In light of the recent events in Baltimore, everyone wants to have an honest conversation about race. The difficulty is that in this honest conversation about race, nobody is allowed to say anything that is true. We have gotten to the point where the simple truth is inflammatory. Now the obvious truth should be about as inflammatory as a CVS pharmacy, but unfortunately, the logic of that observation is now officially running in the wrong direction.
1. Some of my compatriots on the pasty end of the color spectrum start to panic whenever I write about race. They believe that I am not helping, and that whatever I have to say will be detrimental to race relations within the body of Christ. But the black brothers in Christ that I count as friends don’t feel the same way. They are not obligated to believe what I say, but I do want them to feel an obligation to believe that I am saying nothing other than what I believe to be true — and that that is the only reason I am saying it. Too many trendy evangelicals, if politically correct sentiments were water, act like those long-range lawn sprinklers, the ones that have a 360 degree reach. When my black friends read what I say, they know that I believe what I am saying. When a pale fellow, pale both ways, gives them various Jesified CNN talking points, they are never sure. So if you really want an honest conversation about race, stop saying what you are expected to say, and start saying what you actually think. That’s what honesty means, incidentally.
2. The inner-city pathologies that are on display in Baltimore right now are religious and cultural, not genetic or racial. We are observing one more failure of socialism, and not the failure of black people. As Iowahawk put it yesterday, in a magnificent observation, “In 1959, Detroit was the wealthiest city in America and Cuba was the wealthiest country in Latin America. #HappyMayDay” If you want to get the same pathologies we are seeing here, only with white people, that is perfectly possible. We have the technology. I recommend Theodore Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom if you are up for a real eye-opener. The Baltimore riots do invite judgment, but make sure you triple-check the identity of the defendant. The defendant is leftism.
3. Scripture says that the sins of some men go before them, and others come behind. “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after” (1 Tim. 5:24). As it happens, when a black idiot runs out of a store with his arms full of justice swag, his sin goes before him. When a white idiot, ensconced in his think tank at Harvard, proposes that we make everyone healthy, wealthy, and wise by federal fiat, his sin comes behind him. Some men carry their sin in front of them like a shield, and others drag it behind them, like a rope. With some men we see the consequences of the sin right away. With others, we don’t see it for a good seventy-five years, and even then there is debate among the learned. So Baltimore is not what happens when blacks govern themselves. Baltimore is what happens when anybody governs according to the pious platitudes of the whitest people in New England.
4. If cops murdered Freddie Gray, and if the sufficient evidence is discoverable, then of course those cops should be charged, convicted, and punished. But whether any such evidence is extent will not be determined by how many bags of Doritos you manage to carry away from a burning store. When it comes to the administration of justice, mobs on the streets are, um, rarely helpful.
5. If there was a rush to indict these six cops in order to restore order, that means there will be the same kind of pressure to convict, in order to prevent Baltimore going up in a sheet of flame. You have created a circumstance where issues other than simple innocence or guilt are affecting what is going on in the courtroom. That is a terrible situation to be in. But at the same time, if there was a rush to indict, then the chances are also increased that the assembled cases were hurried and sloppy, and there may well be charges dropped later, or acquittals. When that happens — well, as we used to say in the Navy, stand by for heavy rolls.
6. When people live under a despotic tyranny, it is not surprising when they finally get to a breaking point. But that is not what this is. If this really were a “we’re not going to take it anymore” moment, the mobs would be attacking police stations and city hall. The fact that they are attacking innocent merchants is damning. What it means is that the rioters of Baltimore are publicly saying that in order to ruin somebody’s life in this city, you need have no due process at all. You do not need evidence, you do not need a trial, you do not need justice. All you need is a grievance. But once you adopt that as your categorical imperative — so behave that you are willing for your behavior to become a universal law — you discover that the cops are allowed, under your new universal law, to have a grievance against men like Freddie Gray.
In short, the cops in this case might have a contempt for the demands of justice. The looters — sorry, undocumented shoppers — definitely have a contempt for the demands of justice. They are thus, demonstrably, the last people in the world we should listen to. They have voted for exactly the kind of government they claim they live under.
7. I mentioned inner city pathologies earlier. The central pathology there is fatherlessness. That pathology exists because progressive governments have declared war on fatherhood. They hate it, but when they have succeeded in virtually exterminating it, they find that a lot more police work is necessary. But you can’t hire enough cops to contain a nation of fatherless men.
If you want flourishing cities, then there are two things that are necessary, two places to begin. You have to stop paying single moms to refuse to marry the fathers of their children, and you have to stop chasing jobs for those fathers out of the city with your regulations, taxes, rules, social engineering, and all-around fussy whiteness — because, let us be frank, your officious willingness to mess around with other people’s lives is whiter than Woodrow Wilson’s thighs.