From "Reading America the Riot Act" by Thomas J. Bray, an article in Policy Review (Winter 1988):

The "two societies" prediction of the Kerner Commission has largely come to pass. There is as large a difference as ever between the poverty and despair of inner cities and the general prosperity of the rest of the coun-try.

But on a deeper level, the Kerner report has proven wrong. Unless conditions in urban areas were promptly alleviated, the Kerner Commission warned, the cities could expect "large-scale and continuing violence" -- indeed, "the destruction of democratic values." But most of the urban pathologies cited in the Kerner report have, if anything, intensifiedin the two decades since the re-port.

Crime, poverty and welfare dependency are said to be worse than ever. Yet the predicted upheavals have failed to materialize.

This suggests that the Kerner Commission's findings were deeply flawed. What it saw as an expression of protest vindicating the need for massive government programs actually reflected the intellectual ethos of the day: hostility to property and acceptance of violence. It represented a degradation of the idea of nonviolent protest against the political evil of segregation into a willingness to use urban blacks as shock troops in a highly ideologized war on poverty.

The failure of our national leaders to speak out against this -- indeed, their positive willingness to engage inpromiscuous promises and rationali-zations of violence -- was a costly error.