Friday, January 10, 2014

Urgently Needed Filterings

Most Americans are decent persons who respect others' rights, property, and general sensibilities, an assessment that holds despite considerations of race, religion, and ethnicity. The problem I plan to address today is expressed by its first word of the previous sentence.

We who desire a free society have several serious problems to face. The worst of them are getting worse as we speak. More, they share a common characteristic that makes them exceedingly hard to address in an effective and conclusive fashion.

That characteristic will become clearer as you read.

Never has the United States been so welcoming, if de facto rather than de jure, toward persons from cultures utterly alien to our own. The influx has elicited several unfortunate bend-over-backward measures intended to "accommodate" them. Frequently they establish exclaves within which they hold to norms, including legal and judicial norms, sharply at odds with our own. And now and then they treat us to an outbreak of barefaced lawlessness that cannot be identified other than with their identity group.

(If you're in any doubt about which culture I mean by "our own," it's the one that speaks English, worships Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God and Redeemer of Mankind, believes in each individual's natural rights to his life, his liberty, and his honestly acquired property, and speaks and acts in defense of those things when they're threatened. Concerning "accommodations," if you've ever had to "press 1 for English," you know what I mean.)

Novelist David Brin attributes our solicitude toward these unruly newcomers to "otherness:" a compulsion to subordinate our own interests and worldview to those of an identifiable "other" who does not share them. That labels the problem but stops short of describing its mechanics. What makes so many people reflexively willing to tolerate the irritating, the disruptive, and the outright intolerable remains a research problem for the social psychologists. However, the consequences, and what we can do about them, are of more interest this morning.

The "knockout game," owing to some extremely high-profile cases, including a Congresswoman, has finally "made the papers." There's no denying any of its most salient characteristics any longer:

  • Violent attacks by packs of black youths;
  • Attacks on unsuspecting and undefended white victims;
  • The greatest frequency is in urban areas with a substantial black population.

(Go ahead, scream racist!!! if you can't hold it in. I've grown quite used to it. Indeed, a week without being decried as a shameless bigot is like a week without ice cream. Anyway, whatever makes you feel better. Just get it over with, and I'll continue.)

Needless to say -- yet I find that I must say it anyway, on pain of further screams of racist!!! -- the perpetrators of these attacks are not representative of American blacks. Most American blacks are decent, self-supporting persons who respect others quite as much as you or I. However, they succumb rather easily to the impulse to "protect" the miscreants among them from "whitey's justice." Separating the villains out from the rest is made far more difficult thereby. Worse, this inclination to "racial solidarity" in preference to ethical solidarity helps to reinforce and perpetuate the criminality of the violent subgroup.

No essay here at Liberty's Torch would be satisfying without mention of the national political discourse. It's become exceedingly bitter and shrill in recent years, and has incorporated manifestations of personal malice Americans haven't had to endure since the Lincoln Administration. Granted that the worst of it emanates from the Left side of the table, it's still something decent persons would rather see eliminated by all the parties involved. Whether there's any chance of that is unclear.

The redoubtable Tammy Bruce has some thoughts on the subject this morning:

Why are liberals becoming even more vile in their public discourse? I contend it’s a result, in part, of the fact that they get away with it, and they gain power as conservative leadership retreats from the ugliness. There have never been any serious consequences for liberal hate speech, threats and general cultural assault. Conservatives, on the other hand, the target of that bile, act on their inherent decency and “forgive and forget.”

We’ve all watched with familiar astonishment some in the leftist media expressing their rank malice for conservatives with not just the usual horrid insults, but arguments for specific personal harm to be done, and the mocking of a child. My concern is the reaction by high-profile conservatives who, after having been smeared in the most repugnant of ways, immediately accept the apologies of the liberals who slander them. This pattern needs to change. Conservatives must recognize that accepting apologies from liberals who cross the line only reinforces the myth that these attitudes are one-off “mistakes,” uttered by normally decent people. As a former liberal, I assure you nothing could be further from the truth.

Miss Bruce is almost exactly correct..."almost" because the tendency to forsake all standards of decency in political exchange is slowly seeping into conservatives as well. The consequence is a general disinclination, most pronounced among Americans who espouse neither a particular ideology nor a party alignment, to exchange views with persons who might not be similarly inclined.

Yet the vile-mouthed, vile-minded sorts remain a minority among American liberals. (Yes, they're an even smaller minority in the Right). The uncommitted "middle," over whose support both ends of the political spectrum constantly contend, is largely baffled by the whole thing and feels only a strong aversion to it.

Separating the intolerable from the larger mass, in all the cases above, has become the single most urgent social problem this country faces. It's at its worst when the enclosing supergroup actively shields the intolerable subgroup from correction.

There are things we cannot do. More important, there are things we must not do: things that are ethically equivalent to lynching. But there are things we must do as well. They pertain to the overextension of "tolerance" as the politically-correct enforcers have urged upon us for several decades.

We must cease to tolerate vileness in our public discourse.
We must cease to tolerate exhortations to hatred from groups we have welcomed into America.
We must enforce the rule of law -- American law -- uniformly, regardless of any and all concentrations of race, ethnicity, or religion.
We must absolutely and utterly cease to tolerate violence against the innocent.

These are requirements we understand better in the abstract than we do in the concrete. Therein lies our problem:

We are reluctant to move against media outlets and political figures who spout malicious slanders.
We are uneasy about condemning the promoters of hateful creeds -- especially hateful religions -- for their savagery.
We hesitate to break up exclaves formed by immigrants, even when those exclaves are openly contemptuous of the larger society and its norms.
We move against black thugs and those who shield them timidly, when we do so at all.

There have been too many illustrations of our sluggishness about these ills for the matter to be arguable. Worse, we often accept meaningless, even hurtful cosmetic measures on the grounds that "we've got to do something or people will think we don't care!"

The problem is one of filtration: as I stated above, the separation of the intolerable from the larger mass, regardless of how the larger mass feels about it. In some cases, such as Islam, it might well be impossible. In others, it demonstrably requires only will and effort.

So far, that will and effort has been conspicuously lacking.


LindaF said...

I think public figures, and private citizens who have been so vilely disrespected, need to say:

Your lame apology for personal disrespect and vicious invective is NOT accepted. I expect you to withdraw from further commentary and participation in public discourse, until your subsequent ACTIONS prove that you have learnt how to act in a civilized society.

Anyone repeating those vile words should similarly be repudiated by our elected representatives, and be eliminated from hiring to public positions, including spokesperson for NGOs.

agraves said...

When you imply that the knockout gamers do not represent the majority of libs or blacks then why don't black en mass deplore the knockouts? I never hear libs go on about black crime, so this leads me to say libs and blacks are supporting it if not actually doing it. Forget Republicans and conservatives, they are so weak and fearful that they cannot be relied upon to do anything constructive. You see, there is no solution to any of this, there will have to be a separation from blacks, muslims, or others who simply have contempt for white society. Alex

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to disagree with you but most blacks are not civil. If they were these attacks would not occur. These individuals would not post them to face book. In the same fashion the vileness and depravity of the Left's speech reflectss not a rejection of such behavior but an embrace of it.

I love the South where a man holds a door open for a women, or assists an old woman carry her groceries. Manners still exist in Dixie. When I venture to NYC, SF, LA, Minneapolis, Chicago, St Louis, Washington I see violence, a complete lack of empathy or compassion, and most of all depravity.

I wish those who wish to erect monuments to Satan would just stay put in their dens and not try and migrate to a land of manners and culture.