Obama's electoral success is truly a remarkable commentary on the goodness of the American people. A 2008 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reported "that 17 percent were enthusiastic about Obama being the first African American President, 70 percent were comfortable or indifferent, and 13 percent had reservations or were uncomfortable." I'm 77 years old. For almost all of my life, a black's becoming the president of the United States was at best a pipe dream. Obama's electoral success further confirms what I've often held: The civil rights struggle in America is over, and it's won. At one time, black Americans did not have the constitutional guarantees enjoyed by white Americans; now we do. The fact that the civil rights struggle is over and won does not mean that there are not major problems confronting many members of the black community, but they are not civil rights problems and have little or nothing to do with racial discrimination.
There is every indication to suggest that Obama's presidency will be seen as a failure similar to that of Jimmy Carter's. That's bad news for the nation but especially bad news for black Americans. No white presidential candidate had to live down the disgraced presidency of Carter, but I'm all too fearful that a future black presidential candidate will find himself carrying the heavy baggage of a failed black president. That's not a problem for white liberals who voted for Obama -- they received their one-time guilt-relieving dose from voting for a black man to be president -- but it is a problem for future generations of black Americans. But there's one excuse black people can make; we can claim that Obama is not an authentic black person but, as The New York Times might call him, a white black person.
Opposition to Obama's policies is precisely that, opposition to his policies. If you think race has anything to do with it, you are either delusional or lying. One must realize that for a leftist, lying is not wrong if it is in the service of what they take to be a noble end. Mendacity's affront to 'bourgeois' morality is as nothing compared to the wonderful achievement of what they call 'social justice.' This is why Obama and his supporters brazenly lie and lie about their lying, as well as deploying the other modes of untruthfulness. The end justifies the means. They have no qualms of conscience because they don't see what they are doing as wrong. The distress of the five and a half million who have had their insurance policies cancelled is taken in stride as part of the cost of implementing a system that they imagine will serve the common good.
A government big enough and powerful enough to control health care delivery will be in an excellent position to demand ‘appropriate’ behavior from its citizens – and to enforce its demand. Suppose you enjoy risky sports such as motorcycling, hang gliding, mountain climbing and the like. Or perhaps you just like to drink or smoke or eat red meat. A government that pays for the treatment of your injuries and ailments can easily decide, on economic grounds alone, to forbid such activites under the bogus justification, ‘for your own good.’
But even if the government does not outlaw motorcycling, say, they can put a severe dent in your liberty to enjoy such a sport, say, by demanding that a 30% sales tax be slapped on all motorcycle purchases, or by outlawing bikes whose engines exceed a certain displacement, say 180 cc. In the same way that governments levy arbitrary taxes on tobacco products, they can do the same for anything they deem risky or unhealthy.
The situation is analogous to living with one’s parents. It is entirely appropriate for parents to say to a child: ‘As long as you live under our roof, eat at our table, and we pay the bills, then you must abide by our rules. When you are on your own, you may do as you please.’ The difference, of course, is that it is relatively easy to move out on one’s own, but difficult to forsake one’s homeland.
The nub of the issue is liberty. Do you value it or not? And how much? Which trumps which: liberty or equality of outcome?
In other words, Republicans oppose Obama's policies, not the man, because they believe the president will so inexorably change the structure of our social and economic system by mandating and punishing human behavior that nothing less than individual freedom is at stake. Under present circumstances, this hardly seems delusional. Does anyone really believe that subsidized policyholders with pre-existing conditions won't eventually face other mandates and penalties related to their lifestyle choices?
Suppose you present careful arguments against Obama's policies and ideas, foreign or domestic or both. Some black is sure to jump up and shout, "Racist! You hate him because he's black!" Oprah Winfrey is the latest example. There is no point in arguing with such an idiot, argument being fruitful only with those who inhabit the plane of reason; but you must respond. I suggest "If I'm a racist, then you are a tribalist."
If I oppose Obama's policies because he is black,then you support them because he is black. If I'm a racist, then you are a tribalist! If his being black is no reason to oppose his policies, then his being black is no reason to support them either. If racism is bad, then so is your knee-jerk tribalism.
One of the sad facts about blacks is that many if not most of them cannot seem to transcend their tribal identification. They identify, not as human beings or as rational animals or as Americans, but as blacks. That tribal identification so dominates their consciousness that even the calmest and most polite arguments against Obama's ideas cannot be comprehended except as personal attacks on their man who is, first and foremost, a black man, even though he is half-white. That tribal identification was also at play in the O. J. Simpson trial. The prosecution presented a mountain of evidence of his guilt and yet the black dominated jury acquitted him of double homicide.
My advice to blacks: if you want to be judged by "the content of your character and not the color of your skin," to adapt the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., then drop the tribal identification. if you want to be treated as individuals, then stop identifying as members of a racial group. Why is your race so important to you? Are you perhaps raaacists?
So, while the president has been telling us that, under the vaunted grandfathering provision, all Americans who like their health-insurance plans will be able to keep them, “period,” his administration has been representing in federal court that most health plans would lose their “grandfather status” by the end of this year. Not just the “5 percent” of individual-market consumers, but close to all consumers — including well over 100 million American workers who get coverage through their jobs — have been expected by the president swiftly to “transition to the requirements under the [Obamacare] regulations.” That is, their health-insurance plans would be eliminated. They would be forced into Obamacare-compliant plans, with all the prohibitive price hikes and coercive mandates that “transition” portends.
Obamacare is a massive fraudulent scheme. A criminal investigation should be opened. Obviously, the Obama Justice Department will not do that, but the House of Representatives should commence hearings into the offenses that have been committed in the president’s deception of the American people. (emphasis added)
From a piece both pithy and penetrating by David P. Goldman (HT: Bill Keezer):
There has been considerable hand-wringing during the past few years about “lack of diversity” in the eight public high schools [of NYC] that require written exams. Asians are 14% of the public school population, but 50% of the elite high school population (the same proportion applies to Hunter College’s free public high school). By and large the Asian entrants are the children of working-class immigrants who pay extra tuition to prepare them for the entrance exams.
The NAACP has filed a complaint against the school system demanding racial quotas. The same concern for those “left behind” motivated the open admissions program in the City University system in 1969, which nearly ruined the system until CUNY found a way to shunt the underperformers into the community college system. (See chart at bottom of page.)
The above clearly illustrates what is so deeply wrong with the liberal-left way of thinking. It is true that Asians are disproportionately represented in the best NYC high schools. But this is not anything that needs remedying. It simply reflects the fact that Asians, as a group, have different values than blacks, better study habits, and are of higher intelligence. Notice, I said as a group. That's reality. But leftists are here as elsewhere in the business of reality denial. Leftists confuse the world with the way they would like the world to be. But things are as they are regardless of human hopes and dreams and desires.
Some inequalities have come about through wrongs that ought to have been righted, and have been righted. But the inequality of Asians and blacks as regards values and study habits and intelligence has not come about though any wrongdoing. Slavery was outlawed almost 150 years ago when the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution was ratified on 6 December 1865. Jim Crow was outlawed almost 50 years ago. There is no de jure racism in the U. S. and very little de facto racism. The 'overrepresentation' of Asians is the predictable outcome of the differences between Asian and black culture, values, and innate intelligence.
By the way, one ought to be very careful with the word 'overrepresent' and its opposite. It is ambiguous as between normative and nonnormative readings. It is just a value-neutral fact that there are proportionately more Asians than blacks in the elite high schools of NYC. But it doesn't follow that this state of affairs is one that ought not be, or that it would be better if there were proportional representation.
Consider the sports analogy. Asians are 'underrepresented' on basketball teams. That is a fact. But it doesn't follow that this state of affairs is one that ought not
be, or that it would be better if there were proportional
representation. Enforced proportional representation would adversely affect the quality of basketball games.
Since we are now back to the delightful and heart-warming topic of race/ ethnicity, let's talk about Jews. They are 'overrepresented' in the chess world so much so that there is much truth to the old joke that chess is Jewish athletics. Should the government do something about this 'problem'? (This is what is called a rhetorical question.)
I once told my Jewish and Israeli friend Peter that I had never met a stupid Jew. He shot back, "Then you've never lived in Israel." The very alacrity of his comeback, however, proved (or at least provided further evidence for) my point.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that I am not now, and never have been, either an Asian or a Jew or an Israeli.
Charlotte Allen, A Tale of Two Trials. An excellent point-by-point rebuttal of (willful?) mistakes about the facts and the law made by the purveyors of the liberal-left 'narrative.'
'Narrative' is a POMO word favored by those who for whom power is the end. For a leftist, truth doesn't matter unless it can be used as a means to the end of power. What matters are those 'narratives' that help forward their agenda. A narrative needn't be true to be a narrative. It is quite in line with Karl Marx's 11th Thesis on Feuerbach, "The philosophers have variously interpreted the world; the point, however, is to change it."
In this stupid piece, the author maintains that "No one talks about race." The author, a history professor at ASU, is further proof that the universities have become leftist seminaries. This idiot is being supported by taxpayers' dollars.
The 1963 March on Washington now lies 50 years in the past. Those civil rights battles were fought and they were won. What could be achieved by legislation and government intervention was achieved. Unfortunately, the civil rights movement gradually transmogrified into a civil rights hustle and grievance industry as the original ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr. were betrayed by race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. And now look at the mess we are in. But it was a time of great and inspiring music. Here are some of Dylan's singular contributions.
Robert Paul Wolff of The Philosopher's Stone too often comes across as a stoned philosopher. I gave one clear example last month in The Rage of the Wolff wherein I quoted the good professor's hyperventilation over the Martin-Zimmerman case. He spoke, delusionally, of "The judicially sanctioned murder of Trayvon Martin . . . ." But now the Wolff is howling and raging and losing sleep (literally) over the North Carolina photo ID law:
What is happening in North Carolina right now . . . triggers such rage in me that I cannot talk about it with my customary ironic detachment. I spent a good deal of last night tossing and turning, trying unsuccessfully to calm myself with fantasies of magical powers with which to visit great misery and pain on the Republican controlled State Legislature.
All throughout North Carolina, local Boards of Election, packed with Republican appointees and emboldened, empowered, and encouraged by the State Legislature, are openly, nakedly, unabashedly moving to deny the basic right to vote to any group that shows signs of inclining Democratic. It is perfectly clear what is happening. Throughout the state are countless White southerners who have never accepted the freeing of the slaves, the extension of suffrage to Blacks, or the ending of such comforting traditions as segregated schools and public facilities. The election of Obama and the steady move of the state in the direction of the modern Democratic Party has made them feel like aliens in their own home, and now they are unashamedly striking back, emboldened by the Supreme Court's appalling Voting Rights Act decision.
Does this outburst merit a response? No. But it is a telling specimen of leftist pathology. There is no wisdom and no common sense on the Left.
Apparently, the online magazine Slate will no longer be referring to the Washington Redskins under that name lest some Indians take offense. By the way, I take offense at 'native American.' I am a native Californian, which fact makes me a native American, and I'm not now and never have been an Indian.
But what about 'guinea pig'? Surely this phrase too is a racial/ethnic slur inasmuch as it suggests that all people of Italian extraction are pigs, either literally or in their eating habits. Bill Loney takes this (meat) ball and runs with it.
And then there is 'coonskin cap.' 'Coon' is in the semantic vicinity of such words as: spade, blood, spearchucker, spook, and nigger. These are derogatory words used to refer to Eric Holder's people. In the '60s, southern racists expressed their contempt for Martin Luther King, Jr. by referring to him as Martin Luther Coon. Since a coonskin cap is a cap made of the skin of a coon, 'coonskin cap' is a code phrase used by creepy-assed crackers to signal that black folk ought to be, all of them, on the wrong end of a coon hunt.
'Coonskin cap' must therefore be struck from our vocabulary lest some black person take offense.
But then consistency demands that we get rid of 'southern racist.' The phrase suggests that all southerners are racists. And we must not cause offense to the half-dozen southerners who are not racists.
But why stop here? 'Doo wop' is so-called because many of its major exponents were wops such as Dion Dimucci who was apparently quite proud to be a wop inasmuch as he uses the term five times in succession starting at :58 of this version of 'I Wonder Why' (1958). The old greaseball still looks very good in this 2004 performance. Must be all that pasta he consumes.
I could go on -- this is fun -- but you get the drift, unless you are a stupid liberal.
I lived in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, from 1984 to 1991. From '86 to '91 I owned a house on Euclid Heights Boulevard near the bohemian Coventry distinct. I loved it: the Arabica coffee house where I hung out to read, write and play chess; eateries such as Tommy's and Irv's; shops like Passport to Peru; the used bookstore Mac's Backs.
The chess scene was especially vibrant with strong masters floating in and out among the patzers. International Master Calvin Blocker once kibbitzed on one of my games: "You'd be lucky to be mated" as I already mentioned in a short entry on the man. Blocker and I got to be friends of sorts to the extent that that is possible with someone so eccentric and prickly. Chess, as Siegbert Tarrasch once remarked, is like love and music: it has the power to make men happy. The good grandmaster neglected to mention, however, that protracted and intense dalliance with Caissa also has the power to introduce a certain eccentricity into one's orbit. But I digress. I want to get back to our wonderful 'conversation' about race.
That big old three-story Tudor on Euclid Heights Boulevard was the first house I bought. A man I knew whose wife had been mugged by a black thug* at University Circle warned me about buying in an area that was about 40% black. But the blacks and the whites seemed to be getting along well enough, and not being a racist, I proved it by buying the beautiful old house for $72,000. (Talk is cheap; if you want to know what a person really believes, observe how and where he spends his money.) There had been some 'white flight' in the '60s but the Coventry neighborhood seemed stable, and the price was right in part because of the racial integration.
By the way, the man I just mentioned, a professor of Religious Studies at Case Western Reserve at the time, and a liberal from the Bay Area, took to packing heat after the thug knocked out several of his wife's teeth and absconded with her money. And all of that in perfect illustration of the conservative adage, "A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged." He suddenly took a keen interest in crime, something he hadn't thought about too much before, a hallmark of liberals being their casual attitude toward criminal behavior. Upscale liberals would do well to sally forth from their lily-white gated communities from time to time to see what the rest of the world is like and how well their liberal bromides hold up.
One of the many attractions of the Coventry district was the annual summer street fair. The ones I attended went off smoothly, but recently there has has been trouble from 'flash mobs' of 'teens.' The rioting and violence of the 2011 event and threats of violence in 2012 and 2013 have resulted in decisions to cancel the event for two years running.
I now come to my point. There can be no worthwhile conversation about race (or anything else) with people who refuse to state the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but. The 'teens' that rioted were mostly black. But that was not reported. Why not?
*'Black thug' is like 'deciduous tree.' Not all trees are deciduous; not all blacks are thugs. But some are. And, sad to say, more are, proportionally, than whites are.
It's a bit of a paradox: leftist race-baiters fly under the euphemistic flag of 'progressive,' while hopelessly stuck in the past. The civil wrongs were righted, but they want to turn back the clock. A pox on their racist house.
Brother Jesse and Co. are stuck inside of Selma with the Oxford blues again.
If 'chink in the armor' is about Asians, then the Asians in question would have to be rather tiny to hang out interstitially in, say, a coat of mail.
Now blacks have shown themselves to be absurdly sensitive to the imagined slights embedded in such words and phrases as 'niggardly,' 'black hole,' and 'watermelon.' But Asians too?
Why not take offense at 'chunk'? Someone might get it into his PeeCee head that a chunk is a fat chink.
There is no end to this madness once it gets going, which is why we sane and decent people need to mock and deride liberals every chance we get. Mockery and derision can achieve what calm reasoning cannot.
One cannot reason with those who are permanently in a state of self-colonoscopy.
Everyone gets abused verbally in this world and one had better learn how to take it. There are bigots everywhere -- liberals are among the most vile, their tendency to project psychologically rendering their bigotry invisible to them -- and sooner or later you will encounter your fair share of abusers and bigots. A fellow graduate student called your humble correspondent a 'guinea' in the 1970s. This was in Boston. But I didn't break his nose and do the ground and pound on him. Was it cowardice or good sense? Call it self-control. If Trayvon Martin had control of his emotions on that fateful night, he would probably be alive today. The downside, of course, is that then we wouldn't be having this delightful 'conversation' about race.
My impression is that there is more anti-Italian prejudice -- not that it is any big deal -- in the East than in the West where I come from. (And without a doubt, Jim Morrison had it right when he opined that the West is the best, in at least two senses.) I didn't encounter any anti-Italian prejudice until I headed East. I had a Lithuanian girl friend in Boston whose mother used to warn her: "Never bring an Italian home." I never did get to meet Darci's mom. Imagine a Lithuanian feeling superior to an Italian!
But I want to talk about blacks, to add just a bit more to this wonderful 'conversation' about race we are having.
Blacks need to learn from Jews, Italians, the Irish, and others who have faced abuse and discrimination. Don't whine, don't complain, don't seek a government program. Don't try to cash in on your 'victim' status, when the truth is that you are a 'victim' of liberal victimology. Don't waste your energy blaming others for your own failures.
Don't wallow in your real or imagined grievances, especially vicarious grievances. That's the mark of a loser. Winners live and act in the present where alone they can influence the future.
If you want me to judge you as an individual, by the content of your character and not by the color of your skin, then behave like an individual: don't try to secure advantages from membership in a group.
Abandon tribal self-identification. Did you vote for Obama because he is black? Then you have no business in a voting booth.
Bear in mind that the world runs on appearances, and that if you appear to be a thug -- from your saggy pants, your 'hoodie,' your sullen and disrespectful attitude -- then people will suspect you of being a thug.
Take a leaf out of Condi Rice's book. She's black, she's female, and she became Secretary of State. And her predecessor in the job was a black man, Colin Powell. It sure is a racist society we have here in the USA. And that Justice Thomas on the Supreme Court -- isn't he a black dude? And not a mulatto like Obama, but one seriously black man.
Lose the basketball. Get the needle out of your arm, and that soul-killing rap noise out of your ears. Listen to the late Beethoven piano sonatas. May I recommend Opus #s 109, 110, and 111? Mozart is also supposed to be good for improving your mental capacity. We honkies want you to be successful. If you are successful, we won't have to support you. And if you are successful you will be happy. Happy people don't cause trouble.
And we don't give a flying enchilada what color you are. It's not about color anyway. It's about behavior. Work hard, practice the ancient virtues, and be successful. If you can't make it here, you can't make it anywhere. Don't let Brother Jesse or Brother Al tell you otherwise. Those so-called 'reverends' are nothing but race-hustlers who make money from the grievance industry.
Liberals are not your friends either. They want you to stay on the plantation. They think you are too stupid to take care of yourselves.
If you learn to control your emotions, defer gratification, study hard and practice the old-time virtues, will you be 'acting white'? Yes, in a sense. High culture is universal and available to all who want to assimilate it. What makes our culture superior to yours is not that it is white but that it is superior.
Don't get mad, be like Rudy Giuliani. Can you imagine him making a big deal about being called a greaseball, dago, goombah, wop, guinea . . . ? Do you see him protesting Soprano-style depictions of Italian-Americans as mafiosi?
The pugnacious Irishman* can be obnoxious at times, and he does on occasion get things wrong (see my articles below), but the man is inspiring in his civil courage as here where he speaks truth to power.
As a reader commented,
Hanson is reasonable, no doubt; and Bill O'Reilly is often a blowhard--but his so-called "Talking Points Memo" last night [Monday 22 July] was very good. As you know, when black "leaders" say that we need a "conversation" about race, they mean that we should meekly listen as they espouse their grievances against white society. No figure in mainstream media would dare say what what O'Reilly said last night, but he said it, all of it true and good, and he did not pull any punches.
O'Reilly works himself into a fine lather by the end of his memo, but there is a place for righteous indignation. As useful as are the dispassionate analyses of Victor Hanson et al., there is a time for passion and finger-pointing. The mendacious race-hustlers and grievance-mongers from the president on down need to be confronted and denounced. There is also a place for mockery and derision. Here is where comedians such as Dennis Miller are very effective.
By the way, and this would make a fascinating separate post, I have heard Buddhists claim that there is absolutely nothing worth getting upset over. Well, when I am lucidly dreaming I tell myself that: enjoy the show; it's only a dream; there's nothing to get upset over. If this world were a dream, then the Buddhist advice would be good. If and only if.
*I allow myself a bit of literary license. O'Reilly is an American of Irish extraction, not, strictly speaking, an Irishman. Note that I did not write that he is an 'Irish-American.' Liberals talk in that hyphenated way. If you are a conservative, if you have sense, don't talk like a liberal. (Have I ever said this before?)
Black man shoots and kills white 'child' and is acquitted. The Zimmerman case with colors reversed. Here is how the piece ends:
This is what’s wrong with the culture of New York State. Our state values victims over victors. It enshrines passivity over direct action to preempt or thwart criminal activity. It excuses the acts of teenaged thugs, revising history to absolve them of blame for their petty crimes, while pillorying good citizens who dare to defend themselves with legally permitted arms.
In a state with the strictest gun control in the union, to own a legal handgun is no small thing. Roderick Scott is a decent person who did everything legally and correctly… yet in the minds of many, he is the villain simply because he dared not to do nothing. Had this shooting occurred in another state with less liberal hand-wringing underlying its legal code, it’s possible Roderick Scott would never have stood trial. It is, quite frankly, a miracle that the jury — deadlocked just a few hours before it came to the “not guilty” verdict — eventually granted Scott his life back.
Fortunately, Roderick Scott is not bitter. “I feel that justice was served today,” he said after his legal ordeal.
His lawyer was diplomatic but more pointed: “I just want to say that I hope this case sends a message to families out there to watch their kids, to know where they are and what they are doing.”
That lawyer’s message is clear: If your kids live like garbage, trade in garbage, and contribute nothing to their community but garbage, they very well may die like garbage. If that happens they have no one to blame but themselves… though their parents ought to think good and hard about whether they share responsibility.
Exactly right. Live like a punk, die like a punk. Equal justice for all, no matter what the race or ethnicity. No excuses for blacks.
When a liberal race-hustler likens the killing of Trayvon Martin to the torture and murder of Emmett Till he is not exaggerating, but lying shamelessly. To appreciate this one need only know the essentials of each case. Here are a couple of videos to bring you up to speed on Emmett Till.
It is a bit of a paradox: so-called 'progressives,' i.e., leftists, who routinely accuse conservatives of wanting to 'turn back the clock,' are doing precisely that on the question of race relations. They yearn for the bad old Jim Crow days of the 1950s and '60s when they had truth and right on their side and the conservatives of those days were either wrong or silent or simply uncaring. Those great civil rights battles were fought and they were won, in no small measure due to the help of whites. Necessary reforms were made. But then things changed and the civil rights movement became a hustle to be exploited for fame and profit and power by the likes of the race-baiters Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
The purpose of today's civil-rights establishment is not to seek justice, but to seek power for blacks in American life based on the presumption that they are still, in a thousand subtle ways, victimized by white racism. This idea of victimization is an example of what I call a "poetic truth." Like poetic license, it bends the actual truth in order to put forward a larger and more essential truth—one that, of course, serves one's cause. Poetic truths succeed by casting themselves as perfectly obvious: "America is a racist nation"; "the immigration debate is driven by racism"; "Zimmerman racially stereotyped Trayvon." And we say, "Yes, of course," lest we seem to be racist. Poetic truths work by moral intimidation, not reason.
In the Zimmerman/Martin case the civil-rights establishment is fighting for the poetic truth that white animus toward blacks is still such that a black teenager—Skittles and ice tea in hand—can be shot dead simply for walking home. But actually this establishment is fighting to maintain its authority to wield poetic truth—the authority to tell the larger society how it must think about blacks, how it must respond to them, what it owes them and, then, to brook no argument.
Two comments. First, pace Steele, what he is calling a "larger and more essential truth" is better described as a brazen lie. Second, the iced tea and Skittles that the 'child' Trayvon was carrying were presumably to be added to Robitussin to concoct a drug variously known as Purple Drank, Lean, and Sizzurp. See here:
Trayvon, with his hoodie up, grabs two items from the shelves of 7-11. One is the Skittles. The other is Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail. The media avoid the name of the real drink -- possibly because of the racial implications of the word "watermelon," but possibly to avoid probing the real reason for Trayon's trip.
Trayvon, in fact, had become a devotee of the druggy concoction known as "Lean," also known in southern hip-hop culture as "Sizzurp" and "Purple Drank." Lean consists of three basic ingredients -- codeine, a soft drink, and candy. If his Facebook postings are to be believed, Trayvon had been using Lean since at least June 2011.
On June 27, 2011, Trayvon asks a friend online, "unow a connect for codien?" He tells the friend that "robitussin nd soda" could make "some fire ass lean." He says, "I had it before" and that he wants "to make some more." On the night of February 26, if Brandy had some Robitussin at home, Trayvon had just bought the mixings for one "fire ass lean" cocktail.
Here is yet another example of leftist lunacy from the editors of The Nation:
The real problem is not that jurors were willing to accord Zimmerman the presumption of innocence—a bedrock of our justice system. It is that Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager, was never accorded the same presumption—and that so many defendants who look like him are denied this right every day.
This is just breathtakingly idiotic. First of all, it is not up to the jurors to will or not to will to accord the accused the presumption of innocence. It is required that they do so. It is one of the constitutive rules of our legal system that in a criminal proceeding such as a murder trial the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Being a constitutive rule, the presumption of innocence is not something jurors have any say about.
Second, it is the accused who is presumed innocent until proven guilty, not the victim. For it is the accused who is on trial. Zimmerman was on trial, and he was accorded the (defeasible) presumption of innocence, a presumption that was not defeated. Hence he was exonerated. Martin was not on trial, hence presumption of innocence did not come into play in his case.
Third, Martin was not the defendant in the case; Zimmerman was the defendant.
Fourth, Martin's being an unarmed teenager is irrelevant to the question whether Zimmerman acted lawfully in shooting Martin. The aptronymically appellated Charles Blow opined in a similarly moronic manner when he mentioned the 'disproportionality' of armament as between Martin and Zimmerman. Again, utterly irrelevant.
So there's the Left for you: willful stupidity, verbal obfuscation, lies, agitprop.
Addendum: Chad McIntosh, upon reading the above Nation quotation, subsumed it under what he calls the Madman Fallacy.
. . . then most of us could be the next George Zimmerman.
It cuts both ways, Mr. President.
Besides, if you could have been Trayvon 35 years ago, what does that say about you? Did you go around thuggishly attacking people, breaking their noses, pinning them on the ground, pounding and grounding, slamming heads into pavements, threatening 'crackers' with death?
There is so much to learn from the Trayvon Martin affair. One 'take-away' is the importance of self-control. If Martin had been taught, or rather had learned, to control himself he would most likely be alive today. But he didn't. He blew his cool when questioned about his trespassing in a gated community on a rainy night. He punched a man in the face and broke his nose, then jumped on him, pinned him down, and told him that he was going to die that night. So, naturally, the man defended himself against the deadly attack with deadly force. What Zimmerman did was both morally and legally permissible. If some strapping youth is pounding your head into the pavement, you are about to suffer "grave bodily harm" if not death. What we have here is clearly a case of self-defense.
Does race enter into this? In one way it does. Blacks as a group have a rather more emotional nature than whites as a group. (If you deny this, you have never lived in a black neighborhood or worked with blacks, as I have.) So, while self-control is important for all, the early inculcation of self-control is even more important for blacks.
Hard looks, hateful looks, suspicious looks -- we all get them from time to time, but they are not justifications for launching a physical assault on the looker. The same goes for harsh words.
If you want to be successful you must learn to control yourself. You must learn to control your thoughts, your words, and your behavior. You must learn to keep a tight rein on your feelings. Unfortunately, liberals in positions of authority have abdicated when it comes to moral education. For example, they refuse to enforce discipline in classrooms. So liberals, as usual, are part of the problem.
But that is to put it too mildly. There is no decency on the Left, no wisdom, and, increasingly, no sanity. For example, the crazy comparison of Trayvon Martin with Emmet Till. But perhaps I should put the point disjunctively: you are either crazy if you make that comparison, or moral scum.
Robert Paul Wolff here vents "a rage that can find no appropriate expression" over "The judicially sanctioned murder of Trayvon Martin . . . ."
"Meanwhile, Zimmerman's gun will be returned to him. He would have suffered more severe punishment if he had run over a white person's dog."
What fascinates me is the depth of the disagreement between a leftist like Wolff and a conservative like me. A judicially sanctioned murder? Not at all. A clear case of self-defense, having nothing objectively to do with race, as I have made clear in earlier posts. And please note that "Stand Your Ground" was no part of the defense. The defense was a standard 'self defense' defense. Anyone who is not a leftist loon or a black race-hustler and who knows the facts and the law and followed the trial can see that George Zimmerman was justly acquitted.
Wolff ought to be proud of a judicial system that permits a fair trial in these politically correct times. But instead he is in a rage. What would be outrageous would have been a 'guilty' verdict.
Was the blogger at Philosopher's Stone a stoned philosopher when he wrote the above nonsense? I am afraid not. And that is what is deeply disturbing and yet fascinating. What explains such insanity in a man who can write books as good as The Autonomy of Reason and In Defense of Anarchism?
Does the good professor have a problem with Zimmerman's gun being returned to him after he has been cleared of all charges? Apparently. But why? It's his property. But then Wolff is a Marxist . . . .
It is sad to see how many fine minds have been destroyed by the drug of leftism.
Piers Morgan and many others think that someone ought to 'pay' for Trayvon Martin's unfortunate death, and that that person ought to be George Zimmerman. Morgan demands justice for Trayvon and thinks that this can be achieved only be convicting Zimmerman of some crime. But what murk and muddle in Morgan's mind makes him think this?
I conjecture that he is failing to distinguish among three senses of 'responsibility,' the causal, the legal, and the moral.
There is no doubt that Zimmerman caused, and is therefore causally responsible for, Martin's death. There was no 'whodunit' aspect to the trial. It is clear 'whodunit.' But it doesn't follow that the Hispanic is either legally or morally responsible for the black youth's death. As we saw from the trial, Zimmerman was acquitted. There simply was not the evidence to convict him of murder two or manslaughter. To say it one more time: the probative standard is set very high in criminal cases: the accused must be shown to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Zimmerman was found to be not legally responsible and so not subject to any legal sanctions.
What's more, the judgment was correct. To be found not guilty is not the same as to be not guilty --remember the O. J. Simpson case -- but in the Zimmerman case he was not only found not guilty, but in reality is not guilty, as any objective observer should be able to see.
But suppose you disagree with the last thing I said, namely, that Zimmerman is not guilty of the crimes with which he was charged. Still, that doesn't matter for practical purposes. The jury has spoken and we all must accept the result, just as we must in the Simpson case.
The result, again, is that Zimmerman is not legally responsible for Martin's death. I conjecture that Morgan cannot grasp this because he fails to distinguish causal from legal responsibility.
Does Zimmerman bear any moral responsibility for Martin's death? Some will say that he does and some that he doesn't. But it doesn't matter for practical purposes. All that matters is that Zimmerman was acquitted in a fair trial.
It is worth saying again that the purpose of a criminal trial is not to secure justice for the victim. If that were the purpose, every such trial would have to end in a 'guilty' verdict. The sole purpose of a criminal trial is to secure justice for the accused. Nobody can be made to 'pay' for Martin's death since the only person who could is not guilty of any wrongdoing. Zimmerman was merely defending himself against a deadly attack. If anyone is to blame for Martin's death, it is Martin himself for attacking Zimmerman.
In case you missed it last night, here is Larry Elder attempting to pound some sense into the the benighted Piers Morgan.
One of my persistent themes is that conservatives must not talk like liberals, thereby acquiescing in the linguistic hijacking that liberals routinely practice, and putting themselves at a disadvantage in the process. Conservatives must insist on standard English and refuse to validate the Left's question-begging epithets. Only the foolish conservative repeats such words and phrases as 'homophobe,' 'Islamophobe,' and 'social justice.'
For example, if you employ 'homophobe' and cognates, then you are acquiescing in the false notion that opposition to homosexual practices (which is consistent with respecting homosexual people) is grounded in an irrational fear, when the opposition is not based in fear, let alone in an irrational fear.
So I was slightly annoyed to see that Peter Wehner in a recent otherwise excellent Commentary piece used 'racial profiling.' I've heard other conservatives use it as well.
As I argued yesterday, there is no such thing as racial profiling. Now I add the following.
Why say that Trayvon Martin was racially profiled by Zimmerman when you could just as well say that he was gender profiled or age profiled or behavior profiled? Old black females walking down the street are not a problem. But young black males cutting across yards peering into windows can be a big problem.
Zimmerman profiled Martin for sure, and he was justified in doing so. We all profile all the time. But he didn't racially profile him any more than he age or gender or behaviorally or sartorially profiled him. (Martin wore a 'hoodie' and he had the hood pulled up thereby hiding part of his face.)
As I said yesterday,
Race is an element in a profile; it cannot be a profile. A profile cannot consist of just one characteristic. I can profile you, but it makes no sense racially to profile you. Apparel is an element in a profile; it cannot be a profile. I can profile you, but it makes no sense sartorially to profile you.
[. . .]
There is no such thing as racial profiling. The phrase is pure obfuscation manufactured by liberals to forward their destructive agenda. The leftist script requires that race be injected into everything. Hence 'profiling' becomes 'racial profiling.' If you are a conservative and you use the phrase, you are foolish, as foolish as if you were to use the phrase 'social justice.' Social justice is not justice. But that's a separate post.
I saw Mr. Blow and his lovely wife on TV last night. A charming couple. I mean that sincerely. But when I read his columns I am reminded that we live in the Age of Feeling, as Dennis Prager calls it. There is no thinking in Blow's op-ed pieces for The New York Times, only emoting. Add 'Blow' to the list of aptronyms. His latest is The Whole System Failed Trayvon Martin. I was tempted to sort through the nonsense it contains, but thought better of it. Time is short and some writings are beneath refutation.
Blow has a skull full of mush, but at least he is articulate. The real problems of the black community lie much deeper, not in any systemic or institutional racism -- the imputation of which to our great country is just slanderous nonsense -- but in a culture that produces people like Rachel Jeantel who belong to a seemingly unassimilable indigenous subculture. A fellow blogger points to the genetic factors involved, remarking that the culture that produces a Jeantel is itself produced by Jeantels. I responded that the genetics are given, while the social and cultural factors are malleable. I don't want to believe that a person like her cannot be taught to read, write, and speak basic English.
And while we are on the topic of Ms. Jeantel, she explains here that Zimmi simply failed to appreciate the cultural context in which he was being "whoop-assed." How insensitive of him! Had he been able properly to contextualize the beat-down, he surely would not have 'smoked' the poor boy.
One of the tactics of leftists is to manipulate and misuse language for their own purposes. Thus they make up words and phrases and hijack existing ones. 'Racial profiling' is an example of the former. It is a meaningless phrase apart from its use as a semantic bludgeon. Race is an element in a profile; it cannot be a profile. A profile cannot consist of just one characteristic. I can profile you, but it makes no sense racially to profile you. Apparel is an element in a profile; it cannot be a profile. I can profile you, but it makes no sense sartorially to profile you.
Let's think about this.
I profile you if I subsume you under a profile. A profile is a list of several descriptors. You fit the profile if you satisfy all or most of the descriptors. Here is an example of a profile:
1. Race: black 2. Age: 16-21 years 3. Sex: male 4. Apparel: wearing a hoodie, with the hood pulled up over the head 5. Demeanor: sullen, alienated 6. Behavior: walking aimlessly, trespassing, cutting across yards, looking into windows and garages, hostile and disrespectful when questioned; uses racial epithets such as 'creepy-assed cracker.' 7. Physical condition: robust, muscular 8. Location: place where numerous burglaries and home invasions had occurred, the perpetrators being black 9. Resident status: not a resident.
Now suppose I spot someone who fits the above profile. Would I have reason to be suspicious of him? Of course. But that's not my point. My point is that I have not racially profiled the individual; I have profiled him, with race being one element in the profile.
Blacks are more criminally prone than whites.* But that fact means little by itself. It becomes important only in conjunction with the other characteristics. An 80-year-old black female is no threat to anyone. But someone who fits all or most of the above descriptors is someone I am justified in being suspicious of.
There is no such thing as racial profiling. The phrase is pure obfuscation manufactured by liberals to forward their destructive agenda. The leftist script requires that race be injected into everything. Hence 'profiling' becomes 'racial profiling.' If you are a conservative and you use the phrase, you are foolish, as foolish as if you were to use the phrase 'social justice.' Social justice is not justice. But that's a separate post.
Addendum. There is also the liberal-left tendency to drop qualifiers. Thus 'male' in 'male chauvinism' is dropped, and 'chauvinism' comes to mean male chauvinism, which is precisely what it doesn't mean. So one can expect the following to happen. 'Racial' in 'racial profiling' will be dropped, and 'profiling' will come to mean racial profiling, which, in reality, means nothing.
Any candid debate on race and criminality in this country would have to start with the fact that blacks commit an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes. African-Americans constitute about 13% of the population, yet between 1976 and 2005 blacks committed more than half of all murders in the U.S. The black arrest rate for most offenses—including robbery, aggravated assault and property crimes—is typically two to three times their representation in the population. [. . .]
"High rates of black violence in the late twentieth century are a matter of historical fact, not bigoted imagination," wrote the late Harvard Law professor William Stuntz in "The Collapse of American Criminal Justice." "The trends reached their peak not in the land of Jim Crow but in the more civilized North, and not in the age of segregation but in the decades that saw the rise of civil rights for African Americans—and of African American control of city governments."
The significance of the Zimmerman trial is that it is emblematic of the deep and ever-deepening racial divide in this country despite the successes of the civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s and the increasing participation of blacks in all institutions of our society, a participation culminating in the election of a black president in 2008 and his re-election in 2012. Deeper than the racial divide, however, is the left-right divide with the latter fueling the former. I call it 'planetary' because it is as if conservatives and leftists have no common ground and inhabit different planets.
Let's look at two examples.
On Sunday morning, in a short post entitled Justice Denied, Robert Paul Wolff writes, "I awoke this morning to learn that the Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman. Is there anyone on the face of the earth who believes that, had the race of Zimmerman and Martin been reversed, the verdict would have been the same?"
Despite the foolishness of what he posted on Sunday morning, Professor Wolff is not some two-bit cyberpunk with a blog. I used to have a high opinion of him, on the basis of two books of his I read. One of them is The Autonomy of Reason: A Commentary on Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Harper & Row, 1973). The flyleaf of my copy bears the annotation, "I first read this book in the fall of 1980. It is an excellent study!" I was teaching a graduate seminar on Kant and found Wolff's book extremely useful. The other book I have read is his In Defense of Anarchism which I also found impressive. In November of 2009 I wrote three long entries about the anarchism book. They can be found in my Anarchism category.
Now in what sense was justice denied? The state's case against Zimmerman was so weak as to be nonexistent. So justice was served by his acquittal. Had Zimmerman been found guilty of second-degree murder, that would have been the height of injustice. That ought to be perfectly obvious to anyone who followed the trial. So justice was not denied to Zimmerman. He was justly treated.
If Wolff means anything, he means that justice was denied to Trayvon Martin. But if that is what he means, then he doesn't understand the purpose of a criminal trial. The purpose of a criminal proceeding is not to secure justice for the victim. If that were the purpose, then every defendant would have to be found guilty. For in every acquittal there is no justice for the victim, or victims as in the O. J. Simpson case.
A criminal trial can issue in the correct result whether or not justice is achieved for the victim. If the correct result is an acquittal, then of course there is no justice for the victim in that trial. But if the correct result is a conviction, then there is, per accidens, justice for the victim in that trial. The main point, however, is that a criminal trial is not about seeking justice for the victim, but about making sure that the accused is not wrongly convicted.
The glory of our system of justice is the (defeasible) presumption of innocence: the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This presumption of innocence puts the burden of proof in a criminal trial where it belongs, on the state. The prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; the defense is under no obligation to prove that the defendant is innocent. In a criminal proceeding all the defense has to do is raise a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused.
It is of course deeply unfortunate that Trayvon Martin died young of a gunshot wound. But he brought about that result himself by recklessly attacking a man who then, naturally, defended himself against Martin's deadly attack using deadly force. Zimmerman did nothing legally impermissible.
I wonder if Wolff thinks that Martin would have received justice if Zimmerman had been wrongly convicted. I hope not. Again, the crucial point here is that the purpose of a murder trial is not to secure justice for the victim, but to see if the accused is first of all a killer, and then whether he is a murderer. There is no doubt that Zimmerman killed Martin. The question is whether or not the killing was legally justifiable. And indeed it was found to be legally justifiable.
If Zimmerman had been black and Martin Hispanic would the verdict have been the same? Yes. Why not? O. J. Simpson is black and the two people he slaughtered (Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson) were white, and yet O. J. was acquitted.
My second example is Roger L. Simon. He thinks, as I do, that Zimmerman should never have been charged. But he goes a step further when he writes:
Congratulations to the jury for not acceding to this tremendous pressure and delivering the only conceivable honest verdict. This case should never have been brought to trial. It was, quite literally, the first American Stalinist “show trial.” There was, virtually, no evidence to convict George Zimmerman. It was a great day for justice that this travesty was finally brought to a halt.
We all know Al Sharpton, the execrable race baiter of Tawana Brawley and Crown Heights, agitated publicly for this trial more than anyone else. But he most likely would not have succeeded had it not been for Obama’s tacit support. As far as I know this is unprecedented in our history (a president involving himself in a trial of this nature).
Looks like we have a nice little 'conversation' about race going here. Too bad the conversants live on different planets.
I know you've been following this case. I must say I'm impressed by the outcome. Even though I believed that Z's account of the events was consistent and that the prosecution's case was incredibly weak, I was expecting the all-female jury to cave in to the pressure and declare him guilty or, at least, to come back with a lesser charge.
MavPhil: That's what I was expecting: a cave-in by the female jurors and a manslaughter conviction. So I was extremely pleased that justice was done. The state had no case whatsoever as became very clear early on from the testimony of the state's own witnesses. Objectively speaking, it was all over after John Good's cross-examination by the magnificent Mark O'Mara. He impressed the hell out of me: calm, clear, respectful, logical, thorough, low-keyed, bluster-free. A patient, relentless, digger for the truth. Good was impressive as well. That segment of the trial made me very proud of our system.
Zimmerman should not have been charged in the first place, and initially he wasn't. It was only after the race-baiters got wind of the story that local law enforcement buckled under national pressure. Among the race-baiters was our very own hopelessly inept president, Barack Obama, with his irresponsible remark to the effect that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. Here again we have Obama meddling in a local matter just as he did before about four summers ago in the Henry Gates affair.
So was the trial about race or not?
Objectively, the case had nothing to do with race. Objectively, the case was about the use of deadly force to repel an attack of deadly force. A very fit young man physically assaults an obese, out-of-shape older man. The older guy ends up on the ground with the younger guy on top of him doing the 'pound and ground,' slamming the older man's head into the pavement and telling him that tonight he will die. Now is it legally permissible to use deadly force in a situation like this, a situation in which one is about to be killed or suffer grave bodily harm? Yes, the law allows the use of deadly force in such a situation. Note that we are not talking about morality here, but about legality. Whatever one's moral intuitions or moral theories, there is a hard fact about what the law permits, and that is not in dispute. The only question is whether on that particular evening George Zimmerman was indeed fighting for his life.
The defense team made a very strong case that he was on the bottom fighting for his life against the strapping youth who thought of him as a "creepy-ass cracker." The defense didn't have to make that strong case; all it had to do was show that the above was a likely scenario in order to raise a reasonable doubt about Zimmerman's guilt. In a criminal proceeding the probative standard is set very high, and rightly so. The accused is presumed innocent and the burden of proof rests on the prosecution to show that the accused is guilty of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. But the defense succeeded in doing both: it showed that Zimmerman was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and, as O'Mara remarked after the trial, it proved that he was innocent.
So, objectively, the case had nothing to do with race. The racial veneer was superadded by the race-baiters of the Left so that they could use this trial to further their own political agenda. Among the race-baiters are the editors at the New York Times who decided that Zimmerman was a 'white Hispanic.' They would never refer to Obama as a white black even though he is half-white and half-black. They applied the 'white Hispanic' appellation in order to inject race into a non-racial case. If both parties to the dispute were black or both Hispanic we wouldn't have heard about it. Meanwhile, blacks are killing blacks in record numbers in Chicago and other places.
The Left is raging at the moment. They say young blacks aren't safe anymore. But, were they before this single incident? I haven't heard a single word about the dozens of young blacks who are murdered by other blacks every year. All I hear is a lot of moralizing about poverty, racism and gun legislation from upper-middle class people who live in 95% white communities and have never seen a gun in their lives.
I think it's something else. Maybe it's the realization that they're not so powerful. That their enormous govt.-approved media campaign to portray this as a racially motivated murder of a kid was not enough convince a jury of six women (which, by the way, included a black hispanic lady). That they could not only notice the absence of racist armed vigilantes on the hunt and young harmless children walking home, but also act accordingly. Maybe it's too much for them, even after six years of getting everything they wanted.
MavPhil: I basically agree with you. Let the leftist loons rage. It is music to my ears and blog-fodder for my blog. We conservatives are going to have a lot of fun exposing their contemptible lies and inanities.
. . . I have had a strained relationship with a long-time black friend who really thinks that opposition to Barack Obama is racially based. Beyond the personal level, I despise the tactic of dividing people in this country and capitalizing on the fact that some people love to nurture grievances derived from vicarious experiences. It always been a goal of the Left to make people hate not only their countries but their whole civilization. After all, how can you get someone to kill his father unless can get that man first to hate his father?
Well Tom, perhaps you ought to drop this guy as a friend. How can you be friends with someone who willfully believes something so plainly false, not to mention divisive and deeply offensive to those who have argued carefully and dispassionately against Obama's policies?
Anyone who thinks that opposition to Obama's policies derives from racial animus is delusional, on this point if not in general.
But assuming you value or need his friendship, then perhaps you ought to sit your friend down and very gently explain to him the distinction between a person and the policies he advocates. Explain that we conservatives are opposed to the policies of Obama, not the man. While we are not happy that a leftist is in the White House, we are very happy that a black man is there even though he is only half-black: it gives the lie to the oft-repeated leftist slander that the U. S. is institutionally racist.
But I predict that you will not get anywhere with your friend, not because he is black, but because he is a liberal.
You're right: the grievances many blacks love to nurture derive from vicarious experiences. They themselves have not experienced slavery or even Jim Crow. On the contrary, they have profited from the wonderful opportunities this country offers. But, having listened to race-baiters such as Brother Jesse and Brother Al, they think that the way forward for them is the via negativa of grievance-mongering when the latter is one of the marks of a loser and is sure to make them worse off than they are now.
The race-baiting, delusional Left is completely out of control in this country as witness the Zimmerman prosecution, the Paula Deen shakedown, and the mindless uproar over the SCOTUS decision to strike down Article Four of the 1965 Voting Act.
Curious how so-called 'progressives' are stuck in the past, as if Jim Crow still exists.
I am listening to Dennis Prager. According to Prager, Harry Truman once wrote on a postcard "I am now in kike town." And then Prager went on to make the correct observation that quoting a person's use of a word is not to use that word oneself.
Philosophers distinguish between use and mention. It is one thing to use a word to refer to a thing or a person; it is another thing to mention the word. One can quote someone's use of the word 'kike' without calling anyone a kike. Someone who grasps the distinction should not be squeamish about writing out the word 'kike' as I have just done. What's more, no one one I am aware of is squeamish in that way.
But people routinely speak of the N-word. They won't write out 'nigger,' but they will write out 'kike,' 'cracker,' ''wop,' 'guinea,' 'dago,' 'greaseball' . . . Why the double standard?
'Kike' and 'nigger' differ in that the first is monosyllabic while the second is disyllabic. I am talking about the words. 'Kike' and 'nigger' are not persons. No person is monosyllabic or disyllabic.
Make the distinction and avoid the double standard.
Would anything be left of the Left if leftists were forced to disembarrass themselves of their manifold double standards? (That is what we call a rhetorical question.)
These days I have been pinching myself a lot to see if I have been dreaming: such is the lunatic course of events in this country. Here are a couple of posts on the latest outburst of liberal-left race insanity. Perhaps later I'll throw in my two cents.
Makes sense, right? Certain conservative individuals and groups have been harassed by the Internal Revenue Service for their political views. The IRS is a a branch of the U. S. government whose president is Barack Obama, a man who is half-black and half-white, and therefore black. Those who criticize the targeting of conservatives by the IRS are criticizing the president. But to criticize a black president for anything is racist. It is the equivalent of applying 'nigger' to him. Therefore 'IRS' is a conservative 'dog whistle' for 'nigger.'
Thus 'reasons' the liberal.
Am I using 'nigger' or mentioning it? The latter. It is an important distinction. Philosophers are careful to observe it. It is one thing to use a word to refer to someone or something, and quite another to talk about, or mention, the word. Boston is a city; 'Boston' is not: no word is a city. 'Boston' is disyllabic; Boston is not: no city is composed of two syllables. Same with 'nigger.' It's a disyllabic word, an offensive word, a word that a decent person does not use. I am not using it; I am mentioning it, talking about it to make a serious point.
Those who refuse to write out 'nigger' but have no qualms about other such offensive epithets as 'kike' employ a double standard. It is also ironic that one should be squeamish about writing out 'nigger' when one has no qualms about slandering conservatives in the most malevolent and scurrilous ways.
If blacks make up 12% of the student population, then blacks ought to make up 12% of school expulsions. Fair is fair. Discrimination on the basis of skin color is wrong. But in Clark County, Nevada, in 2009-2010 black student expulsions were at 43% of the student population. So Clark County is racist. Blacks are being targeted just because of their skin color.
How could anyone resist such cogent reasoning?
It is shocking but true: minority students are overrepresented in expulsions and suspensions.
Any morally decent person should be able to appreciate that justice demands that minority students be represented proportionately.
One of Dylan's great 'finger-pointing' songs. Live version.
Today Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught They lowered him down as a king But when the shadowy sun sets on the one that fired the gun He'll see by his grave on the stone that remains Carved next to his name his epitaph plain "Only a pawn in their game."
Imagine a German restaurant so named. "Best blood sausage in the East Valley!" Or MOM's Diner of Mesa. "Fine Aryan cuisine served up right by members of the militia of Montana." Would you be offended? I just made up those examples.
But this is a real example: La Raza Steak and Ribs, a Mexican joint in Apache Junction, Arizona. When I mentioned this to a friend, he replied, "That would be like naming a German restaurant Die Rasse, The Race."
We are asked to believe that a multimillionaire African-American woman, who boasts that those who “mess” with her end up badly, is a victim of racism for not being welcomed as a nominee for secretary of state — a position that has not been held by a white male in 15 years — after she went on five television shows the Sunday after the Benghazi attack in an effort to convince Americans of the absurd myth that their ambassador had been killed in the course of a demonstration gone bad, rather than being murdered in a preplanned al-Qaedist hit.
One of my darker thoughts is that in the end tribal allegiances trump whatever people piously imagine unites us. For a time the great American experiment worked. People assimilated under the aegis of e pluribus unum. People valued liberty over material equality. But now talk of these ideals seems quaint to a growing number. Books like Dennis Prager's latest that celebrate them may have come too late. We may have passed the tipping point toward the descent into tribalism. We shall see.
Blut und Boden shouldn't matter but it does to leftists. Here is an excerpt from my The Hyphenated American (link below):
The liberal-left emphasis on blood and ethnicity and origins and social class is dangerous and divisive. Suppose you come from Croatia. Is that something to be proud of? You had to be born somewhere of some set of parents. It wasn't your doing. It is an element of your facticity. Be proud of the accomplishments that individuate you, that make you an individual, as opposed to a member of a tribe. Celebrate your freedom, not your facticity.
If you must celebrate diversity, celebrate a diversity of ideas and a diversity of individuals, not a diversity of races and ethnicities and groups. Celebrate individual thinking, not 'group-think.' The Left in its perversity has it backwards. They emphasize the wrong sort of diversity while ignoring the right kind. They go to crazy lengths to promote the wrong kind while squelching diversity of thought and expression with their speech codes and political correctness.
Coincidentally, I'm currently a TA for a class in which significant portions of this book have been assigned (a philosophy of law class, focusing on legal punishment). Alexander's main focus in the book is not incarceration (and related phenomena) in general, but the War on Drugs in particular. An important part of her case for the racially discriminatory nature of "mass incarceration" (a phrase by which she means (a) the entire system of state-control over offenders, whether prison, parole, probation, etc., as well as (b) the post-punishment effects on offenders such as barriers to voting, employment, public housing) in the U.S. is the claim that black Americans are no more likely to use/deal illegal drugs than are white Americans, and yet law enforcement have disproportionally targeted black Americans. She thinks that this discrimination largely results from the great procedural discretion which law enforcement have in prosecuting this War (both at the level of police forces and individual officers in deciding where/whom to search, and at the level of prosecutors in deciding what kind of sentences to seek). This discretion, along with the need to be proactive in order to bust people for drug offenses, creates the opportunity for racial biases, whether conscious or unconscious, to shape how the War is prosecuted.
When I read the bit you did, my first thought was that it was ridiculous to compare Cotton's political "disenfranchisement" to his KKK-killed great-grandfather's political disenfranchisement. I still think that about this case (homicide/robbery...), but I did become more sympathetic to the idea that there were interesting connections between Jim Crow and "mass incarceration." The main difference is that the "New Jim Crow" is officially "colorblind," not a result of overt racism (at least by and large). The official aim is to maintain "law and order," not to sweep black Americans into the state's control. The alleged parallel is that you have a class of people largely characterized along racial lines who are shut out of mainstream society in various ways (voting, public housing,employment). The new reason, having a felony on your record, is very different - and, one might think, much more justified than the old reasons. But I was struck by (a) the claim that black Americans are not more likely to be guilty of drug crimes and yet are more likely to be targeted by law enforcement for them, and (b.) the severity of punitive measures attached to drug offences (including the felony label for many such offences, with all the ensuing ramifications).
Thank you for that, Dan. A few brief remarks:
1. Are black Americans no more likely to use/deal illegal drugs than are white Americans? I rather doubt that. We know that blacks commit proportionately more crimes than whites in general, so one would expect that to be true for drug dealing in particular. This is of course an empirical question, but it is exceedingly difficult to get to the truth of the matter because of the 'hot button' nature of the question and because fields such as sociology and criminology are heavily infected with ideology. For example, how many conservative sociologists are there in universities as compared to leftists? A very small number. What does that say about universities and about sociology? Given the leftist bias of most sociologists, it is reasonable to be skeptical about anything they claim is a result of 'research.'
2. Leftists conflate the world with the world as they wish it to be. And they wish to believe that we are all equal. And so they cannot accept the notion that blacks have a greater natural propensity to commit crimes than whites. This leads them to think that blacks are disproportionately 'targeted' and 'labeled' felons. The truth, I suspect, is that blacks commit more crimes proportionately, which is why their rates of incarceration are proportionately higher.
3. This is consistent with a frank admission that there is plenty of injustice in the criminal justice system. There are corrupt judges, vicious cops, and ambitious prosecutors willing to sacrifice human lives to their careers. Needless to say, I am against all that.
4. Why would anyone want to single out blacks for especially harsh treatment? This is a question that needs answering, and 'racism' is no answer to it. That word is well-nigh meaningless: it is is used by leftists as an all-purpose semantic bludgeon to beat down conservatives. It means anything leftists want it to mean. What is racism? If I argue against ObamaCare, leftists call me a racist. But ObamaCare is a policy, and policies, last time I checked, have no race. So for leftists 'racism' and cognates mean everything and nothing. Do people dislike blacks because of their skin color? Perhaps a few do. But dislike of blacks is not for most people based on skin color but on black behavior. This brings us back to the empirical question whether blacks as a group behave worse than whites as a group. If they do, then this would explain why they are incarcerated in greater numbers.
5. Should felons have the right to vote? First of all, how many criminals want to vote? The typical criminal is someone whose only concern is himself and the immediate gratification of his basest desires. Such people have contempt for civil society. They are not interested in participating in it. For them it's a joke. These are not people who think about the common good. If you mentioned civic duties to them they would laugh their heads off.
So we need to ask: who is it that wants felons to vote? Not felons for the most part. But leftists! Leftists want felons to vote to expand their base. Leftists have a an exceedingly casual attitude toward criminal behavior. They are by nature lenient and forgiving. So if criminals are allowed to vote, they will of course vote for leftists, in the USA, for the Democrats.
That is why leftists want to extend the franchise to felons.
Whether or not they want to vote, should criminals have the right to vote? Of course not. Criminals can't even order their own lives, why should have a say in how society is ordered? Furthermore, removal of the right to vote is part of the punishment that they deserve for raping and drunk driving and drug dealing and murdering and for being the generally worthless individuals that they are.
6. Finally, I am open to the idea that drug laws need to be carefully examined. I am opposed to draconian 'zero tolerance' laws that make a felon of some harmless hippy who grows marijuana for his own use. But if he drives while stoned, or sells the stuff to school kids, then I want the law to come down on his shggy head like a ton of bricks.
I have been a fan of your blog for a long time. In fact you helped to establish my first wary steps into the discipline of philosophy. I struggled through your entries, persistent and confused, ultimately rewarded for my efforts. Your scathing, surly, incisive political commentary is a great alternative to my usual news consumption habits. Now, I admit that I am left-leaning, and so your perspective is refreshing. I understand that you have a particular interest, but your motto, "Study everything, join nothing," as led me to believe that you might approach my book suggestion with an open mind: "The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness." Alas, the title is sensational but the information and research seems solid. I suggest the work in hopes that you might begin a running critique or dialogue upon the subject.
I thank the reader for his kind words and I find it gratifying that letters like his roll in at regular intervals, suggesting to me that my pro bono efforts are of some value.
If I were to find the book the reader suggests at the local library I would check it out and read at least portions of it. But I am not inclined to go out of my way to acquire it based on the following description from the Amazon page which I quote verbatim:
"Jarvious Cotton's great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole."
As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status--much like their grandparents before them.
In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community--and all of us--to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.
Before commenting on the above description, let me say that, first of all, like many conservatives, I didn't start out as one. My background is working class, my parents were Democrats and so was I until the age of 41. I came of age in the '60s. One of my heroes was JFK, "the intrepid skipper of the PT 109" as I destribed him in a school essay. I was all for the Civil Rights movement. Musically my heroes were Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. I thrilled to "Blowin' in the Wind" and other Civil Rights anthems. As I see it, those civil rights battles were fought and they were won. But then the rot set in as the the party of JFK liberals became the extremists and the leftists that they are today. For example, Affirmative Action in its original sense gave way to reverse discrimination, race-norming, minority set-asides, identity politics and the betrayal of Martin Luther King's dream that people be judged "not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." As liberals have become extremists, people with moderate views such as myself have become conservatives. These days I am a registered Independent.
Now let's consider the first paragraph of the above description. Mention is made of one Jarvious Cotton. His mugshot is to the left. This dude was convicted of two offenses, homicide/murder and armed robbery. According to Michelle Alexander, author of the book in question, Cotton "has been labeled a felon."
So he was merely labeled a felon but is not a felon? Or was the label properly applied? Alexander is suggesting the former. The suggestion, from the context of the first paragraph, is that blacks get 'labeled' felons to prevent them from voting.
But that is absurd. Apart from the occasional wrongful conviction, blacks who are labeled felons are correctly so-labeled because they have committed felonies. Now should felons have the right to vote? Of course not. First of all, if you commit a felony, that shows you are pretty stupid: you don't know your own long-term best self-interest. It shows that you have terrible judgment. Murder and armed robbery are not elements in a life well-lived. A person like that should not be given a say on matters of public concern. That should be obvious. Second, part of the punishment for being a felon is removal of the right to vote.
No one is interested in disenfranchising blacks by 'labeling' them felons, but some blacks disenfranchise themselves by committing felonies.
There is also the misuse of language in the title of the book. The New Jim Crow? Nonsense. Jim Crow is a thing of the past.
Does the U. S. criminal justice system "target black men" and "decimate communities of color"? Is Atty Gen'l Eric Holder -- who is black -- in on this too? What motive could they have? The antecedent likelihood of this claim is so low that I cannot take it seriously. It is on a level with the wild claims of the 9/11 'truthers' and the allegation that the CIA in the '80s dumped cocaine into South Central Los Angeles.
Does Mathews really believe what he says here? If he does then he is mentally unhinged. I'll assume he's unhinged just to be charitable. If he doesn't believe what he says, then he is a scumbag. But he seems like a nice guy!
Note also the psychological projection. Unwilling or unable to face the hatred that animates him, he projects it into his opponents. It is also projection when he claims, absurdly, that conservatives are more political than liberals. That's delusional. For libs and lefties politics is their religion, which is certainly not the case for conservatives. Conservatives don't seek their meaning in the political sphere; they enter it mainly to counteract and undo the mischief of liberals.
In fact, we conservatives are at a considerable disadvantage because we are not 24/7 political activists. 'Conservative activist' borders on an oxymoron. There are a few, though, David Horowitz being one. But don't forget that he was a red diaper baby who imbibed activism with his mother's milk.