The fatman chronicles--all hope renounce, ye lost, who enter here

"If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules."--Patterico's Pledge

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

More Pearls Before Swine

The following is a question asked by a blogger called Socialist Swine, of the blog Capitalist Pig vs. Socialist Swine. I was going to reply at that blog, but as my reply got longer and longer in my head, I decided to do it here and then offer a link. (This is going to be a long one.)

"A question for my more right wing readers....

Tonight I was reading about Samuel Alito, the new SCOTUS nominee, and, from what I've read, it seems that Alito has historically seemed to be rather unfriendly to civil rights cases. While I was reading this it occurred to me that from my experience it seems that those who lean to the far right tend to oppose (or at least don't think much of) various civil rights laws and civil rights activists. So my question is, why is this? For what reason could anybody think that furthering the cause of civil rights is a bad idea?

-Socialist Swine"

Actually, SS, you're starting from a faulty premise; that most civil rights laws are used to further civil rights, when they're actually used to foster dependency among those that they're allegedly supposed to help.

Take affirmative action for example. When it was first introduced in the late sixties, the late Senator and Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey swore that it would never become a quota system. Yet by the mid-seventies, that's exactly what it was. Non-profits, for-profit companies large and small and local, state and most federal government institutions (but not Congress; they exempted themselves) could be--and were--painted as racists and sued if they didn't hire enough minorities and promote them fast enough, regardless of qualifications. Later, this exercise in bean-counting was extended to women's rights as well, forcing, among other things, smaller colleges to cut mens' athletic programs in order to ensure that men weren't getting more opportunities to participate in such programs than women were. (Most such colleges didn't have the money to increase womens' programs.) Physical standards were lowered so women could get onto police forces and fire departments and into the military. This may sound good and fair in theory, but if you're a two hundred pound man overcome by smoke in a burning building, do you really want to trust your life to a one hundred pound fireperson, in the name of diversity and equal rights?

Then came lending laws. Banks and savings and loans were forced to relax the standards by which they determined the credit-worthiness of minorities and women. Never mind that this would drive up the number of defaults on loans. Just raise the interest rates and fees on the people who could repay their loans. And if that meant that some people had to forget about that new car or house because they couldn't afford the higher rates and fees, well them's the breaks, as my grandpappy would say. .

The long range effect of all this was to create a class of people who no longer felt it necessary to work to improve themselves. If they weren't strong enough, smart enough, well educated enough or ambitious enough, no problem. Just scream "Discrimination!" loud enough and long enough and someone like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton would show up and shake somebody down for jobs and monetary damages (including a nice little cut for themselves, like that Anheuser-Busch wholesale beer distributorship in Chicago for Jonathon and Yusef Jackson).

Though less of a race issue and more one of social and economic class, welfare had the same effect. Entire generations have grown up not knowing anything but a system that was, to paraphrase the otherwise unlamented former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, designed by slave masters. Under the U.S. system, an unmarried woman with children who claims she doesn't know who the father(s) is/are qualifies for full cash and medical assistance and food stamps. If, on the other hand, she identifies the father and he's able-bodied and presumed employable, she may get cash, medical assistance and food stamps for a few months out of the year, depending on what state she lives in. You can guess what that's done to the percentage of kids growing up in single-parent households, especially among blacks. Boy grows up, fathers as many children by as many women as he wants and lets the state pay for it. Girl grows up, has as many children as she wants by anybody she wants and lets the state pay for it. They may not have set out to have kids like that, but that's what ends up happening. And there is no better way to ensure growing up in poverty than to be born into a single-parent household. Things are improving, thanks in no small part to the welfare reforms a Republican Congress managed to ram down Bill Clinton's throat in the mid-nineties, but it's going to take decades to undo the damage of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society".

What's really galling is the education system in the U.S. Minorities and the poor in this country are pretty much at the mercy of the public system. And thanks to unions like the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), allied with liberals sitting on school boards across the nation, it's virtually impossible to enforce minimum competency standards on teachers and schools. And where do you think most of the poorly equipped schools and burned-out teachers end up? And throwing more money at the problem won't work. Last time I checked (admittedly, it's been several years), the U.S. spends more money per student on education than any industrialized country except Switzerland. Yet we routinely end up on the short end of every measuring stick used to determine how well educated our children are.

Then there are the so-called civil rights organizations like the ACLU, which has refined its scam into a work of art. Find a small-to-medium sized city that has something like, say, a cross in its city seal. Threaten to sue over separation of church and state issues. City agrees to remove the offending cross. ACLU then bills, and is paid by the city, for attorneys' fees and legal expenses. Nice work if you can get it. And Amnesty International, which used to do good work, lost me when they compared the treatment of Islamofascist prisoners at Gitmo to the horrors of the Soviet-era gulags. Being forced to sleep in a room with the air conditioner set to maximum is not the equivalent of being beaten, starved and worked to death in Siberia.

As for Judge Alito, liberals and outright leftists fear him because they think he's an originalist. A judge who bases his rulings on statutory and constitutional issues on what the statute or constitutional article or amendment says, not on what he thinks it should say. A judge who believes that laws should be made by the people and their elected representatives, not by an unelected and unaccountable judiciary issuing fiats from the bench. That's what they fear. Because they know that their agenda--a cradle-to-grave nanny state with them in charge--hasn't got a snowball's chance of being enacted by people who have to face the voters every two, four or six years. And they may be right about him. I certainly hope they are.