Frances Fox-Piven proves that you simply can’t teach an old statist new tricks.
To contemplate the possibility of a broad movement that embraces the tens of millions of the poorest Americans immediately raises the question of why the people who have been hurt the most by the trends of the past several decades have so far remained quiescent. I think the answer to that question is in the force of the blows levied on poorer people by our culture of insult, and the deliberate escalation of that insult over the past forty years. Of course, much about American life constitutes an insult to people who are poor, from religious doctrines that treat good fortune as a sign of heavenly favor and poverty as the reverse, to the insult implicit in the inability of people living on the edge to share in the obsessive shopping and consumption that constitute so much of our daily life. The politics of the past forty years has deeply aggravated the insult of poverty.
For a time in the 1960s, the upheaval in American politics caused by the rise of the black freedom movement softened the treatment of the poor by directing attention to what were called the “institutional” causes of poverty. Social scientists began to examine the roots of low wages and unemployment in labor markets, for example, or in patterns of educational or residential exclusion and discrimination. And political leaders called for new government interventions that would alleviate poverty by changing the practices of these institutions. Of course, any radical intervention in labor markets or schools or residential patterns promised to provoke fierce resistance, as experience soon showed. An easier way to intervene was by expanding safety net programs. The result was that in a few short years, from the mid-’60s to the early ’70s, our programs for income support, housing assistance, nutritional supplementation and assistance to the aged and disabled all expanded. However, the moment of (limited) enlightenment did not last. The black freedom movement and the sister movements it inspired subsided, and once they did, the poor became the foil in the efforts of an increasingly determined Republican-business coalition to gain uncontested state power.
Translated from liberal B.S. into American English, Piven is pissed that the “Great Society” of LBJ didn’t wreck family units enough, or undermine the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans enough that enough Americans embraced the entitlement slavery that she knows is necessary to destroy capitalism and turn us into the failed communist state she so idolizes.
It never ceases to amaze me that statists like Piven are blind to the simple fact that every place it has been tried, it has failed spectacularly (communism/Marxism/Maoism) or is in the process of failing spectacularly ( socialism). They’re always just one totalitarian tweak from getting it just right.
The worst thing about Piven is that the media duped this nation’s voters into electing one of her true believers to be President of the United States, where he immediately implemented her philosophy of bankrupting the government through massive, unsupportable spending in hopes of changing our underlying economic system.
She’s a dangerous woman not because she carries such radical ideas, but because she was able to use her position in the educational system to push these addle-brained theories into the heads of impressionable, ignorant youths that then went into public office without ever seeing how these philosophies fail in the real world.