I believe that black lives matter -- but not if they belong to Black Lives Matter. They think they matter too much.
The man who puts himself or his race above the rules isn't a victim, but an oppressor. He robs a woman, or drives trashed, or beats up children, and then tells cops to shove it; and when the cops shove him, we find out how special he really is. Some might even say privileged. An Arab man was killed by two black girls last week and they got off the hook and nobody knows his name. But we know Jacob Blake's and George Floyd's names -- even though they were both caught in criminal acts, and had a history of hurting women.
I blame this whole decade of bedlam on our backward sense of empathy. First off, we taught our kids, from cradle to grave, in movies, and grade schools, and literature, and speeches, that white people hurt black people. Thus we set them up to react even if it's the other way around, and even if the black man deserves it. Second, we taught our kids that to feel for other people, people different from yourself, and underdogs, generally, is the highest use of your pity. Pitying people like you? That's selfish. Pitying "others"? What a great person you are.
In reality it makes you a terrible person, and most usually a traitor. "Compassion first," or "radical empathy," is the biggest virtue only to the degenerate. To prove this, consider that all the other virtues require some talent. Prudence, or knowing what to do and when, requires not only brains, but knowledge and experience. Justice requires a sense of balance, and harmony, and a willingness to forego your own advantage for the sake of a group -- a keeping your word even when it kills you. Fortitude means you know what you ought to do, and you have the strength to carry it out, and to even take a beating for it. Temperance means you like to have a good time and play with a good idea, but you know when to cut it short so you don't ruin everything else. These virtues bleed into each other and support each other and each of them takes lots of practice. They're revered wherever you go, and are the only reason, alongside luck, that any society happens to get anywhere. The more of them you have, the less compassion you actually need.
None of these is required to look "compassionate." You just pick a target -- any target -- any down-in-the-dumps junkie, any 900lb woman on a motor-scooter, any black criminal, any gang-banging border jumper, any man failing badly to be a woman, then you look at everyone else, and you tell "your" people to do something about it. And if they don't do it, you tell everyone they're selfish.
Of course the fact is that you are the selfish one -- and a master at sleight-of-hand. After all, you've picked this 1% of 1% and told everyone else to change the world for them. If rules are in the way, you throw away the rules -- no matter how foundational. If someone doing well has something, you take it away -- regardless of whether they earned it. You force everyone to change their lives, and you convince yourself you're not an ass because you're doing it for someone else. If it was for you, well, that would be selfish. But pick any random nobody to do it for -- the more obscure the better -- and you're not selfish at all. You're a saint.
Doing this requires no talent, as I said before. You don't have to be wealthy, or useful, or beautiful, or intelligent, or even particularly good to others to jump on board the compassion bandwagon. Anyone of any station can jump on board this train, and anyone can invent a new train to jump on. The newer the train, the more random the sufferer, the more trendy the pity-party**, the higher the "virtue" -- the better the saint.
Thus the movement to "liberate" and "raise up" the underdog is constantly degenerating. Yesterday it was for Martin Luther King Jr, a man of substance and genius who was kicked for the color of his skin. Today it's for George Floyd, who died of an overdose while resisting arrest. The need to look compassionate -- cheap and runaway vanity, at bottom -- means that the need to create victims always exists, even when the class of alleged victims has already been saved. The worst of us want to look like the best of us, and their grasping at a mass-manufactured dignity, the Gucci-knockoff brand of spiritual greatness, means that sufferers and martyrs are churned out en masse -- each one less legitimate than the last.
Meanwhile family businesses are torched. Neighborhoods are terrorized and destroyed. Real martyrs, people who were working hard and minding their own business, or policemen doing their jobs, or good men protecting their neighborhoods, have their families doxxed, and are beat up, or put in jail, or murdered -- just because they don't fit the victim-du-jour's profile. To empathize more radically is confused with having more empathy, but the fact is you've merely shifted who you empathize with -- generally from people you should care about to people you absolutely shouldn't.
This victim-in-reality, the guy who never caused any trouble, and many times the guy who stood up for the rest of us, is bulldozed without any empathy, without any backstory, and without any pity. The fact is that every victim-du-jour needs a villain or you can't be a hero; and that for every manufactured pity-party a lynch mob is set upon some innocent. The game has both a positive side and a negative. One man is raised up and another man is cut down. Both sides of the story are never told by the "compassionate." No rationale is given for the so-called "oppressor's" behavior, no support for his family when he loses his job and gets thrown on the street, or into a prison. The so-called villain is a villain because that's who he is. The so-called victim, a person with no personal dignity, or talent -- I would even say value -- has a long, sad, and manufactured backstory, sometimes reaching back centuries. Empathy is a one-way street, these days, and the person who's going the other way gets run over.
Is this the kind of society we want to live in?
P.S. My editor (God bless him) refused to publish this essay unless the first line, which stands here in all its glory, was changed. It was (I quote) I believe that black lives matter -- but not if they belong to Black Lives Matter. He said I can't say any black life doesn't matter. So allow me to clarify.
No life of a left-wing radical matters to me. They pick criminals over me, and I pick almost everyone else over them. I would rather cry for Al Qaeda than Antifa.
No person who tries to disband the police matters to me. No person who burns down a city for George Floyd matters to me. No person who calls law and order "white supremacy" matters to me. I hold no illusions about them and the danger Black Lives Matter poses to any society, whether here or in Nigeria. Their values are as far from mine as King David's are from Ted Bundy's. If one of them dies, the world is better off; and in a really good society, the death of a terrorist would happen mechanically.
*Christians might ask here, why bash compassion? Isn't that the main way God chooses to deal with us? And it's true that He does; and if anyone, knowing himself well, thinks God owes him friendship in any way, shape, or form, he's a lunatic.
But even still, compassion isn't the chief attribute of God, and at best it's secondary. In order to even have compassion on God's see-the-filth-and-love-in-spite level, you have to possess and require the other virtues so perfectly that anyone who doesn't have them gets what's coming to him: in our case, expulsion from the original paradise, and eventually an ugly death. So maybe a God-like man has a bleeding heart. But first he has to be magnificent enough to really be disgusted.
**The "empathy people" always toot their own horn, but they always pick the most trendy person to empathize with. A really, genuinely, radically empathetic person picks the person who's not trendy -- and, in fact, the person it's unpopular to empathize with.
But is this stance any better? Neither of them care whether a person is sweet or sour, or useful or useless, or foreigner or family, but whether they're "in" or they're not. A total waste of our limited ability to empathize. The "empathetic" horn-tooter is a whore, and he directs his love not where he ought to, but where he's paid to -- 30 silver coins, delivered as claps.
***Karl Marx cared so much about the proletariat he refused to work -- and let two of his six children die of poverty. A perfect archetype of the Social Justice Warrior. Save the poor and kill your own baby.
One of his own letters testifies that his wife cried every night due to extreme distress, and then, in the same letter, he says he spends all day reading at the library. Cleon Skousen writes, in The Naked Communist,
At one point in this bitter existence there seemed to be a sudden ray of hope. During a particularly desperate period when Engels could give no relief, Marx made a trip to Holland where a prosperous uncle generously handed him one hundred and sixty pounds. This was enough to put Marx on his financial feet, pay off his debts and give him a new start. But with money in his pocket, Marx decided to take a tour of Germany. He visited his mother in Treves, proceeded to Berlin, undertook a number of drinking excursions with his old friends, had himself photographed and generally played the role of a gentleman of leisure. Two months later he returned home. Frau Marx welcomed her tourist husband thinking that now bills could be paid, clothing and furniture could be purchased and better rooms rented. She was horrified to learn that practically nothing remained of the hundred and sixty pounds.
No wonder Paul says if a man won't work he shouldn't eat, and even more important than this, that if a man won't care for his family, he's worse than an unbeliever. A man who doesn't know who to love is worse than a man who doesn't know how to love. He won't just leave you cold. He'll pour all his energy into the worst of us, and fire up all the criminals, layabouts, traitors, and savages.
The left-wing feels the opposite about this, as usual; and in a must-read article titled The Case Against Marriage, some skank writing for The Atlantic argues that not having children and staying out of committed relationships frees up women to ruin politics. In other words, instead of focusing on raising her own children she can worry how to raise you. Part of what Paul was trying to save us from, I think, when he wrote that widows should get married, and a woman is saved in childbearing. Since I'm not a saint I would have worded the last part differently. Instead of a woman, I would have said the nation. Having children and mowing a lawn have probably saved more of us from our neighbors than having policemen.