Elite Costs

It's amazing how we listen to people who've been dead wrong time after time. In 1975, the Environmental Fund took out full-page ads warning, "The World as we know it will likely be ruined by the year 2000 . . . World food production cannot keep pace with the galloping population. Family Planning cannot and will not, in the foreseeable future, check this runaway growth." Paul Erlich, author of the "Population Bomb", in 1968, predicted by 1999 the U.S. population would fall to 22.6 million. According to Erlich, during the 1980's 65 million Americans would perish from starvation. In light of these gross "errors", doomsayers haven't changed their story. In January 1994, Lester Brown, of the Worldwatch Institute said, "Seldom has the world faced an unfolding emergency whose dimensions are as clear as the growing imbalance between food and people." Even the United Nations joined the chorus with their 1975 prediction there would be "500 million starvation deaths in Asia between 1980 and 2025." Asia, as it turns out, is experiencing unprecedented economic growth.

These grossly erroneous predictions can't simply be chalked up to ignorance. As Dr. Thomas Sowell points out, in his new book, "The Vision of the Anointed", statists deliberately invent crises as a means to gain more control over our lives.

In the early 60s, Planned Parenthood and other groups convinced the nation there was a "crisis" in teen pregnancy and venereal disease. They got Congress to give them our money to sponsor sex education (read: indoctrination) classes, often showing films to junior high school students depicting hetero- homosexual couples engaged in sex; teenage birth control clinics were set up and condom distribution programs started.

Was there a crisis in the first place? Since 1950, teenage fertility rates had been declining as were venereal disease rates. By 1960 syphilis and gonorrhea infections were less than half of what they were in 1950. We all know the story after "sex education." Teen pregnancy rose from 68 per thousand in 1970 to 96 per thousand by 1980. Venereal disease rate skyrocketed 350 percent between 1965 and 1978.

It's the same story with poverty and dependency. When the "war on poverty" began in 1965, the number of people living in poverty had been rapidly declining since World War II. Sowell reports "[t]he proportion of people whose earnings put them below the poverty level, without counting government benefits, declined by about one-third from 1950 to 1965." In other words, dependency was declining when the "war on poverty" began. Today, what the Bureau of Census defines as poverty is higher than in 1965 and there's much more dependency.

It's the same story with crime. The absolute number of murders committed in the U.S. in 1960 was less than in 1930, 1940 or 1950, even though the population was larger. After 1960, the courts succumbed to idiotic liberal ideology. Judge Brazelon opined the problem wasn't with "the so-called criminal population" but with society whose "need to punish" was a "primitive urge" that was "highly irrational." U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas said, "Rehabilitation of criminals has seldom been attempted. Killing them or locking them up is the-tried-and-true ancient method. Why not turn our faces toward rehabilitation?" Court contempt for law-abiding citizens produced today's crime rampage.

The elite who've created or magnified our social problems see themselves as nobler and wiser than the ordinary person. They also see themselves as having been ordained to forcibly impose that "wisdom" on the "ignorant" masses. In the process, they've engineered one disaster after another. I want to know how long we, the benighted people, are going to sit on our butts and take it.


Walter E. Williams
January 22, 1996
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