Of all the sins of leftism — its assault on our Constitution, its undermining of our inalienable rights, its hobbling of the economy — none is quite so wicked as its virtual enslavement of the black underclass. It was increases in welfare and the institutionalization of leftist attitudes that, beginning around 1964, brought a century of improvements in black life to a crashing halt. In this 2007 City Journal article, my brilliant friend Myron Magnet explained how it happened:
Though welfare was part of the answer, the real explanation was larger. It was cultural, not economic. Begun by the elites, vast changes reshaped mainstream attitudes in the 1960s. Sex became fine outside marriage, and illegitimacy lost its stigma. Drugs were cool; social authority and tradition weren’t. America was deemed a racist, unjust society that victimized and impoverished blacks, who could rarely better their condition and who therefore deserved generous welfare benefits as reparations for past and present oppression. If blacks committed crime, the system that drove them to it, out of poverty or as an act of protest, was at fault: we shouldn’t blame the victim, as the saying went—meaning the poor criminal, not his prey. Since people shape their actions according to the ideas and beliefs they hold, when these new attitudes reached the inner cities, what could result but an epidemic of social dysfunction?
This leftist witchcraft transformed the once-great gains of the Civil Rights movement into a virtually inescapable structure of government hand-outs and dependency, establishing the Democratic Party as masters of a new plantation with black front men like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton playing the role of go-betweens and overseers. Unlike the original forms of slavery which the Democratic Party defended and upheld for so long, this program of dependency introduced a new wrinkle: it enticed blacks into facilitating and supporting their own subjection. Over 90 percent of blacks vote for the party that has locked them in the slums of Detroit, New Orleans, and Chicago. Some 96 percent of blacks voted for Barack Obama, during whose presidency black unemployment and poverty have skyrocketed, especially among the young.
In order to prevent any liberating message of moral and economic self-sufficiency from reaching their captive black constituency, leftists have waged a scurrilous 50-year campaign to brand conservative whites racist. To do that, of course, the term had to be redefined. Racism once meant a belief that some races were inferior to others. It now refers to any misspoken word or gesture or slightly untoward attitude that might be used to silence a conservative or at least prevent dependent blacks from listening to him. Just watch the ugly, twisted, dishonest, and corrupt attempts by the network news media and others to paint the Tea Party movement as racist per se. Why do that to innocent Americans whose agenda has nothing to do with race at all? Because — if the Democrat Party’s economically enslaved black base ever listened to the Tea Party message, it might come to its senses, break its shackles, and head for freedom.