Pro­gres­sives and Blacks

The Covington News - - THE SECOND OPINION - Wal­ter E. Wil­liams is a pro­fes­sor of economics at Ge­orge Ma­son Univer­sity. To find out more about Wal­ter E. Wil­liams, visit the Cre­ators Syn­di­cate web­site at cre­ators. com.

Some­times I won­der when black peo­ple will re­ject the pa­tron­iz­ing in­sults of white pro­gres­sives and their black hand­maid­ens. Af­ter CNN’s Piers Mor­gan’s in­ter­view with the key wit­ness in the Ge­orge Zim­mer­man trial, he said: “Rachel Jean­tel is not un­e­d­u­cated. She’s a smart cookie.” That’s a re­mark­able con­clu­sion. Here’s a 19-year-old young lady, still in high school, who can­not read cur­sive and ap­pears to be barely lit­er­ate. Mor­gan may have meant Jean­tel is smart -- for a black per­son.

Pro­gres­sives treat blacks as vic­tims in need of kid glove treat­ment and spe­cial fa­vors, such as racial quo­tas and pref­er­ences. This ap­proach has been tried in ed­u­ca­tion for decades and has re­vealed it­self a fail­ure. I say it’s time we ex­plore other ap­proaches. One ap­proach is sug­gested by sports. Blacks ex­cel -per­haps dom­i­nate is a bet­ter word -- in sports such as bas­ket­ball, football and boxing to such an ex­tent that blacks are 80 per­cent of pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball play­ers, are 66 per­cent of pro­fes­sional football play­ers and, for decades, have dom­i­nated most pro­fes­sional boxing cat­e­gories.

Th­ese out­comes should raise sev­eral ques­tions. In sports, when have you heard a coach ex­plain or ex­cuse a black player’s poor per­for­mance by blam­ing it on a “legacy of slav­ery” or on that player’s be­ing raised in a sin­gle-par­ent house­hold? When have you heard sports stan­dards called racist or cul­tur­ally bi­ased? I have yet to hear a player, much less a coach, speak such non­sense. In fact, the stan­dards of per­for­mance in sports are just about the most ruth­less any­where. Ex­cuses are not tol­er­ated. Think about it. What hap­pens to a player, black or white, who doesn’t come up to a col­lege bas­ket­ball or football coach’s stan­dards? He’s off the team. Play­ers know this, and they make ev­ery ef­fort to ex­cel. They do so even more if they have as­pi­ra­tions to be a pro­fes­sional player. By the way, blacks also ex­cel in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try -- an­other in­dus­try in which there’s ruth­less dog-eat-dog com­pe­ti­tion.

See­ing as blacks have demon­strated an abil­ity to thrive in an en­vi­ron­ment of ruth­less com­pe­ti­tion and de­mand­ing stan­dards, there might be some gains from a sim­i­lar school en­v­i­ron- ment. Maybe we ought to have some schools in which young­sters are loaded up with home­work, fre­quent tests and de­mand­ing, top-notch teach­ers. In such schools, there would be no ex­cuses for any­thing. Young­sters cut the mus­tard, or they’re kicked out and put into some other school. I’m bet­ting that a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of black young­sters would pros­per in such an en­vi­ron­ment, just as they pros­per in the highly com­pet­i­tive sports and en­ter­tain­ment en­vi­ron­ments.

Pro­gres­sives’ agenda calls for not only ex­cuse-mak­ing but also de­pen­dency. Nowhere is this more ob­vi­ous than it is in their ef­forts to get as many Amer­i­cans as they can to be de­pen­dent on food stamps; how­ever, in this part of their agenda, they of­fer racial equal op­por­tu­nity. Dur­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s years in of­fice, the num­ber of peo­ple re­ceiv­ing food stamps has sky­rock­eted by 39 per­cent. Pro­fes­sor Ed­ward Lazear, chair­man of the pres­i­dent’s Coun­cil of Eco­nomic Ad­vis­ers from 2006-09, wrote in a Wall Street Jour­nal ar­ti­cle ti­tled “The Hid­den Job­less Disas­ter” (June 5, 2013) that re­search done by Univer­sity of Chicago’s Casey Mul­li­gan sug­gests “that be­cause govern­ment ben­e­fits are lost when in­come rises, some peo­ple forgo poor jobs in lieu of govern­ment ben­e­fits --un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance, food stamps and dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits among the most ob­vi­ous.”

Govern­ment hand­outs prob­a­bly go a long way to­ward ex­plain­ing the un­prece­dented num­ber of Amer­i­cans, close to 90 mil­lion, who are no longer look­ing for work.

This is all a part of the pro­gres­sive agenda to hook Amer­i­cans, par­tic­u­larly black Amer­i­cans, on govern­ment hand­outs. In fu­ture elec­tions, they will be able to claim that any­one who cam­paigns on cut­ting tax­ing and spend­ing is a racist. That’s what Rep. Charles Ran­gel, D-N.Y., said in de­nounc­ing the Repub­li­can 1994 call for tax cuts. He said, “It’s not ‘spic’ or ‘nig­ger’ any­more. (In­stead,) they say, ‘Let’s cut taxes.’”

When black Amer­i­cans fi­nally rec­og­nize the harm of the pro­gres­sive agenda, I’m bet­ting they will be the na­tion’s most con­ser­va­tive peo­ple, for who else has been harmed by pro­gres­sivism as much?

WAL­TER WIL­LIAMS COLUM­NIST

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