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Joel Kotkin writes on the country’s continuing racial divide.
The election of Barack Obama six years ago was hailed as a breakthrough both for minorities, particularly African Americans, and for his being the first “city guy” elected president in recent history. Both blacks and urbanistas got one of their “own” in power, and there were hopes that race relations and urban fortunes would improve at a rapid pace.
Instead, the recent controversies over police killings of African American men have revealed a shocking deterioration of race relations not seen in a generation. Since the racial euphoria that accompanied the president’s election, views of race relations held by blacks and whites, according to Pew, have become decidedly less optimistic. Nearly half of whites and roughly two in five blacks, according to a recent Politico poll, say race relations have worsened under Obama. Only 4 percent of whites and 13 percent of African Americans thought relations had improved. Another recent survey, this one by Bloomberg, finds 53 percent of Americans opining that race relations have declined under Obama.
For the most part, the current racial discord has been traced largely to the long, uneasy relationship between minorities, notably African Americans, and the police. The disparity in perceptions between whites and blacks are most notable here, says Pew, with 70 percent of African Americans, but barely 25 percent of whites, disputing that police do a good job treating the races “equally.”
Here’s the real tragedy: Some 50 years after the passage of sweeping nationwide civil rights legislation, the institutionalization of affirmative action and billions poured into addressing urban poverty, many African American youth remain well outside the mainstream, unmoored to the economy and far too liable to get into confrontations with law enforcement. This is clearly connected with such factors as the preponderance among African Americans of 70 percent single-female-headed households, nearly half of which are poor. …
… The resurgence in racial animus remains arguably the biggest surprise – and one of the greatest failures – not only of Obama, but of our society. In this respect, neither conservative attempts to blame increased racial discord on the president and, now, attempts by his progressive claque to absolve him of any responsibility, really address the more serious issues behind the widening of the racial divide. Cities and communities, divided against themselves by race and class, cannot thrive in the long run, no matter how many publicists and pundits proclaim the battle for urban America already has been won.
Noemie Emery has more on Scott Walker.
In 1990, Scott Walker left MarquetteUniversity before graduation. He is reportedly hoping to complete his degree now, but if he doesn’t, he could become the first president since Harry S Truman to enter the White House without a college degree.
Some think his lack of degree could cost him his chances to get there, but we tend to think otherwise. Considering the current state of most colleges (and of their graduates) this could be a point in his favor. It might even make his career.
As institutions, colleges have been going downhill since the late 1960’s, but in recent years they have seemed like asylums run by the inmates, with their passion for courses in race and gender studies, free speech suppression, and the Duke Lacrosse scandal, the Penn State pedophilia disaster, the Rolling-Stone-gang-rape fiasco at the University of Virginia, …
… But Bubba and Dubya pale before Barack Obama, son of not one but two academics and a college professor himself. Another double-dip Ivy League graduate, he was called by one historian the most intelligent man to ever be president. Perhaps it was this that led him to make two of the worst unforced errors in history — the decision to push health care against public opinion (which some in his party admit was an error) and to pull all of our troops from Iraq.
Our best-known academics today are Obama, Jonathan Gruber, and Hillary — who as Hillary Rodham made Life magazine as her class valedictorian, and who had been told by her teachers that SHE should be president, long before Bill had arrived on the scene. With this in mind, Walker should wear his state proudly. He could win by acclaim as the un-academic. Run, Scotty, run!
David Harsanyi thinks we should stop pretending terrorism has nothing to do with islam.
Guess what? An idea isn’t a human being. Neither is a sacred cow. And those who confront, dismiss, debunk, sneer at and fear them aren’t necessarily bigots.
Not long ago, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for blasphemy. His first 50 lashes will be publicly administered this week. Taking them all at once would kill the guy. But, then again, Badawi might be fortunate to be alive at all. The theocratic monarchs of Saudi Arabia don’t need the terrorists to punish their satirists, they can get the job done in-house.
I don’t know about you, but I’m lash-phobic. I tend, as a matter of principle, to have a low opinion of people who dispense lashes. Religion, of course, is merely incidental to Badawi’s fate–as it is in the massacre of journalists in Paris or the bloodbath in Nigeria, where Boko Haram may have killed 2000 people this week. Or so I’m told. All of these instances of violence are perpetrated by random people, who by some happenstance share the same religious affiliation.
And to bring this up–according to Vox and other some outlets–may be Islamophobic. Islamophobia is defined, at least by Wikipedia (and it’s fair to say it’s a pretty decent reflection of how we use the word), as a term for prejudice against, hatred towards, or fear of the religion of Islam, Muslims, or of ethnic groups perceived to be Muslim.
Only half of this definition should be true. Most often, only half of it is. The late Christopher Hitchens never actually said “Islamophobic is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons,” but he did call it a “stupid neologism” that “aims to promote criticism of Islam to the gallery of special offenses associated with racism.” …
… What is less obvious to me is why liberals aren’t more inclined to defend the right of people to be critical of all religions. Why aren’t they more interested in why Islamic ideas so often manifest in violence? Why do the practitioners of these ideas find themselves in clashes with every culture they touch (Jews, Hindus, Christians, and all others)? Seems like a tolerant liberal would be phobic about the stoning of gays or the institutionalized dehumanization of women that’s rampant in “moderate” Muslim nations – forget radical Islam. Instead, they expect people to cower from one of the “stupidest neologisms” to be concocted in years.
Also from David Harsanyi is the Federalist’s interview with Thomas Sowell.
Thomas Sowell recently released the fifth edition of his classic book, Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy. Along with Free To Choose, Economics in One Lesson, and The Road Serfdom, it offers perhaps the best distillation of free-market economic ideas. In the new edition, at least twice the size of the first, Sowell writes a new chapter on global inequality (think of it as a response to Thomas Piketty) and touches on a number of other contemporary political issues with his refreshingly clear style.
Sowell talked to The Federalist about today’s conservative reform efforts, the politicization of economics, his disagreement with mentor Milton Friedman, the complexities of immigration policy, and some of the government’s most destructive economic intrusions in everyday life.
The Federalist: The first edition of Basic Economics came out around 15 years ago. Do you sense that the public’s understanding of economics, generally speaking, has improved since then?
Thomas Sowell: Well, I would hope that the ones who read the book now have a better idea. People indicate that they do. Sales of the book, and the many translations, also indicate that there are people more interested in learning about economics. But in general, I don’t really think so. So, I guess, I’m not sure it’s worse than it was 30 or 40 years ago, but I’ve seen no visible improvement.
The Federalist: As policy becomes more complex, do you believe that economic ignorance is more likely to translate into bad politics?
Sowell: People in the political world have every incentive to say things that lead voters away from a clear economic understanding of issues. What has happened more and more is that organized groups have more and more reasons to say things that don’t make any economic sense. I am always appalled at people who come out, for example, and say: we need to have higher minimum wages so that the poor can have higher incomes. Well, of course, that just ignores the fact that increasing the minimum wage increases the level of unemployment among lower-income people. Among blacks for example, 16 or 17 year old blacks back in 1948 had an unemployment rate just under 10 percent. It has never been under 20 percent in last 50 years. And that’s simply because in 1948, the minimum was in effect repealed by inflation. And once you started escalating the minimum-wage level to keep up with that inflation, you priced more people out of the market. And now we have gotten used to black teenagers having an unemployment rate of 30 percent in good times and maybe 40 percent in bad times. …
According to Investor’s Business Daily, there might be an economically ignorant pope, but at least the Church’s Venezuelan Bishops appreciate free markets.
In a refreshingly powerful and direct statement, Venezuela’s bishops Monday blamed “Marxist socialism” and “communism” by name for the horrors and chaos gripping their country, according to a story in El Universal.
The bishops said the long lines of people trying to buy food and other basic necessities and the constant rise in prices are the result of the government’s decision to “impose a political-economic system of socialist, Marxist or communist,” which is “totalitarian and centralist” and “undermines the freedom and rights of individuals and associations.”
The Venezuelan bishops specifically stated that the private sector was critical for the well being of the country. The document, read by Monsignor Diego Padron in Spanish, said the country needs “a new entrepreneurial spirit with audacity and creativity.”
So not only did these bishops diagnose the cause of the misery correctly; they also warned that communism harms the poor most of all.
They sounded positively like readers of Investor’s Business Daily, matching the content of this editorial here.
More interestingly, the timing comes just as a certain former colleague of theirs from another part of South Americacontinues to denounce free-market economies
The Venezuelan archbishops make the useful observation that if capitalist economies have problems, socialist alternatives are far worse for the poor and needy. Could it be the pope’s Latin American colleagues on the ground in the cesspool of communism are the ones who can get through to the holy father on economics? Stay tuned.