Why the War on Poverty (really freedom) Failed

This is a brilliant article, and BloggingForLiberty did not write it, but wanted to pass it on!

Perhaps the best way to look at the statement is to take a close look at the book that inspired the war on poverty, Michael Harrington’s The Other America, published in 1962. (Harrington died in 1989.) Possibly the most influential policy book in American history, The Other America was cited again and again by the politicians, activists, and administrators who set up welfare programs in the 1960s. In it you will find the fallacies that sent the reformers (and the people who just needed an excuse to steal) down dark and tangled paths into today’s social tragedies.

Harrington’s premise was that poverty is a purely economic problem: the needy simply lack the material resources to lead productive, happy lives. Supply these resources, the theory runs, and you will have solved the problem of poverty. This theme was repeated up and down the welfare establishment as simple moral imperatives, and anyone who opposed them was seen as selfish and insensitive. Sargent Shriver, the administration’s leading anti-poverty warrior, told Congress that the nation had “both the resources and the know-how to eliminate grinding poverty in the United States.” These ignoramuses said that curing poverty was simple algebra: add government’s x dollars to the poor’s y dollars and the result would be the end to poverty.curing poverty was simple algebra: add government’s xdollars to the poor’s y dollars and the result would be the end to poverty. President Lyndon Johnson echoed the claim. “For the first time in our history,” he declared, “it is possible to conquer poverty,” (what a moron).

The simple economic theory of poverty led to a single underlying principle for welfare programs. Since the needy just lacked goods and services to become productive members of the community, it followed that all you had to do was give them these things. You didn’t have to see that they stopped engaging in the behavior that plunged them into neediness. You didn’t have to ask them to apply themselves, or to work, or to save, or to stop using drugs, or to stop having babies they couldn’t support, or to make any other kind of effort to improve themselves. In other words, the welfare programs the war-on-poverty activists designed embodied something-for-nothing giving, or what we usually call “handouts.”

Poverty does involve a lack of material resources,and it also involves a mass of psychological and moral problems, including weak motivation, lack of trust in others, ignorance, irresponsibility, self-destructiveness, short-sightedness, alcoholism, drug addiction, promiscuity, and violence, but far and away intelligence (or the lack there of) is THE number one risk factor.

The Bible teaches that the poor will always be with us. Go with this!

Edited by BloggingForLiberty.com

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