We don’t seem to have finished discussing Ferguson, so one more thought. I agree with those who argue that the police’s interaction with young black men is, in too many cases, riddled with bias and far too quick to use lethal force. But I agree with others that the Michael Brown case is not the case with which to make that argument. And the liberal reflex to turn it into a synecdoche is a troubling one for reasons John Judis lays out:
Liberals took the decision by the grand jury to symbolize, or stand in for, the greater injustice of the Ferguson and of the American criminal justice department. But in fact the reverse occurred. They projected the larger injustice of the system onto the grand jury’s ruling.
I’m reminded of the case of Matthew Shepard, where the need to project the injustice of violence against gay men onto one complicated case blinded people to a more interesting and complex reality. Michael Brown did not deserve to die, any more than Matthew Shepard did. But that doesn’t mean both are perfect victims, unalloyed by all the flaws that flesh is heir to; or that their deaths illustrated pure random homophobia or pure racism. And this need for perfect victims is of a piece with a church of liberalism in which there is only one way to be good – a member of a minority – and only one sin – prejudice. All churches need saints and martyrs. But liberalism – no more than conservatism – should never be a church. It’s as dangerous to civil politics as Christianism.
A reader notes how this church’s doctrines are increasingly enforced – and sinners punished – on social media:
Many of us mocked the Tea Party in its seemingly religious quest to root out “RINOs” and its dedication to finding ever more fringe and lunatic conservative causes, but something similar seems to be happening to liberals. Looking at the weekly outraged Facebook posts and blog articles of friends, colleagues, and commentators, I see the purpose of the liberal conversation as increasingly being the enforcement of a shared set of ideals and the rooting out of those among us who might disagree with them. We’re building an echo chamber in which dissenting voices are first drowned out and then excluded. This isn’t about building forums for debate with like-minded souls – it’s about dividing the world into The Righteous and The Wicked.
And the Wicked will be fired from their jobs as well!
Today, we covered some other topics: Israel’s latest lurch toward disenfranchising its non-Jewish citizens; Chris Christie’s enduring cruelty; Chris Rock on the left’s war on comedy; and the prospect of fine wines from Sweden. Plus: dogs who can’t fetch; and Obama’s uptick in approval.
The most popular post of the day was Listening; next up: Why Doesn’t Ferguson Happen Abroad? A reader has an addendum to that post, and it is the case of the police shooting of Mark Duggan in north London in 2011, prompting the Tottenham riots. A good primer on the case can be found here.
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