Political charlatans and the damage they’ve done – is it reversible?
Thomas Sowell discusses the rash of political charlatans we’ve been plagued by over the recent decades.
He blames them for the condition we’re in, policy-wise. But he puts equal blame on “we the people” for continuing to support them and their policies:
Political charlatans are not the whole story of our social degeneracy on many fronts. “We the people” must accept our own share of the blame because we voted these charlatans into office, and went along with their ever-increasing power over our lives.
When it came to charlatans taking ever larger amounts of our own money to finance ever more big government programs, we stood still like sheep waiting to be sheared. We remained as meek as sheep when they turned schools into places to propagandize our children to grow up accepting more of the same.
All the while we had the power to vote them out. But we couldn’t be bothered to look beyond their magic words. Even now, many are too absorbed in their electronic devices to know or care.
Most voters, it seems to me, are like magpies – distracted by shiny things and never able to see the danger that exists in reality. Sowell uses “the legacy of slavery” as one of his points of discussion. I’m going to add a lengthy quote that pretty succinctly tells the story of how we allowed political charlatans to distract us with a problem that seems to not have existed and used it to gain greater control over our lives while, in fact, making the “problem” worse”
Here again, rhetoric distracts attention from questions about logic or evidence. The “legacy of slavery” argument is not just a convenient excuse for bad behavior, it allows politicians to escape responsibility for the consequences of the government policies they imposed.
Although the left likes to argue as if there was a stagnant world to which they added the magic ingredient of “change” in the 1960s, in reality there were many positive trends in the 1950s, which reversed and became negative trends in the 1960s.
Not only was the poverty rate going down, so was the rate of dependence on government to stay out of poverty. Teenage pregnancy rates were falling, and so were rates of venereal diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea. Homicide rates among non-white males fell 22 percent in the 1950s.
In the wake of the massive expansion of the welfare state in the 1960s “war on poverty” program — with the repeatedly announced goal of enabling people to become self-supporting and end their dependence on government — in fact dependence on government increased and is today far higher than when the 1960s began.
The declining rates of teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases in the 1950s both reversed and rose sharply in the wake of the 1960s “sexual revolution” ideas, introduced into schools under the guise of “sex education,” which claimed to be able to reduce teenage pregnancy and venereal diseases.
Black labor force participation rates, which had been higher than white labor force participation rates in every census from 1890 to 1960, fell below white labor force participation rates by 1972 and the gap has widened since then. Homicide rates among non-white males reversed their decline in the 1950s and soared by 75 percent during the 1960s.
None of this was a “legacy of slavery,” which ended a century earlier. But slavery became the rhetorical distraction for the political magicians’ trick of making their own responsibility for social degeneration vanish into thin air by sleight of hand.
Now you can point to many negatives the “War on Poverty” brought us … Sowell highlights the big ones. But the most important changes were two-fold. One: it created more dependency on government (and it helped tear the nuclear family apart among the poor) and it created an illusion that government (which mostly meant “Democrats”) cared more than any other institution.
The political charlatans had created a false problem and a false narrative which has had disastrous results in the long run. But those changes it created were manifestly worth it according to certain of the political class, because it increased their power. And the narrative that has been built about this program (and the “legacy of slavery”), along with the narrative that has created the “cult of the victim”, has hidden the huge problems created by government intrusion and instead has created a myth which says “more government is good government”.
So you end up with an entire segment of the voting public duped by this “shiny” narrative and either too lazy or too incurious to look below its surface. That’s the formula for political success on one side and national decline on the other.
The question, then, is how do the defenders of liberty catch the attention of the voting magpies and help them catch a clue? Facts apparently don’t matter. And alternate narratives don’t seem to stick.
If you can answer that question, you’ve hit upon a way to help save this country. I’ve been trying to come up with a way for 40 years.
I wish you luck.