Children intuitively understand that the person who can cause pain is the person with the most basic, easily-accessible form of power around. No matter how many times I told my two when they were little that making someone feel happy is every bit as much a show of power as making them sad or hurt, when the lust for power came upon them, they tried to inflict sorrow and pain on family, friends, and enemies every time.
Expressing power through inflicting pain is quick, easy, and satisfying to the most primitive, undeveloped parts of our brains. Which gets me to Leftists….
Not too long ago, I wrote a post explaining that Leftists have a punitive governing style. The free market metes out natural consequences, both good and bad. If you create a desirable product or offer excellent service, the market will reward you with money. Conversely, if you create a shoddy product or offer lousy service, sooner or later the market will catch up with you and punish you, again financially. How the market treats you depends on how you treat the market.
Leftists, however, like to hand out consequences based upon metrics they determine, which are quite often unrelated to bad market behavior. Profits, which are a good thing in an honest market, are bad things to socialists. Bernie therefore promises to use the power of government to punish those who dare to profit too much (with “too much” being defined by Bernie’s subjective standards). Likewise, socialists don’t believe in natural market-based rewards for good products and services. Instead, they believe in using the power of government to reward their friends and cronies. Everyone who doesn’t earn a reward is bad and, therefore, merely by existing as an unrewarded actor in a socialist economy, satisfies the Left’s lust for punitive power.
This Leftist love affair with the dark side of power animates what is currently the loudest movement on the Left — the Black Lives Matter movement. Like locusts swarming crops, the Black Lives Matter activists are never still. Instead, they’re constantly in motion identifying and punishing new “racial perpetrators.” First, with the springboard of the Michael Brown “hands up; don’t shoot” canard, it was police forces, even though in many majority black communities, the police are a very thin blue line indeed between black predators and their black prey.
Next, the Black Lives Matter turned its gaze on universities, shaking them down for more black faculty and administrators. The movement also sought easier grading for black victims of affirmative action policies (imposed from on high to benefit blacks, of course) that place black students in mismatched academic environments that make it almost impossible for them to succeed. In another rather wonderful case of forcing Leftists to live up to their own principles, the Black Lives Matter movement turned its punitive gaze on Hollywood, pointing out accurately enough that Hollywood is all about whites with a few highly paid token blacks.
Frankly, I’ve been enjoying the spectacle of black activists turning on their most fervent cheerleaders in academia and Hollywood. There’s no show better than watching institutions that have deliberately created victim classes in order to consolidate political power and revel in their self-appointed moral superiority finally fall prey to their own creations. Really, Karma can be a wonderful thing.
Enjoying the karmic suffering the Black Lives Matter movement is visiting on its ideological creators, though, doesn’t blind me to a very significant fact: the Black Lives Matter movement is doing absolutely nothing to help actual blacks. Instead, consistent with my theory about Leftists being primitive creatures that enjoy inflicting pain, the entire Black Lives Matter movement is entirely punitive in nature.
Black Lives Matter is going to punish the police officers who, while sometimes racist, are mostly the only thing that protect blacks from those in their own community who have become feral. It’s going to punish the academic institutions that, filled with guilt-ridden Leftists, will do anything, absolutely anything, to encourage blacks to come to those same institutions. And of course the Black Lives Matter movement going to rub the nose of every Hollywood Leftist in the fact that Hollywood is all Leftist talk but, within its own four studio walls, no Leftist action. Humiliation and financial hits are the name of the game for the Black Lives Matter movement.
But what about actual . . . you know, blacks? What’s the Black Lives Matter doing for them? Because here’s the big, dirty secret that the Left works hard to obscure: In a country that is probably the least racist in the world, the only group that can truly make black lives matter is blacks. You can put as many over-paid black actors in movies as you want, and you can usher a few thousand more upper middle class blacks into Harvard’s ivied halls, but until America’s black community begins policing its own pathologies, nothing will change.
So, what changes should blacks impose upon themselves to show that their lives matter?
A good beginning would be for community leaders to start preaching that the single best way to achieve success in America is to do three things and to do them in a very specific order: (1) Get educated, (2) get married, and (3) have children. Change that order — especially putting children up front — is a recipe for economic disaster.
In America, white privilege doesn’t just happen because the magic mantle of success falls upon whites. It happens because whites, more than blacks, first get educated, then get married, then have children, which is the common denominator in all upward mobility. Too many blacks ignore education and marriage, and simply have children.
And speaking of children, the greatest predictor of poverty is single motherhood. It’s becoming more prevalent among whites, but it’s specifically concentrated among blacks living in the inner cities. Black men have been marginalized by welfare. If you’re a black woman, why put up with a husband who can be a pain in the tuchis (everything from leaving the toilet seat up to physical abuse), when Daddy Welfare always comes through? And if you’re a black man and do not have the morally sustaining, core masculine role of the caregiver for your wife and children, having as many illegitimate children as possible by as many different women as possible becomes the only way you can prove your manhood. (Illegal guns help too.)
To a middle class white person, the welfare checks that power inner city black communities are so small in amount that they seem like a nightmare of poverty. No one would willingly choose that, right? Wrong.
To someone who grew up in poverty, getting regular government checks and food stamps as part of having babies means that you’ve got a stable source of money — and that’s a good thing. And yes, I know that I’m a middle class white person, so I sound both insufferably condescending and ignorant when I say this. The reality, though, is that I have a close contact who lives on the margins, surrounded by people entirely dependent on the government, and most of them wouldn’t have it any other way.
The welfare recipients in my friend’s social circle have what they consider to be a life of reasonable quality: They don’t have to work, they can be stoned all the time, they have a roof over the head (nasty by our standards), food in their belly (unappealing by our standards), and can augment their limited income with under-the-table labor and skilled bartering.
What’s interesting is when you add mandatory work to that mix. When the State of Maine insisted that childless, able-bodied welfare recipients work, the welfare rolls shrank by an amazing 80%. In other words, for people used to a marginal existence, they’d rather live marginally on the dole than work. They’ll work only when the dole becomes an impossibility — and once they work, they don’t usually need the dole any more (nor do they qualify for it) to sustain the low-grade lifestyle to which they’re accustomed.
So what we’ve got is a community that is used to poverty, and doesn’t seem to have the initiative to change its more harmful behaviors. That should be where the Black Lives Movement steps in to make a difference with actual blacks. Rather than tying up Bay Bridge traffic to punish whites for White Privilege, these Black Lives Matters protesters should be going into their own communities and preaching the gospel of getting an education, getting a job, getting married, and lastly having children. Doing so would prove that black lives really do matter because, rather than punishing whites, black lives would actually improve.
If I had a voice in a true Black Lives Matter movement, one that really wants to raise up the quality of black lives in America, I’d also try to restore the black church’s former centrality in black communities. I don’t mean churches like Reverend Wright’s, in which Obama sat for 20 years soaking in racism, antisemitism, anti-Americanism, and socialism. Instead, I’m thinking of true churches focused on a loving deity and on core moral rules that, if put into play, create strong, stable families, in strong, stable communities.
I like the black pastors that Star Parker supports: These are the ones who love God, are not antisemitic, are patriotic, and who understand that the innocent people in their communities are safest when the criminals aren’t the only people with the guns.
Incidentally, you can apply the same analysis — namely, that Leftists will always opt to punish their enemies rather than aid their victim classes — to the whole feminist shtick. If you look at what feminists are doing when it comes to the purported “rape crisis” on America’s college campuses, you can see that it has nothing to do with actually protecting women.
Should you be naive enough to suggest that young women shouldn’t arrive at parties dressed like hookers, shouldn’t get drunk at parties, and shouldn’t hook up with strangers, the feminist Social Justice Warriors will hound you to death for being anti-woman and pro-rape. The only thing these shrill feminists will allow as a reasonable response to the imaginary “rape crisis” is to harangue and punish men — especially middle class white men — for having the potential ability to rape women. Again, it’s that primitive, punitive Leftist brain that enjoys meting out pain rather than causing good.
I’m betting that, if you think about it for a moment, you’ll be able to provide me with many more examples of Leftist activism that is ostensibly aimed at helping the victim group de jour but that, instead, exists solely to satisfy the Leftist lust for punitive forms of power without conferring any benefit whatsoever on the putative victims.
UPDATE: And this story makes my point. No personal responsibility, just finger-pointing from someone who should be a leader in the black community.