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The dream and the nightmare : the sixties' legacy to the underclass

Author: Myron Magnet
Publisher: New York : W. Morrow, ©1993.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Summary:
For the first time in the history of America, an entire group of people has been told that there is no hope for them, that society has so oppressed them that they are unable to climb the ladder of economic success and are so irretrievably mired in poverty that the state must and should support them. This group is today's underclass, overwhelmingly urban, dismayingly minority. Such a view has been imposed upon it by  Read more...
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Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Myron Magnet
ISBN: 0688119514 9780688119515
OCLC Number: 26256753
Description: 256 pages ; 25 cm
Contents: What's gone wrong? --
The power of culture --
The underclass --
The hole in the theory --
The homeless --
Homelessness and liberty --
Victimizing the poor --
Race and reparations --
Rebels with a cause --
The living constitution --
Trashing the culture --
The poverty of spirit.
Responsibility: Myron Magnet.

Abstract:

For the first time in the history of America, an entire group of people has been told that there is no hope for them, that society has so oppressed them that they are unable to climb the ladder of economic success and are so irretrievably mired in poverty that the state must and should support them. This group is today's underclass, overwhelmingly urban, dismayingly minority. Such a view has been imposed upon it by a mainstream culture whose reinterpretation of what a democracy should be is directly traceable to the thoughts and writings of the 1960s counterculture. In The Dream and the Nightmare, Myron Magnet shows how the influences of that decade have become accepted wisdom, adversely affecting the fabric of all American life but most egregiously harming the people who were presumably being helped. In replacing a blame-the-victim philosophy with an equally baleful you-are-the-victim litany, the Haves have denied the equality of the Have Nots and removed from them the feelings of responsibility and free will that are essential to achievement. Too often, these attempts to liberate the poor from their economic restraints were merely reflections of the instant gratifications and defiance of social conventions that characterized the do-your-own-thing mentality of the sixties, most readily seen in the sexual revolution and the counterculture's denunciation of traditional social values. Against this background, Magnet explores numerous seminal texts, from Norman Mailer's The White Negro to the writings of psychiatrist Thomas Szasz. How these ideas have pervaded our thinking about crime, the homeless, the mentally ill, welfare, and education provides a startling illustration about the directions roads take when they are paved with good intentions. Magnet carries the analysis right up to the present, showing how today's political correctness is only an intensification of the thinking that for thirty years has worsened the problems of poverty it promised to solve.

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