I just finished Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can Do About It by Star Parker. I was hoping for some real insight from someone who had been ‘in the system’ and who got out. But – it lacked credibility in some vital ways. It seemed more of a personal soapbox for the author than a book of expository information. For me, it travelled in circles.
If you’ve ever used Microsoft Excel, no doubt you have seen the error that comes up occasionally called “circular reference.”
What this means is that excel cannot compute the calculation you have asked it to complete. It just doesn’t work.
This is what I saw in Star Parker’s book. She spends much of her time telling people to stop being a victim – by telling them that they are victims.
In a nutshell, the government has laid in wait for them: offering food stamps, Section VIII housing, welfare checks for their children, offering freedom of choice for women – in order to control their reproduction – among other things.
All of these things that appear to be in place to help those in unfortunate circumstances were really calculated by a government that is intent upon holding them down.
So, the message of the book is to stop being a victim – by explaining to them that they are victims.
Terrible – just terrible.
Add to this that the author goes off on a wild tangent throughout the book about gays and homosexuals. I am disappointed that the editorial process did not catch this. And shame on the publisher for allowing a book that is supposed to be about welfare and entitlement issues to go on and on about an issue that is not the theme of the book.
There were some interesting insights about the beginnings of some assistance programs. But for an author that found fault with these programs to then endorse something as crippling as payday loans as a good thing shows a complete lack of understanding. How anyone can find payday loans as a positive way for people in dire straits to get help is ludicrous. Payday loans are a scourge on the poor. Offering money at high interest rates that makes it extremely difficult to pay back the principle because of the manner in which repayment is managed should be against the law. Her position that they should be encouraged is a disservice to those who are the working poor trying to make ends meet on a daily basis.
I will give this book away to a commenter on November 26, 2010. There is a lot of information about the beginnings of government programs that I found useful and interesting, but the overall message of the book was less than satisfactory – in my opinion.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my candid review.