:: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 ::
The Self vs. the Group
Posted by Edward Cline at 8:28 PM
Is anyone "born" anything, except
tabula rasa? Is one "born"
a Jew, or a Catholic, or a Muslim, or Buddhist, or even an atheist?
Recently, I writer I esteem for his
consistently perspicuous and insightful observations on foreign affairs,
domestic policies, and modern culture, writing about being Jewish, made this startling
"Jewish is a
group identity. There is no such thing as an individual Jew. No man is an
island and certainly no Jew is. Someone who is not part of the Jewish people is
not a Jew."
Yes, being Jewish might be a "group
identity." But Jews are individuals first, Jewish second. People can
choose to be part of a "group," but they're still individuals making
individual choices. An individual has no innate collective identity, unless he
chooses one, and then it is not "innate." There is nothing in any
person's genes or physical makeup that determines the content of his mind. Groups
or collectives don't think. One can choose to join a mob or a political party
or a fraternity and the like, but this is making an individual choice. No one
is destined to be drawn inexorably or helplessly into an imaginary gestalt,
however benign or malevolent it might be.
Regardless of one's circumstances, the
element of volition and choice is ever present in any individual, regardless of
the circumstances of his birth. One can be born into a Jewish family, a Muslim
family, a Catholic one, even an atheist one, a Zulu tribe, and so on, and be
raised in strict accordance with the dogma or tenets, traditions, or beliefs shared
by that group. At any point in one's life, one still has the capability of
questioning whether what one is taught is true or false. If one has the
courage, or the curiosity, one can step outside of one's "group," and
observe it from the outside. Groups are not necessarily unbreakable chains or boast
of "force fields" that prevent one from leaving them.
a Roman Latin term for "clean slate," is an all- important ingredient
in this issue. One can write one's own slate, or let others write it. One can
form one's own independent mind, or allow others to determine what is in it and
therefore make one dependent. It's that simple.
Claiming that one is born anything but tabula rasa is to utter a fallacy, to
make oneself a prisoner of circumstances and irrelevancies.
The same truth applies to race. One's skin
color or facial features do not determine the content of one's mind, no more
than do one's limbs or body weight. Claiming that one has been born
"black" or Hispanic or Chinese, and so is unable to change how one
thinks, is to surrender to determinism, to accept a fate worse than death,
which is to say that one is the helpless pawn of forces beyond one's control. Then,
if one commits a crime – or achieves an admirable value or accomplishes a
rational success – one can indulge in the double-edged luxury of claiming: I
couldn't help it, I'm black (or white, or Asian). This is robbing Peter – you – to pay tribute to a tribe of
anonymous, undifferentiated Pauls, who had nothing to do with your crime or
your achievement, and who may even claim it. You steal from yourself to give to
strangers. Group think is altruist. You sacrifice your own identity and pride
to and for the group.
Communists can change their minds (even if
they were born as "red diaper babies"), and become neoconservatives, vociferously
excoriating Communism but not enthralled with capitalism, or are inarticulate
in stating what they are for.
Christians can convert to Islam, or to Buddhism, or become Moonies, or
Jehovah's Witnesses, or Mormons – or vice versa – or become founding members of
the Front for Free Range Poultry committed to acts of terror on Tyson and
Perdue chicken farms, or even join an actual domestic terrorist group.
Children raised in strict or lax religious
households can abandon religion all together or switch to another, more
earnest-sounding creed. Children born into a family of Progressives or
Democrats or Republicans can, when their store of knowledge is sufficient,
switch politics and become opponents of their parents' political beliefs and
convictions. Children's minds are subjected to or immersed in the practice and
doctrine of a creed, and really have no means to defend themselves. So they may
simply grow to adulthood not questioning anything. They will think: I must be a
Jew, or a Christian, or a Muslim, because no man is an island, I must have been
born a Jew, Christian, Muslim, or a black, and so I am but a cipher of that
group. I cannot take credit or be indicted, one way or another.
That way he can convince himself there is
no other alternative, and can consciously or unconsciously disavow
responsibility for his own actions or the criminal actions committed by members
of his "group."
But, regardless of the rationality or
irrationality of the creed or of one's choice, choosing to remain
"Jewish" or "Christian" is an act of volition.
One can choose not to choose. This is the most serious, damning, and perilous
condition. It, too, is an act of volition. This is the more common decision
most men make when it comes to politics or a system of ethics or a morality.
For one reason or another, it is an act of mental stagnation, of not wanting to
bother to think, of being comfortable in a state of mental arrest. Such men are
satisfied with the inert, unchallenged contents of their minds, letting the
slate written by others remain uncorrected. The basic reasons for refusing to
think are either fear or being content with being a mental dullard. Ayn Rand,
the novelist/philosopher, called this "second-handedness."
When an individual will question his
"received wisdom" depends on his courage and determination to know
the truth for better or for worse, and having had developed a disposition to
investigate other answers to "life's questions." Again, it is a
matter of choosing to think. Some people don’t begin to question what they
believe until some stage or point in their adulthood. Others begin in their
teens or early adulthood. Very few individuals are willing to perform a volte-face in their premises and world
views once they have reached or passed the age of fifty. They become dependent
on a lifelong store of knowledge which they cannot validate or be certain is
true or not. They become defensive when it is questioned and hostile to anyone
who seems to contradict it or who seems to be a reproach to their life-long
Habits are not necessarily a bad thing.
Choosing to think is a good habit. Choosing not to think, as John Galt, the
philosopher-inventor in Rand's novel, Atlas
Shrugged, said to the world, is tantamount to the notion of Original Sin.
Thinking is man’s
only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the
source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but
struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of
one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to
see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your
mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment—on the
unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it,
that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict “It is.”
Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt
to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it
will merely wipe out the wiper. By refusing to say “It is,” you are refusing to
say “I am.” By suspending your judgment, you are negating your person.
The negation can be compartmentalized. An
individual can be rational "to a fault" in his career and elsewhere
in his life, but still claim that he is either an inseparable member of his
group (a race or a religion or a political cause), or even a superb example of
his group. (See my column, "The
Origins of Modern Black Collectivism" for W.E.B. Du Bois's early promulgating
the notion of a black "Talented Tenth" who would lead, presumably,
the "Untalented Ninety Percent," of blacks out of poverty and discrimination
by that other enemy group, whites.)
Groups can be persecuted (as Jews have been
for millennia), or Christians slaughtered (as they are now in the Mideast).
Centuries ago Catholic France persecuted French Protestants. The Cambodian
intelligentsia was sent to the "killing fields" by another group, Pol
Pot's Communists. Stalin, a Georgian Russian, targeted the relatively
prosperous Kulaks in Russia for extermination. Instances of one group
destroying or persecuting another are legion in human history. The most
notorious one in the present, targeted for death, submission, or slavery, are
non-Muslim "infidels," regardless of their race, color, gender, or
creed (e.g., Sunni Muslims are battling Shi'ite Muslims, the one group
regarding the other as heretical "infidels").
Groups do exist, but they must be defined
by a common thread or denominator of choices made by those who elect – or by default
or without thought – to "belong" to them, and by what things are
chosen by those who wish to "belong" to any specific group. Hassidic
Jews are a distinct group of Jews. The Mennonites differ from the Amish.
Catholics who prefer masses said in Latin disparage Catholics who prefer masses
said in English. The differences between groups are endless. But what members of these groups all have in
common is that it is a consequence of individual volition and choice (but not
necessarily of thought).
I might, as Rand did herself, call myself a
radical for capitalism. But that is a conscious choice. I was not born tabula rasa except that laissez-faire was already written on it.
That never happened. It wasn't in my genes or in my race, I wasn't fated to
become one. After years of observing men's behavior in politics and economics
and social relationships, I wrote that
0 Comments ::
:: Monday, August 25, 2014 ::
The Origins of Modern Black Collectivism
Posted by Edward Cline at 3:38 PM
I remember these scenes vividly.
Sometime in the mid-1950's, when I was
about ten years old, I was in the family car with my foster father on some
errand. My foster father was an Italian-American Lutheran truck driver who
married into an Irish-German family. We had to stop on Perrysville Avenue (this
was in Pittsburgh), right in front of Perrysville High School (as it was known
then). A black cop was directing traffic at the five-way intersection, which
had no traffic light. My foster father remarked angrily, "Damned niggers
are taking over everything!"
Now, I had never seen a black man before,
and did not understand my foster father's anger. But the seething malice was evident
in the way he uttered the words. I gave him what I guess he perceived to be a
"dirty look," but which was simply my astonished but mute inquiry.
When we got home, he beat me with the strap
of his belt. I guess he saw reproach in my glance.
In another episode of
"misunderstanding," the family had company over. We were in the
living room and there was a lively conversation on politics, in which I did not
participate. I don’t recall exactly what the subject was, and I think I was in
my pre-teens. But either my foster father or foster mother asked me: "What
color are we, Eddie?"
I answered: "Beige." Well, I was
the only member of the family who read books. My foster parents had conniption
fits every time I consulted the pristine set of the Encyclopedia Americana they had bought for show and shelved in a
glass-door cabinet. I had encountered
the term somewhere, and it seemed more appropriate and truer than was
"orange" or "white." The term was in my vocabulary, not my
So, "beige" was not the answer
any of the adults expected to hear. I think they all sat stunned, and my foster
parents looked embarrassed.
When the company left, I again heard the
swoop and felt the sting of my foster father's belt.
Yes, racism existed in America then, and it
still exists, and will continue to exist for as long as men think of others in
collectivist terms. Observe the racism and destructive furor evident in
Ferguson, Missouri, over the shooting of a black man by a white police officer.
Except that it is basically "black" racism. A man who has just robbed
a convenience store, assaulted a police officer, and charged that officer with
every intention of causing him more harm, was shot and killed by the officer.
But the facts and circumstances are irrelevant. The black "youth" is
being touted as a "victim" of white racism.
No one asks: What was the cop, Darren
Wilson, who was injured, supposed to do when the "youth" sauntered
away? Ignore the assault, call in sick and drive to the nearest hospital to
have his injured eye attended to? If he is a law enforcement officer, and
suspected Brown of just robbing a convenience store, he was obliged to act, and
not let Brown walk off to boast to his buddies, "Hey! I just socked a honky
cop and he ain't done nothin' about it!"
In today's politically correct, thought-repressing
climate, imagine what would be said, shouted from the rooftops, and headlined were
the Darren Wilson/Michael Brown roles reversed.
A white man, of the same weight, height,
and nasty disposition as Brown's, barely literate, as well, except in the
"rap" vernacular, and known to most locals as a brutish thug, robs
and manhandles a convenience store clerk, then walks out with merchandise he
did not pay for. A black policeman stops him on the street, asking him to walk
on a sidewalk. The white man assaults the officer, tries to take his gun,
causing it to fire once. He pummels the officer, then walks off. The officer
gets out of the patrol car and tells him to stop. After all, the
"white" Brown has already committed a felony assault on the officer,
in addition to being a suspect in a store robbery that has just come over the
patrol car radio.
The white man turns and charges the
officer, maybe uttering a "rebel yell," intending to inflict further
bodily harm the officer. The officer shoots, several times. The brute is hard
The verbally abusive redneck yahoo is
Would the black officer be accused of
racism? No. it would be the white man. "See," the chorus of the MSM
and race-card players and liberals would cry, "that just proves that
whites don’t respect blacks, even when blacks are part of the establishment.
Let's hang that white trash!"
Michael Brown has not been portrayed as a
thug, but as an "innocent" youngster who meant no harm. All he was doing was walking in the middle of
a busy street. And also, well…getting away with robbery in spite of his
video-taped assault on the store clerk.
The preceding is by way an introduction to
a book by Murali Balaji, published in 2007, The
Professor and the Pupil: The
Politics and Friendship of W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson.
Balaji is a regular do-gooder contributor
to the Huffington
Post, and seems to want to do for Hindus in this country what CAIR (the
Council on American Islamic Relations) has been doing for Muslims: Empower them
politically, culturally, and socially.
He has written an adulatory character study
of the most influential advocates and propagandists for black racism, William Edward Burghardt "W. E. B." Du Bois (1868-1963), the black sociologist, civil rights
activist, and advocate of one species of racism, a study which parallels Du
Bois's life with that of Paul
Robeson (1898-1976), the black actor, singer, Stalinist admirer of the
Soviet Union, and secret member of the Communist Party of the United States. (His son, Paul
Robeson, Jr. , who went to grade school with Josef Stalin's daughter in
Moscow, had denied it until it the CPUSA boastfully outed him in 1998, calling
him "one of their own").
The current black strain of racism has at
least a century of ideological antecedents. But, it would be appropriate to let
Ayn Rand, the
novelist/philosopher, have the first word on the subject of racism:
Racism is the
lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of
ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic
lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are
produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in
practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but
by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.
Racism claims that
the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content)
is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined
before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the
caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited
knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism
is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of
collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various
breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.
Like every form of
determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man
from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects
of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with
Yes, black racism is also a form of
collectivism, and much of it was encouraged and propounded by communist and
socialist intellectuals. Du Bois and his successors in racial
"studies" such as Marcus
Louis Gates, Jr. , Cornel
Bell, and Regina
Austin, and a score more offered irrational solutions to racism that
entailed the employment of racial preferences (affirmative action), force, the
inculcation of self-consciousnesses of being "black" (black pride), reclaiming
Africa from capitalist and colonialist Europeans, and blatant bigotry against
any and all whites.
Virtually the only black spokesman in the
20th century for genuine black freedom was Booker T. Washington
(1856-1915) who disagreed with Du Bois about how to go about emancipating blacks from discrimination or achieving equal rights with whites. He thought that
force, preferential treatment, and
"revolutionary" action would only be counterproductive and leave
blacks worse off than before. As they have been left worse off, by chiefly the
Progressive Democrats, who wish to keep blacks in thrall as a tool of
perpetuating the welfare state.
Derrick Bell argued that America was an
intrinsically "racist" country and that its fundamental character as
a nation of laws not of men was but a complicated ruse and dumb show concocted
by whites to perpetuate "white" supremacy and to oppress blacks. Therefore, laws were needed to compensate
blacks for the discrimination and to enforce their preferential treatment. Any
perceived "injustice" to whites in such a program was but reparations
in the name of the ancestors of whites, who may or may not have had anything to
do with enslaving or persecuting blacks.
Founded by the late Derrick Bell, critical
race theory is an academic discipline which maintains that society is divided
along racial lines into (white) oppressors and (black) victims, similar to the
way Marxism frames the oppressor/victim dichotomy along class lines. Critical
race theory contends that America is permanently racist to its core, and that
consequently the nation's legal structures are, by definition, racist and
invalid. As Emory University professor Dorothy Brown puts it, critical race
to highlight the ways in which the law is not neutral and objective but
designed to support white supremacy and the subordination of people of
color." A logical derivative of this premise, according to critical race
theory, is that the members of “oppressed” racial groups are entitled—in fact
obligated—to determine for themselves which laws and traditions have merit and
are worth observing.
race theory holds
that because racism is so deeply ingrained in the American character, classical
liberal ideals such as meritocracy, equal opportunity, and colorblind justice
are essentially nothing more than empty slogans that fail to properly combat—or
to even acknowledge the existence of—the immense structural inequities that
pervade American society and work against black people. Thus, according to
critical race theorists, racial preferences (favoring blacks) in employment and
higher education are not only permissible but necessary as a means of
countering the permanent bigotry of white people who, as Bell put it, seek to
“achieve a measure of social stability through their unspoken pact to keep
blacks on the bottom.”
Regina Austin, a professor of law at the
University of Pennsylvania, and an advocate of Critical
Race Theory, can be characterized as a high priestess of the theory and how
to practice it in real life. Black criminals should be treated with kid gloves,
or not at all.
Central to Austin’s
“Advanced Torts” course is her claim that minority status confers the privilege
of interpreting the law as one pleases. As writer Heather MacDonald points out,
Professor Austin, in her published articles, has exhorted the black community
to reject the distinction between lawful and unlawful activity as the imposed
strictures of an oppressive white society. Austin pours scorn on such
“traditional values” as “conformity to the law,” which she insists will
“intensif[y] divisions within the black community.”
Austin has also
called on blacks to engage in outright lawbreaking, which she calls “hustling,”
but which in fact amounts to any number of acts of thievery licensed by
Austin’s demands for social justice. Thus, “clerks in stores [who] cut their
friends a break on merchandise, and pilfering employees [who] spread their
contraband around the neighborhood,” are encouraged by Austin to occupy the
“good middle ground between straightness and more extreme forms of
Much of this thinking is either Marxist in
essence or heavily influenced by Marxism. The riots in Ferguson, Missouri this
month are a direct application of those ideas, trickled down from academia to
government programs and a compliant news media, and ultimately, to "the
Then there are the non-intellectual
preachers and promulgators of the same vicious ideology, such as Nation of
Islam head Louis
Farrakhan, and retired minister to President Barack Obama, Jeremiah
Wright. In addition, there were the Black Panthers, individuals such as
Eldridge Cleaver, Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, and numerous
other "activists." Whether it is the naked "whitey is the
devil" claim of Farrakhan's or the "black theology" of Wright's or
Bell's Critical Race Theory, they are all collectivist in their fundamental
premises. There are as many variations of black racism as there are of white
racism, but they are all evil.
The racial philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois,
for example, in Balaji's description of the "Doctor's" world view,
moved in stages over time from concocting the notion of a "Talented
Tenth" of American blacks – the notion that the "best and
brightest" would, after being educated and proving their worth to live in
a "white-dominated" society, help to uplift the balance of blacks
from poverty and ignorance – to an unreserved endorsement of the Soviet Union,
with full knowledge of Stalin's genocide and the murderous purge of the
Communist Party of its original founders (such as Trotsky and other Inner Party
luminaries). Both Du Bois and Paul Robeson were certain that the Soviet way of
government was the blacks' only hope of achieving equality, dignity and
Du Bois and Alain
Locke, his contemporary at Howard University, championed the New Negro and the
Talented Tenth, a belief that those blessed with the "natural"
proclivity for intelligence and education would lead the uplift of the Negro
race…But Du Bois's first political awakening came after a visit to the Soviet
Union, where he saw firsthand the application of Socialist principles.
Du Bois and Robeson both viewed Germany and
Italy's Fascism as the inevitable result of capitalism, colonialism, and an
"innate" European desire to subjugate the "dark races." This
is pure Marxism. And both men –the
recipients of university education, in which they seemed to excel – viewed the
Soviet Union as the chief bulwark against "white supremacy," as well
as the imperialism of Japan in spite of its literal rape of China in the 1920's
and 1930's, simply because the Japanese were not "white." Robeson
opposed this view of Du Bois's, which absolved Japan of its own brand of racism
against the Chinese and Mongolians. Robeson asked the logical question:
If the Japanese had
"no regard" for the Chinese, how could they have any regard for
African Americans? Robeson would argue this point as he became more absolute in
his opposition to colonialism and Fascism. By the time the United States
entered World War II, Robeson led the charge to demonize Fascists, who existed
"not only in Germany, Italy (and) Japan, but in Canada, the United States,
the West Indies (and) Africa."
Du Bois and Robeson both visited the Soviet
Union at least twice, were given the red carpet treatment, and saw what the
Soviets wanted them to see. They were consequently bedazzled by the Soviets'
alleged campaign against racism and concern for the "minorities" in
the Soviet empire. While Du Bois remained skeptical about a Soviet-style system
working in America, Robeson remained for the rest of his life enamored of the
Soviet Union. It could do no wrong, not even when he had knowledge of the
monstrous wrongs it was committing.
So [Robeson] stayed
loyal, proclaiming that the Soviet Union's lead in the global freedom struggle
and their fair treatment of minorities made it the one nation that valued human
dignity. Robeson, in one of the rare public comments he made on the [show]
trials, told Ben Davis the Soviets "ought to destroy anybody who seeks to
harm that great country."
Du Bois was that leftist brand intellectual
who donned blinders to the reality of Soviet tyranny – tyranny was okay as long
as it was anti-white and anti-capitalist. Robeson was a forerunner of today's
celebrities who have nothing to say about Islamic atrocities but oppose Israel
defending itself against jihad, and also
excoriate capitalism while enjoying its fruits. Du Bois and Robeson both wound
up embittered hulks nurturing a deep hatred for the U.S. Robeson died of a stroke close to the 200th
anniversary of the founding of the U.S.; Du Bois joined the CPUSA in 1961, and
moved to Ghana, a "socialist police state," and died there in 1963.
The only means of perpetuating racism and
discrimination against blacks or any other "minority,'" or even
against a "majority," however "well-intentioned," is by
force, to nullify the voluntary freedom of association in employment, education
and in other human relationships. Government force, in the hands of racist
politicians or those with a vested interest in perpetuating racism as a tool of
power and "social and political transformation" (such as President
Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder), will only exacerbate racism,
and knowingly promote it (see the careers of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson).
The Civil Rights
Act of 1964 and Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" have had the
opposite effect, ignoring or disparaging the basic principle that the government
is powerless to force a mind (whether or not an individual holds racist views),
but can only corrupt it by introducing the element of legislative compulsion
and therefore stressing the alleged ubiquity of the irrational.
"Black" racism is no answer to "white"
racism, and those are not the only species of racism extant today. For example,
"white" or Semitic Muslims despise Muslim and non-Muslim blacks alike
(in Arabic, blacks are called "abeeds,"
or slaves). Light skinned or "mullatos" or mixed-race blacks look
down on dark-skinned blacks, and vice versa. Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams,
black intellectuals who promote individualism and reason, and who oppose any
kind of racism, especially black racism, which they regard as a folly, are
despised by most black civil rights organizations and by liberals and leftists,
as is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
I received my first taste of racism as a
young boy, at the end of a leather strap, a long time ago, because I did not
exhibit an "inherent" white racism which Du Bois, Robeson, and
Derrick Bell, among others, claimed was a permanent character trait of whites.
So I know how vicious any species of
racism can be.
Professor and the Pupil: The
Politics and Friendship of W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson, by Murali
Balaji. New York: Nation Books, 2007. 481pp.
1 Comments ::
:: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 ::
Police Blame Media for Race Riots
Posted by Edward Cline at 12:08 AM
Or, they ought to. Some
have. In a manner of speaking, and very guardedly. Don’t blame the
Democrats for perpetuating black poverty. Don’t blame Obama, either. Heavens,
if an individual or official did that, a brick outhouse would drop and crush
the fellow. It's happened before. It'll happen again as long as Obama is still
Note that I didn’t say, "As long as Obama
is still in office." There's a significant
difference in the terms. Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Valerie Jarrett,
and that whole motley, malevolent crew regard their offices as seats of
unrestrained power, unchecked by the Constitution and by Congress. And the news
media seem to want Obama to go the limit, to reach the goal posts and do his
pitiful victory dance again, nine-iron in hand.
Reading Cliff Kincaid's Family Security
Matters article of August 18th, "Media
Blame Police for Race Riots," it occurred to me that there ought to be
an article titled, "Police Blame Media for Race Riots." So, here it
I can't top Daniel Greenfield's sardonic
to Write About Israel" column of August 18th. It is a veritable instruction and policy manual
for liberal and clueless "journalists" on how to misrepresent Israel
and the facts behind any conflict between it and its attackers. It's a
playbook, an absolutely mandatory script to follow, lest one be relieved of
employment or be reassigned to cover pet parades in Oshkosh or a sighting of
the Loch Ness Monster in the Dead Sea.
At one point in the Fox
News video of the chaos, the riot-geared police can be seen backing off, passing
a shoulder-to-shoulder mass of photographers with their cameras, rows thick,
perhaps several score of them, some possibly standing on bleachers in the rear
to give them better shots of the police firing into the menacing crowd of
The question is: Why aren't the
"protesters" attacking the newsies? Because the protesters are on TV
now, on camera. They're hamming it up for the news media, putting on their best
"America's Got Chanting Angry Mob Talent" performances. Were it just
a news scribbler and his flash camera photographer from the Daily Ferguson
Flier, the rioters and their provocateurs wouldn't be out in such numbers, if any
were out at all, and certainly wouldn't be egging the police on to fire into
the crowd and crack heads with their batons. (Oh, horrors! The police are so
brutal, not the rock-throwing punks! They're black, and can do no wrong, you
racist!) But the news media has pumped up the riots for national and
There is no video of Darren Wilson shooting
Michael Brown, in the back or anywhere else on his ample anatomy. No video of
Brown trying to grab Wilson's gun and slamming the cop's door on him. No sound
bytes of the cop's gun going off in the car after Brown tried to wrest it from the
cop, nor of the cop telling Brown to freeze as he walked away from assaulting a
policeman. There is just the video
of Brown manhandling
the store clerk and walking away with stolen merchandise minutes before Brown
had his altercation with the cop. That was incriminating enough.
There are several
witnesses who substantiate the officer's
rendition of what transpired from the time the police car idled by to tell
Brown and his friend to not walk in the street to the time Brown lay dead, a
"victim" of his own arrogant folly.
Attorney General Eric Holder has gone to
Ferguson to make sure Brown remains a "martyr" who died waging his
own brand of "jihad," and was not just another dime-a-dozen thug who miscalculated
and got what he deserved.
Since when does Twitter count as a newspaper’s standards for publication?
Plenty of New York Times reporters tweet their views and opinions and parts of
developing stories. Plenty of reporters have been behaving in a wildly
unprofessional manner over Ferguson, on and off Twitter. They’ve been acting
like a lynch mob.
Byers was reporting conditions on the ground on Twitter in much more
neutral and professional terms, but at the same time the conclusion could have
been drawn that she was sympathetic to the law and order side of the angle, not
the rioters and looters that her colleagues preferred.
Christine Byers was actually quoting what police told her about the
violence. That may have been a no-no. Pulling her silences the police and lets
Obama, Sharpton and Co. play their games.
This is the new journalism.
Well, not so much "new" as
shop-worn. We saw it over and over again in the MSM's coverage of the Gaza War,
from the Frostbite Falls Bugle to the New York Times to the Washington Post to
the Sacramento Bee.
I'm going to take the liberty of
paraphrasing some of Greenfield's paragraphs from his edifying article, "How
to Write About Israel." The lessons to be gleaned from that marvelous
commentary are equally applicable – and are being applied even as I write this –
to the Ferguson, Missouri "war zone." I hope he forgives me.
Writing about Ferguson
has become a booming field. No news agency, be it ever so humble, can avoid
embedding a few correspondents and a dog's tail of stringers into the town and its
environs, to sit outside of undestroyed, un-looted shops, clicking away on
their laptops, meeting up with other leftists and the oppressed protester or
grieving mother of the week.
Ferguson is hot
(well, it is August) with the
suggestion of violence brimming under the surface, except when it's no longer a
suggestion but a volcanic eruption. Ferguson should be described as a
"troubled town." Throw in occasional ironic references to civil
rights and Martin Luther King, Jr., and end every article or broadcast by
emphasizing that peace is still far away.
Weigh every story
one way. Depersonalize the cops and shopkeepers, personalize blacks. One is a
statistic, the other a precious snowflake. A blacks-only looting and torching a
Korean-owned store is always in retaliation for something, but a shopkeeper's
defending his property with a gun is rarely a retaliation for anything. When shopkeepers
repel a mob by simply waving their guns from a rooftop, suggest that this
latest action only feeds the "Cycle of Violence" and quote some
official who urges the shopkeepers to talk and negotiate with those who would
harm them – whether or not there actually is anything to talk about. Well,
maybe free Swisher cigars for the overweight among the mob, with unlimited EBT
card use at the counter.
Center everything around reconciliation and "reaching out." If the shopkeepers
have any credible complaints (probably racist) about the rudeness and character
of their customers, do your best to avoid learning about them. Assume that all shopkeepers
– Korean, white, black, Hispanic, whatever – think the same way. Every concession
of theirs, made in a state of terror, is a referendum on the "peace
Convey to the reader that there is something
disturbing about the tenacity with which the store owners and shopkeepers cling
to their businesses, while making it clear that they will have to be economically
cleansed from the town for there to be peace. Many are already ruined and won’t
be back, but don’t mention that. Do not use the word "economic
cleansing," use "expropriation in the name of social justice,"
it sounds cleaner. Mention something about the Indians and slaves. Talk to the black
youth and contrast their fresh faces with their unwillingness to make peace
with their Korean, black, Hispanic and white neighbors who have harmed and
insulted them in uncountable ways, such as expecting them to pay for what they
want without walking out of a store in a huff.
politicians and black activists and other racial activists, such as Al
Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Democratic Governor Nixon's envoy, and other
out-of-towners, and maybe with a committee representing besieged Ferguson shopkeepers.
If the latter make jokes (which is unlikely), describe it as a transparent and
offensive effort to curry favor with you and influence the freedom of the press.
The police are even
worse. Press them about their rules of engagement with suspects, their profiling
policies, their constant harassment of blacks who absent-mindedly pilfer stores
or have a record of shoplifting and threatening store clerks, and so on. Get them
to admit that they're all secret members of the KKK or some other racist outfit.
If the police give you the bum's rush and ask you to leave, write about it
being an embedded hostility to the press and a denial of law enforcement transparency.
Property owners are
even worse. Press them about the all the misery and deprivation they've caused
in town. Then get your Washington and Springfield contacts to introduce you to
friendly left-wing pols who will commiserate with you about the state of the
peace process and the leap of faith that needs to be taken to make peace. Get a
quote from them about the next generation of potential protesters, and describe
them as saddened by their government's unwillingness to allow thugs and looters
to roam free in town and in their stores. Express exasperation about the
police's violation of the freedom of association during a riot or other social
crisis that calls for "military" gear and other scary symbols of
Don’t be fooled by
the shopkeepers' committee suddenly and collectively holding up their hands with
nervous smiles and saying as one, "Don’t Shoot. Don’t Loot." They're
simply patronizing you and mocking those with legitimate grievances. You're a
journalist and deserve better treatment than that.
Write about how all
the guns make you uncomfortable, but that you're not uncomfortable with rocks
and Molotov cocktails and crowbars and guys running around wearing masks and
babushkas over their faces pretending be ISIS "martyrs." Close with
an old man who expresses hope, however inarticulately (you can clean up his English
later, if you know how to) that one day peace will come to this troubled town.
Then go home to your usual stomping grounds and your Starbucks lattes and
comfortable apartments or homes and clean working environments where the most
dangerous thing to sail past your head is a rubber band shot by a pranksterish
colleague from another cubicle.
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