Free To Choose 1980 – From Cradle to Grave – Welfare

Gutman has done a study of a black family showing that this whole notion that the black family has always been disintegrating, that is nonsense. His studies go up to 1925, the great bulk of black families were intact two-parent families up to 1925, and going all the way back through the era of slavery, so it is now, only within our own time, that we suddenly see this inevitable tragedy which the welfare system says it’s going to rush in to solve. O’BANNON: we’re talking to Tom about – To which it is itself a point – We’re talking about a very small group. We’re talking about twelve percent of the families are not intact. Are not two-parent families at any one period… SOWELL: Do you mean…among welfare recipients… O’BANNON: No. SOWELL: …or the public at large? O’BANNON: among the public at large. about twelve percent of the families. SOWELL: That’s right. That’s a small number. But – SOWELL: We’ve got to build on welfare. We’re still talking about a significant component of the bottom twenty percent that are the bottom twenty percent. Whether they are above the poverty line or below the poverty line, they are still the bottom twenty percent. And the issue is: What is the responsibility of the other eighty percent, if any, towards those others? SOWELL: Does your program plan to eliminate there being a bottom twenty percent? No. But it intends to raise the bottom twenty percent so – SOWELL: We’re raising them by having more — by having more illegitimacy, more unemployment, by having… O’BANNON: I’m not making them be… have illegitimate children. I hope that’s clear. (laughter) Oh, I-I– you don’t have to do that. You simply subsidize it. FRIEDMAN: We, as human beings, don’t have a responsibility; but I hope we have a compassion and an interest in the bottom twenty percent And I only want to say to you that the capitalist system, the private enterprise system in the 19th century did a far better job of expressing that sense of compassion than the governmental welfare programs are today. The 19th century, the period which people denigrate as the high tide of capitalism was the period of the greatest outpouring of eleemosynary and charitable activity that the world has ever known. And one of the things I hold against the welfare system, most seriously, is that it has destroyed private charitable arrangements which are more effective, far more compassionate far more person-to-person in helping people who are really, for no fault of their own, in disadvantaged situations. I have to disagree with you though, because I think that the whole notion of private property was excluded, whole segments of society were excluded from the notion of private property in the 19th century; namely, women, idiots and imbeciles. And so, I don’t go back to the 19th century and hold it up as any paragon that we would want to replicate today.

Daniel Yohans

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *