Social Darwinism Returns
Conniff, Ruth, The Progressive
This year marks the I fiftieth anniversary of Michael Harrington's great and influential book, The Other America, which brought the "invisible poor" to the attention of the nation.
What a different time we live in now, compared with the "affluent society" of the early 1960s.
Americans were in such a generous mood, so confident in their own futures and such believers in eternal economic expansion, that Harrington's book could prompt Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to undertakethe War on Poverty and actually talk about eradicating all hunger in America.
Today, the wealthiest in our society have a larger share of the national wealth and income since any time since the Great Depression.
And the poor are not invisible anymore.
Instead of denying that the poor exist, Republican leaders boldly argue for rolling back the programs that combat poverty, saying "dependency," not hunger, is the real problem.
They have moved from attacking welfare queens to taking on public school teachers and other unionized members of the middle class--arguing for a kind of go-it-alone society that abandons any sense of responsibility to children, the elderly, the poor, or even workers with the decent wages and benefits won by the labor movement's struggle to build the American Dream.
Congressman Paul Ryan, star …
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Publication information: Article title: Social Darwinism Returns. Contributors: Conniff, Ruth - Author. Magazine title: The Progressive. Volume: 76. Issue: 7 Publication date: July 2012. Page number: 14+. © 1999 The Progressive, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2012 Gale Group.
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