The United States of Newark
© Jack Cashill
On a glorious Labor Day afternoon, I had the chance to speak with about 5,000 of New Jersey’s best and liveliest citizens at the historic Morristown Green.
Morristown served as the military headquarters of the American Revolution 230 years ago and, from the looks of things on Monday, seems ready for the challenge once more.
Being in New Jersey, I spoke about coming of age in a socialist society. I refer here specifically to the People’s Republic of Newark in which I was born and raised.
What I noticed, even as a kid, is that socialism did not necessarily come through a revolution or even an election. It came house-by-house, family-by-family.
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1960 was the year that the Aid to Dependent Children Program became the Aid to Families with Dependent Children, or, more realistically, Aid to Moms with Dependent Children.
A working dad at home did not fit the state definition of “Family.” In 1964 the Feds sweetened the pot for forsaken moms with food stamps and in 1965 with Medicaid.
Shortly afterwards, public housing switched from fixed rents to rents based on ability to pay, a change that made the working dad all the more an albatross.
The reforms of the 1960s targeted black families and hit them hardest. In 1950, five out of every six black children were born to married parents. By 1990, that figure was down to a woeful two out of six.
The seductions are easy to understand. Let us say your family has recently moved from South Carolina, and you are struggling to keep them fed and clothed.
Then someone comes along and offers food, shelter, medicine, and a guaranteed monthly stipend with the only condition being that the father leave the household, at least officially. This is a deal that many of us would take.
Soon enough, fatherless boys reached critical mass in the streets and when they did, they turned the community into a rain forest. No, let’s get real here: they turned the community into a jungle.
In 1950, before Newark had been socialized, the city experienced 213 violent crimes for every 100,000 people. In 1980, after only one generation of socialism, that number had increased to an astonishing 3423 per 100,000, a 16-fold increase.
People fled. Between 1950 and 1990 the city lost 150,000 residents, a third of its population. And when they fled, the media called them racists.
And for those of us who stayed, as my family did, the media gave us Archie Bunker as a role model. From the media’s perspective, Archie’s silly hysteria derived almost exclusively from his cranky bigotry.
By mocking the Archie Bunkers of the world, the media could avoid asking what happened between 1950 and 1980 and why has that murderous surge not reversed itself?
Despite the removal of all legal barriers to equality, a massive transfer of funds to the poor, and the virtual force feeding of opportunity, it has become more cinematically honest to show a young black male as a convict than as a collegian.
In describing this period, the media overlooked one other critical factor as well, at least about my neighborhood in Newark. Before the socialist takeover, it was racially integrated.
“Capitalist” does not describe this community. “Capitalist” is a Marxist word that envisions us only as economic actors. “Traditionalist” works better.
The traditionalist community was rooted in family, faith, nation and yes, free enterprise. With some cultural variations, all of the city’s ethnic groups, black and white, adhered to the traditionalist model.
To break down the traditionalist society and turn it into a socialist one, the architects of the socialist experience attacked the one real bulwark against socialism, the family, and they had remarkable success.
Then, to silence critics, they dismissed as “racist” just about any attempt to examine the socialist horror show that inner city America had become.
To be sure, most of those advocating “reforms” and stifling debate were merely useful idiots. The strategists, however, understood that the surest path to socialism is to get between the parents and their children.
Don’t think for a minute that this understanding did not motivate the planners of Obama’s seemingly benign school time chat on Tuesday, the day before his larger address on health care Wednesday.
The kids’ parents in traditionalist America, as the Morristown Tea Party showed, have put up a hell of a tougher fight than the White House strategists expected.
Hell, the Tea Parties represent the fist genuine grass roots movement Obama and his fellow travelers have ever seen.
To date, traditionalist Americans have refused to be bought off by the blandishments that the White House has dangled before them.
They are not about to let Obama pick them off one by one and turn the United States of America into the United States of Newark.