April 9, 2015
Derb on the Moynihan Report, 50 years on
John Derbyshire writes:
So yes, things are worse all round, but still way worse for blacks.
Hence the uneasiness. A changing tide lifts, or lowers, all boats; but if this boat rides lower in the water than that boat at any tide level, you have to suspect that there is something different about the boats. Eek! Pick a different topic!
The liberal conventional wisdom prior to Moynihan’s report had been that the root cause was poverty, the solution welfare. No, said Moynihan, the problem was culture, the solution was to, uh, change the culture.
Fifty years on, that’s still the conventional wisdom, as George Will’s commentary makes plain. As Will also makes plain, we have no more idea how to change the culture now than we had in 1965. The suspicion creeps upon us that culture is not a weightless gas or a luminiferous aether; that there are some upstream variables involved in determining culture. Eek!