Critics of Rep. Paul Ryan’s remarks about cultural factors in the persistence of poverty are simultaneously shrill and boring.
Pardon me Tabitha. Yes, it’s poor form to bump into dancers at the cotillion.
Ryan spoke of a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work,” adding: “There’s a real culture problem here.” This brought down upon Ryan the usual acid rain of accusations — racism, blaming the victims, etc. He had sauntered into the minefield…
I demand that Ryan produce one of these people. I want to see one of these “inner city” problems who has never had a job and whose father never had a job and whose grandfather and great-grandfather never worked a day in their Metropolitan Negro lives. If it’s a national “culture problem” then there are millions of them, and Ryan will surely pull one out his back pocket as his Dockers feature a fried chicken stand, inside a Social Security office opposite a nightclub and/or roadside juke joint.
A year from now, there surely will be conferences marking the 50th anniversary of what is now known as the Moynihan Report, a.k.a. “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.”
blink. blink. I’m staring at this. I think George is wanting to be comical. I hope George is.
In March 1965, Moynihan, then 37 and assistant secretary of labor, wrote that “the center of the tangle of pathology” in inner cities — this was five months before the Watts riots — was the fact that 23.6 percent of black children were born to single women, compared with just 3.07 percent of white children. He was accused of racism, blaming the victims, etc.
Forty-nine years later, 41 percent of all American children are born out of wedlock; almost half of all first births are to unmarried women, as are 54 percent and 72 percent of all Hispanic and black births, respectively. Is there anyone not blinkered by ideology or invincibly ignorant of social science who disagrees with this…
But gasp. Where to begin? How about the premise that this was a clinic on the Inner City people. They’re the folks whose freewheeling lives present to Paul Ryan a national cultural problem. But it turns out the same troubling things are going on all across the whole country? In rural Oklahoma, and in suburban Kankakee? The ethnics done licked everybody’s spoons, I take it. One of those mulattoes got on The Dating Game and started coughing, now everybody wants to have sex before marriage. Bad things come from yer bottom, some people think. I myself think you’re picking on a small group of Americans because…hmm. I wonder why. That’s my occupation. My spider sense is be tingling.
In the 1960s, as the civil rights movement dismantled barriers to opportunity, there began a social regression driven by the explosive growth of the number of children in single-parent families.
Smack my gob. What a wonder of conservative intellectual ignominy. Dismantled barriers, dot dot dot, listen to me now – don’t leave me hanging – here it comes wait for it: Social Regression. I have never read anything so nasty in my life. The civil rights movement bastardized America. Let the bottom 20% of the country vote and what do you get? Gang-banging orphans. Thank you Martin Luther King. This is what happens when you allow the hip-hop crowd into Harvard.
Next March, serious people will be wondering why the problem Moynihan articulated half a century earlier has become so much worse while so much else — including the astonishingly rapid receding of racism and discrimination — has become so much better.
Exhibit A: George Will.
One reason is what Moynihan called “the leakage of reality from American life.” Judging by the blend of malice, ignorance and intellectual sloth in the left’s reaction to Ryan’s unexceptionable remarks, the leak has become, among some factions, a cataract.
Intellectual sloth. My lord, let the words stand there on their own. On the page, to Murgatroid. Paul Ryan thinks “inner city” Americans are parasites, George Will hangs a cross-cultural trend on the civil rights movement, and…? Can’t you see? Like, whew.