Citing Charles Murray, the libertarian academic and pundit who has previously argued that poverty is largely a consequence of low IQ and race, Rep. Paul Ryan told right-wing radio host Bill Bennett on Wednesday morning that poverty in America is largely a product of a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.”"Our culture" is somehow intertwined with "their culture," you see; and it isn't our culture that is at fault, it's the near-death of our culture that is at fault. That is why it must be resuscitated. It must be resuscitated by teaching the value and the culture of work.
“So there’s a real culture problem here,” Ryan continued, “that has to be dealt with.”
“If you’re driving from the suburb to the sports arena downtown, by these blighted neighborhoods, you can’t just say, ‘I’m paying my taxes; government’s going to fix that,’” Ryan said. “You need to get involved. You need to get involved, yourself, whether through a good mentor program or some religious charity — whatever it is to make a difference, and that’s how we resuscitate our culture.”
We must, in other words, make them more like us. Because their culture is bad, and ours is good; and we must bring our culture to them; before theirs destroys ours. Besides, when we left the inner city, look what they did with it.
And today, the first rule of holes:
“It was a long talk and he asked about the culture and I just went off of that,” Ryan told Burke. “This has nothing to do whatsoever with race. It never even occurred to me. This has nothing to do with race whatsoever."
“This isn’t a race based comment it’s a breakdown of families, it’s rural poverty in rural areas, and talking about where poverty exists — there are no jobs and we have a breakdown of the family," he explained, repeating "This has nothing to do with race.”
Because it's never about race; it's just about "inner cities" v. "rural areas." And we all know what kind of people we expect to find in each of those areas; and none of us connect rural areas with "a tailspin of culture...of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work."
But it's not about race; it never is.
UPDATE: Really, it just never is about race:
Discussing urban poverty, policy responses and race ain't easy. But when you push the idea that the ills of the country's "inner cities" are the product of the intergenerational laziness of the (inner city = black) men in those cities and then cite the work of a purported scholar who argues that blacks are genetically inferior to white people ... well, the chances of your being 'misunderstood' or 'taken out of context' become extremely high.Or maybe Occam's Razor just says the answer is "racism"? No, can't be that.
Josh Marshall also says of Charles Murray's work:
...Murray's public career has been based on pushing the idea that black urban poverty is primarily the fault of black people and their diseased 'culture' and even more controversially that black people are genetically inferior to white people and other notional races with regards to intelligence. Yes, that last part should be crystal clear: Murray is best known for attempting to marshal social science evidence to argue that black people are genetically not as smart as white people.
Which I think is a very fair assessment of Murray's oeuvre. Funny thing, I've seen people cite the Southern Poverty Law Center's declaration that Murray is a white supremacist, and then after citing it quickly aver that they disagree with this assessment.
Because, well, you know....