Skip to comments.Why the Social Engineers of the Sixties Failed to Make a "Great Society"
Posted on 11/20/2018 7:26:25 PM PST by daniel1212
Fifty years separate us today from 1968 and the two momentous legacies of the then failed presidency of Lyndon Johnson: The declaring of war on America's supposed domestic ills in the form of the "Great Society" programs, and the aggressive military intervention in a real war in Vietnam. Both of these "wars" reflected the arrogance and hubris of the social engineer who believes that he has the power and ability to remake and direct society in his own preferred image....
A part of the Vietnam War tragedy was due to the fact that it was managed by "the best and the brightest," as David Halberstam called them in his well-known book of the same title. These were the people within the Kennedy and Johnson administrations who orchestrated and escalated the war as the conflict progressed through the 1960s.
Halberstam referred to these war managers as the "whiz kids." They believed that they had the theoretical and quantitative knowledge and ability to fine-tune a military conflict..
The disaster and destruction that befell both the American and the Vietnamese people resulted from their arrogant pretense of possessing all the necessary and relevant knowledge for them to design and direct a war on the other side of the world, seemingly all according to a central plan constructed in Washington, D.C.
What they learned (or should have learned) were the inescapable limits to man's ability to consciously direct the future course of human events, and the ever-present occurrence of "unintended consequences." It was a costly lesson in the need for humility and caution in believing that it is in our power to socially engineer global affairs to our own liking.
The same was thing happened in the domestic policies of the Lyndon Johnson administration, which became known as the Great Society agenda... What guided the Great Society agenda was an arrogant pretense of knowledge. There was a general attitude among many economists and a large number of self-proclaimed social critics that most of the "evils" of the worldpoverty, illiteracy, lack of decent housing or medical care, and environmental degradationwere all due to a lack of willpower and well-intentioned and implemented policy. The guiding premise was that the private sector had failed in meeting these problems and, indeed, may have contributed to them due to a disregard for "national needs," while pursuing private purposes..
Among the leading Great Society programs were:
Medicare and Medicaid (as amendments to the Social Security Act) Economic Opportunity Act Office of Economic Opportunity Community Action Agencies Elementary and Secondary Education Act Higher Education Act Model Cities Program Housing and Urban Development Act Urban Mass Transit Act Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps) National Endowments for the Arts National Endowments for the Humanities Wilderness, Endangered Species, and Federal Water Pollution Control Acts
Political Paternalism and the Reduction of Freedom
The fundamental premise the Great Society vision for America was based on was the idea of political paternalism. Good men, with enough political power, authority, and financial resources can successfully solve the problems of society. The dilemma, however, is that for government to do anything for us, it must at the same time have the police power do things to us...
And here, too, were a series of unintended consequences. These included the weakening and break-up of groups and families due to intergenerational dependency on government programs; the emergence of an "entitlement mentality" that taxpayer funded transfers from the government were as legitimate a source of income as earning a living from a private-sector job; the entrapment of those on welfare in isolated, poorly-managed, and increasingly crime-infested public housing projects; and the deterioration of educational standards in public schools, especially in inner city areas of the country...
The author points out liberal elite as the engineers of both the failed Vietnam war and the Great Society.
As regards immigration, I do not think the problem was necessarily the type of immigration, but the liberal anti-Christ ethos and welfare programs that they most often end up being seduced by. And seeing Democrats as their saviors they vote for them, even if contrary to their faith and family values they were raised with. While many seek to gain the world (via Democrats) they end up losing their souls, and that of their kids, while giving support to the engineers of societal destruction,
Because it was all about vote buying.
“I will have those n*****s voting democratic for the next 200 years”
I wish I could put together eloquent posts like that.
all I know is I hate the #### and he’s one of the biggest POS to ever hold the office of POTUS.
My friends the frog is boiled. Look at Az., Nv. Too late for Col.
These social engineers are just wrong about everything. No God means evil prevails. A policy for a permanent dependent underclass and punishment of the capable will always fail when there are no more workers to pay the bills.
He is. And often times when we Freepers discuss the worst president ever? LBJ hardly ever comes up.
Its always Obama. And while its easy to agree Obama was bad, we must never forget how truly terrible Johnson was.
I believe Obamas legacy is nearly gone. Clearly the worst thing Obama ever did was Obama care. And that failure is nearly gone. But Johnsons legacy? 50 years later we are still suffering the horrible after affects of his great society.
Because it was never their intent. The goal of any such programs are to foster dependence, and undermine self-esteem, enhancing support for the party that indefatigably supports the policies.
The Great Society constructed urban warehouses (like Chicago’s Cabrini Green) as “public housing”, the goal of which was to keep certain people out of the suburbs, and out of the pay-your-own-way rental properties. This helped hold on to the Southern Democrats as well as northern machine politicians’ fiefdoms.
Democratic Debacle (1964 convention, repercussions today)
America Heritage | July 2004 (cover date) | Joshua Zeitz
Posted on 07/27/2004 9:59:49 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
One thing I’ve long said social planners are completely ignorant of is an aspect of the law of diminishing returns that I call the Pilot Program Effect.
Pilot Programs are different from large bureaucracies in any number of ways such as they still have flexible organization, their people are motivated and often more competent than average, and there is a big difference between doing something and doing nothing ... which is to say the law of diminishing returns hasn’t kicked in yet. There are more but those three are enough.
Essentially Pilot programs cause unrealistic expectations and I would argue that their structural advantages as mentioned above can overcome some aspects of really stupid ideas that have been tried and it quite probably takes monumental incompetence or mendacity to get a well conceived pilot program to actually fail (such as the Chicago Annenburg Challenge under Obama and Ayers and friends).
But once out of the pilot program the gloves come off.
A related idea is that bigger systems are inherently more able to be hidebound and inflexible, to be wasteful, be it the government a rich State with lots of people compared to a smaller State or all of the several States combined compared toany given State. This should argue for keeping most government as local as possible ... which is of course anathema to Leftists who these days are bucking for even international governance!
The only reason I rate LBJ as not being the worst or the most corrupt is that unlike FDR he wasn’t the first to kick aside the Constitution and make it stick, so FDR was the worst (to be effective at lawlessness is far worse than being ineffective), and unlike the Clintons or Obama he may have been a crook but at least he was an America first crook ... he wasn’t gonna sell us out to foreign powers or global governance just for money or ideology.
Johnson was terrible, that’s for sure. And what made the terrible things about LBJ a reality was the 89th Congress, where the ‘Rats had a supermajority in both Houses. That was back in the day when 2/3rds majority was needed in the Senate to move legislation. On some issues the ‘Rats could get things done because the Southern Democrats could stop their own party. That’s why Dirksen’s 1/3 minority was sometimes needed in a compromise mode. If not for the Southern Dems, the rest of the ‘Rats would have told Dirksen to take his 1/3 minority and bugger out.
I’m cool with that idea.
In light of it I would add to my earlier comments that once its no longer a pilot program not only are administrators more typical and less motivated than before but all those ad hoc solutions that worked in a small program now get to break in spectacular ways under people less able to respond than before. Maybe less able to even see what’s breaking.
All that’s needed is politicians whose only competencies sometimes seem to be getting votes and throwing other peoples’ money at things and you quickly get Washington DC.
There are not rich to fund a Great Society. There never will be.
Another thing that must be remembered about LBJ is that he only served six years. And in those six years he accomplished, to our detriment, more than most presidents do in eight years.
Imagine if you will, if Johnson had served a total of 10 years.
With his super majority and milking the memory of a man he had assassinated? The mind boggles.
Though without McGovern (only possible because LBJ didn’t run) the looney Left in the RNC at the time wouldn’t have bolted for the DNC and it is likely we’d have far worse than RINOs today in the RNC (for example: Hillary might still register Republican).
Very true. Obama ruled with a pen. Johnson had Congress rubberstamping anything and everything he wanted to do. Over 155 Acts and laws were passed during his administration.
Because in their mind “great” means “centrally planned” by our betters.
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