Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Voice Of Oppression

You will not be surprised to discover that Megan McArdle doesn't like to see Blacks riot. After all, she does live in Washington, DC, a city with a large Black population. Unlike the truly wealthy she cannot isolate herself from her surroundings. The wealthy paid her to fight against subsidizing health insurance, raising the minimum wage, bailing out homeowners, eliminating redlining, and cleaning up pollution, but when the riots begin they are nowhere to been seen. McArdle is not so fortunate. While it is extremely unlikely that anyone will recognize McArdle and point the finger of j'accusation at the 6'2" white woman with long curly brown hair and glasses who drives a Mini Cooper, it is much better to step in front of these situations and try to prevent them.

Riots Just Don't Work by Megan "Please Don't Hurt Me" McArdle.

McArdle begins by manipulating her story into one with a more favorable slant.

To understand what's happening in Baltimore, let's start from David Simon's interview with the Marshall Project. A former Baltimore reporter and the creator of "The Wire," he says that the police there long ago abdicated any claim to legitimate authority. Police powers are inherently prone to abuse, but we grant them anyway, because the power is necessary to protect the community from crime. Simon argues that the Baltimore police stopped really pursuing that goal, so all that was left was the abuses. In a majority-black city with a black mayor, these dynamics do not neatly match our national assumptions about white oppressors and black oppressed. But they do back up the perception that the government cares only about the privileged, and will abuse you to benefit them.
Ce ne sont pas les inégalités de revenus.

The racial false flag hides the real false flag. Income inequality has nothing to do with race, abuse of authority, or social progress. Taxes are theft. Redistribution is crippling our future.

Government is the problem. There is no solution.

Which is outrageous. You should be outraged. But you can be outraged, as I am, and still oppose the riots, as I do. The voices that try to rationalize the violence are presenting a dangerous false choice. They say that this was simply the inevitable result of monumental injustice, so let's stop talking about the riots and start talking about the injustice. We should always talk about injustice, and strive to end it. The mass incarceration state, the erosion of Fourth Amendment rights and the vast excesses of the drug war are perhaps the most important moral crisis facing our nation. But we have to talk about the riots too, because they represent another urgent moral crisis.

There is always an urgent moral crises because there is always an economic crises to cover up. The reason Blacks riot is racism and by implication the lucrative drug war and scapegoating judiciary and politicians are racially based as well. The only time economics is mentioned is search and seizure, thus trivializing the enormous economic disadvantage in this country inflicted on anyone born Black.

 Rioting is not simply a battle of opportunity between oppressor and oppressed. Saying that riots are the inevitable product of oppression turns out to be saying too much and too little: Oppression does not usually lead to rioting, and when rioting does happen, oppression is not always its target. Sports fans riot -- sometimes after a win, sometimes after a loss. Economically oppressed blacks have rioted against the white power structure; so have whites, against their city's black population. Some things, like ethnic diversity, seem to increase the chance of riots, but the link to inequality and poverty is much less clear than you'd think. Economically disadvantaged people and students seem much more prone to rioting, but that may be because those people have much less to lose from an arrest than middle-class people do.

Riots are simply one of those things. Sometimes White, sometimes Black. Sometimes for racism, sometimes for sports. Eh, whadda ya gonna do? Just as Blacks have rioted for economic justice, Whites have rioted to murder Blacks. It's practically the same thing.

We often say that McArdle can't think. This is why. She needs to come up with convincing reasons for saying riots don't work and should end immediately please thank you god. The best she can come up with is weak and random statements that do not address her argument. Oppression does not usually lead to rioting because rioting is the result of long-standing oppression and repression, triggered by an event when it reaches critical mass.  It is very interesting that nobody asks why White people riot after sports games; they are written off as hooliganism, when those riots are also set aflame by issues of repression, self-esteem and alienation.

McArdle's link proving that inequality doesn't create social unrest is a paper that does not conclude whether inequality creates social unrest.

While the idea of a relationship between inequality and conflict is appealing,empirical proof of its existence has been elusive. Indeed there is no clear relationship in the data between inequality and violent conflicts. Some have found positive relationships between income inequality and political violence (Muller and Seligson, 1987; Midlarsky, 1988; Brockett, 1992; Binswanger, Deininger and Feder, 1993 and Schock,1996). Others have found no such relationship (Weede, 1981; Collier, Hoeffler and Soderbom, 2004). This is partly because it is hard to clearly disentangle economic inequality as a reason for conflict from other factors such as cultural, ethnic or religious differences or political contexts. Moreover, efforts to test this assumption have frequently been made by “working backward”, starting with cases where civil violence occurred and investigating factors that seem to have contributed to the outcome. This neglects cases where similar factors were present but violence did not occur. These are, of course, hard to identify as they often just look like normality.

He said, but on the other hand she said, so it's unclear. Poor people are more likely to riot because they don't have as much to loose. It's not because they are poor and see no end to it ever.

 Of course, rioting can fall on the continuum from flat-out immoral to justified. I certainly sympathize with the grievances of the people who rioted following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. more than I do with soccer hooligans or Tulsa lynch mobs. But regardless of justification, rioting is incredibly destructive, mostly in the neighborhoods where the rioters live. In my own city, Washington, D.C., the major retail corridors that were destroyed in the 1968 riots have only really begun to recover in the last five years (and one of them still hasn't). Who suffered because of that? The store owners, obviously, and their insurers. But the people who suffered most grievously were the mostly black people who lived in those neighborhoods. The commercial craters left by the riots attracted crime, raised unemployment and left the residents of the neighborhood nowhere to buy the necessities of life. People who had just started to get a toehold in homeownership saw the value of their homes depressed for decades.

 Submit for your own good. Forget all the lives you are losing and think of all the money you are losing.

The public disorder of the 1960s also helped undermine exactly the sort of public policy programs -- a more rehabilitative criminal justice policy, greater social spending -- that the riots were supposed to prove the need for. As David Frum writes in "How We Got Here," the nation hardened its attitudes between 1965 and 1974; law-and-order conservatism became the norm for American men and women with all levels of education. What happened between 1965 and 1974 to explain that? Highly televised riots are part of the answer.

Odd that McArdle forgets to ask what happened in 1964, namely the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The second America learned that it would have to desegregate schools the anger was unleashed.

Therein lies a tragic truth about rioting: It doesn't work. The left can try to treat a crime wave as a call for social justice, but that voice will be drowned out. The disorder will only fuel calls for order. Many residents understand this: Civic leaders in Baltimore, and Freddie Gray's family, were out this week calling for calm, while people sitting at computers many comfortable miles away were declaring the riots legitimate.
And now the feeble attempt to show some empathy for minorities is abandoned as McArdle gets to her real point. Riots are a crime wave and we all know how libertarians react to crime: advocate for judicial reform while demanding the police hurry up and do their job of suppressing the poor.  If you rise up we will beat you down. The good minorities call for calm. The bad liberals want to get them hurt by the cops so they can fight their fake fight for economic justice, which is based on envy for the rich and shame at their own incompetence.

The problems in Baltimore's policing are clear, and the city needs to begin the hard work of fixing them. The problems of urban ghettos that send more kids to prison than to college are also clear, though unfortunately harder to solve. But solutions will not get easier if we embrace rioting as the voice of the oppressed.
Take away the only power the poor have. Wait for the city to fix itself. Tell the Black ghettos to fix themselves by working harder and smarter. But never,  ever let the oppressed have a voice.


JennOfArk said...

Also what happened between 1965 and 1975: LBJ's Great Society, which was intended to help raise those so recently oppressed by Jim Crow and segregation into full citizenship and equality. By 1975 it was almost wholly, if not completely, defunct - defunded, dismantled, etc - as whites angry about tax monies going to help "those people" turned ever more conservative politically.

And then we got Reagan.

Conservatives like to pretend that the Great Society programs are still, 50 years later, in effect. In reality, they were given at most about 5 years to work before being destroyed. Looking back now, to anyone who is not in the privileged class who has benefited by the creation and continuing suppression of a permanent underclass, it looks mostly like a tragically missed opportunity to build a better country for all of us.

Susan of Texas said...

This can't go on forever. Eventually starving the government will force even the middle class to start pushing back--when it affects them personally.

cynic said...

Civic leaders in Baltimore, and Freddie Gray's family, were out this week calling for calm, while people sitting at computers many comfortable miles away were declaring the riots legitimate.

This from the foremost of Keyboard Kommandos like ArgleBargle who were cheering on the bombing of brown people and inciting riots in Iraq: oh, that was to get rid of Saddam.

Downpuppy said...

Imprecise, Susan : the handover of power from the government to the plutocracy started affecting the middle class a long time ago. So far, they've been able to prevent that realization from becoming general by deflecting the resentment downward.

cynic said...

JennOfArk: "better country for all of us?" How quaint!

Susan of Texas said...

True, Downpuppy.

aimai said...

I'm interested in her assumption that "students" are not also "middle class." White students don't riot because they have "nothing to lose" like poor people and they don't riot in poor neighborhoods which have "nothing to lose" but in wealthy cities. White students riot because people in mobs will riot for fun within the anonymity of the mob. And they will enter into the mob situation, after a sports game for example, either because they don't anticipate the riot or don't anticipate being arrested or hurt by the police as a result. Its not because they have nothing to lose--if Megan were writing one of her bleats about how kids these days have helicopter parents and don't suffer enough in school she'd know that even middle class kids see plenty to lose in encounters with the police. Its because they believe, correctly, that society will for the most part handle them with kid gloves when it comes to cops, probation, etc...