We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Read the story forwards, not backwards

The lie I hate most is the lie I once fell for.

When George Zimmerman was charged with murdering Trayvon Martin, there was much I did not know till later. But from the day the story broke, I could see cause to keep an open mind in the face of the narrative. There was more to the Ferguson story than I knew till much later. But I saw from the start that there was more to it than the media wanted me to know.

Not so with the Floyd story. If I’d seen Floyd being restrained by nurses in an emergency room, the idea that they could be trying to save him, not kill him, might have occurred to me. But everyone knows police and suspects are adversaries. The police arrived on the scene in the first place to arrest him, not hospitalise him. Who wants to watch a distressing video of a man dying? Surely the picture of Floyd on the ground under Chauvin’s knee was enough. So my mind confabulated a simple connection between the two.

So I accepted an incident-report from BLM!

I could see it was wildly oversold. I could see that BLM demanded we think it represented all police, all white people and above all Trump, although Mineapolis has not seen a Republican official for decades. I could see the same BLM demanded we think their ‘mostly peaceful’ gunning down of an 8-year-old black girl represented nothing at all. But I assumed the Floyd incident was what they said it was in itself, despite knowing who and what the overwhelmingly white marxists who run BLM were, and where they come from.

That’s embarrassing!

It was days later (prompted by a twin-cities-based web friend) that I woke up enough to watch the video – and to think about it. You don’t asphyxiate a man by pressing on the back of his neck – and you usually don’t murder a man under the eyes of hostile videoing witnesses when you could just put him in your car and drive off. Two-thirds of the way in, the video itself drops a unintentional hint that it may not be the whole story. A guy comes to the man videoing and says, “Let me help. I saw the whole thing”, whereupon the man swiftly gets very aggressive in his determination to make the unwelcome informant go away again. Very soon he is shouting “I know where you live. I know where your parents live.” to make the guy leave – a strange thing for someone concerned about Floyd to do.

So I began to try and learn more.

Many detective stories have plots that would be very straightforward – if they were told in order from start to end. Instead, the hero is introduced to some late side-effect of the crime, or to a crime with an obvious suspect, then gets (with the reader) a series of baffling shocks as they trying to unwind the hidden earlier history. Only at the end does the ‘great detective’ tell the story in order, from start to end, and then everything that puzzled us makes sense.

Let’s tell the George Floyd story in order, start to finish (as best we can for now). The police are summoned by a shopkeeper to an unusual suspect, who is still parked nearby, acting silly, when the usual passer of forged $20-bills would have driven off. As they go through the routine of questioning him, Floyd’s strange behaviour starts to get to them. They ask Mr Floyd “Are you on something right now? (See bodycam transcripts for Officers Kueng and Lane.) At first Floyd denies this, saying “No, nothing” but then Officer Koenig tells Floyd he is “acting real erratic” and asks Floyd why he is foaming at the mouth. “I was hooping earlier”, George explains.

(Hooping: street slang for absorbing drugs via the anus, believed by some to enhance their potency. The autopsy confirms George Floyd was telling the truth: the amount of fentanyl in his system was far above lethal dosage.)

For a while, the police try to stick to their script – to put him in their car and take him to the station – but it gradually (or fairly quickly, one could argue – the whole incident takes but a short time) becomes clear that things are serious. Foaming-at-the-mouth George starts to complain he can’t breathe – both directly and also indirectly (Floyd’s indicative fear of being in the closed police car, his begging them to “crack [open] a window”, appears even earlier than his first “I can’t breathe”). Floyd himself repeatedly asks to get on the ground rather than into the car – and repeatedly says he can’t breathe before he is on the ground. Chauvin puts him on the ground. By now, the police have abandoned the idea of arresting him and instead summoned an ambulance, at first because Floyd cut his mouth on the car door, but soon afterwards Chauvin tells Lane (who is handling comms) to call again and ensure the ambulance is high priority – which would be an odd thing for a would-be murderer to do.

Meanwhile, what do the police do with Floyd till the ambulance arrives (soon, they hope)? They do what they have been trained to do (by order of the left-leaning Democrats who rule Minneapolis). They restrain the suspect (the theory is his own struggles may otherwise exhaust him, especially if drug-induced Extreme Delirium occurs). They use the knee-to-rear-of-neck hold they’ve been taught to use (“the conscious neck hold”, their political masters’ manual calls it, because that hold should not make the subject lose consciousness, let alone face the dangers of a frontal choke-hold). “I can’t breathe”, yells Floyd yet again now he is on the ground. “Then stop talking and yelling.”, replies Chauvin, “It takes a lot of oxygen to talk.” But though the hold is designed not to take consciousness, let alone life, Floyd nevertheless passes out after four minutes on the ground (or at least, both Lane and the ex-wife who has been with him from the start, say at almost the same time, “I think he’s passed out”).

We know from the autopsy that Floyd’s lungs (two-three times normal weight when examined, because of all the liquid in them) must by now be dangerously full of fluid – probably already lethally so. Knowing what we know now, Floyd was most unlikely to resume struggling. Floyd is having an episode all right, but not of Extreme Delirium. The active restraint no longer serves its intended purpose.

But the police do not know this; they are still wondering whether Floyd is on PCP. Fentanyl has not occurred to them – and why would it? And if it had, would Floyd’s foaming lungs have had a better chance of draining if he were face up instead of face down? He was given CPR by Officer Lane and the ambulance crew when the ambulance arrived. The four officers would have done their own PR a favour if they had broken their training and started it four minutes earlier. But with flooded lungs between mouth and heart, would it have favoured Floyd’s survival at all?

Told in order from first to last, the story of how George Floyd came to die makes more sense than the start-at-the-end BLM narrative ever did. I guess if we could all have seen that right away then detective story writers would be out of business, which is a fate I would not want for them (for BLM, by contrast, … ).

Last Friday, a judge dismissed Derek Chauvin’s third degree murder charge over George Floyd. (Here is a critcal assessment of the charges written when they were made). Earlier this month, the same judge gave Chauvin monitored $1 million bail release from his high security ‘protective’ custody. The second-degree charges remain against him and his colleagues. Those charges must meet a higher standard of proof to convict. A matter so ‘tried’ in the ‘court of public opinion’ may benefit from the clarity of a real trial. The judge may be serving the truth as best he can.

One final question: why do BLM focus on cases like Zimmerman, Ferguson or Floyd instead of genuine criminal police shootings of blacks? In the brutally racist U.S. that BLM claim to believe in, there should be loads of strong legal cases to choose from – and in the real U.S they certainly happen. I think the marxist revolutionaries of BLM see no profit in highlighting a valid case – it may well end in evil oppressive America convicting the cop. Far better a case where there is a real chance of acquittal. If there is acquittal, they can have yet more riots. If there should be acquittal in honest law, but judge and jury are too fearful or propagandised, they’ve made a real advance towards their goal.

Why they fear their lying eyes

cult conversions … occur by using doctrine to resolve some core emotional vulnerability. … A… clear sign that one is dealing with a cult indoctrination … is making the mark live up to contradictory demands. You must understand racism and admit that you cannot understand racism. You must admit to your complicity in racism and pledge to do better knowing that it is impossible to do better. You must be an ally but accept that you will always do your allyship wrong. … these impossible and paradoxical demands dramatically deepen commitment to the cult … The concept of “white fragility” in the antiracist Woke cult is exactly this sort of emotional shakedown. … Lead the mark to take a step further in, coach them into rationalizing why that step was good, and then repeat with a further step. … when the mark rationalizes these objectively bad decisions and the cognitive dissonance that doing them causes, they nearly always rationalize themselves much further into the cult.

The Cult Dynamics of Wokeness analyses how it spots and indoctrinates its marks, but says little about the mark’s original issue that the woke exploit:

Sometimes, the underlying emotional vulnerability is there for personal reasons, or as a result of life events.

Sometimes, indeed it is – their prime targets are students, who often arrive at university with plenty of youthful insecurity and teenage angst. But wokeness itself can provide the distress as well the abusive ‘resolution’. Students arriving at a politically-correct university are immediately plunged into an an artificial racial reality that they are forbidden to notice: affirmative-action admissions ensure that the academic ability of their fellow students correlates strongly with skin colour. Next, the disparate impact theory they are taught offers them only two explanations, one explicit, the other implicit, for the disparities it highlights:

– blacks are statistically unequal to whites because of white racism

– blacks are statistically unequal to whites because they are inferior

No third option is allowed into any target’s mind – not if the woke can help it (if they even know one themselves!). So the mark has a simple choice: believe in the explicit explanation, or become the moral equivalent of Hitler by believing the implicit one. No-one wants to be morally equivalent to Hitler, so, since they know no third option (since the very idea there could be any other alternative to the evil implicit one has never risen into their awareness), every doubt that subtle white racism explains the discrepancy, every argument that denies that white racism, however hidden, is at the root of the differences they’re taught to hate and the even more obvious differences they’re forbidden to notice, threatens them with becoming that object of loathing to their (and society’s) principles, a racist! When these two alternatives are the only ones that a student knows deep down (and up top, in the surface of the mind, they hardly dare think of the implicit one) then the claim that one is either a racist or else admits to being a racist seems to make sense.

(It was the same under Stalin and Mao. In both Russia and China, the mass famines were followed a few years later by the mass purges. Either you accepted that saboteurs, wreckers and enemies were fouling up the scientifically-proven socialist dream, or you were a vile capitalist-roader, an exploiter. One communist who had served the Party in the Ukraine famine and been shaken by what he saw, later wrote:

For that very reason, however, my conscious mind reached out desperately for alibis, for compromises with conscience. … It was imperative to squelch these emotions, to drive them into the underground of my mind. I laboured to repair my loyalties. With the purge in the offing, this urgency was even greater.

“With the purge in the offing …” – the far lesser but real dangers of cancel culture have a similar effect of ‘encouragez les autres’. This encouraging of indoctrinated minds to discipline themselves is as important to wokeness as the conscious fear that cancel culture inflicts on outsiders.)

So, does a better understanding of the problem point us towards any solutions?

The only ways I know of to effect a deprogramming of this are these three: (1) striking right to the heart of the point of vulnerability in a completely different and more healthy way …

The first of the three is what I will talk about. However,

None of this is easy. In fact, it’s all usually very difficult … … People who have been reprogrammed into a cult mentality will perceive all attempts to free them from the cult as malicious attempts to drag them … back to the Bad Emotional Place that they have come to strongly associate with that awful feeling of vulnerability that was used to initiate them into the cult in the first place. The doctrine is the opium that dulls their emotional pain … anyone trying to talk sense to a fully reprogrammed cult member … will be, in a very real sense, interpreted as trying to do harm to them … because the cult doctrine is the proffered resolution to the … emotional vulnerability that led them to be indoctrinated and reprogrammed in the first place. And you must appreciate just how much that vulnerability has been inflamed by the cult initiation, indoctrination, and reprogramming process.

At this point it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room; that third explanation (for why blacks in the US today can be statistically unequal to whites) which, of all others, wokeness most trains its victims never to see. Political correctness is a parasite on the backs of those it pretends to help.

“Although the big word on the left is ‘compassion’, the big agenda on the left is dependency.”

I owe that quote to Thomas Sowell, who has described how lucky he was to be born at a moment when the old prejudices about blacks were dying, and the new ones with which the PC would replace them had not yet grown strong (read his books). Sowell’s long life also lets him witness against what another coloured academic calls the woke’s “ever-present soft bigotry of low expectations”. A third black analyst concludes that

“woke whites would do more good by doing nothing”

Etc., etc., etc.

So in a way, I’m not disagreeing with those woke whites who say they’re racists. THAT’S MY POINT! They are – just not in the way they’ve been led to believe. That fact is the ‘more healthy way’ to confront their distress. Even in a struggle session, with leaders organised and ready to shout or sneer you down, it may sometimes be better – and even safer – to be last heard expressing the ‘wrong sort’ of anti-racism than just denying their sort. In a private conversation with an early inductee, it may even be productive.

cult deprogramming almost always proceeds from an initial doubt that spirals out of control

I agree with Edmund Burke that “lying and falsehood are allowed in no cause whatever … but a man may speak the truth by measure, that he be allowed to speak it longer”. If you can either avoid triggering the emotional vulnerability at the very start of a personal discussion or else trigger it in “a more healthy way”, then you may manage to speak the truth for longer – maybe as long as can save a soul from the woke lie. The very fact that your truth is more costly to adopt than their current lie can be turned to polemical advantage. Robert Conquest became a communist at 17 – and also ceased to be a communist while still 17. Thomas Sowell was a marxist in his early 20s – but not thereafter. Modern victims of the education establishment experience are more propagandised than those two ever were, but can still be reached.

Of course, woke leaders (and many a follower – those who believe the dogma for other reasons or none, or because they were not infected with emotional vulnerability by indoctrinating educators but brought a personal one with them to university), will not be reached by this, but as the increasingly abusive rituals of politically-correct ‘anti’-racism show, there are a lot of self-flagellating followers.

Too Easy to Rebut the PC Ta-Nehisi / NYT

The long-suffering readers of this blog know that, like Bilbo Baggins, I occasionally inflict poetry upon you (in deference to this blog’s free speech convictions, I also allow the word ‘doggerel’ 🙂 ).

Whether this poem says anything my prose did not say, I leave to readers, but since Ta-Nehisi is being echoed by Democrat candidates, and the NYT is promising to write essay after essay “demonstrating that nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery”, how can we avoid restating truths as they reiterate their lies? In pursuit of variety, I therefore offer as poem some thoughts mostly already expressed in prose. (If commenters know other ways of restating timeless truths to resist the fashionable lies of this time, by all means say.)

When white traders sought a profit in black endless tribal wars,
Where the winners sold the losers, pinioned in their slave collars,
Then the winners were the losers, left behind in Africa,
From the losers came the winners, free men in America.

If you thought that reparations were owed you by those you blame
Then the past you should have had, you would endeavour to reclaim –
Live with offspring of keen sellers, whence your captured forebears came,
Quit the nation that stopped buying, if you thought it owned the shame –

Since a man who claims repayment from a country where he’ll stay,
Clutching eagerly its passport (to live there, not go away),
Knows the winners don’t descend from those who won a tribal war;
He, descendant of the losers, knows he is today’s victor.

For we all have ancestors, and all have some who had it rough.
‘Fixing’ that would have no end, quite cause enough to say “Enough!”.
But to insolently claim repayment for great benefit,
When the losers are long dead, and in world terms you’re doing great,

When you say your country owes you yet remain its citizen,
Shows you don’t think you, today, inherit loss from way back then.
Better not repay your country with your self-indulgent hate,
But rejoice that negroes prosper as it is again made great.

That it is in one way too easy to rebut these idiots – that the antifa woke mob have a power in their fists and in their administrators’ and media-friends’ fraud that they do not have in their heads – prompts me to write parables and poems to make it interesting. But since we believe diversity of thought is the only diversity of value, ‘too easy’ has its dangers – those words are not just in my title for the rhyme. But that must await my next poem.

Meanwhile (reverting to prose), the whole NYT Ta-Nehisian project is like observing that in the 1850s, while a majority of free U.S. blacks were literate and literacy passed easily from them to slaves, a majority of US slaves were not literate – at a time when the large majority of the world’s people were not literate. It is only because the US population was exceptionally literate for its time that one has any basis for complaint. And southern slaveowners worried about slave literacy only because, in the exceptional US, a literate slave might read that all men were endowed with inalienable rights – and then read a map showing routes northwards – which was not a danger in the unexceptional parts of the world.

(This is another of my “Less economy of truth, please” posts – maybe I should make a tag.)

Don’t let them have a double standard about their double standards

Recently, the Daily Mail told me what the Guardian chose not to – research in the tapes made by the FBI of Martin Luther King suggest they were more embarrassing than just those impertinent recordings of a man when intimate with his wife that the narrative assured us was all they were.

Of the truth or falsity of these new claims I will say nothing. Truth is the daughter of time, and I think it wise to keep an open mind for at least a little more time. The point of this post is different.

Although it’s been old news for years (these stories may revive it), there was a time when the narrative was very invested in assuring us that Robert Kennedy signed off on this bugging in all innocence. Poor Bobby just thought the bugging would prove that Dr King was not a communist sympathiser, and so discredit the racially-motivated rumours. How upset he was to realise – too late, alas – that racist J Edgar Hoover had used it otherwise. Like ex-KKK member the ultra-liberal senator Byrd, and that other Kennedy after his belatedly-reported car accident, Bobby got the absolution that all get who get with the PC programme.

Meanwhile, on the other side of this ledger, Dr King is now accused of joining the elite in enjoying the 60s sexual revolution in 1964, a few years before it was announced to us commoners – and, much more seriously, of being the accomplice in a rape. That is, it is claimed that very hard credible evidence exists of Dr King’s doing more determined and greater evil than Justice Kavanaugh was accused of doing without a shred of credible evidence.

Reacting to this, some have asked

Should we change the name on every school, park, and boulevard across the nation named after him as if he were the inverse of Robert E. Lee

Others quote a commenter to one of the early reports urging that when statues and street names are threatened by the PC, the name of Dr King can be mentioned

NOT in the spirit of “Whataboutism”, but in order to remind them that there is no incompatibility between celebrating the achievements of people in the past and acknowledging that those people had – as we all do – major flaws.

(“major flaws” reminded me of Laurie’s enraged “Rape is a ‘moral lapse’ !” response to the comedian’s – arguably lesser, as we eventually discover – guilt in Watchmen.)

To be fair, other names besides General Lee are being bandied about. Of Jefferson at least, there is both contemporary accusation (“He sold the offspring of his lusts at the block to swell his profits”, said Hamilton) and some later evidence (I do not know if the “him or his brother” aspect of the DNA evidence has been fully resolved); did Jefferson “tremble for my country when I think that God is just, that his justice will not sleep forever” because he had memories of which he was not proud? Of some others, we know only that on the old south’s plantations (where white control was strongest) between 1% and 2% of the babies born were of mixed race, which is one guide to the probabilities on either side of any debate about a given insufficiently-known individual. No doubt some master-slave sex was consensual – in a sense. Though the old south did not equal an Arab harem’s ability to give its occupants no alternatives and compelling motives, one does not have to OD on PC and MeToo to see what could be said about the limits of that sense – but one does have to OD on them not to see that the absence or presence of overt refusal and misery on the part of the woman says something important about the character of the man. If the tapes only showed Dr King anticipating the fashionable left-wing mores of the later 60s with women (over whom he had authority) who were overtly consensual, former admirers would not call it ‘nauseating’.

Of General Lee, I long ago said that I admired his character, but was glad his cause lost. Of Dr King (if this prove true) I will one day say that I’m glad his cause won but do not admire him – very much the reverse. And I will indeed not mention him with General Lee in any spirit of what-about-ism – because there would be a great gulf fixed between the characters of the two men. King would indeed be an inverse of Lee – inverse in cause and inverse in character, and those two the inverses of each other. Let’s have no new double-standard, like an adversity-qualified SAT score, about what makes a decent human being.

Or, as powerline remarks in passing,

For what it is worth, however, I think that American heroes like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant and Ronald Reagan were of far higher moral character than King.

Me too!

Who got Hitler’s vote last month?

Vince Cable is the latest of many LibDem and Labour leaders and followers who are irrisistibly reminded of Hitler when they contemplate some Tory politician. Jeremy Corbyn is reminded of Hitler by Donald Trump, casting Theresa May in the lesser role of Neville Chamberlain at Munich. Even the odd Tory – the very odd Tory 🙂 – insists it’s the Tory leader, not the Labour leader, that reminds them of Hitler.

I think comparing our politicians to Hitler pretty meaningless when even the ones I dislike are obviously more like themselves than like him. Would it be less absurd to ask: who gets his vote? If Adolf had immigrated into Britain recently, or else was already living here, whom would he have voted for last month? Doubtless, like the rest of us, he’d have been less than delighted with either major party, but which one would he have reluctantly chosen? Let’s look at cases.

If Adolf were an immigrant: a year ago, the beeb and other media went wild over the arab girl who posted a peace-symbol selfie against the Geert Wilders rally. They quickly lost interest in the story when shown her earlier tweet – “Hitler didnt kill all the jews, he left some. So we know why he was killing them.” If she had moved to Britain last year, I think we know which party she would have voted for last month. Just as it was when the Mufti of Jerusalem praised Adolf Effendi, so it would have been last month: the common elements of disliking Jews and liking socialist methods would have made her choice easy.

If Adolf already lived here: twenty-five years ago, I encountered the only native Briton I’ve ever met who agreed with Hitler. In a street in Braintree, a group had gathered round a stall collecting signatures for the Maastricht Referendum Petition*. A man signed and commented that we fought Germany in WWII so why were we giving them a say in ruling us now. While others agreed, a batty old woman suddenly said, “We were on the wrong side.” The man both felt and acted utter astonishment: his step back, pointedly dropped jaw and angled-back head well-conveyed what we all felt. I expressed the “no point arguing with her” feeling I sensed in the rest of us by joking, “Clearly, opposition to the eurocrats covers a very wide range of opinion.” My ‘reward’ for saying that was to have her press a leaflet on me. It ‘explained’ that the Jews were behind everything and we needed politicians who would wield state power to stop them, not enable them (I was not persuaded 🙂 ). Twenty-five years ago, I would not have guessed Labour any more likely than Tories to be the recipient of her vote in that year’s election. Today, I’m quite sure Labour got her vote a month ago. Jeremy would deny her remark indignantly – but he and his friends have so much in common with her.

So that is my view of which party any latterday Hitler-lookalike would choose if their views echoed the ‘National’ side of Hitler’s National Socialist ideology. And the more they echoed the ‘Socialist’ side as well, the surer I am of my answer.

I’m still not sure it’s a useful question. I can doubt someone is much like Hitler in character and intent, yet think they are furthering his goals. What do commenters think?

—-

* The Maastricht Referendum Petition was organised by a group of Tory, Labour and LibDem rebels to ask parliament for a referendum on the UK joining the Maastricht treaty in the early ’90s. From memory, patrons were Margaret Thatcher for Tories, the Duke of Devonshire for LibDems and someone for Labour, and the organising MPs were Austin Mitchell for Labour, and a LibDem MP and a Tory MP whose names I have forgotten. When the petition was voted down, former Tory leader Lady Margaret Thatcher and future Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith both supported a referendum, while the Labour MPs who ‘agreed’ with them included none other than a certain Jeremy Corbyn, along with Diane Abbott, Ken Livingstone and George Galloway (but also former Labour leader Jim Callaghan). So it seems that opposition to the eurocrats did indeed then, as now, cover “a very wide range of opinion” – and I feel even more sure that Labour had the batty old woman’s vote last month (unless she’s dead; I call her a batty old woman for a reason).

FYI, some Labour backbenchers supported the referendum because they were furious that the Tory-negotiated deal included an opt-out from the EU’s ‘social clause’, i.e. some Labour MPs voted for a referendum so they could renegotiate to give yet more power to the EU (“wide range of opinion” indeed 🙂 ).

Why we fight



Samizdata.net is on the job!

When the state watches you,
dare to stare back