So why are we doing this?
Yesterday we discussed the failure of Trump Conservatives to stand up forcefully and denounce the violence by White Supremacists. Now it is time to discuss the failures of liberals that led up to this past weekend’s violence.
But why a Q&A?
Because I’m trying something different to keep my sanity.
Ok. So now what?
Ask a question.
Right. How is discussing the failures of Liberals not “whataboutism”?
Good question. It is not whataboutism because we are not attempting to equate or justify our response to Charlottesville based on what someone else has or hasn’t done.
So why do Progressives deserve blame for Saturday?
Let’s be clear:
The Only Person Deserving Blame for the Death of Heather Heyer is James Field
The conditions which allowed Saturday to occur grew in the fertile fields of progressive/leftist hypocrisy.
Why are they hypocritical?
Who-boy, let’s count the ways. Let’s start with one of the refrains after Charlottesville was why weren’t there the police presences in Virginia that there was in Ferguson and elsewhere.
And what was the problem with that?
It implied there was some form of racism at work. And on a subtler level, that this was the fault of Donald Trump.
And that’s not true?
No. Let’s start with the implication that this was somehow Trump’s fault. Under the concept of Federalism which underpins governance in the United States, the Federal government’s involvement in local law enforcement is very limited and generally only comes about after there has been some form of insurrection or break down in civil order. Until that point, it is the duty and obligation of the local government and depending on the situation, the state government to ensure the peace. So, if you want answers, the people who should be held accountable are the Mayor of Charlottesville, Singer and the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe.
Ok, but isn’t there some form of racism involved?
If there is, then the Democratic Party needs to resolve this internally.
McAuliffe and Singers are both Democratic officials. They had the authority and duty to ensure public safety and if they decided not to use force to against KKK and neo-Nazis, then they need to justify why. Democrats trying to slough this off on Trump is wrong. Trump, as I noted yesterday and other times (such as here ) has done wrong, but this one cannot be laid at his feet.
The implications that but for Donald Trump, there would have been enough cops on the street to stop this is complete BS. If you think there is a double standard as to why there was a massive police presence in Ferguson with a majority black population and there was not one in Charlottesville where a large number of white people were protesting, then the question must be directed to those elected Democratic Officials who are responsible and not open ended questions that allow people to presume this is the fault of Donald Trump or some other amorphous group of people who aren’t Democrats elected by and large by the people asking these questions.
So these politicians are not being held accountable?
Not really. McAuliffe tried to justify the lack of police presence as the result of militias being at the protest and counter-protest being more heavily armed than the state’s National Guard.
That’s not true?
Not unless somehow the militias have managed to successfully evade the National Firearms Act of 1968 and have also been able to purchase MRAPs through the Pentagon’s 1033 Program.
Wait. What’s the 1033 Program?
It is a program where the Pentagon sell surplus military equipment including heavy duty hardware to local police agencies.
Got it. You were saying?
McAuliffe’s claim the National Guard and police were outgunned is complete B.S. And think about this, how many police shootings have there been when the justification used was “the officer feared for his life”?
Quite a lot.
And yet, despite law enforcement in Charlottesville supposedly being out-gunned, there have been zero stories of cops opening fire or any indication any one of them feared for his/her life. In fact, one of the most shared photographs has been this one:
That officer looks like many things: pissed, annoyed, wishing he was somewhere else. But he doesn’t look scared that he is outgunned.
Got it in one.
We’ve talked about the hypocrisy, what was the other reason Progressives have responsibility for what’s happened?
Progressives have spent the better part of the last quarter century playing up identity politics.
Identity Politics? What’s that?
Identity Politics is the collectivization of society. Instead of being treated as an individual, you are lumped together with everyone who shares certain traits or characteristics.
Such as race or gender or now, gender identity.
And this is bad because…?
Because the entire point of the United States is the protection of the individual. Equal protection under the law, free speech, self-incrimination, you name it. The person, the individual is the lynchpin of our society. By saying to a segment of the population that they are somehow more deserving of rights and freedoms than other groups is bastardizing the fundamentals of society.
You’re not suggesting this has never happened before?
Goodness no. It has happened any number of times. But up until the end of the 20th Century, we had made considerable progress in trying to remedy those wrongs. We still had a long way to go, but we were making progress.
So what happened?
Progressives realized if they pitted groups against one another, they could position themselves as the standard bearers for those groups. You must bake the cake! People in Appalachia are beneficiaries of white privilege and that is why they are so better off than people living in Watts.
Is that true?
Not even remotely.
But how does that get us to where we are today?
Two ways: First is the ever-increasing cult of victimhood. If you are not part of a particular group, you have no right to comment or object to their claims of injury.
Every sign of success is seen as a sign of failure. It is no longer enough to ensure people could marry who they want, now the refusal to date someone who is transgender is a sign of oppression.
Beyond that, it ignored a fundamental law of the universe.
What Law is that?
Newton’s Third Law.
Newton’s Third Law states For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
You’ve lost me. That’s a law of physics.
It can apply to politics as well. If you tell Group A that folks in Group B are preventing them from being successful, Group A is going to agitate against Group B. Do it enough and Group B is going to push back. They will start claiming victimhood. And here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter whether either statement is true. It may not be Group B’s fault. Group A’s lack of success may the result of prior laws enacted to remedy past discrimination. Group B as a group may be the unintended beneficiary. But if politician vying for Group A’s votes blame the results and not cause, not only will Group A grow resentful of Group B, but Group B will start to think it is being blamed for things for which it has no control.
Is there a real world example of this?
U.S. Federal Housing Law is a prime example. Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America details how Federal policy created, not out of malice or intent, the red lining of neighborhoods and created many of the housing issues we face today. I don’t necessarily agree with all of his proposed solutions, but it is a good book on how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
What’s the solution, then?
Ayn Rand once observed the smallest minority is the individual. And whatever you might think of Objectivism, she had point with that statement. We need to reorient ourselves along the trajectory that won the Cold War: focus on ensuring the rights of the individual, not just particular groups.
Seems easy. Too easy
It’s not easy. It will be difficult if it is done properly.
You’ve lost me again.
The easy way, the wrong way, is what we normally get. That’s the call for Peace. If everyone just calms down and is peaceful towards one another, everything will be as right as rain.
That’s not the solution?
No, peace only works when everyone believes things will get better through the normal channels. What is needed is a focus on justice. And the status quo doesn’t do justice. The status quo has convinced people they have one of two options. And if you don’t like either, than you simply must choose the lesser of the two evils. In 2016 Americans were told they had to choose between the congenital liar and the pathological liar. That was how Donald Trump won. He was deemed to be the lesser of two evils.
And that’s a problem because…?
Because as William F. Buckley, Jr. Buckley warned:
[T]he argument that one must vote for the lesser of two evils is very persuasive and within limits conclusive. The trouble is the dynamics of politics do not in fact allow us to go that far and no further. Before we know it, the lesser of two evils is transmuted into a positive good—and from that moment on, we are morally and philosophically adrift.
So you’re saying we’re screwed and should pull a Sylvia Plath?
No. There is still hope. But it requires breaking out of the duopoly.
That’s another blog for another time.
Next Time: The Open Letter to Nick Sarwark.