Saturday, April 30, 2005


On Wednesday I posted a brief critique of Thomas Sowell's theory about black culture being responsible for black under-achievement. Yesterday I put up two further comments on the subject by Steve Sailer and Star Parker. A reader has however reminded me of what is probably the most important factor:

"Sailer's comment that today's behavior is "an African thing" is just as much of a "stretch" as Sowell's saying it was a "Redneck thing". Neither has had serious influence for over 200 years. Blacks were long past the "Redneck thing" and the "African Thing" at the time our "welfare state" began. Their behavior is an "American thing", brought on by welfare state".

In fact, that comment reminded me of an earlier post harking back to something that most Americans have probably now forgotten: That characteristic black behaviour in America was up until around 50 years ago roughly the opposite of what it is now. See here. So where was the "African" and "cracker" culture then? Did it have opposite results then to what it has now? My correspondent is clearly right: Objective circumstances (to use a Marxist term!) matter most and current self-destructive African behaviour is not the result of ANY long-standing culture but rather the result of the perverse incentives that American Leftists have created with indiscriminate welfare policies, affirmative action, anti-American education, racial quotas on policing and the promotion of a "victim" mentality among minorities generally. And I think it is clear that even the influence of genetics pales into insignificance compared with the effect of the positive and negative incentive systems that society sets up for people.


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