- Sep 18, 2003
- Right behind you so ... BOO!
- Basic Beliefs
- non-theist, anarcho-socialist
Blaming poverty on the mysterious influence of “culture” is a convenient excuse for doing nothing to address the problem.
That’s the real issue with what Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said about distressed inner-city communities. Critics who accuse him of racism are missing the point. What he’s really guilty of is providing a reason for government to throw up its hands in mock helplessness.
The fundamental problem that poor people have, whether they live in decaying urban neighborhoods or depressed Appalachian valleys or small towns of the Deep South, is not enough money.
Alleviating stubborn poverty is difficult and expensive. Direct government aid—money, food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance and the like—is not enough. Poor people need employment that offers a brighter future for themselves and their children. Which means they need job skills. Which means they need education. Which means they need good schools and safe streets.
The list of needs is dauntingly long, and it’s hard to know where to start—or where the money for all the needed interventions will come from. It’s much easier to say that culture is ultimately to blame. But since there’s no step-by-step procedure for changing a culture, we end up not doing anything.
The problem is too hard so let's blame it on culture and then we dont even have to define the problem, never mind solve it.