Comment Of The Day: “Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations: Megan Rapinoe, Harvard, Pelosi And Double Standards,” Item #1, “The College Pledge”

Dallas Justice NOW

A few quick notes on “the College Pledge” are in order. It is the work of something called Dallas Justice Now which claims to be “a member-driven project of activists, researchers, and local leaders dedicated to making our city more just.” Yesterday the rumor was rampant that its threatening “pledge” demanding that white Dallas parents agree not to let their children apply for admission to elite institutions so black and brown kids could have an open field to obtain an Ivy League degree was a conservative “false flag” operation. This does not appear to be the case, and the increasingly unhinged Far Left, which is now just “the Left,” hardly needs any assistance in appearing menacing and racist.

The version of the pledge that I posted yesterday was not the full document, which included the implied threat that those who did not sign would be outed and ostracized, and the miserable device of introducing a false dichotomy: “Will you take the college pledge?” can be answered only with “I am a racist hypocrite.” and “I agree.” That’s rather funny, since the whole exercise is an example of anti-white racist hypocrisy.

I have searched, and apparently no mainstream national media news source finds this attempt to intimidate white Americans in the Dallas area newsworthy.

Here is Michael West’s Comment of the Day on the “College Pledge” item in “Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations…”

***

The vast majority of wealth is *multi-generational*. Yes, America is replete with the starry examples of rags-to-riches stories, but even those are generally isolated exceptions. For the rest of those who have significant wealth, it is mostly because the generation before them made tiny sacrifices in their lives that they didn’t have to make. Those sacrifices were essentially investments in and for their children that paid off in dividends worth VASTLY more than the sacrifice.

This is the multi-generational “deferring of gratification.” Often the parents of THOSE parents also had made small sacrifices or even big sacrifices to set their children up to be *just a little bit* better off than their parents were.

I’m a landscape architect who served as an officer in the United States Army. I got there because my parents – a school teacher and a secretary – lived thrifty lives. We bought off-brands; we only ate out with coupons; and we didn’t vacation in places we didn’t have friends we could stay with.

My parents’ parents – dirt poor farmers – got their children to that point because when they weren’t farming they were hustling at side jobs (leaving them with almost NO personal time) that eventually turned into small scale rentals and a grocery store. THEIR parents had been dirt poor farmers, and they just worked and worked and worked and saved to try to ensure an easier life for my grandparents. One of THEIR parents, one of whom was on track to be a surgeon until being drafted into the Confederate Army as a hospital aide, recovered from the ravages of the Civil War by becoming a farmer. Another was the child of people constantly on the move because of run-ins with the law, with at least one relative hanged as a horse thief.

Multi-generational marginal sacrifices do not always work out. As the author of “Ecclesiastes” bemoans “I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool?” But based on the legacy of the centuries-long practice, the tradition seems to work out much more successfully than it does not.

One of the undeniable results of capitalism is that now even “poor” people live at a level of comfort, convenience, and luxury that “middle class” people could never have imagined 100 years ago. Capitalism, which affords a small sliver of society opulence that can’t be fathomed by the average brain (accounting for some of the animosity) ALSO affords the rest of that society, down to the least-well-to-do, comforts, needs and wants far outpacing previous generations of their counterparts.

Part of the backbone of this system is “unfair” luck: some people are born into wealthy families and some people are born into families that have to sacrifice if their offspring are to have a fighting chance at future wealth. But that backbone is a subcomponent on the promise made, not to the children, but to the parents in our capitalist system: “You get to choose how to dispose of what you produce”.

So what then of the obvious fact that African-American families *on average* got a late start in the wealth generation game, while non-African-American families *on average* got a head start? Are we to break the essential promise that “What is yours is yours”?

We could essentially upend the system (which is what most Left-wingers are aiming for) and take most of what people make and re-distribute it to those who aren’t “equal.” Human nature ensures that this will lead to people no longer putting in the kind of effort that makes capitalist societies so opulent.

We could go half-way and punish the inheritors. This will either lead parents to find ways to cheat the system OR give them the incentive to spend like drunken sailors in their own lifetimes, breaking the good habits described above that lead to better lives for not just their own children, but for everyone.

Then there is my answer: we can just leave the system alone and live with large disparities, knowing that even with the wild differences, *everyone* who tries is likely to end up better off in the end.

There is not much to be done about the historical disadvantage of black Americans because of slavery and Jim Crow other than to continue to discourage racism in society and the culture. Does that mean that American society will still seem to be “racially” striated? Maybe for another century at most. Still, those lines have blurred like crazy with the rise of the African American middle class.

I find it remarkably annoying that the average aggrieved African American compares themselves to Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. It’s not like Elon Musk walks past a qualified African American to the white drug-addict and says “I need you because you are white”. No, the beauty of the free-market that most grievance hucksters will never admit is that for the vast majority of interactions on the market race plays NO role,or if it plays a role, it plays a vanishingly small role compared to the myriad other tiny reasons anyone makes a decision in the market. As Frederick Douglass and Booker T Washington both observed about the free market, skill, hard work, and personality are worth more than skin color even to most people with some measure of prejudice.

The only rational approach is to stop looking at people and evaluating them as a carrier of melanin; to evaluate them as individuals, and to stop giving any particular individual an excuse to avoid accountability for shortcomings and failure other than their own conduct. And the flip side of that coin is to also accept that sometimes, on occasion, someone else gets more rewards than you do, because of luck and the inherent unfairness of life, and accept it without animus. To do otherwise, and try to ensure that EVERYONE gets EVERYTHING they think they deserve will create a system so onerous and oppressive that NO ONE will get ANYTHING.

11 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations: Megan Rapinoe, Harvard, Pelosi And Double Standards,” Item #1, “The College Pledge”

  1. Great comment Michael.

    My family had an entirely different experience, as an example I’ll present this…

    Our family wasn’t perfect but there were lots of patriots, clergy, and family members serving in the military over the last 250 years or so. The Witherspoon’s can be traced way back to a near relative of Robert the Bruce in Scotland. My mother’s side was historically the side of the family that had a rougher life. One branch of my mothers side can be traced back to Cherokee native Americans and the other to poor English immigrants. One of my great, great, etc grandfathers traced back through my maternal grandmother was a Cherokee and holy cow did that man look like a native American and you can still see some physical traits of that native American ancestry throughout our family over the last 100+ years.

  2. Michael,
    I especially like your closing argument, “try to ensure that EVERYONE gets EVERYTHING they think they deserve will create a system so onerous and oppressive that NO ONE will get ANYTHING.”

  3. I like to look at underlying assumptions behind points of view. One underlying assumption that I disagree with is income and wealth should be the biggest goal for our children. I want my children to be happy and healthy, which income does play a part in, but I want them to view it appropriately. Ask any pastor or counselor if rich people are happier; some of the happiest and content people I’ve known have been middle to lower middle class. I have a friend who makes 3-4x what I do; privately he tells me he is envious of my situation as he has built a life with the expectation of a large income and has to work long stressful hours to keep his position in a cut-throat industry.

    Secondly, I think education and career goals are important. This doesn’t have to be college; it could be vocational training to be a tradesman for example. My family is a great example of this. My father was one of 4 boys in a family that were below dirt poor. Their house had boards for walls with gaps between, they had to haul water from a well (never had running water until they moved out), didn’t own a car. They rummaged through other’s trash to find shoes and clothing to wear.
    Of the 4 boys, 3 decided an education was the way out. My father joined the Army, did tours in Vietnam, and used the GI bill to get his education. Two uncles worked multiple jobs to work their way through college. The fourth lived in poverty all his life (with some help from his more successful brothers).
    For the second generation (my generation), 2 of the 3 educated brothers (my dad and one other) emphasized education and goals. All of their children live comfortable lives – many with careers following college and some with other training (like being a machinist, etc). The 3rd uncle never pushed his kids, and they still, in their 40s and 50s, depend on their father for money. The 4th uncle who lived in poverty fathered children who all live in poverty with a couple who are/were career criminals, mooching as much as they can from others and the government.

    Finally, few emphasize the importance of making good decisions and that bad decisions have consequences. Neither me nor none of my successful brothers or cousins got pregnant/got someone pregnant at a young age, for example. We by and large didn’t live beyond our means or do things to keep up with the Joneses. We tried to be honorable and productive members of society.

  4. Michael’s commentary on intergenerational wealth building is spot on. If Congress wants to help people achieve wealth parity it must stop limiting the amount of assets to three figures one possesses to obtain income assistance. A purchased home is typically the store of value for many persons. With it, the family can access equity to help defray educational expenses or start a business like most other families do. Further, the store of value in the home can be passed down to the next generation to help them get a leg up.

    Our welfare system limits individuals to about $2,000 in net worth. In my opinion, persons with assets are not privileged they are just not held down by a welfare system whose policies ensure intergenerational dependence. Maybe if we tie earned income credits to savings instead of the number of children in the household we might start seeing low income families begin to close the wealth gap.

  5. I really like the article and many of the insightful points mentioned in the comments section… bottom line is this: Life is not fair, and no matter how hard we try, legislating fairness only works to a certain degree.

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