Van Jones, the president’s controversial former green jobs czar, who once proclaimed himself a “communist,” must have been struck by lightning last week en route to taping ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
How else to explain Jones’s strange embrace of corporate personhood?
Discussing President Obama’s new “My Brother’s Keeper” program, which is designed to “build pathways to success” for at-risk “children of color,” Van Jones embraced a notion of corporate personhood far beyond anything previously expressed . . . by anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Not since Star Wars has there been such a shocking paternity pitch.
Corporations should “step up,” Jones blurted out, to take on the role of fathers for millions of American children without fathers in their lives.
Let me provide some context. First, Jones sought to calm our Obamacare-agitated electorate by advancing this new Obama initiative as something we’ve all seen often enough before, just another bailout: “Listen, everybody else . . . got in trouble in America. Wall Street got in trouble; we were there for them. The auto industry got in trouble; we were there for the auto industry. You got a whole generation of young kids who are clearly in trouble. I am so proud the president stepped forward.”
Gee whiz, is there any problem in America that the politicians and their cronies don’t suggest we solve by roughing up taxpayers a little more and throwing public money at it?
Most important and tragic of all: a bailout just isn’t a dad.
And functioning fathers are “essential,” apparently, or at least that’s what Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald argued. (Alone.) Noting that fatherless kids are 20 times more likely to go to prison and nine times more likely to drop out of school, she applauded President Obama’s statement that “nothing keeps a young man out of trouble like a father who takes an active role in his son’s life.”
Mac Donald was disappointed, however, that the president didn’t say more about the crisis of fatherlessness, didn’t make it a major theme.
In fact, in the aftermath of the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, the president spoke as if he were speeding down the same Van Jones Expressway, zooming right past fathers, to consider how government might “bolster and reinforce our African American boys” and “give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them.”
That’s looking for love and caring in all the wrong places. Kids without fathers can find role models and adult love and caring, from you and me and others. But not through one of the Great O’s government investment schemes.
After all, government isn’t love.
On “This Week,” Mac Donald highlighted the destabilizing extent of the missing dad problem: a whopping 72 percent of African-American births are now out-of-wedlock, compared to 53 percent among Latinos and 29 percent among whites.
Unlike Mr. Jones, she also bemoaned that three decades of social programs “haven’t made much difference.” In fact, those social programs are deeply correlated with a dramatic increase in fatherlessness. In the last 50 years, the percentage of black children born into single-parent households has nearly tripled.
“Do you think you need anybody to tell us how terrible this is?” Van Jones, who is black, pointedly asked Mac Donald. “We work on it every day. We need corporate America to step up.”
There you have it.
We live in a strange land, where it is no longer outrageous to suggest that big organizations can and should take over the role of father for millions of children.
March 9, 2014
This column first graced the Web pages of Townhall.com.