Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 16, 1974 · Page 101
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 101

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 16, 1974
Page 101
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Page 101 article text (OCR)

Negroes in uniform An ultra-conservative looks at poverty "THE CONQUEST OF POVERTY", by Henry Hazlitt, Arlington House Pl»- Dishing Co., 8.95. In his last chapter, the author of this book "says. "The theme of this book is the conquest of poverty, not its ·abolition'." Explaining that in the beginning may have been a useful service to his readers. For Hazlitt. who has had a distinguished career as an.-(Economic writer and lit«iry critic for peri- odicalsiiieh as The Wall Street fJaRial. The Nation. the:N«H||?»rk Times, and News*Pf|has not written a book aiMJui. programs to overcome poverty. Instead, he has written a conservative's critique of almost everything thai has been done to overcome the problems of poverty throughout the history of mankind. He suggests that capitalism remains the best answer to the problem of poverty. What can good people do to overcome poverty? Hazlitt says they should . ".. modestly in relation to their income, save,, and constantly invest their savings in sound existing or new enterprises, so creating abundance for all, and incidentally creating not-only more jobs but better-paying" ones." The author attempts to demonstrate that virtually everything that has ever been done to overcome poverty has. either failed or increased poverty. And he includes in-his list not only socialism, public assistance, negative income taxes, and government work programs, but also labor unions, social insurance, and the graduated income tax. Welfare programs,: whatever their type, once begun always get out of hand, according to the author, they reduce the incentive to work, and they interfere | with the operation.of the free enterprise system. He bases his conclusions on basic economic theory from philosophers such as Thomas ,MaIthus, Adam SmithU sJShn Maynard Keynes. and John Stuart Mill. He also traces the history of welfare programs from earliest times. The theoretical material he uses\ however, is relatively unsophisticated. The · ; ' - r ' ' · ' Paperbacks "EXPRESSWAY," by Elleston Trevor, $1.50. * * * "MY YEARS WITH EDGAR CAYCE," by Mary Ellen Carter, $1.25. « * * "A YEAR IN A CLOSET," by William Carney, $1.50. * * * "THE WORLD OF APPLES," by John Cheever, $1.25. . * * * "W.C. FIELDS," by Himself, $1.95., r , ; economics is of the sort taught to college sophomores in the 1950's. The historical material on social welfare programs is comparable to that found in sophomore texts on the history of social work or social welfare. Understanding poverty requires more than sophomore-level material in the disciplines of economics and social work. ~ One program of service to the poor that the author finds attractive -- and he mentions it several times -is the 19th century, "workhouse.'' an institution where ·persons without means were sent for work and which was described with bitterness in many of the novels of Charles Dickens. While Hazlitt agrees that public opinion would never accept a return to the workhouse, he. seems to think it is unfortunate. . The author draws some other unique -conclusions from unusual information, on other subjects as well. In his chapter called "The Story of Negro Gains" he discounts ~the possibility that American blacks might benefit, from black enterprise programs. He substantiated his conclusion by explaining that American blacks have incomes that are higher than many whites in European countries and much higher incomes than blacks in the black economies of nations such as Haiti, Ghana, and Mali. One concludes from Hazlitt's book that if he had his : way there would be no minimum wage laws, no social security,, no anti-poverty programs, no foreign aid (it is spent socialistically, anyway, and retards the development of free enterprise in developing nations,) and none of the other institutions and arrangements that have developed over the years to, some economists would say, make the free enterprise system more humane. Hazlitt does not deal with the question of why these institutional solutions arose, in the first place. Had the poor been well-served by the free enterprise system, there would have been no need for the programs that developed, usually after serious conflict and strife, to improve their lot. The ideas expressed in the book are essentially similar to those espoused by the John Birch Society, although milder and less paranoid. They are reminiscent of the 1964 speeches of Sen. Barry Goldwater, when he was a candidate for President. They reflect the ultra-conservative position on economics, welfare, and government. Those who share such positions would find this book reassuring. Those who think otherwise would probably not be persuaded by it. Those who are unfamiliar with the issues discussed would probably be better off studying less ideological sources. Leon H. Ginsberg Dr. Ginsberg is dean and professor, School of Social Work, West Virginia University, Morgantown. "BLACK DEFENDERS OF AMERICA 1775-1173, by Robert Ewell Greene; Johnson PvUishiic Co., Chicago, $17.95. This record of Negroes who fought in America's wars is a valuable reference work, although at first glance it appears to be another one of those "Who's Who" biographical collections. But that is because my first glance was at the latter pages, where living, black Americans are listed. I was in search of West Virginians, of course, and found two who hold the rank of brigadier- general in the Army. They are Charles C. Rogers of Fayette County and Edward Greer of McDowell County, both of whom attended West Virginia State College. Starting at the beginning, I encountered some fascinating anecdotes involving the heroism (and sometimes cowardice) of black American servicemen. The Civil War section was particularly interesting, largely because photographs had supplanted drawings. Blacks fought on both sides of the Civil War. Until recently, some black widows received Confederate pensions. This work should disabuse any Archie Bunker of the notion that black men and women haven't contributed to the defense of the land. In the Vietnam War, America's latest military adventure, blacks bore a disproportionate share of the load. They are listed here in great number. There are hundreds of photographs, some battle scenes. -- L.T. Anderson State university problems (in Texas) "OUR INVADED UNIVERSITIES: Form, Reform, and New Starts" by Ronnie Dugger, W. W. Norton Co., Inc., $14.95 Mr. Dugger, one of America 's angriest middle-aged men. is arguing from the particular -- the University of Texas -- to the general that all state universities and their faculties, especially among upper echelons, have just about removed themselves completely from the business of teaching undergraduates. Dugger tells us considerably more about the University of Texas than most of us, I suspect, care to know. Still, to be. fair, he tells us well, and much of the trivia he imparts is fascinating. The University of Texas at one point in its relatively brief life did rise to the brink · of greatness: Moreover, as a university whose endowment eventually will surpass Harvard's, the nation's highest and now above a billion dollars, it's a considerable sadness that state politics, business interests, selfish regents, faculty, and a host of little ignoramuses successfully aborted Dagger's alma mater's journey to academic greatness; apparently never, crosses Dugger's mind that a public university ten times out of ten will reflect the attitudes, prejudices, pomposities, and boobosities of its patrons -- the public. What entitles the University of Texas to be a great university? Dallas? John Connally? Lyndon Johnson? Jack Ruby? Or perhaps that enlightened Daddy Sawbucks of the Southwest: H. L. Hunt, who conceived of a new approach to representa- tive government that allotted to the citizen with the most money the most votes? The truth is that it's surprising in the extreme that the U. of Texas became the superior institution it became before being dragged back to high class mediocrity by. the usual unenlightened moneyed groups that today have such a stranglehold on most state colleges and universities. A university," says Dugger quite rightly, "is a city - for the freedom of the mind, full of homes Tor thinking, · shops for finding truth, and meeting rooms with windows. A university is a place for Emerson's man thinking and for woman thinking, too. A university is a city of the people working together within our own and all of nature to make our freedom and our structures with our LACKOF FOOD cute often Units support. We can help a great deal by prw'Kfirg food tor wia birds and Qtnrttte. Many well-meaning people, attempt to feed wildlife, by scatter ing gnuiorhayforVnonoumo the. winter, months, inmost cases wifilift mriftra' It. It they fa this typtof feeding concentrates^ them in a small area, mating went more susceptible to predators and disease,. an annual food ptot placed coti-sfiarityprofms for people who \ r^toputout nod plots-, so/merer furnish the grain free. (Cheek with your l^l ^ an MM^ officer.) A and f .patch shoukf be at least ftaertmsijt, although smaller patches can help, find patch should be made up of a wiety\ opj^nsjhrtjjrmvrtl in your area. '.s.inoat-\ WeemanmmTi'aho litetoaoV lib. sunFhmr seeds. TfK seedbed tor these plots should] be prepared ja$ you vmldjour I gown and planted about OK omr tm you phut corn. Jht seeds an. broadcast tyhmdffiettyvcnd " ' Good Earth Almanac CM**: DfSt/fttf WSTKSNCEPD ASSURE WOP WR WIOfE »tfU KEEP UVESRtt OUT. SOME OF THESE PUW5 0W BE POISONOUS TO LIVESTOCK JRRWff OR BROUGHT. ideas. A university is a city of sunlight streaming into the naked minds of the citizens. A university is a city of the human kind that is worthy of the universe. A university is a universal city." (I like that.) And state universities, contends Dugger, are ho different from any university. Ah, but they are. That's the problem. They're tax funded. Governor, legislators, chambers of commerce, industrial councils, all the usual pressure groups can't keep their cotton-picking hands off state universities, and the result is state universities invariably tend to represent the states in which they are located. Dugger has several splendid suggestions about what ought to be done to make the state university a better institution. Student bodies should be given more authority. Faculty tenure isn't all it's cracked up to be, and to the extent it shields the bad, lazy, incompetent professor -- which it does -- ought to be revised. This is an important book, - perhaps too long. Yet Dugger has a lot to say. Finally, what he has to say deserves respectful attention. One doesn't have to agree with every criticism or recommendation to recognize that Dugger is a free spirit and a credit to any educational institution. University of Texas powers that be won't look kindly on his book, but every university should be so fortunate to graduate a Ronnie Dugger. Incidentally, Dugger's analysis ought to be required reading for all members of West Virginia's Board of Regents--to instruct them m the pitfalls of unbridled authority. In fairness, however, beside Texas's Board of Regents, ours is a citadel of sagacity, tolerance, compassion, and restraint. W. E. Chilton, HI State Magazine, June 16,1974 CHARLESTON. W. VA. 25m

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