Let us make a small point, in few words. I should like to resist, in my ineffectual way, what has now emerged from that long, narrow, mental asylum, that stretches down the west coast of the Natted States. The legislators of California have convened a task force to examine the possibility of paying “reparations” to black people, in view of the fact that some of their distant ancestors were slaves in other states. Judging from their voting propensities, coastal Californians are always eager to pay huge sums for new government welfare programmes, or at least compel others to do so.

I have no opinion on the idea of reparations, in itself. My view is, you cannot argue with the insane. My one comment is that the programme needn’t be proposed, because it has been tried already. Conceived in the 1950s, market-ready by the ’60s, it was merchandized under the brand name, “Great Society.” It persists today, as a correspondent notes, with such gifts from the state asĀ free cell phones, rent subsidy, food stamps, Electronic Benefit Transfers, supplemental nutrition (“WIC”), free school breakfast and lunch, free healthcare, utility subsidy, … and so on. All were designed to buy off the poor, and specifically to secure the Democrat Party’s near total command of the black vote, and by extension, others willing to queue. “Reparations” were not demanded openly, but the notion of these people as victims of history was never advanced subtly.

Free money, to all who agree that the world is unfair, is a suicidal fiscal policy. But my objection is to the moral disorder, in which it places each recipient. His freedom, including that vital freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, is abridged; his income depends on his willingness to play victim. The lolly breaks down that nexus of personal responsibility, family, and near community, that is the recipient’s only hope to escape what might really be bad historical circumstances, making him instead a bureaucratic “client.” It is profoundly corrupting, and the evidence that it has corrupted may be easily found, in such events as the destruction of black fatherhood. While they were too shy to do this before, the introduction of explicitly racial criteria is the “new thing” in the progressives’ repertoire.

That looting, firebombing, and other property destruction — along with incidental murders and other mayhem — is now being defended by progressives as “reparations,” should come as no surprise. Sadly, this attitude cannot be confined to seaside California, where the San Andreas Fault might cure it in less than an hour. Madness acts as a virus, contagious in crowds, and superspreaders are now dispersed around the world. The virus will burn out eventually — it requires infinite electronic money — but the social fallout is already immense.

I am encouraged to see, however, that in the course of nature, black people themselves are becoming the “first responders.” There is evidence that a quickly growing segment among “African Americans,” and other racial minorities, have tired of being used by white hustlers, and would prefer to solve problems that the hustlers have compounded by their own constructive acts. For the “victimhood” pose is not only morally egregious, but boring, and having waves of college-educated young white simpletons as your political patrons makes the situation plain.