No comment...

Described in the conference program as an author of the welfare-reform provisions in the Contract with America, [the Heritage Foundation's Robert] Rector was there to remind us that the purpose of welfare reform was not simply to redirect government aid from the poor to the corporate elite but to save the nation from sin — the sins, in particular, of sloth, lust, and the resulting epidemic of "illegitimacy". Drawing on the kind of analysis made famous in the 1980s by such right-wing intellectuals as George Gilder and Charles Murray, Rector explained that welfare does not help the poor; it is, in fact, what makes them poor, or at least what makes them demoralized and dependent, criminal and addicted, and, worst of all, pregnant. This view permeated the conference unquestioned, as if no one, including the representative of the Clinton Administration who spoke briefly on Monday afternoon, had ever heard of the numerous studies — some by former Clinton welfare official Mary Jo Bane (who resigned in protest) — showing that there is no correlation at all between the amount a state provides welfare mothers per child and its rate of out-of-wedlock births. But no irritating counterevidence intruded on Rector's presentation, from which it would have been easy to conclude that welfare functions, semen-like, to impregnate the poor single-handedly. Welfare, he told us, "rewards dysfunctional behavior" such as out-of-wedlock childbearing, whereas welfare reform will somehow "encourage marriage" by withdrawing the fertilizing flow of benefits. (Later, the conference's other ideological heavy hitter, the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner, ratcheted up the sexual imagery, telling us that black men have been "cuckolded" by the welfare state.)

...The difference between, say, a moralist su