^ the two principles are the same, not opposed
— — — —
We’re on the road, my wife and I.
Says she, “I see Black lives matter signs. Where are the all lives matter signs ? Doesn’t everybody matter, Mike ? Every life matters.,”
Why add anything further ? To me, as to her, the question is a simple one. Yet the circumstances afoot in our nation require me to expound upon the obvious.
All lives matter means exactly the same thing as Black lives matter. Black lives might not matter if all lives did not matter, and if Black lives did not matter, there could not be all lives mattering. Thus the limited principle is subsumed in the general.
Yet here we have the sentence “Black lives matter” presented as if separate from its wider principle.
From day one, the cry “black lives matter” demands separation — even elevation : that Black lives are somehow special, problems of which are to be attended to more than the difficulties in other lives — whence has flowed all manner of trouble.
America’s equality principle, sanctioned in several Constitutional Amendments and in almost all of our Laws, recognizes no degrees of mattering: everyone is equally crucial to the working of our republic. We detour from this equality at our peril.
There do exist, as we all painfully know, several paths on which citizens with darker skin are denied the equality our laws mete to all of us. True, sadly, even after the winning of a horrible Civil war and the passage of the 14th Amendment, above all, and of several strong Civil Rights Acts, in 1867-75 and 1964-65.
I have written about them — the various interlockings of prejudice in housing, social interaction, incomes, wealth accumulation, and justice. You may read what I have written in my “Systemic Racism : Does It Exist” piece, here : https://hereandsphere.com/2020/06/08/systemic-racism-does-it-exist-and-if-so-what-is-it/
I am not going to restate any of that in this column. I am going rather to focus on the all lives matter principle in two settings : the Constitution and the street.
The Constitutional principle, I have already discussed. Whatever purpose “Black lives matter” may serve as a political campaign, its parent principle, “all lives matter,” cannot be hurt.
Now to the street.
Every pavement action done pursuant to “Black lives matter” derives from the separation inherent in the phrase. There is no escape from the consequences of that separation, and in fact most “Black lives matter’ activists have pursued separation as an end in itself. Those who do not fall into line are “canceled,” or branded an enemy, or assaulted; and why not ? If “Black lives matter” is special, then those who reject separation are as abased as the special-ists are rasied up..
The police are an easy target. Much of the unfairness, as we see it, is done by police forces — witness the murder of George Floyd, of Philando Castile, of Tamir Rice, of Walter Scott and more. To protest which, the “black lives matter” flag assaults police, harasses them, calls to defund them, and worse. That police forces defend communities, protect lives and property, and are trusted by more people than almost any other institution, is irrelevant here. Because “black lives matter’ is special, if police stand in the way of special, then go get ’em. Police lives ? Evidently they don’t matter, or as much, in a dynamic in which “all lives matter” is the adversary.
Eventually, as we see, all white people become the enemy, particularly to white people doing “Black lives matter.”
The video clips tell a disgusting story — yelling, lecturing, condescending, and worse, much of it by white people in the faces of black police and elders — of what befalls when separation drives the action. Nor need I more than merely note that much of this street anarchy is done by kids radicalized at college, or on the internet, many of them, veterans of two Bernie Sanders campaigns, or even of antifa (and in some cases, provocateurs of the fringe right), pursuing an explicitly socialist, anti-democratic, Maoist motor.
This is all so needless, because the vast majority of indignities (and worse) sustained by Black Americans are not police shootings but economic denials, social exclusions, housing segregation, avoidance. Thus the phrase “Black lives matter”: might better be worded “Black people matter.”
Is there anyone who disagrees ?
That is the problem. The protesters do not march for an ideal that no one disagrees with, they do so for matters that involve controversy.
This is why the “Black lives matter’ argument, when separated from all lives matter, is inconsistent with itself. Do the lives of Black police matter ? Black business owners ? I wonder if they do. As the vast majority of the street vandals are white, I have my doubts that they care about ANY Black lives rather than their own intoxication with violence and abuse, each of which can become very, very ecstatic as if an ayml nitrate high. High on controversy.
The man protesting in the above photo seeks to unite us, not divide us. What good is it to divide us ? What is achieved by it ?
Will the actual inequalities and distortions in the social fabric that absolutely impact many Black people (as I discuss in my “Systemic Racism” piece) be ameliorated in this phase ? I doubt it . Untangling the distortions will be the work of decades if not longer, and defacing monuments does nothing except give overtime pay to clean-up crews. We live in a universal suffrage system. Every person has a vote. If you cannot persuade a working majority to vote for this reform or that one, well, you either accept the result or become a revolutionary and lose everything.
What of the organization named Black Lives Matter ? Apart from the phrase, about which no one disagrees ? It has many objectives which have nothing to do with the ideal. You may like socialism; I don’t. You may dislike Israel; I like Israel. What these issues have to do with equality and justice for Black people, I do not know. They’re distractions at best, although they appear to have marshaled much of the Bernie Sanders following — the Democratic Socialists and Justice Democrats — as we can tell, because the Black Lives Matter riots and “peaceful” protests do not look ad hoc, they appear the co-ordinated result of years of planning, campaigning, and communication. Nor do the mattering of black lives appear to be the actual goal of these well-regulated militias. The actual goal appears to be the end of capitalism, police forces, the First Amendment, equality itself, not to mention struggle sessions, re-education camps, and apology tours — very explicitly Maoist — in which they, the militias, dominate and intimidate everyone in the usual totalitarian manner.
No thank you.
THIS is why the movement hates “all lives matter” above all, no matter that their ostensible agenda requires it.
— Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere