Older conservatives often hold “incorrect” views, while younger conservatives often hold “correct” views, but, John Derbyshire says, those older conservatives aren’t holding on to old ideas from their youth:
When I was 17 in England, and the Civil Rights movement was starting to make news even from across the pond, I whole-heartedly supported it. So did everyone else of my generation known to me. (I was born in 1945.)
Older people were a different matter. A shared experience among us late pre-Boomers and early Boomers was the yelling match with a parent over the rights and wrongs of what was happening in the U.S.A. and being shown on our TV screens.
My Dad was wont to say things like (I shall bowdlerize slightly): “Blacks are hopeless. They’ll never amount to anything. It’s ridiculous to let them mix freely with whites.”
That would start me off, and we’d go at it hammer and tongs for a few minutes until the Weather Forecast came on. In England, nobody talks through the TV Weather Forecast.
So what happened? Whence the “pessimism and cynicism” about race?
Fifty years happened—that’s what happened. Fifty years that thoughtful, observant people of my generation lived through at the regulation speed of one day per day.
We watched the trillions of dollars being spent on social programs—watched the actual dollars disappearing out of our own paychecks. We saw the vast apparatus of make-work government jobs being assembled. We were there, observing, day by day, when the preferences and favoritism and set-asides were being implemented. We watched as jurisprudence was twisted into pretzel shapes in the name of a bogus “fairness.” We saw the independent black nations of Africa and the Caribbean implode into ruin, chaos and beggary.
We lived through it; we saw it all.
And fifty years on, we see the results. Yes, some real gains in equity, though offset by some losses; but also intractable black poverty, intractable gaps in academic achievement, intractable, stupendous differentials in crime rates.
Pessimism and cynicism? Is someone surprised?
Derbyshire shares an anecodote about “kids today”:
I need to do a little scene-setting. It’s the Memorial Day weekend. We have an assortment of friends over for a backyard barbecue. The only two relevant to the story are Kyle and Sammy (neither the person’s real name).
Kyle is precisely my daughter Nellie’s age, 19. The two of them in fact first got acquainted at an infants’ playgroup. Both are home on vacation after completing their college freshman year.
Sammy is much older—even older than me. He is a businessman who owns a string of small enterprises, including some convenience stores. One of those stores, he mentioned at the barbecue, is in Jamaica, a majority-black neighborhood of New York City.
Hearing this, I asked him if his Jamaica store had suffered the attentions of a flash mob.
Sammy of course knew what I was talking about. No, he replied, so far he’d been lucky; though a store further along on the same street had been flash-mobbed.
Nellie and Kyle, standing nearby, were both looking puzzled.
Nellie: “Why would the store get flash-mobbed?”
Me: “It’s a store. In a black neighborhood.”
Nellie (slightly affronted): “Dad, you don’t know anything. A flash mob is when people pre-arrange to all be in the mall or somewhere at the same time and start singing or something.”
Me: “It’s also when a gang of young blacks pre-arrange to storm a store, steal stuff, then run off before the police can arrive.”
Nellie, with her well-practiced Uh-oh, Dad’s-in-racist-mode-again look of resignation and disgust: “I never heard of that.”
I cross-checked with Kyle.
No, he’d never heard of it, either.
So here are two intelligent, well-read 19-year-olds, both utterly unacquainted with one of the minor antisocial phenomena of our time.
Why? Why do you think? Because that phenomenon is race-centered, that’s why.
And the kids’ ignorance of race realities is of course the fault of us—their parents—practicing the David Brooks Rule.
When my (Chinese immigrant) wife and I decided to move to the ‘burbs and start a family, we bought the best house we could afford in a neighborhood as far as possible from concentrations of blacks.
This is what everyone does. It’s what our neighbors did.
Those neighbors are all white—and about 95 percent liberal Democrats.
We would dearly have liked to settle in Cold Spring Harbor, but the house prices were out of our range. See if you can figure out why.
And so the kids end up at age 19 with a big reality gap.
So sheltered have our kids been from racial realities, they even find ghetto scum culture exciting, in a remote and abstract way, like alien robo-warriors.
The antics of ghetto degenerates are so far removed from their direct experience that they find them interesting and exciting, like the Ghost Dance of the Sioux.
We parents had much assistance in our Ignorance Project from the Main Steam Media, with their crime stories filled with strangely raceless perpetrators, with “teens,” “youths,” “thugs,” and “the robber was described as a tall man in his thirties.”
I suppose he already crossed the Rubicon a while ago…