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  • Victor C. Bolles

There Are Reasons

There are reasons. There are reasons why things happen and why things turn out as they do. There are reasons why things occur in the physical world. And there are reasons why things occur in the world of human events. You might not like the outcome that results but there are reasons why such outcome occurred. In America, there are many people who do not like some of the outcomes that occur in this country.

Black people are underrepresented in our nation’s universities, so a quota system (called affirmative action) is created to place more blacks into the nations’ elite universities.

Women are underrepresented on the boards of directors of public companies, so a law is passed (in California) to require companies to name more women to the boards (another quota system).

People living in certain poor neighborhoods have difficulties getting mortgages because the neighborhoods have been “red-lined”, so a law is passed to require banks to lend the money into those neighborhoods.

None of these so-called solutions address the reasons why the unpopular outcomes occurred. And because the underlying causes of poor outcomes are not addressed, the “solutions” create unintended consequences such as the real estate collapse that was precipitated by subprime mortgage loans that began in “red-lined” neighborhoods because many of the people in those neighborhoods had poor credit ratings or lacked the funds to make a down payment of 20% which had been the industry standard.

People attempt to create preferred outcomes by passing laws to mandate such outcomes. The rationale is that the bad outcomes were caused by prejudice, greed or other human vice that was imposed on poor people and minorities by wealthy elites. And in some cases, this is a correct analysis.

But in many cases it is not the correct analysis or, at best, only a partial reason for the unwanted outcome. Many of these “solutions” are based on ideology and not on science or reason. Passing a law mandating a particular outcome is easy compared to the hard work of actually trying to solve the problem that is causing the bad outcome. And an effective way to resolve a problem means giving the people affected by the bad outcome the power to resolve the problem themselves rather than have a “solution” handed to them by politicians or whatever.

Many people will say that the system is skewed against the little guy. Democrats are particularly good at pointing out the failures of the American system but their solution of mandating a preferred (by Democrats) outcome does not resolve the underlying causes and rather entrenches the skewed structure by papering over the real problems of society. Republicans are little better, thinking that economic growth (mistakenly believed to be generated by tax cuts) will solve all the problems of society.

The only way to truly resolve these problems is to un-skew the system – level the playing field so that all Americans have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. The founding of America laid out the fundamental principles (based on the Enlightenment philosophy of John Locke and others) on which the citizens of this country can enter into a contract with each other to outline the rights and obligations between citizens. The Founders then created a government to enforce that contract. The initial attempt, the Articles of Confederation, proved to be insufficient to the task so the Founders convened a constitutional convention to create the Constitution of the United States. This Constitution gave the government the power to enforce the social contract but that same power can be used to distort the original intent of the Founders and frustrate the goals of their Enlightenment principles. It was this power that the Founders feared and the reason why they included many checks and balances to keep government power under control.

Nevertheless, ambitious men and women (some might describe them as greedy or avaricious) are attracted to government power and try to use it to their advantage. They attempt to skew the levers of power to their advantage and thereby skew the system against the average person (creating an un-level playing field). This isn’t unique to the American government or any particular ideological system, it has always happened and will continue to happen until human beings evolve into some other higher form of life.

But American government is unique in that the Founders intended to limit government power. The Constitution gives the federal government power but it also constrains that power. This gives the people more ability to control and reform government than most other countries. And our government is indeed in need of reform in order to reinforce the original founding principles and restore the social contract. We face two problems. One, the government continues to grow in power and become less limited over time. This is partly inevitable because, as the country and its industries have grown larger, government must increase its power in order to fulfill its obligations to the citizens. But the second problem is that many people want the government to become even larger in order to provide them with more and more services beyond the scope of the constitutional powers previously granted to government.

The Democrats have moved steadily to the left and have replaced John Locke with Karl Marx despite the fact that no government based on Marxist thought has ever succeeded. Meanwhile, the benighted Republicans hark back to a conservative past that did not serve all citizens equally and offer no methodology to meet the legitimate needs of the common person.

If people want all of our citizens and even our immigrants to have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream they must take to heart and practice the principles that made America great in the first place; personal liberty, economic freedom, the rule of law, equality of opportunity and equality before the law. With dedication to these principles, a diverse population can join together in a common cause to achieve their dreams while making the nation great at the same time.


And While we’re at it:

Spending money on poverty hasn’t solved poverty. Spending money on schools hasn’t resulted in educating our youth. Spending money hasn’t made healthcare available for everyone. As a nation we spend more per capita on poverty, education and healthcare than any other country on earth and we only get mediocre results at best. The definition of crazy is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. It is time to try a different path to solve our very real problems.

We have replaced dedication and discipline with money, but money is no substitute for those virtues. Money is a tool. A tool that can be used for good or ill. Money without dedication and discipline is just licentiousness. A dissipation of good intentions into nothingness. We Americans have forgotten that money cannot replace dedication and discipline. Our grandparents survived the Great Depression through hard work and scrimping on current expenses to save something for the future, creating the great prosperity we now enjoy. Immigrant families in the early twentieth century knew that education and assimilation were the best means to achieve the American Dream.

Black communities held together in the face of Jim Crow laws in the South and discrimination elsewhere, working hard to improve their lives. Economist Thomas Sowell in his book, Discrimination and Disparities (2018) noted the greatest decline in black poverty occurred between 1940 and 1960 (referencing the book America in Black and White by Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom (1999)).

Many of the wounds of the black community are self-inflicted. Single parenthood and black-on-black crime have soared since Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty. Most (57%) of the prisoners in the United States come from single-parent or no-parent homes. And because only one-third of black children are living in two parent homes, it is only logical that blacks represent a high percentage of inmates. Charles Murray noted in his book, Coming Apart that whites from single-parent homes also have a greater chance of being in prison.

Far from alleviating poverty, the welfare programs from the War on Poverty have perpetuated it. In a time of great danger, with rising powers confronting America across the globe, we need to have the inner strength to meet these challenges. And throwing money at our problems will accomplish nothing.

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