Fifty years after Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, black individuals can be found at the pinnacle of every major sphere of American life — politics, religion, business, education, entertainment and media.
Yet black America has big problems, arguably because the civil rights movement strayed from America's founding principles, which Dr. King stressed. Dr. King was a Christian, not a utopian. He poetically invoked the Declaration of Independence and the rights of man.
The secular progressive is a utopian. He believes government can create heaven on Earth, and he obsessively invokes groups and classes.
He is not interested in the individual's right to pursue happiness; he discounts his aspirations, his labors, and his property. He also rejects the civil society — the wealth-creating, human fabric of individual freedom, mutual respect, commerce, and the rule of law.
Abolitionist Frederick Douglass was once asked what America should do for blacks, once freed. "Leave them alone," he replied. The progressives do not share his faith. Over the last 50 years, they built the modern welfare state, dumping trillions of dollars on the black community and tearing at its social fabric by nearly every measure: family breakdown, failed schools, unemployment and violent crime.
It has been a utopian project of unspeakable cruelty, especially to kids. Here are some of the highlights:
Progressives love Planned Parenthood, an organization which traces its roots to the eugenics movement and the effort to limit black births. Most Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are still located in poor communities.
The progressives' welfare state manifestly induces women to marry the government instead of men. Illegitimacy drives poverty, and nearly three fourths of black children are now born out of wedlock.
Progressives believe in affirmative action, which cruelly tells a black kid that he can only get ahead by the color of his skin rather than by the content of his character.
Progressives complain that "stop and frisk" is racist, but data show that the program makes communities safer for investment and job creation. It also saves black lives.
The war on drugs, a progressive project, is idiotic in its conception and racist in its execution.
Progressives run the public school systems in this country. At every turn they block school choice, the best chance a poor black kid has to get ahead.
Progressives believe in amnesty for illegal aliens and open borders — good for the Democratic Party, but bad for poor black kids competing for entry-level jobs.
Progressives advocate for bigger student loans. The more money kids get their hands on, the higher tuitions go. The government-induced student loan and tuition bubble has effectively priced poor kids out of the higher education market. At some point, a mind is a terrible thing to mortgage.
Progressives advocate for a higher minimum wage. The best way to keep a poor black kid off the economic ladder is to artificially raise the cost of labor.
Progressives love the Affordable Care Act, a law seemingly designed to make care unaffordable for the working poor.
Progressives like big government and big taxes. The more businesses are regulated and taxed, the less capital and time they have to create jobs.
Progressives believe that charity should be administered by government, not churches. Yet churches are central to the social fabric of the black community.
Progressives blame racism for lagging black success. Then why have Asians been successful? Many of them arrived after the Vietnam War, destitute and illiterate in English. Some of their children became valedictorians of their high school classes. Economic success in the civil society hinges on the Asian formula — intact families, education and hard work.
The leaders in the Asian community are the parents. The black community has different leaders. They like cameras and microphones, and they point fingers at other people's hearts.
The goals of the original civil rights movement were popular because they accorded with the American tradition of individual freedom, equal rights, and equal opportunities. The goals of the current civil rights movement are unpopular because they accord with the Marxist tradition — class warfare and the redistribution and destruction of wealth.
When equality of results trumps equality of opportunity, dreams become nightmares.
At issue: Various news articles, commentary on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington
Dr. Cameron S. Schaeffer of Lexington is a pediatric urologist.