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Shelby Steele: The Exhaustion of American Liberalism

White guilt gave us a mock politics based on the pretense of moral authority.

Shelby Steele writes: The recent flurry of marches, demonstrations and even riots, along with the Democratic Party’s spiteful reaction to the Trumppresidency, exposes what modern liberalism has become: a politics shrouded in pathos.

Unlike the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, when protesters wore their Sunday best and carried themselves with heroic dignity, today’s liberal marches are marked by incoherence and downright lunacy—hats designed to evoke sexual organs, poems that scream in anger yet have no point to make, and an hysterical anti-Americanism.

[Check out Shelby Steele’s book “White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era” at Amazon.com]

All this suggests lostness, the end of something rather than the beginning. What is ending?

America, since the ’60s, has lived through what might be called an age of white guilt. We may still be in this age, but the Trump election suggests an exhaustion with the idea of white guilt, and with the drama of culpability, innocence and correctness in which it mires us.

“When America became stigmatized in the ’60s as racist, sexist and militaristic, it wanted moral authority above all else. Subsequently the American left reconstituted itself as the keeper of America’s moral legitimacy.”

White guilt is not actual guilt. Surely most whites are not assailed in the night by feelings of responsibility for America’s historical mistreatment of minorities. Moreover, all the actual guilt in the world would never be enough to support the hegemonic power that the mere pretense of guilt has exercised in American life for the last half-century.

[Order Shelby Steele’s book “Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country from Amazon.com]

White guilt is not angst over injustices suffered by others; it is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries—racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. To be stigmatized as a fellow traveler with any of these bigotries is to be utterly stripped of moral authority and made into a pariah. The terror of this, of having “no name in the street” as the Bible puts it, pressures whites to act guiltily even when they feel no actual guilt. White guilt is a mock guilt, a pretense of real guilt, a shallow etiquette of empathy, pity and regret.

“White guilt is not angst over injustices suffered by others; it is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries—racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia.”

It is also the heart and soul of contemporary liberalism. This liberalism is the politics given to us by white guilt, and it shares white guilt’s central corruption. It is not real liberalism, in the classic sense. It is a mock liberalism. Freedom is not its raison d’être; moral authority is.

“To be stigmatized as a fellow traveler with any of these bigotries is to be utterly stripped of moral authority and made into a pariah. The terror of this, of having ‘no name in the street’ as the Bible puts it, pressures whites to act guiltily even when they feel no actual guilt. White guilt is a mock guilt, a pretense of real guilt, a shallow etiquette of empathy, pity and regret.”

When America became stigmatized in the ’60s as racist, sexist and militaristic, it wanted moral authority above all else. Subsequently the American left reconstituted itself as the keeper of America’s moral legitimacy. (Conservatism, focused on freedom and wealth, had little moral clout.) From that followed today’s markers of white guilt—political correctness, identity politics, environmental orthodoxy, the diversity cult and so on.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

This was the circumstance in which innocence of America’s bigotries and dissociation from the American past became a currency of hardcore political power.  Read the rest of this entry »

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[VIDEO] Ex-Black Panther: John Lewis ‘Presided Over Destruction Of Black America’ 

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Mason Weaver, an author and former member of the Black Panther movement, said Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) presided over the “destruction of black America” in the years following his march with other Civil Rights leaders across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.

Responding to Lewis’ contention that President-elect Donald Trump is “not [a] legitimate president”, Weaver called Lewis an “illegitimate Congressman.”

Weaver called Lewis a “Civil Rights turncoat” who has “collaborated with the Democratic Party to oppress black America.”

He said the people who beat and ran over Lewis and his fellow marchers that day were Democrats, also pointing to the party affiliation of former Gov. George Wallace (D-Ala.), an avowed segregationist of the time.

“After they beat his behind on that bridge… he got up and joined them,” Weaver said of Lewis. “He joined the oppressors and became a stooge for them.”

[Read Full Article]

Weaver said he could not understand why any African-American could identify as a Democrat, calling them the “party of the Klan” and the “party that went to war to keep slaves.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Obama’s ‘Arc of Justice’

“History is not a moral force in and of itself, and it has no set course.”

— David A. Graham

‘The phrase is utterly lacking in feck because it outsources the bulk of the punishment to an abstract future rather than the concrete here and now.’

— Jonah Goldberg

December 2015, David A. Graham writes:

“..Obama’s own fresh contribution to the genre is his invocation of “the arc of history.” It’s his adaptation of an older phrase, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” which was popularized by Martin Luther King Jr. but coined (evidently) a century earlier by Theodore Parker. Obama has mentioned “the arc of history” a dozen times since his election.

“Forget that history doesn’t tell such simple stories and you end up employing this seemingly inexorable progression as evidence that humanity will continue to improve inexorably in the future. Butterfield warned in particular about the temptation to read moral judgments into history, to assume the thrust of events was determined by or proved the validity of reality over alternative possibilities that had not come to pass.”

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it imputes an agency to history that doesn’t exist. Worse, it assumes that progress is unidirectional. But history is not a moral force in and of itself, and it has no set course. Presuming otherwise embraces the dangerous tendency that the great English historian Herbert Butterfield dissected in his 1931 essay, The Whig Interpretation of History. Butterfield was writing about the inclination among certain historians to see the Reformation as a unalloyedly positive force—a secularizing, liberalizing movement that led inexorably to liberal democracy in the 20th century. Butterfield objected that this wasn’t at all how things worked. It was just a retrospective reading.

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“The total result of this method is to impose a certain form upon the whole historical story, and to produce a scheme of general history which is bound to converge beautifully upon the present,” he wrote. In fact, “the more we examine the way in which things happen, the more we are driven from the simple to the complex.”

“The problem with this kind of thinking is that it imputes an agency to history that doesn’t exist. Worse, it assumes that progress is unidirectional.”

Viewing history from the standpoint of the present not only misrepresented the complexity of events, he wrote, but also risked framing history as a natural progression wherein humans improved over time, going from darker, less intelligent and moral times to an ever-improving present. Butterfield warned against that:

History is all things to all men. She is at the service of good causes and bad. In other words she is a harlot and a hireling, and for this reason she best serves those who suspect her most. Therefore, we must beware even of saying, “History says […]” or “History proves […]”, as though she herself were the oracle; as though indeed history, once she spoken, had put the matter beyond the range of mere human inquiry. Rather we must say to ourselves: “She will lie to us till the very end of the last cross-examination.”

Forget that history doesn’t tell such simple stories and you end up employing this seemingly inexorable progression as evidence that humanity will continue to improve inexorably in the future. Butterfield warned in particular about the temptation to read moral judgments into history, to assume the thrust of events was determined by or proved the validity of reality over alternative possibilities that had not come to pass.

Within a decade of The Whig Interpretation, World War II broke out, providing a visceral example of how the passage of time didn’t necessarily result in progress. But the fallacy recurs occasionally, and Obama seems to have fallen into it. If history is on a trajectory toward perfection, it follows that there can be a right and a wrong side of history…(read more)

Source: The Atlantic

In March 2014, Jonah Goldberg writes:

“…The progression of history is scientifically knowable, quoth the Marxists, and so we need not listen to those who object to our program. Later, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and others would use this reasoning to justify murdering millions of inconvenient people. It was a “God is on our side” argument, minus God.

goldberg-portrait

In fairness, I doubt Barack Obama and John Kerry have Marx or Hegel on the brain when they prattle on about the right and wrong sides of history. They more properly belong in what some call the “Whig school” of history, coined in 1931 by historian Herbert Butterfield. The Whiggish tendency in history says that the world progresses toward the inevitable victory of liberal democracy and social enlightenment. Again, I doubt Obama and Kerry have ever cracked the spine of Butterfield’s book.

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Still, this administration has used the “wrong side of history” phrase more than any I can remember. They particularly like to use it in foreign policy. In his first inaugural, Obama declared, “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Ever since, whenever things haven’t gone his way on the international scene — i.e., on days that end with a “y” — he or his spokespeople have wagged their fingers from the right side of history. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: Only 47,000 Social Justice Milestones To Go Before U.S. Achieves Full Equality

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WASHINGTON—Following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision making same-sex marriage legal nationwide, sources confirmed Friday that only 47,000 social justice milestones need to be reached before the U.S. achieves full equality. “This is a watershed moment for civil rights that finally brings the dream of living in an equitable society one tiny fraction of a step closer to reality,” said civil rights lawyer Helene Najjar, adding that the country could now turn its attention to closing the income gap, ending racial discrimination in law enforcement, and providing equal educational opportunities for all children, among tens of thousands of other issues. Read the rest of this entry »


Reverend Sam Mosteller: ‘Let me just say it this way, I am going to have to advocate at this point that all African-Americans advocate their Second Amendment right’

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President Of MLK Group Advocates For Second Amendment

Chuck Ross reports: The president of the Georgia chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference said Tuesday nonviolence is not working and African-Americans should ”avail themselves” to their Second Amendment rights.

Rev. Sam Mosteller made the statements during a press conference Tuesday in Atlanta. He and members of SCLC, which was co-founded by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957, were protesting the recent shootings of two young black men in the state.

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“You know, the SCLC stands for nonviolence, but nonviolence hasn’t worked in this instance,” Mosteller said, according to My Fox Atlanta.

“Let me just say it this way, I am going to have to advocate at this point that all African-Americans advocate their Second Amendment right,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Eric Holder Delivers Formal Apology to Officer Darren Wilson

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Photo of Attorney General delivering apology to Darren Wilson

From The Washington Post: 

Here is a key part of the conclusion of DOJ’s report:

As discussed above, Darren Wilson has stated his intent in shooting Michael Brown was in response to a perceived deadly threat. The only possible basis for prosecuting Wilson under section 242 would therefore be if the government could prove that his account is not true – i.e., that Brown never assaulted Wilson at the SUV, never attempted to gain control of Wilson’s gun, and thereafter clearly surrendered in a way that no reasonable officer could have failed to perceive. Given that Wilson’s account is corroborated by physical evidence and that his perception of a threat posed by Brown is corroborated by other eyewitnesses, to include aspects of the testimony of Witness 101, there is no credible evidence that Wilson willfully shot Brown as he was attempting to surrender or was otherwise not posing a threat. Even if Wilson was mistaken in his interpretation of Brown’s conduct, the fact that others interpreted that conduct the same way as Wilson precludes a determination that he acted with a bad purpose to disobey the law.  (p. 86).

Audio Exclusive: Eric Holder’s Apology to Officer Wilson

Hopefully this report will put to rest some of the outlandish claims that have been made about Michael Brown’s death. For example, the report convincingly rebuts the “hands up, don’t shoot” account:

[T]here are no witnesses who could testify credibly that Wilson shot Brown while Brown was clearly attempting to surrender. The accounts of the witnesses who have claimed that Brown raised his hands above his head to surrender and said “I don’t have a gun,” or “okay, okay, okay” are inconsistent with the physical evidence or can be challenged in other material ways, and thus cannot be relied upon to form the foundation of a federal prosecution. Read the rest of this entry »


Guns for Women on Campus Make Sense

A group of local public school teachers from nearby schools use rubber training guns as they practice proper firearms handling during a teachers-only firearms training class offered for free at the Veritas Training Academy in Sarasota, Florida January 11, 2013. The December 14 tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has sparked a national debate about whether to arm teachers, prompting passionate arguments on both sides. REUTERS/Brian Blanco (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS EDUCATION)

Students — even those who are licensed gun owners — are systematically disarmed at the college gates and told to rely on campus security guards, who rarely stumble upon a rape in progress, and call boxes to protect themselves s-e-cuppagainst sexual assaults. And when they are attacked, despite these supposedly good security systems, they are told to rely on college administrators and a jury of their peers to mete out justice. How is this responsible?

S.E. Cupp writes: As the nation contemplates better ways to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, legislators and college administrators alike have recently offered some mind-bogglingly dumb ideas.

One of them is California’s new requirement that students at state schools sign consent contracts before (and during!) sexual intercourse to avoid any confusion — as if most rapes are the result of mere miscommunications.

Others insist that holding fast to the time-honored but totally ineffective tradition of adjudicating sexual assaults within the university instead of in courts of law (as if they are student council issues instead of crimes) is the best way to protect the colleges, er, the rape victims.

“As a woman and a gun owner, I’ve never understood why there wasn’t more overlap between the gun rights groups and feminists. On abortion, the feminists are clear: No man is going to tell a woman what to do with her body, or even that of her unborn child…”

While there are certainly problems on campus that need addressing, binge drinking among them, the Now that an official Harvard study confirms what we've been saying, and what other studies have shown, all these years, will gun-control advocates get the message, and admit their policies are a failure? Or will they double down, and continue to advocate the same dishonest anti-gun agenda?obvious solution to make an unsafe environment safer is to give students a fighting chance to fend off attackers. That means allowing them to be armed.

It might not surprise you to learn that guns are banned on most college campuses; most are so-called “gun free zones” (that somehow criminals with guns manage to penetrate).

But many colleges, including my alma mater, Cornell University, also ban knives, stun guns and pepper spray, leaving young women (and increasingly young men) with only their hands to defend themselves in the case of an attack.

“…But when it comes to rape–on college campuses or anywhere else for that matter–feminists are perfectly comfortable allowing men — in particular Democrats in Washington — to tell them how they can and cannot defend themselves.”

Students — even those who are licensed gun owners — are systematically disarmed at the college gates and told to rely on campus security guards, who rarely stumble upon a rape in progress, and call boxes to protect themselves against sexual assaults. And when they are attacked, despite these supposedly good security systems, they are told to rely on college administrators and a jury of their peers to mete out justice. How is this responsible?

gunpurseimg

With lawmakers in 10 states now contemplating campus carry laws that would finally treat college students like free citizens instead of wards of the state, the usual anti-gun voices are coming out to dismiss this fairly straightforward idea as sheer insanity.

But isn’t this about women’s rights?

As a woman and a gun owner, I’ve never understood why there wasn’t more overlap between the gun rights groups and feminists. On abortion, the feminists are clear: No man is going to tell a woman what to do with her body, or even that of her unborn child. “No uterus? No opinion,” as the saying goes. Read the rest of this entry »


DOJ Drops the Pretense: It Was Never Going To File Charges Against Darren Wilson

DC-Ferg-DOJ

Hands Down, You’re Wrong

Jim Treacher writes: The Obama Way: Say what you think people want to hear, and keep saying it until they leave you alone. Then do whatever you were going to do anyway.

Or, don’t do whatever you weren’t going to do anyway. Chuck Ross reports:

The Justice Department is preparing to clear Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson of violating the civil rights of Michael Brown… Read the rest of this entry »


Cartoonist Barry Blitt the Cover of Next Week’s New Yorker: ‘…the reconciliation of people who seemed so hard to reconcile’

nyker-mlk

The artist Barry Blitt on his inspiration for next week’s cover:

“It struck me that King’s vision was both the empowerment of African-Americans, the insistence on civil rights, but also the reconciliation of people who seemed so hard to reconcile”

The New Yorker


Nick Gillespie: Americans Trust Government Less and Less Because We Know More and More About How It Operates

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 writes: Fifty years ago, FBI operatives sent Martin Luther King, Jr. was has come to be known as the “suicide letter,” an anonymous note suggesting the civil rights leader should off himself before his private sex life was made public. The information about King’s extramarital assignations was gathered with the approval not just of the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover but Attorney General Robert Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson.

“There is but one way out for you,” reads the note, which appeared in unredacted form for the first time just last week. “You better take it before your filthy fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”

Thus is revealed one of the most despicable acts of domestic surveillance in memory. These days, we worry less about the government outing our sex lives than in it tracking every move we move online. It turns out that President Obama, who james-clappersaid he would roll back the unconstitutional powers exercised by his predecessor, had a secret “kill list” over which he was sole authority. Jesus, we’ve just learned that small planes are using so-called dirtboxes to pick up cell phone traffic. One of the architects of Obamacare publicly states that Americans are stupid and that the president’s healthcare reform was vague and confusing on purpose. The former director of national intelligence, along with the former head and current heads of the CIA, have lied to Congress. Read the rest of this entry »


A Shocker From NPR: ‘Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible’

For NewsBustersTim Graham reports: The liberals at National Public Radio can’t really imagine guns being necessary for anything…unless perhaps it’s to keep Southern segregationists at bay.

"Legitimate self defense has absolutely nothing to do with the criminal misuse of guns." —Gerald Vernon, veteran firearms instructor

“Legitimate self defense has absolutely nothing to do with the criminal misuse of guns.”
—Gerald Vernon, veteran firearms instructor

On Thursday afternoon’s Tell Me More talk show, host Michel Martin brought on Charles Cobb, who wrote the book This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made The Civil Rights Movement Possible. She called it a “hiding in plain sight story” and asked why he wrote the book:

COBB: I’m very conscious of the gaps in the history, and one important gap in the history and the portrayal of the movement is the role of guns in the movement. I worked in the South. I lived with families in the South. There was never a family I stayed with that didn’t have a gun. I know from personal experience and the experiences of others that guns kept people alive, kept communities safe. And all you have to do to understand this is simply think of black people as human beings, and they’re going to respond to terrorism the way anybody else would….

MARTIN: Why do you think we don’t know more stories like this? Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] American Conversation: Shelby Steele describes how the Civil Rights Movement veered off course

In the third video produced in conjunction with New York City’s 92nd Street Y, Shelby Steele, the Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow, describes how the civil rights movement veered off course after its greatest achievement, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1965. After its initial success in securing individual freedom, the movement increasingly called for government transfer programs, which had the unintended effect of creating dependency, resentment, and an ongoing sense of victimization.

Read the rest of this entry »


CHILL: Inside America’s Plan to Kill Online Privacy Rights Everywhere

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The United States and its key intelligence allies are quietly working behind the scenes to kneecap a mounting movement in the United Nations to promote a universal human right to online privacy, according to diplomatic sources and an internal American government document obtained by The Cable.

The diplomatic battle is playing out in an obscure U.N. General Assembly committee that is considering a proposal by Brazil and Germany to place constraints on unchecked internet surveillance by the National Security Agency and other foreign intelligence services. American representatives have made it clear that they won’t tolerate such checks on their global surveillance network. The stakes are high, particularly in Washington — which is seeking to contain an international backlash against NSA spying — and in Brasilia, where Brazilian President Dilma Roussef is personally involved in monitoring the U.N. negotiations.

Read the rest of this entry »


NAACP leader Benjamin Jealous resigns, will leave in December

Ben_Jealous_t580Benjamin Todd Jealous will step down as president of the NAACP after five years as president of the oldest and largest U.S. civil rights organization, he announced Sunday.

“The NAACP has always been the largest civil rights organization in the streets, and today it is also the largest civil rights organization online, on mobile and at the ballot box too,” Jealous said in a statement issued Sunday afternoon. “I am proud to leave the Association financially sound, sustainable, focused, and more powerful than ever.” Read the rest of this entry »


Allegedly Educated People Don’t Know: A Higher Percentage of Republicans Than Democrats Voted for Civil Rights Act

President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act...

L.A. Times Mangles History: Democrats ‘Led the Passage of Civil Rights Legislation’ in the Sixties?

By Tim Graham

Memo to the Corrections Department at the Los Angeles Times: The following sentence is utterly unhistorical. “Since Democrats led the passage of civil rights legislation that marchers pushed for in 1963, Republicans have struggled to recover with black voters”.

Civil rights legislation of the 1960s was favored more by Republicans than by Democrats, so how did Democrats “lead the passage”? With three reporters contributing to the story – Kathleen Hennessey, Richard Simon, and Alexei Koseff – none of them could locate the actual Sixties voting record as they labored to make the GOP look bad for the Democratic unanimity of the event:

Read the rest of this entry »