Thursday, April 24, 2014

Democrats, once again the party of race.

Holder: America racial "cowards" (2009)
"If it's wrong to use race to deny people opportunities, it is equally wrong to use race to help some at the expense of others. Using skin color rather than merit to pick winners and losers is a policy that fosters cynicism. Such policies only serve the politicians, who hand out the spoils, using racial preference as governmental levers as they win power and treasure for themselves. . . There is a race industry in politics. And many elites — from politicians to journalists — continue to argue in favor of race-based policy. But here's the thing: Mr. Obama was elected twice. Twice."

 --John Kass, Chicago Tribune

John Kass, a conservative, has the courage to write words that will brand him a racist. Yet Kass lacks the courage to call Democrats what they are. It’s Democratic politicians, and Democrats alone, who use “racial preference as governmental levers as they win power and treasure for themselves.” And the “elites” who “argue in favor of race-based policy” are exclusively progressive Democrats.

Republicans feel unfairly associated with racism and would be only too happy to end campaigns based upon race, and upon sex, and upon sexual preferences. The politics of victimhood, of race, sex, or sexual preference identity, is the politics practiced by the party that elected Obama twice. Twice.

In my adult lifetime, Democrats were the party that tiptoed past legalized segregation in the South in order to hold together a coalition of conservative Southern Democrats--Dixiecrats who by virtue of their seniority controlled almost all leadership positions in Congress--and northern liberal Democrats who helped elect Woodrow Wilson (2x), Franklin Roosevelt (4x), Harry Truman, and John Kennedy + Lyndon Johnson in the years before 1964. Years when famous racists were Democrats. It’s a fact, and a fact that embarrassed me and millions of other Democrats at the time.

In 1964, Republican Barry Goldwater voted against Johnson’s 1964 Civil Rights Act, and thereby won South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the only states he carried outside his native Arizona. In 1968, Republican Richard Nixon lost Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana plus Arkansas to third-party Southerner and Dixiecrat George Wallace. In the process, Nixon almost lost the 1968 election.

Following that close call, Nixon embraced a “Southern Strategy” aimed at winning over white Southerners so alienated from the Democratic civil rights drive that they wasted “lost cause” votes on Goldwater in 1964 and Wallace in 1968. The “Southern Strategy” eventually turned the more conservative South into the Republican Party’s main base of strength.

After the “Southern Strategy” helped deliver Nixon’s sweeping 1972 victory, Democrats won the White House only when they nominated Southerners who could grab some of that good ol’ Southern voting--Georgia’s Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Arkansas’ Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 (Al Gore, ostensibly from Tennessee but really a senator’s son raised in Washington D.C., lost his home state and the rest of the South in 2000).

The Southern Strategy worked for Republicans until Obama’s elections. The Democrats’ national elite plus government and government-supported employees at the top, combined with minority, unmarried female, and youth “victims” at the bottom, has now grown to roughly 60% of the electorate.

And so, the GOP “Southern Strategy” has backfired, as did Romney’s “voluntary deportation” swipe at Hispanics in 2012. The GOP hasn’t since 1988 effectively employed the code-word racism of “crime in the streets,” “forced busing,” “welfare queens,” or in that final occasion, “Dukakis freed Willie Horton.”

Republicans are back to suffering as they did more than half a century earlier from Democrats’ use of the race issue. This time, however, progressives employ race against white males, not for holding onto white Southern support.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Michelle Wie’s Long Winding Road

Michelle Wie, the 24 year old American daughter of Korean immigrants, had the tragedy of the Korean ferry Sewol very much on her mind Saturday, as she won her first ever LPGA golf event on U.S. soil. Wie, backed by a large, friendly crowd, won in her Hawaii home, as Korea mourned the ferry sinking with 302 dead or missing, most of whom could have been saved. Nearly 3/4ths of the passengers were 16- and 17-year-olds from suburbian Seoul’s Danwon High School.

Wie paid tribute to the lost Koreans with a black ribbon pinned to her golf cap, and after winning, saying she sent out “good thoughts and prayers and to all the family in Korea right now. It's very unfortunate."

But fortune finally did smile on Wie, after a 79-event winless drought going back to 2010.

Wie’s first tournament as an LPGA member was the season-opening SBS Open at Oahu’s Turtle Bay in February 2009, a predecessor event to the Oahu Lotte Championship she has just won. Wie in 2009 held a three-stroke lead with eight holes remaining, but ended up losing by three to Angela Stanford, the same woman she beat by two strokes Saturday, after starting four behind Stanford.

In August 2009, Wie distinguished herself in the team-America Solheim Cup competition against Europe, going 3-0-1. Then in November, she won her first professional tournament, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, ending an 80-match professional tournament drought. She won again in August 2010, the the CN Canadian Women's Open, her last victory before the 79-tourney drought that ended Saturday.

Wie’s mother was a Korean women’s amateur golf champion and a Miss Korea pageant contestant, and her father a University of Hawaii professor. Wie began golfing at age 4.  She enjoyed much early success before turning pro in 2005, winning in 2003 at age 13 the Women's Amateur Public Links tournament, becoming the youngest person ever, male or female, to win a USGA adult event. Wie's 6-foot height and her 300 yard drives made her an international childhood sensation, as did her efforts to enter male PGA events.

2006-08 were bad years for Wie. She injured her wrists in 2006 and broke three bones in her left wrist in a 2007 fall. “Golf Channel’s” Randell Mell reports golf swing coach David Leadbetter saying people never understood how the injuries Wie endured through the years hurt her game. The injuries changed her swing, which Leadbetter then had to rebuild.

Mell wrote:
“I don’t think there’s been enough said about how many injuries she’s had and how they hurt her golf swing,” said four-time major championship winner Meg Mallon, who captained Wie in the 2013 Solheim Cup. “She had to revamp her swing because she couldn’t bend her wrists very much.”
there were emotional injuries, too. Wie, her parents and her managers made mistakes. There was disrespect withdrawing from Annika Sorenstam’s tournament in the middle of a round in 2007, with Wie citing injury when it appeared she was going to fail to shoot better than 88, a high score that would have disqualified her from playing in LPGA events for a year. The next day, she was seen hitting balls.
After 2010, Wie endured her second long victory drought: 2011-13. Two years ago, in 2012, the blogger at “autographs for sale,” who had dropped the price of his Wie autographs by 50% and predicted the possibility of no sales, wrote that Wie’s
LPGA career to date has been profoundly disappointing. Even worse, it seems like her game is declining. Wie’s 2011 season was worse than 2009 or 2010, and she’s gotten off to a horrendous start in 2012, badly missing the cut at the last 2 events. . . Wie may eventually be remembered as the most hyped, least accomplished player in LPGA history.
Wie’s Stanford education may also have been a distraction. She attended Stanford for five years, 2007-12, going only to the Fall and Winter quarters, and golfing through the Spring and Summer. Leadbetter said that after graduating from Stanford, Wie was expected to elevate her game with her focus no longer divided. Instead, she slumped in 2012, missing the cut 10 times in the 16 events where there were cuts, missing five cuts in a row.

According to Mell:
Wie said . . . her frustration mounted seeing no rewards for all the hard work she was putting into her game. There was no fun in that. “It was sad,” Leadbetter said. “She was working hard, putting in more hours on the range, and nothing was happening. She was desperately trying to make something happen. She was forcing things. Once you start losing confidence, it’s hard.”
Leadbetter said he saw the frustrations choking Wie’s love of the game. While Wie’s game showed signs of rebounding in 2013, Leadbetter sensed a weariness in her. At year’s end, he told her to take five weeks off without touching a club. . . When she returned to Florida to see Leadbetter for a preseason boot camp before starting this year, she was revitalized. They picked up with changes that were working late in the ’13 season.
Now, back on top after a decade of trials, Wie is first in LPGA money winnings ($616,555), first in scoring (69.57), first in hitting greens in regulation (81%) and first in rounds under par (25). Mell quotes Wie saying, “I’m really in a good place with my swing right now.”

Monogamy = Civilization

 "It is one of the great social tragedies of our time that marriage is flourishing among the most advantaged and self-actualized groups in our society and waning among those who could most benefit from its economic and child-rearing partnership. "

--Report, National Marriage Project, University of Virginia

Our third consecutive posting about the importance of marriage.

I am stunned by the simplicity of William Tucker’s assertion--in his book Marriage and Civilization: How Monogamy Made Us Human--that monogamy is the bedrock of civilization.

David DesRosiers summarizes Tucker’s book in a recent (conservative) Washington Times article. Before civilization, there was polygamy:
it made natural-selection sense for a man and a woman to pair off for hunting and gathering, and this condition lasted 5 million years. In the safety of the jungle, polygamy works for the alpha male and the offspring are attended to.
Once [humans left] the jungle [for] the open plains, sexual equity becomes a requirement of survival for the offspring. “Civilizations are born,” Tucker writes, “when two people trust each other, namely a man and a woman. At this moment, we come out of the cold isolation of nature and begin to construct something that we call human society.”
Tucker claims polygamy made a comeback 10,000 years ago with farming, because those with the most land and largest herds took a greater share of women for themselves. But then, Tucker’s reasoning takes an important, counter-intuitive twist, as he claims:
monogamy, just like polygamy, is an elite-driven enterprise. Monogamy requires self-restraint and forward thinking among the strongest. These powerful few recognize the bellicose logic of polygamy and choose sexual equity because of the internal peace and prosperity that follows.
To support his findings, Tucker points to “the founders of Athens and Rome, who legislated sexual equity into their founding laws,” to “Christianity, which ordains and spiritualizes monogamy,” to “the Victorians that made sure that monogamy was reflected in the general mores and public policies.”

We have alpha men, but Tucker says monogamy requires alpha women:
The feminine vipers of the harem are replaced with astute and virtuous women who stand by their men — and up to power. “The real reason why monogamy prevailed in Western Civilization was not because of examples from the Bible, but because the Catholic Church had a crucial ally in a new icon of Western Civilization — the Virtuous Woman.”
DesRosiers concludes, “Culture is a product of human choice and necessity. What made man and the ‘West best’ is our monogamy. Sexual equity creates better societies.”

Comment: Today, we have “alpha women.” Good. But Charles Murray has told us we’d be better off if on the subject of marriage, our “alpha”-dominated national elite “preached what it practices” (they already marry each other), because the lower class has lost the old virtues--lost them since the 1960s “triple revolution” of sex, civil rights, and equal rights for women.

The dominant culture currently only preaches marriage for gays. We need marriage for children. And for these children, we need the ideal of monogamy that our own marriage vows swear us to follow.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Wanna a better country? Promote Marriage!

“As was true 50 years ago, there are those who dismiss the Great Society as a failed experiment and an encroachment on liberty; who argue that government has become the true source of all that ails us, and that poverty is due to the moral failings of those who suffer from it. There are also those who argue ... racism is so embedded in our DNA that . . .the game is rigged.”

--Barack Obama, 4.10.14

Sigh, Obama once again bashing straw men.

In truth, the “Great Society” was a “failed experiment,” victim of a resource-draining Vietnam disaster, but very popular at its launch 49 (not 50) years ago. Lyndon Johnson’s program wasn’t an “encroachment on liberty;” it just didn’t work. Responsible critics don’t call government “the true source of all that ails us”--government performs essential services outlined in the preamble of our (still sacred) constitution.

Conservative critics don’t go after poverty as a “moral failing,” but do look for cultural differences written about in liberal David McClelland’s The Achieving Society 53 years ago, well in advance of Johnson’s presidency. And it’s simply outrageous to suggest, as did our first African-DNA president Thursday, that America is so racist “in our DNA” that we’ll never treat blacks fairly.

Face it: our culture is failing us. Why do left and right blame each other when the adverse impact of family breakdown affects us all? It’s a subject discussed in our last post, and worth returning to again and again.

As did Cynthia M. Allen in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Allen recently wrote about Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 study of black family breakdown, which triggered a “bounty of research correlating family structure to the economic mobility of children — or lack thereof.” Allen quotes the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project’s finding that “children of divorced mothers or [those] who were born to unmarried mothers are less likely to be upwardly mobile.” Given all the recent talk of social inequality, Allen uses the Pew study to stress family structure has ripple effects. It correlates with upward mobility, not only within the family, but also at the community level.

Marriage is important. The Brookings Institution reports that marriage is “a mechanism through which advantage is protected and passed on.” Less affluent women are more likely to have children outside of marriage and raise them on their own, often in similarly-structured communities, where they “enter vicious cycles of downward mobility.”

Allen, using highly understated language, tells us that “attempts to redistribute income and expand the welfare state. . . have not had the success that lawmakers expected.” Allen would rather turn to Ron Haskins, director of Brookings’ Center on Children and Families, who says, “do something about family structure,” adding that in the war on inequality, we should be supporting policies that promote more stable families. In other words, promote marriage.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Family Breakdown and Working Class Depression

"Father Knows Best" (1954-60)
Conservative Washington Post columnist George Will recently noted that when House GOP budget chair Paul 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” and added “there’s a real culture problem here,” he was accused of “racism, blaming the victims.”

Will wrote that Ryan
had sauntered into the minefield that a more experienced Daniel Patrick Moynihan — a liberal scholar who knew the taboos of his tribe — had tiptoed into [i]n March 1965, [saying] 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% of black children were born to single women, compared with just 3.07% of white children.
Forty-nine years later, 41% of all American children are born out of wedlock; almost half of all first births are to unmarried women, as are 54% and 72% of all Hispanic and black births, respectively.
These oft-repeated figures remain shocking, staggering.

Will believes that
The family is the primary transmitter of social capital — the values and character traits that enable people to seize opportunities. Family structure is a primary predictor of an individual’s life chances, and family disintegration is the principal cause of the intergenerational transmission of poverty. [emphasis added]
The 1960s brought us a civil rights movement that “dismantled barriers to opportunity,” and a simultaneous “social regression driven by the explosive growth of the number of children in single-parent families,” resulting in a “continually renewed cohort of adolescent males from homes without fathers” producing “turbulent neighborhoods and schools where the task of maintaining discipline eclipsed that of instruction.”

Will added that Moynihan observed “something ominous . . . the decline in the minority—then overwhelmingly black—male unemployment rate [accompanied a] simultaneous rise of new welfare cases.”

Will explains:
Policymakers had long [believed] in social salvation through better economic incentives [rather than consider] the decisive factors are not economic but cultural — habits, mores, customs[. I]t is easier for government to alter incentives and remove barriers than to alter culture.
To Will, any government belief in money-based solutions “is refuted by the importance of family structure,” with “the challenge” facing broken families “to acculturate those unacquainted with the culture of work to the disciplines and satisfactions of this culture.”

Will quotes Nicholas Eberstadt’s findings that “labor force participation ratios for men in the prime of life are demonstrably lower in America than in Europe” and “a large part of the jobs problem for American men today is that of not wanting one[,” leading to an] “unprecedented exit from gainful work by adult men.”

Will asks “why the problem Moynihan articulated half a century earlier has become so much worse while . . . the astonishingly rapid receding of racism and discrimination — has become so much better,” and blames “what Moynihan called ‘the leakage of reality from American life.’”

Will and Ryan fault government policy for turning newly-free minorities into government dependents. Transfixed by the juxtaposition of Moynihan’s 1965 focus on single-parent families with the simultaneous liberal triumph of civil rights, the “War on Poverty,” and the “Great Society,” they treat activist government as the cause of family breakdown.

Charles Murray’s Coming Apart--a work we have covered in detail here--also blames government policy for family breakdown, which Murray, Will, and Ryan all place at the center of working class difficulties. Murray, by writing about whites only, frees his analysis from accusations of racism, a ready charge when both Will and Ryan talk about “inner cities.”

Family breakdown is worse among blacks, but affects all races.  Murray specifically blames 1960s social policy that
made it economically more feasible to have a child without a husband if you were a woman or to get along without a job if you were a man; safer to commit crimes without suffering consequences; and easier to let government handle community problems you and your neighbors formerly took care of.
Modern America began in the 1960s. There were three revolutions--sexual, civil rights, and equal rights for women--all made more emphatic by the government’s Vietnam disaster that deprived our then-WASP male national elite of its moral authority. Vietnam paved the way for revolution in America just as World War I triggered the Russian Revolution and World War II led to the triumph of Chinese Communism.

The old culture that idealized the American “Father Knows Best” family with the father providing, the mother nurturing, and the children protected, turns out to have been the 1960s most consequential casualty.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Conservatives Protecting Washington’s Liberal Elite? Looks Like.

This blog is eight years old.  In March 2006, the first 60 days of its existence, we warned conservative outlets like Fox News helped give the mainstream media freedom to express openly their progressive preferences. Now John Podhoretz, writing in the conservative New York Postpushes the same point:
the mainstream media — the prestige press and the network television commentariat — are committing sins both of commission and omission. At times, they act as the president’s blocking tackles in some respects, speaking with contempt and dismissal when the scandals are even mentioned.
When they are not actively working in his defense, the media’s managers are downplaying the scandal stories . . . and the failure to pursue them aggressively has the effect of quieting [scandals] down.
Why is this happening?
mainstream media heavyweights [are] liberated from the responsibility of covering Obama administration malfeasances because of the . . . alternative conservative media that have arisen over the past 20 years — talk radio, Fox News, and multiple websites.
Right[-wing] media means that the stories are being covered[, relieving the mainstream of] responsibility they might otherwise feel to do the job themselves. Even better, . . . the stories are being covered in such a way that the mainstream media can dismiss them and attack them.