David French of National Review blames “the depravity of the poor” for their plight (and ours)

Did attorney, David French, really say that? Yep, looks like he did. And National Review Online put it up without any indication at all that French’s piece was intended as irony or self-parody:

It is simply a fact that our social problems are increasingly connected to the depravity of the poor. If an American works hard, completes their education, gets married, and stays married, then they will rarely — very rarely — be poor. At the same time, poverty is the handmaiden of illegitimacy, divorce, ignorance, and addiction. As we have poured money into welfare, we’ve done nothing to address the behaviors that lead to poverty while doing all we can to make that poverty more comfortable and sustainable.

Earlier this week, Walter Russell Mead highlighted disturbing research showing that the poor — far more than the rich — are disconnected from church and religion. While church attendance is dropping among all social classes, it’s falling off a cliff for the poorest and least-educated Americans. In other words, the deeper a person slides into poverty, the more they’re disconnected from the very values that can save them and their families.

The bottom line is that we need more free enterprise, and we need more virtue. Sadly, the Great Society and the sexual revolution have deprived us of both.

I will publish this. I will then step outside and take a nice walk around the block, while breathing deeply. That is all.

[Update: our response to French is here.]

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About Guy N. Texas

Guy N. Texas is the pen name of a lawyer living in Dallas, who is now a liberal. He was once conservative, but this word has so morphed in meaning that he can no longer call himself that in good conscience. Guy has no political aspirations. He speaks only for himself.
This entry was posted in Culture, Economics, Government social programs, Income inequality, News, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to David French of National Review blames “the depravity of the poor” for their plight (and ours)

  1. vance wittie says:

    Wow, just wow.

    First, if the church is disconnected from the poor that’s a criticism of the church. In any event, the church, unless it has become horribly misguided is not about material wealth but regards that question as distracting at best.

    Second, free enterprise has been flourishing since the Great Society. Hasn’t the author noticed? It’s even been flourishing in highly socialistic places like Scandanavia.

    Third, the sexual revolution would seem to have nothing to do with any other form of virtue except sexual virtue. You’d have to show me that the sexual mores of the past were 1) actually followed and 2) somehow encouraged people to be more thrifty or work harder or something.

    Fourth, you may have noticed that our society is pretty darned consumerist and that there is great deal of pressure on people to acquire stuff. This means relatively few people are simply content to live on the dole. Some, yeah but not that many.

    Fifth, even in bad economic times the vast majority of people work. Indeed, the vast majority of poor people work. And they work at jobs that are a lot more demanding than say, attorneys or National Review writers. In what way are the people that clean the offices or work on road crews less virtuous?

    Sixth, we don’t “pour” money into Welfare. That’s a relatively small portion of local, state and federal budgets. So far as I know, the percentage of GDP or budgets dedicated to the relief of the poor hasn’t increased in a long time. Also, we’ve worked really hard to make sure that relief provides minimal incentives against work. Remember the welfare reforms of the 90s anybody?

    Look, I am perfectly willing to accept that poverty is caused, in a considerable degree by personal behavior and cultural factors. Can’t the author concede that social and economic factors beyond the control of the poor also play a role? Can he not understand that people of all classes make bad decisions but for the poor the consequences of bad decisions are much greater, given their lack of security?

    Is compassion not also a virtue?

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