By Dan Herro
On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, the State Capitol statues of Colonel Hans Christian Heg and “Forward”, our State Motto, were torn down during a day of violent protests and damaging riots. This was part of a larger national (and even international, as we have seen recently) left-wing movement against alleged institutionalized racism in the US and as a response to the arrest of a man wielding a baseball bat in a Madison restaurant earlier that day.
Col. Heg was a Norwegian immigrant and abolitionist from Muskego who fought for the Union Army during the Civil War. Col. Heg died gloriously in the Battle of Chickamauga, completing his role in the abolishment of slavery and reuniting our great states under one American banner. Even in the early years of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln understood that, in addition to emancipation, there would need to be a congressionally approved, federally funded bureau to assist emancipated African Americans in the former Confederate states re-admitted into the Union.
A bureau of the War Department was established, funded, staffed, and named the Freedmen’s Bureau. The Freedmen’s Bureau oversaw land, work, and education opportunities for the emancipated men, women, and children of the former Confederate states. Clothing, food, water, healthcare, and communication to reunite families were products and services guaranteed to the emancipated African Americans, as they transitioned from the horrors of slavery, to job training, education, and finally transitioning out of the bureau’s support and into the true independence of the freedom that we all call the American dream.
As someone who cares dearly about the plight impoverished African Americans and all impoverished people face, and as someone with a 12 year and continuing record of equipping minority and impoverished students with college and career readiness skills, I am disappointed by responses from both the Democratic and Republican parties of Wisconsin. State Sen. Tim Carpenter was attacked by rioters while filming Tuesday. Other than advocating (and only after he was attacked) for increased security to the capitol, capitol square, and the surrounding area, he has provided no recent statement of solutions to the root causes of civil unrest. Congressman Bryan Steil offered federal support in renaming the Muskego post office to honor Col. Heg., but no efforts to get to the root cause of the violence and no proposed solutions or actions. Though I agree with their advocacy for increased security for government buildings, businesses, and increased visibility of Col. Heg, I question their inaction on formulating plans to address the civil unrest and the root causes of why people are increasingly defending those who are exhibiting unlawful behavior and resisting lawful arrests.
In a 2018 address to the University of Oxford debate club on the subject of US institutionalized racism, David Webb, a columnist with The Hill, argued racism and prejudice will always exist and it is our duty to continuously strive for a more perfect union, rather than tearing down foundations that serve as building blocks. David Webb proposes we search for root causes and solutions using the lessons of history (e.g., Freedmen’s Bureau, Reconstruction), rather than blindly favoring socialism, as the Green Party has always done and as the Democratic Party is moving closer to adopting. As Milton Friedman explained in his 1962 book, Capitalism and Freedom, no economic system in the history of the world has increased the peace, prosperity, innovation, and the standard of living more than capitalism under constitutional republics based on Christian values. The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the world, dating back to 1096. To argue in that forum (or anywhere) that a parliamentary or constitutional republic has some sort of historical correlation with institutionalized racism is simply not true. Totalitarianism, socialism, fascism, and feudalism rely on racism, abortion, and eugenics in times of perceived overpopulation and xenophobia (in books, curricula, propaganda, etc.) as justification for hatred in times of war.
Ben Carson, US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), understands that to break the cycle of poverty, dependency, and entitlements in the inner-city and other blighted areas, Section 8 housing subsidies need to be packaged with job training, mentoring, and sobriety prerequisites for qualification. However, we still see conflict-of-interest relationships with many construction companies who often form PACs, lobby plan commissioners and aldermen, and bribe both Democrats and Republicans into approving Section 8 developments.
Fmr. Gov. Scott Walker attempted welfare-to-work requirements in Wisconsin, as well as sobriety requirements to qualify, but his re-election campaign was plagued by a terrible ground game, absences from field offices, and many situations where voter and volunteer requests for signage and other campaign literature were not met, as documented on Mark Belling’s WISN radio program during 2018. Democrats and Republicans ignore taxpayer testimony, often in favor of rejecting these developments. Since criminal records and poor lifestyle decisions often result in expedited qualifications for Section 8 applicants, the crime maps are out of control on and around these properties. To add fuel to the fire, without accountability and improvement programs for the residents, these residents end up living most of their lives contributing little or nothing to their children and nothing to the local tax base that funds them (resulting in taxation without representation for the surrounding residents).
Milton Friedman warns against the many evils present in the current Section 8 programs in Capitalism and Freedom, explaining public housing developments are often fostered with underhanded methods (pay-per-vote from construction lobbyists to commissioners and aldermen) and ignore long-term effects of subsidies without any criteria for their continuation, causing recipients to feel entitled to earnings without labor. As Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire explained at his 2018 commencement address to the graduates of Liberty University, legalized theft is still theft and jealousy of a neighbor’s property does not make you entitled to that neighbor’s property.
I propose we transform our country’s welfare programs into structured, accountable systems that penalize adult men and women of able body and mind who intoxicate themselves with drugs and alcohol, commit violent acts within and around the housing developments, intentionally damage facilities, or refuse subsidized job training. We need to take welfare-to-work seriously and end the vicious cycle of poverty, as the Freedmen’s Bureau intended post-Civil War. In his 2018 book and documentary, Death of a Nation, author, speaker, and political prisoner Dinesh D’Souza calls public housing without accountability “the new plantation”. We need to stop the cycle of violence, vandalism, child abuse, sex trafficking, drug dealing, poverty, and complacency in unemployment that the current system rewards with subsidized housing. The resident-victims of public housing programs run under Democrats and Republicans, especially the children who are victims, require nothing less than growth-based solutions to ensure their room and board are packaged with education, training, and job opportunities provided exclusively to those who meet sobriety and behavioral criteria. Transitioning people out of poverty to true independence with intentional procedures, rather than multi-generational dependence on the government, will greatly reduce the tax burden, crime, poverty, and civil unrest in our great nation.
-Dr. Dan R. Herro, Ed.D. State Committee representative of the Constitution Party of Wisconsin – Congressional District 2