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On the Border with Cloward and Piven

The left's strategy to ruin America by relying on its morality.

By Petrarch  |  July 8, 2014

Most of us believe in the standard model of history - that is, we believe that what we learned in our history books is more or less accurate, and pretty much reflects reality.

There are those who disagree.  They think that history as we've learned it is mostly a lie, and that the true reality of what goes in is controlled by hidden dark forces - the Bilderbergs, the "1%", the Jewish ZOG, even by lizardlike space aliens dressed up in human costumes.  Most of the time, the rest of us dismiss these folks as kooks and slowly back away when we encounter them.

Every now and again, however, something happens that makes us wonder if there may not be something to these conspiracy theories after all.  Which brings us to the disaster at America's borders, and the legendary duo of Cloward-Piven.

How To Destroy a Moral Culture

Even the doctrinarily-leftist mainstream media, which is all in favor of America being overrun by ignorant socialists who'll work as the elite's nannies and gardeners for pennies, haven't been able to conceal the historic collapse of our ability to secure our southern border.  We have had a serious problem with illegal immigration for a long time, but never before have we had tens of thousands of filthy, starving, diseased, unaccompanied minors - and equally misbegotten but far less sympathetic teenage gangsters - pouring across what ought by right and law to have been a heavily-defended high and solid wall.  Never before have the armed and uniformed officials of these United States exercised their power, not to enforce the law and send the invaders back, but to squash American citizens protesting the theft of their birthright.

Of course, the bedraggledness of these hordes raises a problem: Are Americans really willing to boot children back into the mouths of coyotes, of both the human and animal varieties?  Can Americans live with themselves if they do this?

Thus traditional and conservative Americans are presented with an impossible dilemma.

They can harden their hearts and do what needs to be done to expel the invasion, knowing that their actions will directly lead to the deaths of many thousands of innocent children and destroying forever America's self-image as "the last best hope of mankind."

Or, they can listen to the supposedly moral appeals of the left and accept these children into our country - and then more, and more, and more of them, until it isn't our country anymore but theirs, resembling in all particulars the hellholes from which they fled.  Thus America will no longer be "the last best hope of mankind" or even of whoever is living here.  Either way, we lose.

What sort of devils could have designed such a conundrum?  Actually, two very specific ones: Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven.

The Road to Socialism

Cloward and Piven were 60s liberals from central casting, devoutly believing in all things governmental and denying the very concept of individual responsibility.  Their article which laid out what has come to be known as "the Cloward-Piven strategy", written in 1966, targeted the major issue of the time - poverty and LBJ's Great Society.

Their great insight was actually one that Republicans would agree with: that the nation cannot, in fact, afford to cash the welfare check LBJ wrote to America's poor, under anything resembling our then-current economic or tax systems.  They argued that full-on redistributive socialism was the only way to end poverty, but that the American people then voting were not willing to support such a system.

So, they suggested, leftist activists and community organizers should exert all their efforts to making every single poor person apply for every last government benefit to which they might plausibly be entitled.  The Great Society safety net was supported by most voters and would never be significantly reduced because it was too easy to tar would-be cutters as "hard-hearted" - but if it was applied to each and every poor person, cities and states would be bankrupted.  Then the Federal government would be forced to step in, nationalize welfare, heavily tax the rich, and ergo!  Redistributive socialist equality!

History proved Cloward and Piven half right - many local governments were bankrupted by social programs, most notably New York City in the 1970s and Detroit more recently.  To some extent, the welfare function has indeed been nationalized.

It turned out that Americans were not committed enough to the idea of themselves as generous to the poor as to be willing to be impoverished themselves.  Democrat Bill Clinton signed a welfare reform bill in the mid-1990s that enormously reduced the cost of welfare programs by eliminating it as a "right."  Until the Obama administratively gutted this reform a few years ago, the system had a financial safety valve - no individual poor person could collect benefits for more than a few years.  Cloward-Piven tactics failed regarding welfare socialism, because the American voters were more hard-nosed than Cloward and Piven expected.

The Compliment and the Contrast

In a way, the very idea of the Cloward-Piven strategy is a historic compliment to the greatness of America, because it can only work in a nation with an enormously strong and generous moral tradition.  Much as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's protests only worked because most Americans really did believe in individual liberty and human equality, Cloward and Piven rested their confidence in the concern that Americans have for the poor.

Suppose Dr. King's tactics of protest had been tried by the Jews of Nazi Germany.  They were equally plausible on paper.  German Jews were, or had been, citizens, with the same rights of any other citizen.

But unlike the American people and government, Hitler's Nazis had no morals whatsoever.  They would have gleefully machine-gunned the unarmed protesting Jews, happily enjoying the convenience of self-identified targets.  Which is why the Jews never tried that.

Similarly, today's invading hordes know better than to try the human-wave approach with countries such as China.  The contrast between North Korea and China is greater than between the U.S. and Mexico, yet there aren't millions of illegal North Korean immigrants in China, because China spares no effort to make sure there aren't.  China has let it be known that it has no sympathy for even the most Bambi-eyed of starving children, thus it isn't forced to look at them.

Americans view themselves as better than that.  We even quote poems about "The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

The fact is, as any visitor to an American inner city or all too many rural communities can testify, we have quite as much wretched refuse as we have any use for.  We don't need any more.  While we can afford to tolerate some, there comes a point where - just as Cloward and Piven hoped in the case of the welfare state - the system overloads and collapses, leading to a dictatorship of some kind.

Out, Out!

Thus we return to the conspiracy theory.  Is our undefended border the result of Obama applying Cloward-Piven tactics to overwhelm American citizens, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry seems to think?  Or is it just another example of the most grotesquely incompetent administration in living memory?

We don't know.  Almost certainly we never will know - although like the proverbial stopped clock, even the most incompetent administration ought to get things right every now and again if only by accident.  Jimmy Carter, for instance, deregulated trucking and airlines, which have led to enormously cheaper fares and shipping rates for all Americans ever since.  Has Obama accomplished even one visible improvement, in anything?

So let's assume for the sake of argument, that Obama has indeed set up this human avalanche with malice aforethought, and that we are thus caught in the Cloward-Piven trap laid for us over many decades of hard, determined, evil work.  Are we therefore doomed?

Actually, there is a solution, just as there was and is a solution to the excessive burden of welfare programs, founded in the general goodness of America that the left wants forgotten and buried in the deepest pit.

Americans generally have no desire to conquer other countries.  Though historically we have often dominated economically, we've been the lightest-weighted imperial power in all of human history.  But when some other country is doing something sufficiently evil, we set aside our general goodwill to all men, and fight with vigor.

Did machine-gunning the Kaiser's men or bombing Hitler and Tojo's cities make us less American?  No - after expansionist Germany and imperial Japan were finally defeated, we didn't incorporate them into our Empire, merely into our network of allies.  We even brought vast improvements to the lives of the nationals living in them.  We protected and defended America - using harsh and violent tactics, yes, but only for as long as absolutely necessary, and for the ultimate betterment of the entire world.

The end result?  Our fathers who fought in the World Wars made America if anything even more American than it was before.

And it's a good thing, too - because if we hadn't - ultimately, there would be no America, it having been conquered by Hitler.  The same is true today with the border invasion.

So just as America proved Cloward and Piven wrong when it came to economy, budget, and soul-destroying socialist welfarism, we need to prove them wrong yet again by showing there are limits to American generosity and open arms.  We must reject the teeming hordes of illegals, and turn back many if not all of the ones we already have.

If we'd screwed our courage to the sticking-place thirty years ago, or twenty, or ten, or even five, it wouldn't be nearly so bad.  Even now, it's still not, quite, too late.