to Trent Lott: Quit while we're all ahead
By Murray Soupcoff
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
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 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,
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