Saturday, July 20, 2013

Absence of God and Shaw's Two Percent

George Bernard Shaw once wrote that, "Two percent of the people think; three percent of the people think they think; and ninety five percent of the people would rather die than think."

Whatever the exact percentages may actually be Shaw's probably not far off the mark. Most people have the same aversion to thinking that a cat has to water. Even so, let's acknowledge, though it may be unseemly to do so aloud, that Viewpoint readers are surely in the two percent.

Because I'm so convinced of that I'm urging any of our readers who may be planning on heading to the beach this month or next to consider taking along a copy of In the Absence of God. It makes entertaining beach reading, but most importantly it'll make you think. You'll come off the beach smarter and wiser than you were when you settled under the umbrella.

You can read more about Absence by clicking on the link at the top right of this page. I hope you read it. If you do, I hope you like it, and if you do, I hope you'll tell others about it.

Talking about the Issue

President Obama on Thursday opined on the George Zimmerman trial in a speech that cries out for deconstructive analysis of what it tells us about the president's mindset, but that will have to wait until next week. For now I just want to follow his urging to talk about the relevant racial issues. “I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching,” he said.

Okay, Mr. President, here is some soul-searching. I'm going to focus on one aspect of the incident. I want to talk about what drove this story.

In my opinion (and it's only that. I certainly can't prove it, and I'm open to contrary views, but I believe it's true), this story became a national sensation because of the desire among liberals, both black and white, to find confirmation of their conviction that whites are inherently racist.

The fact that there has been so little substantive evidence of white racism over the last few decades is a perplexing and frustrating challenge to this their most cherished racial dogma, especially since almost every example of racism anyone could point to over that span was exhibited by a liberal, and almost every example of interracial violence that has turned up on the back pages of the newspapers was perpetrated by blacks. These inconvenient truths have made it very difficult to sustain the narrative that racism is endemic to, and pervasive among, whites.

Thus liberals of both races are eager to find an example of white racist violence to which they can point to prove to themselves and others that that's where the evil really lies. And every time they've thought they had their proof it turned out to be fool's gold. The Duke lacrosse team case, the numerous instances of racially hateful graffiti that were eventually discovered to have been scrawled by troubled blacks, the bogus accusations of white assaults on blacks, the many imagined slights and acts of prejudice that have other, more plausible, explanations - all of these have been miserable, embarrassing disappointments. They need something substantive to give impetus to the myth of ubiquitous white racism, but nothing can be found save perhaps the overreactions of a relative few police officers (some of whom are themselves black).

So the Zimmerman story seemed like a godsend to them. They wanted Zimmerman to be guilty, he just had to be guilty. The facts weren't in yet, but, as with the Duke lacrosse players, that didn't matter. It was their truth that Zimmerman was guilty. It was true for them. The narrative had purchase, it resonated in their communities, and they were stunned and outraged when the jury didn't see it the same way.

When the dogma of Zimmerman's culpability began to fall apart the media resorted to lies and innuendo to shore up their faith in the doctrine of white racism, even to the point of maliciously editing audio tapes and giving the Hispanic Zimmerman a new racial identity as a white. All that mattered was the need to reaffirm the narrative, to reinforce the faith, to prove to the doubters that one's worldview is true after all, even if an innocent man must be sacrificed in order to satiate the need for confirmation.

If the prosecutors couldn't make a case for 2nd degree murder then, they pleaded, convict him of manslaughter, child abuse, anything, but convict him of something. He must pay whether he as an individual is guilty or not because he's a synecdoche for the whole oppressive white racial establishment. He's a symbol of white privilege. He's guilty because he's white.

When the jurors did their duty and announced that they could find no reason to declare Zimmerman guilty of anything, liberals were incredulous and aghast. After all, what could they say? The jury was comprised of six women, and no liberal is going to open himself to charges of "waging a war on women" by impugning the integrity of an all-female jury. That war is a war only conservatives are supposed to be fighting.

So blacks poured into the streets, some happily fulfilling the low expectations in which they are held by many non-blacks by forming mobs which randomly beat people and damaged property. The odious Mr. Sharpton made his appearance, as he always does, to stir the pot of racial resentment. Jesse Jackson absurdly declared that Florida is an "apartheid state." An AP reporter moronically tweeted that the verdict means that black children can now be shot with impunity just for being black. Melissa Harris-Perry at MSNBC fretted bizarrely that it "feels very much as though [the jury] is saying it is acceptable, it is ok, to kill an unarmed African-American child who has committed no crime." Her colleague Chris Matthews pompously presumed to apologize to blacks on behalf of the entire white race for the verdict. It seems that the Zimmerman trial has caused liberals to take complete leave of their senses.

Mr. Obama has now weighed in with laments about how black kids, including himself when he was younger, are scrutinized in stores and avoided on the streets as if this is somehow indicative of white hostility to blacks. Perhaps Mr. Obama ought to experience what it feels like to be a shop-owner in a black neighborhood or a white kid walking down the streets in some neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Baltimore, or D.C.

I'm reminded of the observation of one prominent American who once admitted that when he hears a group of young men approaching him from behind he's relieved when he turns and sees that they're white. That was Jesse Jackson who said that.

Nevertheless, anecdotes abound about how black mothers caution their youngsters to be wary of white people as though this is somehow dispositive of white racism rather than black mythology or self-delusion. As Heather McDonald points out in an excellent piece at National Review, given the horrifying statistics on black violence, if black parents are really concerned about their children's safety they should do everything they can to move to a white neighborhood.

Much of the commentary, especially from liberal redoubts like MSNBC and CNN, has been predictably stupid, but the most sickening aspect of the whole awful, tragic episode for me is the lengths to which the media, the prosecutors, some politicians, and the mob have been willing to go to see Zimmerman hung. The complete ease with which they assumed his guilt before there was any evidence of guilt. He was "white" and Martin was black and that was all the evidence that a lot of people needed, and that's as saddening as it is unjust.

So, Mr. President, that's what I think, and I'll bet that a lot of decent, intelligent folks in this country, white and black, think the same way. Too bad none of them are writing your speeches.