Building Fires Rather Than Boats – Uncle Sam’s Plantation

imageWhen the Emancipation Proclamation effectively put an end to slavery in 1863, few could anticipate that only one hundred years later, the government of the United States would be responsible for enslaving millions of people all over again. Star Parker’s updated edition of Uncle Sam’s Plantation pulls back the shell of the destroyed generations of Americans who have been pulled into the entitlement culture and made dependent upon the government for their existence. It is a pitiful existence without values, responsibility and most egregiously, hope.

Miss Parker knows of what she writes, as a one-time member of the dependent culture. She describes an early life in which she was inculcated by the mantra that she was ‘owed’ something by others due to the color of her skin. Star was immersed in a culture which valued what you can get right now ( high, sexually satisfied, money from burglary) over what could be earned by responsibility tomorrow. The effects of these attitudes on generation after generation have led to the tragic destruction she sees within her racial community, and in the widespread attitudes of many of the dependent class.

“Like a castaway who uses all of the wood on an island for fires before making a boat” is a paraphrase of Miss Parker’s analysis of the short-sightedness of the government programs that purport to aid the poor. First, there is little consideration for the unintended consequences that ‘fixes’ generate. Rent control, for example, may help a renter by initially making housing affordable. The owner of the building though has little incentive to upgrade the facility or even keep it in good repair since the return on his investment will be negligible. Second, the values-free nature of government solutions ensures that this damaging attitude will infect those who participate in them. Staying in the housing discussion, why is government housing so bad? Because none of the tenants has an ownership stake in the building, none of them cares how it is taken care of.

This book is bracing and it can be a disheartening read. Some will read the accounts she includes and say, “see, I told you that is why those people act that way!” This is a response out of ignorance. Reading these pages should make you angry and broken-hearted. Though Parker offers no solutions, there is a clear message that reform comes through a realization of self-worth, one that she received along with the Spirit. The problems may seem massive and nearly hopeless, but see if there isn’t one life that you can affect by teaching, mentoring or some other one on one activity.

This book was graciously provided by Thomas Nelson publishers.

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