As contemporary 'liberals' become ever more extreme, they increasingly assume what I call the political burden of proof. The onus is now on them to defeat the presumption that they are so morally and intellectually obtuse as not to be worth talking to.
Laws against the destruction of public and private property have a disproportionate impact on leftist thugs. Such laws are obviously discriminatory, discriminating as they do between leftist thugs and decent folk, and are therefore unfair. They should be repealed. We need to work together to build a society in which all are treated equally regardless of color, creed, national origin, or behavior. Leftist thugs are who they are, and you must never criticize a person for who she is.
A correspondent has just emailed me, completely out of the blue, to tell me that you're a “racist, islamophobe, bigot”. Thought you would like that. 😀
I like it very much except that he leaves out the remaining SIXHIRB epithets: sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, and homophobic. But three out of seven ain't bad.
To understand the Left, you must understand that they see politics as war. Von Clausewitz held that war is politics pursued by other means. But what I call the Converse Clausewitz Principle holds equally: politics is war pursued by other means. I wish it weren't so, and for a long time I couldn't bring myself to believe it is so; but now I know it is so.
David Horowitz, commenting on "Politics is war conducted by other means," writes:
In political warfare you do not just fight to prevail in an argument, but rather to destroy the enemy's fighting ability. Republicans often seem to regard political combats as they would a debate before the Oxford Political Union, as though winning depended on rational arguments and carefully articulated principles. But the audience of politics is not made up of Oxford dons, and the rules are entirely different.
You have only thirty seconds to make your point. Even if you had time to develop an argument, the audience you need to reach (the undecided and those in the middle who are not paying much attention) would not get it. Your words would go over some of their heads and the rest would not even hear them (or quickly forget) amidst the bustle and pressure of everyday life. Worse, while you are making your argument the other side has already painted you as a mean-spirited, borderline racist controlled by religious zealots, securely in the pockets of the rich. Nobody who sees you in this way is going to listen to you in any case. You are politically dead.
Politics is war. Don't forget it. ("The Art of Political War" in Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey Spence 2003, pp. 349-350)
As the old saying has it, "All's fair in love and war." And so it is no surprise that leftists routinely proceed by the hurling of the SIXHIRB epithets.
One soon learns that it does no good patiently to explain that a phobia is by definition an irrational fear, that fear of radical Islam is entirely rational, and that therefore it is a misuse of 'phobia' to call one who sounds the alarm an Islamophobe. Nor does it do any good to point out to those who use these '-phobe' coinages that they are thereby refusing to show their interlocutors respect as persons, as rational beings, but are instead ascribing mental dysfunction to them. Our enemies will just ignore our explanations and go right back to labeling us sexists, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic . . . deplorable, etc.
Again, it is because they see politics as a war to the death.
Leftists that they are, they believe that the end justifies the means. They see themselves as good people, as their 'virtue-signaling' indicates, and their opponents as evil people. So why to their minds should they show us any respect?
To ask Lenin's question, What is to be done? One has to punch right back at them and turn their Alinskyite tactics against them.
"But aren't we then no better than them? We are hen doing the same things they do!"
Suppose A threatens to kill B, shoots at him but misses. B shoots back and kills A. Suppose the weapons are of the same type. Both A and B instantiate the same act-type: shooting at a man with the intention of hitting him using a 1911 model .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
While A and B 'do the same thing,' B is morally and legally justified in doing it while A is not. So there's the difference.
We are defending ourselves against leftist assault, and this fact justifies our using the same tactics that our enemies use.
This helps explain the appeal of Donald Trump. He knows how to punch back, unlike Mitt Romney, Jeb! Bush, and so many other clueless gentlemen who "seem to regard political combats as they would a debate before the Oxford Political Union . . . ."
And the Left continues to melt down over the election result.
A curious exercise in hyperventilation from the pen of Andrew Sullivan. Here are a couple of gasps:
In the U.S., the [populist] movement — built on anti-political politics, economic disruption, and anti-immigration fears — had something else, far more lethal, in its bag of tricks: a supremely talented demagogue who created an authoritarian cult with unapologetically neo-fascist rhetoric.
Anti-political politics? That's like saying that proponents of limited government are anti-government. To oppose the politics of the Left is not to oppose politics unless the only politics is the politics of the Left -- which is not the case.
Anti-immigration fears? Andy is as mendacious as Hillary. Few conservatives, populist or not, oppose immigration. Conservatives oppose illegal immigration and an immigration policy that does not discriminate between those who share our values and are willing to assimilate, and those who do not and are not. Conservatives hold that immigration must have a net positive benefit for our nation.
That Sullivan elides the distinction between illegal and legal immigration shows that he is intellectually dishonest.
And then there is the endlessly deployed leftist tactic of reducing the political opponent's view to a mere product of emotion, in this case fear. Probably the only effective response to this shabby tactic is to reply in kind. "Look, Sullivan, you are just a hate-America leftist scumbag who wants to undermine the rule of law."
By the way, Trump understands that it does no good to respond to a leftist with a learned disquisition (not that Trump could produce one); he understands with his gut that punching back is far more effective. He understands that the leftist thug will ignore your careful and polite arguments and go right back to name-calling: racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamophobe, bigot, deplorable . . . .
This is now Trump’s America. He controls everything from here on forward. He has won this campaign in such a decisive fashion that he owes no one anything. He has destroyed the GOP and remade it in his image.
This is delusional. How delusional? An army of proctologists in a month of Sundays could not bring Sully's head into the unsullied light of day.
Trump controls everything? False: the Left controls almost all mainstream media outlets, the courts, public education K-12, the universities, and many of the churches. (Think of all the leftist termites in the Catholic Church.)
He won in a decisive fashion? False: he lost the popular vote, a fact the liberal-left crybullies trumpet repeatedly.
He has destroyed the GOP? False: The GOP retained both houses of Congress. The truth is that he destroyed the Dems and the legacy of Obama.
Sully's rant does not get better as it proceeds, as you may verify for yourself.
M.B. of Alexandria, VA writes:
You said: "Trump controls everything? False: the Left controls almost all mainstream media outlets, the courts, public education K-12, the universities, and many of the churches. (Think of all the leftist termites in the Catholic Church.) "
You could add: the federal bureaucracy, most charitable foundations (Rockefeller, Ford, Soros etc), and, not least, the human resources (HR) departments of most corporations, which are now heavily staffed with ideological diversicrats.
Excellent points which I shouldn't have omitted, especially the one about the HR departments of most corporations. Why can't leftists see the extent of leftist control of the culture? Well, why is the fish unaware of the medium that sustains it?
It is astonishing that there are Catholics who vote Democrat, when the Dems are the abortion party, and lately and increasingly a threat to religious liberty to boot. How then could any practicing Catholic vote for Hillary or support Hillary by voting for neither Hillary nor Trump?
So here's my final appeal on Election Day. It consists of a repost from August, substantially redacted, and an addendum in which I reproduce a recent bit of text from George Weigel.
Could a Catholic Support Trump?
Via Burgess-Jackson, I came to this piece by Robert P. George and George Weigel, An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics (7 March 2016). Appended to it is a list of distinguished signatories. Excerpt:
Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States. His campaign has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country. And there is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.
I will respond to these points seriatim.
A. It is true that Trump is unfit to be president, but so is Hillary. But that is the choice we face now that Trump has secured the Republican nomination. In the politics of the real world, as opposed to the politics of utopia, it will be either Trump or Hillary: not both and not neither. Are they equally unfit for the presidency? Arguably yes at the level of character. But at the level of policy no clear-thinking conservative or Catholic could possibly do anything to aid Hillary, whether by voting for her or by not voting for Trump. Consider just abortion and religious liberty and ask yourself which candidate is more likely to forward an agenda favorable to Catholics.
B. Yes, Trump has taken vulgarity in politics to new depths. Unlike milquetoast conservatives, however, he knows how to fight back against political enemies. He doesn't apologize and he doesn't wilt in the face of leftist lies and abuse. He realizes that in post-consensus politics there is little or no place for civility. There is no advantage in being civil to the viciously uncivil. He realizes that the Alinskyite tactics the uncivil Left has been using for decades have to be turned against them. To paraphrase Barack Obama, he understands that one needs to bring a gun to a gun fight.
C. The third sentence above, the one about appeals to racial fears, is something one would expect from a race-baiting leftist, not from a conservative. Besides, it borders on slander, something I should think a Catholic would want to avoid.
You slander Trump and his supporters when you ignore his and their entirely legitimate concern for the rule of law and for national sovereignty and suggest that what motivates him and them is bigotry and fear. Trump and Trump alone among the candidates has had the courage to face the Islamist threat to our country and to call for the vetting of Muslim immigrants. That is just common sense. The milquetoast conservatives are so fearful of being branded xenophobes, 'Islamophobes,' and racists and so desirous of being liked and accepted in respectable Establishment circles, that they will not speak out against the threat.
If they had, and if they had been courageous conservatives on other issues, there would be no need for Trump, he would have gained no traction, and his manifest negatives would have sunk him. Trump's traction is a direct result of conservative inaction. The milquetoasts and bow-tie boys need to look in the mirror and own up to their complicity in having created Trump the politician. But of course they will not do that; they will waste their energy attacking Trump, the only hope we have, in violation of Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment. What a sorry bunch of self-serving pussy-wussies! They yap and scribble, but when it comes time to act and show civil courage, they wilt. They need to peer into a mirror; they will then know what a quisling looks like.
D. I concede that Trump's remarks about torture ought to worry a Catholic. But you should also realize that Trump's strategy is to shoot his mouth off like a rude, New York working stiff in order to energize his base, to intimidate his enemies, and to draw free media attention to himself. Then in prepared speeches he 'walks back' his unguarded comments and adds the necessary qualifications. It is a brilliant strategy, and it has worked.
Trump understands that politics is a practical struggle. It takes place in the street, in a broad sense of the term, not in the seminar room. We intellectuals cringe at Trump's absurd exaggerations, but Trump knows that Joe Sixpack and the blue-collared guys who do the real work of the world have contempt for 'pointy-headed intellekshuls' and he knows that the way to reach them is by speaking their language.
E. It is true that Trump's previous record supplies a reason to doubt whether Trump really shares Catholic commitments. But is it not possible that he has 'evolved'? You say the 'evolution' is merely opportunistic? That may well be. But how much does it matter what his motives are if he helps with the conservative agenda? It is obvious that his own ego and its enhancement is the cynosure of all his striving. He is out for himself, first, and a patriot, second. But Hillary is also out for herself, first, and she is manifestly not a patriot but a destructive hate-America leftist who will work to advance Obama's "fundamental transformation of America." (No one who loves his country seeks a fundamental transformation of it.)
We KNOW what Hillary and her ilk and entourage will do. We KNOW she will be inimical "to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government." Now I grant you that Trump is unreliable, mercurial, flaky, and other bad things to boot. But it is a very good bet that some of what he and his entourage will do will advance the conservative agenda. Trump is espousing the Right ideas, and it is they that count. Can't stand him as a person? Vote for him as a vehicle of the Right ideas!
So I say: if you are a conservative or a Catholic and you do not vote for Trump, you are a damned fool! Look in the mirror and see the quisling who is worried about his status in 'respectable society.'
Here is what George Weigel has to say in NRO today:
The most obvious con is the Trumpian one. Over the past year, the Republican party was captured by a narcissistic buccaneer who repudiated most of what conservatism and the Republican party have stood for over the past half-century, cast venomous aspersions on Republican leaders and those manifestly more qualified than he is for president, insulted our fellow citizens, demeaned women and minorities, played footsy with the Russian dictator Putin, threw NATO under the bus, displayed a dismal ignorance of both the Constitution and the grave matters at stake in current public-policy debates — and in general behaved like a vulgar, sinister bore. In doing all this, Trump the con artist confirmed in the eyes of a partisan mainstream media every one of its false conceptions of what modern conservatism stands for and is prepared to do when entrusted with the tasks of governance.
This outburst does not merit reply beyond what I have said above and elsewhere; Weigel the man needs to seek help for a bad case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
But one last shot: as for the Constitution, we KNOW that Hillary will shred it; Trump, however, has promised to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court, and he has provided a list. How can anyone's head be so far up his nether hole as not to understand this?
The nation is at a tipping point. Do your bit to save it.
Pussy Bow is elliptical for 'Pussy Cat Bow,' the latter a well-established term in the world of women's fashion. Melania Trump sported one at the second debate. Was she out to implant some sly suggestion? I have no idea. But it occurred to me this morning that boy tie boys such as George Will also sport pussy cat bows. (As you know, pussy cats are both male and female.) And given the currency of 'pussy' in the politics of the day, it seems entirely appropriate to refer to the signature sartorial affectation of effete yap-and-scribble do-nothing quislings like Will as a pussy bow.
George Will is a good example of how Trump Derangement Syndrome can lead to cognitive meltdown.
Perhaps you think I go too far when I liken politics to warfare. Well then, will you admit that it is adversarial?
The defense attorney in a court of law fails to do his job if he strives for objectivity: he is paid to argue on behalf of his client. He is paid to be one-sided. This is why he is called in many languages an advocate, in Turkish, for example, Avokat. His sole task is to make the strongest case he can for his client while, of course, observing all the appropriate protocols and ethical guidelines. Advocacy is his duty, not ajudication. Ajudication is in the hands of judge and jury. If your attorney were to say, "You know, the prosecution does make some good points," you would fire him on the spot.
Paul Ryan and other Republicans fail to understand the adversarial nature of politics. Instead of defending the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, the people's choice, who alone can defeat Hillary, they attack him, as if their job is to arrive at an objective assessment of his strengths and weaknesses. In so doing, they aid and abet Hillary.
Now that is stupid.
But it is worse than stupid. Sometimes Republicans attack Trump in utterly mindless ways, as when Paul Ryan came out with the nonsensical phrase "textbook definition of racism." There is no textbook definition, or any definition, as I have been arguing for years. The word is used as a semantic bludgeon in different ways depending on context. For example, you may be called a racist for urging that Muslims entering the country be properly vetted, even though everyone knows that Islam is not a race but a religion, or rather a religious-political ideology. You can be called a racist for simply citing a fact about race. Or for pointing out that 'nigger' is disyllabic, or often applied by blacks to one another. You are a racist if you serve watermelon at a party at which blacks are in attendance. You are a racist if you try to get beyond race, and also if you don't. If you enjoy 'soul food' then you are a racist for 'culturally appropriating' the vittles of the 'oppressed.' And also a racist if you don't like the stuff. Black pride is not racist, but white pride is.
Ryan's playing of the race card against Trump is exactly what one expects from a leftist. So what's going on? Is Ryan stupid or a quisling, or what? Doesn't he understand that behavior like his is what gave Trump traction in the first place? If Republicans were conservatives, and also knew how to fight, there would be no need for Trump. He says what they are afraid to say.
Gonzalo Curiel of La Raza
Trump had questioned whether federal judge Gonzalo Curiel would be able to give his Trump University case a fair hearing. A reasonable question given that, according to Wikipedia, "Curiel is a member of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, a nonprofit professional association of Latino lawyers that is affiliated with a statewide organization, the La Raza Lawyers of California." 'La Raza' means The Race, which ought to raise eyebrows of not chill one to the bone. One suspects that this Curiel fellow identifies as Hispanic first and as American second. So it is a reasonable surmise that Curiel will not be able to be objective in hearing a case in which the defendant advocates building a wall to keep illegal aliens, who are mostly Mexican, from entering the United States.
Victor Davis Hanson is on target re: the Trump-Curiel affair (empasis added):
Trump dismissively characterized Judge Gonzalo Curiel as a “Mexican” (the absence of hyphenation could be charitably interpreted as following the slang convention in which Americans are routinely called “Irish,” “Swedish,” “Greek,” or “Portuguese,” with these words used simply as abbreviated identifiers rather than as pejoratives). Trump’s point was that Curiel could not grant Trump a fair trial, given Trump’s well-publicized closed-borders advocacy.
Most of America was understandably outraged: Trump had belittled a sitting federal judge. Trump had impugned his Mexican ancestry. Trump had offered a dangerous vision of jurisprudence in which ethnic ancestry necessarily manifests itself in chauvinism and prejudice against the Other.
Trump was certainly crude, but on closer analysis of his disparagements he had blundered into at least a few legitimate issues. Was it not the Left that had always made Trump’s point about ethnicity being inseparable from ideology (most infamously Justice Sotomayor in her ruminations about how a “wise Latina” would reach better conclusions than intrinsically less capable white males, and how ethnic heritage necessarily must affect the vantage point of jurists — racialist themes Sotomayor returned to this week in her Utah v. Strieff dissent, which has been characterized as a “Black Lives Matter” manifesto)? Had not Barack Obama himself apologized (“Yeah, he’s a white guy . . . sorry.”) for nominating a white male judge to the Supreme Court, as if Merrick Garland’s appearance were something logically inseparable from his thought?
What exactly was the otherwise apparently sober and judicious Judge Curiel doing in publicizing his membership in a group known as the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association? Raza — a term that will likely soon disappear from American parlance once belated public attention focuses on its 1960s separatist origins and its deeper racist Francoist and Mussolinian roots — is by intent racially charged. Certainly, an illegal-immigration advocate could not expect a fair trial from any federal judge who belonged to a group commensurately designated “the San Diego Race Lawyers Association.” From this tawdry incident, we will remember Trump, the racial incendiary — but perhaps in the aftermath we will also question why any organization with Raza in its name should earn a pass from charges of polarizing racial chauvinism. The present tribalism is unsustainable in a pluralistic society. I wish the antidote for “typical white person,” “punish our enemies,” “my people,” (only) Black Lives Matter, and “la Raza” were not Donald Trump, but let us be clear on the fact that his is a crude reaction to a smooth and unquestioned racialism that, in bankrupt fashion, has been tolerated by the establishments of both parties.
In Omnibus of Fallacies, Ed Feser applies his formidable analytic and polemical skills to that sorry specimen of scientism, Jerry Coyne. The First Things review begins like this:
Faith versus Fact is some kind of achievement. Biologist Jerry Coyne has managed to write what might be the worst book yet published in the New Atheist genre. True, the competition for that particular distinction is fierce. But among other volumes in this metastasizing literature, each has at least some small redeeming feature. For example, though Lawrence Krauss’s A Universe from Nothing is bad as philosophy, it is middling as pop science. Christopher Hitchens’s God Is Not Great was at least written by someone who could write like Christopher Hitchens. Though devoid of interest, Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation is brief. Even PZ Myers’s book The Happy Atheist has at least one advantage over Coyne’s book: It came out first.
Why do I refer to Coyne as a "sorry specimen of scientism?" Is that a nice thing to say? See here, for starters.
The following entry has been languishing in the queue for years. I just now finished it for what it's worth.
Which is worse, the fundamentalism of a Jerry Falwell or the snarling hatred of religion of a Christopher Hitchens, who, in his anti-Falwell diatribe, shows just how far someone who is a leftist about religion can sink?
Readers of this blog know that I have little patience with fundamentalist forms of religion. But whatever one thinks of Falwell's views, he was a decent human being capable of compassion and forgiveness. (I recall with admiration the kindness and forbearance he displayed when he confronted his tormentor, the pornographer Larry Flynt, on Larry King Live.) Can one say that Hitchens is a decent human being after his unspeakably vicious attack on a dead man while he was still warm? I have in mind the matchbox quotation. In "Faith-Based Fraud," Hitchens wrote:
In the time immediately following the assault by religious fascism on American civil society in September 2001, he [Falwell] used his regular indulgence on the airwaves to commit treason. Entirely exculpating the suicide-murderers, he asserted that their acts were a divine punishment of the United States.
The problem with Falwell's statement was that he was in no position to know that the 9/11 attacks were divine punishment. What is offensive about such statements is the presumption that one is en rapport with the divine plan, that one has some sort of inside dope as to the deity's designs. In his credulousness and self-confidence, Falwell displayed a lack of respect for God's transcendence and unsearchableness. But this is just part of what is wrong with fundamentalism, which is a kind of theological positivism.
It is also offensive to hear some proclaim in tones of certainty that Hitchens is now no longer an atheist. They know that God exists and persons survive bodily death? They know no such thing, any more than Hitchens knew the opposite. Convictions, no matter how strong, do not amount to knowledge. (Here is a quick little proof. Knowledge entails truth. So if A and B have opposite convictions, and convictions amount to knowledge, then one and the same proposition can be both true and not true, which violates the Law of Non-Contradiction.)
But although Falwell's 9/11 statement can be criticized, he can't be criticized for making it. He had as much right to make that statement as Hitchens had for his cocksure proclamation that no God exists, not to mention his assaults on Mother Teresa and who all else. After all, that was Falwell's view, and it makes sense within his system of beliefs. There was certainly nothing treasonous about Falwell's statement, nor did it "entirely exculpate the suicide-murderers." Perhaps Falwell was a theological compatibilist, one who finds no contradiction in people acting freely in accordance with a divine plan.
So while we should certainly not follow Hitchens' nasty example and trash the dead, we should not go to the other extreme and paper over the foul aspects of Hitchens' personality. And we should also give some thought to the extent to which his viciousness is an upshot of his atheism.
For in the end, the atheist has nothing and can be expected to be bitter. This world is a vanishing quantity and he knows it; and beyond this world, he believes, there is nothing. That is not to say it isn't true. But if you are convinced that it is true, then you must live hopelessly unless you fool yourself with such evasions as living for some pie-in-the-future utopia such as Communists and other 'progressives' believe in, or for some such abstraction as literature.
Nobody will be reading Hitchens in a hundred years. He'll be lucky if he is still read in ten years.
Have you ever heard of Joseph McCabe (1867-1955)? Not until now. But he too was a major free-thinker and anti-religion polemicist in his day. Who reads him now?
I am taking a break from all news and social media. I will be keeping up with your blog, however, as your most recent treatment on the Incarnation is intriguing. I'm taking a break because I'm tired of all of the vehemence being spewed out there. It's not all from the liberals; conservatives have a role to play too. However, much of it is from the liberals.
I agree that conservatives are a part of the problem, but most of the trouble is from the Left. No surprise here. Civility is a conservative virtue. Why should a leftist be civil? He is out to oppose, disrupt, subvert, and bring about radical change. Radical change: not improvement of a system that works well by comparison with other systems elsewhere and elsewhen. The leftist is a nowhere man, a u-topian. He does not stand, like the conservative, upon the the terra firma of a reality antecedent to his wishes, desires, and impossible dreams.
This puts conservatives in a tough spot. For the Left, politics is war. And war cannot be conducted in a civil manner. One has to employ the same tactics as the aggressor or else lose.
The temptation to retreat into one's private life is very strong. But if you give in and let the Left have free reign you may wake up one day with no private life left. Not that 'news fasts' from time to time are not a good idea. We should all consume less media dreck. But there is no final retreat from totalitarians. They won't allow it. At some point one has to stand and fight in defense, not only of the individual, but also of the mediating structures of civil society.
The hypocrisy is just too much. They decry potential violence in the form of the Second Amendment, but think that the rioting is justified and acceptable. They rightly cry out that "Black Lives Matter!" and yet only do so when a white officer shoots an unarmed black man. Where were they when black men are attacking one another? Black lives matter . . . of course they do. So then why raze businesses in their communities, businesses that provide paying jobs which would help those black lives make ends meet? Even if Officer Wilson was guilty, why repay injustice by perpetuating injustice? What did those businesses have to do with any of it? Why burn down police cruisers and confirm in the minds of those white police officers what you think they think of you all. I just don't understand this madness and it depresses me that the majority opinion (or at least the most vocal opinion) is that this is all appropriate and good.
You are talking sense, of course. But there is no common sense on the Left, no wisdom, and worst of all, no concern for truth.
What matters to a leftist is not truth, but the 'narrative.' A narrative is a story, and stories needn't be true to be useful in promoting an 'agenda.'
Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted for a very good reason: there was simply no case again him. He was assaulted by the thuggish Michael Brown who had just robbed a convenience store and roughed up its proprietor. Brown then proceeded to walk in the middle of the road, which of course is illegal. Wilson, doing his job, ordered him out of the road and then Brown went on the attack, initiating a physical altercation with the cop and trying to wrest his weapon from him. Outside the car, a bit later, Brown rushed the cop and the cop had no choice but to shoot him dead. The cop did it by the book. Everything he did was legal. And morally permissible.
But leftists do not care what the actual facts are, because, again, they do not care about truth. What actually happened in Ferguson is ignored because it does not comport with the 'narrative' according to which racist white cops shoot down "unarmed black teenagers."
For a leftist, the narrative is everything and truth be damned. Leftists claim to want justice, but without truth there can be no justice.
Was Brown unarmed? Yes, but by the same token Rodney King was a motorist and Trayvon Martin was a child. There is a form of mendacity whereby one deceives by telling truths.
Note the linguistic mischief liberals make. If you say that a person is unarmed, you imply that he is harmless. But an unarmed man who attacks a cop and tries to arm himself with the cop's weapon is not harmless, although, technically, he is unarmed until the moment he succeeds in arming himself.
And of course race doesn't come into this at all except insofar as blacks are more criminally prone than whites.
Nor should this be a liberal-conservative issue, unless liberals are opposed to the rule of law. I fear that here in fact is the salient point: contemporary liberals have no respect for the rule of law, from Obama and Holder on down. (Turkish saying: Balık baştan kokar: "The fish stinks from the head.") Examples are legion: Obamacare, illegal immigration, et cetera ad nauseam.
The truth is that Michael Brown by his preternaturally imprudent, immoral, and illegal behavior brought about his own demise. Had he been brought up properly to respect the law and its legitimate enforcers, he would be alive today. All he had to do was get out of the street! But no! He started a fight with a cop, taunted him, called him 'a pussy,' threw the cigarillos he had stolen at him, as if to say, "What are you going to do about it, pig?" (Was Brown suicidal?)
You could say that I am blaming the victim. But unless one is profoundly stupid one must agree with me that this is a clear case in which blaming the victim is perfectly justified.
It's crunch time with term papers and grading and guest lectures for my supervisor, so I have to retain an aggressive posture from this point until December 15th. Hence my fast from media. And I need time to emotionally process all of this. I have appreciated your blog and the perspective you offer. It is a voice crying out in the wilderness.
It doesn't merit a lot of attention, but I will mention two stupid moves that Jerry Coyne makes. Or if not stupid, then intellectually dishonest.
First, Coyne states that "We know now that the universe could have originated from 'nothing' through purely physical processes, if you see 'nothing' as the 'quantum vacuum' of empty space." By the same token, we now know that Jerry Coyne is a fool if you see 'fool' as equivalent in meaning to 'one who thinks that a substantive question can be answered by a semantic trick.'
Second, Coyne maintains that the belief that human beings have souls "flies in the face of science." In other words, the belief in question is logically inconsistent with natural science. Why? Because, "We have no evidence for souls, as biologists see our species as simply the product of naturalistic evolution from earlier species." The reasoning is this:
1. Biologists qua biologists see the human biological species as simply the product of evolution.
2. Biology uncovers no evidence of souls.
3. Biology rules out the existence of souls.
(1) is true. (2) is a very unsurprising logical consequence of (1). For biology, as a natural science, is confined to the study of the empirically accessible features of living things, including human animals. It is therefore no surprise at all that biology turns up no evidence of souls, or of consciousness or self-consciousness for that matter. By the same token, cosmology and quantum mechanics uncover no evidence that anything is alive.
The move from (2) to (3), however, is a howling non sequitur. (In plain English, (3) does not logically follow from (2), and it is obvious that it doesn't.) Biology is simply in no position to uncover any evidence of souls that there might be, and it shows a failure to grasp what it is that biology studies to think that such evidence would be accessible to biology.
To argue from (2) to (3) would be like arguing from
5. Mathematics rules out the existence of anything in nature that can be studied using complex (imaginary) numbers.
That too is a howling non sequitur: we know that alternating current theory makes essential use of complex numbers.
At the root of Coyne's foolishness is scientism, the view that the only genuine knowledge is natural-scientific knowledge. Scientism is the epistemology of naturalism, the view that reality is exhausted by the space-time system. Both are philosophical views; neither is scientific. There are powerful arguments against both.
Enough beating up of a cripple for one day. And that reminds me: Nietzsche in Twilight of the Idols refers to Kant as a concept-cripple (Begriffskrueppel). What would that make Coyne? A stillborn concept-cripple?
More critique of Coyne here. The man should stick to biology. And the same goes for Dawkins.