The narrative that white people “hold the power” conveys a wrongheaded notion of white superiority and creates an illusion of black dependency on white largess. This false assignment of responsibility, while coming from an authentic desire to produce change, can create a new kind of mental enslavement.
Glenn Loury, a Brown University economist, exposed this concern at a 2019 event sponsored by the Manhattan Institute titled “Barriers to Black Progress: Structural, Cultural or Both?” Mr. Loury was challenged with the proposition that before black people address factors within their locus of control—such as high levels of single parenthood, which create a greater likelihood of child poverty—white people’s racist attitudes and actions need to be resolved. “You just made white people, the ones who we say are the implacable, racist, indifferent, don’t-care oppressors, into the sole agents of your own delivery,” Mr. Loury said. “Really?”
Economists often discuss the harmful effects of the minimum wage as an “unintended consequence.” In fact the effects were intended. Even as late as 1957, when U.S. Senators could get away with being openly racist, Senator John F. Kennedy (D-MA), at a hearing on the minimum wage, argued for increasing the minimum wage to protect white workers in the North from competition with black workers in the South.
Jeffrey Tucker – rightly angered by the stupidity of the coronavirus lockdowns – is not surprised that a free society is much smarter than are any of the individuals whose choices and actions give rise to social order . A slice:
The trouble is that a well functioning society can create an illusion that it all happens not because of the process but rather because we are so damn smart or maybe we have wise leaders with a good plan. It seems like it must be so, else how could we have become so good at what we do? Hayek’s main point is that it is a mistake to credit individual intelligence or knowledge, much less good governments with brainy leaders, with civilizational achievements; rather, the real credit belongs to institutions and processes that no one in particular controls.
While industrialization causes a short-term rise in carbon emissions, in the long term it’s beneficial to the environment as people move to cities, allowing farmland to revert to nature, and as prosperity enables them to switch to cleaner and more compact forms of energy. Carbon emissions decline as people move from wood to coal to natural gas, and then ultimately to what Mr. Shellenberger calls the safest and cleanest source: nuclear energy, the only practical technology for drastically curtailing carbon emissions, if only green activists would stop trying to shut down nuclear plants.