Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What Are We So Afraid Of?


There is nothing more painful to me at this state in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved. ~Jesse Jackson (quoted by Pat Buchanan, Suicide of a Superpower, p. 244) 

What is very disturbing is that a 2011 U.S. Department Of Justice study reports that Blacks are six times more likely to be victims of violent crime than whites. The same study reports that Blacks are eight times more likely than whites to be perpetrators of violent crime than their white counterparts.

The following discussion concerns my “Conversation With the President.” 

My interlocutors’ words appear bold and italicized 

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“What do you think these [black crime] statistics prove?” 

I don't think statistics prove anything. What they do is demonstrate that there is a major break-down within the black community. (I agree with Bill O'Reilly on this: The disintegration of the family within the black community—75% of babies being born to single moms, etc.—is having a devastating impact.) 

Thomas Sowell's book "Intellectuals and Race" is a marvelous read. He too speaks of these things. 

Now, I use such statistics, coupled with Jesse Jackson's own words, to illustrate that Obama's sophistic remarks about how whites behave around blacks (see my article linked above) need not be interpreted to mean that whites are simply racist. 

No. There's more to it than skin color. If it were only a matter of skin color…that would be irrational. But there are other factors. There are facts, very troubling facts. Thus, there is a rational basis for caution which goes much deeper than pigmentation.

When you cite such statistics that are based on race you imply that race is the determining factor. I am not saying that the statistics are wrong, but I am saying that they give the wrong impression of where the problem lies.” 

No. The stats are the stats. I made no such implication. That's your characterization of the information. Nowhere do I or the stats imply: "Blacks commit crime because they are black.” That is, the statistics do not tell us why blacks commit so much crime but that they do. 

“Then what is the point of infusing race at all?”  

Indeed. Why was race part of our national narrative? (It certainly wasn't part of the trial. Right?) Why is the Department Of Justice trying to find something with which to charge George Zimmerman with a hate (race) crime—even now after the trial? 

I didn't "infuse race" into this situation. The media, race-baiters, and our President did this. My blog is a RESPONSE to the injection of race. 

People are harping about having a "conversation about race." Well...let's have it. But let's be honest about it. Let's be real with it. Let's speak of fact and reason. Let's avoid myth and emotion.  

What are we so afraid of? 

Honesty, factuality, rationality, respect, personal responsibility—these are biblical approaches to any issue. It's called civility. And it seems to be a lost art these days.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Conversation With the President

President of the United States (POTUS): “You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son.  Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.  I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.” 

Me: Yes, I remember you saying this about Trayvon. I thought it was a strange thing for you to say then, and I can’t say that I think differently about it now. Why say this, Mr. President? How does identifying yourself with Trayvon—on the sole basis of his blackness—help us? This seems like an emotional statement with no real rational purpose. 

And this I think is part of the problem. Too many folks speak of race in terms which are emotional, not rational. But how can fallacious appeals to pity, or appeals to emotion, stimulate contemplative conversation? When it comes to race we need to speak in terms of fact and reason, not myth and emotion. 

I’m sure you’re correct: the African American community does look at things through a set of experiences. But surely you understand that this is no less true for the white, red, yellow and brown communities as well. We all look at issues through a particular lens. Still, some lenses are more accurate than others. Right? 

You speak of a “history that doesn’t go away.” Have you ever wondered why this is so? Could it be that blacks have listened to the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of the world for so long that nearly their entire identity is based upon victimization (victimization that happened to people 200 years ago)? 

I realize I’m speaking in generalities (of course, you are too), but I wonder if blacks would have a clue as to who they are as a people if they actually put the past behind them and took responsibility for the condition of the black community today. In other words, what would the black community look like if it had more responsibility and less resentment?  

POTUS: “There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store.  That includes me. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.” 

Me: Sir, why do you think blacks are often followed through stores? Why do you think women are often scared when blacks join them in an elevator? Do these things happen to blacks for no other reason than their blackness? What factors—other than pigmentation—can account for such defensive behaviors? (Please notice, Mr. President, the things you mention are defensive, not offensive, actions.) 

Consider these words from Jesse Jackson: “There is nothing more painful to me at this state in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” (Pat Buchanan, Suicide of a Superpower, p. 244) 

You see, Mr. Jackson knows what we all know: Statistically speaking, we (no matter our color) are much, much more likely to be robbed, raped, or murdered by blacks than whites.** The fact is, Mr. President, blacks are only 13 percent of our population but they commit around 53 percent of our country's murders! They commit about 75 percent of violent crimes in New York City.  

It seems to me that Mr. Jackson’s relief and our defensive maneuverings—when encountering unknown blacks—are rational, not racist. To ignore the statistics is not noble. It’s naïve.   

So, Mr. President, who’s to blame for blacks’ negative experiences: blacks (statistically the folks committing the crimes) or non-blacks (statistically the folks falling victim to the crimes)? Resenting non-blacks (rather than blacks) for the way blacks are perceived seems to be misguided at best. Respectfully, Sir, let’s put the onus where it belongs. 

POTUS: “I think the African American community is also not naïve in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else.” 

Me: Exactly! Yes, you see my point. We all know the statistics. Just as Trayvon was statistically more likely to be killed by a black, so are all of us.** Point of fact: Since Trayvon’s death 11,000 blacks have been murdered in America by other blacks.  

At what point do blacks cease blaming whites for the implosion of the black community? 

POTUS: “I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk?”   

Absolutely! If George Zimmerman had broken Trayvon’s nose and was pounding Trayvon’s head into the sidewalk; I would defend Trayvon’s right to defend himself with whatever means he could muster. I can’t imagine why anyone would think—or do—otherwise.  

POTUS: “I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better.  Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race.”   

Me: Well, this is undoubtedly true, to an extent. How else could you be President? Clearly, the fact that an African American is President shows that at least one segment of our society has changed its views on race. I’m talking about whites, of course. 

Our white forebears would never have dreamed we’d have a black President. And yet, here you are! You, Mr. President, are incontrovertible proof that whites have changed their racial views. 

But what evidence convincingly demonstrates that blacks have changed their racial views? Do you have any evidence of blacks progressing in their prejudices? Or, are they—like you said—stuck in a history that won’t go away? 

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A full transcript of the President’s remarks can be seen here.

**Subsequent to publishing, I have learned that though blacks commit a disproportionate amount of violent crimes, more whites are in fact killed by other whites than by blacks.  

Nevertheless, when it comes to interracial violent crimes the disparity is shocking. “Blacks committed 433,934 violent crimes against whites, eight times as many as the 55,685 that whites committed against blacks. Interracial rape is almost exclusively black-on-white, with 14,000 assaults on white women by African America males in 2007. Not one case of white sexual assault on a black female was found in the FBI study.” (Pat Buchanan, Suicide of a Superpower, p. 243)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's All About Race


The intelligentsia in the media can decide what to emphasize, what to downplay and what to ignore entirely when it comes to race. (Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Race, p. 4) 

As I write this, the trial of the decade seems to be concluded. I’m speaking of course about the very public, racially charged hearing of Paula Deen. Despite her excruciating-to-watch mea culpa, she has been found guilty of breaking a longstanding blasphemy law (I dare not mention which one); for which there is no forgiveness or mercy. 

Also as I write this, another racially charged ordeal has drawn to a close: The George Zimmerman trial. There are basically two reasons why this case is a national, nay international, event.  

First, it is the rare scenario of a white guy shooting and killing a black guy. This is right in the news media’s wheelhouse! (“Black guys shooting white guys” is hardly newsworthy and “black guys shooting black guys” is simply a taste of Chicago.) 

Now, when I say “white guy” I mean a Hispanic man with a white sounding name. (Yes, in the grey of twilight I’m sure George Zimmerman looked exactly like a “creepy-ass cracker” but in the light of day—not so much.) 

Second, President Obama inexplicably took it upon himself to declare, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” I rarely say this of Obama, but I think he’s actually telling the truth here. (After all he does have two very non-hypothetical daughters and both of them are uncannily black.)  

Later that same evening, at a cocktail party, Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor announced if she had a son—he’d look like George Zimmerman. Not to be outdone, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rejoined, “If I had a son he’d look like Monica Lewinsky.” 

(I say these things of Sotomayor and Clinton in jest. But Obama’s incendiary and irresponsible statement is as real as it is stupid.)
 
Naturally, the media’s and the President’s prejudices—combined with the usual race-baiters and hustlers—have propelled this local tragedy into the world’s spotlight. But here’s the thing: Once in the spotlight, it’s hard to just walk away when the “show is over.” 

Hence the trial is over but the show must go on!  

But is this never ending, mind-numbing theater of the absurd (framed in terms of the metanarrative of “white guilt and the victimization of people of color”) more about justice or race? The answer is clear, isn’t it? 

It’s all about race.  

Race is more than a biological category or a social category. It has become an industry, with its own infrastructure, branches, incentives and agendas. . . . Despite the wide variety of occupations in the race industry, there are commonalities in their underlying visions and agendas. Central . . . is the presumption that economic lags, educational deficiencies or even high crime rates among the respective groups they represent are due to the failings of others. (Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Race, p. 128) 

Race is an industry. But should it be? 

In God’s word we find wisdom for matters of race: 

He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dewllings . . . There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Acts 17:26; Galatians 3:28) 

Whereas the humanistic myth of multiculturalism only serves to exacerbate racial tensions; the answer for our unity and diversity is found in scripture. In Christ and in Him alone, we find an integration point sufficient for our fragmentation and brokenness. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Glorious Gospel of Me


As opposed to being told by someone where you'll end up if you don't become a Christian, wouldn't it be more meaningful to hear about how God loves you no matter what you think you've done and that God has been pursuing you to enrich your life and transform you into an unstoppable force for good in the world? 

The above interrogative (what we call a statement in the form of a question) was written to me in response to my article, “No Atheists In Hell.”  

Below is my answer. May God add His blessing to your reading. 

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You are confusing the point of the article. (I have a very specific, narrow point.) The article isn’t about evangelistic methodology. The article deals exclusively with the accusation that Christians who speak of hell are engaging in psychological manipulation, with nefarious motives (a hasty generalization lacking evidence). I am demonstrating that such isn’t the case. This is the whole point of the piece.
 
You ask: “wouldn't it be more meaningful to hear about how God loves you no matter what you think you've done and that God has been pursuing you to enrich your life and transform you into an unstoppable force for good in the world? 

No. What you just presented isn’t even close to the Gospel. A person could believe every word you just said and die in his sins. Your entire focus is on the sinner and how wonderful he is. (If this is the Christian message, why must the Church endure persecution? Who doesn’t want to be told such things?) A presentation such as yours would never encourage genuine repentance.  

The Gospel, however, is about Jesus Christ: Who He is and what He’s done for His people. The Gospel isn’t about the greatness of sinners. The Gospel is about the Grace of God in Christ saving sinners. The Gospel is the good news that though we are sinners Christ has lived the perfect life and died an atoning death in the place of sinners; procuring for sinners everlasting life. 

We do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord” (2Cor 4:5). 

Here’s my challenge to you: Read all of the sermons preached by the Apostles in the New Testament book called “The Acts of the Apostles.” These men preached Christ. Pattern your message after them, not Joel Osteen.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Happy Birthday 'Merca!


Without a full practical recognition of the rights and sovereignty of the States, our union and liberty must perish. ~John C. Calhoun 

As Independence Day quickly approaches, I cannot but wonder if the founders of our nation would find more cause for lamentation than celebration. It seems to me that we are but a shadow of the Republic they sought to establish. 

Without question we are freer than folks in other countries and for this we can and we should be thankful. But are we as free as our forebears? What happened to liberty?  

There are many answers to such a query, but soberly contemplate the consequence of our Civil War: 

The character of the American state had changed almost overnight, from one established by the founding fathers whose primary responsibility was protecting the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens, to an expansionist, imperialistic power that was more willing than ever to trample on individual rights and abandon the Constitution to achieve these ends. . . . Perhaps the biggest cost of Lincoln’s war was the virtual destruction of states’ rights, but the significance of this seems lost on most Americans. (Thomas DiLorenzo, “The Real Lincoln,” p.p. 223, 264) 

The centralizing, coercive genie was and is out of the bottle. The repressive precedents then are the established practices now: the scandal that is Washington DC, the incessant erosion of civil liberties, the unending undeclared wars, the soul-crushing nanny-police state, and on and on. 

Who can deny these things? 

We often speak of individual liberty but here we are addressing the idea that individual liberty is best preserved or maintained when governance is localized. That is, the concept of states’ rights is crucial to individual freedom. 

Thus we ask: Are we truly a union of sovereign states? Not really. Our states are scarcely states—much less sovereign. The states of the United States are more akin to “districts.” That is they are wholly subservient to the Federal government. They do what the Federal government allows or commands and nothing more.  

We’ve morphed from the united States to the United states. 

This transformation is precisely what Woodrow Wilson praised as progress,  

The War between the States established . . . this principle, that the federal government is, through its courts, the final judge of its own powers.

In other words, the only check on the Federal government is the Federal government. For those unsure of this, consider the following. 

In 1973 the Supreme Court—Roe v. Wade—unilaterally struck down laws in every state which prohibited murdering preborn babies. Last year the Supremes stuck their thumb in the eyes of 28 states who desired to overturn Obamacare.  

This year they denied Arizona the right to require proof of citizenship when registering Arizonans to vote. And now, in regards to gay marriage, the Supreme Court has tipped its hand on eventually imposing its will on every state in the union (by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8). 

As Forrest McDonald has noted, one consequence of the war [the Civil War] was that the Supreme Court became "the sole and final arbiter of constitutional controversies." (Thomas DiLorenzo, “The Real Lincoln,” p. 293) 

Yes, indeed. “Constitutional controversies” and other controversies it seems! 

To be sure, we’re thankful to be Americans. And we’re going to enjoy the 4th of July. But if we’re going to patriotically belt out “o’er the la-and of the freeeeee…” we’ll need to cover more than our hearts. We’d better cover our eyes as well.