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A Pragmatic Heresy

Robert Woodson applies tested, anti-liberal principles to combating inner-city violence.

11:00 PM, Feb 8, 2006 • By PAUL MIRENGOFF
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Woodson's program is succeeding where its Great Society precursor failed for a number of reasons. First, it is independent of the government. It neither assaults the local power structure (VFZ has no political pretensions) nor is it susceptible to government-imposed restrictions such as those that ultimately undermined the Great Society activists. Second, Woodson's program is faith-based. The local leaders his organization relies on are more than just charismatic, they are rooted in traditional values.

The strengths of the VFZ are also its weaknesses when it comes to gaining mainstream acceptance. The first strength--independence from government--hardly wins the program friends among liberals and civil rights groups. The second strength--reliance on faith--puts the program beyond the pale. But Woodson, having spent a lifetime discovering what works, is too busy redeeming lives to worry about mainstream acceptance.

Paul Mirengoff is a contributing writer to The Daily Standard and a contributor to the blog Power Line.