I was a VISTA in Atlanta way back in the early 1990s.  And, as I’ve related in the past, when I discovered that the nonprofit to which I had been assigned by VISTA was basically pocketing more than $100,000 in public “AIDS outreach” funding while not even performing the inanely simple task for which they had been wildly overpaid in the first place, I got my first taste (but not my last) of the shocking corruption and race profiteering that drives the entire “social justice” “nonprofit” world.

Why race profiteering?  When I went to the regional director of VISTA to report this fraud, the director told me that I could not go to Health and Human Services to complain because I was a white female and my boss was a black man — and that simply wasn’t done in Atlanta.  His words, not mine.  I was offered a bribe instead: accept a transfer to another VISTA work site in exchange for keeping my mouth shut.

The bigger lesson, and the one that took years to sink in, was that this wasn’t corruption committed in defiance of the goals and intentions of the social service industry.  The corruption was the system working the way it was intended.

Incidentally, I took the transfer but still reported the fraud.  Nobody ever got back to me about my complaint.  One hand washes the other, and then they dump the dirty water all over the taxpayers’ heads.

Back in 1992, the Department of Health and Human Services didn’t care what my VISTA boss did with the $100K they gave to him for “AIDS outreach” because the act of giving it to him was all that really mattered to them.  It wasn’t their money, after all.  It wouldn’t be coming out of their paychecks if they did not bother to invest it sanely or supervise it properly (though that’s a fun idea).  They were the government, which meant that all that mattered to them was that some PR hack could get up in front of a bank of microphones and intone that Health and Human Services was “achieving justice” by “doing something” through “diverse” and “culturally sensitive” “education” and “community outreach.”

Twenty-odd years later, the same stale jargon is being intoned by the same hacks speaking into the same microphones in the same room, only they’ve added the word “sustainability” to every other sentence, like a nervous tic.  And the latest and biggest

But that’s not the worst thing to come out of the last twenty years of social justice-flavored governing.  The worst thing isn’t that some half-addled, grey, government bureaucrat is still ladling out wads of tax dollars to crooked two-bit 501-c3s for ridiculous “outreach” programs involving condoms and bananas and classrooms full of befuddled ESL students.

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