- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Costly idealism

“Elites throughout the West are living a lie, basing the futures of their societies on the assumption that all groups of people are equal in all respects. Lie is a strong word, but justified. It is a lie because so many elite politicians who profess to believe it in public do not believe it in private. It is a lie because so many elite scholars choose to ignore what is already known and choose not to inquire into what they suspect. We enable ourselves to continue to live the lie by establishing a taboo against discussion of group differences. …

“In the public-policy debate, witness the contorted ways in which even the opponents of policies like affirmative action frame their arguments so that no one can accuse them of saying that women are different from men or blacks from whites. Witness the unwillingness of the mainstream media to discuss group differences without assuring readers that the differences will disappear when the world becomes a better place.

“The taboo arises from an admirable idealism about human equality. If it did no harm, or if the harm it did were minor, there would be no need to write about it. But taboos have consequences.”

—Charles Murray, writing on “The Inequality Taboo,” in the September issue of Commentary

Criminal class’

“The looters, rapists, and murderers who have terrorized New Orleans … began their post-Katrina reign of terror a full day before the situation grew truly desperate — and it was their increasingly lawless behavior that kept willing but unarmed professional and volunteer rescue workers away from the city and from the poor people who needed saving. …

“Katrina didn’t turn innocent citizens into desperate criminals. [Last] week’s looters … are the same depraved individuals who have pushed New Orleans’ murder rate to several multiples above the national average in normal times. …

“In New Orleans, killers and other violent criminals remain free, because in many cases, they aren’t arrested or tried; conviction rates remain abysmal. … Witnesses and crime victims in the inner city fear to come forward: they know that even if a criminal winds up arrested, his associates will be free to intimidate them.

“On a normal day, those who make up New Orleans’ dangerous criminal class … terrorize their own communities. Once in a while, a spectacular crime makes headlines. … But day in and day out, New Orleans’ black criminal class victimizes other blacks.”

—Former New Orleans resident Nicole Gelinas, writing on “A Perfect Storm of Lawlessness,” Thursday in City Journal Online at www.city-journal.org

A man and a tractor’

“I’ve got about 2,000 acres … near Pine Mountain, Ga., where I go about three times a week. … I go sit on a tractor and bush-hog for eight hours. That’s fun to me. There’s something about a man and a tractor. …

“It’s like once I pull onto the dirt road: you don’t have to be Jeff Foxworthy anymore. You’re just Jeff.

“And I can’t wait to fire up the tractor. …

“When I’m down on the farm … I realize how much I love this place. I’ve just always loved it. I remember being a kid and seeing those bumper stickers that said ‘American by Birth, Southern by the Grace of God.’ And I remember thinking, ‘Well, that’s right.’ … I’m not leaving Georgia again. My next address after here will be Heaven, because this is just home.”

—Jeff Foxworthy, writing on “A Man and His Tractor,” in the September-October issue of Y’all

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