Our Huge National Blind Spot
The Univ. of Chicago, my alma mater, has a huge blind spot. So do the economics departments and the law schools of our other great universities. It is that the economic bottom half of the US population does not exist. Although it comprises the majority of Americans, that economic bottom half is studiously ignored and all in these quarters pretend it does not exist. That is a huge number to ignore especially with a plight as bad as theirs.
They were abandoned by the democratic party decades ago, to the lasting injury of the party and that constituency. See, Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy” by Christopher Lasch. However, now there is a developing serious leakage around the edges on the blight of the bottom half plus. It started with Charles Murray‘s “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.” Murray was and is not university affiliated when he wrote that book. Whatever his failings in deducing causations, and they are many, no one can deny how astute an observer Murray is of all he surveys.”Coming Apart” has now been followed by “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America” by Nancy Isenberg of Louisiana State University. Murray is also followed by “The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy,” by Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT. Safely retired, Temin draws a portrait of the new reality in America in a way that is frighteningly and indelibly clear: America is not one country anymore. It has become two countries, each with vastly different resources, expectations, and fates.
But why are we just now coming to learn all this and why aren’t any realistic solutions proposed? The second question answers the first. No one like problems without proposed solutions And there is no solution to the second question anyone is willing to discuss. Ergo, the silence we have had. But there is an answer.From his experiences with and observations from the Great Depression and from his boyhood summers spent at the Delano family homestead with livestock, FDR had pretty well concluded that some sort of program of eugenics was needed in the United States, but before he could voice those sentiments, WWII descended on us and the world then learned to its horror about Hitler‘s human breeding program. With that, all discussion and thinking about eugenics in the US stopped dead in its tracks. However, the Scandinavian countries have long had the practice of buying the fertility of those who too much burden the social system.
Indeed the upper one-third of America practices a form of eugenics by selective breeding from having men and women of the same intelligence and social station attend the same top universities from which they graduate and intermarry. It is the bottom half that breeds thoughtlessly, indiscriminately and far too frequently.
So that while the couple that graduated from say Stanford pursue separate careers and have only one child, a counterpart welfare mother in the bottom half has eight children by as many men and is generating many social problems and expenses. Flip the situation a single generation and we have an eight to one ratio of “disadvantaged” adults. Flip it two, and assume the same proportions, and the ratio of “disadvantaged” adults becomes 32 to one. And that is only over about 50 years.This is what has been happening while we have been ignoring this problem for so long.
A eugenics program can be sensible and voluntary. It can purchase fertility voluntarily in exchange for say a lifetime basic income. The alternative cost to the government might be nearly as great initially but much worse if the problem is ignored and flipped a generation or two. There are many alternative programs that can be developed and aspects to consider.We have to recover our senses here or we could well have an insurrection or even a halting civil war. Heroin and alcohol can only ease the pain for so long. So before dismissing this suggestion out of hand, do read “White Trash” and “Coming Apart” first and then think about the matter open-mindedly.