Hester Pyrnne (planbtheatre.org).
by Steve Timmer
Sep 22, 2014, 9:00 AM

Agenda 21 meets Hester Pyrnne

There was a minor Twitter explosion on Sunday the 21st because Katherine Kersten had clawed her way onto the opinion pages of the Strib again. I say minor, because let’s be frank, not that many people took the time to read it.

The thrust of the piece was that the Metropolitan Council is really just a bunch of jack-booted thugs who do the bidding of the United Nations, following the script of Agenda 21.

According to Kersten, it is only a matter of time before women will have to stop carrying water on their heads in order to make room for rock salt for their water softeners. (That’ll perk up the Strib hit counter.)

Anyway, where was I?

Kersten did actually write this:

The council’s justification for these intrusive new policies [on, inter alia, density and affordable housing] is that some Twin Cities neighborhoods are “segregated.” But segregation — state-imposed disparate treatment on the basis of race — has been outlawed for 50 years. The council’s real objection is to racial and ethnic clustering. It ignores the many reasons people, including ethnic and racial minorities, might choose to live near family, friends and cultural support systems.

The very same newspaper that landed with a thud on my doorstep with Kersten’s piece in it contained this article: Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center accuse state of fair-housing violations. It seems that some people — and you all know who I am talking about — think this “cultural support systems” stuff is a load of crap. From the article:

Minnesota’s two most racially diverse cities — Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park — plan to join a federal fair-housing complaint against the state of Minnesota alleging that its housing and planning policies have illegally intensified concentrations of poverty and perpetuated racial segregation in the Twin Cities.

At the same time, the cities allege, state agencies have looked the other way when some affluent, whiter suburbs haven’t done their fair share to increase their affordable-housing stock. A new draft housing plan now in front of the Metropolitan Council, the state-run regional planning body, could exacerbate the problem, forcing more affordable and low-income housing into the most diverse and impoverished neighborhoods, they allege.

The two cities, both with populations that are about 50 percent minority, are partnering with the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing (MICAH) in claiming that the Met Council and the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency have discriminated against minority residents. The administrative complaint will be filed this fall with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides housing funds to the two agencies.

So there’s a different view of the Metropolitan Council!

Four hundred words later, here’s what I really want to talk about:

At the end of Kersten’s piece, there is a little coda that most people, overcome with ennui, will never read:

The best way to help them [minorities] is to “increase the likelihood that poor neighborhoods can be good neighborhoods,” [Howard Husock]  says. That means improving education and strengthening families. Studies suggest that illegitimacy is a primary factor in low educational attainment.

“Get thee married,” is the prime directive of the Center of the American Experiment. And “stay thee married,” too, regardless. Kersten is a “senior fellow” at the CAE.

The CAE is the Borg Collective. Kersten parrots what One of One, Mitch Pearlstein, says. Pearlstein recently launched a new book, and Lori Sturdevant was there to hear about it:

I hadn’t thought about Debbie (not her real name) [an avatar for single mothers] for years. But I couldn’t get her out of my mind Tuesday after attending the launch of Mitch Pearlstein’s latest book, “Broken Bonds: What Family Fragmentation Means for America’s Future.”

Pearlstein, the founder of the Center of the American Experiment, a Minnesota-based conservative think tank, has been on a tear about the damage Americans do to their children and their country’s future when they spurn marriage. It’s the latter that he explores in “Broken Bonds,” his second book on the subject.

His second book on the subject? Seriously?

To the CAE, whatever the problem is, marriage is the answer. Poverty? Get married. Can’t get a job? Get married. Housing discrimination? Get married. Kids having trouble in school? Get married.

Unless you’re gay, of course.

Peter Bell was also at Pearlstein’s gala event, and he provided this sage observation, quoting from Lori Sturdevant:

Debbie popped into mental view [Sturdevant’s mental view] when a question was posed from the audience by Peter Bell, former Metropolitan Council chair. “When I was growing up, what was associated with out-of-wedlock births was shame and guilt and being ostracized from your community,” Bell said. Those were harsh consequences, “but it did control behavior.”

Bell noted that in recent years, Americans have collectively stepped up the shaming and ostracizing of people who display racial prejudice (witness Donald Sterling, given the NBA’s collective boot as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers) and domestic violence (though the NFL was way too slow to get with that program in the matter of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his now-wife). Shame and ostracism have also been deployed against smokers, with the good result that the U.S. smoking rate among adults is now 19 percent, down from 42 percent in 1965.

It would be a lot more fun to shame single mothers, wouldn’t it, Peter?

It will also be interesting to see if marriage is the answer in the long run for Ray Rice’s bride.

But I have a question: if Katherine Kersten is Two of Two, who is One of Two? Leave your answers in the comments.

Update: Okay, nobody got it; One of Two is Kim Crockett.

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