Monday, June 13, 2005

The poor, born into our welfare state, and their attitudes of dependency and their resentments of other people's succes

If this is a class-ridden society denying "access" to upward mobility to those at the bottom, why is it that immigrants can come here at the bottom and then rise to the top?
asks Thomas Sowell, as he evokes the "counterproductive and self-destructive attitudes toward education, work and ordinary civility found in many of America's ghettos" as well as the "reliance on the welfare state and a … set of intellectuals making excuses for their behavior and denouncing anyone who wants them to change their ways."
The latest round of statistics emboldens more intellectuals to blame "society" for the failure of many people at the bottom to rise to the top.

One obvious reason is that many poor immigrants come here with very different ambitions and values from that of poor Americans born into our welfare state and imbued with notions growing out of attitudes of dependency and resentments of other people's success.

The fundamental reason that many people do not rise is not that class barriers prevent it but that they do not develop the skills, values and attitudes which cause people to rise.

The liberal welfare state means they don't have to and liberal multiculturalism says they don't need to change their values because one culture is just as good as another. In other words, liberalism is not part of the solution, but part of the problem.

Racism is supposed to put insuperable barriers in the path of non-whites anyway, so why knock yourself out trying? This is another deadly message, especially for the young.

But if immigrants from Korea or India, Vietnamese refugees, and others can come here and move right on up the ladder, despite not being white, why are black and white Americans at the bottom more likely to stay at the bottom?

[If more people at the bottom were rising to the top in the past,] that does not necessarily mean that "society" is holding them down more today. It may easily mean that the welfare state and liberal ideology both make it less necessary today for them to change their own behavior.

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