Occasionally something I write slips the leash and I have to spend a couple hours looking for it. That was the case here and so I thought it necessary to add a few follow-on thoughts.
1. Bryan Loritts said this on Twitter about my article: “@douglaswils blog is like using a eulogy to preach on evils of smoking to kids of the dad who died of lung cancer.” He then linked to my Crimson Carnage article, but not to this one, or this one.
In the first of these posts, I had explained why I was reluctant to say anything about whether the flag should stay up or down. I said:
“It is unseemly to politicize these horrors when the families are still weeping. Whether the issue is gun control or something else, whenever a hard sell comes in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, the only thing it makes me want to do is wonder at how boorish some people can be.”
So let us make the illustration a bit more apt, shall we? I am the crazy uncle attending the funeral of a man who died of lung cancer, and am sitting respectfully in the back. The entire family, the whole lot of ’em, smokes twice as much as the deceased did, a fact that I had pointed out at various appropriate intervals. Halfway through the service, the Rev. Sather calls me up to the front and asks me to say a few extemporaneous words about the dangers of sunscreen. I shake my head because if I talk at all, I am going to tell you the truth. But he insists, and so I say a few true words, an unwelcome prospect at more funerals than just this one. I am then upbraided for my bad manners.
And you might call me jumpy, but in expanding the illustration used by Bryan Loritts, I do not mean to indicate anything critical or negative about the funerals in Charleston. These dear saints were not smoking cigarettes, but rather praying to God.
2. When a post goes nuts, I am honestly not able to stay current with all the comments and all the debates that might result. John Sather has said that my “minions” have been a disgusting problem. “Nothing could be more disgusting than reading @douglaswils minions hate on African Americans in . . . his blog comments.” All I would say there is that if someone is pretending to be on my side and is saying racially hateful things, please flag the comment via Disqus and I will review and remove it. But if — as is more likely given the history here — John Sather has been so sensitized by the spirit of the age that he regards any challenge to his views as hateful, I will leave the comment right where it was.
On a related front, Anthony Bradley asked “DW fans” to “please stop trolling” him. I would ask the same thing of my fans — please don’t troll anybody. But I would also ask Anthony to not mistake attempts to engage with him as trolling.
3. Nobody does better at empty gestures than liberal white people, who never let their impotence interfere with their deep compulsion to “do something.” Something horrific happens, and so it is self evident to them that “something must be done.” And in the minds of those who believe in Uplift, it is better to do an easy something that will solve nothing at all than to attempt to address the actual problems caused by human depravity. And so it was that we began with a ruckus about taking down the battle flag at the capital and ended with WalMart yanking Civil War chess sets from the shelves. There. Everybody feel safer now?
4. Speaking of the power of the mob, one of the qualities of character that we should all want to develop is the ability to stand up to one. This is best done with the mobs of your own era, rather than with the mobs of bygone eras. The bygone era mobs are generally dispersed without much tear gas, and more medals can be given out in the daydream ceremonies afterward. But the actual mobs are the ones causing the problems and actual courage is required, so be sure to weigh your options carefully.
5. As someone has pointed out, there needs to be more to the much touted “national conversation on race” than “vote Democrat.” As John Cleese once pointed out about the World Series, when other sports have world championships, they are good enough to invite other countries. A conversation should involve more than one perspective which is why a real conversation is nothing like what the modern left is demanding — nothing is more monochrome than leftist diversity. But in our evangelical subculture, we are doing our own pared-down version of this same thing, where the Approved Voices are the ones tagging after the world at a respectable distance. Genuinely conservative voices that have something important to say about race, poverty, statism, and so on, have been preemptively DQed by the overheated rhetoric of their opposition. How can you invite a hater into your important conversation? Of course the only reason he is thought to be a hater is that it was considered more efficient to label him that way than to try to answer his arguments.
6. The difference between acting on principle and reacting to circumstances is a difference that is a vast one. That vast difference is quickly identified by the hard, cold and unforgiving reality of facts. If you send your emotional reaction to circumstances out into the very rough world, you will soon find yourself flummoxed by some angular facts. Generally this results in another emotional reaction, only aimed in a different direction — usually at the one who apprised you of the facts. Once you have established the emotional reaction of some people to one flag as the basis of necessary action, what happens when you find some other people reacting the same way to another flag? The problem is that this is a flag that doesn’t fit into the currently approved narrative, so if you tried to get WalMart to discontinue sales of it because of the “history” you would find yourself in a world of hurt. And so you head on back to the daydream, where history is always far more cooperative.
And what does this “principle” have to say about the high school in San Francisco that banned students from wearing shirts with American flags on them on Cinco de Mayo?
7. And last, I would say this by way of reminder — in my posts on this topic, I actually have posed a number of crucial questions that really should be answered. They have not yet been. Why did everybody just sail right past my question about psychotropic drugs? Maybe the problem really is being sold at WalMart, but over in the pharmacy.
On all these and related issues, I would be more than willing to have a civil discussion and/or debate with respected black leaders on what I regard as a very important topic. I am willing to do this behind closed doors, and I am willing to do it with the microphones on and cameras running. And this is not the first time I have made the offer.