The “Digital Divide” is a Voluntary Gap, by Mike Green

A New Visions Commentary paper published April 2000 by The National Center
for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Ct., N.E., Washington, DC 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax 202-543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web Reprints permitted provided source
is credited.

The information age is here. Computers bring an exciting new frontier for research, commerce and educational opportunity. It also brings a new angle on victimization.

It’s called the "digital divide." It assumes that millions of poor and black Americans are left behind while others enjoy the opportunities brought by the Internet.

Never missing an opportunity to expand the role – and subsequent control – of the federal government, presidential candidates and activists disguise their thirst for more power as "solutions" in order to confiscate more money from taxpayers, launch new government programs, create massive bureaucracies and redistribute revenue into budgets that mostly pay salaries. We are told the government will close the digital divide by making sure the poor and minorities can access the Internet. The truth is that we are being hoodwinked again, with the government hoping we’ll buy its latest excuse to raid our pockets.

There really is no digital divide. This new victim syndrome was concocted to continue coddling the poor and minorities by saying they have been slighted and deprived of equal opportunity. It is nothing more than a scam to open up another door for federal intrusion and expansion. The goal is to foster guilt, and it milks us all to pay for it.

In this day and age, however, black Americans are living and achieving their dreams in greater numbers than at any other time in history. As a young child, I grew up in the stereotypical black family. Five small children were raised by a single female in a poor community in South Houston, Texas. We were poor by anyone else’s standards but our own. We had a television, a radio, small kitchen appliances and lots of books. My mother was an avid reader and made certain all of her children were able to read, write and speak in an articulate and eloquent manner.

Today, many black children live in the same manner in which I was raised. Are they deprived? They have televisions, but not computers. They have stereos, but not computers. They have books, but not computers. But the same parents who complain their children do not have a computer at home will instead spend money on cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, expensive sports clothing and fancy cars. While it is no fault of others when parents voluntarily engage in activity that could result in pregnancy, the American people are held responsible and accountable for the obligations of irresponsible parents.

There is a certain advantage to growing up with a computer at home, but it is by no means a right ensured by the government. And without proper supervision and guidance, a computer can be nothing more than another method to influence children and can be used by strangers that prey on the innocent. The real answer to the so-called digital divide is simple moral and economic responsibility.

There is a definite disadvantage to being born into poor, illiterate, dysfunctional, corrupt and/or morally bankrupt families. Children born into negative environments that contain roadblocks to educational and economic success must overcome obstacles – both tangible and intangible – that no government can erase through increased taxation and expanded bureaucracy.

When parents create a good environment for their children, it’s harder for the government camel to find an opening in the family tent to place its nose. Churches, non-profit organizations and business profits do better addressing the needs of those in desperate situations without unconstitutionally confiscating a portion of our hard-earned income. Americans have always supported religious and secular nonprofit organizations through abundant, voluntary donations. Businesses are increasing their charitable involvement, offering personal computers to employees and giving away older models that are fine for the home.

Even children with access to books, libraries and classrooms can get a good education despite the fact that not all public schools are competent. But if we allow the government to convince us our limitations are caused by widespread discrimination, hatred, bigotry and an all-out assault on black progress, then we will have opened the door to socialists who believe government should be the supreme authority from which all life’s solutions emanate. That’s simply not the case.

When people of any race shun the language of this country, ignore the educational opportunities available to even the poorest child attending the least-funded public school and abandon personal moral and ethical responsibilities, problems will inevitably result. The solution must begin with changing the behavior that caused the problem. It does not exist in federal handouts. Government crumbs from the table of American prosperity help only to expand the scope and control of the government and divide people through legislated robbery and redistribution.

The "digital divide" is just another scheme being used to divide America and allow liberal socialists into our political system to devise new methods of incremental government expansion that may someday be impossible to reverse.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.