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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 26, 2010 / 13 Sivan 5770

More than equal

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Black people often make bad decisions about their health. For instance, a slightly higher percentage of black men than white men smoke, despite the fact that black men are 34 percent more likely to get lung cancer. Most black women weigh too much: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health, "African-American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. About four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese."

Black men are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic white men, and they contract AIDS more than seven times as often. Black women are 2.5 times as likely to start prenatal care in the third trimester, or not to start it at all. As a group, African-Americans are 50 percent less likely to exercise. The death rate for African-Americans is higher than whites for heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, and homicide.

All of this imposes immense costs on society.

By now it should be clear that simply trying to educate black people is not enough. Therefore, the United States needs a multi-pronged, coordinated effort aimed at forcing black people to make better choices. African-Americans should be required to pay higher taxes for unhealthy foods. They should be encouraged, if not required, to engage in regular exercise. Cass Sunstein, President Obama's regulatory czar, has proposed in his book Nudge a system of "libertarian paternalism" through which government incentives could encourage people to make the right choices. We should do this with black people by, for example, charging them more for snack foods, cigarettes, and other unhealthy products.

Not really, of course. No one should seriously make such a condescending and paternalistic argument. And anyone who did should be denounced as a bigot of the first order.

What's interesting, though, is that many progressives think nothing of making the very same argument about Americans generally. With more and more frequency we are told Americans' poor choices about their own health lead to higher costs for everybody -- so the government must act. Hence the campaign against obesity. Hence proliferating proposals for higher taxes on soft drinks. Hence the drive to have the FDA regulate Americans' salt intake. And so on.

This says a couple of things worth noting.

First, it raises questions about the emphasis on equality to the exclusion of other values. To see why, consider another example: Arizona's tough new law on illegal immigration.

Progressives have denounced it as fascist, Nazi-like, and racist; called for boycotting the state; even (in Columbus, Ohio) forbidden official travel to Arizona. Why? In large part because the new law authorizes a police officer who suspects someone might be an illegal immigrant to demand that the individual produce papers proving his or her lawful presence. Many have inferred, reasonably, that Latinos will be disproportionately singled out for such scrutiny.

But at the same time, Senate Democratic leaders have proposed immigration-reform legislation that would require every U.S. resident to carry a biometric identity card. Yet with the exception of the ACLU (and a couple of libertarian think-tank types), the idea has caused not a ripple of protest. President Obama, who has denounced Arizona's law, has called the Senate legislation -- which would in effect nationalize the Arizona approach -- "a very important step." But why is it OK to impose on everyone what it is wrong to impose only on some?

Justice demands equality before the law. Fairness requires evenhandedness. But while equality and evenhandedness are necessary, they are hardly sufficient. It is wrong to make blacks, and only blacks, pay a poll tax to vote. But is it wrong because of the disparate treatment -- or because poll taxes are inherently unjust? Would a poll tax be acceptable if it were universal? (It's not always either/or. Imposing a legal voting age of 18 for whites and 21 for blacks would be unjust, even though a legal voting age of either 18 or 21, applied universally, would not be.)

The second thing worth noting is that, while liberals find inequality across race and gender classes invidious, many seem to find nothing wrong with an inequality between the enlightened few and the great unwashed. Large swaths of the knowledge class seem almost wistful about the idea of a dictatorship of the professional elite to oversee the lumpen proletariat.

Hence the English professor who thinks he knows where insurance rates should be set. Hence the architect who has the answer to energy policy. Hence the journalist who thinks he should write the rules for stockbrokers. Hence Woody Allen, musing that it would be good if Barack Obama "could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly." Hence Thomas Friedman contending in The New York Times that one-party autocracy can "have great advantages," when it is "led by a reasonably enlightened group of people."

They mean well, of course. But then so did John C. Calhoun, when he argued that slavery was not a necessary evil but a positive good: "Look at the sick, and the old and infirm slave, on one hand, in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind superintending care of his master and mistress, and compare it with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poor house." Even after the Civil War whites felt, as one history book put it, that "the negro . . . must of necessity be controlled, kindly but firmly, and that he should, both for his own and the common good, be assigned some subordinate position of tutelage."

It should be said that even at its most onerous, big government is a far cry from chattel slavery or the Black Codes. And the progessive of today who calls for more and more government would never express sentiments like those above about African-Americans. But Americans in general? That's a different story.

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:



04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books

01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2010, A. Barton Hinkle

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