Friday, March 31, 2006

It's Friday

Jonah Goldberg has a piece on African Americans that will surely cause some controversy. A sample:

There's a lot of Marxist-infused nonsense about how economics are at the root of black America's problems. But this doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Of course poverty makes social pathologies worse, but it's the pathologies that cause poverty in the first place.

Family breakdown in the black community has occurred despite a steady rise in the wages of blacks since World War II, when 80 percent were born to married parents. Racism alone cannot be blamed anymore for causing all black problems. By every measure, racism, particularly official racism, has declined even as these problems have worsened.

Racism is surely still a problem, but it pales in comparison to family breakdown. Nothing perpetuates the cycle of moral and financial poverty more so. If you are raised by two married parents today, black or white, it is unlikely that you will be poor, or, at the very least, poor for long. Blaming slavery and historic white racism for family erosion may be satisfying — and sometimes accurate — but it promises few solutions.
Meantime, Victor Davis Hanson starts with:

Opponents of the war in Iraq, both original critics and the mea culpa recent converts, have made eight assumptions. The first six are wrong, the last two still unsettled.

1. Saddam was never connected to al Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11.

2. There was no real threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

3. The United Nations and our allies were justifiably opposed on principle to the invasion.

4. A small cabal of neoconservative (and mostly Jewish) intellectuals bullied the administration into a war that served Israel’s interest more than our own.

5. Saddam could not be easily deposed, or at least he could not be successfully replaced with a democratic government.

6. The architects of this war and the subsequent occupation are mostly inept (“dangerously incompetent”) — and are exposed daily as clueless by a professional cadre of disinterested journalists.

7. In realist terms, the benefits to be gained from the war will never justify the costs incurred.

8. We cannot win.
...and goes from there. Read on.

1 comment:

dcat said...

One of the problems with Goldberg's piece is that there is quite literally not a single original thought contained within it. he does not say one thing in that piece that john McWhorter has not written, but better, in his books and essays.

Furthermore, I wonder if Goldberg always has to create straw men to win arguments. Are all economic arguments about race in America really Marxist-influenced? Are many of them? isn't Marxism just a convenient bogeyman preventing him from actually having to address these economically-based arguments? Furthermore, aren't "black America's problkems" largely tied to an underclass that surely does not represent the whole black community, but still manages to impact a large enough percentage of that population so that its effects are disproportionate?

Finally there is this gem: "racism alone cannot be blamed for all black problems." Against whom is he arguing, exactly? Who is saying that racism causes ALL black problems? So kudos to Jonah for bravely combatting caricatured arguments that no one is actually making, for creating arguments only to knock them down! Huzzah!