What’s Wrong with the World

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The racial Hatfields and McCoys

Here is something that I recently posted on Facebook apropos of the kind of weak-sauce semi-condemnations of racial rioting and looting. Such statements as I have in mind come with lengthy rationalizations and pleas for walking in the shoes of the rioters (would those be the looted Nikes or the shoes they were previously wearing, one wonders?) on the grounds that they feel so oppressed by [fill in here whatever recent event sparked the current round of looting].

I find all of this frankly shocking when it comes from people that I otherwise like or think well of. The acts in question are so obviously wicked, greedy, and evil, and the downplaying comments are so obviously irrelevant. Indeed, things are usually even worse than what is portrayed in my alternative scenario below, because in many cases the event in question could be seen by a reasonable man as an accident (as recently when an officer accidentally shot someone while believing that she was using a taser). But even if there were real bad acts involved (as sometimes there are), that would be utterly irrelevant to the legitimacy of looting and breaking the property of people totally unrelated to the event! It is a savagely stunted moral judgement that suggests otherwise, a moral judgement that gives us undying feuds in which, "He did that to some of my people, so we're going to hurt some of his people" is followed by the exact same statement on the other side.

Here is what I wrote.

Something to ponder: Suppose that we imagine politically non-favored group A. Suppose that members of group A have, indeed, suffered injustice because of their membership in group A. Suppose that that injustice has seriously harmed them or those whom they love--"their people." Suppose that members of group A go on a spree targeting admittedly completely innocent members of politically favored group B, destroying their property and their livelihoods, with the implicit threat of harming them if they get in the way. Suppose that members of group A make it clear that they are doing so because of their anger due to the perceived injustices and harms done to members of their own group, "their people."

I guarantee you that if I fleshed out this scenario in concrete terms and if it really happened with the groups I have in mind, that motivation would be considered to make the acts of vandalism and looting *worse*. It wouldn't be considered to make them understandable! Those destructive members of group A would be seen as bigots on top of being wicked destroyers of the livelihoods and property of innocent people who (everyone admits) had *nothing to do with* the injustices or perceived injustices committed against them. The whole thing would be seen as creepy and bigoted on top of being wantonly destructive.

But somehow, when the group in question is a politically more favored group, a group to whom the chattering classes are more sympathetic, then that motive is seen as seriously mitigating and we are told to try to walk a mile in the shoes of the destroyers, to feel their pain, to understand and sympathize with them, because of their group-based motive for wantonly harming the innocent.

This is bad. In fact, this is the kind of thing out of which never-ending feuds are made. Group A harms innocent members of Group B, who then harm innocent members of Group A, world without end, Amen.

Never, never downplay, mitigate, or ask for sympathy for wicked, destructive, vengeful actions against the innocent on the grounds of perceived injustices or even *real* injustices done to "the people" doing the new harm. And tepid condemnations or "I don't approve" statements coupled with pleas for understanding "how they feel" while they do such wicked acts are indeed downplaying and morally wrong. And hence are encouraging a world of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, in which everyone ends up eyeless and toothless. Just stop it.

Comments (2)

I spent many, many hours this past year trying to read up on, and sort out, the claims and arguments back and forth over this stuff. Some of it was in response to an impassioned email by a local white mother raising 2 adopted black children (with white children), impassioned in calling for some sort of intelligent stance or response among her (mostly) conservative peers around her to the issues being talked about by BLM. Some of it relating to other incidents with other people I know. Ultimately I have come to feel that the semantic divide that has been created by the propaganda machines have made it so that there is, for practical purposes, no plausible hope that discussion will move people (well, adults) toward agreement on these issues. I hope that I am actually wrong about that, but I have seen no evidence yet that I am wrong. Worse yet, it is now becoming clear that the COVID crisis has caused a further movement of divide, in two ways: people who might have been, before, more or less "on the fence" about some racial (or other types of) discrimination have dropped off the fence, and people who had a particular position off the fence but were open to new evidence and reasoned argument have hardened in their position and have stopped looking for new evidence or argument - even though COVID itself (and government responses to it) had fairly limited intersection with the lines of debate over race, sexual orientation, and gender identity discrimination questions. There seems to have been a psychological cusp point in the COVID crisis that, without any new evidence or argument providing a reasoned basis, caused people to RESOLVE on racial and other matters in a more determinate way. Without there being a pathway by which these differences can be worked out using words, the probably pathway left is, unfortunately, that of violence. Because violence is, specifically, a known and desired tool of marxists, I cannot help but suspect that was the objective all along of these propaganda machines, to MAKE discussion useless.

I have this queasy feeling of horror over the palpable, corporate relief we are all feeling that we didn't have mass rioting yesterday, due to the Chauvin verdict. If the expected destruction had been anticipated from ISIS, we would have been calling it (rightly) terrorism and would rightly have been arresting people conspiring to carry it out. As it was, I guess people in the Twin Cities and other cities were just supposed to brace for it and treat it as the new normal.

This comment says *nothing* against the verdict in the case or even about whether or not the jurors were influenced by the threat of violence. That's not the point. The point is that it is absolutely wrong that the threat of violence and destruction should have been treated so much as a matter of course.

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