cannot get enough of what he wants from welfare, he can alwaysrnsteal or deal. By the time he kills his first victim, the timernfor reform has long since past, and the only profitable thing thatrncan be done with him is to put him out of his and our misery.rnLet us imagine the same youth 100 or even 50 years ago.rnThe chances are he had a father, because there was no governmentrnprogram discouraging fatherhood. Father worked, becausernthe law of the land, for black and for white, was thernsolemn principle Father Abraham pronounced as the solutionrnto the plight of newly freed slaves: “Root, hog, or die.” Fatherrnmight drink too much occasionally or smoke a little reefer, butrnif his bad habits got in the way of his work, he was out of a jobrnand would not be able to feed himself, much less a family, andrnif he was sufficiently lazy, stupid, and dishonest, he might notrnsucceed in passing on his bad character traits to future generations.rnThe family did not live in a project, because there werernnone. They had to find their own house or apartment orrnroom, but in paying rent and taking care of themselves, thernfamily made what we call a home. If father or son was inclinedrntoward crime, he had the book thrown at him, a very heavyrnbook, and before the establishment of juvenile justice systems,rna teenage boy would have to take his punishment “like a man.”rnBesides, dad, after working a 50- or 60-hour week, was probablyrntoo tired to hang out with the boys and get into trouble.rnSon, who probably started to fail in school by the fifth or sixthrngrade, was also working a full week, and all those boyish highrnspirits, which today would incline him to rape and murder, werernvented in work. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” as myrnhigh school Latin teacher used to say, and if a child cannotrnlearn Latin, then he had better learn a trade, as an apprentice,rnor, if he is incapable of learning a skilled trade, then let him beginrnhis career of lifting and fetching as early as is practicable.rnLeisure is, as Josef Pieper said in the title of his beautifulrnbook, “the basis of culture,” but culture in this sense is not arnfree or general good. Most Americans, not just the criminalrnclasses, have far too much free time on their hands. Americanrnpopular entertainment bears witness to the great mistake wernhave made as a people, in equalizing economic circumstancesrnfor the different social classes. Most of us, if we have time onrnour hands, turn to football or pornography. Work is better.rnVergil, pondering this problem in his Georgics, concluded thatrnJupiter himself had willed that man’s work be hard. The godrnhad sharpened men’s wits with worry and did not toleraternlethargy: “Labor omnia vincit improbus et duris urgens in rebusrnegestas.”rnChesterton and his friends used to argue that what we callrncrime is simply the vices of the lower classes, and to some extentrnthat observation still holds. Obviously rape, murder, andrnassault are terrible deeds, whoever commits them, but thernfuror over crack—as opposed to regular cocaine or prescriptionrntranquilizers—is one more sign that America is a class-basedrncountry. Our society is plagued by genuinely evil people, andrnthe “community” undoubtedly has a disproportionate share ofrnthem. On the other hand, I am not especially impressed by thernmorality of white middle-class businessmen. They marry, it isrntrue, but so many of them divorce their wives in order to pickrnup a sex kitten or trophy wife. They do not rob openly, but sornmuch of what is manufactured in this country—automobiles,rnappliances, food products—is unreliable junk that no honorablernman would make, much less sell.rnAs Eugene O’Neill’s Emperor Jones observed, when yournsteals small, they puts you in jail, but when you steals big, theyrnputs you in the hall of fame, when you croaks. That, you mightrnsay, is the American way, the American morality, but the nationalrnconcern with crime is not directed toward the big stealers;rnit is limited to the little street criminals who live by the codernof Wall Street—only with more direct methods. Once upon arntime they would have gone to church and received the rudimentsrnof a moral education. Today, the American upper classrnhas more or less succeeded in destroying or corrupting the “opiaternof the masses,” and if there is no institution—much less anrnexemplary upper class—that can give such simple people therngift of a higher ethical sense, at least we can give them thernlower and pagan gift that so often must do duty for morality:rnI mean labor, sweat, exhaustion.rnCriminal behavior is a lower-class luxury paid for by taxesrncollected from the working classes. If we do not like thernform this luxury takes, we have the privilege of refusing to subsidizernit, but if we persist in electing Presidents and Congressesrnwho continue to expand the scope of the welfare state, wernhave no right to complain. If you do not like crime, do not payrnfor it. In simple terms, this would require: demolition of allrnpublic housing (forget the buy-back schemes; they are simplyrnanother expensive welfare program); the rapid end of all formsrnof wealth-transfer, including Food Stamps, AFDC, etc.; the disestablishmentrnof public education and the repeal of all mandatoryrnschool attendance laws.rnSchooling is not a right or even a privilege. It is the duty ofrnparents to rear their children, and if ignorant parents cannotrngive their offspring a “good education,” it is hard to say whornloses. What good have advanced degrees done the faculties ofrnHarvard and Yale? Has education taught them to lead betterrnlives, be faithful to their wives, fulfill their duties as teachers, orrneven to be honest scholars? Fraud and plagiarism constitute thernM.O. of American higher education, of the faculty as well asrnthe students. Better illiteracy than a chair in poli sci or literaryrntheory.rnBut what about the children? A few years ago, I was havingrnbreakfast with a prominent and very bright neoliberal, andrnwhen I argued for the abolition of welfare, he asked: “Whatrnwould you do with crack babies?” My answer was a rabbinicalrnquestion: “What would you do? What can anyone do?” Butrnthere are a great many babies being brought up on AFDC payments.rnWhat do we do with them? Neoconservatives are fondrnof workfare, but why is it their business how parents spend theirrntime or rear their children? The whole point is to let peoplerntake care of themselves. Workfare implies a rejection of thernfamily and is a studied insult to the poor.rnSome children on welfare do have mothers who can workrnand put the baby to live with grandparents; others may findrnhusbands, once the economic disincentives to marriage arerntaken away. And for those children whose mothers are drugrnaddicts or prostitutes, let them be given up for adoption or putrninto an orphanage—if the mother agrees. In no case shouldrnsuch women be “enabled” to rear up another generation ofrngangsters.rnIn the frightening case of “Yummie” Sandifer, an 11-year-oldrnmurderer whose own gang killed him to avoid trouble (anotherrnbrilliant move, since the worst that Yummie could testifyrnto could not have attracted so much attention as this killing),rnthe boy’s drug-addict mother had given him to the grandmotherrnto rear, but granny, far from being a kindly old lady inrn12/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn