Thursday, March 31, 2016

Entitlements, Privileges, And Immunities: A Tirade On Tribe

     You may already have heard about this notable contretemps over a “cultural appropriation:”

     SAN FRANCISCO (KCRA) —A video showing a confrontation between two San Francisco State University students about dreadlocks and cultural appropriation has gone viral. University police are investigating the incident, the school said in a statement Tuesday.

     The 46-second video, posted on YouTube Monday, shows a black student confronting a white student with dreadlocks in the hall of a university building.

     “You’re saying I can’t have a hairstyle because of your culture? Why?” the man asks.

     “Because it’s my culture,” the woman replies.

     The man then attempts to walk away, but the woman blocks his path. He tells her to stop touching him and tries to walk away again. The woman seems to grab his jacket, telling him to come back.

     The man then turns around to walk away again, saying, “I don’t need your disrespect.”

     Here’s the video of the encounter:

     The esteemed Ace of Spades has provided a partial transcript:

     "Do not put your hands on me," she demands, as he tries to pry her hands off of him while she drags him into a corner to further harass him.


  • This young black woman asserted a privilege over the young white man: specifically, a proprietary interest in his hairstyle.
  • Moreover, she believes she enjoys immunity from the laws against assault.
  • She feels entitled to assert her imaginary privilege by physical force, while simultaneously protesting the reciprocation of that force by the white student in defense of his person.

     There’s a 46-second eyeful for you. Even for San Francisco.

     We’ve been hearing a lot about “tribes” lately, particularly with regard to the racial tension that’s flared up during the Obama years. Among the most important aspects of a society with several tribal components is the attitude of tribe members toward the society’s overall laws and customs.

     Here’s what I wrote about tribes and tribalism back when. The bit that’s most on my mind at the moment runs thus:

     Critical to the understanding of tribes' political importance is the appreciation of how they function in relation to one another over time. The cohesive identity of a tribe causes it to resist subsumption in a larger unit. That resistance is not absolute; tribes have often allowed such subsumption, when given a sufficient reason, as in the case of the formation of the United States from the freshly liberated states. However, since a tribe's ways and traditions incorporate preferences for its own members, the interpenetration of tribes, for whatever reason, will sometimes eventuate in violence. Neighboring tribes that have a history of violent interactions will thus have two reasons to resist subsumption, one considerably more powerful than the other.

     Alongside that, here’s the haymaker from what I wrote about the creation of privileged classes:

     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.

     Read those pieces again. In the latter case, substitute the word tribe wherever the word class appears. I’ll wait.

     A species of tribal particularism – i.e., the preference for members of one’s own tribe even when it defies the laws of the larger society – is suggested by the case cited here. I refer to the presence of a third party, plainly visible in the video. Note that:

  • He’s a black male;
  • He watches the altercation without intervening.

     Were the white student to complain to the police about the assault, what do you suppose, in the absence of the damning video, the black man would say?

     Imagine that the onlooker were white. Imagine that, instead of three persons, there were three dozen – and that all of the additional attendees were white males. How do you suppose matters would have played out then? Would any of the white spectators have dared to intervene to control the behavior of a black woman? Isn’t such a person privileged twice over?

     You may not like it, but that’s the way things are at present in these United States.

     I’m sure my Gentle Readers don’t need for me to beat this into the magma. Rather, I’ll let Nicki at The Liberty Zone provide the capper:

     We’ve become an entitlement society. I’m not just talking about those who feel they’re entitled to goods and services at others’ expense merely by virtue of existing. I’m not just talking about those who despise the success and achievement of others and feel themselves deserving of a piece of that pie they haven’t earned. All of these characters are symptoms of a larger problem....

     We have a society that’s so scared to hurt Precious Punkins’ feelings, and so afraid to allow them to fail, that they prohibit teachers from using red pens when correcting homework for fear that it might scar the FEELZ, and hand out participation trophies as prizes for not achieving!

     Results are not important. Effort is only marginally required, if at all.

     And the result is Special Snowflakes who feel they are entitled to “safe spaces” at colleges and universities to keep them away from anything that challenges their worldview.

     Look at a Special Snowflake and see a member of a tribe. They’re asserting owners’ privileges over things they don’t own, and immunities against laws that bind the rest of us. They’re getting bolder about it with every passing day. They’re getting away with it, in part because of the collusion of public officials and other highly placed persons.

     Combine those privileges, those immunities, and that sense of entitlement with the barely-checked racial animosity we suffer. Heat just a little more with “black lives matter” propaganda and outright lies about the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown incidents. What sort of cake can we reasonably expect to pop out of our national oven?

     Yet it puzzles my beloved wife that I refuse to leave the house unarmed. It is to laugh...hollowly, and with a deep sense of dread for our future.


Hjalti said...

Why did the woman appropriate the man's English language to berate him? Does not her culture have its own?

Moe said...

"Why did the woman appropriate the man's English language to berate him? Does not her culture have its own?"

It do!


brinster said...

Why is she wearing clothes most likely designed by (white) westerners? Why is she using cosmetics most likely concocted by the same? Why is she attending an institute of higher learning organized, built and maintained by western culture?
Go live in a hut, wear traditional African garb, and build your own school lady. The end is in sight, and it ain't pretty.

Tim Turner said...

There is a thing in me. I'm not saying it's really good or really bad, but it's there.

I hear a lilting southern accent, and it makes me feel warm. (See Joell Carter's character in the TV series Justified, for example.)

I hear a soft Mom's voice talking to her child. That draws me in. (I don't have a video, but I'm sure muslim moms love their daughters.)

I hear almost *anybody* say, "You know, the darn guy was a jerk. He'd already killed one person, but he dropped the gun, went to his knees and let us take him. So we took him! He seems like a nice guy."

*OR* "I had to shoot him. He'd fired two shots and missed, but my training and my . . . I don't know. I just thought he was gonna kill someone."

*OR* "I'm sorry. I wish I'd taken the day off. I have dreams of killing that guy. I know he'd killed or shot some folk, but I can't get that image of me killing him out of my mind."

*OR* "Fuck. I was 18. I was drafted. They trained me. I went there. I saw some shit, man. I got emotional, yeah. I tried to be nice, but you don't know."

"You don't know."

And that's it. We live in the comfort and freedom that others have gone through hell to create for us and we can't understand that helll, nor can we imagine the enemies they faced.

And yet we - after only a couple of generations - allow people to transpose the idea of rights, free speech, and liberty into something that we GUT-FEEL KNOW is wrong.

But we're always evolving, right? The Ku Klux Klan probably had a gut feeling. Martha Sanger probably felt scientifically justified for her campaign to abort black and "limited" children.

I am not denying history. I can see "the writing on the wall." (Maybe not as well as others, but I see it.)

But in the days of comfort and affluence, you will have a hard time appealing to peoples' tribal natures. When we have a generation of success against hardship, it's hard (almost impossible) to convince the next generation of what those hardships were. We lose the insight, motives and world-view of that generation that fought tooth-and-nail against something that was fighting them to the death.

It may be possible to scorn the notion of the "noble savage succumbing to fire water," but I bet it happened. It's a lot easier to get drunk than face the reality of a bigger demographic with manifestly superior weapons that is going to wipe out everything you thought you knew.

Our leftists are drinking fire water. They'd rather get drunk or mindless than face what's happened time and time again.

For all their hope and denial, this ends in blood and death.

If you don't believe me, read their book. Or look at 1400 years of history.

Tim Turner said...

P.S. Go to almost any Conervative website. You will find exposes of all the nominees' failings, real or imagined. And it will be ugly, or well-reasoned, depending on the commentator.


But what is really ugly is the comments section.

You know what I mean. The ad hominem attacks and knee-jerk anger is just as bad on those sites as anything I've read on MoveOn or other liberal sites.

Just because a guy has a gun or a Confederate flag or says, "To heck with Communism," doesn't mean he's someone you'd want to spend the night in your parlor.

Actually, I'd rather have that guy in my parlor than Che Guevera, or Barack Hussein, but face it:

Americans a generation or two ago felt they had a lot more in common than we do now. If you don't remember or belive that, then I feel sorry for you.

And if you don't remember a time when gender, race or class was NOT your defining characteristic, then you misssed that shooting star that was American liberalism.

And the world will mourn its passing.