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Advice to Trent Lott: Quit while we're all ahead

By Murray Soupcoff
web posted December 18, 2002

What is it with the liberal-left? Never have so few individuals with so many good intentions created so much misery for so many people they wanted to help.

After all, it was pioneering liberal-left social engineers who came up with the not-so-creative idea of fighting poverty in American slums by ripping down existing for-profit rental housing and replacing the existing rental stock with the cold, massive, impersonal concrete edifices we now know as public housing projects -- what has become the equivalent of urban residential hell for generations of the poor in North America.

Not only was poverty not particularly moderated by this urban "reform," but the absence of cheap rooming houses and other lodgings for society's marginalized members ultimately produced the phenomenon of urban homelessness. And of course, we all know the many wonderful benefits of living in today's comfy, government-subsidized "projects" -- rampant drug addiction, vandalism, gangs, violence, family breakup, murder and social anarchy.

Oh, and did we mention an even more ingrained "cycle of poverty"?

Unfortunately, the bitter fruits of their all-knowing beneficence in providing "better housing" for the underclass did nothing to stop the clumsy social-engineering efforts of liberal-left do-gooders. In the 1960's, confronted with the depressing "evidence" -- all emanating from their overactive imaginations -- that poor self-esteem was hindering the educational achievement of poor black students, liberal-left educational reformers set about dumbing-down the schools in disadvantaged black urban slums to eliminate the cycle of "failure" among black students. Unfortunately, the only noticeable result of this attempt to treat the educational system as a social laboratory was that standard test scores plummeted in these enlightened educational enclaves, literacy became the equivalent of an endangered species, student conduct deteriorated dangerously and precipitously, and a unique new "let's stay stupid" ethic (otherwise known as not "going white") evolved among poor black students -- harassing any fellow students who showed any desire to get an education to improve their lot and break the chains of poverty.

Oh, and did we mention that schools in poor black urban slums increasingly became a mirror image of government-subsidized housing projects -- run-down urban fortresses afflicted by the scourge of gangs, hard drugs, vandalism, random violence and social anarchy.

However, not surprisingly, that hasn't stopped the liberal-left cognoscenti from coming up with ever-more innovative ways to waste taxpayer dollars on ever-more destructive "cures" for various real and imagined social injustices.

The problem is that the prescribed remedies of the over-educated helping classes of the liberal-left are iatrogenic (an apt adjective ironically suggested by the recently-departed radical social theorist, Ivan Illich) -- the equivalent of doctor-created disease. For example, doctors like to gather the sick in infection-ridden hospitals, where ill patients often contact infectious diseases which make them even more sick than they were when they first entered hospital. In other words, in many cases, the doctor-prescribed cure is worse than the disease.

So too are the damaging effects of so many liberal-left "cures," via government-mandated social engineering -- social "remedies" bedeviled by a bevy of harmful unintended social consequences created by government foolishly intervening in the private sphere.

Public intellectuals of the left suffer from the hubris of thinking they know more that they do. And over and over again, they are confronted with more grim evidence that mere humans -- even the most schooled and brilliant -- cannot control complex social processes sufficiently to achieve the societal outcomes they desire. For example, the fabled War on Poverty in America may have been based on the accumulated sociological wisdom of the academic intelligentsia in the 1960's, but it quickly turned into a rout -- as a host of unintended social consequences (created by the experts' ill-chosen social-engineering remedies) ambushed all the good intentions and left the equivalent of a social killing field among the hapless victims of left-wing largesse. Aside from the countless billions of dollars wasted on needlessly enrichning the educated helping classes (specifically meddling government bureaucrats, social workers, educators and policy wonks of all stripes) in their battle against the social ills afflicting the disadvantaged, the celebrated campaign to eradicate poverty and its ills only reinforced the cycle of poverty in black disadvantaged neighborhoods, created a frightening social contagion of ever-increasing welfare dependency, family breakdown and neighborhood violence, and ushered in a shining new era of urban social anarchy and hopelessness. Doctor-created social disease at its worst!

Which brings us -- believe it or not -- to the subject of Senator Trent "I Put My Foot In My Mouth Again" Lott. The notorious 'Thee-Stooges-In-One' Senator decided to use the occasion of Senator Strom Thurmond's hundredth birthday to condemn Americans for not having the wisdom to elect this once-stalwart Southern racist as President when the dedicated Dixiecrat-Democrat ran for president on an independent ticket dedicated to preserving racial segregation and rolling back the civil-rights reforms of Republicans and fellow Democrat Hubert Humphrey. If only Americans had voted for Strom in 1948, Senator Lott seemed to be saying, all those wonderful Southern traditions of Jim Crow laws, lynchings and crossburnings would have been preserved and still be a vibrant part of contemporary American culture.

Why if only good old Strom had had his way, Senator Big Mouth seemed to be saying, Jackie Robinson wouldn't have integrated Major League baseball, Michael Jordan could have actualized his inner "negro" working on a plantation and eating watermelon, and Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice might have known their place, happily working in the service industries as a railway porter and hotel cleaning woman respectively.

Actually, it doesn't really matter what Trent Lott meant by his ill-chosen remarks anymore. The fact is that he opened his big mouth and fell into the "evil racist stereotype" trap. They -- the likes of the New York Times, Washington Post, NAACP, NOW, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Nancy Pelosi, Tom Daschle and the rest of the liberal establishment -- have got poor Trent on the ropes. No matter how many times the good Senator apologizes or denies he's a racist, he knows he's still political dead meat unless he does something to appease his ever-vocal critics.

You can see it in poor Trent's eyes as he appears on various TV talk shows in his desperate effort to secure "forgiveness." Like the proverbial deer caught in the car headlights, Trent Lott appears terrified of the liberal mob. And he's increasingly giving off signals that he will do anything to avoid a symbolic lynching at their hands.

"I'm a changed man," he says. "I'm for affirmative action," he grovels. And as his voice trails off, we can just barely hear the ultimate words of frightened capitulation: "If I am allowed to remain Senate Majority Leader, there are so many things we can do to eliminate racism in America..."

In other words, "Tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do it, if you'll only get off my back!." And already his tormenters are responding, slowly upping the ante on what kinds of political acts would signify Trent Lott's "authentic" redemption and rehabilitation.

Yes, that's right folks. We're talking about Trent lending his support to the usual left-liberal social-engineering shibboleths about eliminating systemic racism in America -- and the usual left-liberal social remedies: more racial quotas in education, more "progressive" interventionists in the judiciary, more government-subsidized health care, an increased minimum wage, and more government social programs for the racially disadvantaged. In other words, more of the same harmful, iatrogenic left-liberal social cures which have already created so much misery among America's underclass.

The bottom line is that if Trent Lott doesn't resign his leadership position, and get off the redemption treadmill, he will become a permanent hostage of the liberal-left, politically-correct set. He will be the target of an escalating campaign of political blackmail, demanding that he support an ever-increasing wish-list of harmful social-welfare initiatives aimed at helping the poor, but really only helping the privileged "helpers" -- or else!

If he doesn't resign soon, Senator Trent Lott will become the latest "useful idiot" in the liberal-left's campaign to destroy America and achieve their real ideal of equality -- impoverishing everyone in America, as the only way to ensure there is no inequality.

Of course, if Trent Lott does become the house stooge the chattering classes want him to be, he will also be helping them to create the kind of egalitarian Orwellian social-welfare state they really yearn for -- one in which some Americans (namely themselves) are "more equal" than others. And you can be sure that the one social group which will remain at the very bottom of this managed credentialed heirarchy will be today's disadvantaged black population -- in whose name the left has attacked Trent Lott's "racist" outburst and in whose name the left's repressive egalitarian social utopia will be created.

Murray Soupcoff is the author of 'Canada 1984' and a former radio and television producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He also was Executive Editor of We Compute Magazine for many years, and is now the Managing Editor of the popular conservative Web site, The Iconoclast.

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