- Benign neglect
:"For the British policy of avoiding strict enforcement of parliamentary laws see
Benign neglect was a policy proposed in the late 1960s by
New YorkSen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was at the time on Nixon's White House Staffas an urban affairs advisor. While serving in this capacity, he sent the President a memo suggesting that "the issue of race could benefit from a period of 'benign neglect'. The subject has been too much talked about....We may need a period in which Negro progress continues and racial rhetoric fades." This "benign neglect" policy [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/26/obituaries/26CND-MOYNIHAN.html?ex=1094875200&en=382d07780ef51612&ei=5070 "New York Times" Obituary for Moynihan] ] was designed to ease tensions following the American Civil Rights Movement of the late 1960s. Moynihan was particularly troubled by the speeches of Vice-president Spiro Agnew. However, the policy was widely seen as an abandonment of urban (particularly black) neighborhoods, as the Senator’s statements and writings appeared to encourage, for instance, firedepartments engaging in triageto avoid engaging in a supposedly futile war against arson. [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN1859842534 A Plague on Your Houses: How New York Was Burned Down and National Public Health Crumbled] By Deborah Wallace, Rodrick Wallace. ISBN 1859842534]
Rand Institutereport suggested that a large proportion of the fires in the South Bronxand Harlemwere arson, however subsequent analysis of the data did not back this up. Of the fires in buildings only a very small portion were arson and that portion was not higher than the rate of proven arson found in wealthier neighborhoods. However, influenced by the report, Moynihan went on to make recommendations for urban policy based on the assumption that there was "widespread arson" in poverty stricken neighborhoods like the South Bronx and Harlem. To Moynihan, arson was one of many social pathologies caused by large cities that would benefit from benign neglect. [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN1859842534 A Plague on Your Houses: How New York Was Burned Down and National Public Health Crumbled] By Deborah Wallace, Rodrick Wallace. ISBN 1859842534]
The term is today more widely known as a variant of
laissez fairepolicy, wherever it is considered that a lack of regulation and/or investment will improve (or at least not hurt) the interest of the 'neglected' group. It is still a very controversial policy whenever proposed.
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