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Beware of What You Wish For

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Published : June 30th, 2020
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Category : Editorials

Apart from the 150 people shot (25 killed) in Chicago, the week after Father’s Day had the quality of a time-out from widespread anarchic violence that the Democratic Party has unleashed upon the nation to distract the public from the party’s lack of a viable election candidate or any credible platform of ideas for managing epic economic contraction. The contraction was already underway before Covid-19 greatly accelerated the damage.

Whipping up a moral frenzy over alleged “systemic racism” adds a nice overlay of psychological damage to a population reeling from economic loss, keeping them enthralled to phantoms, figments, and apparitions while all their familiar arrangements unravel around them. Last week’s pause in the action only portends a resumption of hostilities culminating in July Fourth, when the nation traditionally throws a birthday party for itself. No celebration will be allowed this year. But there may be plenty of marching, moiling, and mayhem.

Wokester Central has already established the story-line that the USA was a criminal enterprise from the start and that it must be smashed to set free the genius energies of Wakanda — currently misdirected in the suicidal gunplay seen in Chicago and other places of concentrated urban poverty. It’s pretty obvious that the uproars of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and its Antifa allies are to some degree centrally organized. They have access to plenty of cash, thanks to funding from George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and an array of showbiz-oriented corporate supporters. You can be sure that there will never be any accounting for it, since that would be labeled “racist.” The news media has shown zero curiosity about how exactly the money is being used — or merely distributed among those in the upper echelons of the hustle.

Based on the emails coming in here, some readers are baffled as to why I call BLM “a hustle.” I define a hustle as an effort to influence other people by dishonest means to give you something. Black America has received a tremendous amount of sympathetic assistance from the rest of the country since the 1960s, when the US government officially acknowledged the raw deal they’d gotten in slavery and Jim Crow segregation and passed landmark legislation to try to correct it. Doing so was a moral necessity when the USA posed as “leader of the free world.”

The effort has continued for decades with less than satisfactory results. A lot of well-intentioned help over the years had unfortunate unintended consequences. Everybody knows that the cash assistance programs created a pernicious culture of government dependence, hindered black family formation, and rendered black men superfluous except in sports and showbiz. Affirmative action in college admissions was undertaken mainly for institutional moral showboating, often with tragic outcomes for young people unprepared to perform there.

A large share of the black demographic remains mired in economic failure. Ending racial segregation was surely a moral imperative, but one tragic byproduct was the destruction of the old mirror economy of black middle-class business and professions. A lot of that was replaced by employment in various public bureaucracies, with jobs ranging from useless to pointless to hopelessly corrupt and inimical to the real common good. The evidence is right there, on-the-ground, in Newark, Baltimore, Philadelphia and many other cities. The rest of the country pretends not to see it because they are ashamed about how things turned out. They are even more desperate to seek phantom explanations and “systemic racism” covers it with elegant simplicity. No need to think further.

I don’t have the exact numbers, but it’s likely that the Covid-19 lockdowns took out disproportionately more jobs held by black Americans in low-paying food prep, hotels, and other service industries. A lot of those businesses will not be coming back to anything like their former levels of activity and employment. Of course, all other racial groups in US are getting battered by job loss, too, but they are expected to find solace in their whiteness, Asian-ness, Hispanic-ness, et cetera.

Pretty clearly, the next move for black America is the demand for cash reparations for all their historical indignities. That’s the hustle-of the-last-resort. One can easily predict the fiasco it will lead to. A Democrat is elected in November and reparations are enacted by congress. They’ll come out with some figure, whatever tortured process it takes. They’ll do it in the same fabled hundred days that they legislate trillions of dollars in other programs aimed at replacing lost private business with government dispensation… of everything… based on… what?

Well, not on the production of anything of value. Really just on more debt. The new crop of political leaders, like the old crop, will overlook the fact that the American economy blew up in 2020 because it had been running on debt, one way or another, for more than a decade, and we actually exceeded our ability to take on new debt. So, when the new administration borrows trillions more from itself, it will finally destroy the dollar. Within a few months, the value of reparations — whether $100,000 or $10 million per individual — will run to zero. The joke will be on everybody. Except guess what. It will be no joke.

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James Howard Kunstler has worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis. His nonfiction book, "The Long Emergency," describes the changes that American society faces in the 21st century. Discerning an imminent future of protracted socioeconomic crisis, Kunstler foresees the progressive dilapidation of subdivisions and strip malls, the depopulation of the American Southwest, and, amid a world at war over oil, military invasions of the West Coast; when the convulsion subsides, Americans will live in smaller places and eat locally grown food.
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