Monday, April 28, 2014

Daniel Patrick Moynahan: worst person in history?

In the past I've had luke warmish complimentary things to say about him as possibly th elast first rate leftie intellectual.  I hadn't known just what the complete bill of indictment was against him:
3) Moynihan drafts the "final submission" of the interagency commission that recommends the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. Result: social disaster. Thousands of pathetically ill people are freed to wander the streets and cause harm to the social order, to themselves, and to others.

 4) Moynihan writes a 1965 speech for President Johnson to deliver at Howard University, in which LBJ calls for "not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and equality as a result," pregnant words that lead to what we now call "affirmative action." Result: American society is riven by a rancorous ongoing debate over racial preferences.
There are eight or nine.  I hadn't realized just how much of an influential slime he was.  Perhaps not the worst in history, but certainly responsible for crushing millions of lives.  The more you centralize power, the more likely it is that sweeping, fascist programs will wreak havoc.


vultureofcritique said...

I hope you're being sarcastic. I can't tell.

D. P. Moynihan was a scholar.

He tried to help his country. Maybe he was dragged down by institutional corruption.

DPM was one of the few people who was willing to tell the truth about the welfare programs in the USA.

As a scholar, I respect him.

He may have been misguided. He may have done some harm. He does not deserve your hatred.

Borepatch said...

vultureofcritique, I should point out that the list was from Micky Kaus, who ran for Senate as a Democrat in 2012.

I also remember how he walked back from his scholarly paper about welfare dependency. When it came time to choose between scholarship and political advancement, he made his choice.

Overall, my point was that I used to think as you did, and am reconsidering.

Ken said...

Any random Kennedy is still worse, but that's faint praise indeed.

On another topic, I just read a Forbes article: "Connected Cars: 10 Tough Problems Automakers Must Solve". Give you one guess at what the glaring absence from the top 10 things was.