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From Publishers Weekly
Black conservative Keyes, who hosts a radio talk show in Baltimore, here presents a broad-brush essay on the history and state of black America. He offers some overblown rhetoric-comparing the "covert totalitarianism" of the "liberal welfare state" to that of the Soviet Union-as well as suspect analysis, praising Martin Luther King Jr.'s statesmanship but ignoring his increased concern about economic inequality. But he does make worthy points: contra the notorious Moynihan report, black families long embraced family values; the black church has always fostered a black identity with "moral and religious convictions"; Jesse Jackson jettisoned mainstream black values such as opposition to abortion as he gained prominence. Keyes blames Great Society liberalism for hitching black leaders to a federal tether while vitiating local power bases. This leads to his lightly sketched solution: respect local black institutions and values via "community empowerment," or local self-government that allows neighborhood taxation, law enforcement, welfare programs and education.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.From Booklist
Keyes received media attention during his campaigns for the U.S. Senate on the Republican ticket and, since losing his contests, has become a radio commentator and talk-show host. In this essay on the causes of the plight of urban blacks, Keyes, an intense rhetorician, should irritate all the apologists for, and would-be expanders of, the welfare state. He begins with an exegesis on how enslaved Africans survived bondage, seeing in the historical development of the black family and Christian church sources for rejuvenation: they continue to be black America's strengths. Keyes then attacks the "betrayal" of "the special moral identity of black Americans" by the established civil rights groups, which habitually demand that the feds materially succor the community, a reflex that Keyes believes mires blacks in "perpetual supplication." In his prescription, empowerment comes from the self and the church and education, not subsidy programs. Though the liberal targets of Keyesian morals will probably dismiss this essay, the fact that it revolves around the nature of black identity and its antecedents in the long night of slavery--a question as central as anything to getting out of the crisis--merits support. Gilbert Taylor
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- Hardcover: 214 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow & Company; 1st ed edition
(February 1, 1995)
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.0 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces.
- Average Customer Review: based on 4 reviews.
Amazon.com Sales Rank in Books: #75,215
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Black America's not buying it, November 4, 2004
Alan Keyes is now looking for an exit from the Land of Lincoln which has so grossly humiliated him. He believed that his fully paid vacation in the State of Illinois, courtesy of the Republican Party of Illinois, would end with his triumphant return on the United States Federal Government payroll to the United States Senate, in Washington DC, carved by a meddling and property-confiscating central government out of his home state of Maryland. Alas, he was not well received out here. His manifest African ancestry failed to persuade black Illinoisans to vote for him, as they ponder political matters somewhat more deeply than the Republican Party gives them credit for (Bush Sr. did not get black votes by kicking the trash-talking Clarence Thomas way over his level of incompetence either). Nor did suburban soccer moms flock to Mr. Keyes, as if to a shopping mall; in fact, even the virtuous salt-of-the-earth remnant from the agricultural class that smokes clay pipes and keeps corncobs in the latrine (though they line their crow cages with Investor's Business Daily, nowadays) voted for the other guy.
So somebody, give this argumentative fellow a vote of confidence. Buy this book and buy this book and buy this book! Build an Alan Keyes Senatorial Library! By the time it's done maybe the Republican Party will have found a place for him.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Ignore the libs, October 19, 2004
"While an intelligent argument can be made against the wellfare state, operating from the Republican party is nonsensical given it's historic opposition to civil rights." - J.H. Scaff's review.
Mr. Scaff says that the Republican party is historically opposed to civil rights. Anyone with any knowledge of history preceding the 1960's knows that it was the Democrats who dominated the South and oppressed minorities. Mr. Scaff, like the editorialist from Publishers Weekly (review above) has been brainwashed and had false presuppositions programmed into his feeble mind.
The reviewer from Publishers Weekly says that Keyes's analysis is "suspect," and he cites as an example of this the fact that Keyes ignores MLK's emphasis on income inequality. The author of this review makes a false presupposition, much like Mr. Scaff does, which reveals his bias; he assumes that ignoring MLK's arguments about income equality makes one's analysis lacking or misguided. Obviously Mr. Keyes disagrees with this part of MLK's doctrine, but this does not make his analysis suspect.
Dyed-in-the-wool liberals reveal their bias when discussing true conservatives like Keyes, whose arguments they simply cannot defeat head-on. Your average brainwashed liberal, like Mr. Scaff, simply dismisses the brilling arguments of Mr. Keyes, writing him off as a mere rhetorician, based on an ignorant, misinformed view of the history of the party of which Mr. Keyes is a member.
If you are TRULY open-minded, you will see that Keyes speaks the truth and these brainwashed ideologues can't stand it and don't get it.
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1 of 36 people found the following review helpful:
Good Points, Wrong Conclusion, July 30, 2002
Keyes is a skilled and eloquent rhetorician, and much of his analysis of African-American communities is right on target. Unfortunately some of his conclusions seem illogical. While an intelligent argument can be made against the wellfare state, operating from the Republican party is nonsensical given it's historic opposition to civil rights.
If Keyes' supposition is correct, that education and moral strenght are what lift people out of poverty, then welfare needs to be replaced with a monumental effort on the part of the federal government to provide equal funding and support to every school in every community. Republicans have consistently opposed equality in education, to the detriment of African-Americans and other minority groups.
Keyes could further his cause much more effectively by working within the Democratic party which is much more inclusive and tolerant not only of racial diversity but of education and difference of ideas...
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