Monday, June 25, 2001

Mona Charen has an excellent column on the question of reparations to blacks for the injustices done to them by the institution of slavery. In the article she points out that:

...the truth is that family structure is a far better predictor of success in America today than race, or the condition of servitude of one's ancestors. Black intact families enjoy incomes and standards of living indistinguishable from whites. But only 30 percent of black children are born to married couples today.

She then goes on to quote a startling statistic from Walter Williams:

Is this family disintegration itself a legacy of slavery? Doubtful. As economist Walter Williams writes, "In 1880, in Philadelphia, two-parent family structure was: black, 75.2 percent; Irish, 82.2 percent; German, 84.5 percent; native white American, 73.1 percent.

This represents a very rapid decline in the state of the black family. How sad. Sadder still and quite sobering is the way that the welfare state has been undercutting the black family for decades and has no doubt contributed to this rapid decline. I'm not releasing anyone from personal responsibility for abandoning a spouse or a family, but simply pointing out that the good intentions of many who have advocated liberal social policy in dealing with the poor have actually ended up doing more damage.

For a good account of how liberal social policy continues to be exalted even in the face of mounting evidence that display it's failures, check the link to The Burden of Bad Ideas under Currently Reading to your left.

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