The indomitable Heather Macdonald writes: 1. Liberal urban policy was based on several core assumptions. a. Multigenerational poverty was the result of structural forcesabove all, of rapacious capitalism and racism. It could never be the result of bad decision-making or a deficit of personal responsibility. b. Though men were still, alas, required for conceiving a child, they were purely optional for raising one. (Corollary: the role of illegitimacy in creating and perpetuating poverty could never be acknowledged.) c. Low-wage work was demeaning and pointless. It was better to receive a monthly welfare check than to labor at an entry-level job. d. Crime was an understandable and inevitable reaction to economic injustice and discrimination. (Corollary: the police could not lower crime; only government social programs and wealth-redistribution schemes could.) e. Apercu, the bourgeois values of order, self-discipline, and respect for the law were decorative afterthoughts to prosperity, rather than its very precondition. 2. By the 1980s came the realization that work was a better corrective to poverty than government handouts. But the poverty-industrial complex wouldnt go quietly! Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, the architects of the welfare-rights revolution, railed against the idea of asking welfare mothers to work. Those mothers already had a full-time job, they said, simply trying to care for their children under the jungle-like conditions of urban poverty. Memo to all professors: that jungle is exactly what you get when you dismiss the necessity of the two-parent family, work, and respect for the law. 3. In 1996, President Bill Clinton ended the lifetime welfare entitlement. The same women who, the advocates had said, were incapable of working or were unwanted by the economy entered the workforce in droves. The welfare rolls dropped 66 percent, and black child poverty experienced its greatest drop in history. a. In New York City, where Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had started asking people to go to work a year before federal welfare reform passed, the welfare rolls have dropped 70 percent. New York now has the lowest child poverty rate of the eight largest U.S. cities. If any poverty professional has said, Oops! I was wrong, I havent heard it. 4. New Yorks demolition of conventional thinking about crime was even more momentous. Since 1990, New York has experienced the largest and longest sustained drop in street crime of any big city in the developed world. In less than a generation, many major felonies have fallen 80 percent or more. New York did this by rejecting everything that the criminology and social-work professions counseled about crime. Police Chief William Bratton announced in 1994 that the police, not some big-government welfare program, would lower crime by 10 percent in just one year. He not only met his goal, he bested it! 5. Just as the liberal philosophy of exempting the poor from bourgeois standards of behavior set up a vicious cycle of fatherlessness, crime, and dependency, the conservative philosophy of universal standards set up a virtuous cycle of urban renovation. In the last 20 years, conservative ideas, including the value of all work, which binds us to each other through the strange beauty of commerce and voluntary exchange, have done more to turn around American cities than four decades and hundreds of billions of dollars of welfare entitlements, social programs, and public housing ever did. A policy triumph doesnt get any more concrete than that." Restoring the Social Order by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal 6 January 2011 Hopefully, the changes in the nation, seen prominently in the Tea Party movement will heralds a return to earlier, and obviously more successful, societal paradigms.