Those who find “racist” repression of Blacks in Ferguson, “racist” repression of Arabs in Israel and “racist” repression of Muslims by non-Muslims everywhere have much in common.
Leftist and mainstream media perceptions of “repression” by Ferguson’s White minority of its Black majority, of Israeli “war crimes” against her minority Muslim residents and of the “peaceful” nature of Islam hinge on increasingly common notions: fairness requires inconvenient facts to be altered if possible to suit an ideology while others, inconsistent with the altered facts, must be ignored. We must speak and act with compassion toward and empathy with the oppressed. Only in this way, it is believed, can true fairness and empathetic compassion be achieved. Then, and only then, will we have true justice.
David Solway, in an excellent PJ Media article titled ‘Politricks’ and the English Language, summed it up:
[T]he Big Lie has been installed among us as the primary form of political and cultural address along the entire gamut of disinformation, from outright interment of fact and customizing of inconvenient truths to unmitigated calumny and virulent libel. The Western media and the “progressivist” left-liberal political class have, over the years, incrementally adopted the discursive techniques of totalitarian states and theocratic dispensations. [Emphasis added.]
Please read the whole article.
Perceptions of Ferguson, Missouri
Michael Brown, a Black “gentle giant,” was shot and killed by a “racist” White police officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9th. There were eyewitnesses and many others who claimed to be eyewitnesses but were not. The latter based their accounts on what others had told them and on what they believed might have happened. Rather than select a new grand jury, an existing grand jury was kept in session, apparently to avoid claims that the members of a new jury had been chosen to exonerate Officer Wilson. On November 23rd, the grand jury determined that Officer Wilson would not be charged with a criminal offense under Missouri law. Here’s what happened next. Although the facts presented to the grand jury have been released (Links to evidence from the Grand Jury proceeding can be found here), the facts matter but little:
The riots went forward as planned; the media steadfastly distributed its prewritten narrative of evil racist white cop murdering innocent young black man. [Emphasis added.]
Some Blacks defended White-owned businesses. That’s good. Others looted and burned Black as well as White-owned businesses.
Please see also this article by Rich Lowry at Politico. His analysis points to this:
This is a terrible tragedy. It isn’t a metaphor for police brutality or race repression or anything else, and never was. Aided and abetted by a compliant national media, the Ferguson protestors spun a dishonest or misinformed version of what happened—Michael Brown murdered in cold blood while trying to give up—into a chant (“hands up, don’t shoot”) and then a mini-movement. [Emphasis added.]
When the facts didn’t back their narrative, they dismissed the facts and retreated into paranoid suspicion of the legal system. [Emphasis added.]
Beyond that, I don’t consider it necessary to dwell on what happened in Ferguson last August and what happened thereafter, before and after the grand jury declined to indict Officer Wilson for the “murder” of “gentle giant” Michael Brown. Most who will read this article are already familiar with what happened; perceptions and their bases are my focus here.
Reports of “racism” and associated violence help to sell print and broadcast advertising, particularly if the reports can be made consistent with the perceptions of audiences: White people are racist and oppress Black people. Hence, most in the mass media rely, consciously or unconsciously, on confirmation bias,
a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.[Note 1] As a result, people gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way. The biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs.
The “legitimate” media proceeded in similar fashion when George Zimmerman, a “racist” “White Hispanic,” shot and killed a “defenseless” Black “child” in April of 2012. The “legitimate” media changed or ignored facts in their quests to declare Zimmerman guilty, to encourage rioting and to vindicate their own perceptions that Blacks are “different” and that their actions need to be dealt with more leniently than those of others. Please see also this article about a well to do White kid who said that he deserved to be mugged because of his White privilege. Many in the mass media appear to share his perceptions, at least with respect to the mugging of others.
After digesting the factual evidence the Zimmerman trial jury disagreed with the mass media and the assorted race baiters upon whom the mass media feasted and found him not guilty. After digesting the factual evidence, the grand jury — which had three Black members — disagreed about Officer Wilson and declined to indict him.
It has been reported that, following the grand jury’s refusal to indict Officer Wilson, the Obama administration promoted indoctrination of students on the basis that Brown was “a victim of police violence.” Part of the “White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans,” the indoctrination apparently is to include this:
“During the first few weeks of classes, students can create a memorial to Michael Brown on a classroom bulletin board. This activity involves having students use whatever they feel skilled in to create something that would honor Michael Brown and other people who have been victims of police and other violence. Students may choose to draw, write poetry, design art pieces, paint, or collect news clippings. Students can use this opportunity to create a counter-narrative to negative stories and images about Ferguson and Michael Brown, or even to document stories and images they have seen in the media about the case. Engaging in this type of activity allows teachers to understand youth strengths and form classroom solidarity.” [Emphasis added.]
It is important for young people to learn how to make connections between the Michael Brown shooting and similar cases that have emerged in recent history. While a discussion of the Michael Brown shooting and the current events in Ferguson are powerful, conversations about Michael Brown with a consideration of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Renisha Mcbride and other cases that involve similar scenarios place the events in Ferguson in proper context… [Emphasis added.]
Assuming that the report is accurate, is the Obama administration trying to heal racial divides, or to exacerbate them as it has often done?
David Goldman, in an article at PJ Media titled How Far Down Do You Define Deviancy in Ferguson? summed up the positions of the current “civil rights” movement and the consequences were they to be adopted:
Young black men are disproportionately imprisoned. One in three black men have gone to prison at some time in their life. According to the ACLU, one in fifteen black men are incarcerated, vs. one in 106 white men. That by itself is proof of racism; the fact that these individuals were individually prosecuted for individual crimes has no bearing on the matter. All that matters is the outcome. Because the behavior of young black men is not likely to change, what must change is the way that society recognizes crime itself. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
[T]he solution is to decriminalize behavior that all civilized countries have suppressed and punished since the dawn of history. Because felonious behavior is so widespread and the causes of it so intractable, the criminals’ rights movement insists, society “cannot afford to recognize” criminal behavior below a certain threshold. [Emphasis added.]
If America were to accept this logic, civil society would come to an end. The state would abandon its monopoly of violence to street rule. Large parts of America would come to resemble the gang-ruled, lawless streets of Central America, where violent pathology has overwhelmed the state’s capacity to control it, creating in turn a nightmare for America’s enforcement of its own immigration law. [Emphasis added.]
The Ferguson episode was not a civil rights movement in any traditional or otherwise legitimate sense.
The response of the African-American “civil rights” establishment and the American Left to the verdict in Ferguson came quickly and predictably. Al Sharpton and other racial demagogues urged their followers to take to the streets if anything but a first degree murder indictment was handed down for Officer Darren Wilson. The protestors and rioters were prepared, but Missouri’s governor wasn’t. He failed to call out the National Guard on the day the verdict was released.
What is particularly galling is the argument that the events in Ferguson, and the no bill for Wilson, are a throwback to the segregationist era of the 1950s and 1960s, when the modern civil rights movement engaged in non-violent civil disobedience. “The Movement,” as they called it then, showed the nation and the world the immoral actions of police chief Bull Connor of Birmingham, Alabama, and others of similar ilk, thereby exposing the injustice of the system of segregation — a system based on power and violence, preventing black Americans from enjoying the rights and liberties guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution. [Emphasis added.]
Just as confirmation bias caused many in Missouri — and also in distant places — to condemn a “racist” White police officer and to preach about the benign nature of his Black “victim,” so many throughout the world blame Israel for everything bad that people do.
I recently wrote an article titled Hamas, Abbas, Obama and Islamic Savagery. It includes this photo of Palestinians celebrating their brethren’s murders of Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue:
Recently, there have been many more attacks on Jews in Israel.
Academia, where leftism now prevails, has done much to slander Israel as a wicked apartheid state, more barbaric than Nazi Germany.
This summer’s Israeli incursion, Operation Protective Edge, provided anti-Semites and loathers of the Jewish state with resurgent justifications for assigning the epithet of Nazi on the Jews yet another time, together with oft-heard accusations of “crimes against humanity, “massacres,” genocide,” and, according to recent comments by Turkey’s prime minister Tayyip Erdoğan, in their treatment of the Palestinians, Israel has demonstrated that “. . . their barbarism has surpassed even Hitler’s.”[Emphasis added.]
The Nazification of Israelis—and by extension Jews—is both breathtaking in its moral inversion and cruel in the way it makes the actual victims of the Third Reich’s horrors a modern-day reincarnation of that same barbarity. It is, in the words of Boston University’s Richard Landes, “moral sadism,” a salient example of Holocaust inversion that is at once ahistorical, disingenuous, and grotesque in its moral and factual inaccuracy. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
[They did so] by redefining Israel as the most glaring example of those human predations, what he called “the embodiment of all evil” of the Twentieth Century: apartheid and Nazism. He defined the process of grafting this opprobrium on Israel as “ideological anti-Semitism,” one which “involves the characterization of Israel not only as an apartheid state—and one that must be dismantled as part of the struggle against racism—but as a Nazi one.” [Emphasis added.]
. . . . [O]nce Israel had been tarred with the libels of racism and Nazism, the Jewish state had been made an international outlaw, a pariah, losing its moral right to even exist—exactly, of course, what its foes have consistently sought. “These very labels of Zionism and Israel as ‘racist, apartheid and Nazi’ supply the criminal indictment,” said Cotler. “No further debate is required. The conviction that this triple racism warrants the dismantling of Israel as a moral obligation has been secured. For who would deny that a ‘racist, apartheid, Nazi’ state should not have any right to exist today?” [Emphasis added.]
Such academic perceptions have spread worldwide. European nations are now rushing to recognize a Palestinian nation, without regard to reality.
Does anyone really think that granting, or recognizing, Palestinian statehood will make them more peaceful? On the contrary. From past experience, any time the Palestinians achieve a political goal without effort, they take that as a reward for their violent behaviour and only increase their terrorist activities.
In that context, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. General Assembly recently chastised much of the world, particularly Europe, for accepting such perceptions regardless of reality.
He did not likely make many friends; calling to people’s attention that they are sadly misguided rarely does.
Why are Islamic nations, where apartheid and violence against non-Muslims prevail, subjected to little anger and disdain while Israel, the only free and democratic nation in the entire region, gets nearly all of the anger and disdain? Might this double standard be useful because it caters to the notion that Israel’s freedom and democracy for all of her citizens, including Arabs — particularly along with her technological and financial successes — set her apart? Make her “the Other?” Might it be that Islamic nations, hugely represented at the U.N. and sadly deficient in freedom, democracy and technological prowess, reject Israeli freedom and democracy while envious of Israel’s technological success? They have substantial wealth, but it is largely based on oil and the technology of others. Little of the resulting wealth is shared with their masses.
That brings us to Islam, the “religion of peace.” According to Obama and other luminaries, the Islamic State is not Islamic. According to Obama no religion — least of all Islam — countenances the violence in which the Islamic State and other comparable Islamic terrorist groups engage. Remember His Eid-al-Fitr message?
While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease. [Emphasis added.]
In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities. [Emphasis added.]
Interfaith tolerance and respect? The “very fabric of our nation?” “Strengthening the core of our democracy?”
Let’s have an honest discussion about Islam
In Islam, peace can come only after all other religions have been destroyed or subjugated. That Islamic belief now plagues Israel and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Islamic Palestinians who murder Jews are seen as heroes and more are encouraged to do more of the same.
Many Muslims adhere also to the view that the Peace of Islam can come only after other Muslims who profess variant religious doctrines — Sunni vs. Shia for example — have been destroyed or subjugated and become “true” Muslims. Sect vs. sect violence was common throughout the centuries and now seems to be worse and increasing.
That is to be expected, but why do many nations which do not yet have Muslim majorities tend to ignore these Islamic actions and view Islamic slaughter as not characteristics of Islam? Are they merely ignorant about Islam? Have they been fatally infected with multiculturalism and political correctness? Might they even view adherents to Islam as subhumans, whose violence and other depredations are best ignored or tolerated?
It seems reasonable to conclude that the world is spiraling ever deeper into insanity. Until leaders of “the international community,” academia and the mass media revise their views and act on the basis of facts instead of fictions, and on logic rather than on raw emotion coupled with pandering to those blinded by confirmation bias against “the Others,” sanity will continue to be increasingly rare. Insanity will continue to be manifested through violence as it persists and worsens because perceptions drive actions.
These are not optimistic conclusions, because it seems unlikely that “the international community,” academia or the mass media — which tend to proceed in tandem — will reform anytime soon.
Is Christianity dead in the Middle East? It probably is in most of the region, but not in Israel.
Is it the end of Christianity in the Middle East? Could be, he says, at least so far as Iraq is involved:
What is a Christian life there now? The Bishop of Mosul said recently that for the first time in 2,000 years there was no church in Nineveh [an ancient city that is now part of Mosul]. That’s the reality.
It is indeed the reality, and not just in Iraq. And “the West” is silent, as it has been so often when it faces evil far from its own boundaries. Meanwhile, [Anglican Canon Andrew White] has moved on, to the one country in the Middle East that provides its citizens with religious freedom and the security to practice their faith. He’s in Jerusalem, trying to achieve reconciliation between Muslim and Jewish religious leaders. It’s not an altogether new venture for him; in his last days in Baghdad, he was the “rabbi” for the city’s remaining six Iraqi Jews. And back at that conference in Copenhagen, the guest of honor at the closing banquet was the former chief rabbi of Denmark. [Emphasis added.]
Guess what? During the week, all the Iraqi religious leaders arranged for private meetings with said rabbi. Why? They’d looked at the map, and they knew that if things were going to be ok for them, they’d need help from the Jews in Israel. Andrew knew it too. He still knows it. That’s no doubt why he’s working in Jerusalem. [Emphasis added.]
Officer Darren Wilson resigned from the Ferguson police force today. Here’s what he said in his letter of resignation:
“I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.”
“He said he acted without receiving a severance package, although he said more talks may be held.”
UPDATE, December 1st
Victor Davis Hanson, in a PJ Media article titled When the law is a drag, observed
In the Ferguson disaster, the law was the greatest casualty. Civilization cannot long work if youths strong-arm shop owners and take what they want. Or walk down the middle of highways high on illicit drugs. Or attack police officers and seek to grab their weapons. Or fail to obey an officer’s command to halt. Or deliberately give false testimonies to authorities. Or riot, burn, and loot. Or, in the more abstract sense, simply ignore the legal findings of a grand jury; or, in critical legal theory fashion, seek to dismiss the authority of the law because it is not deemed useful to some preconceived theory of social justice. Do that and society crumbles. [Emphasis added.]
In our cynicism we accept, to avoid further unrest, that no government agency will in six months prosecute the looters and burners, or charge with perjury those who brazenly lied in their depositions to authorities, or charge the companion of Michael Brown with an accessory role in strong-arm robbery, or charge the stepfather of Michael Brown for using a bullhorn to incite a crowd to riot and loot and burn. We accept that because legality is becoming an abstraction, as it is in most parts of the world outside the U.S. where politics makes the law fluid and transient. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
For this administration, the law is a drag.
What separated the United States from a Peru or Nigeria or Mexico or Laos or Russia was the sanctity of the law, or the idea that from the highest elected officials to the least influential citizen, all were obligated to follow, according to their stations, the law. Under Obama, that sacred idea has been eroded. We live in a world of illegal immigration and amnesties, Ferguson mythologies, and alphabet government scandals, presided over by a president who not only does not tell the truth, but also seems to be saying to the public, “I say whatever I want, so get over it.”
Dan Miller Dan graduated from Yale University in 1963 and from the University of Virginia School of law, where he was the notes editor of the Virginia Law Review in 1966. He retired from the practice of law in 1996 and now lives in Panama. He has contributed to Pajamas Media and Pajamas Tatler and, in addition to his own blog, is an editor of Warsclerotic. You can find Dan on Facebook and LinkedIn.