% in the 1970s to 40% in the GSS surveys taken from 2006 to 2010. But it grew even more in Fishtown, from 38% to 59%.
    ***

    It can be said without hyperbole that these divergences put Belmont and Fishtown into different cultures. But it’s not just the working class that’s moved; the upper middle class has pulled away in its own fashion, too.

    If you were an executive living in Belmont in 1960, income inequality would have separated you from the construction worker in Fishtown, but remarkably little cultural inequality. You lived a more expensive life, but not a much different life. Your kitchen was bigger, but you didn’t use it to prepare yogurt and muesli for breakfast. Your television screen was bigger, but you and the construction worker watched a lot of the same shows (you didn’t have much choice). Your house might have had a den that the construction worker’s lacked, but it had no StairMaster or lap pool, nor any gadget to monitor your percentage of body fat. You both drank Bud, Miller, Schlitz or Pabst, and the phrase “boutique beer” never crossed your lips. You probably both smoked. If you didn’t, you did not glare contemptuously at people who did.

    ***

    Why have these new lower and upper classes emerged? For explaining the formation of the new lower class, the easy explanations from the left don’t withstand scrutiny. It’s not that white working class males can no longer make a “family wage” that enables them to marry. The average male employed in a working-class occupation earned as much in 2010 as he did in 1960. It’s not that a bad job market led discouraged men to drop out of the labor force. Labor-force dropout increased just as fast during the boom years of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s as it did during bad years.

    As I’ve argued in much of my previous work, I think that the reforms of the 1960s jump-started the deterioration. Changes in social policy during the 1960s made it economically more feasible to have a child without having a husband if you were a woman or to get along without a job if you were a man; safer to commit crimes without suffering consequences; and easier to let the government deal with problems in your community that you and your neighbors formerly had to take care of.

    But, for practical purposes, understanding why the new lower class got started isn’t especially important. Once the deterioration was under way, a self-reinforcing loop took hold as traditionally powerful social norms broke down. Because the process has become self-reinforcing, repealing the reforms of the 1960s (something that’s not going to happen) would change the trends slowly at best.

    Meanwhile, the formation of the new upper class has been driven by forces that are nobody’s fault and resist manipulation. The economic value of brains in the marketplace will continue to increase no matter what, and the most successful of each generation will tend to marry each other no matter what. As a result, the most successful Americans will continue to trend toward consolidation and isolation as a class. Changes in marginal tax rates on the wealthy won’t make a difference. Increasing scholarships for working-class children won’t make a difference.

    The only thing that can make a difference is the recognition among Americans of all classes that a problem of cultural inequality exists and that something has to be done about it. That “something” has nothing to do with new government programs or regulations. Public policy has certainly affected the culture, unfortunately, but unintended consequences have been as grimly inevitable for conservative social engineering as for liberal social engineering.

    The “something” that I have in mind has to be defined in terms of individual American families acting in their own interests and the interests of their children. Doing that in Fishtown requires support from outside. There remains a core of civic virtue and involvement in working-class America that could make headway against its problems if the people who are trying to do the right things get the reinforcement they need—not in the form of government assistance, but in validation of the values and standards they continue to uphold. The best thing that the new upper class can do to provide that reinforcement is to drop its condescending “nonjudgmentalism.” Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices.

    Changing life in the SuperZIPs requires that members of the new upper class rethink their priorities. Here are some propositions that might guide them: Life sequestered from anybody not like yourself tends to be self-limiting. Places to live in which the people around you have no problems that need cooperative solutions tend to be sterile. America outside the enclaves of the new upper class is still a wonderful place, filled with smart, interesting, entertaining people. If you’re not part of that America, you’ve stripped yourself of much of what makes being American special.

    Such priorities can be expressed in any number of familiar decisions: the neighborhood where you buy your next home, the next school that you choose for your children, what you tell them about the value and virtues of physical labor and military service, whether you become an active member of a religious congregation (and what kind you choose) and whether you become involved in the life of your community at a more meaningful level than charity events.

    Everyone in the new upper class has the monetary resources to make a wide variety of decisions that determine whether they engage themselves and their children in the rest of America or whether they isolate themselves from it. The only question is which they prefer to do.

    That’s it? But where’s my five-point plan? We’re supposed to trust that large numbers of parents will spontaneously, voluntarily make the right choice for the country by making the right choice for themselves and their children?

    Yes, we are, but I don’t think that’s naive. I see too many signs that the trends I’ve described are already worrying a lot of people. If enough Americans look unblinkingly at the nature of the problem, they’ll fix it. One family at a time. For their own sakes. That’s the American way.

    Charles Murray clearly is so unashamed to promote the shaming of the poor that he wrote an entire book about it that makes the case that such shaming is the only thing that can solve the growing class divide:

    …Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices.

    Everyone in the new upper class has the monetary resources to make a wide variety of decisions that determine whether they engage themselves and their children in the rest of America or whether they isolate themselves from it. The only question is which they prefer to do.

    That’s it? But where’s my five-point plan? We’re supposed to trust that large numbers of parents will spontaneously, voluntarily make the right choice for the country by making the right choice for themselves and their children?

    Yes, we are, but I don’t think that’s naive. I see too many signs that the trends I’ve described are already worrying a lot of people. If enough Americans look unblinkingly at the nature of the problem, they’ll fix it. One family at a time. For their own sakes. That’s the American way.

    Now that’s someone proud of their shaming agenda. And since that same someone is one of Jeb Bush’s favorite authors, who knows, maybe a rereading of Charles Murray’s many classics will give Jeb courage he needs to overcoming his shaming shame.

    Jeb had just better keep the shaming appropriately targeted on the poor. He wouldn’t want to say something he might regret.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 11, 2015, 6:54 pm

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