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Beware the New Political Center

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By Walter Donway

September 22, 2017

 

“Black Lives Matter” (BLM) stormed onto the American political scene in 2012 and for a while gripped the media’s attention with street demonstrations, arson, and looting in Ferguson, Missouri, with replays in Baltimore and other cities. Lately, though, BLM seems less in evidence.

Have prominent deaths of young black men involved in encounters with law-enforcement decreased? Or, as widely reported, has “aggressive policing” been reined-in by BLM rioting, sympathetic media coverage given the BLM rioters, and sharply focused criticism of police? I have written about the investigations by Manhattan Institute senior legal scholar, Heather MacDonald, which point to unambiguous resurgence of black-on-black and black-on-white murders in cities like Chicago since police were fiercely rapped for racist “aggressive policing.”

BLM has not withdrawn from the scene; it has joined forces with another organization hailed by the media, “Antifa,” a purportedly “anti-fascist” group explicitly committed to violence against its ideological opponents. Antifa has consistently resorted to violence in places ranging from the University of California, Berkeley, to Charlottesville, Virginia.

But BLM has not withdrawn from the scene; it has joined forces with another organization hailed by the media, “Antifa,” a purportedly “anti-fascist” group explicitly committed to violence against its ideological opponents. Antifa has consistently resorted to violence in places ranging from the University of California, Berkeley, to Charlottesville, Virginia. During the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) designated Antifa a “domestic terrorist organization.” Until very recently, I had not seen that reported in the mainstream media.

Last week, the Los Angeles Times (August 25, 2017) published an interview with Patrice Cullers, 32, a black artist in Los Angeles who describes herself as “a queer activist.” Ms. Cullers is a co-founder of BLM. She was asked by the L.A. Times if, since President Donald Trump has criticized BLM for its violence, BLM would be willing to meet and talk with Trump.

Ms. Cullers replied that BLM would not talk with Trump because “we wouldn’t have done that with Hitler.”

And what are the sins that businessman and new American President Trump shares with Nazi Germany’s Chancellor Adolf Hitler?

“Trump is literally the epitome of evil, all the evils of this country — be it racism, capitalism, sexism, homophobia.” [Emphasis added.]

Here is the ideological inspiration and energy behind BLM, a contemporary cultural and political movement treated by the mainstream media with deference and respect:

The “epitome of evil…racism, capitalism, sexism, and homophobia.”

Well, “racism” is an almost universally acknowledged evil and much of American political and cultural energy for half a century has been directed at eliminating it. Sexism is a war between the sexes, the struggle to define and bring about sexual equality, that has been a hot topic since at least ancient Athens. “Homophobia” is a weird indictment. It is the psychological fear of homosexuality, a withdrawing from the very idea of sexual relations with members of the same sex. The United States in recent years has turned itself inside-out politically, culturally, and socially to accommodate and normalize same-sex relationships, except for significant remaining opposition to official same-sex marriages.

And so, we are left with the sin of “capitalism.”

Capitalism is the political-economic system created when the powers of government are limited (usually by a constitution) to the protection of human rights against crimes of force and fraud, domestically and against foreign aggressors.

Capitalism is the political-economic system created when the powers of government are limited (usually by a constitution) to the protection of human rights against crimes of force and fraud, domestically and against foreign aggressors. The consequence of limiting government is freedom of individuals to live entirely by their own judgment and values, including complete freedom to create, express and implement ideas in production, commerce, and trade, and to retain possession of what they have earned. The result is a society of individual autonomy, voluntary relationships, extensive cooperation and combination to achieve goals of virtually any magnitude, and protection of individual morality in spoken and written expression, publication, education, human relationships, and every other human endeavor.

This is the social system intended by the men who drafted and persuaded their countrymen to accept the U.S. Constitution. More than two centuries under this system resulted in destruction of the great American contradiction—slavery; universal suffrage; the highest standard of living in the history of mankind and social class fluidity; and a nation with the power and moral conviction to devote the lives of its sons and the treasure of its productive system to the defeat of monarchism in WWI, National Socialism in WWII, and worldwide Communism in the Cold War.

It is true that the philosophical debate of our time, and the political struggle, is between consistent, principled capitalism and all those forces that have moved it step by step toward the interventionist-welfare state: the chaotically destructive group warfare among pressure groups competing for government largesse, favors, restrictions on competitors, and privileges.

It is true that the philosophical debate of our time, and the political struggle, is between consistent, principled capitalism and all those forces that have moved it step by step (and desperately long to keep moving it) toward the interventionist-welfare state: the chaotically destructive group warfare among pressure groups competing for government largesse, favors, restrictions on competitors, and privileges without regard for cumulative taxation, debt, and relentless government encroachment on liberty.

For Ms. Cullers, though, there are no nuances. Capitalism is the “epitome of evil…of this country…”

Notice that racism, sexism, and bias against homosexuals are widely condemned because they are anti-individual variants of collectivism. Ms. Cullers wants to spread (smear) that condemnation over capitalism, the political system based on individualism and individual rights guaranteed by a country’s fundamental laws. To make her list of evils philosophically and historically consistent, Ms. Cullers needs to add “socialism,” not “capitalism” to it.

No, I’m not going to try in a few sentences to sketch the differences between Chancellor Hitler and President Trump. This essay is not written to persuade Ms. Cullers that even the immigrants who entered America in defiance of law, and who now may have to return home and do it the right way, are treated with infinitely more respect for law than the millions of Jewish and other Germans targeted by Hitler. May Ms. Cullers never experience the difference.

BLM is not primarily a movement (or attack force) against racism. It is anything but a movement against the murder of blacks because the one thing shown to rein-in the horrendous murder rate of blacks by blacks is aggressive police enforcement—with the inevitable accidents or excesses of force that occur when police are focused on potential killers. In any case, the deaths of black men in police actions that BLM used to justify rioting occurred during the Obama administration.

What BLM is attacking is capitalism. That is what President Trump represents to most of his supporters (actually, his positions are just less interventionist than those of his opponents)—and that is what he represented to Democrats and the media during the election. The media did not put it in those terms, preferring to focus on incidents alleged to reveal racism, sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and insensitivity to homosexuals, lesbians, and transgendered individuals. Refreshingly, Ms. Cullers puts “capitalism” on her short list of evils that make President Trump morally equivalent to Hitler. I would have more respect for the mainstream media if they had been honest about their vehement opposition to Mr. Trump instead of casting it terms of largely fabricated, exaggerated, or misinterpreted transgressions of “identity politics.”

During the 2016 election and its aftermath, Ms. Cullers was no more than “centrist” on the spectrum of opposition to President Trump. That she is explicit, rather than indirect, about his cardinal sin of “capitalism” does not change that.

It is apparent to anyone who follows the New York Times editorial and op-ed pages that the writers yearn to identify President Trump with Nazism. The subliminal smear stands out like large white letters formed by the shape of what does appear in print.

BLM has not gone away. The L.A. Times reported: “It has swelled to 40 chapters, including branches in Canada and Britain. In November, the group will receive the Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s leading award for global peacemakers.”

To return to an earlier point: BLM has not gone away. The L.A. Times reported: “It has swelled to 40 chapters, including branches in Canada and Britain. In November, the group will receive the Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s leading award for global peacemakers.”

BLM was on the scene in Charlottesville, an event that was desperately needed to keep alive the media “narrative” about President Trump. Since the nominating process for the 2016 election started 18 months ago, Charlottesville was the first prominent instance of violence not by leftwing groups but by old-line organizations identified with the “far right.” (I qualify that statement because the Ku Klux Klan always was allied with Democratic politics and National Socialism is, well, “socialism.” Both suggest that the “left-right” spectrum is flawed.)

But for the media, that was quibbling. The worst actors on the “far-right” were present and exchanging blows with Antifa and BLM. Now, the media could talk about President Trump in the context of violence of the “far right.” When Mr. Trump immediately condemned violence on both sides of the fray, the media went wild with indignation: the President had “equated” Antifa and BLM violence with KKK and neo-Nazi violence. (Back then, there was no suggestion, anywhere, that the Obama Department of Homeland Security and FBI had designated Antifa a “domestic terrorist organization.”) The “moral equivalence” of Trump’s condemnation was good for hundreds of hours of commentary about the threat from the “far right.”

Media commentators were enabled to converge with Ms. Cullers in outright packaging of President Trump with Hitler. And individuals, notably in Hollywood, came out and said so. The new narrative was that the “white supremacists” so long accused of being Mr. Trump’s electoral base—but not frank about their racism—now were beginning to come out of the closet wearing white sheets and swinging clubs.

Ms. Cullers is not an “extremist,” not on the “fringe” of liberal-leftism represented by so much of the U.S. media, academia, and “opinion elite.” No, she now defines the center, the point of balance, of the forces aligned against President Trump. She represents, too, much of her generation who believe America must be saved, by any means, from capitalism, racism, sexism, and “homophobia.”

The endemic violence of Antifa and Black Lives Matter previews what we will see even more of if the “center” is Ms. Cullers.
 

 

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