The maxim, if you want to FEEL good be a liberal but if you want to DO good be a conservative, has never rung so true. It is disturbing to realize how far liberal Democrats have been able to advance their leftwing agenda by whispering pleasing but false promises in the ears of poor minorities while simultaneously stabbing them in the back. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that contemporary liberalism—so-called progressivism—has done more to harm poor minorities than anything since slavery. In fact, for poor minorities in America, progressivism is little more than a new form of slavery.
Examples abound concerning liberal policies and programs that purport to help poor minorities when in fact they do more harm than good. One such example is the left’s commitment to continually raising the minimum wage in spite of indisputable evidence that doing so creates high unemployment, especially among young blacks and other minorities. Ever higher minimum-wage rates simply freeze young minorities out of the workplace just when they are seeking that all-important first job. Unable to get a job, too many are left spending their idle time on the streets where the criminal element quickly recruits them for nefarious activities that lead to no good. Those poor minorities who refuse to take up a life of crime are still prime targets for another group: liberals looking to expand the ranks of entitled minorities who look to government for their sustenance. Either route is destructive for the individuals in question and for our country.
Another liberal policy that claims to help minorities but in fact hurts them is affirmative action. There are two ways in which affirmative action harms minority students. First, as Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr. document in their new book Mismatch, affirmative action hurts otherwise qualified minority applicants for college admission by placing them in institutions where they are over their heads academically. These minority students are qualified for college admission and, if placed in institutions appropriate to their academic levels, could succeed. However, placing them in classes with the top students in the world puts them at a competitive disadvantage.
Minority students who are accepted at top-tier universities because they are minorities rather than because their test scores and preparation merit admission fail in high numbers because they are mismatched—not because they are minorities. This phenomenon is no different than a good high school athlete failing in a top tier college program when he could have succeeding at a smaller school. Not every high school football player can play for the University of Alabama. Not every student, regardless of race, can attend America’s top ten universities, but because of affirmative action many minorities who would have succeeded in a good state university are being set up for failure by those who use affirmative action to enroll them in world-class universities where they simply cannot compete.
The latest social issue that is compelling liberals to “help” minorities is gun violence. Their answer, of course, is gun control—more laws that will disarm law-abiding citizens while emboldening violent criminals. Writing for Townhall, conservative economist, professor, and commentator, Thomas Sowell, states: “Although gun control is not usually considered a racial issue, a wholly disproportionate number of Americans killed by guns are black. But here, as elsewhere, liberals’ devotion to their ideology greatly exceeds their concern about what actually happens to flesh and blood human beings as a result of their ideology.”
Sowell accurately states that factual studies over the years in the United States and abroad have repeatedly shown that gun-control laws do not reduce gun violence. Cities in the United States with the toughest gun-control laws have murder rates far above the national average. In fact, the highest murder rates in the world are in countries that have 100 percent gun bans. Consider just a few examples. Measured by murders per 100,000 people, Honduras has a murder rate of 91.6, Jamaica’s is 52.2, South Africa’s is 31.8, the Dominican Republic’s is 25.0, Russia’s is 10.2, and Pakistan’s is 7.8. By way of comparison, the murder rate per 100,000 people in the United States is 4.2, a number that will only increase with stricter gun-control laws.
Additional liberal programs that hurt those they claim to help fall under the broad rubric of welfare, but space limitations require that this be the topic of another column. To conclude this column, the reason liberal policies and programs always seem to backfire and hurt those they purport to help is because liberals either do not understand human nature or simply ignore it. This is unfortunate because as any good leader can tell you, failing to factor human nature into your decisions is what gives rise to the law of unintended consequences, and this law is the Achilles heel of liberal programs and policies—a fact that hurts poor minorities.