Saturday, April 13, 2013

Violence And Language

Mark Butterworth's "Punisher" post below has sent me off in a direction that invariably draws the harshest criticisms and the most effusive thanks -- both.

You'll see why after a few words from our sponsors a quick break for physiological reasons.

The most important characteristic one can nurture in discussions of social pathologies is the willingness to see clearly. That comprises two other characteristics:

  • The willingness to recognize patterns, even when they're unpleasant;
  • The willingness to disaggregate from an enveloping group, at the price of simplicity.

The first of these is often shouted down with ugly epithets. "Racist" is, of course, the most frequent of them, and in recent decades has had the most telling effects. The second is militated by a sense for justice -- in particular, the insistence upon holding individuals responsible for their individual decisions and actions, rather than taking refuge in a trendy collective pardon such as "They can't help it" or "Society is to blame."

The Gentle Readers of Liberty's Torch are surely bright enough to detect the tension between those two traits. Yet both are required for penetrating, clear-eyed analysis of the ailments of our society...or any other.

Consider one of the most important, least disputable patterns of recent years:

99% of all terrorist attacks since 2001 have been the work of Muslim men between 18 and 40 years of age.

In company with a leftist -- or a Muslim -- to utter such a statement will routinely get you blasted (rhetorically) as an Islamophobe. The term is supposed to express massive opprobrium. It's effectively silenced a fair number of observers of the contemporary scene, though it's arguable whether those persons' convictions have been altered by being shouted down.

Yet the statement is inarguable. The record bears it out. The sole exception to the pattern of Islam-powered terrorism is the Murragh Building bombing by Timothy McVeigh -- a white American atheist. Every other terrorist incident has been the work of a young Muslim man. The correlation could not be stronger.

By adding that recognition to several other facts about the behavior of Muslims, many persons have reasoned their way to the conclusion that Muslims should not be admitted to these shores, and that efforts be made to encourage those already here to emigrate. I shan't be coy about it: I am one such person. For that chain of reasoning I've been called, in the charming idiom of a colleague, "everything but white." But my detractors have never countered the evidence nor the reasoning that led me to my conclusions.

I was willing to disaggregate the violent, jihadi Muslims from the peaceable ones, at first. It seemed the path of justice; why hold Smith accountable for Jones's crimes? But as I learned more about Islam and the behavior of significant Islamic sub-populations in non-Islamic states, I realized that disaggregation is inappropriate in this case: the peaceable members of those sub-populations function, whether willingly or under coercion, as supporters, enablers, and concealment to the jihadis. The two groups are inseparable, and must be endured or expelled together.

Equally unpleasant yet inescapable conclusions are associated with another recognizable group.

When the "New Frontier" and "Great Society" transformations of federal policy were kicked off in the Sixties, Americans saw them, quite accurately, as expressions of benevolent intent toward the less fortunate. The original maxim of "New Frontier" social programs was "A hand, not a handout;" federal assistance was intended to set the recipient on a path to self-reliance. The "Great Society" expansions of those programs were otherwise oriented; though it wasn't stated overtly until HEW Secretary Joseph Califano said so in 1968, those programs assumed that a hefty fraction of the beneficiaries would be government dependents lifelong. Califano called it "structural poverty," plainly implying that the spars of American society itself had trapped those millions of unfortunates in their dependent condition.

Patterns were already emerging among long-term government dependents:

  • The dependent tended toward geographical concentration in the cores of large cities;
  • Negroes were heavily overrepresented among them;
  • Black women had begun a plague of unwed motherhood, moving swiftly upward from 25% illegitimate births to today's unimaginable 69% level of illegitimacy.

Social analysts of that era were more willing than those of today to concede that those patterns existed. The prevalent racism-shouting of today didn't catch on till somewhat later.

In that case, disaggregation appeared morally and analytically mandatory. The dependent sub-population wasn't entirely black; moreover, illegitimacy rates among dependent white women were on the rise as well, though they were nowhere near those of black women. However, the pattern intensified over time; the dependent sub-population grew ever blacker, and pathologies other than government dependency -- i.e., crime, vandalism, drug abuse -- were proliferating rapidly in geographical concentrations of dependent Negroes.

Those of us reluctant to blame these developments on race searched frantically for an exculpation. The one seized upon most popularly was an echo of Califano: "structural racism."

The thesis was that black dependents were held back by white Americans' reluctance to give them the opportunity to advance economically. The protraction of dependency supposedly led to a condition of despair and alienation whose efflorescences included crime for gain and various modes of dissolution (e.g., drug abuse, prostitution, and careless sex). These conditions reinforced the victims' economic stasis and caused them to cluster into tight groups impenetrable by outsiders. In other words, it was whitey's fault.

It was a brilliant, powerfully compelling explanation for the most painful social malady of the day. It became a reflexive mantra among the political elite and bien-pensants. The only problem with it was that it was entirely unsupported by the facts.

At this point, I can recommend two books, both top-heavy with factual and statistical citations, to those who'd prefer to form their own conclusions:

Both men have come in for enormous volumes of condemnation, merely for daring to amass the relevant facts and reason dispassionately from them. That, unfortunately, is a feature of the politics of our time, when bloc voting is the pattern and the two parties are defined, with fair accuracy, as pro-government and anti-government. The central irony of those denunciations is that they accuse their targets of racism -- a collectivist perversion -- yet they're being made by hard-core collectivists, who regard individuals as interchangeable pawns that can be coerced into whatever patterns the State's chessmasters might decree.

But the facts are as they are. Despite law after law, regulation after regulation, program after program, all supposedly aimed at equalizing the conditions of the races to a single high standard, America's social pathologies have a distinctive color: black. Not all American Negroes are drug dealers, violent felons, unwed mothers, or such, but the overwhelming preponderance of America's drug dealers, violent felons, unwed mothers, and so forth are Negroes -- and peaceable Negroes reflexively rally around their violent and dissolute fellows to protect them from prosecution, correction, and criticism.

All it takes to evoke a hail of condemnation is to suggest publicly that race is a participating factor.

It's become a cliche to note that no one is campaigning for greater white representation in the National Basketball Association. We easily concede the higher performances of black basketball stars. That pattern seems not to trouble the racism-shouters at all. Yet the appearance of a high-performing mixed-race player in golf, a sport dominated by whites, was greeted as a millennial breakthrough. The cant at the time was that non-whites are systematically excluded from professional golf -- this despite the high performances of various players of Oriental descent. Those who dared to note the contradiction were routinely vilified into silence.

Note also: Black basketball stars are notorious for violence, sexual profligacy, and fathering children on multiple mothers. White golfers are not.

42, a movie about breakthrough black baseball player Jackie Robinson, has just made its debut. It's being hailed as some sort of cultural landmark even though there's already been a movie about Robinson, starring Robinson himself. Perhaps it's more significant than it appears on the surface; according to early reviews, it emphasizes faith, family, and the roles of various white innovators in introducing a Negro to the major leagues. Robinson himself was an entirely admirable person, according to the facts of his life as universally reported.

It was white America that stooped to offer a hand up to blacks. Without the benevolence of whites, the various Civil Rights Acts and affirmative action initiatives would not have taken place. Without massive infusions of tax dollars taken from white taxpayers, the programs intended to lift American Negroes out of poverty would not have been funded. Yet everywhere we look, complaints about race discrimination flow in one direction -- the discriminators are supposedly white and their victims are black -- despite the profusion of private and public attempts to lure more Negroes into environments where they're deemed underrepresented. Everywhere we look, black "spokesmen" demand more, more, more...from whites, of course. Everywhere we look, the preponderance of long-term government dependency, violent crime, drug abuse, and unwed motherhood in America is among Negroes. And everywhere we look, persons who dare to note those facts and their persistence over time, and to counterpoise them to the popular cant about "structural racism," are vilified as if they'd raped the president's daughters in Macy's window at high noon.

There have already been unpleasant consequences for such persistent self-delusion and censorship-by-denunciation. There will be more -- and they'll include quite a lot of "violence and language."

1 comment:

Horatio said...

"All it takes to evoke a hail of condemnation is to suggest publicly that race is a participating factor."

Or "worse", and more accurately,