Part 1: Portents
Among the greatest of the curses upon the race of Man is our propensity for “thinking” with our wishes rather than our powers of reasoning — our willful disregard of what is in favor of what we’d like. It leads us to imagine that we inhabit a world far distant from the one around us, governed by processes wholly at odds with the ones that rule objective reality.
Sometimes we awaken from our fantasies in time to save ourselves from calamity. But not always.
Several readers have written to ask me why I so greatly fear the outbreak of “a real, full-scale, flying-lead race war.” Clearly, such correspondents deem the probability of such a thing well below my own estimate. So it becomes important that I justify my assessment.
War, in the most abstract view, is a condition in which two (or more) organizations struggle for dominance over some contested item. Historically, when nations have made war, it’s normally been over territory or population. There have been other casus bellorum, but that’s been the most common…until recently.
Today, wars between nation-states tend not to be over the position of a border or who has jurisdiction over some ethno-linguistic group. They address other sorts of slights and more recent sorts of risks. The looming war between Israel and Iran won’t be over a territorial dispute, but rather over the existential threat to Israel inherent in Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons and a delivery system for them.
A civil war is a struggle over what organization possesses sovereignty over the embroiled nation or a region thereof — that is, which of two (or more) groups is the “legitimate government,” entitled to make and enforce the law. The American Civil War, though the issues that ignited it were fairly limited — slavery and tariffs — was exactly such a conflict. The Union maintained that the federal government based in Washington, D.C. retained sovereign jurisdiction over the states of the Confederacy; the Confederacy insisted on its right to secede from the Constitutional compact that the Union states respected. The matter was settled — de facto if not necessarily de jure — by the test of arms.
Today, Syria is clearly in a state of civil war. Egypt is teetering on the edge of one, and could fall into the abyss at any time. So also with the United States of America, though the battle lines are of a unique and tragic kind.
The American conflict is, once again, over what the law shall be…but this time, the disputed “territory” is not real estate but race.
The traditional American view of the rule of law is very simply stated: Legitimate, Constitutionally conformant law stands above all details of identity, locality, and affiliation. No matter who you are, where you are, or with what groups or institutions you’re associated, your conduct is subject to the same laws as everyone else. Conversely, a law that embeds matters of identity, locality, or affiliation in its determinations is illegitimate under the rule of law. You would be hard pressed to find anyone in these United States who would dare to differ with that formulation, at least in the abstract.
However, recent events, of which the trial of George Zimmerman was merely the most visible outcropping, have demonstrated that quite a large percentage of our population discards the rule of law when racial differences are involved. Consider: Had Trayvon Martin been white, the Sanford police’s decision that the evidence clearly made his death at Zimmerman’s hands a case of self-defense would not have been questioned. Similarly, had both participants in the event been black, Zimmerman would never have come to trial. The immense political pressure brought to bear on the state of Florida to try Zimmerman for murder arose entirely because Martin was black and Zimmerman is white.
(Don’t quarrel with me about that last. “Hispanic” is an ethnic classification, not a racial one. Zimmerman is racially Caucasian. Away with the objection that he had a black great-grandparent; we don’t obey the “one-drop rule” here at Liberty’s Torch.)
Though the great majority of American Negroes are decent and law-abiding, a large percentage has internalized the notion that they possess certain exemptions from the law and extra privileges under it. Tragically, among the decent and law-abiding are many — perhaps a majority thereof — who are moved to protect the lawbreakers simply because of their shared race. If you ever hear a Negro talk about “The Man,” you’re in the presence of one such.
A claim of an exemption from the law, or of a privilege that others do not possess, inherently rejects the rule of law and the legal / judicial system based upon it. That puts that group in a state of civil war with the larger society, albeit a “cold” version as long as the conflict remains nonviolent.
From the data in Colin Flaherty’s book White Girl Bleed A Lot and from other, corroborating sources, it would appear that an outbreak of mass violence is creeping very close indeed.
The factor that’s most likely to touch off the “flying-lead race war” is the behavior of the federal Department of Justice, which has outrageously aligned itself with those forces determined to lynch George Zimmerman. The satrap of that agency is, of course, Eric “I’m the black attorney-general” Holder, the first openly racist person ever to occupy that position.
Holder has already allowed DoJ personnel to guide and participate in rallies and “protests” designed to bring Zimmerman to trial, and which have more recently railed against his acquittal as “unjust.” Today he seeks grounds on which to charge Zimmerman with “civil rights violations,” as if self-defense could possibly be viewed so. The agenda Holder and his boss, Barack Hussein Obama, are pursuing has nothing to do with justice or any interest therein; they seek political advantage for themselves and their allies, by fomenting as intense a state of racial animosity as they can contrive. They, and the Democrat Party generally, are aware that retaining the near-unanimous allegiance of black voters is critical to their retention of power. Stirring up hatred of whites is their tactic for reinforcing that allegiance.
It is possible that Obama and Holder are aware of how close to the abyss of outright race warfare the country has drifted. It is possible that they believe they can stretch the cord of civil peace and social tolerance still more tautly without going over the edge. And it is possible that they just don’t care.
My sense of the state of things inclines me to believe the last of those possibilities.
America’s racial troubles are a facet in a large mosaic of social, economic, and political turmoil. They are unusual in that they involve violence, both actual and potential, and an implicit yet obvious dispute over the concept of the rule of law. Few other aspects of our ongoing conflicts share those characteristics.
We ought to have learned from our troubles with Muslims that demands for exemptions and privileges under the law must always be rebuffed — and sternly, at that. Concessions encourage troublemakers to make more trouble; that’s fundamental reinforcement psychology, proven on innumerable occasions to operate automatically, even unconsciously, on the persons involved. Yet white Americans continue to make that fundamental mistake in dealing with the demands of blacks.
Steyn’s Thesis has never been more visibly in action:
If it were just terrorists bombing buildings and public transit, it would be easier; even the feeblest Eurowimp jurisdiction is obliged to act when the street is piled with corpses. But there’s an old technique well understood by the smarter bullies. If you want to break a man, don’t attack him head on, don’t brutalize him; pain and torture can awaken a stubborn resistance in all but the weakest. But just make him slightly uncomfortable, disrupt his life at the margin, and he’ll look for the easiest path to re-normalization. There are fellows rampaging through the streets because of some cartoons? Why, surely the most painless solution would be if we all agreed not to publish such cartoons. [From Mark Steyn’s America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It]
An exact parallel: There are fellows rampaging / beating passers-by / disrupting traffic / making death threats / holding mass demonstrations because of a jury verdict? Why, surely the most painless solution would be if we all agreed to reverse that verdict…or to pretend that it could not possibly be legitimate.
However, as those “feeble Eurowimp jurisdictions” have discovered, the terminus of that progression involves bullets, bombs, and great piles of corpses. And unless we learn from both their failures and our accelerating racial turmoil, we will suffer the same.
Part 2: Wars and Rumors of Wars
We met on the beach amid rumours of war,
Your head in your hand, what you saw you won’t say,
As the newspapers blew in the wind.
I can see you’re one of that kind
Who carry around a time bomb in the mind — no one knows
When you’ll slip the pin.
Rumours of war…
Rumours of war…
I see that your dress is torn at the edge,
You are lost, intense, like a man on a ledge, waiting to jump,
As the waves break over the shore.
You say there’s a storm that can’t be delayed,
And lately it seems to be coming this way — you can hear it break
Like the slam of a door.
Rumours of war…
Rumours of war…
You tell me, just look all around
At the past and the present, the cross and the crescent,
The signs and the planets are lining up like before.
There are souls on fire in the day and the night,
On the left and the right, in the black and the white,
You can see it burn in the eyes of the rich and the poor!
Rumours of war…
Rumours of war…
[Al Stewart, “Rumours Of War”]
War, as I noted in the previous segment, is in its most abstract form a struggle over who shall rule over a contested item. The “cold race war” already in progress is exactly that sort of struggle. The most recent front was made visible by the George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin affair: a substantial fraction of American Negroes is claiming, in effect, that when a white man kills a black man, the white man is guilty of murder regardless of any other considerations or contextual factors. The demand for such a departure from the ancient law of self-defense, specifically to favor Negroes, is a demand for a separate sovereignty demarcated by race.
But let it not be thought that only Negroes are demanding such a sovereignty. Muslims are at it, too. Indeed, Muslims’ demand for special exemptions from the law is rooted in their most fundamental scripture:
For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth. [Qur’an, Sura 5:32]
Those who believe fight in the way of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of the Shaitan. Fight therefore against the friends of the Shaitan; surely the strategy of the Shaitan is weak. [Qur’an, Sura 4:76]
“I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.” [Qur’an, Sura 8:12]
But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. [Qur’an, Sura 9:5]
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, of the people of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” [Qur’an, Sura 9:29]
“O Prophet! Struggle against the unbelievers and hypocrites and be harsh with them.” [Qur’an, Sura 9:73]
American Indians, of course, already enjoy certain exemptions from several aspects of state and federal law. So also do elected federal officials and federal employees. And thanks to federal antidiscrimination statutes, women, the handicapped, and homosexuals have gained privileges that persons outside those groups do not enjoy.
We have been divided from one another by the very mechanisms that promised us e pluribus unum. To be divided from one another by the law itself is to be set against one another, albeit indirectly.
Indirectly…at first. What follows is more direct and often far more horrible.
Thomas Sowell and others have repeatedly noted the consequences of raising one group over another through the law. Egregious cases involve Malaysia and Sri Lanka, where laws that distinguish among the various ethnic and linguistic groups have provoked enduring inter-group hostility that has often risen to violence. More recently, the de facto exclusion of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority from the protection of the law has given rise to continuing pogroms against the Coptics by the Muslim majority.
These are natural consequences of discrimination embedded in the law. They are unavoidable, for a simple reason:
Over time ever more of the members of a legally privileged group will exploit its privileges, to the detriment of the unprivileged groups. The swelling envy and resentment that result are guaranteed to tear any nation apart…including ours.
When a nation embarks upon “the downward course” (Winston Churchill), one of the group-independent sociological consequences is a general shortening of time horizons. People’s “time preference ratios” — their preference for immediate satisfactions over long-term gains — tilt ever more toward the present and away from the future. Indeed, it becomes noticeable that there’s a general accord that “we have no future.” What conclusion could a reasonable man reach, other than to live for the present? And what result could be more certain than the “eating of the seed corn” — the profligate consumption of the nation’s assets in total disregard for the needs of posterity?
The best summation of this mindset ever written comes from a great science-fiction novel:
“The fall of Trantor,” said Seldon, “cannot be stopped by any conceivable effort. It can be hastened easily, however. The tale of my interrupted trial will spread through the Galaxy. Frustration of my plans to lighten the disaster will convince people that the future holds no promise to them. Already they recall the lives of their grandfathers with envy. They will see that political revolutions and trade stagnations will increase. The feeling will pervade the Galaxy that only what a man can grasp for himself at that moment will be of any account. Ambitious men will not wait and unscrupulous men will not hang back. By their every action they will hasten the decay of the worlds. Have me killed and Trantor will fall not within three centuries but within fifty years and you, yourself, within a single year.” [Isaac Asimov, Foundation, emphasis added.]
Dr. Asimov grasped that the fates of great polities lie in their own hands: specifically, in the resolve of their rulers to maintain absolute — and absolutely evenhanded — justice. When that resolve fails, “the downward course” begins. It soon becomes irreversible.
As in the Al Stewart lyric above, no one knows when we’ll “slip the pin.” Of only one thing am I sure: Our current rulers are at the heart of the problem. There has never been a group as openly hostile to equal justice under law as the one that currently prevails in Washington. Should that group continue to ride roughshod over the rule of law and equal justice thereunder, the United States of America will not survive.
Look all around you, “at the past and the present, the cross and the crescent,” and all the rest of the legal, judicial, and social divisions we’ve endured these past fifty years. Note how many persons are already dead certain that the nation is doomed, and are making what preparations they can for the collapse of what order still remains. Note the rise of the preparationist industries, that cater directly and unabashedly to that conviction. Note the growing disaffiliation of ordinary Americans from American public institutions, in preference for whatever private alternatives exist. And note especially how many Americans already hold that the law has become an instrument of oppression, and is therefore to be skirted or disregarded whenever it’s practical to do so.