Human Nature and Social Reform

“Human Nature and Social Reform,” Wall Street Journal, September 18, 1978.


What it comes down to is that our reformers simply cannot bring themselves to think realistically about human nature.  They believe it to be not only originally good, but also incorruptible (hence the liberal tolerance for pornography).

When a slum population wrecks a brand-new housing project, it is the designers of the project who are blamed, never the inhabitants.  Those inhabitants are promptly relocated in other housing—which they will also wreck, since there are no rewards or punishments attached to existing motivations.  There is thought to be no need for such rewards or punishments, since officials at HEW and our liberal social scientists know that poor people have only good motivations.