Michael Connolly's Reviews > The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society

The Burden of Bad Ideas by Heather MacDonald
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May 23, 12

bookshelves: reviewed, political-science

This book is a collection of articles by one of the best reporters for City Journal, the main publication of the Manhattan Institute, a pro-capitalism think tank. The first chapter describes how philanthropy has changed over the years. Great capitalists, such as Andrew Carnegie. John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford originally used their wealth to support high culture: classical music, art museums, medical research, libraries and universities. But during the 1960s, many of these foundations shifted their funds towards left-wing advocacy groups, helping to spawn the welfare rights movement, affirmative action, bilingual education, public housing, sex education and ethnic studies depatments. A later chapter describes an effort in the 1990s to provide free housing to the homeless people in New York's Times Square. Almost all of them refused it. This disproves the assertion that the main reason the homeless are on the streets is because they have no where else to go. They are on the streets, because they want to live on the streets. They are provided with free food, clothing and medical care even if they choose to live on the streets. Homeless advocates have prevented enforcement of laws against public urination, vagrancy and camping on the streets, saying that the homeless are forced to do such things, because they have nowhere else to go. But when given somewhere else to go, the homeless still misbehave. Their real problems are mental illness and substance abuse.
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