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The Impact of Culture on Crime, Continued

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Joseph Epstein has this article in the WSJ, titled What's Missing in Ferguson, Mo., subtitled More than ever, the absence of black leadership, and the contrast with the civil-rights era, is painfully clear.  An excerpt follows the break.

Missing, not that anyone is likely to have noticed, was the calming voice of a national civil-rights leader of the kind that was so impressive during the 1950s and '60s. In those days there was Martin Luther King Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Whitney Young of the National Urban League, Bayard Rustin of the A. Philip Randolph Institute--all solid, serious men, each impressive in different ways, who through dignified forbearance and strategic action, brought down a body of unequivocally immoral laws aimed at America's black population.

King died in 1968, at age 39; Young in 1971 at 50; Wilkins in 1981 at 80; and Rustin in 1987 at 75. None has been replaced by men of anywhere near the same high caliber. In their place today there is only Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, each of whom long ago divested himself of the moral force required of true leadership. One of the small but genuine accomplishments of President Obama has been to keep both of these men from becoming associated with the White House.

The NAACP and the Urban League and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference still exist, yet few people are likely to know the names of their current leaders. That is because no black leader has come forth to set out a program for progress for the substantial part of the black population that has remained for generations in the slough of poverty, crime and despair.

In Chicago, where I live, much of the murder and crime that has captured the interest of the media is black-on-black, and cannot be chalked up to racism, except secondarily by blaming that old hobgoblin, "the system." People march with signs reading "Stop the Killing," but everyone knows that the marching and the signs and the sweet sentiments of local clergy aren't likely to change anything. Better education is needed, politicians say, perhaps a longer school day. Jobs, yes, more and better jobs, that's what's required. Got to get the guns off the street, everyone says. The black family--the absence of fathers--is the problem. The old dead analyses, the pretty panaceas, are paraded. Yet nothing new is up for discussion. Discussion itself is off the table. Except when Bill Cosby, Thomas Sowell or Shelby Steele and a few others have dared to speak about the pathologies at work--and for doing so, these black figures are castigated.

I would note, also, that after Cosby was trashed Juan Williams took up the theme with his book, Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It.  The crime chapter is largely quotes from Cosby. 

But that was seven years ago, and precious little has been done about it.

Also on the WSJ site is a video interview with Jason Riley, titled Sharpton's Race Circus Comes to St. Louis.

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Tonight is quite a contrast from last night apparently. It's funny how quiet and calm a protest can become when the law enforcement don't dress up in military gear and treat protestors and journalists as the enemy. Perhaps Senator Paul is right about that. I recall Bill Otis was vocal with outrage about the treatment of armed protestors during the Cliven Bundy confrontation, but he is very quiet now. What do you and he think about what has been going on in Ferguson over the last week?

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