Monday, January 24, 2011

Blacks and the Blue Social Model

Scholar Walter Russell Mead is advancing the idea of the failed "blue social model" to symbolize the political contest now in progress. Conservatives believe that the blue social model of Big Units, life-time employment in big corporations for blue-collar and white-collar employees, has broken down, and has been breaking down ever since its hey-day in 1970.

But hey, he writes, in "Black and Blue," there's a big problem with the collapse of the blue social model. Blacks are going to suffer disproportionately, because they are overrepresented in government jobs that will be cut in the coming years when governments run out of money and cut spending. Worst of all, there is a whole cohort of blacks about to retire from government service.

A pension crisis for state or federal workers will hit African-American families harder, proportionately, than white ones; municipal layoffs and bankruptcies will have a disproportionate effect on both the African-Americans who depend on these services and those who are paid to provide them.

There's no doubt; it's a problem. But the question is: what, if anything could we or should we do about it? This problem is a problem of liberalism. It is liberalism that decided to shunt blacks into government jobs. It is liberalism that kept the pedal to the metal on government spending. It is liberalism that encouraged the government employee unions that have bankrupted the blue state governments. So now ordinary Americans are supposed to bail out the blacks?

Let's talk about another group that has been led astray by liberals: the white working class.

In the decay of the blue social model since 1970 no group has suffered more than the white working class. They believed the promises of FDR and Democratic elected politicians. They put their trust in government. They voted for Democrats. And look where it got them. Half a century ago liberals loved the working class as knights of labor. Now liberals scorn them as bitter clingers.

The fact is that the white working class, like Eve in the Garden of Eden, was tempted. "The serpent tempted me, and I did eat." A little further on in the Bible there is the admonition: "Put not your trust in princes." The white working class did both, it succumbed to temptation and it put its trust in government. Now it is paying the price.

Blacks did the same thing. Liberals came calling with government benefits and government jobs, and blacks signed on. Now the party is over, and blacks are in the position of the white working class in 1970.

Hey, we want to be compassionate about this, but the solution for the problem of the white working class is the same for the blacks. Stop playing the government patronage game, get yourself an education, and get out into the world as an proud, independent American.

Every group that ever did that lived happily ever after.

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