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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Worship the Secular State Whence All Blessings Flow?

Voting rights amendments and Supreme Court “one man, one vote” decisions have strengthened the grip of the collectivized, socialist state.

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William Raspberry’s column What Happened in Ohio, under date of January 10, 2005, approaches with appropriate caution Representative John Conyers’s Congressional investigation into alleged voting irregularities in Ohio during the recent presidential election.

Since the year 2000 presidential election fracas in Florida, liberals have focused on allegations that blacks have been unfairly prevented, in one manner or another, from voting or having their votes counted.  Their thesis is that no election is valid unless every potentially eligible voter has his vote counted.

The effect is to substitute uninformed opinion for judgment and knowledge.  It reinforces the mindset among voters that they are helpless to defend themselves against Big Business and other members of C. Wright Mills’s “power elite.”  Minority voters are schooled to believe that they must look to Washington, DC, for any improvement in their lives. 

That is something new.

When the Constitution was written in 1787, no one wanted an all-powerful Federal government.  The people had recently fought the War of Independence precisely to protect themselves from a British crown and Parliament who presumed arbitrarily to infringe the people’s natural law rights to private property.  They wanted little more than to be protected against domestic outlaws and foreign enemies.

To keep it that way, multiple levels of checks and balances were built into the Constitution to protect individual rights against momentary passions of the majority.  Madison and Hamilton made clear in the Federalist papers that the writers of the Constitution had structured a federal republic, not a democracy.  States and local governments were to retain most day-today powers of government.  As Federalist No. 51 put it, “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

Alexis de Tocqueville noted in “Democracy in America” that Americans in 1831-32 were very different sorts of people from what the French citizenry had become after forty years of socialistic rule.  Americans, he said, would simply, on their own initiative, take steps to correct local community problems.  In France, he said, there was no village too small to have at least one national government official whose job was to stop any local initiative.  Nothing could be done anywhere in France without authorization from Paris.  Everything had to conform to plans drawn up by the Parisian planning ministries.

The effect of this, said Tocqueville, was to create a self-centered citizenry.  Every person was jealous of his personal entitlements and cared nothing about his neighbor, his community, or the best interests of the nation as a whole.

That’s a pretty good description of majority attitudes today in the United States.  What produced the change?

The opening push was by academics after the Civil War, beginning in the late 1860s, who studied at German universities.  They brought back to American universities the Hegelian and socialistic belief that individualism is anti-social, and that the individual has meaning only in so far as he is part of the national state.  The individual’s purpose is to further the goals of the political state. 

Their influence spread gradually, then gained momentum during the 1920s and 1930s, when John Dewey’s Progressive education theories became popular and President Franklin Roosevelt imposed socialistic national planning upon the nation in 1933.  See The Corruption of Public Education: How It Happened and The Decline of Western Civilization: Explanatory Notes - Part Four.

The next big push came in the 1960s, when children of prosperous middle-class parents went to college in record numbers, where they absorbed the socialistic doctrine of anti-individualism.  This erupted into the student anarchist movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, expressed as anti-establishment and anti-Vietnam War.  “Never trust anyone over thirty” was a popular slogan. 

At the same time the Civil Rights movement got underway.  The Reverend Martin Luther King asked only that the nation honor the intent of the Bill of Rights and Christian morality by giving blacks an equal chance under the law.  He dreamed, he said, of a day when blacks would be judged on the strength of their character, not their skin color. 

He did not ask the Federal government to institute an affirmative-action program to give blacks special benefits, because he was confident that blacks in a free society of equal opportunity could do well for themselves. Indeed the statistics of the mid-1950s and early 1960s showed that blacks had made tremendous strides from their depressed status, measured by income and educational performance, since the 1930s.

For example, in 1960 the U.S. Office of Education commissioned tests in 987 high schools.  Average scores in the General Academic Aptitude tests for black students were 68% of those for whites.  A similar block of tests in 1965 reflected solid progress by black students, whose test scores rose to 79% of whites? scores.  After 1965, and especially in the 1970s, Great Society funding for education rose rapidly.  In 1980, after fifteen years of Federal funding for education, the nationwide average for black men in the 18-to-23 age group had declined to only 43% of whites? scores, little more than half the level of competence achieved fifteen years earlier.

It was during this period that the Federal judiciary entered the voting-rights game under the slogan of “one man, one vote.”  In Baker v. Carr, 1962, the Supreme Court ordered the state of Tennessee to follow the rule of its own constitution that required Congressional House and Senate seats to be divided among counties on the basis of population.  In Wesberry v. Sanders, 1963, the Supreme Court ordered the State of Georgia to reapportion its election districts on the basis of population.

The expectation of most people at the time was that voting enfranchisement would bring black citizens into the economic system on an increasingly equal basis.  Blacks were expected to use this leg up to continue improving their educational and job status, with the long-term goal of making black business and professional success dependent only upon hard work, native intelligence, and strength of character.

Unfortunately, this admirable thrust was diverted into a strictly political game manipulated by politicians to insure their reelection, by creating one-party and nearly all-black voting districts.  Computers entered the process, and we saw the results in the wildest imaginable gerrymandered districts. 

Liberal-socialists leaders began working assiduously to convince the black community that liberal-socialism is the way of the future, that individualism and educational success are “whitey” things.  Worse, President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society introduced the one-hundred-percent socialistic concept that certain classes of people are entitled to defined standards of living, at taxpayer expense, regardless of effort or contribution to society.

The Jesse Jacksons, Julian Bonds, and Al Sharptons of the political world convinced the bulk of black voters that, without their intercession in Washington, the blacks would always get the short end of the stick.  Instead of Dr. King’s dream of equal opportunity, we got socialism’s equal distribution of property.

Clearly it didn’t work.  It was in fact disastrous.  Between 1955 and 1980, violent crime rates jumped 263%; inner cities were looted and torched in periodic riots; the educational system fell apart; drug addiction became a plague; homeless people slept in the streets; rates of illegitimate birth among black teenage women, who are the highest birth-rate sector of the population, rose from 14% to 82% of all births, levels never before experienced in human history; single-parent families became the norm in inner-cities; and two-thirds of black teenage males never even applied for jobs, preferring life on welfare as a career.

Today, despite the fact that roughly three quarters of black parents share white parents’ desire for a good education for their children so that they can get ahead in the adult world, liberal politicians still oppose school vouchers and teacher-accountability measures, preferring to side with the entrenched teachers unions. 

All the liberal-socialists can offer is allegations of voter disenfranchisement.  They apparently want to keep blacks in their place, as uneducated voters for socialism. 

Instead of improving life for most individual blacks, voting rights acts and Supreme Court decisions have made them more firmly than ever willing slaves to the socialist state.