The assumption that spending more of the taxpayer’s money will make things better has survived all kinds of evidence that it has made things worse. The black family- which survived slavery, discrimination, poverty, wars and depressions- began to come apart as the federal government moved in with its well-financed programs to “help.” Thomas Sowell
“We’re creating a large number of social misfits in the inner city which will prey on the larger community later on.” PBS Documentary about the Robert Taylor Homes
Your housing unit is one of 4,415 units in one of 28 identical 16-story buildings. The buildings stretch for two miles, north to south, in Chicago’s “black belt”. The site was selected by progressive-minded CHA and a Chicago City council member. You are one of 27,000 residents in “The Projects”. You are poor. You are a government project.
The following video, the 1982 PBS Documentary about the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, offers an historical apolitical report of public housing flagged as urban renewal. You will want to watch the whole video to create your own assessment. I offer mine below.
There are those who see a good solution to a social problem. So, with untethered optimism and taxpayer dollars, they throw big money at the problem only for the recipients to receive the horrific unintended consequences: life in a bad place – dystopia.
There is the idea that Progressivism, with its humanist “Great Society” and “War on Poverty” rhetoric, equals empathy, equality and justice. Yet, the residents of “The Projects” once put in their place, endured the indifference of vending machine bureaucracy. They shared equally the human misery, squalor, degradation and, overcrowding of “The Projects”. They created their own justice within “their own little world”.
Welfare empathy means giving to, not suffering with. It means distancing policy and policy makers from the impoverished and hurting. It means one-on-one charity is to be replaced with the Marxist ideal of redistribution. Jesus’ words commanding us to love our neighbor as we love our self is the direct opposite of Marxism. Jesus gave us an example of a neighbor in his parable. The neighbor, the Good Samaritan, comes alongside to help the stricken man. The Samaritan follows through, ensuring the man’s wellbeing.
Government throwing money at problems does not create good. Government cannot create good. That is the work of individuals.
As one can see, government welfare is about the “containment” of a problem – people. Hence, the Robert Taylor Homes -“A Little World of Their Own”. (containment: see also COVID-19 lockdown; social distancing, the shuttering of businesses for months on end)
The welfare system is not about the poor. It is about making elites look good and feel good about themselves. It is about virtue signaling, votes and power.
The welfare state promotes infantilism, as people transfer responsibility onto the ‘guardian’ state to solve problems, social and personal. A reliance on the state is created. The state is expected to nurse the dependent to a happy and satisfied state. Adjunct to such dependence is the dissatisfaction with the state, as the state cannot solve social and personal problems or create happiness. So comes the whining, protests, riots and, destruction – reactions of unhappy children.
Welfare, as depicted, destroys human dignity. When people are penned in, fed from the welfare trough and, receive more money for giving birth to out-of-wedlock children – what does that do to a person’s dignity? What does a reinforced dehumanized existence do to one’s soul?
Individuals chose, by their own human agency, to submit themselves to the projects. They chose to bring up children, generations, within the projects and welfare. If they are victims, they were victims of their own choices.
You can see for yourself. Public housing does not foster dignity, initiative and stewardship as does private ownership. Stewardship is mankind’s vocation as stated in Genesis Chapter 1:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
How much of the rioting, looting and destruction going on today is the result of the welfare system which created “social misfits”? How much of what is now called “social justice” was born out of the “The Projects” where lawless gangs, drug dealers and, thugs practiced street-justice?
The last Robert Taylor building was demolished in October 2006. How much of that bad place is still housed in the one-time contained and marginalized 27,000 residents of “The Projects” and their descendants?