[In recognition of this incredible story, and of Mark Steyn’s unflinching penetration of America’s ongoing suicide-through-uncontrolled-immigration, I present the following two pieces, which were first posted at Eternity Road on April 22, 2007 and April 24, 2007, respectively. -- FWP]
Fran here. This is an angry column on an ugly subject. If you have any vestiges of political correctness left in you, I can guarantee that you won't like it. Won't like it? You'll be appalled. You'll wonder what's come over me, one of the Web's premier voices of sweet reason. Over the days to come you'll await some sort of retraction or apology. You'll be disappointed.
You have been warned.
Natural laws cannot be repealed. Congress and other legislators will attempt it now and then, but even to delay their operation for a bit is like trying to sweep back the tide; ultimately, you're sorry you tried.
One of the natural laws, which should be so obvious as not to require saying, is that word gets around. Something that people in general would want to know is something they will know, eventually. If you assist them in learning it, you will earn their gratitude. If you retard their edification, then when they've finally learned it, if they learn that you were responsible for denying them the data they need, you will reap the whirlwind.
I'm a news hound. I read several news sources every day, plus dozens of blogs and commentators' sites. I do my best to be as well informed as I can possibly be -- and I assure you, my best is very good.
Atop that, I'm a thinker. My education was in mathematics and physics, and I labor as an engineer. I'm not afraid to look for patterns or to draw conclusions from them. I'm also not afraid to be proved wrong; I remain open to counter-evidence for all my convictions, and I acknowledge it when it happens by.
But even a powerful and inquisitive mind is incapable of reaching useful conclusions when the data he needs is denied him. When those responsible are the very organs of dissemination that he relies upon for such information -- that claim to hold the unearthing and transmission of important news to be a sacred trust -- he can be incited to an unparalleled rage.
That rage has been growing in me for some years now, courtesy of our beloved Old Media.
The print and broadcast media have been socked with a lot of criticism in recent years for their habit of framing the stories they report strictly in "politically correct" terms. They've deserved almost all of it. Admittedly, some stories don't need any framing to appear to support left-liberal pieties, but one gets no special credit for doing what one ought to do, particularly when it's compatible with one's own desires. It's the departures from ethical journalism that get our attention, which is as it should be.
Those who defend the leftist media usually reply to our objections to their slanted coverage with irrelevancies. Some of those replies are partisan: "You conservatives don't want to hear anything that contradicts your beliefs." Some of them are exculpatory: "Well, they have to choose some way to frame the story, and why shouldn't it be the way they prefer?" And some of them are tu quoque minimizations: "If you controlled the media, you'd be doing the same thing, except in service to your point of view!"
Painful as it is to admit, there's a grain of truth in all these replies. Not a large grain, mind you: when a man has presented himself as a servant of truth and its dissemination, there's no perfect excuse for doing otherwise. But still, one must admit that some conservatives are as willing to spin and distort as anyone in the Old Media, if it will serve their purposes.
What I profoundly hope a conservative journalist would never stoop to is the complete suppression of a newsworthy event because it contradicts his preferences.
Despite my voracity about current events, this item escaped me completely until this very morning:
In January of 2007, 21 year-old Channon Christian and her boyfriend, 23 year-old Christopher Newsom, were the victims of a horrific crime in Knoxville, Tennessee. During what appears to have started as a carjacking, the criminals decided to abduct the two and set in motion a disturbing series of events.
The suspects allegedly tortured and raped the young woman for several days before killing her. The young man's life ended sooner but his treatment was no less brutal.
The amount of savagery that took place in this case is of such magnitude that bloggers and their readers are asking, "Where's the national media?" What happened to these two young people is right up there with Jeff Dahmer's deeds on the list of wicked things that people have done to each other.
Now, carjackings are nothing new. Rapes and murders are also fairly frequent. But the brutality of this particular crime appears to have probed new heights of savage inhumanity:
"It apparently started with a carjacking," said Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Rich Knighten. "They did some really nasty things to this lady."
Subsequently Newsom’s badly burned and mutilated body was found in a rail yard. It turns out the five assailants did some “really nasty things” to Christopher Newsom before they killed him. Authorities know that he was raped, his penis cut off, and beaten before being set on fire and shot several times. It is believed they forced his girlfriend, Channon Christian, to watch.
Reports state that Channon Christian, was beaten and gang-raped in many ways for four days by all five assailants, including an eighteen year-old female named Vanessa Coleman. They also took turns urinating on her. Then they cut off her breasts and put a chlorine-based cleaning product in her mouth, ostensibly to eradicate any DNA evidence, then murdered her and left her body in a garbage can inside a house once occupied by two of the assailants.
What kind of subhuman could do such a thing to a defenseless human being, you ask? Who could regard another person as meat to be abused and tortured for the sheer pleasure of it? Who could bear to go on living after having participated in such a deed, even to the extent of witnessing it?
Apparently, these persons could:
I have said it before, and I'll say it whenever anyone asks, whether in public or in private: I am a racist. That is, I am persuaded that as statistical aggregates, the conventionally recognized races differ in ways that can be contextually significant. So any mealy-mouthed leftists in the audience who think they can cow me by calling me a racist already have my reply: Damned right I am!
Despite the differences among the races, Americans are expected to make a wholehearted attempt to treat one another as individuals, to be judged on our individual merits. This is a vitally necessary enterprise. It's the only way we can share this country in something approximating peace (i.e., "a state of tension that falls short of overt armed conflict"). The sole alternative is a process of racial cleansing after which the United States would be peopled exclusively by whites.
Don't kid yourselves. Were American whites ever to conclude that inter-racial peace is impossible, within two years there wouldn't be a black man left alive and free anywhere in this country. We're a numerical majority. We control the preponderance of the land, the wealth, and most important, the weapons. Our targets would wear their affiliation in their flesh. It hasn't happened -- and please God, may it never happen -- because we still believe, despite many disappointments, that inter-racial amity is achievable. Preserving that conviction is the one and only hope American blacks have for their futures, and for those of their children.
What would undermine that conviction?
- Clear and convincing evidence that American blacks are irremediably violently hostile toward whites, or:
- A groundswell of conviction that such evidence exists, but that our news organs have conspired to deny it to us.
The first condition has not been met. The second condition is being advanced by the Old Media themselves.
Word gets around. Something as atrocious as the rape-torture-murders of Christian and Newsom cannot forever be kept from the light of day. People talk: policemen, forensic investigators, neighbors, reporters, reporters' clerical assistants, cleanup specialists, garbagemen, the families of the victims, their neighbors, and their neighbors' kids. There's simply no hope that the story won't sooner or later be told. When it is told, after a long interval of silence, people will naturally ask one another, "Why haven't we heard anything about this before now?" They will suspect conspiracy.
It's easy to suspect conspiracies, and difficult to disprove them. Conspirators are secretive by nature, seeking always to conceal or disguise their identities and deeds. Successful conspirators are well prepared to deflect the blame for their crimes onto wholly innocent others. With this as the model, one who begins to suspect that he's being deceived has a long, hard road to travel to disabuse himself of the notion.
Journalists who downplay or conceal inter-racial crimes out of the mistaken notion that they're helping to avert further hostility are either deluded or hopelessly stupid. By furthering the conviction among private citizens that we're being lied to, they advance the concomitant conviction that "the other," about whose deeds we're being denied full and accurate reports, really is someone to be feared...someone to be located and destroyed, or cast out of our midst, for our own safety's sake.
Thus, whatever their conscious motives and intentions, politically correct journalists who spike stories about horrific crimes by black perpetrators are the new segregationists. It is their decisions about which stories should be emphasized and which ones must be buried that will persuade white Americans that their black neighbors cannot be trusted and must be expelled from the body politic.
I told you at the outset that this would be an angry column. I'm furious. I want the scalp of every journalist or editor who knew of the Knoxville atrocity but decided to pass over it in silence, but thought that Don Imus's "nappy headed hos" comment or the satirical "Caucasian Achievement Award" offered by College Republicans at the University of Rhode Island should get front-page prominence and column-inches. These persons, whether through their we-know-best arrogance or through simple cluelessness, are undermining the foundations for inter-racial peace. It is not clear whether the damage they've done is reparable.
Fran here. As you might imagine, the hate mail I've received over the previous column on this topic has been both copious and vitriolic. None of it was terribly original, and none of it addressed the essay's central point. This affirms my conviction that Eternity Road's hate mailers are divided between those who can't (or won't) read and those who can't (or won't) think. Well, I suppose that's what you get when you draw the attention of a crowd that venerates a bilious ignoramus who writes for an up-market Manhattan shopping circular.
But the show must go on, and the subject is not yet exhausted, so buckle yourselves in securely, Gentle Readers, 'cause you ain't seen nothin' yet.
If human beings are at all predictable as a category, it is in this: we seek more of that which feels good and strive to avoid that which feels bad. We share this trait with the lesser orders, though humans are sometimes capable of overriding their instinctual behavior by the conscious application of will.
Our pleasure-tropism / pain-aversion is the basis for conditioning through reward and punishment. As I wrote in this essay, consistently responding to good behavior with rewards and to bad behavior with punishment is essential to child-rearing. Failure to do so results in uncivilized young adults who frequently reap worse consequences from their misdeeds than they ever imagined. Those consequences are the logical parallel to the disciplining of an unruly child. In keeping with the 1-10-100 Rule, because the fault was permitted to linger past the "design" (childhood) and "implementation" (early adolescence) phases and into the "deployment" (late adolescence and adulthood) phase, the cost of correction is orders of magnitude higher than a slap on the backside. Sometimes it involves the execution of the offender.
Even persons who favor unbending penal justice and staunchly support the death penalty for the most heinous crimes aren't happy about the necessity. We'd prefer that no one ever be incarcerated or executed. But we're not Pollyannas; we recognize reality and its implications. As long as there are miscreants who assert, by their deeds, the right to steal, defraud, kidnap, abuse, torture, and murder, there will be a need for retributive justice of appropriate harshness. To shortchange that need is to fail our responsibilities toward ourselves and our descendants.
Yet there are schools of "thought" -- yes, those are "sneer quotes" -- to the effect that punishment is socially unnecessary, that it's merely the expression of our primitive need for vengeance, that any miscreant could be curbed and brought into harmony with society simply by showing him the full consequences of his deeds. The most egregious such scholia inform us that society, not the miscreant himself, is to blame for all misdeeds, however incomprehensibly heinous. One such "thinker" was Ramsey Clark, Attorney-General of the United States under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Another was David Bazelon, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for many years. Many others have risen to positions less visible but almost as influential.
The punishment-is-awful and society-is-to-blame notions of such persons have molded our laws, our jurisprudence, and our social conduct to a remarkable extent, such that the first impulse of many a jurist is to theorize about "root causes" and "social abuses" that would exculpate the criminal. The consequence has been a great weakening of the most important disincentive for barbarity among persons so inclined.
The removal of punishment as a deterrent to crime and antisocial public behavior would be bad enough if it were absolutely uniform. But it is not, and the situation is accordingly far worse.
When a society makes special provisions for a particular class of persons, such that those persons have a good expectation of not suffering for illegal or antisocial behavior, it has committed the worst imaginable injustice against the persons in that class who honor their society's laws and norms: it has equalized the legal, social, and moral positions of good citizens and thugs. Thus, if ninety percent of such a class is law-abiding and decorous while ten percent is violent, dishonest, or disruptive, the latter category will come to overshadow the former in the perceptions of persons outside the class -- not because ten percent is a majority, but because that anti-social subgroup is identified with the class's special set of privileges.
A class is defined by its legal and social privileges. The aristocrats of medieval times were not distinguished by their lineages or their deeds, but by the things they were allowed to do, without penalty, that commoners were not. There is reason to believe that the majority of medieval aristocrats were fairly responsible stewards of their lands and of public order within them. That does not justify the creation of a class of men who could wield high, middle, and low justice over others, but who would normally escape all consequences for deeds for which a commoner would be severely punished.
The American response to the failings of traditional aristocracies was the Rule of Law: the fundamental principle that the law must treat all men impartially, regardless of their identities or station in life. The old shorthand for this principle was "blind justice," meaning that the law must not see one's person, only one's deeds. In a society that respects the Rule of Law, a king would stand in the same dock as a trash-hauler, were the two accused of the same offense. All that would matter would be the evidence for their guilt or innocence.
In the absence of a scrupulously observed Rule of Law, classes with differing degrees of privilege will emerge. The flourishing of the members of each class will be influenced, often heavily, by the class's privileges and how effectively they can be exploited. Men being what we are, we will be moved to use those privileges in our own interest, both against competitors within our class and against other classes.
Success breeds emulation. If there are advantages to be had from the ruthless exploitation of a class privilege, over time more and more members of the class will be drawn into doing so. Thus, the coloration given to the class by its privileges will become stronger and more inclusive over time.
This is not an unbounded progression; as in all other things, a tendency toward equilibrium will ultimately assert itself. However, the mechanisms by which equilibrium is restored are always unpleasant. The deterrents that curb full exploitation of a class privilege, if any exist at all, will be applied by other classes, whether through the law, other social institutions, or "informally." "Informally" usually means lynching: the application of extra-judicial, often unmerited punishment to members of one class by members of another. In the usual case, the lynchers come from a more numerous class than the lynchees, though there are occasional exceptions.
Lynching, if it goes unpunished, is itself a class privilege. There are satisfactions in it that are incomprehensible to moral men who live in ordinary times. As with other activities with innate satisfactions, the popularity of the practice will grow over time. A mob that's tasted the blood of one aristocrat is seldom satisfied with just that one sip.
Lynching writ large is genocide.
Because of our unjustly tender consciences about the practice of slavery on these shores some 140 years ago, we have awarded a sheaf of legal and social privileges to those who resemble the slaves of yore in the color of their skin. It's not obvious to everyone what those privileges are:
- Disruptive, destructive, and anti-social behavior by blacks in public and semi-public settings is tolerated far more readily than if it were by whites;
- Inflammatory rhetoric is accepted from black public figures that would never be tolerated from whites;
- Laws concerning several aspects of government action, notably procurement and subcontracting, are written to favor protected minorities, notably blacks;
- Blacks routinely receive preferential treatment from educational institutions;
- Blacks are accorded legally preferred status in hiring and firing decisions;
- Black lawbreakers' claims of racial discrimination are treated excessively credulously;
- Journalists routinely soft-pedal stories of black-on-white crime, yet are merciless about the far less frequent instances of white-on-black crime.
The justifications offered for these privileges are well known. The rationales for not punishing those who violate the written laws have impressive names: "moral equivalence" and "cultural relativism" are the best known. The former attempts to match the past crimes of slaveholders with the current crimes of black thugs, and somehow cancel one against the other. The latter proposes that thug culture "has its own validity," and that no one outside it may stand in judgment over it. Regardless of the intentions of those who make such claims, the consequences of their actions in the minds of many white Americans is to associate all black Americans, regardless of their behavior, with the privileges awarded to the class.
The monstrousness of this phenomenon can hardly be overstated. Yet there's little to be done about the principal social effect: a generalized distrust of blacks by whites, proportional to the privileges themselves. Forty years ago, when the process was at its inception, American whites were anxious to cultivate the good will of blacks, whom they felt, with justice, had received a raw deal even after the end of slavery. Today that sentiment is failing, entirely due to left-liberals' ratification of black privileges, thug culture, and black "leaders'" rampant hostility toward whites.
If there's a central irony here, it would be this: despite everything, the great majority of American blacks are devout Christians who strive with all their might and main to live according to their faith. If you're a white Christian, used to the tenor of the religious services that white Christians normally attend, you'd be blown away by the fervor of a service at a Southern Baptist or Church of God in Christ meeting. There's no hypocrisy there: these folks are passionate Christians who really mean it, in all particulars.
How much greater an injustice could we do than to group these good and gentle people with the thugs who exploit black class privileges to the hilt, cynically and ruthlessly, to the detriment of all of American society? But the thugs and grievance-mongers have their race's microphone; it's they from whom and about whom we hear. There's no redress for it except that the privileges themselves should be withdrawn, leaving blacks and whites equals before the law and the opinions of their fellow men. Yet that is the exact opposite of the stance of American left-liberals.
In the realm of political discourse, it's even worse. Highly intelligent and eloquent black conservatives, unanimous in their condemnation of preferential treatment and softened standards for blacks, are routinely belittled by American left-liberals and the black grievance-mongers and racial-identity hustlers left-liberals prize. Brilliant black scholars, public servants, and commentators such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Clarence Thomas, Janice Rogers Brown, Ward Connerly, Larry Elder, Hermain Cain, and others are derided, even demonized, by persons whose only objective claim to anyone's attention is the record of their sins. Ordinary blacks are told not to listen to the "Uncle Toms," to treat them as "inauthentic" and traitors to their race. When wildly popular entertainer Bill Cosby ratified much of the conservative prescription before an NAACP audience, high officials of that retrograde organization, including one who had characterized American conservatives as akin to the Taliban, rushed to distance themselves from Cosby's statements and suggest that he didn't really mean them. The Old Media collaborated in their flight from objectivity and hard sense.
The American left-liberal would rather salve his guilty conscience, at ruinous expense to the society in which he lives, than admit that his good intentions are nudging American race relations toward the brink of catastrophe.
To segregate is to separate, whether physically or conceptually. American left-liberals, deeply if unconsciously infected with Marxian notions, ever eager to see their society as a set of classes in combat with one another for political, economic, and social attainment, have reanimated the injustices of the era of slavery by making blacks once again a class with a special status. Blacks' legal status during the era of slavery was below that of whites, while today the reverse is true, but the overriding factor, to which both groups react despite the best will in the world, is the difference itself. That difference has brought about a widening division between American whites and blacks, whose mutual distrust is making them increasingly suspicious of one another, and increasingly unable to share communities, schools, or political subdivisions in neighborly ease.
The American left-liberal is the new segregationist.