My agnosticism with regard to the Brown incident has been extinguished. This image was released by the Ferguson Police Department. It is from a security camera in a convenience store near the site of the shooting, and clearly shows a large black male assaulting a much smaller and defenseless male. This is in accordance with the police department’s claim that Mike Brown was a suspect in a robbery, resulting in the police being called to his location.
So it seems that the Leftist narratives surrounding this incident are, indeed, false. But how long will it be until we start hearing “Mike Brown didn’t deserve to be executed for stealing cigars!”
I don’t have an opinion on the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Brown. That’s because both parties involved — that is, urban blacks and the police — have a penchant for extremely tribal-protectionist behavior (and clearly, at least one of them is lying). I have no reason to believe eyewitness accounts from either side.
That said, I agree completely with the Ferguson Police Department’s decision to not release the name of the officer involved. The officer’s name is being demanded for the sole purpose of harassment and intimidation; neither of which are legitimate in a society bound by the rule of law (“…and what does that have to do with our society?”). If the police officer is, in fact, guilty of what is alleged, then he should face the legal consequences of his actions. But that’s not what the protesters and their Leftist agitators want. What they want is for this incident to serve as an indictment of the entire police department. And not just the Ferguson police department, but police departments everywhere. And not just police as a physical entity, but the entire concept of law enforcement. And not just the concept of law enforcement, but any institution which allows for the perception of one culture exerting domination and authority over another. But isn’t that last bit the very essence of a standard to which people are held? For a standard to exist, there must also exist a group or body which sets and enforces that standard. To deny the necessity of standards and the “power structures” (to use the odious Leftist phrase) through which they are enforced is to reject civilization outright.
On another note, the confrontations between the police and protesters have brought to light the militarization of municipal police forces in this country. This is a highly debatable issue to which, it seems, there is no apparent “right answer.” I certainly don’t believe that the average municipal police department has the time or resources to adequately train its SWAT teams for operations which, in a military setting, would require the employment of assets such as CAG or DEVGRU. But I can easily think of scenarios in which the police would be able to better execute their duties (to include avoiding shooting innocent bystanders) with rifles and ballistic vests than their more familiar equipment.
But there I go from shouting down the gaggle of protesters and Leftist enablers to agreeing with at least one component of their agenda. This is a clever tactic of the Left: by wrapping up legitimate issues such as police militarization into their overall agenda of cultural warfare and destruction of the West, they imbue their evil with some of that legitimacy. They’ve got me addressing seriously their grievances against law enforcement. But they are arguing in bad faith; they don’t simply want a change of police equipment or behavior. They want law enforcement deconstructed or revolutionized until it facilitates their “equality of [racial] outcome” agenda.
This is why it is important to understand the essence of what an opponent seeks. If I believe I’m dealing with an individual who values our civilization and the rule of law like I do, then I’ll happily debate issues such as this one. But if I find that I’m dealing with a Leftist who wants to destroy the society I call my own, I will not give him any ammunition with which he may attack the institutions that keep it alive. Honest and legitimate criticism of policy can only be had within the context of a mutual appreciation for the society to which said policies apply.
NJ.com has published an editorial by Representative Celeste M. Riley of Cumberland County in which she advertises bill A2807, which will essentially implement a “tuition lock” for resident undergraduates and thus ensure that their tuition bills are consistent over the course of their studies. While the fractal wrongness of this piece of legislation makes the refutation of the “logic” behind it daunting (due, primarily, to the sheer volume of idiotic assumptions on which it is based), I believe this is a worthwhile endeavor because this is iconic of at least one variety of liberal madness which is steadily choking the life out of our society. If us average folks are incapable of speaking intelligently on these matters we cannot stand effectively against the Left.
First, I posit that any piece of legislation must have an intended purpose; it must seek to achieve some clearly defined and achievable goal. It’s not clear to me exactly what A2807 is supposed to do, but it seems reasonable to assume that it’s meant to both increase college attendance and reduce student debt following graduation (I will not delve into a discussion of the merit of those two goals, as it is far beyond the scope of this post, but my opinion is that neither of them are necessarily desirable in-and-of-themselves). The implicit assumption of the bill is that the tuition lock will result in an overall reduced tuition for undergraduates. But why should this be? Buried somewhere in every college’s administration is a gaggle of finance nerds who determine the cost of tuition for each academic year. They take into account things like the school’s enrollment, operating expenses, and donations. So, if A2807 is enacted, the tuition lock simply becomes another term in the equation. Each year, the school will calculate incoming students’ tuition based on the assumption that it cannot be increased, and the total tuition paid over the course of study will not significantly change. What’s better: paying $8,000 in 2014-2015 and having it increase by $1,000 each year until graduating in 2018, or paying $10,000 each year with no increases? The former will become illegal under A2807, but the latter will not.
Interesting too is the exemption for independent (i.e., private) institutions with an endowment of greater than one billion dollars. There is only one such institution in New Jersey: Princeton University. Given that Princeton’s endowment is $18 billion, and the next highest appears to be Seton Hall with $240 million, this is obviously some form of protectionism. Representative Riley’s failure to state and justify this stipulation shows that she is capitalizing on the “feel-good” aspects of the bill and considers us mere mortals unworthy of a thorough explanation. There is absolutely zero critical analysis present in her editorial. This is, therefore, another contemptible example of the decayed state of intellectual life in our society.
In summary, A2807 is a bill that is unlikely to have any material impact on the overall cost of higher education (not that this is, by itself, a necessarily desirable outcome anyway) and is crafted specifically to exempt one particular school. Our legislators aren’t so much evil geniuses hell-bent on the destruction of Western civilization as they are incompetent buffoons with essentially free reign to needlessly complicate our lives through completely baseless legislation.
One of the main themes of this blog will be exposure of the apparent intellectual bankruptcy of contemporary journalists. A rather innocuous (but archetypal) case can be found at The Star Ledger in which we are told,
The issue of whether or not lyrics are admissible as evidence notwithstanding, the SL Editorial Board falsely equates the freedom to make a statement with its inadmissibility in court. These are completely separate issues, as should be obvious to anyone whose understanding of the law and the U.S. Constitution exceeds that of the average retarded goldfish.
This may seem like a minor point, but it typifies the sort of dumbing-down of intellectual life in this country that pervades the mainstream media. If the average person cannot be expected to differentiate between the concepts of free speech and the admissibility of speech as evidence in court, there is surely no hope for Western civilization.