Nick Kristof ‘fesses up:
Fifty years ago this month, Democrats made a historic mistake.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, at the time a federal official, wrote a famous report in March 1965 on family breakdown among African-Americans. He argued presciently and powerfully that the rise of single-parent households would make poverty more intractable.
“The fundamental problem,” Moynihan wrote, is family breakdown. In a follow-up, he explained: “From the wild Irish slums of the 19th-century Eastern seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows large numbers of young men to grow up in broken families … never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future — that community asks for and gets chaos.”
Liberals brutally denounced Moynihan as a racist. He himself had grown up in a single-mother household and worked as a shoeshine boy at the corner of Broadway and 43rd Street in Manhattan, yet he was accused of being aloof and patronizing, and of “blaming the victim.”
But the scathing commentary led President Lyndon Johnson to distance himself from the Moynihan report. Scholars, fearful of being accused of racism, mostly avoided studying family structure and poverty.
In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle stepped into the breach by emphasizing the role of the family in addressing poverty, including a brief reference to Murphy Brown, a television character who was a single mom. Liberals rushed to ridicule Quayle for sexism and outdated moralism, causing politicians to tread this ground ever more carefully.
The taboo on careful research on family structure and poverty was broken by William Julius Wilson, an eminent black sociologist. He has praised Moynihan’s report as “a prophetic document,” for evidence is now overwhelming that family structure matters a great deal for low-income children of any color.
I was a little kid when LBJ was in the White House, but I still remember talk about a “War on Poverty.” Helping poor people seemed like a nice thing to do. It just never occurred to me that poverty would win.
But here’s the money quote I want to talk about:
“My major criticism of the report is that it assumes that middle-class American values are the correct values for everyone in America,” protested Floyd McKissick, then a prominent African-American civil rights leader.
That right there is the cancer that lurks at the heart of modern liberalism. Most people call it “multiculturalism.”
If you ever took a sales course you probably have heard of Zig Ziglar. He was a motivational speaker and author who taught that if you want to be a winner you have to act like one. If you do the things that winners do, you’ll start winning too.
According to modern liberalism, “You didn’t build that.” If you are successful it’s not because you worked hard and applied yourself, denying yourself instant gratification for a bigger and better reward later.
According to modern liberalism, success is achieved by either pure luck or by cheating someone else. There is no such thing as “American Exceptionalism” and capitalism is inherently evil. Religion and moral values are tools of The Patriarchy and the racist White Power Establishment that are used to oppress and enslave minorities and women.
Middle class American values have a lot to do with success of the middle class. Lower class and/or non-American values have a lot to do with the lack of success of the lower class. To quote Zig Ziglar, “You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.”