The Real Reason Ferguson Burns

by | Nov 25, 2014

The moment we start taking seriously the idea that there are different kinds of reality and therefore different kinds of reason to apply to different “realities,” (black, white, female, whatever), then civilization is truly on its way out.

In the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer for killing a black man, websites such as HuffingtonPost.com are offering commentaries under the heading of “Black Voices.”

This title really struck me — as an indication of something wider and deeper that’s really, really wrong.

What exactly is a “black” voice as opposed to a “white” voice, or any other non-black voice for that matter? Do black people think of their minds and reasoning process as specifically “black” reasoning?

What if the Huffington Post titled a commentary section “white voices”? What kind of greeting do you think they’d receive? Of course, they’d never do such a thing because writing from the “white” perspective would seem (and would likely be) racist. It would imply that whites have their own way of looking at facts of reality, and perhaps (to some) it would insinuate that the “white” way of looking at things is the superior way.

But we’re forgetting the definition of racism here. Racism refers to elevating race as the most important attribute, above everything else — such as facts, logic and reason. When progressive publications (and professors, politicians) demand the perspective of “black voices” they’re implying that “black reason” has more importance than “white reason.” Or, more plainly: That black people know what they’re talking about when they claim that white cop is guilty of unwarranted brutality, while white people do not. (Of course, exceptions are made whenever a white person or a black person takes the side they’re not “supposed” to take.)

Officer Darren Wilson’s guilt or innocence is not the most important issue here. The most important issue is how we’re to determine anyone’s guilt or innocence in any legal controversy — or even determine the objective truth or falsehood (as opposed to the race- or gender-based truth or falsehood) on any subject at all. If we concede the idea that reason matters less than race, then there’s no basis for anything — including a legal system to either criticize or support — in the first place.

Reason is not an attribute distinctive to some races and not others. Just as it would be appallingly racist for a white supremacist to claim, “White people can think and reason. Black people cannot,” it’s no less racist for someone to say, or imply, “There’s a black point of view — and on this issue, it’s most likely the correct one.”

This is the sort of intellectual and psychological/mental travesty I dreaded in the event that the Ferguson MO police officer was not indicted, even more than the riots and the looting other people dreaded. Why? Because it’s these sorts of mental and ideological inversions, double standards and sociopolitical gymnastics that make the riots seem justified, in the first place. It’s the intellectual green light provided for the looters and rioters to do what they do. Ideological destruction in theory leads, inevitably, to physical destruction in practice. Watch the riots and see for yourself.

Let’s assume that Officer Darren Wilson is absolutely guilty. Let’s assume that he was in no way provoked, and nothing in remotely proper police policy prompted his split-second decision to kill Michael Brown last summer. Let’s assume that everybody on the grand jury (which consisted of blacks as well as whites, by the way) knows this, and only cared about oppressing black people; and let’s assume that this is nothing more than a self-evident case of a black man being murdered by a white man with power, for no reason other than the white man could.

Granted, there are lots of facts and evidence to suggest or even prove otherwise. This evidence probably had something to do with the decision of the Grand Jury not to indict the police officer, not even for involuntary manslaughter. But let’s assume for a moment that none of that evidence is valid.

What exactly are the proponents of perpetual black victimization trying to accomplish here? Is it really the truth they’re after? Or is it something else?

A possible answer comes from an example from two decades ago. Clarence Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court. During his Senate hearings, a former associate of his, Anita Hill, accused him of sexual harassment. Ultimately, the U.S. Senate put Thomas on the Court anyway. At the time, I made the comment to a self-described progressive associate of mine: “Nobody will ever know what really happened in their private moments, if they truly had any. Nobody was present and there’s no way to prove this one way or another.” To which my associate replied, “Well, that’s not the point. This is an opportunity to side with the accuser. For a long time, the accusers — particularly women — were not believed when it came to sexual harassment, or even outright rape. It’s important to believe and support Anita Hill.”

I was frankly stunned. I couldn’t grasp that somebody would admit — much less think — such a thing. The implications are horrendous: The truth and the facts don’t matter, not as much as other considerations such as race or gender. By implication, rational proof under the law does not matter, either. All that matters is that if you belong to an approved victim group (based on race, gender or whatever it is), then the laws of reason and logic are to be suspended, ignored or minimized.

I’m still stunned by such an attitude. But I’m a lot less surprised than I used to be.

This is the sort of intellectual dishonesty gradually eroding good will and equal individual rights, to say nothing of the basic rule of law, in our society. Most of us can sense and even admit that freedom, as Americans have generally known it, is on its way out. America does seem to be in its twilight, as wrong and as unnecessary as it is. Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or neither, you cannot help admit that something has gone deeply wrong somewhere, and it’s even worse than racism. Maybe the death of reason — particularly when applied to matters of justice — is the thing we’re mourning, without necessarily knowing it.

As for the Ferguson case: Are police above the law? Of course not. But truth and justice have to be determined by reason. Reason is fallible, and people are not always honest in their application of it, for sure. But the moment we start taking seriously the idea that there are different kinds of reality and therefore different kinds of reason to apply to different “realities,” (black, white, female, whatever), then civilization is truly on its way out.

Think of that as you watch the Ferguson riots on television, and as you watch the chattering classes essentially cheer them on.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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