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Government Facilitated Escape from Responsibility
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If one rounded up all the usual suspects to explain today’s failed social engineering, the absence of personal responsibility would top the list. In a nutshell, government initiatives will invariably come up short if the recipient of this largess refuses to take blame for his or her tribulations. Education is a perfect example—an unprepared youngster who arrives at school intending to disrupt class can, thanks to today’s generous permissive climate, dismiss awaiting failure by blaming bad schools, inept teachers, insufficient educational funding, obsolete technology, unpalatable school cafeteria food, racial and ethnic stereotypes, low expectations, an overcrowded classroom, deteriorating facilities, greedy unions, a culturally insensitive curriculum, a chaotic home life, deficient counseling, biased discipline, and multiple other responsibility lightening factors. Zero is said about his own disdain for learning, let alone stupidity. And note well, these “its-not-my-fault” excuses are supplied across the political spectrum—conservatives will tell the indolent grade schooler that he would, guaranteed, thrive intellectually if only his parents enjoyed school choice while Lefties will explain away dismal academic performance by pointing the finger at systemic racism.

Unfortunately, the flight from personal blame has now infiltrated life and death medical care. The importance of this cannot be exaggerated given that countless infirmities originate in unwise personal decisions. Yes, genes and accidents play a role, but personal choices can be decisive and taking responsibility for imprudent behavior is the cheapest, most efficient front line defense as medical costs soar. Imagine the financial benefits to Medicare and Medicaid if Americans voluntarily watched their diets, reduced their alcohol consumption, did not smoke, avoided risky sex, shunned addictive drugs, regularly exercised and otherwise lived healthier lives? Personal responsibility is truly a miracle drug.

To be sure, government cannot legally imposed a full-blown nanny state (recall Mayor Bloomberg’s failed war on supersized soft drinks) but at least it should do no harm by contributing to this flight from personal responsibility. Alas, today’s government has minimized shouldering blame as if the illness sufferer just happened to fall ill through no fault of their own. To recall the rhetoric of the 1960s, to criticize the chronic drunk for self-inflicted harm is “to blame the victim” as if the drunk was just an innocent victim of a rogue vodka bottle.

A perfect example of this mentality concerns the soaring HIV/AIDS afflicting young black homosexuals. The facts are simple. First, among all gay and bisexual men, African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV, especially young black men. Black gay/bisexual men succumbed to as many HIV infections as all whites combined despite being a much smaller portion of the population. Second, despite decades of deadly experience, gay/bisexual African American men use of condoms is declining; most eschew this simple form of protection. In 2011, for example, some 57% of gay blacks self-reported having unprotected sex, a 19% increase between 2005 and 2011. In other words, some 30 years after scientific research unequivocally established the connection between certain sexual practices, disdaining condoms and contracting HIV, young African Americans just ignore the link.

Third, this unhealthy behavior is expensive—the CDC’s current lifetime treatment cost of an HIV infection (in 2010 dollars) is estimated at $379,668 and since many young blacks cannot afford this bill, government picks up the tab. This monetary cost omits the victim’s pain and suffering and reduced life expectancy (a 20 year old HIV sufferer on average will die at 52). Further add all the money allocated to educate those who repeatedly disregard the warnings.

In principle, this public health problem is hardly unique or especially challenging and optimism would seem justified. Government has long, and usually successfully, combated alcoholism, smoking, drug dependence, gambling and similar self-inflicted pathologies. Recall how the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s was substantially reduced just by shuttering gay bathhouses that facilitate non-stop dangerous sex.

So, what the prescription for getting young African American to avoid HIV? To repeat, the message is hardly rocket science: just don’t engage in unprotected anal intercourse or, if you cannot possibly resist, make sure your partner is HIV-free. Compare this simple advice with, say, avoiding the slide into alcoholism is a society awash in social drinking or managing addictive prescription pain-killers.

Remarkably, the CDC actually denies this “more-unprotected-risky-sex, more HIV” connection as far as young black homosexuals are concerned. In their words, “Published research does not provide definitive answers about why new HIV infections among young, black/African American gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have increased.”

Instead of stating the obvious—risky unprotected anal sex is the culprit—the CDC just alleges that young gay/bisexual African American males become HIV positive because of who they are, not what they do. Claimed causal factors are lowly socio-economic status, pervasive unemployment and incarceration, less education, limited access to quality health care, stigma, homophobia and discrimination. Furthermore, young black gays have worse treatment outcomes and leave care early, all behaviors that suggest a lackadaisical commitment to medical treatment, not a nefarious outcome imposed by “society.” Even more remarkably, this failure to seek treatment is attributed to “internalized homophobia” as if society’s hatred of gays elicits suicidal urges (no statistical evidence regarding this hatred is supplied).

ORDER IT NOW

But, such CDC-supplied nonsense aside, it is inconceivable that today’s young black homosexuals fail to grasp the unprotected anal sex and HIV nexus. To appreciate the CDC’s shaky argument, imagine two young black gay males on the edge of a homosexual tryst. One tells the other, “how about anal sex sans a condom?” To which the other responds, “Isn’t that dangerous?” The rejoinder is, “We’ll do it anyhow since we, as a group, are poorly educated, clueless about quality healthcare, often the objects of homophobia and discrimination….” And then, post coitus, “How about yet more partners later on since, after all, we are young gay African American males and that is our modus operandi.” Do these young gays have free will? Does one’s economic status dictate if a few minutes will be spent putting on condom? The implication here is that these young blacks are prisoners of demography and society’s attitudes (shades of the old “the Devil made me do it”).

In fact, the CDC probably has the causal links backwards. As for the under-employment of young gay black homosexuals, what sensible employer would knowingly hire them given the odds of them becoming seriously ill which, in turn, mean higher insurance premiums, periodic illness-related job absences and workplace lethargy that results from treatment? Then there’s possible negative costumer reaction to workers who exhibited over-the-top homosexual behavior or show visible signs of AIDS. Then add possible discrimination lawsuits that a gay employee could file. Similarly, social stigma does not cause unprotected anal sex; rather, this practice, often serially with multiple partners, invites stigma. That is, non-black gay males prudently avoid young black sex-partners given the probability that they are disproportionately HIV positive. Even among hyper-promiscuous gays, young black gays might be shunned as Typhoid Mary’s, not because of bigotry but as a result of their repeated ill-advised behavior.

Now, problem defined, what does the CDC recommend to reverse these deadly trends? The answer is lots of things including issuing copious bureaucratic reports, more money for testing and research but the overwhelming thrust is promoting HIV/AIDS awareness to people of color. This has entailed pubic advertisements (including billboards and banners on websites) warning of HIV, getting the message out via existing organizations having ties with gay blacks and greater funding for community-based organization to help those at risk. These programs exceed a dozen but they all rest on a single assumption: at-risk populations need to know the dangers, and once this knowledge is implanted, behavior will soon follow. That HIV/AIDS has been a known, well-publicized killer for three decades seemingly has not deterred spending millions to reiterate this all-too-familiar message. Tellingly, the catalogue of interventions we cite appeared in 2008 and, as we saw earlier, HIV rates are actually on the rise after these adominitions.

Clearly, the CDC is worried about offending young African American homosexuals by stating what public health officials know to be 100% true—repeated unprotected anal sex almost guarantees HIV and, eventually, AIDS. Washington’s bureaucrats apparently do not want to remind this population that the risk of HIV is entirely about personal choice, and that if they do contract HIV, it is their fault, not society’s homophobia, racism and the like. Nor does the CDC want to besmirch the public imagine of these youthful homosexuals of color by depicting the ravages of AIDS to warn others. Picture the howls of outrage if TV public health messages targeting these young men accurately show them as they die of AIDS—severe weight loss, chronic diarrhea, weeks of shaking chills, short-term memory loss, impaired vision, chronic fatigue and disfiguring skin rashes.

Even worse, envision a program where young black AIDS-infected males visited schools to show the horrific consequences of putting a little extra pleasure over a life itself. And to drive home the role of personal responsibility, what about a billboard picturing the multiple young men killed by a single HIV-infected black gay man? The caption might be “Mass Murderer. Community leaders would almost certainly complain that young men of color have troubles enough thanks to white racism, so why make it worse by depicting them as perpetrators of death?

This apparent foolishness makes perfect sense in terms of protecting bureaucratic careers. The CDC is forever, not market driven or accountable to stockholders and, to be blunt, I doubt that the public is overly alarmed by young black gays daily dying (compare reactions to, say, the deaths of Michael Brown or Eric Garner). Matters would be far different if the CDC were Merck and its expensive education only nostrums failed to slow down the carnage. It is far better to walk on eggshells even if it means sacrificing thousands of lives.

Our more general point is that personal responsibility is being undermined by a thousand small cuts and as the number of ego-enhancing lies grows, government’s ameliorations are doomed. Recall our earlier point about how today’s poorly educated youngsters can so easily blame others for their plight thanks to expert-supplied excuses. Equally troubling will be the erosion of Washington’s credibility so as to not offend the guilty. What happens when a truly deadly disease (e.g., Ebola, SARS) arrives and people turn to the CDC for advice? Remember the early days of AIDS when the CDC propagated the myth that everyone including heterosexuals was equally vulnerable to AIDS, a tactic designed to protect gays from being stigmatized. Why believe experts who tell us that young men refuse to wear a condom due to internalized homophobia?

To appreciate today’s government legitimized escape from personal responsibility, think back to the 1957 hit musical Westside Story’s popular song, Gee Officer Krupke that mocked those happy to indict others for their anti-social behavior. Here’s part of the lyrics:

I’m disturbed
We’re disturbed, we’re disturbed
We’re the most disturbed
Like we’re psychologically disturbed

Hear ye, hear ye
In the opinion of this court
This child is depraved on account
He ain’t had a normal home

Hey, I’m depraved
On account I’m deprived
So take him to a headshrinker

My daddy beats my mommy, my mommy clobbers me
My grandpa is a commie, my grandma pushes tea [heroin]
My sister wears a mustache, my brother wears a dress
Goodness gracious, that’s why I’m a mess.

ORDER IT NOW

Audiences of the 1period laughed and laughed —a gang of juvenile delinquents trying to escape Officer Krupke’s wrath by pleading that they were not accountable for their own evil-doings—they were instead victims of a bad upbringing. Today, I suspect, the song would be taken as a serious explanation of anti-social behavior though the lyricist Stephen Sondheim would adjust the language to include economic inequality, sexism, racism, classism, able-ism, lack of role models, micro-aggression and sundry other conditions that relieve miscreants from any personal responsibility. So, Officer Krupke I can’t put on a condom since I attended a failing school, America is racist….

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: AIDS, Blacks 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I agree. Personal responsibility is the key to many ills we face – gay, fat, smoker, drinker, texting while driving, whatever. We’ve all got a weakness in some area of our lives.

    • Replies: @Chimp
  2. Chimp says:
    @Anonymous

    So being gay is an ill? A weakness?

  3. TheJester says:

    There is an often-ignored impact of the increasingly narcissistic, excuse-ridden generations. They grow up to become parents and, via example, instill these values in their children. The children grow up to become politicians, civil servants, bankers, and military officers. One might even become President. Collectively, they have no concept of the public good or social responsibility. They selfishly act for their private interests. They ignore their impact on others. At some point, a society is not able to govern itself in an atmosphere of almost universal moral, social, and political anarchy. Are we there yet?

  4. TomB says:

    I don’t for a moment disagree that our society has in any number of ways horribly retreated from the idea of personal responsibility. And in any number of instances our government has become too agnostic with regard to same.

    With that said however if you are going to push the government strongly in the opposite direction it ought to be done validly if that push is to retain its credibility. And I believe there is substantial reason to doubt that is the case here.

    Indeed it seems to me this piece comes close to a sort of … Outrage Baiting, and its focus on race and homosexuality makes it wildly susceptible to appearing to be Outrage Baiting of the lowest denominator.

    Moreover I believe the subtext of the author’s argument here is very dangerous as well.

    —-

    #I.) Suspected Invalidity

    The author writes:

    In [the CDC’s words], “Published research does not provide definitive answers about why new HIV infections among young, black/African American gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have increased.”

    A.)

    But I at least can’t find this quote in the page the author cited and linked to. Certainly it may appear somewhere in the bigger, entire document, but once again I can’t even find it there after a fair search, and certainly not in the section about race (linked below) where one would expect it to be.

    B.)

    Far worse is that the author is essentially interpreting that quote to say that it represents the CDC’s statement that it doesn’t know what causes black AIDS at all, whereas of course the more sensible reading is that it is merely the CDC saying that it does not know why infections in the black community are increasing as opposed to the decline in the infection rates of other races.

    And indeed from perusing with fair attention the entire CDC document linked to, esp. the page devoted to racial factors, it seems pretty clear (if not bloody obvious) that the latter is what was meant. (See, e.g.: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/racialethnic/aa/facts/index.html)

    C.)

    Proceeding then right to the heart of the author’s argument that the CDC is wildly abandoning the idea of personal responsibility go look at that “race” page of the linked document one. And wee where the CDC is involved in no less than seven projects which are clearly aimed at individuals and at getting them to behave in more responsible ways. Seven. (See above-noted “race”-page link again.)

    I never liked the phrase “Boob-Bait For The Bubba’s,” but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, and I don’t think we oughta like it.

    II.) Subtext

    It seems to me clear that the subtext of the author’s piece is that the CDC (and why not every other government agency too, including its “hard(er)” science efforts?) ought to be far more deeply involved in making and pushing moral judgments and opinions, and that seems to me to be worrisome.

    Once again I’d note that at least to a significant degree the CDC has not eschewed personal responsibility: Instead and at worst I think it can only be said it is just refusing to make moral judgments about the lack of same.

    And this, it seems to me, gets things like this about right. (And why I think that “conservatism” of todays’ sort that the author reflects is wrong and why I at least am a ((moderate)) libertarian.)

    Why? Because while today, as the author clearly does, you may be militating for the government’s public health (and other science) endeavors to indeed undertake this or that overt moral crusade, what do you say tomorrow when a Mayor Bloomberg or a Bloomberg v.5.0 gets control of government with all its power and with then that all that grand moral authority you’ve given it too?

    Is there really any doubt that we’d see nothing less than … a jihad against the fast food industry, for instance? The soft-drink industry? The white-bread industry? (For what might be the most modest of peeks, just look at what Ms. Obama has been trying to do to the school’s feeding programs.) And then extend that to the government being thought of as having the moral authority to totally dictate what food is made and what food is not, and/or to you what you can eat in your own home, and/or how much of same, and etc. and so forth.

    I.e. … You live by the moralizing sword and you may die by it.

    In a very big sense the people have answered the author’s argument here: It has said that despite the lack of personal responsibility involved in many people’s AIDS infections it is going to pay for the research and even care involved in same. Now, you may not like that, but as best as our democratic system is able to say, that is what has been said.

    Going beyond that and inviting all kinds of moral judgment making and pushing by the incredibly powerful and potentially intrusive government seems to me to be fraught with dangers and deserves some deep thought at the very least.

    • Replies: @bomag
  5. donut says:

    “The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.”

    Sophocles wrote that some time in the 5th century BC and he probably wasn’t the first to realise it. Now 2600 years later the official dogma is that none of the underclass’ problems are of their own making. . The denial of personal responsibility is one of the factors as you say. Another is the imperative to be nonjudgmental . In the health care industry after covering your ass it’s number one. As in our public schools it leads to diverting nutrients from healthy cells to malignant ones. Many people working in these fields recognize this but to voice it will cost you your job. To advance in management this attitude must be internalized. No chance for change there.
    A lot of the nurses working in hospitals today are immigrants. Once as I was walking down the hall a nurse who was from Cameroon came out of a patients room muttering to herself in indignation “in my country that man would be told to leave this hospital and never return”. God, what they must think!
    The system is dysfunctional beyond repair .We are on autopilot and will most certainly end up a shipwreck on the rocks.
    Well I’m 65 and in poor health , my own doing , I had good genes. I hope to not live to see it.

  6. Well argued and written Mr. Weissberg.

    As if I had just arrived from Mars last week, I accompanied a friend to a local, chain, filling station at 8 in the morning. As I sat in the truck while he went into the store I watched a parade of Jumbo-sized people carrying what appeared to be smallish, half-gallon or gallon sized, plastic beer kegs into the store. Emblazoned on the sides of the kegs was the station’s Logo.

    When my friend returned I told him what I had seen. “Oh yes”, he replied, “They take them in for free refills first thing in the morning so they have them to drink out of all day.”

    “FREE refills?”

    “Yeah, you pay once to buy the mug and the drink is free forever.”

    Makes sense. All they’re getting is high fructose corn syrup with fizzy water. How much can that cost the store? And while they’re in there they’ll probably stock up on burritos, chips, cigs or whatever. It certainly goes a long way towards explaining why there are so many fat people in America. Plus they get their sugar fix as a reward for gasing up at the pump. Good old operant conditioning.

  7. Viking says:

    Is blame the game? So let’s blame the victim . Lucky for us the victim has no voice. Is this the
    tip of failed American culture? Most certainly it’s what we do best . It’s cowardly and demonstrates
    that we have zero empathy. Always remember that co-operation will cause dependencies this is the
    new American mantra.

    • Replies: @rod1963
  8. @Chimp

    Yes. It is a mental illness, and as noted in the article homosexual activity increases costs to society due to sexually transmitted disease. LGBT rights and ‘gay’ marriage agendas force society at large to expose our children to the conception that deviant behavior is permissible, a viewpoint which is reinforced by the barrage of media images depicting happy, well-adjusted homosexuals comically out of proportion to the true overall prevalence of homosexuals in society at large (1 to 2%; the average American guesses that about 25% of the population is ‘gay’).

  9. rod1963 says:
    @Viking

    Not a blame game.

    It’s about assigning personal responsibility.

    AID’s is behavior driven. If you don’t stick your penis where it doesn’t belong(anal sex) and don’t have multiple illicit sex-partners on a nightly basis, chances of a person getting AIDS is next to zero.

    But you can’t have victims with such a view. You just have stupid people making stupid life decisions and the taxpayer having to support the fools for the rest of their lives.

    • Replies: @Pseudonymic Handle
  10. @rod1963

    If we’re going to do health care “behavior” carve-outs, don’t you think AIDS is pretty minor compared to the big “behavior-driven” diseases?

  11. Priss Factor [AKA "dna turtles"] says:

    Doesn’t Weissberg know that ‘Reaganite indifference’ spread AIDS in the 80s?

    It wasn’t due to all that ass-boofing among homos.

  12. conatus says:
    @Chimp

    Being gay is at least much more of a choice than we have been led to beleive by say ‘Will and Grace.’
    In the Wikipedia entry titled ‘Biology and Sexual orientation’ they seem to indicate that sexual orientation is less than 40% genetic.
    “Biometric modeling revealed that, in men, genetic effects explained .34–.39 of the variance [of sexual orientation], the shared environment .00, and the individual-specific environment .61–.66 of the variance.”
    So I do not understand the equivalency with Civil Rights?
    Are we equating something that is possibly sixty per cent choice with something that is a born genetic attribute? If sexual orientation is over half choice why the movement to create special protections?

  13. When individuals abdicate responsibility, who steps in to assume those duties?

    Cui bono.

  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Chimp

    Of coarse. You think knot?

  15. bomag [AKA "dizzkneeman"] says:
    @TomB

    In a very big sense the people have answered the author’s argument here: It has said that despite the lack of personal responsibility involved in many people’s AIDS infections it is going to pay for the research and even care involved in same. Now, you may not like that, but as best as our democratic system is able to say, that is what has been said.

    You and I both know the People have an attenuated voice. There are endless statutes and court rulings that go against popular sentiment.

    This is the age of the expert. Our democratic system elects representatives who decide which experts to listen to. That our experts are co-opted and corrupt is one of the problems here.

    • Replies: @TomB
  16. Long essay, mildly interesting, utterly disgusting.

    Summary translation:

    Let’s all celebrate how much we despise n*ggers and f*ggots, especially n*gger f*aggots, and enjoy the warm and fuzzy fellowship of bigotry we share, by dumping on those we culturally agree can be dumped on without fear of social disapproval.

    “Personal responsibility”

    Translation: Though they’ve enslaved you for half a thousand years, robbed you of your productivity, tortured you, raped you, stripped you of every shred of dignity, justified the unjustifiable, and laughed at your suffering, they then dismiss any notion of personal responsibility for these crimes and insist that you just suck it up and agree that it’s all your fault.

    Furthermore, “Stay away from my money”. The idea that personal responsibility and social responsibility go hand in hand is anathema to them. They robbed and raped and pillaged and enslaved their way to prosperity fair and square. Stop insisting there was something wrong with that. Stop insisting on compensation. Stop insisting on the truth. Stop insisting on justice. It’s so unjust!

    Riiiiiiight!

    Then, comprehensively in denial regarding their own criminal pathology, they write ridiculous and obscene essays blaming their victims, even as they campaign to infect others with their personal-responsibility-denial mythology. The good news: non-bigots aren’t buying. The bad news: there is an abundance of race- and sex-issue bigots who are.

    Mr. Wieissberg is a Jew, as am I, and smart enough to factor in complex historical context. He refuses. Reality won’t pander to his excuses.

    • Replies: @Hepp
    , @Wally
    , @phil
    , @Stealth
  17. TomB says:
    @bomag

    Of course I agree with you, but I don’t know any answer other than for the people to just elect representatives who don’t listen to co-opted representatives, which sort of brings their past failure to do so right back around to placing the responsibility for where we are at now right on their laps again, right?

    I think you very keenly use the word “representative” though because the nub of lots of our problems I think is people forgetting/not wanting to recognize that.

    That is, hook line and lazy sinker our people have just bought into the idea that no, they aren’t really electing representatives, but instead picking “leaders.” And of course oooh the pining for “leadership” by so many puling weenies these days. Almost all, invariably, meaning someone who will walk all over the popular good to serve them.

    And despite getting “leader” after “leader” leading us to perdition, by God the people keep trying to elect ’em. Don’t pay attention to their positions much, don’t educate themselves on the issues, don’t hold even the worse miscreants accountable …

    And then cry about how they are governed.

    The Founders would be spinning in their graves hearing all this pouting about wanting “leaders.”

    “Oh yeah?” I can just hear ’em say, “Well shit then why did we waste our lives at Concord and then our time at Philadelphia for then? We thought you wanted to govern *yourselves.* (You miserable weenies.)”

    Talk about an abdication of responsibility! In this case maybe the fish has been rotting from the body up.

    • Replies: @Hepp
  18. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It took a long time to eventually lower the percentage of people who smoked. Persistent public awareness campaigns have often featured graphic visuals. Combined with other measures such as banning smoking in buildings the glamour has pretty much been taken out of it. Yet some people continue to smoke despite having seen many times what it can do to a person. With AIDS even if personal accountability were the norm lowering the incidence of it would still be an uphill, multi-year slog. However, is there a logical but unspoken next step in all of this, that is, will medical treatment be withheld from those deemed to have brought it upon themselves? The answer to that is no, people will be treated regardless of how culpable they are for their own situation. Drunk drivers who crash into light poles will not be turned away from the emergency room, morbidly obese people will not be denied medications or surgeries, AIDS patients will continue to get treated regardless of how they got it. That’s just the reality of it. People wouldn’t want to have to step over dying people laying on the sidewalk on their way to work whilst saying to themselves ‘well they brought it upon themselves’. All that can be done is to keep hammering away with the message.

  19. Hepp says:
    @Jeff Davis

    Can you tell me why you liberals can’t keep two ideas in your head at once?

    A) Blacks were treated poorly throughout American history

    B) Blacks might still lack intelligence and self-control, which can explain their current problems

    You disagree with B, so you trot out A. Yet A does not in any way refute B.

    • Replies: @Jeff Davis
  20. Hepp says:
    @TomB

    The Founders would be spinning in their graves hearing all this pouting about wanting “leaders.”

    “Oh yeah?” I can just hear ‘em say, “Well shit then why did we waste our lives at Concord and then our time at Philadelphia for then? We thought you wanted to govern *yourselves.* (You miserable weenies.)”

    The Founders did not believe in democracy in the modern sense of the word. They believed that the people were generally irrational and incompetent, and that’s why the Constitution is basically designed to thwart the will of the people while giving them the ability to prevent absolute dictators from taking power.

    • Replies: @TomB
  21. TomB says:
    @Hepp

    @ Hepp:

    While it’s true the Founders were indeed fearful of mob rule I don’t see how you say they did not believe in democracy in the modern sense. Clearly they believed in a republican, representative form of government, and I’m not sure there are any democracies that *don’t* take that form, are there?

    Seems to me they’ve been pretty impressively followed, so I don’t know what sense your comments are meant to be taken in.

    • Replies: @Hepp
  22. Wally says: • Website
    @Jeff Davis

    I had nothing to do with this ‘history’, nor do those that profit from the theft of my resources because of their refusal to take personal responsibility for their actions. I have done nothing to harm them.

    Your beliefs are all about coercion & force at the point of a gun. If certain members of society feel a desire to pay the way of the unproductive then let them volunteer their money rather than robbing from those that oppose theft.

    Do tell, how much of your income do you volunteer each year? Or perhaps you are one of the takers, not one of the makers.

    Personal responsibility and “social responsibility” do NOT go hand in hand just because you say it does.

    “Social responsibility” is a Marxist canard concocted to keep the free ride rolling for those whose personal decisions are their responsibility.

    • Replies: @Mike
  23. @Hepp

    “Can you tell me why you liberals can’t keep two ideas in your head at once?”

    Clearly you object to my comment, so you lash out with insult. I have no problem with that. Sticks and stones, etc. But here’s one back at you, insult embedded in truth:

    “While it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is nevertheless undeniable that practically all stupid people are conservative.” John Stuart Mill

    Intellectually challenged people are fearful people . They don’t understand the world around them, and it frightens them, so they fall back on primitive tribalist defensive strategies — default suspicion, distrust, and aggressiveness against any person or thing that is strange (unfamiliar, different, new) to them. What they do know is that there are intelligent, educated, trusting, compassionate people out there, and that the stupid and fearful are not among them.

    You write:

    “B) Blacks might still lack intelligence and self-control, which can explain their current problems”

    Or perhaps the blatantly obvious reality of their condition within a dominant and hostile racist culture might explain something. Ya think?

    Here’s the deal: we all start out as infants, which is to say blank slates. Then, all innocent, we are formed by the culture in which we are embedded. When that culture is itself the consequence of half a millennium of unrelenting violence, what in God’s name do you think you are going to get? And is it then the infant’s fault or is it the consequence of the half millennium of violence?

    If you chop a man’s legs off, to then blame him for not walking defies all logic. Except the logic of the criminal who declares himself blameless and denies all personal responsibility and culpability.

    I have met melanin-abundant people from all over the world, and none were stupid or uncivil. American blacks in contrast, and ghetto blacks in particular, have a decidedly bad attitude toward whites, and some serious challenges to achieving personal happiness. I find them unpleasant, and for the most part avoid them. But you have to be a bigot — because no one is that stupid — to deny the self-evident source and responsibility for this unhappy social circumstance.

    I’m Jewish,which is white-ish but a whole lot smarter — get over it. And I most certainly lack self-control, or I wouldn’t waste my time lecturing bigots.

    • Replies: @Hepp
  24. Hepp says:
    @TomB

    While it’s true the Founders were indeed fearful of mob rule I don’t see how you say they did not believe in democracy in the modern sense.

    If someone today advocated restricting the franchise to property-owning white males, would we call him a believer in democracy? Most certainly not.

    • Replies: @TomB
  25. Hepp says:
    @Jeff Davis

    Here’s the deal: we all start out as infants, which is to say blank slates.

    I didn’t know people still used “blank slate” except as a straw man to attack liberals.

    If you chop a man’s legs off, to then blame him for not walking defies all logic.

    I agree with this analogy, if by “chop a man’s legs off” you mean “triple his life expectancy and give him a standard of living beyond anything he could’ve imagined achieving on his own.”

  26. phil says:
    @Jeff Davis

    You seem to think that today’s dysfunctional African-American behavior can be attributed to a turbulent social history (including slavery). However, as Prof. Weissberg indicates, it reflects low IQ/high impulsiveness in an environment that excuses irresponsible behavior. You are one of the ones offering excuses.

    The late Prof. Jensen pointed out that a group’s social history cannot much explain its average IQ unless it can be shown that the social history affected its genetic history in a particular way. However, recent research by Piffer has found that people of sub-Saharan African descent are deficient in terms of intelligence-enhancing alleles, whether they reside in Kenya, Nigeria, Barbados, or America. Measured in standard deviation units, and with Utah whites set at 0.0, people of sub-Saharan African descent are consistently less than -2.0. By contrast, East Asians (even groups with turbulent social histories) score consistently higher than Utah whites (or British whites or Finnish whites, etc.).

  27. Svigor says:

    Let’s all celebrate how much we despise n*ggers and f*ggots, especially n*gger f*aggots, and enjoy the warm and fuzzy fellowship of bigotry we share, by dumping on those we culturally agree can be dumped on without fear of social disapproval.

    Part of being a leftist seems to include an agreement to pretend leftism and its Narrative aren’t dominant (and haven’t been for 50+ years).

    This quote is a good example. Leftists pretend (or worse, genuinely believe) that whites can criticize blacks and homosexuals without fear of “social disapproval.” It’s natural to presume that they have similar delusions that criticizing, say, white heathen (“gentile”) males is what would get us the social disapproval. This is a direct inversion of reality.

    Alternatively, the quote is an example of the leftist tendency toward totalitarianism and obsession with total hegemony; the author knows perfectly well that leftism and its Narrative holds sway almost everywhere in the west, but finds the existence of .01% of the web where it is not so disturbing that he must sally forth to conquer it for the Narrative.

    Either way, he’s not saying good things about leftism.

    (Then there’s his use of words like (can’t spell it out here) and (probably can’t spell that one out here, either), as if they’re not a lot more prevalent in his comment than in those from any right-wing commenter here.)

    Translation: Though they’ve enslaved you for half a thousand years, robbed you of your productivity, tortured you, raped you, stripped you of every shred of dignity, justified the unjustifiable, and laughed at your suffering, they then dismiss any notion of personal responsibility for these crimes and insist that you just suck it up and agree that it’s all your fault.

    This is kind of muddy. He’s speaking as though we all hold the Narrative dear, and we should know precisely what he’s talking about. It seems that he holds whites personally responsible, and personally guilty of crimes, but doesn’t go into details.

    Furthermore, “Stay away from my money”. The idea that personal responsibility and social responsibility go hand in hand is anathema to them. They robbed and raped and pillaged and enslaved their way to prosperity fair and square. Stop insisting there was something wrong with that. Stop insisting on compensation. Stop insisting on the truth. Stop insisting on justice. It’s so unjust!

    Again, he seems quite convinced that we’re all guilty of some crime, or series of crimes. Crimes like robbery and rape. Presumably we should already know what crimes he’s referring to.

    The interesting thing is, if these are collective crimes, then he would seem to be admitting his own guilt. I am innocent of these crimes, and I assume many here (and throughout the west) would similarly protest their own innocence. Which leaves the author and his fellow-travelers as the ones admitting guilt for the crimes in question. So, naturally, he (and they) have put themselves on the hook for making restitution. It is he, and his fellow-travelers, who should be paying the reparations or restitution that he’s hinting at. Not the rest of us, who categorically deny the charges and assert our innocence.

    Mr. Wieissberg is a Jew, as am I, and smart enough to factor in complex historical context. He refuses. Reality won’t pander to his excuses.

    Maybe the author was talking about the Israeli crimes against Palestine and the Palestinians. He’s certainly out to lunch if he thinks white heathens (“gentiles”) are responsible for the atrocities and oppression commited by Jews in that troubled land.

    “While it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is nevertheless undeniable that practically all stupid people are conservative.” John Stuart Mill

    In my experience, blacks like to “argue” with quotes from famous people. I’ve never quite understood it, beyond the obvious implications of fallacious appeals to authority.

    Intellectually challenged people are fearful people . They don’t understand the world around them, and it frightens them, so they fall back on primitive tribalist defensive strategies — default suspicion, distrust, and aggressiveness against any person or thing that is strange (unfamiliar, different, new) to them. What they do know is that there are intelligent, educated, trusting, compassionate people out there, and that the stupid and fearful are not among them.

    I particularly enjoyed the unintended double entendre:

    Intellectually challenged people are fearful people.

    Leftists, when challenged intellectually, do seem to react with an inordinate amount of fear. As if the heresy of non-leftist thought might infect them, make them impure. Presumably, they then require absolution or benediction from the high priests of leftism?

    Or perhaps the blatantly obvious reality of their condition within a dominant and hostile racist culture might explain something. Ya think?

    Leftists’ supposed concern for blacks is simply posturing. Blacks are a tool, far subordinate to the holy crusade of leftism. If leftists actually cared about blacks, they wouldn’t oppose racial separatism. They’d jump for joy at the thought of white racists separating themselves away from blacks, because the evil whites so separated would have no blacks around to oppress or exploit. Similarly, blacks who’d had enough could separate themselves away from the evil, oppressive, racist whites. Instead, leftists do the opposite. They scream bloody murder at the idea of racial separatism. They fight against it, as if against the Devil himself. They give every indication of preferring to die rather than allow racial separatism or acknowledge the benefits that would accrue to blacks if racial separatism were allowed.

    Here’s the deal: we all start out as infants, which is to say blank slates.

    LOL. Has JD been a troll all along? I suppose it makes little difference.

    If you chop a man’s legs off, to then blame him for not walking defies all logic. Except the logic of the criminal who declares himself blameless and denies all personal responsibility and culpability.

    Having gone back to his Narrative, the author leaves us to guess at exactly what he’s talking about. Presumably, the Legacy of Slavery. The problem with the Legacy of Slavery as having “chopped blacks’ legs off” is that it describes an alternate reality, a fantasy, an inversion of reality. In reality, blacks who live in majority white countries are 20x wealthier than blacks who live in black majority countries; they’re far healthier, freer, and in nearly every measurable way, they’re better off than the less fortunate blacks in sub-Saharan Africa who have no slave ancestors.

    I have met melanin-abundant people from all over the world, and none were stupid or uncivil. American blacks in contrast, and ghetto blacks in particular, have a decidedly bad attitude toward whites

    Haha, this is why I used “measurable” above; there are a few “intangible” lines along which blacks suffer, living around white majorities. In this case, you’re referring to the inevitably deleterious effects of a low-IQ population being subjected to incessant resentment propaganda from leftists, and of living around a much wealthier, more industrious and productive population like whites. It has resulted in a black population that envies and resents the white population.

    But you have to be a bigot — because no one is that stupid — to deny the self-evident source and responsibility for this unhappy social circumstance.

    We’ve already established that you, and your kind, are responsible. You’ve admitted your guilt. Leftists have admitted their guilt. The problem is, you want to drag the rest of us, who are innocent of all counts, down into responsibility with you. This is immoral. You do not get to admit guilt on our part. You only have jurisdiction over yourself. You’ve admitted guilt. The whites who blame whites for collective responsibility for black failure have admitted guilt. The rest of us have not. Own up to your responsibility, and stop trying to foist your debts and obligations onto others.

    I’m Jewish,which is white-ish but a whole lot smarter — get over it. And I most certainly lack self-control, or I wouldn’t waste my time lecturing bigots.

    Stop projecting Jewish guilt for Palestine (inter much alia) onto whites in general. Stop projecting leftist guilt onto whites in general. You’re a bad person; it’s time to clean up your act.

    Personal responsibility, indeed.

  28. Svigor says:

    JD should remove the beam from his own eye. He should clean up his own ethnic back yard. Jews should go and make restitution to the Palestinians (and the Poles, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Russians, etc.), before lecturing us about our history. For that matter, Jews should make restitution for all the damage they’ve done to America, before lecturing us.

  29. JR says:

    Expecting personal responsibility to accompany responsibility-free dependency on tax funded medical care is like expecting pigs to fly.

  30. mk says:

    “the overwhelming thrust…” **chuckles**

  31. TomB says:
    @Hepp

    In our further exchange Hepp wrote:

    If someone today advocated restricting the franchise to property-owning white males, would we call him a believer in democracy? Most certainly not.

    Ah, I see what you mean.

    But context matters, doesn’t it? I.e., given their times isn’t it fair to say that our Founders were indeed at least relative believers in democracy?

    And is there really any way to judge such things other than relatively, in context, because that’s just the way ideas work in history?

  32. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Chimp

    A lifestyle prone to poor decisions that have adverse health effects.

  33. Stealth says:
    @Jeff Davis

    What a bunch of damned nonsense.

    Mr. Wieissberg is a Jew, as am I, and smart enough to factor in complex historical context. He refuses. Reality won’t pander to his excuses.

    Translation: “I seriously dislike white gentiles. Weissberg needs to come to his senses and realize that nothing matters more than keeping them in their place.”

  34. Throughout his lengthy article, Weissberg repeatedly and dishonestly, distorts and misrepresents sources he claims supports his position. This raises questions about his own “personal responsibility.”

    To build up his “irresponsible blacks” narrative for example, he says:

    ” the CDC actually denies this “more-unprotected-risky-sex, more HIV” connection as far as young black homosexuals are concerned…”

    But Weissberg’s claims here are open distortion. On the same “supporting” reference he links to, the CDC specifically states that- quote:

    “Sexual risk behaviors account for most HIV infections in MSM [5]. Unprotected receptive anal sex is the sexual behavior that carries the highest risk for HIV acquisition [6]. For sexually active MSM, the most effective ways to prevent HIV and many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, are to avoid unprotected anal sex and always use condoms [7”
    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/racialethnic/aa/brief/

    Weissberg’s sleight of hand quotes from the early part of the CDC publication, leaving out what is said later down the page. In short the so-called “denial” Weisberg claims does not exist. He simply lies about and misrepresents his sources. Since when has the CDC “denied” that risky sex carries the highest risk of HIV? Weissberg dishonestly claims something as “fact” and “truth” when his own “supporting reference”, the CDC publications, contradict his claims.

    Weissberg then continues his distortion and misrepresenation. He opines: and “Instead of stating the obvious—risky unprotected anal sex is the culprit—the CDC just alleges that young gay/bisexual African American males become HIV positive because of who they are, not what they do.”

    But yet another CDC related government publication on HIV among blacks a contradicts Weissberg’s bogus narrative about “denial”:- quote-

    “Some populations are impacted more than others. African Americans ages 13 to 24 represent only 15 percent of the U.S. teenage population, but accounted for 57 percent of new diagnoses of HIV infection in 2010… African American youth actually have lower rates of drug abuse than Whites and Hispanics… In general, middle and late teen years are when young people engage in risk-taking and sensation-seeking behaviors. Unsafe sexual practices increase a person’s risk of contracting HIV, and using drugs and alcohol can increase the chances of unsafe behavior by altering judgment and decision-making.”
    (Diagnoses of HIV Infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2010, HIV Surveillance Report, Volume 22)

    Weissberg styles himself an apostle for “personal responsibility.” Perhaps he should heed his own advice and exercise some of that “personal responsibility”, rather than dishonestly misrepresenting sources.

  35. Matt W says:

    Black and gay behavior, like all behavior, is a product; that is a product of genetics and environment. I certainly do believe that genetics has something to do with relative black and Hispanic failure, but that doesn’t make them any more “personally responsible.” To me personal responsibility is just the law of the jungle, let the chips fall where they may. This is no way to treat people, especially in a modern industrialized country. In any case, greed for cheap labor is the ultimate cause of the issues with blacks and Hispanics (regardless of whether or how much the behaviors are due to genes or discrimination or other environmental factors). Greedy, power-hungry, hyper-competitive rich and powerful white people (mainly WASP males) are ultimately the cause of almost all of America’s problems.

    “I have done nothing to harm them.”

    You have done nothing to “earn” (what a stupid word) where you are as opposed to them. You are a product of your genes and environment, so are they.

    “Your beliefs are all about coercion & force at the point of a gun.”

    In any society, the barrel of a gun is always going to be pointed at someone (pretty much everyone at some level), it’s just a matter of how, and of who is most directly in the line of fire.

  36. Matt W says:

    In the Wikipedia entry titled ‘Biology and Sexual orientation’ they seem to indicate that sexual orientation is less than 40% genetic.
    “Biometric modeling revealed that, in men, genetic effects explained .34–.39 of the variance [of sexual orientation], the shared environment .00, and the individual-specific environment .61–.66 of the variance.”

    The fact that genetics does not by itself determine homosexuality does not make it a choice, or something that anyone can make a rational decision about. One’s sexual preferences in general tend to be nearly unchangeable and utterly unrelated to anything rational, even within homosexuality or heterosexuality. Every gay person who I have talked to has said they knew they were gay in early childhood; I personally knew I was straight at age 6. Besides, why would anyone CHOOSE to be gay?
    More generally, environment is not a choice anyway. People may make *decisions* about their environment as they get older, but those decisions are based on the interaction of genetics with prior environments.

  37. TomB says
    Indeed it seems to me this piece comes close to a sort of … Outrage Baiting, and its focus on race and homosexuality makes it wildly susceptible to appearing to be Outrage Baiting of the lowest denominator.
    ———-
    Indeed. Weissberg’s “outrage” approach deliberately distorts and misreporesents what the CDC reports and documents say. He claims CDC is not doing anything to warn about how personal behavior drives HIV/AIDS problems, when in fact the very same “supporting references” from the CDC that he uses to bolster this claim, flatly contradict it.

    TomB says:
    In [the CDC’s words], “Published research does not provide definitive answers about why new HIV infections among young, black/African American gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have increased.”

    The key word here is INCREASED. The young black gays were ALREADY irresponsible in some ways, just like young white gays. In fact the CDC ITSELF, in one of Weissberg’s “supporting” links, noted an upsurge of unsafe sex without condoms in studies of mostly white gays. “Irresponsibility” is no black monopoly. But the CDC raises a legitimate question as to why the INCREASE? All ALREADY know that personal responsibility is part of the mix. As the CDC points out, published research gives no definitive answer on why.

    Why is this statement of fact a bad thing? Is it increases in irresponsibility? How so after the education campaigns? Poor quality in HIV education? Growing acceptance of the gay lifestyle by the larger society? Growing resentment by gays that the joyous freedom of the pre-AIDS days has been dampened and hindered by the condom and med regimen, leading to riskier behavior increases? These are some of the issues raised in the serious literature. In short the issue does not boil down to the simplistic “bad bureaucrats ‘deny”personal responsibility’ narrative Weissberg would have us believe. Since when is it “bad” to look at such issues, and since when is a plain statement of fact that published research has no definitive answers, some sort of sinister CDC “avoidance” or “denial” of the issues?

    Weissberg takes the CDC quote above out of context to ramp up his distortion tactics to say that the CDC was slighting or avoiding the issue of personal responsibility. Quote by Weissberg:
    “Instead of stating the obvious-risky unprotected anal sex is the culprit-the CDC just alleges that young gay/bisexual African American males become HIV positive because of who they are, not what they do.”

    But this is an outright lie. In fact, 2 paragraphs down on the same page the CDC specifically says:

    ‘Unprotected receptive anal sex is the sexual behavior that carries the highest risk for HIV acquisition [6]. For sexually active MSM, the most effective ways to prevent HIV and many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, are to avoid unprotected anal sex and always use condoms [7″
    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/racialethnic/aa/brief/

    Weissberg simply misrepresents and distorts what the CDC is doing and saying in this area.

    —————————————————————————————

    TomB says:
    Proceeding then right to the heart of the author’s argument that the CDC is wildly abandoning the idea of personal responsibility go look at that “race” page of the linked document one. And wee where the CDC is involved in no less than seven projects which are clearly aimed at individuals and at getting them to behave in more responsible ways. Seven. (See above-noted “race”-page link again.) http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/racialethnic/aa/facts/index.html)

    ^Stop it. You are actually referencing the actual facts rather than the propaganda narrative. The dishonest Weissberg deliberately misrepresents his sources, all the while posturing in high dudgeon about “irresponsibility”.

    The CDC is perfectly reasonably in looking at several factors. Decisions don’t flow out of a vacuum. Lower socio-economic people for example sometimes make decisions differently than the more affluent and vice versa. In fact conservatives make this point all the time. One of their favorite references is to Theodore Dalrymple’s classic “Life At the Bottom” which concerns mostly the white lower class for example.

    Lower socio-economic white decision making similar to blacks. Far from blacks being the unique basket cases of ignorance Weissberg insinuates, people like blacks, on the relative margins, are often hit hardest by the disease. Middle class people with more education have more resources, more supports, more education and more political clout. Their behavior and decisions tends to be different from those more on the margins with “the culture of the poor,” as sociologists, (and conservatives) have long noted. These are the facts of life even conservatives agree with, not “political correctness.”

    While AIDS is oft seen as a “middle class disease” in developed nations, this is not the case in some of the leading ones. (See Aggleton et al. 2000. AIDS in Europe: New Challenges for the Social Sciences) Mostly white Italy for example is one of the most developed economies but those of lower socio-economic status have higher HIV rates. The same thing is seen in mostly white Spain and mostly white Eastern Europe- AIDS is concentrated most strongly in marginalised or lower socio-economic groups. US blacks are not unique in this pattern. Like other marginalized groups in the West, they have been hit hardest compared with those most favored, and yes of course, their decision-making is like those other marginal white groups. But notice only one certain group gets especially singled out for Weissberg’s fulminations about “responsibility.”

    TOMB SAYS: Once again I’d note that at least to a significant degree the CDC has not eschewed personal responsibility:
    Exactly. Anyone taking the time to read the links can see how dishonest the article is. For those interested in facts, rather than facile propaganda, HIV infections have been climbing steadily- up 17.7 percent since 1999. The trend of riskier condomless sex goes back to the early/mid 1990s. It is nothing new, and is well represented among white gays. In fact things like riskier condomless “barebacking” is on the rise, and has been since the 1990s. Blacks may be the worse impacted as far as new cases, but they are relative latecomers to an INCREASING trend ALREADY IN PLACE among white gays.

    Even more telling, the same trend of riskier sex is in place in WHITE countries with VERY FEW BLACKS. In lily white Netherlands for example, one study showed white homosexuals increasing risky, condomless sex since the 1990s. Studies in mostly WHITE Melbourne, Sydney, Budapest and Russia for example, document the same trend. In short, as one recent scholarly study notes: “gay men in the Western world are less likely to use condoms that they were a decade ago.” (Michael Shernoff (2013) Without condoms). This is the overall trend, in general, in the white West.

    But notice how Weissberg conveniently singles out mostly blacks for his posturing lectures. Why blacks? Because he can ramp up his race-bait “black plague” narrative while ensuring that the spotlight is not put on paler, reputed “role models.”

  38. Mike says:
    @Wally

    Would you consider running for President? It has been far to long since I have heard anyone say something that was as simple and to the point as your statement. WELL SAID!!

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