Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Riots? What Riots? Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste


 (Image credit Julio Rosas for Townhall)

Everyone knows that America is now aflame with widespread riots protesting—or in all too many instances, ostensibly protesting—the death of George Floyd in police custody. As Floyd was black, the rioting, looting, vandalism, destruction of property, defacing of historical monuments and multiple homicides are regarded as a reaction to police violence and institutional racism. 

As Heather Mac Donald correctly points out in National Review, “There is no epidemic of racist police shootings. It is a racial group’s rate of violent crime that determines police shootings, not the race of the officer…In fact, if there is a bias in police shootings after crime rates are taken into account, it is against white civilians.” Her argument is supported by a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and by another 2015 Justice Department study of the Philadelphia Police Department—legitimate studies which “demolish[ ] the Democratic narrative regarding race and police shootings.” 

Such truths are passed over as inconsequential. Indeed, whites tend to be relatively passive in reacting to violence perpetrated against them. The fact that Mohamed Noor, a Somali police officer, killed a white woman without cause in Minneapolis, Ground Zero of the present turmoil, ignited no riots. As The Intercept reports, some activists believed that Noor “was unfairly targeted because he is a black man who killed a white woman…Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer and local racial justice leader, said Noor’s conviction reveals how the court system treats white people differently compared to everyone else.”

The question is obvious: What is wrong with this picture?

The answer is: everything.  I do not give the racist meme much credence. With African-Americans convincingly represented in the halls of power, as mayors, governors, members of Congress, including an American President and two Attorneys General, it should be clear that Jim Crow is pretty well dead and buried. Race has become a huckster’s source of power and profit. Let it be said once and for all: The United States is not a racist nation, but in fact bends over backwards to appease the bearers of the slander and the advocates of anachronistic reparations. 

It needs also to be said that the fires burning across the country are nothing less than a national insurrection, brewing for years and exploited by the hawkers of racist dissension and programmatically by the Democratic Party. What is taking place is an emeute, a war against the Constitution, a plot to unravel the fabric of the Republic, in short, a coup against the State and a sitting President. It is a condition of civil war in everything but name, long simmering and now breaking out into the open.  

This is not the time for breast-beating, for systemic timidity, for merely defensive measures, for making amends and concessions. As William Butler Yeats wrote in The Second Coming, one of the great poems in the language:

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity…

Words that were never more pertinent than now. The political and cultural left, the guerilla cadres wreaking havoc on the streets and in the public square, their supporters and backers—they are indeed “full of passionate intensity.” Those who would oppose them, arguing for civility, reluctant to return fire with fire, relying on toothless or disregarded legislation, slamming governors for being weak—they may be “the best” but often seem to lack “all conviction.”

Newsmax reports, the former House Speaker Newt Gingrich hopes President Donald Trump’s designation of Antifa as a terrorist organization will reveal who is funding it. “Who is paying for these people?” Gingrich is right. What we are witnessing is “war against America…These are not riots in a traditional sense…You have a nationwide group, Antifa is part of it, but there are other elements involved…who is organizing it?…we have to do whatever it takes to put down the people who would destroy our country.”

These are true words. President Trump has declared Antifa a terrorist organization, which is a step in the right direction—but only a step. Antifa and their kindred outfits will simply go underground and continue a sporadic campaign of inflaming anti-democratic sentiment, creating civil unrest, pillaging and destroying property and assaulting innocent people.  Two decisive measures are required to quell the insurrection.

As Gingrich advised, Trump “should indicate he is prepared to declare an emergency for the destruction.” This means, or should mean, not only that government will rebuild devastated neighborhoods, but that the American police, National Guard or military should be permitted to use lethal force when attacked by domestic terrorists of when dispersing hoodlums and gangsters laying waste businesses, smashing storefronts, assaulting bystanders and committing arson. That such an initiative, as many will argue, would only provoke violence, or more violence, is the classic evasion of the temporizers and fearful propitiators among us.

But even more importantly, the Justice Department must be immediately tasked with seeking out and identifying those who sponsor and finance the army of commandos, mercenaries and terrorist groups that have declared war on the nation. The identities of some of these shadowy bankers are already well-known and have been known for many years, yet nothing has been done to investigate or arraign or even extradite these fiscal malefactors.

The head of the snake must be cut off—call it Operation Ophidian—if the civil venom is to be stanched. If, as in the Greek myth of the Lernean Hydra, the head keeps growing back, which it surely will, then perpetual vigilance will be necessary. But the old adage remains apt: follow the money. When the funds are cut off, the reptile loses its main force.

President Trump should take Winston Churchill’s observation to heart, made in reference to the 1945 Yalta Conference, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”—a phrase pilfered by Rahm Emmanuel for malign rather than constructive purposes. Churchill intended the remark to indicate the need for a proper post-WW II resolution to disputed territories. Interestingly, the axiom originates with geriatric psychiatrist M.F. Weiner, who titled a 1976 article in the journal Medical Economics “Don’t Waste a Crisis — Your Patient’s or Your Own.”

Weiner meant that a medical crisis can be used to ameliorate mental health or the lives of both patient and physician. Whether in Churchill’s or Weiner’s use of the phrase, the intention is genuinely therapeutic and the acceptation, positive. 

The future course of the American Republic hangs in the balance. This is the real issue. The current state of unrest is an opportunity for the President to embark upon a surgical operation to excise the tumor of revolt, orchestrated violence and, to be explicit, national destruction. He should not let it go to waste. 



Darkness Falls - The collapse of the rule of law across the country, intensified by Antifa radicals, is terrifying.

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images

Savagery is spreading with lightning speed across the United States, with murderous assaults on police officers and civilians and the ecstatic annihilation of businesses and symbols of the state. Welcome to a real civilization-destroying pandemic, one that makes the recent saccharine exhortations to “stay safe” and the deployment of police officers to enforce outdoor mask-wearing seem like decadent bagatelles.

This particular form of viral chaos was inevitable, given the failure of Minneapolis’s leaders to quell the city’s growing mayhem. The violence began on Tuesday, May 26, the day after the horrifying arrest and subsequent death of George Floyd. On the night of Thursday, May 28, Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey ordered the city’s Third Police Precinct evacuated as the forces of hatred, distinct from legitimate forms of protest, descended upon it for a third day in a row. The building was promptly torched, sending a powerful sign that society would not defend its most fundamental institutions of law and order.

On Friday, May 29, Minnesota governor Tim Walz explained his reluctance to mobilize the National Guard as an unwillingness to seem “oppressive.” Naturally, he apologized for his white privilege—“I will not patronize you as a white man without living [your] lived experiences”—and explained the feral violence as an understandable response to racial injustice: “The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish, unheard.” Few arrests were made after five days of rampant crime.

The media, visibly exhilarated by this latest explosion of black rage, had its own explanation for the chaos: people were outraged that the officer who had kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for a sickening eight-plus minutes had not yet been arrested and charged. But when that arrest came, along with murder and manslaughter charges after a lightning-fast investigation by the district attorney, the anarchy continued—not just in Minneapolis but across the country, intensfied by Antifa radicals.

Political leaders elsewhere have been just as reluctant to use the necessary force to quell the violence. New York mayor Bill de Blasio called on police to use a “light touch” in response. New York governor Andrew Cuomo coolly predicted on Sunday, May 31, during his now absurdly irrelevant daily coronavirus press conference, that the violence would continue. “The explosion we saw last night we’ll probably see again tonight,” he said—obviously confident in his own physical safety, if not the safety of the rest of the state’s residents.

The attacks on local law enforcement were already happening out of sight of TV cameras before the most photogenic scenes of arson and the stomping of squad cars started showing up on network and cable news. On Tuesday, May 26, and Wednesday, May 27, Chicago residents surrounded and threw bottles at Chicago Police Department officers trying to arrest gun suspects. One suspect was the likely perpetrator of a shooting that had just hit a five-year-old girl and two teenage boys. The other had just thrown his gun under a car; the cop-haters tried to free him from the squad car. No surprise that Saturday night, downtown Chicago was plundered.

This pandemic of civil violence is more widespread than anything seen during the Black Lives Matter movement of the Obama years, and it will likely have an even deadlier toll on law enforcement officers than the targeted assassinations we saw from 2014 onward. It’s worse this time because the country has absorbed another five years of academically inspired racial victimology. From Ta-Nehisi Coates to the New York Times’s 1619 project, the constant narrative about America’s endemic white supremacy and its deliberate destruction of the “black body” has been thoroughly injected into the political bloodstream.

Facts don’t matter to the academic victimology narrative. Far from destroying the black body, whites are the overwhelming target of interracial violence. Between 2012 and 2015, blacks committed 85.5 percent of all black-white interracial violent victimizations (excluding interracial homicide, which is also disproportionately black-on-white). That works out to 540,360 felonious assaults on whites. Whites committed 14.4 percent of all interracial violent victimization, or 91,470 felonious assaults on blacks. Blacks are less than 13 percent of the national population.

If white mobs were rampaging through black business districts, assaulting passersby and looting stores, we would have heard about it on the national news every night. But the black flash mob phenomenon is grudgingly covered, if at all, and only locally.

The national media have been insisting on the theme of the allegedly brutal Minneapolis police department. They said nothing as black-on-white robberies rose in downtown Minneapolis late last year, along with savage assaults on passersby. Why are the Minneapolis police in black neighborhoods? Because that’s where violent crime is happening, including shootings of two-year-olds and lethal beatings of 75-year-olds. Just as during the Obama years, the discussion of the allegedly oppressive police is being conducted in the complete absence of any recognition of street crime and the breakdown of the black family that drives it.

Once the violence began, any effort to “understand” it should have stopped, since that understanding is inevitably exculpatory. The looters are not grieving over the stomach-churning arrest and death of George Floyd; they are having the time of their lives. You don’t protest or mourn a victim by stealing oxycontin, electronics, jewelry, and sneakers.

Fittingly, the ideological handmaiden of this violence—academia—has already sprung into action. The chancellors and presidents of Harvard, the University of Arizona, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale, among others, released statements over the weekend assuring their black students of their schools’ commitment to racial equity, in light of the George Floyd death—an event wholly unrelated to the academic. No college leader denounced the violence.

UCLA’s chancellor Gene Block, as well as the school’s $400,000 a year Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and a parade of deans, announced that the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the school’s legions of Equity Advisors would be coming up with new programs for “virtual reflection spaces” in which to “humbly acknowledge the pain.” The school’s Resources for Racial Trauma would be beefed up. The academic diversity bureaucracy has now been given a whole new excuse for existence and can be assured that it will escape the cost-cutting chopping block, even as universities beg the federal government for more coronavirus bailout money.

The great philosophers and poets of the West—from Aeschylus and Euripides, to Shakespeare, Hobbes, and the American Founders—understood the chaos and lust for power that lurk beneath civilization. Thanks to the magnificent infrastructure of the rule of law, we now take stability and social trust for granted. We assume that violence, once unleashed in the name of justice, can easily be put back in the bottle.

It cannot.

It was a signal accomplishment of both politics and science to banish humanity’s millennia-long fear of darkness. That city dwellers are now reexperiencing that fear with each fall of night is a measure of how rapidly we are losing our hard-won progress.