By Roger Kimball • June 20, 2020
According to Joe Biden, the basement candidate for president, ending “systemic racism” in the United States is “the moral obligation of our time.”
Too late, Joe! Systemic racism in the United States ended with the Union victory in the Civil War. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. On June 19 of that year, Union General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, that all slaves in the state were free—Texas being that last state to comply with the Emancipation Proclamation. That is the date that the latest Kwanzaa-like manufactured racialist holiday, “Juneteenth,” is intended to celebrate and that Joe’s minders intended to capitalize on by writing “Juneteenth: A Reminder Of Black America’s Long-Fought Fight For Justice.”
The institution of slavery, which ended nearly 150 years ago, has no bearing—zero—on the plight of American blacks today. What does affect them, mightily, is the destruction of the black family, a project brought to us by more than five decades of Democratic welfare policy.
The PR surrounding Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program told the world that its aim was to abolish poverty. It’s actual effect was to institutionalize poverty and promulgate an endless agenda of dependency, which all but guaranteed black subservience to the governmental overlord. It also institutionalized the gigantic network of government workers charged with servicing—and, by extension, perpetuating—the welfare state. The metabolism of this establishment was expertly anatomized by Christopher Caldwell in his latest book, The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties. It makes for a mournful story.
Also mournful is the spectacle of violence and destructive iconoclasm sweeping the country in the wake of the death of the career criminal George Floyd while in police custody.
For the last few of weeks, we’ve seen stores looted, police stations and police cars torched, and all manner of public monuments defaced or destroyed. As we know from (in the words of Laplace) expériences nombreuses et funestes, it is one thing to start a revolution, quite another to bring it to an end. Those gleefully riding the tiger at the beginning often wind up inside it before the journey comes to an end.