We often hear pundits bemoaning the sad state of America. Congress is embroiled in gridlock and nothing is getting done. Let’s put aside, just for the sake of this little missive, that Congress getting nothing done may be a very good, rather than a bad, thing. After all, it was our most astute political observer–Mark Twain–who said: “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” Let us also ignore that the very structure of the Constitution foresees, indeed, embraces gridlock. It is an integral part of our system of checks and balances, and if we don’t like it, we can throw the bums out of office. Apparently, we like it. At least, for the moment, the form practiced by establishment Republicans, though the rise and surprising staying power of Donald Trump’s candidacy strongly suggests more and more Americans are developing a very strong “throw all of the bums out” sentiment.
What remains is the worthy observation that Americans are indeed a people divided. One can argue that it was Barack Obama that drove us apart. Despite his rhetoric about uniting all Americans and ending gridlock, he has surely and unmistakably done the opposite, and more quickly and devastatingly than any before him. He was not, however, the only president or force involved in our current state of philosophical and cultural division. The media bear substantial blame, as do both political parties. And so do we, common Americans, for listening to nitwits, thugs, race hustlers, politicians and con men and for not taking the time to be truly well informed. We know vacuous celebrities well, but don’t know the men and women whose philosophies and decisions regulate our very lives.
As Twain made so beautifully clear in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, con men cannot con an honest man.
The Freddie Gray case provides a stark example of the division roiling the body politic. So too, but to a much lesser degree, did the Trayvon Martin case, but not in ways one might suspect.
We are divided in a variety of ways: race, tribe, nationality, sexual orientation, environmentalism vs. civilization, vegans vs. carnivores, cat fanciers vs. dog lovers, “safe space” seekers vs. sentient beings, and in more additional ways than one can count. But what counts most, what divides us most is the chasm separating those that support the rule of law, and those that support social justice.
The banner representing the rule of law is the American flag and all it symbolizes, particularly the Constitution, the written law and the common law, and traditional, conservative values such as individual responsibility, hard work, appreciation for education, recognizing the primacy of fact and evidence over emotion, equal justice for all, and equality of opportunity.
There is no specific banner representing social justice, though these days, the vapid “O” coat of arms of Barack Obama seems to serve the purposes of those that still consider him a deity. Many other flags serve the same purpose, as does a peculiar revulsion for the American flag and for Americans. These various banners are representative of the anti-constitution. They symbolize contempt for the rule of law, for the written law, for the common law, and for all American traditions, particularly individual responsibility, hard work, respect for education, fact and evidence, and equal justice for all. Equality of outcome is one of its highest values, but those values constantly shift to better support whatever social justice banner social justice warriors are marching behind.
Also important, in understanding the social justice mentality is a relatively unchanging principle: the end justifies the means. Everyone should have their own home? Apply political pressure to the banks and force them to give home loans to people they know can’t pay them back, and eventually throw the economy into chaos. Consequences and reality can’t be allowed to intrude on good intentions and what social justice practitioners consider a worthy accomplishment.
In many respects, the Martin and Gray cases are more different than alike, not only in circumstances, but in the understanding of applicable laws. George Zimmerman was not a police officer acting under color of law. His position as a neighborhood watch captain conferred no specific duty or benefit. He was merely acting as a good citizen, reporting a suspicious person in suspicious circumstances. For that, he was ambushed and beaten, and acting fully within Florida self-defense law, successfully defended his life.
Had he not been armed, most Americans would never have heard of George Zimmerman, and local news sources would have ignored the story of a Hispanic man severely beaten and injured by a black man, identity unknown. At best, the local media would have devoted a column inch or a few seconds of a single newscast to the story, and the national media wouldn’t have touched it with a ten-foot microphone boom.
There was never any evidence that the police investigation was in any way incompetent or compromised. There was never any evidence that the local prosecutor was in any way negligent or biased in not charging Zimmerman. The rule of law worked. Justice was done, and there it would have ended, had not the forces of social justice become involved.
Social justice is not in any way about equal justice. It is not about fair and equal treatment for all men. It is not about due process. It does not, as the rule of law does, require sober consideration and due reflection over time. It demands social justice results, now! It is not about the belief that some principles are eternal, and must not be changed if men are to remain free and if actual justice is to be done.
The Constitution is only ink on aging paper. The ideas it embodies and codifies must be born again, must grow, flourish and live in the minds of each generation of Americans, or those principles will crumble to dust and perish, just as the paper upon which those words are written one day will.
The rule of law requires that men forego personal benefit; that they say: “I want this policy or benefit, this outcome, very much, but higher principle does not allow it. For the good of all, I will not suggest or pursue it.” It recognizes that in the law and in social policy, there are some things that the highest law of the land simply does not allow, some very human impulses it restrains. The rule of law lives only if men voluntarily understand and support its necessity and its purpose, and give up personal, temporary benefits and advantage.
This is very much contrary to human nature. It requires the highest moral resolve, the greatest courage and willingness to delay personal gratification. That’s why the Founders, who understood human nature very well, wrote the Constitution: to remind us, to give us an owner’s manual of what we dare not do lest we destroy ourselves and plunge the world back into a state of nature where the strong rule and life is nasty, brutish, cruel and short. They knew that there will never be a utopia on Earth and attempts to create one always require tyranny and death on an enormous scale.
Adherence to the rule of law also requires vigilance, just as Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Those that support the rule of law must always be watching for those that would corrupt it, whether judges, police officers, politicians or bureaucrats, corruption must not be tolerated, for when the people cannot trust that they will receive equal justice under the law, when they can no longer count on a jury of their peers, civilization collapses.
Of course, some will always imagine themselves put upon. As a police officer, my working definition of justice was: “when you get into a traffic accident and the other guy gets the ticket.” These days, far too many Americans are more than willing to think themselves horribly abused though their lives be models of comfort, ease and satisfaction unimaginable to most of the population of the world.
Social justice is a conceit of enlightened, first world cultures. They are the only people that can afford, in time and relative lack of personal consequences, to advocate and practice such idiocy. Unfortunately, some of those cultures, particularly in Scandinavia and Europe, are beginning, to their horror, to understand that no culture can afford to allow its people–or interlopers–to commit cultural suicide. The only means to prevent it is adherence to the rule of law.
This was the downfall of George Zimmerman. “What do you mean downfall? He was acquitted!” True, but a fundamental social justice principle, one of the few that never change is that the process is the punishment. Zimmerman lost his career, his planned future, arguably his emotional balance, his wife, more money than he will ever make, and his freedom to live life as just another American, unrecognized and unmolested. There are still hundreds, perhaps thousands of racist lunatics that would gladly murder him if they could. In fact, someone tried in May of 2015.
Seeing an opportunity to enrich themselves, and amass power, the forces of social justice gathered all their resources, including the full power of the local and national legacy media, and a corrupt special prosecutor was appointed to prosecute Zimmerman. Not to investigate–they had the same evidence the local prosecutor did; they gathered not a whit of new, relevant evidence–not to do justice, but to prosecute. The media lied, unethically editing Zimmerman’s words, making him appear to be a racist; President Obama embraced Martin as the son he never had; the DOJ leapt into the case and a massive FBI investigation was launched.
The social justice narrative wrote itself: a cute, little, helpless, Skittle eating and tea drinking black boy was hunted down and brutally murdered by a huge, hulking racist white man. Unfortunately Zimmerman was Hispanic with actual black ancestry, so the media invented a new racial category for the occasion: white-Hispanic.
Social justice is not about logic, it is not about careful reflection or belief in unchanging, universal principles, it is about stirring up and maintaining rage and hatred; it is about political advantage–such as keeping the Democrat base agitated during a presidential election cycle–personal enrichment, political power, racial hatred and divisiveness, situational ethics, and whatever lies, rabble rousing, and policies will advance the evolving social justice narrative of the moment.
And so it was in the Martin case, but things began to fall apart. Zimmerman lucked into highly ethical and competent lawyers. The FBI investigation painted Zimmerman as a racial hero, a man taking the part of genuinely oppressed black people. Several persistent bloggers, including the proprietor of this scruffy little blog, kept the truth before the public. The prosecution tried to rely on social justice principles rather than the law, and despite having two successive judges firmly on their side, so strongly was the law on Zimmerman’s side, social justice lost.
That’s when the riots should have started. That’s when businesses in Sanford, FL should have been looted and burned. But that didn’t happen. Why not?
It certainly wasn’t for any lack of race hustling. The Scheme Team of lawyers representing Martin’s family made a great deal of money, but the year-long spectacle of the backward trial exposed the social justice narrative for the stinking dung heap of lies it was. Prosecution witnesses destroyed themselves in a very public manner. The cherubic Martin was revealed to be a big, muscular, drug-using thuggish gangster wanna-be, a street fighting fan, and a burglar as well. The Skittles and “tea” he was carrying turned out to be two of the three ingredients for a drug-substitute concoction he often bragged on social media about using.
The trial was a disaster for the prosecution and social justice. They actually proved self-defense and ended up urging the jury to ignore the facts and the law, and to decide the case on emotion: a perfect social justice recipe for the dispensation of progressive “justice.” In this case, social justice required Zimmerman’s conviction and execution, and the facts and the law didn’t matter. They eventually did, but at great cost to George Zimmerman and societal cohesion.
And now the Freddie Gray case is the focus of social justice. In this case, riot, looting, arson and unrestrained racial hatred flared brightly because local Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby understood the social justice imperative of acting before facts got in the way. Unlike Sanford, FL, Baltimore had been a progressive, social justice bastion for decades, a city ruled by Democrats, and all of the ills of decades of that rule were present, just waiting for the catalyst for ignition.
The facts show the Gray case is very much like the Martin case in one way: both are utterly unremarkable. In the Gray case, a drugged petty criminal was arrested and through his own actions, damaged his spinal cord and killed himself. This is not a common occurrence, but criminals under arrest often injure themselves, sometimes fatally. Usually, such cases are not deemed newsworthy, and if they are, local media sources devote only a column inch, or a few seconds of a broadcast. National media could care less.
To date, social justice has demanded the usual: conviction regardless of the evidence, reorganization of an entire police agency based on racial statistical disparity calculations, burning, looting, personal power seeking and enrichment, death threats, an FBI investigation and idiotic, racial commentary by local and national politicians. The Gray family have already become multimillionaires. President Obama has yet to embrace Gray as he embraced Martin, but that’s probably only because the thuggish Freddie Gray is not particularly cuddly, nor have photos of Gray in scholar’s robes, or as a smiling, cherubic 12-year-old surfaced, most likely because they don’t exist. The media were able to suppress visual evidence of Trayvon Martin’s thuggery until after Mr. Obama pined for the son he never had. Even for one as shameless as Mr. Obama, Freddie Gray is apparently a relationship bridge too far; there’s no apparent profit in it.
After the William Porter mistrial, the distinction between the social justice and rule of law camps could not be starker. All known evidence indicates that the officers involved with Gray were doing nothing more, or less, than their jobs as those jobs were understood and practiced in Baltimore. There is no evidence they abused Gray. There is no evidence they intended to harm him. No evidence of a criminal conspiracy. In fact, the prosecution cannot produce a shred of evidence the officers did anything to cause Gray’s death. Their entire case is based on two things they are alleged not to have done.
Even the Prosecution’s medical examiner initially ruled Gray’s death an accident. After a meeting with Mosby, where the beauty of social justice was no doubt forcefully explained, she changed her mind and declared it a homicide. The facts hadn’t changed. There was no new evidence. She hadn’t made a mistake in her autopsy. She just didn’t sufficiently understand what was expected–no, demanded–of Democrat public officials in a social justice stronghold like Baltimore.
Social justice demands indictment, conviction and blood. There will be no peace for the six officers, no resolution. Even if acquitted, the process is the punishment. They’ll never be able to return to their jobs as if nothing happened. There will be targets on their back, and the backs of their families, for the rest of their lives, because social justice demands rioting and looting and arson and hatred regardless of the verdicts, always and forever. Above all, it demands the maximum political advantage be wrung from everyone and everything involved for as long as possible. This is not just an opportunity for local social justice warriors, but for social justice opportunists throughout the nation, and they mean to make the most of it.
The Porter trial changed nothing. To be sure, to those willing to be convinced by evidence, to those that rely on the rule of law, there could be only one outcome: not guilty on all counts. Judge Williams should have dismissed all charges with prejudice at the conclusion of the Prosecution case, when it was absolutely clear to unbiased observers that they failed to prove all charges beyond a reasonable doubt. It wasn’t even close. But Williams was experienced in the ways of social justice, something he once sought as a prosecutor. He could not possibly have allowed the rule of law to deprive the public, through the jury, of its chance to have its first pound of social justice flesh.
The rule of law would welcome peace and return to the normal ebb and flow of life, where people of all races focus on living and working together, making lives for themselves and their families. Social justice requires they be at each other’s throats. It takes little imagination to understand what would have happened in Baltimore if Porter were acquitted. And the Prosecution is going to keep running at Porter, with exactly the same evidence, perhaps wrapped in slightly different packaging, until they eventually get lucky and convict him of something, or until he is acquitted. And if he is, that won’t be a social justice problem. On the contrary, it will allow even greater and more destructive outrage to achieve even more powerful and hateful social justice. Until January of 2017, and perhaps thereafter, the Obama Department of Justice will still be able to attack the officers, and the entire Baltimore Police Deparement.
On one side, we have the forces of civilization, of liberty and law and logic and humanity. On the others, we have the forces of racial strife, rage and hatred, of personal advantage and gain, of political power and utopian idealism. It must be so because we think it should be that way, because it’s fair. It doesn’t matter that Freddie Gray, buzzed on pot and opiates, accidently killed himself. It doesn’t matter that he was arrested because Marilyn Mosby demanded the police arrest people just like him at the very corner where he first saw and ran from the officers. What matters is that Freddie Gray was black and the police were involved, therefore social justice requires the dredging up of every past and present injustice, racial hatred and bit of mistrust, every cruel intention and evil urge embodied in Eric Holder’s racist claim of the cowardice of Americans for not embracing social justice just as he and his successor do, for not ignoring the Constitution and the rule of law, just as he did.
But three of the officers were black! Social justice is not consistent. It’s fluid, ever changing for maximum sociopolitical advantage. The fact that three are police officers trumps their race. In fact, for social justice warriors, it makes them even more worthy of hate, for they are traitors not only to their race, but to the very principles of social justice, which all black people must share by virtue of being black.
The evidence presented at trial doesn’t matter. The prosecution had months and unlimited resources. It had the opportunity to present its evidence in the ways it chose, the ways most favorable to its case, to the social justice narrative, and it failed. One would think that the prosecutors would review the evidence and conclude that they really had none, and that they gave it their best effort. Why not cut their losses with Porter and try again with the rest? After all, they have five more chances.
For the proponents of social justice, it is the narrative that matters, not the evidence. Evidence, fact, logic, careful deliberation all get in the way of social justice. They calm the storm, diminish rage and make people tired of being angry all the time. They make it hard to hate. Most importantly, a social justice narrative, social justice outcomes, can never be wrong. If they have yet to be achieved, that can never mean they are mistaken or unattainable, it just means insufficient money, resources, or hatred have been mobilized, for social justice is inevitable. It cannot be proved wrong. It cannot, though lack of evidence, or its own logical contradictions, be falsified. Mosby, Schatzow and Bledsoe will try again and again and again. It an entire city must suffer as a result, the process is the punishment–for everyone except the social justice elite.
That’s what’s at stake in Baltimore. That’s the divide, the rupture between Americans. Those that embrace the rule of law embrace civility and peace, and people of any race that wish to do the same. The Freddie Gray case, like the Trayvon Martin case, should have remained nothing more than a briefly mentioned local news story. But if it did, there would have been no social justice advantage, no opportunities for personal enrichment, no opportunities for political ladder climbing, no opportunity to keep Americans at each other’s throats and no bodies to climb over to amass political power.
Ultimately, the desire to preserve the rule of law resides within each of us. Paper merely records and reflects it. It lives or dies with each generation. Regardless of the eventual outcome of the Freddie Gray case, the rule of law may never return to Baltimore. It is up to the rest of America to see that social justice remains localized to such unhappy urban hell holes, and perhaps, one day, that it will be eradicated.