When Good Intentions Go Bad – The Problem with Liberal Policies and the Law of Unintended Consequences

Written by Nicholas Wishek

Most conservatives give liberals the benefit of the doubt about their intentions. We believe that liberals really do want what they think is best for everyone. The problem is that liberals tend to decide issues emotionally rather than logically. That anyone else might have rational reasons for agreeing with them never crosses their made up liberal minds. This is why so many of their great ideas don’t work out quite the way they were intended. The current state of race relations is a good example of this.

No one denies that early in our history as a nation white prejudice was common. Even many of those whites who felt slavery was wrong all too often considered other races to be inferior. That is why even after slavery was abolished following the Civil War, other races, African-Americans especially, were routinely treated unfairly. This attitude was particularly outrageous in many Southern states where Jim Crow laws and segregation existed to relegate blacks to second class citizenship status. Liberals rightly pointed out that this prejudice based on skin color was wrong and helped lead the Civil Rights movement to correct that terrible injustice. With the best of intentions liberals set out help minorities achieve equality. But, as so often happens when liberal policies are implemented, their solutions didn’t turn out quite as well as they envisioned.

For instance, since many minorities, especially African-Americans, were poor, the liberals sought to fix that problem by initiating the War on Poverty.  Government entitlements to the tune of close the 22 trillion dollars later has resulted in the poverty being roughly the same. However, by enabling those receiving entitlement benefits there were unintended consequences.  Black Lives MatterThe American Community Survey notes that the percentage of black children being raised in single-parent homes has grown from 20 percent back then to nearly 70 percent today something made possible by the entitlements put in place for the War on Poverty. Women didn’t have to worry about supporting a family if they never married because the government supported them with welfare and child support. Another unintended consequence of these liberal welfare policies is that single families without a father in the home have children more likely to have problems in life. Study after study has found that fatherless boys and girls are more likely to drop out of school or end up in the prison system among a much longer list of issues which reduces their chances being successful in life.  Rather than helping, liberal policies have actually made things worse for the African-American community and other minorities by trapping them in a dependent lifestyle.

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As bad as the unintended consequences of liberal anti-poverty polices have been, it is the inadvertent worsening race relations that is the most serious unintended consequence of liberal programs. Since many minorities were unfairly discriminated against for jobs or applications to higher learning liberals came up with the bright idea of affirmative action legislation to insure minority representation. Aside from the ethical consideration that two wrongs don’t make a right and that this was exactly the opposite of what Martin Luther King, Jr. called for when he famously said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” As a result of affirmative action laws not only were more qualified individual unfairly passed over, but many under qualified minorities were put into situations they weren’t adequately prepared for which lead to a lack of success by some of them.

More significantly liberals blamed any failures by minorities on racist attitudes or the prejudicial behavior of others. Charles Krauthammer put it bluntly when he said, “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.” So when minorities failed liberals blamed the evil, mostly conservative, white establishment.

For instance, we now have an incompetent President most of whose policies have been failures, but anyone who criticizes him or his policies is accused of racism. Conservatives are evil, after all. The unintended consequence of this is that many African-Americans, after being told for decades that their problems weren’t their fault, but the fault of the white establishment, are becoming ever more alienated and angry. It is a direct result of liberal policies that we are seeing a rising anti-white racism by many African Americans, especially those trapped in inner cities.

We see it in the White Privilege movement on college campus and in the Black Lives Matter demonstrators whose anger toward white people and police is obvious. We see it in the rise of deliberate black on white crimes, like the knock out game, polar bear hunting, and other assaults against whites similar to assaults the old KKK once perpetrated against blacks. Naturally, any who speak out against this terrible trend are labeled evil white racists. The fact is, however, that race relations are becoming a major problem once again in this country. The unintended consequences of liberal polices is in large part responsible for this. That liberals had good intentions doesn’t excuse the result. We know where the road paved with good intentions leads. Instead we must honestly recognize the problem if we are to solve it.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com

About the author

Nicholas Wishek

Nicholas Wishek. Retired teacher. 40 years classroom experience. Served in California National Guard 6 years. BA in history, MA in education. Married 35 years. Two sons. Many columns published in OC Register 2009-2014.

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