This morning, I received a letter in my email inbox from an organization from which I recently resigned, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), alerting me to the hopeful possibility (from their standpoint) that reparations could make it to the House floor in the form of House Resolution 40. This is important, writes Jennifer Bellamy, Senior Legislative Counsel, because “justice, equity, and basic human dignity have been denied across civil life and civil liberties for centuries” in the United States of America.
Bellamy writes, “Police brutality cuts hundreds of Black lives short every year. Hundreds of thousands of people are trapped in the mass incarceration system. And Black communities continue to be hit hardest by the impact of the pandemic. If we are ever to address the racial injustices that continue to prevail in this country, then we must confront chattel slavery and its impact—and make strides toward achieving reparatory justice.” She continues, “H.R. 40 is the path forward to achieve this. This bill would establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, its legacy, and make recommendations to Congress for reparations. And right now, we have momentum: H.R. 40 was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee and now has 195 cosponsors.”
As I have shown on Freedom and Reason, statements suggesting that racist police brutality disproportionately takes the lives of black people or that the criminal justice system locks up black people in numbers disproportionate to their involvement in serious crime are contradicted by the evidence. In absolute numbers police kill twice as many white men in civilian-officer encounters every year in America than they do black men, and the disproportionality cited is explained by overrepresentation of black men in serious crimes, which makes black men more likely relative to population size to come in contact with police officers. Moreover, prison demographics reflect crime demographics. Black men perpetrate around 36-38 percent of serious crime in America and comprise around 36-38 percent of prisoners.
As I have reported on Freedom and Reason, black men, who comprise only six percent of the United States population, account for more than half of all murders and more than half of all robberies in the country. Do not mistake the point I’m making here. Most black men in America are law abiding citizens. At the same time, most murderers and robbers in America are black men. Moreover, when it comes to interracial crime and violence (most violence is intraracial), black men kill and rob more whites than whites kill or rob blacks (see my essay Why are there so Many More White than Black Victims of Interracial Homicide?).
While the ACLU continually distorts the character of crime and criminal justice in the United States, the establishment makes it hard for prominent individuals to push back against the distortion by pursing a politics of personal and professional destruction. A few days before receiving this email from the ACLU, progressives were beside themselves because Candace Owens repeated facts well known to (if not usually admitted by) professional criminologists. The power elite is furious with Owens because she is blowing up the narrative on violence in America. They are especially angry with her because she is a conservative black woman. Her racial identity is supposed to align her politics with progressives and the cultural and political narrative that whites are the more oppressive and violent race in America.
Here’s an attack on Owens by The Young Turks typical of the way progressives handle truth claims made by black Americans:
The corporate state media and bourgeois hacks like the The Young Turks want the public to believe the greatest threat of crime and violence in the United States comes from white supremacists in order to marginalize the heartland, the majority of American elites wish to associate with bigotry and racism. That isn’t close to being true. There are white supremacists, but they are few in number (however much attention legacy and social media give their occasional small marches). Compare the crime and violence perpetrated by Antifa and Black Lives Matter to that perpetrated by white supremacy groups and you can see the problem. Respective criminal wrongdoing isn’t comparable judged by any metric one might use—assault, arson, looting, vandalism, killing.
Because their claims are demonstrably false, and because all whites are lumped together, the lie that white men represent the greatest threat of crime and violence in America defames an entire racial group. This is why the ACLU and House Democrats push reparations. They want to establish a high-profile commission to facilitate a continual discussion that will hold living whites collectively responsible for an ex post facto crime that occurred 156 years ago as of December 18. They wish to decree in law what they cannot establish in fact, namely that whites constitute a criminal class. Anti-white racism is rampant today’s America and it puts lives in danger. (The Establishment Project to Demonize Conservative White Males. What’s This All About?)
There are two things to understand about this libel as a political strategy. First, the corporate state deceives the public into believing that white men represent the greatest threat to public safety, as well as the primary source of human suffering in America in a campaign to turn the nonwhites against the majority of value-producing labor in the nation (white men and white people generally) to disrupt working class consciousness. It would be one thing if any of the claims elites made were true (the truth is never racist). But their claims are false. Second, by constantly blaming white men and white people generally for the problems of blacks (which has nothing to do with most white people), the elite make white people suitable targets for violence, as they become objects of loathing (including self-loathing) and resentment. This is not an accident. It is designed to sow chaos. Weakening public safety aims at amplifying that chaos. Owens is observing the effects of anti-white prejudice.
This is not a new observation—even if the character of criminal predation are somewhat changed. More than a century and a half ago, in various writings, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels both recognized and condemned what they called “primitive rebellion.” In an 1844 letter to Marx from Paris, Engels sees in “the rapid increase in crime” among the proletariat, “robbery and murder” as “their way of protesting against” the conditions of their existence, conditions established by class dynamics (this has not changed). Engels describes, hopefully, “At night the streets are very unsafe, the bourgeoisie [the middle class] is beaten, stabbed and robbed; and, if the [lumpen]proletarians here develop according to the same laws as in England, they will soon realize that this way of protesting as individuals and with violence against the social order is useless, and they will protest, through communism, in their general capacity as human beings. If only one could show these fellows the way!”
I need not review the body of writings by these two on this subject (I have surveyed that elsewhere). Engels sums up the spirit in those few sentences. Marx and Engels hoped to see primitive rebellion transformed into communist rebellion. (They were pessimistic about the possibilities, however, failure on which the rule of the capitalist class depended.) What has somewhat changed? The historic character of the United States and anti-white prejudice means that the lumpenproletariat’s targeting carries a racialized character. However, at the core of this is the demoralization of the working class, the roots of which lie in the social condition, antagonized by ideologies dividing the working class. (In addition to Why are there so Many More White than Black Victims of Interracial Homicide, see also Demoralization and the Ferguson Effect: What the Left and Right Get Right (and Wrong) About Crime and Violence; Marxist Theories of Criminal Justice and Criminogenesis.)
This is why elites obscure the truth about the Waukesha massacre. Russell Brookes Jr., a black nationalist, drove his car through that Christmas parade to murder white people (Waukesha is Scheduled to be Memory Holed). It was an act of anti-white terrorism that the establishment means to communicate through inaction. There’s a reason Waukesha police chief Daniel Thompson said in a press conference, “There is no evidence that this is a terrorist incident,” emphasizing moments later: “This is not a terrorist event.” The narrative provides the mechanism by which the obvious is reflexively denied while meaningfully transmitted. Meanwhile, a school shooting resulting from what appears rather obviously to be a case of irresistible impulse (perpetrated by Ethan Crumbley, 15, at Oxford High School in Oakland County Michigan) has been designated an act of terrorism (apparently because it was a terrifying experience), announced by prosecutor Karen McDonald. Charges of manslaughter have been leveled at the parents have been charged and the charges may include school officials. The perpetrator in this case is a white male.
There’s a reason why interracial patterns of perpetrator and victim run in the direction they do—it’s because of the way progressives talk about race. The same narrative to deny the obvious is the same narrative that provides the motive. Using racist dog whistles such as “white privilege” and “white supremacy,” progressives have mainstreamed the 1960s black extremist talk about white devils to such an extent that it becomes part of a population’s background assumptions. They have turned one part of the population against the other in such a way that Owens merely stating facts carries a shocking effect. Inspired by an analogy offer by Coleman Hughes, I discuss the problem of scapegoating a racial or ethnic group this way in my essay Reparations and Blood Guilt (see also Equity and Social Justice: Rationalizing Unjust Enrichment).
Tragically, it is black people who suffer the worst of mass neglect of the truth of crime and violence in America, as most homicide victims in the United States are black, their perpetrators overwhelmingly other black men. Glenn Loury has been pleading with the public to recognize this fact on his program The Glenn Show. Owens is an easy target because she’s not a distinguished professor at a major university with Loury’s heft. But Owens and Loury are making the same point: by blaming white people generally for the problems of black people, the real reasons for black suffering are obscured and no concerted effort is made to address the reasons (see It’s Not a Racist System). Here’s the most recent example of Loury’s powerful sentiments on this matter. (It you aren’t regularly watching the Glenn Show you’re understanding of race relations in America is impoverished.)
It’s not that there aren’t white people to blame for the problems black people confront. Most murders perpetrated by blacks occur in progressive-run cities dominated by white officials and professional blacks (see “If They Cared.” Confronting the Denial of Crime and Violence in American Cities). It’s that the failure to recognize that progressive Democrats, white and black, use black people for political ends while perpetuating conditions harmful to black Americans (for example custodial management and mass immigration). This is the truth the power elite cannot allow to enter mainstream consciousness.