Practical History

Posted by Bob on February 27, 2008 at 2:17 pm | Filed Under History
These page excerpts are found on Bob's Blog: B.U.G.S. or Bob's Underground Graduate Seminar
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In one piece on history below, I did not go into the bias and ignorance of historians, I think you consider me pretty solid on that point, but to a PRACTICAL problem with academic history. History is changing at a maddening pace today, and the bureaucracy that has grown up around history simply cannot keep up.

By the time any book has gone through the printing process, a year or so, and the education bureaucracy, the latest news is years old. That is like trying to keep up with physics using stone tablets.

So they don’t even TRY. History books today could have been, and in some cases were, used in the 1950s. Even in the 1960s when I was in graduate economics, we had almost no textbooks. We had lists of articles to read.

Another practical problem comes up in the fact that, contrary to popular belief, smaller businesses tend to PREFER racial and sex quotas. Big businesses, with huge legal staffs on hand, find it easy to negotiate these things with government agencies. But the small business man does not have lawyers on hand. They would prefer just to be given a hard and fast rule, a straight, quota, to meet rather than having to hire a lawyer.

Government regulations help nig business, which is why big business lobbies tend to favor liberals. Government regulation puts rising small businesses out of business. Big business and big government get along just fine.

Small business come out of nowhere and bust up monopolies, as Vonage is doing to the phone companies. Vonage now has its own legal staff, but big business needs to bust up such companies when hey are small and vulnerable, and one of their major allies is regulation.

We get so tied up in outright bias that we can easily miss these practical considerations.

Another big problem that was big in the Reagan days and was supposed to be unique in American history was homelessness. I dealt personally with this a lot in alcohol and drug recovery. I sponsored a number of people who were homeless.

During the Depression, Shanty Towns sprang up all over the country. I have not met a single homeless person in the program who would not have LOVED to live in a Shanty Town rather than on the street. Homelessness is indeed an American problem unique in our history, but not for the reasons given.

The solution to homelessness today is for paid activists to lobby for legislation in Reagan’s day was to get government money to build housing that meet bureaucratic specifications.

Housing in Depression days was different in two ways. First, almost any American could BUILD a shanty. Secondly people had a PLACE to build a shanty.

There are no more “woods” where you can put up a shanty town. Government doesn’t allow you to build them. That is what is unique.

Minorities move into Projects. White folks move into mobile homes. Mobile homes are also regulated out of most cities. My sponsees could have built their own shanties. It never occurs to most minorities.

In the real world, public housing for “the poor” is a battle zone. Once again, that is government regulation. Shanty towns were safe and white.

People make communities, not books.

Sane whites prefer the streets to public housing.

All this is a RESULT of activism. Housing regulations and racial requirements in public housing are the result of activism. So if you are white or one for the few blacks who can build his own place, you have to have a pretty substantial income to afford to live in regulated housing that is decent and safe.

Hence homelessness.


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