March 28, 2012

The identity politics industry and the unraveling of the civil society

Let’s just say it: our system has broken down.  We are now held hostage by a toxic blend of mob bravado, faux-righteous indignation, and identity politics such that we’re largely impotent in the face of what is an assault on due process and duly-passed state law that is despised by both progressive anti-gun advocates and criminals (who don’t ever really worry about anti-gun laws) alike.

That our President and members of his party have not only allowed the racial demagoguery to continue, but have in fact participated in it (and intend to extend its rhetorical reach), should be a chilling reminder that — even in the most sophisticated societies, under the stewardship of the most enlightened laws — the controls we place on government are, in the end, merely words.  Once an anti-foundationalist ideological movement like the progressive left has decided it no longer has to abide by legal restraints should the context arise where they are “morally bound” to “resist”  laws — that is, once they declare that law is man-made and thus contingent and not binding in particular contexts of their choosing — there is nothing left but force and the will to power, which become the de facto ruling conditions of society (albeit, these will be disguised and qualified with propaganda attempts to hide their baser impulses under the rubric of “social justice” and “civil disobedience, ” etc.).

In a society truly governed by the rule of law, Congressmen and Justice Department officials would be calling for a respect of due process and reinforcing the integrity of states and local law enforcement.  Instead, we have members of Congress — and members of the media, like MSNBC race pimp and host Al Sharpton — essentially trying to lead a lynch mob based around public pressure, scapegoating, rank racialist politics, and the kind of bullying typical of identity politics reinforced by the social taboos long set in place by adepts of political correctness.

What we are witnessing is truly outrageous.  And it is disgusting. And it has been cheerily manufactured by those who presume to rule over us by promoting various forms of tribalism to keep as at each others’ throats.

In a new poll, 73% of Americans believe a neighborhood watch captain, who witnesses say was being beaten when he shot his assailant, should be arrested.  That is, a vast majority of Americans who have no connection to the case and only a limited (and likely erroneous) knowledge of the facts — the story has been carefully crafted, on the national level, from the outset — believe a man who shot his assailant, and who the police chose not to prosecute after investigating the facts of the case, should be arrested.  And he should be arrested for the “crime” of being the scapegoat in a political ploy to divide the country along racial lines as a complement to dividing it along class lines.

This country has, since the rise of the New Left, been heading toward a point of conflagration.  Left progressivism and constitutional conservatism / classical liberalism cannot co-exist peacefully — just as our Constitution either provides a bulwark against the overreach of statists seeking to break through its constraints or it is, in the end, a totem, a relic, a kind of US version of the royal family:  a quaint reminder of  a nation’s past, but not one we’ll allow to block the grand plans and schemes our temporarily elected “leaders” have decided would be best for us.

We either fight back or we don’t.  But the days of sitting quiet and hoping it all blows over are no longer a legitimate option.  Because that maneuver has led to a kind of tacit complicity, and we have, as a nation, reached the tipping point where, if we don’t push back now, we will find ourselves living in democratic despotism — without the recourse of a stable set of laws to save us from the will of a political consensus born of propaganda, misinformation, intellectual laziness, and the deconstruction of every last tenet of classical liberalism institutionalized at our founding and framing.

It’s that simple.

(h/t JHo)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:34am
45 comments | Trackback

Comments (45)

  1. I agree about the disgraceful behavior of our leaders, “civic” and political, in this case. But I don’t see 73% of people supporting arrest/charges for Zimmerman to be quite as horrifying as you seem to. Facts remain sketchy, but one that emerged yesterday was that the lead police investigator recommended a charge of manslaughter (which the prosecutor recommended against due to a lack of evidence). Given the facts around this incident, calling for an arrest and charge and investigation does not conflict with calling for due process.

  2. You argue against yourself there, mt_molehill. The person most responsible for knowing the law and applying it to the case says there’s not enough evidence.

    And you know damned well that the call being made by the mob isn’t for an arrest and trial — it’s for conviction and execution.

    And you yourself said there was already an investigation; what’s the purpose of another one? To ensure the “correct” outcome?

  3. I’ll also give an anecdotal report from the belly of the beast (Brooklyn) that aside from die hard social justice types, anti-gun nuts and kids, I’m hearing from a surprising number of people of the left unhappy with a lot of the things that ought to be universally disgusting to people of good faith.

  4. Crawford, I don’t take a single prosecutor’s word for gospel. Sympathy with the idea that Zimmerman should be charged need not make one part of the mob.

  5. We either fight back or we don’t.

    If you choose to fight back — be prepared. The government will castigate you for stepping out of line. The media will paint you as a violent racist. Your erstwhile political friends will distance themselves from you. Law enforcement will look the other way when you are attacked by hipsters and hoodlums. We’re going to have to force a lot of people to do their jobs, no matter that they’d rather not be bothered. Our one advantage is that we’ve seen a civil rights campaign beat the odds not so long ago in our nation’s history, and we can do it again.

    The media coverage will be unfair, but it will be coverage. Any time we have access to a camera or a microphone, we must counter their bias, and draw direct comparisons between our marches for the rule of law versus the lynch mobs and riot scenes that our counterparts put on (and which get the gauze filter treatment from our media professionals).

    The police presence will be indifferent, but it will be there. Force the cops to address those attacking you — there still remains a handful of decent men in blue, and they won’t stand by while middle-aged women are beaten by the mob, whether that mob wears goatees or hoodies. Some of them will protect their citizens, even if it means getting in trouble with the brass.

    I fear that we will have to repeat MLK’s marches. I fear that we’ll have to re-write his letters from jail. I just hope that enough of our countrymen recognize what we’re fighting for, and recognize the sad irony of our quoting Rev. King against Rev. Sharpton and his fellow travelers who value retribution and power over equality and peace.

  6. Also — can I just say how awesome it would be if people started referring to me and mine as ‘uppity’? I think that might be my next personal goal.

  7. I think Insty’s cry of “Tom Wolfe, where are you?” is very, very appropriate. Is there anybody at CNN with that level of awareness?

  8. Crawford, I don’t take a single prosecutor’s word for gospel. Sympathy with the idea that Zimmerman should be charged need not make one part of the mob.

    It does when what you’re doing is essentially calling for a repeat of investigations until the correct conclusion is reached — the one under which Zimmerman should be charged.

    You’re just a more urbane and less unruly mob patron. An armchair wilder.

  9. He’s right here but instead of wearing white suits he’s in jeans squeezing something. Insty just won’t see that anymore.

  10. You’re just a more urbane and less unruly mob patron. An armchair wilder.

    Funny, I just called someone I know exactly that yesterday. But no, I’m just someone who thinks that given what’s known at the moment, it is a little strange that Zimmerman wasn’t charged. If the investigator had suspicions about elements of his story, that strikes me as worth investigating. A man’s life was taken.

    I can also say that based on the same set of sketchy facts, my own sense is that Zimmerman’s actions weren’t criminal (or racist or hateful).

  11. Also, the Tom Wolfe line is from VDH.

  12. I read the post yesterday in which Jeff recounts a version of events that I find to be about right based on the sketchy facts that have come to light. I didn’t agree with the strength of the presentation of that scenario, because I don’t think that enough is known to be so confident in that version.

    Mob. It’s the new outlaw.

  13. Sympathy with the idea that Zimmerman should be charged need not make one part of the mob.

    The decision was already made not to charge him. If the Voice of the Peepul is sufficient to overturn that decision, then shouldn’t it be sufficient to overturn the same decision in other Florida cases? I’m thinking in particular of a case in which a black guy defended himself against two white supremacists. (And I *really* should have saved that link.)

    This doesn’t quite come to the level of double jeopardy, but it’s close. It’s the presumption that the mob — poorly informed on the subject, misinformed as to the law, and stirred up by demagogues — is better at deciding who stands trial and who doesn’t than the people responsible for the prosecution.

    This isn’t a case where it’s obvious the prosecutor was corrupt or biased. The case is ugly, but there simply aren’t any facts that contradict the claim of self defense. No one saw Zimmerman do anything that overrides his right to self defense.

    And you know damned well that if the case goes to court, the trial will end in an acquittal on the basis of self defense, and the mob will demand blood anyway.

  14. Admitting that an error may have been made on the part of law enforcement or prosecutors does not equate to imbuing the mob with any wisdom on the matter of who should be charged for what.

  15. And you may well be right regarding the mob’s reaction to an acquittal should a trial and acquittal take place. I also think that Zimmerman would then (and perhaps already now) have legal recourse against some of the people making threats and defaming him, and forcing him into hiding.

  16. But no, I’m just someone who thinks that given what’s known at the moment, it is a little strange that Zimmerman wasn’t charged. If the investigator had suspicions about elements of his story, that strikes me as worth investigating. A man’s life was taken.

    What was recounted yesterday was by me, a guy in Colorado who isn’t privy to the facts of the case gathered locally and examined by local law enforcement, which includes witness testimony originally left out of the early version of events being reported nationally.

    This is not a new story. It is only new nationally.

    Based on what we know, we may think that there’s some reason to arrest or charge Zimmerman — or at least, that we’d like to see additional information. But the fact is, it’s not our job to become arm chair prosecutors. And as the pressure to serve this guy up as a scapegoat mounts, subtle suggestions that the prosecutors and law enforcement at the local level were either conspiring to cover up an offense or else were merely negligent in the performance of their jobs, plays right in to the narrative we should be refusing to empower. At least until somebody provides credible evidence that the story didnt happen just the way witnesses and law enforcement and prosecutors determined it did.

  17. But no, I’m just someone who thinks that given what’s known at the moment, it is a little strange that Zimmerman wasn’t charged.

    There’s no evidence he committed a crime. Given that lack of evidence, what should he be charged with?

    If the investigator had suspicions about elements of his story, that strikes me as worth investigating.

    Er, the investigator should have investigated his suspicions.

    A man’s life was taken.

    No, one man’s life was defended from the violent assault committed by another. Self-defense is not a crime, and the law is specifically set up to protect people who defend themselves.

    I can also say that based on the same set of sketchy facts, my own sense is that Zimmerman’s actions weren’t criminal (or racist or hateful).

    The “sketchy facts” aren’t sketchy. There’s a single gap in the third-party reports of the events — the precise sequence of events between Zimmerman getting out of his truck and Trayvon(tm) punching him and repeated slamming his head into the concrete. Zimmerman’s statements have been consistent with themselves and with the statements of witnesses; there’s no evidence that would allow the prosecutor to rebut Zimmerman’s claim of self defense.

  18. Funny, I just called someone I know exactly that yesterday. But no, I’m just someone who thinks that given what’s known at the moment, it is a little strange that Zimmerman wasn’t charged.

    I thought the same while operating under the impression that Zimmerman confronted Martin. Now that it’s come out that he didn’t and that it was the other way around, my mind has changed along with the facts. The proper thing is happening here. Let the Grand Jury review the evidence and decide whether or not to indict. That’s due process at work.

  19. Admitting that an error may have been made on the part of law enforcement or prosecutors…

    They may have made an error. There is no evidence of such an error in this case.

  20. I think it’s reasonable to question whether the decision not to charge Zimmerman was correct. I think it’s reasonable to question whether a friend and I should have been arrested (we weren’t) for carrying a blunt object in our neighborhood after some incidents (one of which had resulted in a previous police response).

    As long as it doesn’t extend to the point of concluding firmly that he should have been arrested, I don’t see a problem.

    On the other hand, if others of us viewing the reports from afar prefer to agree with the prosecutor who passed on prosecuting Zimmerman — bearing in mind that in the real world typical cases are in fact decided by a single prosecutor and when the decision is not to press charges that decision is almost never reviewed — that’s also perfectly reasonable.

  21. Very well said. I was surprised about that 73% too but as I’m talking to people I know about the Martin case, most of them have no idea about the facts- they only know what the press has been feeding them. I was certainly guilty of this too up until last week, thinking that Zimmerman, to quote the best black president of all time, acted stupidly. I think if/when the facts are actually broadcast by the MSM, people will change their minds. The press is so culpable in this situation and is as responsible as Sharpton or JAckson for ginning up faux racism.

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  23. This is not a new story. It is only new nationally.

    This.

    I saw people reacting to the reports that witnesses saw Trayvon(tm) beating Zimmerman with, “oh, yeah, *now* they come forward, how convenient!” Except that the witnesses made those statements THE VERY NIGHT OF THE SHOOTING. The press bluntly lied — more often by omission, but still lied — about the timing of the statements.

    Heck, MSNBC carefully edited the 911 transcripts to make it sound like Zimmerman was primarily concerned about Trayvon(tm) because he was black:

    “This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black,” Zimmerman told a police dispatcher from his car.

    Actual transcript:

    Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

    Dispatcher: Okay, is this guy, is he white, black, or hispanic?

    Z: He looks black.

    D: Did you see what he was wearing?

    Z: Yeah, a dark hoodie, like, a grey hoodie, and either jeans or sweatpants, and white tennis shoes.

    I’ve seen people claim Zimmerman wasn’t arrested — true — with the implication he was free and walking around within minutes of the shooting — false. As soon as paramedics took care of his injuries (and, boy, the press isn’t talking about those, are they?) and said he didn’t need to go to the hospital, he was taken into custody and to the police station for questioning.

    The press is acting as the mouthpiece for Trayvon(tm)’s family’s lawyers, not as unbiased conduits of information.

  24. And as the pressure to serve this guy up as a scapegoat mounts, subtle suggestions that the prosecutors and law enforcement at the local level were either conspiring to cover up an offense or else were merely negligent in the performance of their jobs, plays right in to the narrative we should be refusing to empower. At least until somebody provides credible evidence that the story didnt happen just the way witnesses and law enforcement and prosecutors determined it did.

    Except that there’s an affidavit from the lead investigator recommending a charge of manslaughter. I hate the narrative as much as anyone, but I don’t think it does the fight service to take a strident position that may, however unlikely it is, be revealed to be incorrect. That could take you out of the fight.

  25. As soon as paramedics took care of his injuries (and, boy, the press isn’t talking about those, are they?) and said he didn’t need to go to the hospital, he was taken into custody and to the police station for questioning.

    I actually read somewhere that he was questioned for hours DESPITE his request for medical attention. Wish I had saved that link.

  26. I’m just someone who thinks that given what’s known at the moment, it is a little strange that Zimmerman wasn’t charged.

    Charged with what? Exercising his right under Florida law to defend his life with deadly force?

  27. Except that there’s an affidavit from the lead investigator recommending a charge of manslaughter.

    So what? It’s not his decision. Police make lots of recommendations to prosecutors, and prosecutors ignore a lot of them.

    I hate the narrative as much as anyone, but I don’t think it does the fight service to take a strident position that may, however unlikely it is, be revealed to be incorrect. That could take you out of the fight.

    I don’t get this. I should not defend what I believe to be true because I may be mistaken? What BS; there’s not an aspect of life with the surety you’re demanding.

    I see a man who, by the evidence available, is innocent. I see clowns and thugs demanding he be punished — and in their vehemence and blood-thirst ruining his life and the lives of people completely unconnected to the case. I see more heinous and more clear-cut cases ignored by these same clowns and thugs.

    And I see most people coming to a judgement of this case based on lies and shaded truths, and I will stand and tell those people that they are wrong. I may be wrong in the future — but I *KNOW* they’re wrong *NOW*.

  28. Except that there’s an affidavit from the lead investigator recommending a charge of manslaughter.

    This goes to the point. Law enforcement tends to err on the side of over-policing. That the prosecutor, upon review of the evidence, saw that a prosecution was a bad bet should tell us something about the bulk of the evidence.

  29. The press is acting as the mouthpiece for Trayvon(tm)’s family’s lawyers, not as unbiased conduits of information.

    OUR objective, professionally trained, certified, and credentialed information experts?

    You can’t mean it.

  30. Too, I’m not interested in re-investigating a single case on a national scale. You could perform similar post mortems on thousands of cases from afar and raise questions about the decisions of prosecutors.

    Doing so in this case to show how circumspect you are is, in my estimation, a convenient bit of ass-covering. Either we believe in the system we have — and defend that system, even in the face of public pressure and an attempt to create a political martyr — or we do not.

    There’s nothing here to suggest there was any bias or any misconduct / negligence on the part of investigators. So I guess the next guy whose life we begin to examine closely is the prosecutor. Is he the racist? Where does he live? Should we march in front of his house?

    Send me a signal, Spike Lee!

  31. Naw, Jeff, the pravda is that the self-defense law is racist.

    Never mind that blacks have defended themselves against whites and not been prosecuted because of the same laws.

  32. Today’s transcript is up.

    SCALIA: …what you call the corn husker kickback, okay, we find that to violate the constitutional proscription of venality, okay?
    (laughter)

  33. The press is so culpable in this situation and is as responsible as Sharpton or JAckson for ginning up faux racism.

    Sharpton didn’t just insinuate himself into this, he was brought in from the first to do exactly what he does as part of a PR effort by a law firm that also mobilized all the resources that a Community Organizer would to get Action!

    In Trayvon’s case, they alerted the news media more quickly. They phoned the Rev. Al Sharpton almost instantly, and organized marches with local civil rights activists. They also started pressing for federal involvement and alleging a cover-up from the get-go.

    The results: The Sanford police chief received a no-confidence vote and stepped down temporarily. The prosecutor stepped aside to make way for a special prosecutor. The Justice Department and the FBI have joined the investigation. Celebrities from Cher to Donald Trump have gotten behind Trayvon’s case. And thousands have marched and protested across the nation.

    Even President Barack Obama weighed in Friday on what he called a “tragedy.”

    “You gain some experience,” said Parks, who has had a more behind-the-scenes role in the two cases as a matter of coincidence. “You brainstorm. You use what works and you don’t stop.”

    These same attorneys got one major news source, Reuters, to do a piece on March 7th which got on the Yahoo internet news service. This piece was just the one side and included an animated video inside a longer video that depicted Zimmerman as shooting Martin from a distance in cold blood. This is at 55 sec. into the 3:21 video. Last night for a while the video at the same link was changed to a longer one (4:11) with an intro by Charlie Rose and the animation changed to one of Zimmerman assaulting Martin and then shooting him at close range. Today the original seems to be back up, for now.

    It is the Community Organizing attorneys who have made this into a national matter, purposefully, and did so before they had determined the facts available in the case. They were intent upon making their own narrative the one that would be seen as reality. All else be damned. Else why the animation that has nothing to do with any thing known?

  34. I hope that all hispanic home owning democrats who try in good faith to defend their neighborhoods and dare to legally carry a weapon understand the political lesson on display here.

  35. geoffb — I had no idea about the animations.

    I did not think I could be angrier or more disgusted than I was.

  36. I was too when I saw them and realized that this was the first meme that was placed before the public at large.

  37. How can it not be obvious that the people pulling that kind of crap are no different than the Klan?

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