Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quotes of the Day - Star Parker

In honor of Black History Month, the QsOTD are featuring Black conservatives. Today's conservative is a woman I've long admired: Star Parker. She is an author, columnist, commentator and founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, "a 501(c)(3) non-profit think tank which promotes market based public policy to fight poverty."

After seven years of "first-hand experience in the grip of welfare dependency," she became a political activist. She founded in CURE in 1995. In her book, Uncle Sam's Plantation, she says that welfare is similar to an invitation to a government plantation, which creates a situation where those who accept the invitation switch mindsets from "How do I take care of myself?" to "What do I have to do to stay on the plantation?

I first became aware of her through her 1998 book Pimps, Whores and Welfare Brats: From Welfare Cheat to Conservative Messenger. She is one of the strongest proponents I know for how conservative principles do more to help those in need - and work better - than any liberal/progressive/government program ever could.

Quotes - from her and her books:

When caring for your neighbor becomes a compulsory obligation imposed by government instead of voluntary, charity turns to confiscation and freedom to achieve to involuntary servitude. To liberals, compassion seems to be defined by how many people are dependent on the government; to conservatives, it’s defined by how many people no longer need help. One promotes dependence, the other freedom, responsibility and achievement.

America must go beyond equal rights and responsibilities to guarantee equal outcomes and entitlement programs to ensure that. As a result, if you work hard, save, postpone gratification, and take care of yourself and your family, you lose. Not only must you support your family; you’re “forced” to support many others. Americans have no trouble providing temporary help, but they expect most to bounce back and lift their own weight.

There is no moral or Constitutional justification for taking money honorably earned from a neighbor to pay for what some citizens can’t afford. With one half of American voters no longer paying income taxes, wealth redistribution has turned envy into legitimized confiscation.

It’s up to the individual to embrace freedom and take on the personal responsibilities that go with it.

With moral responsibility thoroughly undermined, personal responsibility—simply taking charge for one’s own decisions—also suffers. The welfare state as it’s now constituted only facilitates this problem by cushioning what would otherwise be the hard smack of bad moral decisions. In one sense this seems compassionate. In a far more real sense, however, it’s cruel because the welfare safety net deceives the poor about the destructive nature of their choices and prevents them from learning how to make good decisions.

I know the social problems afflicting black America are great. I know that confronting black anger is exhausting. But I also know the dreams of my ancestors did not include enslavement on the government’s plantation of poverty. They understood that nothing in the world is greater than freedom, and I know from personal experience that freedom will never come from dependence on the welfare state. Welfare is a sociological monster, perhaps birthed with the best of intentions, but now unwieldy and insidious, damaging the very people it was intended to help.

Of course, hatred and bitterness never solve anything. Bigotry is bigotry no matter the color of your skin. No amount of suffering, past or present, gives you the right to be a racist, regardless of your political affiliation.

Uncle Sam has developed a sophisticated poverty plantation, operated by a federal government, overseen by bureaucrats, protected by media elite, and financed by the taxpayers. The only difference between this plantation and the slave plantations of the antebellum South is perception. If anyone works their way off of the plantation and denounces it, they are called “uppity” or “sellout” or even “Uncle Tom.” Instead of a physical beating, defectors are ostracized in the public forum.

After the civil rights movement confronted the government, the segregationist laws were torn down, and those formerly oppressed by segregation became classified by the government as a victim group needing special protections and special treatment. Certainly some protections and special treatment were warranted at the outset, in light of the harsh methods of the white supremacists and segregationists, but with the immediate threat past, the ongoing characterization of blacks as victims became just another way to keep the lower class in its place.

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