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Civil Rights Rhetoric that Lacks Reality

The US Congress passes a law banning racial discrimination in all public and private facilities this allows access to theaters, public transportation, and allows ex-slaves to sit on juries. This bill is signed into law by President Grant, but it has been kicking around Congress for the last 5 years or so. The Vice-President had to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, and it finally passed in the House. It has been slow-going because Southern Democrats are being voted back into office, replacing many Republicans (including Black Republicans). This is a consequence of a loss in faith in Republicans. The Grant Administration has proven exceptionally corrupt, although President Grant, himself, appears to be impeccably honest. That is probably his weak point. He was a General, and hasn't been able to make the transition to politician. This will be the last of the Civil Rights laws enacted until the Civil Rights Act of 1957 where all of the laws they passed in 1875 will be passed again with equal effect. The problem is enforcement. The Federal government has only limited authority to enforce Federal law within the states... at least... everyone will believe that is true until they stop believing it. That will take several more generations and a systematic "forgetting" of the Constitution... in part, thanks to our educational system which teaches students to read and write, but not how to think critically about what they are reading or writing... or watching. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was eventually ruled unconstitutional. Apparently the Federal government was acting like a benevolent dictator... again. In an emergency, the Romans would appoint a dictator with limited powers to make things happen. In a sense we have that system today when the Congress grants power to the President "to make things happen" in the name of goodness and beauty. But when good things are made possible by the stroke of a pen, BAD THINGS are made possible as well. As the old proverb goes, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." The good comes first. It turns to hell later. In 1984, Thomas Sowell wrote "Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality." He analyzed what the Civil Rights Acts had INTENDED to do and whether they actually did it. For the most part, the law succeeded in its execution, but failed in its intention. The intent was to help Black people or African-Americans to achieve equal prosperity with Whites. The impediment to that goal was seen as racial prejudice, but the statistics don't bear that out. Certainly racial prejudice kept people from getting certain jobs, but that block-point was already being overwhelmed by a change in attitude at the local level. The law REFLECTED the change. The law didn't create it. As it turned out, the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s actually impeded progress. We can debate why that was so, but generally speaking, by the time government shows up to help you out of your hole, you'll be so deep in, they'll just fill the hole in. In other words, when the metrics clearly demonstrate that a government program is failing, they won't change the program. They'll stop tracking the metrics. [3] [4] [5]

A Friendly Act of Insurance

Before there was the welfare state there were benevolence societies, otherwise known as "Friendly Societies". People join together for the purpose of providing medical and pension benefits for their members. (In modern terms the AARP would qualify as such an organization.) These societies grew up out of a need to help the sick, the elderly and helpless without need to resort to government intervention. At this point, the government of the United Kingdom is amazingly benevolent compared to governments of the past, but it would be considered cruel to modern sensibilities. Necessities, such as retirement, are seen as a problem for the individual to handle. Since it often becomes an intractable problem for the individual, community organizations have sprung up to mitigate the issue... at least for some people. This year, government is blessing these benevolent societies and sets up rules and regulations to manage them for the benefit of the public. [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
A little government regulation can be a good thing, but like the camel that sticks it's nose into the tent, eventually the whole camel is in there with you. (Camels are disagreeable and they smell.... so it is obvious I'm talking about Congress.) The problem with any large organization that holds your money in trust is that you must trust them. We have been trained to look to government to manage that trust in terms of regulation and the ability to sue them should they breech the public trust. But a better job could be achieved by limiting the size of these organizations and having private (rather an government) watchdogs overseeing their management. That doesn't always work, but neither does government oversight. The difference is that when the government drops the ball, you can't sue them. The idea that a larger organization can "get things done" is also a fallacy. As an organization grows, it hits a breaking point where it becomes less and less efficient no matter how many rules you pile onto it to force it to heel. If a doctor charged a monthly fee and treated patients without resort to insurance companies, his practice would be more efficient. All the people his pays to deal with the insurance companies vanish. The savings goes into his own pocket! No longer will he have to wait months for a pittance. Usually doctors become doctors because they want to practice medicine... not practice accounting or debt collection, but if a doctor did all of this he would be arrested... for your safety. We can't have radical thinkers preying on helpless citizens when they are most vulnerable. That is the job of government! (That is somewhat of a joke, but only somewhat.)

In Other News

  • Mary Baker Eddy founds Christian Science. She believes that sickness is an illusion conquered through prayer. She will begin publication of "The Christian Science Monitor" in 1908. [7] [8]
  • Nestlé milk chocolate bars are born. Daniel Peter adds Henri Nestlé's powdered milk to the recipe. Henri makes baby food but in 3 years he and Daniel will be selling a lot of candy bars. [9] [10] [11] [12]
  • The first ice hockey game is played indoors... ON PURPOSE! It takes place in Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, Canada. [13]
  • And born this year are... Walter Chrysler (automaker), J.C. Penny (department store owner), Carl Jung (psychiatrist) and Edgar Rice Burroughs (author of "Tarzan" and "John Carter on Mars".) [14] [15] [16] [17]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1875, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. John Dewey - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016. “'Democracy and the one, ultimate, ethical ideal of humanity are to my mind synonymous.'”
  2. Civil Rights Act of 1875 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016. “The Supreme Court, in an 8–1 decision, declared the act unconstitutional in the Civil Rights Cases on October 15, 1883. Justice John Marshall Harlan provided the lone dissent. The Court held the Equal Protection Clause within the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination by the state and local government, but it does not give the federal government the power to prohibit discrimination by private individuals and organizations.[5] The Court also held that the Thirteenth Amendment was meant to eliminate 'the badge of slavery,' but not to prohibit racial discrimination in public accommodations.”
  3. Sowell, Thomas. Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?. W. Morrow. ISBN 0688031137. 
  4. Roman dictator - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016. “A dictator was a magistrate of the Roman Republic, entrusted with the full authority of the state to deal with a military emergency or to undertake a specific duty. All other magistrates were subordinate to his imperium, and the right of the plebeian tribunes to veto his actions or of the people to appeal from them was extremely limited. However, in order to prevent the dictatorship from threatening the state itself, severe limitations were placed upon its powers: a dictator could only act within his intended sphere of authority; and he was obliged to resign his office once his appointed task had been accomplished, or at the expiration of six months.”
  5. Murray, Charles A.. Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980. Basic Books. ISBN 0465042317. 
  6. Friendly Societies Act 1875 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 May 2016. “The Act encouraged friendly societies to register with the Registrar of Friendly Societies by granting them the legal right to own land and property in the name of their trustees and the ability to take out legal proceedings in return for registration. Registered societies were subject to regulation, for example they were required to submit quinquennial returns to the Registrar which gave details of their financial affairs and in-force business which could be used by the Registar to evaluate their assets against their liabilities under life assurance, annuity and sickness business.”
  7. Mary Baker Eddy - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 4 August 2016. “Eddy wrote the movement's textbook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (first published 1875) and founded the Church of Christ, Scientist in 1879. She also founded the Christian Science Publishing Society (1898), which continues to publish a number of periodicals, including The Christian Science Monitor (founded in 1908).”
  8. Christian Science - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016. “Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements. It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her book Science and Health (1875) that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone.”
  9. The History of Chocolate (1875). Cadbury (OFFICIAL SITE) (2015). Retrieved on 8 October 2015. “In 1875, a Swiss manufacturer called Daniel Peter added milk to his recipe to make the first milk chocolate bar. ... The first Cadbury Easter egg was made in 1875. The earliest eggs were made with dark chocolate and had a smooth, plain surface. They were filled with sugar-coated chocolate drops known as 'dragees’.”
  10. Chocolate - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016. “Milk had sometimes been used as an addition to chocolate beverages since the mid-17th century, but in 1875 Daniel Peter invented milk chocolate by mixing a powdered milk developed by Henri Nestlé with the liquor.”
  11. Henri Nestlé - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016. “Henri Nestlé, born Heinrich Nestle (10 August 1814 – 7 July 1890), was a German-born Swiss confectioner and the founder of Nestlé, the world's largest food and beverage company, as well as one of the main creators of condensed milk.”
  12. Cadbury - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016. “1875: Easter Eggs”
  13. First indoor hockey game - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016. “On March 3, 1875, the first recorded indoor ice hockey game took place at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, Canada. Organized by James Creighton, who captained one of the teams, the game was between two nine-member teams, using a wooden 'puck'. Members used skates and sticks used for outdoor hockey and shinny games in Nova Scotia, where Creighton was born and raised. It is recognized as the first organized ice hockey game.”
  14. Edgar Rice Burroughs - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016.
  15. James Cash Penney - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016.
  16. Carl Jung - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016.
  17. Walter Chrysler - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 September 2016.

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