:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Sunday, May 09, 2004  

Hard America = Good. Soft America = Bad.

I don't know why I read this George Will column but I did. Will reviews Michael Barone's new book about Hard America versus Soft America. Soft America is seen as the move towards progressive values (soft things like universal education, affirmative action, welfare, social programs, etc) and hard America is seen as capitalistic, rugged, individualistic (no "racial preferences", more profits, more prisons, less capital gains taxes, etc).

Unsurprisingly, "racial preferences" are equated with "affirmative action" and "soft America". Will states, "Racial preferences, which were born in the 1960s and '70s, fence some blacks off from Hard America, insulating them in 'a Soft America where lack of achievement will nonetheless be rewarded.'" Ouch. Now THAT's racist. A fact that's pointed out as a positive benefit of "hard America" and the ability to curb crime in our country is that in 1970 there were 200,000 people in prison, while in 2000 (JUST 30 years later) there were over 1.3 million people in prison. YIKES. That's seriously disturbing. Lock 'em all up, even the innocent ones, boys.

Over at Paperweight's Fair Shot, it's pointed out astutely that this debate is all about "framing the debate", with the following conclusions being derived from the column:

Republicans are tough pragmatic competent men of action, forged in the fires of a free market.
Democrats are mollycoddled and mollycoddling wimps sucking off the goverment teat.

Fair Shot has a GREAT analysis of the G.Will column, DEFINITELY worth checking out.

And myth-creation about the scary freeloading welfare program:
"In the Soft America of 1970, the tapestry of welfare benefits had a cash value greater than a minimum-wage job. In the Harder America of 1996, welfare reform repealed Aid to Families with Dependent Children, a lifetime entitlement to welfare. And in the 1990s, welfare dependency -- and crime -- were cut in half. A harder, self-disciplined America is a safer America."

posted by Anjali Taneja | 5/09/2004 11:46:00 PM | |


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