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Liberal_Jihad_Cover.jpg Forward USA

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Bill Cosby Collides With the Liberal Establishment

Bill Cosby’s altogether laudable remonstrance to individuals in the black community to put their own houses in order is a direct challenge to the liberal dogma that social problems can be corrected only by government’s changing the structure of society.

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Bill Cosby recently focused attention on the fact that most of the black community’s problems can be cured by individual efforts to change cultural attitudes.  In public meetings he denounced black men who beat up their wives and parents who are indifferent to their children’s inability to speak English and oblivious to behavior that stamps their children as social renegades.  Black cultural mores, not white society, he says, are responsible for staggeringly high teen-age pregnancies, illegitimate children, and single-parent families.  The high percentage of blacks who fail to complete their schooling and do poorly academically reflects the black community’s cultural preference for sports and entertainment, rather than for the long, hard grind of acquiring knowledge as the road to success.

Cosby’s calls for personal re-examination have generally been greeted with approval by black church leaders.  But many black politicians and leaders of civil-rights groups like the NAACP, as well as white liberals, have attacked Cosby for “blaming the victim.”  In a New York Times op-ed article, white liberal Barbara Ehrenreich dismissed Cosby’s plea as “Billionaire bashes poor blacks.”

Orthodox dogma of the liberal-socialist religion posits that people are not to be considered as individuals, but collectively as groups.  And group benefits and behavior are controlled by government regulations promulgated by intellectual planners.  Thus, for liberals, Cosby is entirely off-base.  The reason that blacks do poorly in school and in the job market is, according to liberals, racial prejudice expressed by whites rigging the social structure deliberately to prevent blacks from getting ahead. What’s the point, they ask, in studying and making good grades in school if whitey will keep you from getting a good job?

Liberal theory pouring forth from Ivy League socialist trade schools, laughably still called universities, justifies all this as the ineradicable product of slavery.  It is regrettably true that slave-owners did not recognize the legal or moral sanctity of families, and that they sometimes broke up families by selling husbands, wives, and children to separate owners.  But it is not demonstrable that the effects of such inhumanity are ineradicable, however painful and enraging knowledge of it surely is to most blacks. 

Liberal theorists are compelled to ignore inconvenient historical facts.  It is easily verifiable that blacks, in New York City in the early decades of the 20th century, had created a vibrant, upwardly mobile community that valued education, hard work, thriftiness, and self-denial for their children’s futures.  When overbuilding of apartments in then fashionable Harlem led to bankruptcy of real estate developers, excellent new housing was on the market for anyone prepared to pay the rent.  Black church leaders in Hells Kitchen seized the opportunity and moved their churches and entire communities to Harlem.  Black church communities organized book clubs that promoted reading and education in general.  Black social organizations for mutual aid gave help to the elderly, poor, and unfortunate, provided that the recipients were considered to be deserving people of good moral character.

Ironically, this impressive achievement was killed off by the liberal-intellectual cohort itself.  During the Depression, Big Brother, in the guise of New Deal social planning, raised a whole new generation of blacks to the belief that their only source of worldly salvation was the welfare state.  Liberal sociologists preached that blacks’ problems were not their fault, but exclusively the result of racial prejudice.  Society had to be restructured, not to help blacks to help themselves, but to eradicate prejudice.

The last vestige of the original ethos that produced Strivers Row in Harlem was swamped after World War II, when illiterate black field hands in the South became aware that they could receive more income under New York City’s socialistic welfare system, without working, than by working all day in southern cotton fields.  Harlem was overrun with what amounted to wartime displaced persons having no means of support and lacking the education necessary to compete in northern labor markets.  The welfare-state path for blacks has been downward ever since.