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Samizdata quote of the day

I wish you all the luck in the world Baltimore. And I truly wish you had the courage to change. If you ever do, send up a flare. Until then, there is nothing anyone can do for you. You are victims of your own choices, and no one can make choices for you but you.

– John Nolte, from ‘Baltimore is a Democrat problem, not America’s problem

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33 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • No. If only white America would come in and give everyone jobs, like they are supposed to do, Baltimore would be just like Burbank.

    All the crime, all the hopelessly corrupt local governance, all the rampant unemployment, all the terrible urban decay, the littering … all the result of white people not stepping up. It’s white America’s task to fix Baltimore, and they need to get cracking.

  • David Crawford

    I’ve been to Baltimore for work numerous times. The rioters would do that city an enormous favor if they burned that whole shit-hole down, city limit to city limit, north and south, east and west. The only place worse than “Charm City” that I’ve been sent is Washington, DC. (Oh where oh where is the British army to burn that hell-hole down for a second time. Shit, I’d throw a few bucks into a Kickstarter fund to bring the Brits back to do it again.)

  • Stuck-Record

    “No. If only white America would come in and give everyone jobs, like they are supposed to do, Baltimore would be just like Burbank.”

    That would be patriarchal oppression.

    They just need to take all the money off the white Americans. That would be the moral thing to do.

  • Laird

    “Cracking”. Is that racist?

    A fair article. He didn’t even mention that the mayor of Baltimore is black (of course), or that a majority of its police force is black, or that Baltimore has a long and sordid history of police violence (the city has paid out $5.7 million in just the last 3 years to settle police brutality cases), or that the number of police killings there is extraordinarily high, or that the police unions are so powerful in Maryland that just this year they managed to derail even a modest legislative attempt to impose some accountability. But still . . . .

    Those people rioting and looting are merely fouling their own nest. Undoubtedly many of them are outside agitators (look for Al Sharpton’s fingerprints), simple criminals taking advantage of the situation, and shiftless young males out for some fun. I feel sorry for the decent people of Baltimore (even though, as Nolte says, they are the ones ultimately responsible for the mess in which they find themselves). But that doesn’t diminish their core complaint of rampant police brutality. And that isn’t just Baltimore’s problem, it is America’s problem. It has become endemic across the nation, and people are starting to awaken to it.

    At its heart the problem is the result of the increased militarization of police. When you enlist people in a “war on drugs” or a “war against poverty” they begin to think of themselves as actual soldiers (especially when you arm and dress them as such). This has (perhaps understandably) created an “us versus them” mentality among the police, which inevitably leads to tragedies such the (still unexplained) killing of Freddie Gray. Baltimore police may be worse than most, but that doesn’t mean that others aren’t bad, too. They are. This is an excellent article discussing the problem. Until we begin to understand why people are rioting in Baltimore, and Ferguson, and New York, and Albuquerque, we are just going to get more of the same. These are not all merely racist troublemakers; they have a legitimate complaint.

  • llamas

    +1 what Laird says. Every word that Nolte writes is true, and yet it still does not diminish the validity of their core complaint. Just because they’re rioting, doesn’t mean that they don’t have a bloody good point.

    This is what you get when you have built a system of law enforcement that entraps young, poor people in a web from which they cannot escape. When a minor traffic offence, or a civil debt, leads inexorably to jail, loss of livelihood and the total ruin of a life, you will get many, many ruined lives, and you will get to a situation where the great majority fear the police, distrust them, and steer clear of them at every opportunity.

    The other side of the same coin – when you teach the police that their pay and pensions are (partly) funded by the monies taken from the pockets of the people they ‘serve’, and then on top of that, you feed them 40 years of ‘War on Drugs’ rhetoric that teaches them to treat the citizens like an occupying army in the name of some notional ‘greater good’ – what did you expect? And for this side of the coin, the blame is truly bi-partisan – Republicans are every-bit as much to blame for the state of US policing as Democrats.

    I read the other day that, if police numbers were matched to the US crime rate, the number of police officers in the US should between 1/3 and 1/2 of what it was in the 1990s, even allowing for the increase in population. Yet the call is always for more police, more spending, more ‘safety’. I can’t help but think that quite a lot of the sort of policing that creates the kind of strife we are seeing in Baltimore is the result of police looking for things to do, and lobbying lawmakers and regulators to actually create work for them.

    End sovereign immunity for municipalities and qualified immunity for police and prosecutors. Let them buy E&O insurance, like I have to. That alone would weed out the people who are temperamentally unsuited to the work. Sweep away the vast majority of the ‘War and Drugs’ and all of the BS that goes with it. Abolish laws that turn civil matters into crimes, or punish civil infractions with the loss of livelihood. If a guy doesn’t pay his child support, don’t take away his driver’s license, or his barber’s license – it doesn’t pay the debt, and it makes him broke, sovbe impacted by them, with no regard for the inevitable unintended consequences.

    Just for starters.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Ken Hoop

    Some have a legitimate complaint. For one chunk, the victims of outsourcing/free trade.
    But since Obama is a free trader, (TPP anyone?) you conventional conservatives shouldn’t have a problem with me saying that.
    Then there is the fact that police in many communities have been trained by Israel, they do so well with their own minorities-on our tax dollar, of course, and with the result of our being so popular in the Middle East.
    The police who have been militarized by other means are much in the spirit of the troops which have been sent to fight in unwinnable wars to defend an imperialist policy in which Saudi and Israel are junior partners.
    Far be it from our government to become energy self-sufficient (which could have been done on cue with the Saudi embargo circa 1974) and take care of our business rather than bring wholesale havoc to the Middle East.
    A nation which can’t govern and pacify Ferguson or Baltimore fairly and efficiently certainly can’t
    bring stability to Iraq or Afghanistan, not that it is really trying, as long as its “strategy” doesn’t
    result in Saudi taking on the appearance of Syria and Israel becoming Yemen.
    It will end badly, abroad and at home.

  • There was an interesting comment on here the other day – might have been from Laird – on the same subject as this Radley Balko article regarding how every one-horse town in the USA now has it’s own SWAT team. This is a recipe for disaster, for the simple reason that as the number of SWAT personnel grows their quality will inevitably decline (same as if you doubled the number of navy SEALs overnight). And you can add to that the fact that these small towns won’t have the budgets to train the guys properly. So I forsee heavy-handed fuckwittery by wannabe soldiers in SWAT gear becoming more frequent in the coming years.

  • But since Obama is a free trader

    You are clearly a comedian of the highest order and for a moment then I thought you were serious.

    you conventional conservatives shouldn’t have a problem with me saying that.

    Who here is a ‘conventional conservative’, whatever that means? Conventional conservatives, the ones who get run up the flagpole for the right-statists to salute, appear to be wankers like Mitt Romney and David Cameron these days. Them folks ain’t well liked in these parts.

  • Regional

    The Strayan coppers seem to have an approach, we can wait.

  • Chip

    I too think the militarization of the police and criminalization of drug and other activities are serious.

    But can we really say Baltimore, Detroit and others would have better schools, stronger families and more business activity with less policing?

    The bad policing – and bad governance – is a symptom of cultural decay, not the cause.

  • Chip

    If you airlifted 100,000 Chinese or Vietnamese into Baltimore next week they would see the city’s infrastructure and rule of law as heaven-sent, and have the place humming with businesses within 6 months while the police would have largely nothing to do.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    I wish you all the luck in the world Black people. And I truly wish you had the courage to change. If you ever do, send up a flare. Until then, there is nothing anyone can do for you. You are victims of your own choices, and no one can make choices for you but you.

    Heh.

  • If you airlifted 100,000 Chinese or Vietnamese into Baltimore next week they would see the city’s infrastructure and rule of law as heaven-sent, and have the place humming with businesses within 6 months while the police would have largely nothing to do.

    Shh. Not supposed to say that.

  • Nicholas (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    If the police had nothing to do, then they would riot! Hordes of unemployed ex-cops would form gangs, reminiscing about the good old days when there were real criminals. Then they’d become hard-core criminals, i.e. politicians! Do we really want that?

  • Larry Sheldon

    I wish you all the luck in the world Baltimore. And I truly wish you had the courage to change. If you ever do, send up a flare. Until then, there is nothing anyone can do for you. You are victims of your own choices, and no one can make choices for you but you.

    Would that Toya Graham and Michael, and the child with the water bottles, and the man on the bicycle with fist bumps, and the line of men protecting the line of police be the flares mentioned.

  • Chip writes:

    The bad policing – and bad governance – is a symptom of cultural decay, not the cause.

    I don’t think I can fully agree with this. There are also some aspects in the system that are causing positive feedback – so bad policing and government corruption can and do exacerbate things, in an ever-worsening spiral.

    If you will excuse a somewhat hacked analogy, I think it’s a bit like a public address system – one that starts to howl, initially at a single frequency – as the volume is turned up. The first response is to move, turn or shield the microphone. The next response is to install tunable filters to suppress the howling, while allowing the volume to be turned up a bit further. The third response is to introduce a frequency shift; this helps with all howling but distorts the wanted signal more. The fourth response is to rebuild the auditorium with better acoustic characteristics. But the underlying problem is wanting too much output volume. Eventually there are too many howling frequencies, and has been so much expense, that one has to accept that the volume cannot be turned up further. The message will have to be broadcast several times and/or in several different auditoria.

    And the analogue of output volume is government: too much government; government trying to do too many things; also, in some cases, government not distributed enough (ie too centralised). Eventually the initial sticking plaster solutions and the later structural complexity just run out of steam.

    In addition, the analogue of hearing the broadcast message is having a better society. Note that the desirability of output volume tends to substitute for the desirability of having the broadcast heard by the audience; likewise having more government control tends to substitute for a having better society.

    Best regards

  • Snag

    Ken Hoop, are you high?

  • Valerie

    One salient question is that given 3 X’s as many white males are shot by police every year, why aren’t white people looting and rioting?

  • Bod

    I think Ken thought he’d typed http://www.infowars.com.

  • Laird

    I disagree with most of what Ken Hoop wrote. But his last sentence is spot on.

    (Tim, that comment might indeed have been from me. Although I try to moderate myself, I do tend to rail against SWAT teams with some regularity.)

  • mojo

    Hey hey hey, looks like Crazy Bernie is jumping into the ring! Full-bore socialism is what this country needs! Like a hole in the head!

  • Edward MJ

    Good article on the situation from David Simon – the writer of The Wire (crime drama set in Baltimore): https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/04/29/david-simon-on-baltimore-s-anguish

  • CalFord

    That David Simon piece is really interesting.

    And it’s another instance of what we might call the ‘platitude-distance’ phenomenon (I’m sure there’s a better name for this, but I don’t know it, and I can’t invent a good one right now). You know how when a left-winger (or a right-winger) talks about an issue they don’t really have any close acquaintance with, and they just mouth left-wing (or right-wing) platitudes? Yet lefties (righties) who are close to the issue often talk in noticeably different terms, and often ones that don’t fit at all well with the things they usually affect to believe.

  • Toastrider

    Interesting, as in how examining the pathology of a disease is interesting. Did you see Simon’s remarks on O’Malley?

    ” And, hey, if he’s the Democratic nominee, I’m going to end up voting for him. ”

    Really? REALLY? You just stated he made a colossal mess of policing in Baltimore, and he would still get your vote? You stupid, arrogant, slack jawed ivory tower inbred…

    To hell with David Simon.

  • Toastrider beat me to it. But, the piece is interesting regardless.

  • John Galt III

    The left only knows how to destroy. It creates nothing. Detroit, then Baltimore, then Chicago and so forth. San Fransicko? – “Oh sweet Saint of San Andreas, hear my prayer’.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Isn’t San Fran desperately trying to rid itself of its black minority as quietly and quickly as possible?

    Here’s my prediction: San Fran, despite being governed by the left with some quite crazy ideas, will still somehow prosper with the rule of law. Portland is also very liberal, but somehow doing quite well. San Fran will be the same.

    It’s as though demographics is important or something. We can also see a strange pattern – e.g. Scandinavian states.

    Nevermind, let’s just apply Occam’s Butterknife again.

  • Alex

    @Wobbly Guy, I don’t buy a racial aspect. There are perhaps 2 aspects to the racial dimension that are important, the first being that racial and ethnic minorities are distinct “victim groups” useful for identity politics (hence the dominance of the Democratic party in Baltimore) and the second being, I suspect, that black and minority candidates are more likely to be “true believers” whereas the white Democrats tend to be from privileged backgrounds and are in reality conflicted about their beliefs. When push comes to shove those Democrats from privileged backgrounds will still continue to behave in general in a civilized manner while nevertheless advancing the destruction of civil society. San Fran and Portland, therefore, are likely to remain perfectly reasonable places despite the over-regulation. Whereas the culture of a cultivated victim group is self-destructive.

    This is nothing to do with any innate racial characteristics, it is purely cultural. As Thomas Sowell has stressed for decades.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    I have huge respect for Thomas Sowell, but my opinion is that those who manage to maintain a culture that obeys the rule of law, a civilized culture, still tend towards particular hues.

    One of the biggest mistakes in domestic policies in the US was the welfare and support given to blacks, impliciting granting them carte blanche to let their previously strong and positive structures (church, conservatives values, tight knit and whole families) erode, leading to their current levels of dysfunction.

    It’s not as though it doesn’t happen to other races though. I remember reading that the work ethic in Scandinavian states was weaker than in the past. It’s just that the rate of decay is different.

    So what factor is it that contributes to the speed of cultural change in a community? Can we blame it only on the welfare state and the steady drumbeat of ‘it’s YT’s fault’ from the media?

  • Alex

    Yes, I agree that the rate of decay is different.

    So what factor is it that contributes to the speed of cultural change in a community? Can we blame it only on the welfare state and the steady drumbeat of ‘it’s YT’s fault’ from the media?

    The convenient excuse of “victim” status. Here in the UK young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are much more likely to be long term unemployed. It becomes a feedback loop – “I am poor because I cannot get a job”, “I cannot get a job because I am poor and from a disadvantaged background”. While the true answer is “I cannot get a job because I lack the skills in demand in the labour market”.

    One of the biggest mistakes in domestic policies in the US was the welfare and support given to blacks

    I agree but it is equally applicable to any “victim group”. It is the corrosive influence of “victim group” culture and identity politics.

  • gongcult

    To Valerie: Is it a residue of our euro-centric consciousness that some of us realise that there are some bad &stupid mofos who do evil and wanton acts that result in their being shot etc. If we’re not surprised that the cops deal with them in the ways they do it might be that we can ascertain the difference between the criminal and the”victimized”…

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    I’m rather disturbed by many of the racially loaded comments here, as well as the casual dismissiveness toward the idea that some people are discriminated against.

    The reason genuinely liberal people oppose affirmative action type laws has nothing to do with a denial that discrimination happens, nor is it to do with a belief in racial inferiority/ superiority justifying discrimination. Affirmative action is wrong because it violates the principle of free association, and because it and policies like it help create Baltimore/ Detroit style shitholes which contribute to keeping minorities down rather than helping them. But saying a person should be entitled to discriminate against people for racial reasons does not preclude me from saying that those who do so are complete bastards. Because they are.

  • But saying a person should be entitled to discriminate against people for racial reasons does not preclude me from saying that those who do so are complete bastards. Because they are.

    Quite so. Moreover I think a genuinely liberal (libertarian) solution to unreasonable discrimination is competition and markets rather than state abridgement of free association: one man’s bigotry is another man’s business opportunity.