Friday, September 29, 2023

Our Failing Cultural Revolution

It is always reassuring to discover that you are not alone. This is especially the case when someone is working on an idea that echoes the theme of your new book-- book that he most assuredly has not read, because it has not yet been published! 

Such is the case with a Gerard Baker column in the Wall Street Journal. It bears a close similarity to my new and eventually hopefully forthcoming book, Can’t We All Get Along?

It is fair to say that Baker, in a newspaper column, could not do all that I could do in a long book, but still. His thesis bears a stark similarity to mine.

Baker describes a cultural revolution. He argues that Judeo-Christian civilization has recently been replaced by a secular ethic, one that you will recognize immediately. 

Baker adds that the new culture has lately been failing. He is calling for a return to more traditional ethos. 

In his words:

Over the past 30 years, the values of Judeo-Christian belief that had inspired and sustained Western civilization and culture for centuries have been steadily replaced in a moral, cultural and political revolution of the postmodern ascendancy. But the contradictions and implausibilities inherent in this successor creed have been increasingly exposed, and its failure to supply the needs of the people is discrediting it in the popular mind.

As for the three pillars of the postmodern secular faith, Baker begins with globalism, which presumably supersedes national interest. Of course, nationalism does not preclude free trade.

It is important to emphasize that nations can and should engage in free trade with each other. Yet, ignoring borders, disparaging and defaming the nation, makes for a world in which people do not belong to a nation. They belong to an amorphous mass called humanity. That means, they do not belong.

This means that we ought to forget the fatuous nonsense about being citizens of the world. We, in America, are citizens of the republic. We ought to take pride in it. No more and no less.

The second pillar of the new culture is climate catastrophism. Our culture warriors believe that the world is going to end and that the Industrial Revolution is to blame. Thus, they want to repeal industry and manufacturing, the better to return to a state of nature. By their lights, we are guilty of destroying the pristine innocence of Mother Nature and must mend our ways, lest the world go up in smoke.

Evidently, this has a Biblical antecedent, but the perpetual whining about the damage we are doing to Mother Nature makes it seem that the One God of Judeo-Christianity now has a consort. Thus, we are returning to paganism.

The third pillar denounces traditional Judeo-Christianity as an organized criminal conspiracy, whose successes were purchased at the cost of oppression and exploitation. We should give back everything we earned, because we really stole it.

Baker explains:

Third, a wholesale cultural self-cancellation in which the virtues, values and historic achievements of traditional civilization are rejected and replaced by a cultural hierarchy that inverts old prejudices and obliges the class of white, male heterosexuals to acknowledge their history of exploitation and submit to comprehensive social and economic reparation.

Yes, indeed, attack national pride; attack cultural pride; attack all achievements and accomplishments. Denounce it as criminal and call for universal penance, not to mention reparations.

If you had set out to undermine the culture, you could not have done much better than this attack on the greatness of American civilization.

Anyway, Baker is an optimist, so he believes that the pillars of the new culture are crumbling, before our eyes.

First, the dreams of a borderless world are crumbling in Lampedusa, Italy and Eagle Pass, Texas.

… the idea of permissive migration in an economically unequal world is being tested to destruction. Lampedusa was inundated last week with another surge of migrants from Africa, larger than the population of the island itself. In Texas, the influx across the border with Mexico became a torrent.

Worse yet, according to New York’s mayor, the torrent is in the process of destroying the nation’s largest city.

Besides, the notion that we have limitless resources to support people who have no business being here will eventually, one hopes, cause the politicians who promote such policies to be replaced.

Second, in the matter of climate change, countries that are assessing the cost of going carbon neutral are walking back these absurd policies.

Baker assesses the situation in Great Britain:

Last week, Britain’s notionally Conservative government took a small but symbolically important step in climate apostasy, announcing some sensible tweaks to a program of regulatory decarbonization mandates, such as pushing back by a few years the phasing out of new gasoline-powered cars. The move was precipitated by the high and rising costs to ordinary citizens of these measures and didn’t actually involve—yet—a formal retreat from the ambitious goal of making the country “carbon neutral” by 2050. But the howls from almost the entire establishment were an encouraging sign that the priesthood knows its days are numbered.

In America we all expect another spike in energy costs, the direct consequence of Biden administration Green New Deal policies.

As for the politics of reparations, of redressing grievances, Baker explains what is happening in Australia, where politicians decided that they should offer reparations to indigenous people who were exploited and repressed by the bands of white criminals who founded the country. 

Unfortunately, the people of Australia, who will have a say in the matter through a referendum, are rejecting it, soundly.

The left-wing government there, eager to impress the world with its moral bona fides, has called for a reform to the constitution designed to redress the grievances of the Aboriginal population. Called the Voice to Parliament, the measures would create a constitutional body that Parliament would be required to consult on all legislative and other matters relating to indigenous peoples.

The referendum that was expected to approve this change takes place next month, but the campaign has run into fierce opposition. The most recent polls suggest Australians will reject the move by a large majority. It seems they—like many of us in the rest of the West—have had enough of leaders’ insistence on dividing us by race and other attributes rather than uniting us around our common national identity.

Will we all fulfill Baker’s wish and return to a more sound and sensible culture? We can certainly agree that it would be a step forward.

Please subscribe to my Substack.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Angry Mother Syndrome

You may not be aware of it-- I certainly wasn’t-- but American mothers are being consumed by rage. That’s right, by raw anger. They are incensed because of-- you guessed it-- the patriarchy.

You see, if there were no patriarchy, their husbands would change more diapers, do more breast feeding, supervise more homework and play more dodgeball. Patriarchal oppression has enraged American mothers, to the point where many of them believe that the only solution is the violent overthrow of the government. Down with patriarchy. Down with capitalism. No more angry mothers.

Fair enough, we are not dealing with intellectual heavyweights here. What were you expecting from ideologues?

I probably do not need to tell you, but certain countries spent much of the twentieth century trying to overthrow the patriarchy and capitalism. As a result, over a hundred million people starved to death.

It takes a special sort of feminist debility to insist that we need to keep repeating the experiment. Then again, what good is all that rage if it does not blind you to reality.

The issue today is not that one another dopey feminist, this time named Minna Dubin, has written a screed about how much she hates being a mother, but that The New Yorker has published a long and detailed analysis by one Maeve Emre, wherein she concludes that Dubin is profoundly stupid.

The story begins with Dubin’s three year old son. He was out of control. Emre describes the situation:

Her son would not get into the car, or eat the foods that she wanted him to eat, or let her brush his teeth. He bit other children. He ignored her. She yelled at him, threatened him, squeezed his arms, threw him in his crib, and wanted badly to hit him. 

Mother Dubin knew that she could not do what she wanted to do-- punish her boy violently-- so she allowed her rage to consume her. Therefore, as Blake once opined, she became what she beheld.

The point was to unleash the primal scream of a mother who had regressed—spectacularly, obscenely—into a tantrumming child, not unlike the three-year-old who had spurred her rage in the first place.

But, Dubin does not want to think that she is the only angry mother out there. If such were the case, the cause might be her inability to care for her child. So, she declares that Mom rage is the norm. All women who live under patriarchal oppression feel it. So, she descends into a rant about the patriarchy.

Emre summarizes Dubin’s argument:

The anger of mothers is overdetermined by the “white supremacist, homophobic, classist, ableist, xenophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, capitalist patriarchy,” Dubin writes. The capitalist patriarchy props up the ideology of “capital-M Motherhood,” which “tells mothers we must throw ourselves full throttle into our mothering job—researching, planning, contacting, scheduling, overseeing, washing, tidying, folding, driving, thanking, inviting, hosting, cooking, preparing, and sharing.” Rage is simultaneously “a natural reaction to being systematically stripped of one’s power” and a source of “power in its potential for individual and cultural change.” The remedies Dubin proposes range from state-subsidized child care to communal parenting, art-making (“I recommend the transformative power of creative practice,” she writes), and non-normative sexual arrangements (“I also recommend queerness”).

Of course, this is drivel, offered by someone who took too many Women’s Studies courses. 

To my surprise, Emre sees this clearly:

Reading paraphrases of paraphrases of paraphrases, one starts to feel as if there is something a little hollow and shiftless about the ease with which phrases such as “white supremacist, homophobic, classist, ableist, xenophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, capitalist patriarchy” are trotted out. We get the right words, strung together like marquee lights, but not the structural analysis that puts them in relation to one another.

Emre identifies the problem:

Dubin does not appear to have interviewed any mothers who do not claim to suffer from mom rage. Nor has she interviewed fathers, rageful or otherwise, a renegade pack of mansplaining, gaslighting, happy-go-lucky ne’er-do-wells. 

When you get blinded by your rage, you cannot think coherently.

The argument, such as it is, says that motherhood reduces your freedom. Being responsible for another human being-- especially a helpless human--  means that you cannot do what you please, when you please, with whom you please.

Worse yet, if you are a feminist, you have chosen to become a mother. You could have chosen to abort the whole process. So, if Dubin has become consumed by rage, one reason is that she cannot blame anyone but herself for her free decision.No one forced her to get pregnant or to give birth.

Naturally, being a feminist means blinding yourself to your decisions and believing that your ideology, your membership in the vanguard of a revolution, requires you to live in a constant state of rage.

Emre writes:

If, like Dubin, you are relatively privileged, you know that you have chosen your unfreedom. Yet you may still feel that you did not choose to bind yourself to these people, these intimate strangers, or to this whole life. By this logic, the entire atmosphere of parenthood, no matter how privileged it may appear from the outside, can come to feel like “a scam,” as Dubin puts it. And the decision not to make lunch can seem like the ultimate horizon of liberty.

Dare I say, Emre has exposed this Berkeley feminist for intellectual incoherence. Liberation reduces to being unfree. If she did not understand that, the fault does not lie with her child or even with the patriarchy.

In fact, as long as the decision was hers, undertaken freely, she should feel ashamed at her infantile attitude toward her adult responsibilities.

Unfortunately, our culture has been at war with shame. It has told people that they need not feel ashamed of failing to uphold their responsibilities or even to keep their pants on. 

Thus, we are led to imagine that Dubin believes that the patriarchy has caused her to feel ashamed of herself for being a less than adequate mother. A Tiger Mom she isn’t.

Worse yet, we eventually discover, three quarters of the way through Emre’s article, that Dubin’s boy suffers from autism, among other neurological defects:

Dubin introduces him through his diagnoses: a sensory-processing disorder, fine and gross motor delays, food rigidity, and autism-spectrum disorder. Once we learn this, her mom rage reads differently, as the reaction of a parent facing more than run-of-the-mill challenges. 

Perhaps this makes the situation easier to understand, but clearly Dubin is doing the best in a situation that she did not wish on her child. She did not fail as a mother. Her child has problems, problems that require specialized care. It has nothing to do with the patriarchy or even with capitalism. Dare we say, we cannot universalize her child’s condition and her own mothering challenges. 

Then again, feminist ideology does not allow such a rational approach to her mothering problems. She must grind her personal experience into an affirmation of feminist beliefs. She is not a lousy mother; she is not a mother who is doing her best under difficult circumstances; she is leading the feminist revolution.

One hopes that that will make her feel better.

Pleases subscribe to my Substack.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Wednesday Potpourri

First, we cannot avoid the story from Canada. You recall that the Canadian prime minister, aka, the bastard son of Fidel Castro, has made a habit of denouncing his political opponents as Nazis. American leftists have acquired the same habit.

And yet, when faced with real Nazis, these same leftists stand up and cheer. It happened in Ottawa, at a meeting of the Canadian parliament, where Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky lustily cheered a Nazi war criminal.

The speaker of the Canadian parliament, Anthony Rota, introduced a great hero of Ukraine, one  Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old veteran of the “First Ukrainian Division,” also known as the “SS Galichina,” or the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division, a military unit of Ukrainian volunteers for the Waffen SS—the paramilitary arm of the Nazi Party. 

Perhaps they are simply incompetent. Perhaps they thought that no one would notice. When they did, Rota issued an apology and resigned. For his part Trudeau came out with a semi-apology, to the effect that he was sorry to have hurt anyone’s feelings. As for Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, a woman of Ukrainian heritage, her grandfather had been the editor of a Nazi collaborationist newspaper in occupied Krakow, during the war.

President Zelensky has not bothered to apologize. He may be Jewish, but many of his soldiers sport swastikas on their helmets.

The Anti-Defamation League has been silent throughout.

Second, with his non-apology Justin Trudeau blamed it all on Russian disinformation. Where have we heard that before?

In his words:

Obviously, it's extremely upsetting that this happened... this is something that is deeply embarrassing to the Parliament of Canada... It's going to be really important that all of us push back against Russian propaganda, Russian disinformation, and continue our steadfast and unequivocal support for Ukraine.

Third, an update to the story:

A Polish government minister has launched a bid to extradite Yaroslav Hunka, the 98-year-old Ukrainian-Canadian man who fought in a German-Nazi division during World War Two and last week received a standing ovation in Canada’s parliament. Lets hope so. 

Jewish groups might also be interested in him and any other Nazis that got sheltered in Canada. According to reports there were over 2000 Nazis who were given shelter in Canada after the end of World War 2.

Fourth, on a lighter note, from the satirical Babylon Bee, a commentary on the ongoing auto strike:


Auto CEOs Struggling With Whether To Replace Striking Workers With Robots Or Mexicans.

Fifth, on a heavier note, the hapless buffoon who serves as the Biden administration climate czar recommended that, in order to save the planet, people stop eating.

Agriculture contributes about 33% of all the emissions of the world. And we can’t get to net zero — we don’t get this job done — unless agriculture is front and center as part of the solution. You just can’t continue to both warm the planet, while also expecting to feed it. It doesn’t work. So we have to reduce emissions from the food system.

At least, he did not recommend that people stop breathing. Perhaps he is leaving that for later.

Sixth, speaking of food consumption, a law student named Victoria Ferraz replaced her vegan vegetarian diet with a diet comprised of steak, bacon and butter. 

She testifies that her body has deflamed, her acne has gone away, she has more energy and feels less bloated. She is no longer taking medicine for hypothyroidism. 

Calling veganism propaganda, she shared her diet with the New York Post:

“Every day is different for me because your body tells you what it wants. Right now, for breakfast and dinner I eat rib-eyes, top sirloin cap, pork belly, a lot of eggs, bacon, patties, butter, tallow, that whole range of animal-based products,” she explained.

“I completely eliminated sugar of all types: fruits, carbs, and processed sugar. I eat no plants, no veggies.”

Sixth, while we all report on the bad economic news out of China, we are not giving enough attention to the decline and fall of the German economy.

Matthew Lynn wrote about it in the Telegraph:

By contrast, Germany is paralysed by a coalition comprising the Social Democrats, the Greens, and the Free Democrats that can agree on almost nothing….

The coalition’s one big idea was splurging €10bn on getting Intel to build a new chip factory in the country in an attempt to drag Germany into the 21st century.

Given the coming glut of semiconductors on the global market, it already looks like a white elephant. Otherwise, Chancellor Scholz’s coalition appears to have no clue how to fix the mess.

Seventh, speaking of semiconductors, Taiwan Semiconductor is building a new plant in Arizona. Unfortunately, it has had to import workers from Taiwan, because American workers cannot do many of the jobs.

But, local labor unions do not like it that the company is trying to bring in workers from Taiwan. They also do not like it that the company has been hiring non-union contractors. 

For now the plant will likely not be operative until 2025.

Eighth, more about semiconductor manufacturing plants:

Intel says it needs 3,000 people to staff the semiconductor factory it plans to build in eastern Germany by the end of the decade. This year, the local apprentice program for chip-making technicians is training two.

Ninth, a more important matter, Keith Richards has offered his opinion of today’s pop music.

In his words:

I mean, that’s the point of it. They make it as cheap and as easy as possible and therefore it always sounds the same; there’s very little feel in it. I like to hear music by people playing instruments.

He added:

I don’t really like to hear people yelling at me and telling me it’s music, AKA rap. I can get enough of that without ­leaving my house.

Tenth, speaking of crime statistics. We now have so much of it that we ignore the crime problem in other countries, like France.

As it happens, most crime in France is committed by foreign nationals. Obviously, this is one reason why the Biden administration is hellbent on admitting more foreign nationals.

The following is from Denes Albert at Remix News:

Last year, 69 percent of violent robberies and other violent crimes, including sexual assaults, on public transport in the greater Paris region of Île-de-France were perpetrated by foreign nationals, according to the annual figures of the SSMSI, the statistics bureau of the French Ministry of Interior.

However, looking closer at the data, it is revealed that Africans alone are responsible for 52 percent of such crimes while only representing 3.2 percent of the population of France.

Even for all of France, the data clearly shows that African nationals account for 42 percent of the above-mentioned types of crimes, way above their statistical weight within the French population.

Eleventh, Real Clear Politics did a survey about attitudes toward free speech. As you might have guessed, Democrats are more comfortable with restrictions on free expression.

The New York Post reported:

According to the survey, 47% of Democrats say that speech should be legal “only under certain circumstances.”

A slim majority of Democrats (53%) agreed that speech should be legal under any circumstances while a third of Democrats (34%) think Americans have “too much freedom,” according to the poll.

Among registered Republicans, almost three quarters of them (74%) think speech should be legal “under any circumstances” while 61% of independents say the same, the RealClearPolitics survey found.

Just think, Democrats used to pride themselves on their liberality, their willingness to defend all manner of speech.

No longer.

Twelfth, the Daily Mail commissioned a poll about Vice President Kamala Harris.

The results were not encouraging. Among the adjectives chosen to describe Harris were: incompetent, stupid, unqualified, useless, worthless. 

People rated her the worst vice president in recent history, by a lot.

Thirteen, from famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh:

 "The reality is that Volodymyr Zelensky’s battered army no longer has any chance of a victory." 

Hersh reported the thoughts of an unnamed intelligence source:

That source said that despite some continued and recent attempts to paint the Ukraine counteroffensive as making slow but steady progress, the truth is the opposite. 

"It’s all lies," the source told Hersh. "The war is over. Russia has won. There is no Ukrainian offensive anymore, but the White House and the American media have to keep the lie going."

"The truth is if the Ukrainian army is ordered to continue the offensive, the army would mutiny. The soldiers aren’t willing to die any more, but this doesn’t fit the B.S. that is being authored by the Biden White House," the intelligence source explained. 

Fourteen, Bidenomics in action. From the New York Post:

Organized crime rings in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston are targeting retail inventories, causing more financial loss, according to a report by the National Retail Federation, a trade group representing US retailers.

… in 2022, inventory “shrink” as a percentage of total retail sales accounted for $112.1 billion in losses, up from $93.9 billion in 2021, according to the NRF report on Tuesday.

“Retailers are seeing unprecedented levels of theft coupled with rampant crime in their stores, and the situation is only becoming more dire,” said NRF Vice President for Asset Protection and Retail Operations David Johnston.

Retailers are either being forced to close a specific store location, reduce operating hours or alter in-store product selection to deal with the spike in retail crime, the report added.

Some would call it an insurrection.

Please subscribe to my Substack.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Don't Talk It Out

It doesn’t happen every day, but the Wall Street Journal has published a column by psychiatrist Dr. Samantha Boardman that is sane, sound and sensible. It repeats some of the arguments that Boardman offered in a previous article, one that I reported in a post entitled: “Less Therapy, Please.”

Considering that our therapy culture prescribes conversation almost as a panacea for all of our problems, large and small, traumatic and not, it is refreshing to read a psychiatrist telling us that talking it all out is not always the best approach.

After all, if you belabor trauma or unpleasant experiences you are likely to conclude- in the depths of your psyche-- that trauma defines you, that it makes you who you are. In addition, the more people know about your misery, the more likely that they will see you as a trauma victim, thus making it more difficult to escape the thrall.

At a time when the culture is being flooded with stories about trauma and when its less enlightened members are claiming that trauma will ruin your life, it is good to read an article explaining that sometimes it is best not to talk it all out.

Boardman’s counsel correlates well with current theories about mental resilience. Researchers have observed that some two thirds of trauma sufferers recover without any therapeutic intervention. 

And we should add the notion, offered in another Journal article, this time by writer Beth DeCarbo, namely that trauma can become a catalyst for constructive change. After all, if you suffer a failure, in love or in business, and you use the situation to reconsider your strategies in life, you might well profit from the failure. 

But then, most people, when consulting a therapist, believe that they are supposed to be discussing trauma. They believe that they are in therapy to ventilate their emotions, to air it all out, the better to overcome the negativity.

It is an occupational hazard, but it does not improve how anyone deals with trauma. In a way, this form of constant complaining makes the trauma a defining experience in your life. If therapy tells you to integrate the trauma into your life history, it has not rendered you any constructive service.

Boardman explains:

If your teenager is upset about something, asking her to recount every little detail to you and perhaps later to your partner—“Tell your dad exactly what happened today at school”—could make her feel even worse. You might be sending the unintentional message that the issue is more serious than it is, or that you believe your child can’t handle the situation.

Here are two other good reasons not to belabor trauma. 

Insisting that it be discussed tells the teenager, in this case, that the problem is more serious than it is. It often happens, when we are suffering a pain, we cue in to our physician’s opinion to discern how serious the problem is.

Second, if we insist on helping, we are also telling the teenager that he cannot deal with the situation on his own. In truth, there are some situations where a child cannot deal with a problem on his own. The issue then becomes whether we prefer that he vent his spleen about the problem, or allow for some suggestions about how to deal with it. The two are certainly not the same.

In addition, Boardman recommends that parents offer children different ways to look at the situation. This involves stepping back and looking at the situation objectively. It does not involve getting in touch with feelings, feeling one’s feelings and so on. 

Too many therapists consider that life is a narrative and that their purpose is to fill in the details, to render it a more coherent story. This is wrong. We would do better to think that life is a game, a chess game, if you will, and that as we evaluate the positions of different pieces on the board we consider alternative ways to make our next move.

Playing a role in a drama is not the same as making a move in a game.

Boardman offers a way into this approach:

Similarly, if your best friend calls you to talk about something that is bothering her, avoid questions that encourage her to revisit every detail. “Start from the beginning. Tell me everything!” will only lead to a play-by-play of what took place and what she was feeling. Consider instead posing a question that might help your friend gain some distance from the situation. I often ask my patients, “If someone else were in this situation, what advice would you give them?” Rather than dwelling on the details of what happened, help the person to generate a plan of action and to capitalize on their strengths.

So, she does not want to hear all of the details. She does not want to help her friend construct a better narrative. She wants to help her friend to gain some perspective, to step back from what is happening, and to consider, dispassionately, what her next move should be.

Please subscribe to my Substack.

Monday, September 25, 2023


Surely, the world needed Thomas Sowell’s new book about the scam called social justice. I have not read the book, but I am happy to report Hannah Gal’s summary in a Quillette review.

As I understand it, Sowell makes two salient points. 

First, that the basis for social justice politics is warped. The notion that all groups should have equal representation at all levels of society and at all levels of success is idealistic mumbo jumbo. It has never happened. It will never happen. 

Second, Sowell argues that the effort to pretend that we must grant degrees, hire and promote in order to make the world correspond to our idealistic vision has merely caused trouble.

Inequality and inequity are built into the system. Railing against them is a fool’s game. 

Gal summarizes Sowell:

“Whatever the condition of human beings at the beginning of the species,” writes Thomas Sowell in his new book Social Justice Fallacies, “scores of millennia had already come and gone before anyone coined the phrase social justice.” And during those vast expanses of time, “different peoples evolved differently in very different settings around the world, developing different talents that created reciprocal inequalities of achievements in different endeavors.” They did so “without necessarily creating equality, or even comparability, in any of those endeavors.”

Those who refuse to accept that people have disparate talents and disparate goals see all inequities as a function of bigotry and oppression.

In large parts of society, it has instilled the notion that human disparities are entirely the result of oppression, exploitation, and discrimination, and that a remedial equality of outcome must therefore be pursued at all costs. But the attractive vision of an equitable future can only be constructed by ignoring evidence and repeating a litany of fallacies.

Gal continues:

“In the real world” he points out, “there is seldom anything resembling the equal outcomes that might be expected if all factors affecting outcomes were the same for everyone.”

It is not just that people have different talents and interests. Different people choose to live their lives differently:

After all, “people from different backgrounds do not necessarily want to do the same things, much less invest their time and energies into developing the same kinds of skills and talents.” He invites us to consider the example of US sports, where “blacks are overrepresented in professional basketball, whites in professional tennis, and Hispanics in Major League Baseball.”

Of course, for decades now we have a multitude of programs designed to overcome the legacy of slavery and segregation. They have all been based, Sowell contends, on the notion that blacks are incapable of competing in the marketplace, and thus, need special consideration and even government charity. These programs have failed. Just because we feel especially virtuous about our proposed solutions does not mean that the solutions are going to produce the desired outcomes.

Gal summarizes a point that Sowell has been making for decades now. 

One of the most persistent social-justice fallacies concerns the legacy of slavery, and the reflexive tendency to hold it responsible for any misfortune that befalls any black person. Sowell objects to this causal reasoning, and argues that welfare policies introduced in the 1960s must shoulder much of the blame for social problems faced by American blacks, particularly the collapse of the family. Although activists seldom acknowledge it, black Americans made striking progress in the decades before the 1960s until “demonstrable harm” was inflicted upon them by the introduction of social-justice policies.

And also,

 “For more than a hundred years after the end of slavery,” he reminds us, “most black children were born to women who were married, and the children were raised in two-parent homes.” In 1963, 23.6 percent of black children were born to single mothers. By the end of the 20th century, that figure stood at 68.7 percent.

As for the pursuit of justice, it too has been an error. Thinking that if white people feel sufficiently guilty for the legacy of slavery black people will naturally begin to overperform is absurd. This singular obsession with a singular solution leads people to overlook the solutions that do work… as in charter schools in minority neighborhoods.

The singleminded pursuit of justice at all costs is not justice at all, Sowell argues, and will often result in injustice. The results sought by social-justice activists are what Hayek used to call “cosmic justice,” and they are not attainable “when there are differences in human fates for which clearly no human agency is responsible.” Sowell agrees that “we cannot demand justice from the cosmos,” and that “no human beings, either singly or collectively, can control the cosmos, that is, the whole universe of circumstances surrounding us and affecting everyone’s chances in life.”

Life is complicated. At times it is even complex. Thinking that there is a singular solution, a magic potion that will right all wrongs and make our world into an ideal, is a very bad idea indeed.

Please subscribe to my Substack.