David French Is for Reparations?

 

Reading this dispatch from the Dispatch, it seems like David French is four square in the camp of structural racism.

In his article he attacks those on the right that believe in equal justice under the law thusly:

…that racism exists only when there is individual malign intent, that remedies for racism should be limited to imposing consequences on individual racists, and that there is no intergenerational obligation to remedy historic injustice (“I’m not responsible for my ancestors’ sins”).

Under this mode of thinking, the concept of “equality under the law”—as mandated by the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act—is both necessary and largely sufficient to address the causes and consequences of centuries of slavery followed by generations of Jim Crow.

Well, I have to say, yes. That is what we have to work with. Anything else is making someone today pony up for some sin they did not commit. I have an ancestor who served in the Confederate Army. So what? French cites a biblical passage, which, I will ignore, because we have more than believers in the Old Testament here about, and move on. French decides to find structural racism in housing.

Residential segregation, through redlining and other means—especially when combined with profound employment discrimination and educational disparities—resulted in the creation of large communities of dramatically disadvantaged Americans. Because of centuries of systematic, de jure (by law) oppression, they possessed fewer resources and less education than those who didn’t suffer equivalent discrimination.

While the passing of the Civil Rights Act meant that black Americans had the right to live elsewhere, they often lacked the resources to purchase homes or rent apartments in wealthier neighborhoods with better schools. Indeed, to this day, the median net worth of a black family ($17,150) is roughly one-tenth the median net worth of a white family ($171,000). That means less money for down payments, less money for security deposits, and overall fewer resources that enable social mobility.

One of the solutions to this problem is permitting more multi-family housing in wealthier communities. But that’s exactly when NIMBYism rears its head. Even if every member of a local zoning and planning commission isn’t racist, there are multiple non-racist reasons for them to resist greater population density. There’s traffic congestion. There’s school overcrowding. There’s the potential consequence to property values. There are environmental objections. There are a host of related infrastructure concerns.

Well. I guess all those poor black people who moved north to escape Jim Crow and the poverty of the south did not happen? French ignores that what was called “White Flight” was in fact, “Middle Class Flight.” What is weird here is that he gives all the totally normal, race-neutral reasons that people don’t want where they live changed. Well, that is great. He just goes on to call for people to change their rules anyway. Y’all who know me, know I am pro-community rights, because I believe the people have the right to fashion communities they want to live in. This is done through government. David French, conservative, disagrees:

With regards to zoning, I’m more likely to suggest that property owners should be granted more economic freedom and that limits on multi-family housing are perpetuated by limiting people’s freedom to buy and develop land. The balance between planning and property rights should tilt more towards liberty. NIMBYism exists in part because government authorities sometimes control my backyard more than I do.

David French does not understand how “Not in My Backyard” works. It exists because the people who are there use government to set controls into place. It is clear that Mr. French is unhappy that local people, trying to build the best community they can, with nary a bit of racism in their own hearts, are unwilling to take a hit of some sort, and have the sorts of multifamily housing proven to decrease standard of living. It is clear that he wants them to take one for the team by what he calls a “tilt more towards liberty” but what he really means is a “tilt more towards the sort of construction I think should happen because bad things happened to minorities in the past.” I am pleased he does not want central control of redistribution of wealth, but forcing a community to change its zoning to increase housing density is not an act of liberty for the people already living there, it is a violation of their rights as sure as if you taxed them to transfer money to someone else.

Speaking of transfers, French complains:

Indeed, to this day, the median net worth of a black family ($17,150) is roughly one-tenth the median net worth of a white family ($171,000). That means less money for down payments, less money for security deposits, and overall fewer resources that enable social mobility.

Well, since the start of the Great Society, we have spent billions and billions in tax dollars, taken from people doing well, and given it, mostly no serious strings attached, to the poor. The so-called War on Poverty has not budged the line at all. So, I don’t see how more transfers of wealth, in any format, is going to make a difference.

What is really funny to me, is that before the end of Jim Crow, black families were more intact. It was not slavery that ended black families. It was not decades of oppression that ended black families. No, it was the coming of massive government intervention, and a society that embraced sex outside of marriage to an astonishing degree. Indeed, all families used to be more intact. I wonder if Mr. French put the same energy and faith into advocating for the end of no-fault divorce as he does for this sort of nonsense what that would be like. Not popular with anyone, I imagine. I mean, we are in an age, where David French’s buddy at the Dispatch watched and spoke highly of Game of Thrones which was soft medium-core porn (and Danny, by the way folks, was underage in the book) and cheered it on in the GLOP podcast. Not sure I have read French take his buddy to task for that.

What is really funny here, is that French opens his whole article complaining that another religious organization does not want a pastor to use Critical Race Theory as a foundation. He then attacks being against CRT as being unconservative because it is not seeing the world as it is, namely, that slavery and Jim Crow did some bad things.

Even worse, David French does not prove that in 2021 there is structural racism against blacks. The title of his article is not even backed up. What he talks about are nonracist reasons that some people find themselves boxed out of some situations. The real reason there are “large communities of dramatically disadvantaged Americans” is because dysfunctional people create dysfunctional communities. No one who is functional wants to live in those communities regardless of their race. And any time too many dysfunctional people move into a functional community, it fails. The functional people move out, and the area is colonized by more dysfunctional people. Burning down your local Walmart is not the act of “disadvantaged Americans” because if it were, large parts of the Appalachian mountains would have been burned to the ground. Mr. French does not even address that level of poverty.

David French is not an ally in the fight to save America. He has sided with the forces who want CRT and he is calling for reparations. Not calling them with that name, nor is he calling for centralized control. But he is clearly calling for people to disadvantage themselves because there has been racism in the past, and own up to the idea that being nonracist, but wanting the best for you and yours is actually systematically racist.

Heaven help us from “conservatives” like David French.

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  1. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Stina (View Comment):
    Part of supporting families is getting young men to financial stability earlier in life.

    How do you recommend that be done?  Advising them to pass on college seems to be frowned on.

    • #61
  2. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):
    The details are a bit fuzzy, but I recall French was considering a late, stop Trump, run for President in 2016. 

    Correct.

    • #62
  3. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    Part of supporting families is getting young men to financial stability earlier in life.

    How do you recommend that be done? Advising them to pass on college seems to be frowned on.

    Stop angling for a future of automation and solely a white collar and service economy would be a good start. Not necessarily you, but our culture has been really bad about throwing up barriers to financial independence for a very long time and it’s foolish to, on one hand, say young people should be having sex while ensuring societally that they can not even hope to support any “accidents” until they are 30.

    I think Trump’s policies were a move in the right direction on that. Regulatory reform and repatriating industry were a good start.

    • #63
  4. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Stina (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    Part of supporting families is getting young men to financial stability earlier in life.

    How do you recommend that be done? Advising them to pass on college seems to be frowned on.

    Stop angling for a future of automation and solely a white collar and service economy would be a good start. Not necessarily you, but our culture has been really bad about throwing up barriers to financial independence for a very long time and it’s foolish to, on one hand, say young people should be having sex while ensuring societally that they can not even hope to support any “accidents” until they are 30.

    I think Trump’s policies were a move in the right direction on that. Regulatory reform and repatriating industry were a good start.

    “How Dare You!”

    • #64
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Stina (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    Part of supporting families is getting young men to financial stability earlier in life.

    How do you recommend that be done? Advising them to pass on college seems to be frowned on.

    Stop angling for a future of automation and solely a white collar and service economy would be a good start. Not necessarily you, but our culture has been really bad about throwing up barriers to financial independence for a very long time and it’s foolish to, on one hand, say young people should be having sex while ensuring societally that they can not even hope to support any “accidents” until they are 30.

    I think Trump’s policies were a move in the right direction on that. Regulatory reform and repatriating industry were a good start.

    I agree in part, and disagree otherwise. I agree it’s good to repatriate more blue-collar industries and I like that more vocational ed high schools are opening up in our area (charters). The guy up the street from us is an elevator installer and makes good enough money to raise three kids comfortably. There’s plenty of that kind of work and no amount of automation will overcome the need for plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, etc.

    However, the downside of your argument is that “financial indepedence” is another way of saying “don’t get married and have kids until you’re thirty.” And, “don’t rely on extended family to help you out as a young couple” (which was common in the old days, and still is among Koreans, for example). Underlying all of it is “the case for” traditional sexual morality (and the institution with the authority to teach it).

    Don’t have marital relations unless you’re married, and if you do have marital relations outside of marriage, act as if you’re married and make a permanent committment to each other (an invalid, but natural marriage). Living virtuously is its own reward.

    • #65
  6. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Don’t have marital relations unless you’re married, and if you do have marital relations outside of marriage, act as if you’re married and make a permanent committment to each other (an invalid, but natural marriage). Living virtuously is its own reward.

    That’s a perfectly valid marriage in Texas.

    • #66
  7. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I agree in part, and disagree otherwise. I agree it’s good to repatriate more blue-collar industries and I like that more vocational ed high schools are opening up in our area (charters). The guy up the street from us is an elevator installer and makes good enough money to raise three kids comfortably. There’s plenty of that kind of work and no amount of automation will overcome the need for plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, etc.

    However, the downside of your argument is that “financial indepedence” is another way of saying “don’t get married and have kids until you’re thirty.” And, “don’t rely on extended family to help you out as a young couple” (which was common in the old days, and still is among Koreans, for example). Underlying all of it is “the case for” traditional sexual morality (and the institution with the authority to teach it).

    Don’t have marital relations unless you’re married, and if you do have marital relations outside of marriage, act as if you’re married and make a permanent committment to each other (an invalid, but natural marriage). Living virtuously is its own reward.

    I started a separate conversation on this topic over in the member feed. 

    • #67
  8. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I agree in part, and disagree otherwise. I agree it’s good to repatriate more blue-collar industries and I like that more vocational ed high schools are opening up in our area (charters). The guy up the street from us is an elevator installer and makes good enough money to raise three kids comfortably. There’s plenty of that kind of work and no amount of automation will overcome the need for plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, etc.

    However, the downside of your argument is that “financial indepedence” is another way of saying “don’t get married and have kids until you’re thirty.” And, “don’t rely on extended family to help you out as a young couple” (which was common in the old days, and still is among Koreans, for example). Underlying all of it is “the case for” traditional sexual morality (and the institution with the authority to teach it).

    Don’t have marital relations unless you’re married, and if you do have marital relations outside of marriage, act as if you’re married and make a permanent committment to each other (an invalid, but natural marriage). Living virtuously is its own reward.

    I started a separate conversation on this topic over in the member feed.

    Just recently?  I’m not seeing anything.

    • #68
  9. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Just recently?  I’m not seeing anything.

    I had to retype it (grrr).  Should be up now. 

    • #69
  10. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    However, the downside of your argument is that “financial indepedence” is another way of saying “don’t get married and have kids until you’re thirty.” And, “don’t rely on extended family to help you out as a young couple” (which was common in the old days, and still is among Koreans, for example). Underlying all of it is “the case for” traditional sexual morality (and the institution with the authority to teach it).

    I think if we were encouraging marriage at younger ages, we’d be able to make a stronger argument for abstinence.

    And I have no issues with changing the culture on familial support, either. I wasn’t being comprehensive and that did slip by.

    I don’t think encouraging earlier financial independence precludes your ideas, either. I really want to see an end to the perpetual student scam, where we keep pushing young people into more debt and more schooling to get ever more advanced degrees so they can someday break even in their 40s.

    • #70
  11. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Stina (View Comment):
    I don’t think encouraging earlier financial independence precludes your ideas, either. I really want to see an end to the perpetual student scam, where we keep pushing young people into more debt and more schooling to get ever more advanced degrees so they can someday break even in their 40s.

    Absolutely!

    • #71
  12. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Maybe it depends some on how well they do after “breaking even.”

    • #72
  13. Tyrion Lannister Inactive
    Tyrion Lannister
    @TyrionLannister

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    I mean, we are in an age, where David French’s buddy at the Dispatch watched and spoke highly of Game of Thrones which was soft medium-core porn (and Danny, by the way folks, was underage in the book) and cheered it on in the GLOP podcast.

    Hey! This was uncalled for.  

    • #73
  14. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Reading this dispatch from the Dispatch, it seems like David French is four square in the camp of structural racism…

    Does the Dispatch employ any black American writers?

    • #74
  15. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Do you think the Dispatch had a CRT session?  

    • #75
  16. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Skyler (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    This stuff gets really complicated

    I don’t think it’s one bit complicated.

    Almost every racist I have ever met is black. Government policies vastly favor blacks. Black people went to the same elementary, junior high, and high school I went to. If they choose not to succeed it’s not my fault. You don’t even need good grades to live well, just try hard and make good decisions. It’s not hard at all.

    I didn’t own any slaves. I have no relatives who owned slaves. Even if I did, I am not responsible for anyone in the past. I am not responsible for anyone except me and my immediate family.

    Anyone calling for reparations is a fool, stupid, or evil. David French is not stupid, nor is he a fool.

    Just to be clear, I am only talking about Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and anything they do to homogenize the suburbs with the cities etc.

    The only reason I’m using the word “complicated” is because I really don’t know jack about zoning issues and maybe some cities have effectively racist zoning. It’s social central planning and they have multiple motives including changing the electorate so they get more Democrats and may be part of that is theoretically reparations. I highly object to any central planning unless there’s no other option, particularly if it’s social engineering.

    • #76
  17. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Quintus Sertorius (View Comment):
    .he also knows that CRT is not about improving ethnic relations but about

    Quintus Sertorius (View Comment):
    about destroying the system in place. CRT comes from Marx…there can be no other alternative for CRT than to burn all institutions down..family….property….judicial….all of it…..Mr French knows all of this which is why he was so against 3 years ago…..Donald Trump made him go the path of CRT which is why I argue and imho his analysis is fake….it all comes from who is pushing back not about the issues themselves. He can quote the Bible or any other religious text until he is blue in the face. It doesn’t change the fact that at the end of the day he is just mad that someone he doesn’t like invaded his sand box.

    I think this is right and just enough Republicans are ignorant of it to be a problem.

    • #77
  18. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    All of this stuff about automation, blue-collar jobs, and procreating more FICA slaves sooner would happen the way everybody wants if we had an Austrian monetary system. This country also needs to completely overhaul how you develop human capital. We need a more deflationist economy and a more libertarian system.

    • #78
  19. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    The only reason I’m using the word “complicated” is because I really don’t know jack about zoning issues and maybe some cities have effectively racist zoning.

    Most zoning does “effectively “ cause racist zoning. That’s the foundation of disparate impact. I think it is a terrible metric.

    In many places, that is tangential to the reasons for zoning which include protecting a way of life – people who moved to a rural location a decade ago find it becoming more suburban. Traffic has increased, roads haven’t kept up, and they are bulldozing your friend’s local market to put in a Walmart. There was a big fight over here because the county commissioners were going to Rezone an area near the Econ river basin to accommodate more dense housing. To solve the traffic issue, they wanted to bulldoze a Montessori school that’s been part of the community for decades. The community revolted. The commission was able to add a couple apartment buildings just west of this community, but they were unable to touch the community. 

    Other big fights involve low income housing in upscale areas. Upscale areas have good schools and people fight to get into housing in that area. Low income housing always manages to bring issues that drop the quality of education and the safety. If low income housing did not have an already established pattern of bringing those issues, people wouldn’t fight it so hard. But the issues with urban sprawl are consistently LIH-> deteriorating schools -> increased crime -> find a better area to live. People who have played that game more than once get protective of their new neighborhoods.

    Disparate impact is a poor reason to accuse these people of racism.

    • #79
  20. D.A. Venters Inactive
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    French has responded to some of the criticism of the article in this piece: https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/racial-justice-individual-guilt-and?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo0MjgxOTU1LCJwb3N0X2lkIjozOTQ1NzYxNCwiXyI6IjNtUGVsIiwiaWF0IjoxNjI3OTEzODEwLCJleHAiOjE2Mjc5MTc0MTAsImlzcyI6InB1Yi0yMTc2NSIsInN1YiI6InBvc3QtcmVhY3Rpb24ifQ.hP6J639xiWFQ3-mbWeOqFpAF-X_Mcs_HcNKSIG3AoK4

    There, he clarifies, for those who he says misread his original article, that he does not believe individuals bear guilt for the injustices of previous generations, but that institutions might, and if they do bear some guilt for those injustices, and if the resulting harm persists, it is incumbent upon those institutions to do something about it. 

    Naturally, this does mean that some individuals who are members of, or agents of, those institutions do have some obligation to act, but that’s not the same as saying they bear some actual guilt.

    He also repeats that he is not proposing any left-wing, CRT, solutions.  He says this:

    Moreover, if one of the primary sins of our republic was violating the classical liberal principles of our founding in our treatment of African-Americans, the better solution is to extend those principles to previously-oppressed groups, not to toss away classical liberalism in the quest to remake society. (One of the key defects of critical race theory is its common rejection of classical liberalism itself.) 

    In fact, classical liberal principles can be indispensable to the quest for justice. ….

    One of the (many) problems of race discourse on the right is that there is such a focus on what is wrong—and there are many examples of illiberalism and excess from the “anti-racist” left—that there is less focus on what is right. It’s one thing to join the ranks of the anti-woke and relentlessly oppose “CRT.” It’s another thing to answer a question like, “So, what do you propose to do in response to persistent wealth gaps, achievement gaps, civil rights violations, and residential and educational segregation”?

    And again, as I’ve said countless times before, the answer to that question is hard. It’s complicated. That’s one reason why I’m deeply skeptical about top-down federal solutions to problems embedded in thousands of quite diverse American communities. I recognize the necessity of federal civil rights laws. The power of the federal government had to be deployed to destroy Jim Crow. But we also know that top-down “solutions” can present problems all their own. Poorly-designed federal programs can cause real harm, and when the program is federal the harm can be national.

    In fact, there are circumstances—especially when we’re talking about many of the myriad rules and systems that inhibit economic and educational opportunity (like occupational licensing, restrictions on school choice, onerous zoning rules that transform prosperous neighborhoods into virtual gated communities, and of course the enormous challenge of mass incarceration)—where the best step towards healing the wounds of the past is less government intervention, not more.

     

     

    • #80
  21. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Stina (View Comment):
    Most zoning does “effectively “ cause racist zoning. That’s the foundation of disparate impact. I think it is a terrible metric.

    First of all your whole post is very good. I’m trying to choose my words carefully because I’m not good at this subject. We have a local black libertarian, Walter Hudson, who is extremely smart who would totally be against all of this stuff but it’s his position that some of the communities have effectively racist zoning. If that’s true I have no idea of what to do about it but central planning is a proven. comprehensively stupid idea and I am against it, unless there is no other option.

    • #81
  22. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    It’s another thing to answer a question like, “So, what do you propose to do in response to persistent wealth gaps, achievement gaps, civil rights violations, and residential and educational segregation”?

     

    We talk about these things constantly without adopting the language of CRT.

    If he is so concerned about these himself, he should have been more supportive of Trump. Not any one PROPER solution is going to have results overnight. And a lot of these issues will involve THOSE communities self-policing their own and encouraging each other in better cultural hygiene.

    But deregulation, school vouchers, and licensing reform are all parts of helping the wealth and education stratification.

    And I reject any and all attempts at fixing “achievement gap” without a clear eyed assessment of IQ gaps. Repatriating industry helps here. Not allowing blackrock and bill gates but up all the farmland and housing helps here, too. But French supports the opposite on all three of those issues.

    • #82
  23. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Just for the record, Minneapolis and the counties attached to it or under this thing called the Metropolitan Council. The board members are appointed by the governor–not under real local accountability– and they have quite a bit of regional zoning authority. We are already under affirmatively furthering fair housing already in many ways. 

    Congress outlawed this type of political organization everywhere but here in the late 60s. They have a small law enforcement contingent for the light rail that includes detectives. I’m sure none of that gets abused.

    • #83
  24. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Stina (View Comment):
    Disparate impact is a poor reason to accuse these people of racism.

    Yeah, Sowell talks about environmental regs on new housing construction emptying San Francisco of blacks, but I’m sure he would also say that anyone under a certain income level of whatever race can’t afford to live in San Francisco. Disparate impact happens, but it has more to do with culture. Lately conditions are bad enough in San Francisco, it’s not hibatible for white lefties, either.

    • #84
  25. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Tyrion Lannister (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens:

    I mean, we are in an age, where David French’s buddy at the Dispatch watched and spoke highly of Game of Thrones which was soft medium-core porn (and Danny, by the way folks, was underage in the book) and cheered it on in the GLOP podcast.

    Hey! This was uncalled for.

    I am going to assume that is a joke based on your nome de plume?

    • #85
  26. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Stina (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    It’s another thing to answer a question like, “So, what do you propose to do in response to persistent wealth gaps, achievement gaps, civil rights violations, and residential and educational segregation”?

     

    We talk about these things constantly without adopting the language of CRT.

    If he is so concerned about these himself, he should have been more supportive of Trump. Not any one PROPER solution is going to have results overnight. And a lot of these issues will involve THOSE communities self-policing their own and encouraging each other in better cultural hygiene.

    But deregulation, school vouchers, and licensing reform are all parts of helping the wealth and education stratification.

    And I reject any and all attempts at fixing “achievement gap” without a clear eyed assessment of IQ gaps. Repatriating industry helps here. Not allowing blackrock and bill gates but up all the farmland and housing helps here, too. But French supports the opposite on all three of those issues.

    Good Lord, I am so tired of being lectured by David French! The man is a fool. Does he really believe “mass incarceration” happens because the justice system is racist, rather than because blacks disproportionally commit crimes??? He’s insufferable.

    • #86
  27. D.A. Venters Inactive
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    It’s another thing to answer a question like, “So, what do you propose to do in response to persistent wealth gaps, achievement gaps, civil rights violations, and residential and educational segregation”?

     

    We talk about these things constantly without adopting the language of CRT.

    If he is so concerned about these himself, he should have been more supportive of Trump. Not any one PROPER solution is going to have results overnight. And a lot of these issues will involve THOSE communities self-policing their own and encouraging each other in better cultural hygiene.

    But deregulation, school vouchers, and licensing reform are all parts of helping the wealth and education stratification.

    And I reject any and all attempts at fixing “achievement gap” without a clear eyed assessment of IQ gaps. Repatriating industry helps here. Not allowing blackrock and bill gates but up all the farmland and housing helps here, too. But French supports the opposite on all three of those issues.

    Good Lord, I am so tired of being lectured by David French! The man is a fool. Does he really believe “mass incarceration” happens because the justice system is racist, rather than because blacks disproportionally commit crimes??? He’s insufferable.

    To be fair, I don’t think he’s necessarily saying the justice system is racist.  He’s listing mass incarceration as one example why he’s suspicious of large federal programs and policies, and that he prefers, as he goes on to say in the article, to focus on finding local solutions.

    • #87
  28. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    French has responded to some of the criticism of the article in this piece: https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/racial-justice-individual-guilt-and?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo0MjgxOTU1LCJwb3N0X2lkIjozOTQ1NzYxNCwiXyI6IjNtUGVsIiwiaWF0IjoxNjI3OTEzODEwLCJleHAiOjE2Mjc5MTc0MTAsImlzcyI6InB1Yi0yMTc2NSIsInN1YiI6InBvc3QtcmVhY3Rpb24ifQ.hP6J639xiWFQ3-mbWeOqFpAF-X_Mcs_HcNKSIG3AoK4

    There, he clarifies, for those who he says misread his original article, that he does not believe individuals bear guilt for the injustices of previous generations, but that institutions might, and if they do bear some guilt for those injustices, and if the resulting harm persists, it is incumbent upon those institutions to do something about it.

    Naturally, this does mean that some individuals who are members of, or agents of, those institutions do have some obligation to act, but that’s not the same as saying they bear some actual guilt.

    He also repeats that he is not proposing any left-wing, CRT, solutions. He says this:

    Moreover, if one of the primary sins of our republic was violating the classical liberal principles of our founding in our treatment of African-Americans, the better solution is to extend those principles to previously-oppressed groups, not to toss away classical liberalism in the quest to remake society. (One of the key defects of critical race theory is its common rejection of classical liberalism itself.)

    In fact, classical liberal principles can be indispensable to the quest for justice. ….

    One of the (many) problems of race discourse on the right is that there is such a focus on what is wrong—and there are many examples of illiberalism and excess from the “anti-racist” left—that there is less focus on what is right. It’s one thing to join the ranks of the anti-woke and relentlessly oppose “CRT.” It’s another thing to answer a question like, “So, what do you propose to do in response to persistent wealth gaps, achievement gaps, civil rights violations, and residential and educational segregation”?

    And again, as I’ve said countless times before, the answer to that question is hard. It’s complicated. That’s one reason why I’m deeply skeptical about top-down federal solutions to problems embedded in thousands of quite diverse American communities. I recognize the necessity of federal civil rights laws. The power of the federal government had to be deployed to destroy Jim Crow. But we also know that top-down “solutions” can present problems all their own. Poorly-designed federal programs can cause real harm, and when the program is federal the harm can be national.

    In fact, there are circumstances—especially when we’re talking about many of the myriad rules and systems that inhibit economic and educational opportunity (like occupational licensing, restrictions on school choice, onerous zoning rules that transform prosperous neighborhoods into virtual gated communities, and of course the enormous challenge of mass incarceration)—where the best step towards healing the wounds of the past is less government intervention, not more.

     

     

    People did not “misread” his article. He used Christians being against as pastor embracing CRT instead of relying on scripture as the basis to say those Christians were in the wrong. That is fact and not a misreading of the article. 

    Further, he uses the Bible to support group punishments for the sins of ancestors. I read his article. I did not misread it. If that was not what he meant, the article is poorly written. If one person misunderstands what you wrote, they can be said to misread it. If many people misunderstand, then the issue is with the writer. 

    What is funny, is that in his follow up post, he takes the stance that while individuals don’t share responsibility, institutions do. He starts with the idea that the individuals making up a corporation:

    The concept of enduring institutional responsibility is deeply embedded in American morality and thus deeply embedded in American law. Let’s move out of the hot-button realm of race for a moment and consider something more mundane—standard tort and criminal law. Let’s suppose that an industrial plant has been recklessly polluting the groundwater for decades. CEO after CEO turned a blind eye to obvious production problems until the moment that the health effects in the community became dramatic and unmistakable. 

    Reacting to public pressure, the board fires the CEO and senior leaders. Law enforcement files charges. The company then hires a new CEO. It’s under completely new management. Are the new managers personally guilty of the prior leaders’ crimes? Absolutely not. Do they have an institutional responsibility to ameliorate the consequences of the prior leaders’ sins? Absolutely yes. How long does that responsibility last? Until they’ve done what they can reasonably do to repair the harm. 

    Of course, in effect and in law, the corporation is legally its own entity. It exists separate from the people who run it. However, it is owned by the shareholders, whomever they may be at the time. It is they who bear the burden of the entity known as that corporation. Usually, this takes the form of a judgement, rendered against the corporation. Said judgments are limited in time and scope. Big Tabaco got its judgment against it and that is that. 

    French then tries to apply that to State Institutions:

    Now let’s turn back to race. If an institution—such as a city or state—relentlessly segregated neighborhoods and schools, the guilt for that segregation rests with both the institution and the individual leaders who ordered the injustice. New leaders don’t share the guilt of the old leaders, but they do assume the institution’s responsibility to ameliorate the harm. Just as a corporation doesn’t address the consequences of its pollution merely by ceasing its pollution, neither does a government address the consequences of its segregation merely by ceasing its discrimination.

    Well now, that sounds good to say in theory, but it has some problems in practice. The first problem is pretty simple: without a judgement, there is no defined goal or limit. Based on French’s first article, I suppose his limit is that when median black incomes are the same a median white incomes, we can decide that we are finished, though it is hard to tell. 

    Of course, unlike corporations, cities and states and nations are not owned by shareholders. They have citizens. They are not owners and customers, but everyone is both at once in a sense. We have already seen money in the form of taxes taken from one set of citizens and given to others. If the nation is a corporation, this is taking money shares from one set of stockholders (at the point of a gun) and giving it to others to address wrong committed by previous shareholders. The analogy breaks down. 

    For longer than I have been alive, the Federal government has been trying to make up for past sins of people now mostly dead to people now mostly dead. Jim Crow was over before I was born. Billions have been transferred. Racial quotas have been enacted. Minorites have extra protections (unless, as French points out, they are Asian). Anyone in HR who is honest will tell you it is harder to fire someone who is a minority, and if you don’t hire them, be really sure your ducks are in a row. Open racism towards minorities is the worst sin in this nation, while anti-white racism is considered something to be ignored. None of this has helped minorities according to Mr. French. 

    So, he calls for more to be done, though he cannot really say what, other than it needs to be local and personal, but he is clear if you are not with him, you are being immoral in some way:

    But as we navigate these hard questions, we must be animated by a sense of deep responsibility. I am not guilty of my forefathers’ sins, but I’m part of a church and nation that has committed profound wrongs, and those wrongs have enduring consequences. 

    Or, to phrase it in explicitly biblical terms, it is my moral obligation—in my turn on this earth—to “do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” Make no mistake; the sins of the past have consequences that still rob citizens in the present. It is the enduring obligation of the institutions that committed those crimes to address the legacy of their own misdeeds.

    This is nonsense on stilts. He backs this up with nothing. If the argument is that rich people’s children have it better off than poor people’s children, I’ll agree. I’d invite Mr. French to take a look at the sins committed against the whole South by the North. Southern white poverty is a real thing and has been my whole life. Should the North be called to account (locally and personally, of course) to help correct that? Imagine where my hometown might be without the crushing effect of the North upon the losing side. Anti-Southern bigotry is still alive and well, and cherished in the North. Should I demand some sort of government intervention? Of course not. That would be silly. 

    David French is well on board with CRT, because he sees things through the lenses of race, while ignoring all other issues.

    It’s another thing to answer a question like, “So, what do you propose to do in response to persistent wealth gaps, achievement gaps, civil rights violations, and residential and educational segregation”?

    And again, as I’ve said countless times before, the answer to that question is hard. It’s complicated

    The answer to that question is not hard: It is nothing. 

    I can say that, because generations of “help” have only made things worse (as French shows with his metric). In a time where racism is lower than it has ever been before, French sees its sins more strongly than ever. It is clear that he thinks the solution to minority failures is more white intervention because apparently, his very faith tells him that minorities cannot help themselves. 

    I don’t know, but that seems a bit, well, racist to me.

    • #88
  29. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    It’s another thing to answer a question like, “So, what do you propose to do in response to persistent wealth gaps, achievement gaps, civil rights violations, and residential and educational segregation”?

     

    We talk about these things constantly without adopting the language of CRT.

    If he is so concerned about these himself, he should have been more supportive of Trump. Not any one PROPER solution is going to have results overnight. And a lot of these issues will involve THOSE communities self-policing their own and encouraging each other in better cultural hygiene.

    But deregulation, school vouchers, and licensing reform are all parts of helping the wealth and education stratification.

    And I reject any and all attempts at fixing “achievement gap” without a clear eyed assessment of IQ gaps. Repatriating industry helps here. Not allowing blackrock and bill gates but up all the farmland and housing helps here, too. But French supports the opposite on all three of those issues.

    Good Lord, I am so tired of being lectured by David French! The man is a fool. Does he really believe “mass incarceration” happens because the justice system is racist, rather than because blacks disproportionally commit crimes??? He’s insufferable.

    To be fair, I don’t think he’s necessarily saying the justice system is racist. He’s listing mass incarceration as one example why he’s suspicious of large federal programs and policies, and that he prefers, as he goes on to say in the article, to focus on finding local solutions.

    The way I’ve heard it in the past, “local solutions” would more often end up in MORE “mass incarceration” because black neighborhoods take a far stricter application of punishment for even “petty theft.”

    • #89
  30. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Well said, Bryan.

    French comes off as a central planner at heart. I’ve always said I’m a collectivist within the bounds of the Church, but strenuously oppose collectivism in government. Solutions to the human condition do NOT lie there.

    • #90
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