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Why Conservatives Ignored the Ferguson Report

In the wake of the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report, The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf asked, “Where’s the Conservative Outcry on Ferguson Police Abuses? [1]

National Review‘s [2] Jason Lee Steorts and Red State’s [3] Leon Wolf actually did write columns blasting the Ferguson police department and city government, detailing just how unjust and abusive Ferguson’s government has been, something Friedersdorf acknowledged [4] and appreciated.

But despite those columns, Friedersdorf still has a point. Where is the popular outcry from conservatives over this gross display of big government? Why hasn’t this subject become a right-wing staple, similar to Obamacare or Benghazi? Why hasn’t it dominated talk radio? Why hasn’t it been all over Fox News in ways that are sympathetic to the citizens of Ferguson?

Wolf suggests, “Conservatives… have become highly resistant to assimilating information that strongly suggests that the Ferguson PD—as with many other municipal police departments in the country—truly is out of control, in that it recklessly violates the constitutional rights of the citizens of Ferguson and does so in a manner that has a clearly disproportionate impact on minorities.” Wolf is correct. But again… why the blanket one-sidedness from the right even when presented with solid evidence of abuse?

Because many have already made up their minds. The citizens of Ferguson are bad people [5].

During the Ferguson riots in August, Mad Men actor and St. Louis native Jon Hamm said [6], “That’s my neighborhood, and I know there’s a lot more good people in those neighborhoods than there are bad people.” Judging by their rhetoric and reaction (or lack thereof) to the DOJ report, it’s not hard to conclude that many conservatives believe the opposite of Hamm’s statement—that although there are some good people in Ferguson most of them are probably bad. [7]

Conservatives certainly agreed that black entrepreneurs whose businesses were destroyed [8] during the riots were good people [9]. They agreed that the black citizens who used their 2nd Amendment rights to protect private property [10] from looting were good as well. But far more often than these positive narratives, we saw right-wing media portray the black citizens of Ferguson as “thugs [11],” “animals [12],” “savages [13],” and worse [14].

At that gut, emotional level [15], there was an underlying sense among many conservatives that whatever injustice the people of Ferguson may [16] have suffered, they probably deserved it [17]. Some might attribute this to racism, intentional or not, and I agree [18], but it also something more than that. It’s about how we as human beings, particularly partisans, have a tendency to lump people together and indict the whole lot.

Conservative attitudes toward the people of Ferguson are not entirely dissimilar to how liberals reacted [19] to the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups. For most conservatives, it was clear that the IRS abused its power [20]. A judge eventually ruled in favor [21] of the IRS, but Tea Party [22] groups still feel like [23] they were abused. And they were. [24]

Still, many [25] on the left didn’t mind [26] that abuse (or pretended there was no abuse [27], similar to how conservatives perceive Ferguson police [28] behavior). Why? Because the Tea Party are bad people [29] who probably deserved it [30]. Conservatives love to cite black crime [31] to dismiss injustices [32] like those in Ferguson. Liberals have noted that the Tea Party gets out of line too [33], so naturally they’re just asking for trouble.

This sort of collective guilt-think is not dissimilar to how some right-wing hawks
view the Arab world. Neoconservative Washington Free Beacon founder Michael Goldfarb [34] explained the recent popularity of über-hawk Tom Cotton by saying, “At the end of the day, the Republican base is for bombing bad people.”

But does the U.S. just bomb “bad people?” Do police only abuse bad people? Does the IRS only target the wicked? Or do individual liberties, rights, and lives still matter to people of good conscience?

What if many of the “bad people” people the U.S. has killed with bombs [35] or drone strikes [36] have actually been innocent? Many conservatives don’t want to believe this [37] and often exhibit an attitude [38] that Muslims [39] probably deserve [40] what they get. All Muslims [41].

Tom Cotton himself displayed this attitude that when he said that “we should be proud for the way we treated these savages at Guantanamo Bay [42],” and that “every last one of them can rot in Hell.” But many and perhaps a majority of Gitmo detainees may have been innocent [43] and the Bush administration even knew this [44].

Still, they are all bad people [45].

Cotton defends his position by posing the question, “How many detainees in Guantanamo Bay are engaging in terrorism or anti-American excitement?”

I bet some have engaged in “anti-American excitement.” Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai said  [46]to President Obama in October that U.S. “drone attacks” in her country “are fueling terrorism.” “Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people,” she said.

That resentment is probably anti-American. Some might even get excited about that resentment, in ways that Cotton cites as justification for holding people—even if they aren’t directly involved in terrorism [47]—in Gitmo for years without trial.

Tea Partiers have certainly engaged in anti-government “excitement,” and any good liberal knows they are bad people [48]. Many in Ferguson have no doubt engaged in anti-police “excitement.” The Ferguson DOJ report certainly gives the people of that city many reasons to despise their local government and the police [3]. In the 1950s and ’60s, some constantly criticized civil rights protesters as “agitators [49]” who were engaged in anti-American [50] “excitement.” You see, rabble rousing is what bad people do [51].

When you collectively indict a group of people as bad, some will justify any extremes to punish them. Look at how some black Americans who distrust the police have even justified murdering cops [52]. Police lives matter.

So does black life in the United States. Wolf wrote at Red State, “Anyone who can read the actual report itself and be comfortable with the fact that citizens of an American city live under such a regime is frankly not someone who is ideologically aligned with me in any meaningful way.”

Wolf is correct that anyone who actually read it and dismissed it doesn’t deserve to be called a small-government conservative, but this isn’t at all about ideology. It’s emotion. It’s anger. It’s rage. It is what passes for much of our political discourse today.

And for too many conservatives, bitter feelings are directed far more at black people in Ferguson than the police and local government, any evidence to the contrary be damned.

The venomous anti-Tea Party liberal is really not much different from the conservative who seethes at images of black protesters on his television screen. They know who the bad people are and don’t intend to show them any mercy. There is no moral complexity they feel compelled to consider.

There’s a reason why conservatives will harp incessantly on the fact that “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot [53]” didn’t actually happen but will completely ignore the abusive environment as evidenced in the Ferguson report that made it so easy for African Americans to believe it did happen.

George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree—but for generations the symbolic fable was worth it for the lesson.

For many conservatives, there are no lessons to be learned from the Ferguson report, except that bad people sometimes get what they deserve.

Jack Hunter is the editor of Rare.us [54] and the former new media director for Sen. Rand Paul.

39 Comments (Open | Close)

39 Comments To "Why Conservatives Ignored the Ferguson Report"

#1 Comment By tz On March 30, 2015 @ 1:35 am

The liberal civil libertarians ignored the Bundy ranch because Clive was a “bad person”.

The ACLU would never repeat what they did in Skokie.

Neither side has a mind left. They are merely zombies who can croak talking points of their side.

#2 Comment By Aaron Gross On March 30, 2015 @ 2:21 am

Thanks for publishing this article. It needs to be said, over and over. Kudos to The American Conservative for creating a small niche of honesty in our corrupted political discourse.

I haven’t read the justice department report, but apparently neither have a lot of right-wing pundits who’ve been criticizing it. Some (Steve Sailer especially, but there are plenty of others) apparently assume that the argument in the report, which they haven’t read, is just “blacks in Ferguson are stopped disproportionately often, therefore there’s discrimination.” And then they post column after column attacking that strawman, for instance by comparing Ferguson to Madison, Wisconsin.

But Conor Friedersdorf, who has actually read the report he’s discussing, writes that the report “makes the assertion that its regression analysis shows the disproportionate stops of blacks cannot be explained by higher black crime rates, and there’s no way for the reader to verify the truth of that statement.”

So if Friedersdorf is telling the truth about the report, then various right-wing pundits have been just bullsh1tting us about Ferguson. Not lying, but bullsh1tting – that is, not caring whether what they write is true or false. Of course these pundits are applauded, by others who haven’t read the report, for speaking truth to power. Thanks to Jack Hunter and TAC for creating a bullsh1t-free zone.

#3 Comment By Reg Gilbert On March 30, 2015 @ 3:49 am

Dear Mr. Hunter,

I know even in the American Conservative you could not attack fellow conservatives on this issue without a balancing narrative about liberals, but couldn’t you have done better than the IRS scandal? If liberals were willing to tolerate that abuse, it was the abuse of a delay of tax exemption for a few political groups. Is this variety of “they must deserve it because they are bad people” really the same as one that tolerates gross, widespread financial and judicial abuse of hundreds of black individual people, for years? I’m a liberal and I “tolerated” the IRS scandal because I was sure there was more to the story. Indeed, the longer-range investigation revealed that some liberal groups had been targeted as well, and all of the abuse was in the context of the undeniable fact that the old restriction on nonprofit status — no involement in electoral activity — was and is in fact being massively violated. My tolerance, perhaps a tad tainted by thinking Tea Partiers are bad people, I will concede, was not really that unreasonable in retrospect. Whereas ignoring the Ferguson report, which documents substantial impoverishment and criminal records for hundreds of innocent people, and probably mirrors the practices of numerous neighboring jurisdcitions and undoubtedly scores or more jurisdictions across the United States — surely tolerance of that really is in a totally different league, isn’t it?

#4 Comment By Dan Davis On March 30, 2015 @ 6:05 am

This is what you get when politics becomes religion. Mutual Albigensian Crusades.

#5 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 30, 2015 @ 7:15 am

Sailer does, with cleverness, but mindboggling obsession, seem to be all on about proving how there is a hierarchy of intelligence among races, with the low IQ race deservedly getting the short end of the stick, even if it’s a truncheon. These folk call themselves ‘race realists’ with the idea being that it isn’t racism because they’re right. All in all, it’s an argumnent for might makes right – if you’re a Wall Street genius, the rest of us get what we deserve, criminality transformed by high IQ into the Greater Good.

#6 Comment By Mike Alexander On March 30, 2015 @ 7:18 am

I note the comparison made. The support on the Right for killing or imprisoning innocent “bad” Muslims or harassing “bad” African-Americans is compared to support on the Left for denying tax-free status to “bad” conservative political organizations.

There is a difference in degree of severity that is startling. I suspect that if you went back 40 years you could find examples of persecution of one side by the other in which the “severity gap” was reversed. What I do remember was back then, when I was first coming of political age I had a lot of sympathy for conservative viewpoints even though I had come from a more liberal background. Gradually over the years the respect diminished until around 2003 when I lost all respect for the Right pov.

I don’t consider American Conservative to be on the Right* because they are conservatives and the modern Right is Radical, as I perceived the Left to be back in the day.

As I see it, today’s conservatives are the remnant of what were once called mainstream Republicans and a few paleoconservatives (who once were of the Right and would return to it once it comes to its senses) and mainstream liberals (like Obama) who are the conservatives of the Left.

*In my mind Right versus Left refers to position with respect to the ruling order of society not ideology, so there are conservatives/radicals of the Right and Left.

#7 Comment By Adam Kolasinski On March 30, 2015 @ 9:19 am

Excellent article. Thank you for writing it.

#8 Comment By Nelson On March 30, 2015 @ 9:51 am

I see the same kind of emotion, anger and rage with respect to the immigration issue. We should believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not tribal “us vs them” politics.

#9 Comment By KD On March 30, 2015 @ 10:43 am

Strategically, with the demographic growth of Hispanics, and the Republican’s anti-immigration rhetoric, it would make some sense to start talking about outreach to the Black community and its concerns if the Party wants to be viable in Presidential elections. It would not be a first for the Republican Party.

#10 Comment By balconesfault On March 30, 2015 @ 10:47 am

Conservative attitudes toward the people of Ferguson are not entirely dissimilar to how liberals reacted to the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups. For most conservatives, it was clear that the IRS abused its power. A judge eventually ruled in favor of the IRS, but Tea Party groups still feel like they were abused. And they were.

Please – note that Lerner may have said last week that the IRS actions were “absolutely inappropriate” .. but she noted that those were were not driven by partisan motives, and were a bureaucratic response to to come up with an efficient means of dealing with a flood of applications from organizations seeking ­tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012.

And let’s compare here. For those organizations, it was the ability for their donors to receive tax deductions for contributions as “social welfare” organizations that was being disputed.

I’m sorry – whether the Koch Brothers can effectively have 39% of their contributions to Tea Party groups subsidized by the Federal Government is a very poor analogue to whether a black person can get pulled over for driving while black in Ferguson.

And has been pointed out – there was targeting of liberal groups as well.

For me, the biggest “scandal” of the whole IRS scandal is that the agency isn’t being a lot tougher in scrutinizing the donors lists and the way money is spent by each and every one of these “social welfare” organizations whose concept of social welfare looks an awful lot like issue-specific organizing and lobbying activities.

But then – my definition of social welfare includes feeding the poor, but not organizing rallies to fight against food stamp programs. It includes buying habitat for endangered species, but not mass mailing campaigns to stop the Keystone Pipeline. It includes AIDs patient care, but not pro-GLBT or anti-gay marriage media barrages.

But again, having your ability to get a big tax deduction for your donation to one of those organizations challenged by a government bureaucracy because of the nature of the organization is NOT an affront to liberty on par with having your ability to walk down your neighborhood street without being accosted by an armed police officer because of the color of your skin.

Bad, bad analogy.

#11 Comment By mike nimzo On March 30, 2015 @ 10:56 am

This is a good article, and I’m glad to read it here at TAC. However, the comparison to the IRS “scandal” doesn’t work. Both liberal and conservative groups were targeted (as they should have been). Being audited while applying for special exemption from the IRS isn’t anything close to a civil rights violation.

#12 Comment By Jim the First On March 30, 2015 @ 11:31 am

Who cares what the Big Right thinks? About anything, really? Or the Big Left, for that matter? As a resident of the St. Louis region, here’s my reaction to this article:

– The Big Left overreaches with, sensationalizes, and nationalizes a false narrative about a tragic incident that leaves a young man dead and a young police officer’s career and life ruined.

– So the Big Right either willfully ignores or unfairly discounts salient facts from a report produced by an institution that it sees (rightfully, IMHO) as a mouthpiece of the Big Left. And makes sweeping generalizations about Ferguson and its denizens thanks to a frenzy of violence whipped up by the Big Left, all for the joy of CNN’s and Fox News’s producers and advertisers.

Frankly, the Big Left’s initial overreach and the Big Right’s reaction are big parts of the problem. We’ve got plenty of local rabble-rousers on both sides of the equation right here in River City. And you know what, if the Big Left and Big Right would have both just kept their noses out of it, with the assistance of both of those sets of rabble-rousers, we’d have managed just fine (as the local municipalities and state legislature appear to be taking steps to do right now, thank you very much, although certainly not without false steps and false starts), and probably with less death and destruction from imported rabble-rousers and television cameras, who made it all much worse.

Honestly, this article is quite offensive to a local. If there’s anything that TAC should stand for, IMHO, it’s local solutions to local problems, not Big Left and Big Right thought-leaders being the salvation of poor little old misguided Ferguson. Federalism would still work if we’d let it, at least for the most part.

There’s still a lot of truth to Ronald Reagan’s statement about the nine most terrifying words in the English language being ‘I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.’ Of course, he meant the federal government, and the words ring ever truer today, and maybe even more truthier than that if you substitute ‘Big Left’ or ‘Big Right’ or ‘Big Media’ for the word ‘government’.

#13 Comment By Clint On March 30, 2015 @ 12:21 pm

As usual,the media started off by exploiting the Ferguson shooting and got the”for the camera” demonstrations and racial division they helped develop,thus limiting cooperative discussion and solutions.

#14 Comment By jtgw On March 30, 2015 @ 1:04 pm

If you’re going to cite the Ferguson report as evidence that blacks get too much attention from the police, you should at least mention Jill Leovy’s Ghettoside on the ultimate consequences of applying this kind of bleeding-heart, hands-off treatment, i.e. what happens is less than half of murders even result in arrest, let alone conviction.

I believe the kind of libertarian ideal espoused by Jack Hunter is good enough as far as it goes, but it only works with certain kinds of people, i.e. productive and well-behaved middle-class types who exercise sufficient self-control that they don’t need big government looking over their shoulder all the time. It does not work with underclass criminal welfare-dependents who live by the law of the jungle. These kinds of people need authoritarianism, not libertarianism.

#15 Comment By C. Van Carter On March 30, 2015 @ 1:38 pm

Leftists have considerable resources. Why they need the help of evil right-wing racists to fix Ferguson eludes me. They should start be redirecting the time and energy they devote to propagating lies.

#16 Comment By sglover On March 30, 2015 @ 2:48 pm

@ Jim the First: Was it “Big Left” that persuaded Ferguson cops to sit atop APC’s and sight their assault rifles into a crowd? Golly, what a surprise that photos of that should travel around the world within a millisecond! Damn those nefarious ideologues!

#17 Comment By M_Young On March 30, 2015 @ 3:45 pm

“I haven’t read the justice department report, but apparently neither have a lot of right-wing pundits who’ve been criticizing it. Some (Steve Sailer especially, but there are plenty of others) apparently assume that the argument in the report, which they haven’t read, is just “blacks in Ferguson are stopped disproportionately often, therefore there’s discrimination.” And then they post column after column attacking that strawman, for instance by comparing Ferguson to Madison, Wisconsin.”

Well, I am not a conservative, at least one of the ‘movement’ or ‘American Conservative’ type, but I have read the report. And Freisdorf is absolutely correct…there is no way, internal to the report, of judging the quality its analysis, the overall context in Ferguson, or even the veracity of its facts (the report, btw, is unsigned, as far as I could see, be glad to be corrected on that).

I read a lot of social science papers, and there is nothing in the ‘report’ that even comes close to what a real (logit) regression analysis would look like to get at whether blacks in Ferguson are stopped disproportionately. There is no context to the alleged ‘violations’ of ‘Civil Rights’ by alleged ‘over-ticketing’ of blacks in Ferguson.

There is no discussion of Ferguson’s overall municipal budget (how much of it comes from fines? Has they been increasing? What are trends in overall tax base?). There is clear cherry-picking of data (one factoid on the disproportion of violations given to blacks versus whites went back to 2001, IIRC, with zero subsequent years’ figures given in detail). I could go on detailing the sloppiness of the report, but life is short and, unlike the DOJ, I don’t have 100 person hours to kill — that’s just the ‘on scene’ time/money spent on this ‘report’).

But given the utter lack of credible analysis in the report, it is hardly a ‘strawman’ to get some purchase (as we in social science would say) by looking at Ferguson’s allegedly unjustified disparities in regional and/or national context. As, yup, Steve Sailer and others have done that and no, Ferguson is not an outlier, not even close to an outlier, in the disparities it shows between black versus white ‘participation’ in the criminal justice system.

So really what we are left with is a (pick your metaphor) sour grapes or moving the goalposts situation. The initial innocent Gentle Giant Narrative collapsed rather quickly, and the DOJ’s actual criminal investigation (you know, there actual job) found the Brown shooting justified, that Wilson’s story was essentially true, and that of Brown’s buddy a bunch of BS. But you can’t spin the nation up, send the Interior Minister (uh, AG) of the country to some squeedunk suburb to address ‘grievances’ and then come up with zero. Hence a totally worthless DOJ report to CYA them as they leave.

Of course, there were real world consquences to this whole episode, beyond those affecting Brown and Wilson. Two cops dead in NY, another in Michigan I believe. Two cops seriously wounded, one likely disfigured after being shot in the face. A white Bosnian immigrant beaten to death,just the other day a beating in a St Louis metrolink car.

But most tellingly, the real estate values in Ferguson have crumbled to half there previous level. Quickee mart pulled out (there will be a community center there ), as has Toy’s R Us. So either Ferguson cops will be writing even more tickets or, more likely, the city will sink to the level of contemporary Selma.

[55]

#18 Comment By midtown On March 30, 2015 @ 3:49 pm

I would say there are a few reasons why conservatives are not jumping into this, even though they should for ideological consistency. First, if you are going to blame conservatives, feel free, but do go after the liberals, whose outright lies led directly to the murder of Zemir Begic, the two NYPD cops, and to the shooting of two St. Louis-area cops (whom the protesters immediately mocked while they lied on the ground bleeding). I would say the lack of introspection on the part of the media is galling. Second, the finer points of the Ferguson Police’s abuses get lost in the turmoil of the larger culture war. Conservatives are not going to align with people who say they are guilty in the Brown shooting just because they are white. They are not going to align with people who blame all police everywhere for the misdeeds of some police, which does NOT include Officer Wilson. In case you haven’t noticed, there is a massive cold war going on in America now, and the Ferguson report was a mere blip.

#19 Comment By The Other Sands On March 30, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

Many conservatives are racist towards black people.

Police forces are used by the group or coalition of groups in power to enforce on outsider groups. It’s what they do. In many American cities, blacks are the out group and it is the implicit but understood role of the police to “keep them in their place” so to speak. Other groups, such as homeless people, or hispanics, or teenagers often get the same treatment to different degrees.

Older, middle-class white people perceive that police do not generally enforce on them, and therefore it is easy to support police as “doing a dangerous job” beating those outsiders back into their gopher holes.

#20 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 30, 2015 @ 4:39 pm

“it only works with certain kinds of people, .. that don’t need big government looking over their shoulder all the time. It does not work with [those who] live by the law of the jungle. These kinds of people need authoritarianism, not libertarianism.”

I disagree with this, since it is profoundly anti-democratic and assumes that government does not need to be accountable, except by an unenforceable nod to the ebattled and shrinking middle class to whom there is obviously no concern at all for by the “authorities.”

Since there is no way to differentiate in practice to whom authoritarianism will be applied, except very obviously not to the untouchable class of the wealthy and politically powerful, i.e., the authorities themselves, H.L. Mencken’s dystopian riff on what Tocqueville worried could be the democratic downfall becomes prophetic: “In America, everybody gets what the majority deserves, good and hard.”

Authoritarians, without meaningful accountability and oversight, are de facto in charge, in a corporate government meld, with a duopoly party consensus, complete with secret laws, secret courts and mass surveillance both corporate and governmental. Regardless of the aspects of socialism for the ruled, with an overlay of consumerism, it very much meets the definition of fascism, government and corporation symbiosis. What choice does the hapless individualist have, except to choose to buy which color of the same lifestyle, limited by what authorities have allowed?

#21 Comment By argosy jones On March 30, 2015 @ 6:26 pm

In general, I think it’s true that conservatives are too quick to lump all of the black faces in this story together. Brown, the protesters, and the citizens of Ferguson are all considered as a unity, so that the guilt of Brown stains the character of the rest.

But if m Mr. Hunter expects to change anybody’s mind, he’s going to have to make a case about the subject with some quotes or facts or specific claims. This article is too much a pile of links the point of which is that conservative pundits are ignorant or small-minded. But we know that already that’s why we’re reading this site instead of TAT or TNR.

#22 Comment By JonF On March 30, 2015 @ 8:16 pm

jtgw,

You go straight from petty things like jaywalking to murder. Wow. Just wow.

No one, I repeat no one, is suggesting the police turn a blind eye to murder, or any other serious crime. The idea is rather than the police not be used as tribute takers operating a shake-down racket the likes of which would would make mafia dons green with envy.

#23 Comment By Hal Fiore On March 31, 2015 @ 12:21 am

I understood the author’s criticism of the Right’s use of the proportionality issue to be independent of whether the report was correct in its (apparent, I haven’t read it either) assertion that the targeting of minorities was disproportionate.

Whew. Hope everyone could follow that sentence.

Anyway, I understand Ferguson is a lower-income, largely minority suburb of St. Louis. I understand the Ferguson city government (for whatever reason, mostly not poor or minority) decided some time ago to largely fund itself through fines for petty misdemeanors. Does any true small-government, individual-liberty conservative see any way in God’s creation that this situation can NOT lead to injustice, resentment, and disproportionate monetary burden on the poor and minorities? Or are you doing exactly what the author says, nitpicking some minutia in order to ignore the implications of the report because, well, it’s all happening to THEM?

#24 Comment By Jim On March 31, 2015 @ 7:17 am

@sglover:

Puh-leeze. Of course there were missteps. But yes, the size and volatility of the protests was a direct result of the Big Left-fed and media frenzied Gentle Giant narrative.

Nice job destroying one of St. Louis’ nicer inner ring suburbs, though, to make overblown generalizations about race. Really well done. Bravo.

#25 Comment By Ron On March 31, 2015 @ 9:47 am

It’s much simpler than we’re making it.

1. Conservatives dismissed the Justice Department’s report on Ferguson because Eric Holder is in charge of it.

2. Conservatives aren’t really against ‘big government’-especially if it’s the branch of government that wears blue and carries a badge.

#26 Comment By Will R On March 31, 2015 @ 1:27 pm

I live in MO. And much of this is on it’s citizens pertaining to the laws of the state. As is noted they are being changed, but it’s probably too little too late. A recent article in the St. Louis media compared the way MO police forces in the STL area operated in MO and also across the river in IL and found that because IL law drastically prohibits the amounts of fees and fines that municipalities can keep, that IL cities on average write as little as one tenth the tickets that places like Ferguson write.

I know good conservative Republicans that want to burn down Bella Villa MO…

Hannah Arendt, herself a Jew, won the ire of many Jews because she portrayed the Final Solution and Holocaust as a sidelight to Nazi Totalitarianism. I find the case in Ferguson to fall under much the same situation. That is, racism was not the prime problem or mover of problems in Ferguson but that those problems could be expressed under the petty quasi totalitarian regime that was the collusion of government and policing in that city. Or, I completely agree with the sentiment in this article. The great signifier for me that Ferguson was sliding into totalitarianism was that it was issuing citations for “walking with manner”. This is what you get when you allow a civic government to grow as a profit generating institution on the backing of fees and fines. It almost makes me like taxes…

This was the real problem in Ferguson. And its not limited to that city, or MO, in the US. I see so many worried about their Second Amendment rights, and I believe in a historically liberal interpretation of the Second Amendment, but what I find hard to swallow is that these same people that fear the government will back a place like Ferguson, and its police. Who at this moment probably don’t even know what the Fourth Amendment is, or that for their Second Amendment rights to be infringed their Fourth Amendment rights will be trampled first, probably by police in an uparmored former military vehicle. Ferguson was “unreasonable” in its stops, searches, seizures, fines and fees. It was again, a totalitarian regime operating within the state of MO and the country that is the United States. We should be horrified…

And if you want no further proof, here is of all things a HuffPo piece falling in agreement. IF two such organizations such as The American Conservative and The Huffington Post can generate the same analysis and come to similar conclusions, well, I think one can only conclude that we, we the people, as a country and government, have a big problem on our hands. And that there is no defense for such entities as the government of Ferguson MO.

#27 Comment By Dain On March 31, 2015 @ 4:18 pm

Of course for libertarians the state is everything (specifically everything evil), so they view the condition of black America through its relationship with police. But law enforcement isn’t the biggest source of ill in the black community, homicides and assaults are.

For the libertarian (and seemingly the progressive too, but for different reasons), one’s moral cred vis-a-vis black America is how it views the police. But that’s wrongheaded IMHO.

#28 Comment By Matt2 On March 31, 2015 @ 8:09 pm

jtgw,

If you’re going to cite the Ferguson report as evidence that blacks get too much attention from the police, you should at least mention Jill Leovy’s Ghettoside on the ultimate consequences of applying this kind of bleeding-heart, hands-off treatment, i.e. what happens is less than half of murders even result in arrest, let alone conviction.

Why is “ultimate consequence” of not handing out tons of blatantly extractive tickets and fines to poor people that murders go unpunished?

What if the police did both things at the same time: stop handing out stupid tickets designed only to extract revenue, and (using the resources freed up from this) go after murderers?

#29 Comment By redfish On March 31, 2015 @ 8:21 pm

I’m annoyed by all sides on this, including libertarians, with all due respect.

A run-down:

1. Conservatives who focus on the fact that Darren Wilson was innocent, that progressives are encouraging racial strife… but ignore that the report shows some problems with over-policing in Ferguson, which disproportionately effects blacks.

2. Progressives who still have a problem admitting that Darren Wilson was innocent… and think the report shows what they’ve thought all along: that there’s systemic discrimination against black people among white racist cops.

3. Libertarians who agree that Darren Wilson was innocent and criticize demagogues like Al Sharpton… but agree with liberals that there’s systemic discrimination and racial bias against black people. They also argue that drug laws are racist and the justice system is racist. They consistently support the message that progressives are right: America hates black people.

The truth is that there’s is over-policing in poor neighborhoods, blacks are more likely to live in poor neighborhoods, and more likely to feel the effect of over-policing. Traffic tickets and fees are also used as a way to generate government revenue in the same places. All of this is extremely efficient from a government’s point of view, but efficiency has consequences.

It is a problem. But its also not racism or racial bias, and portraying it through those lenses is divisive.

Libertarians disappoint me as much as anyone else when they pander on this issue.

#30 Comment By Glaivester On March 31, 2015 @ 9:51 pm

balconesfault:

And let’s compare here. For those organizations, it was the ability for their donors to receive tax deductions for contributions as “social welfare” organizations that was being disputed.

That’s wrong. The organizations in question were 501(c)4 groups, not 501(c)3. As such, there was no question that donations to them would not be tax deductible. The issue was getting nonprofit status for the group, that is, that the group would not be subject to corporate taxes.

Also, 501(c)4 groups are largely all advocacy (lobbying groups). “Non-political” in this context means that the groups do not campaign in elections, not that they are not involved in political issues.

There are a lot of distinctions here that get lost because we’re not presented with detailed explanations by the media.

#31 Comment By Glaivester On March 31, 2015 @ 11:12 pm

This article ignores a lot of facts. Why have we ignored the Ferguson report? Because Holder Obama and the media spent months pushing a false narrative about Michael Brown, and when it was proven false, they did not apologize at all or admit any mistakes, they just shifted the focus to this report.

(1) The point of this report seems to be to justify the false narrative about Brown and Wilson rather than to deal with these problems in their own right.

(2) Given how dishonest the DoJ has been during this administration, no one on the right trusts their report. The claim, without verification, that higher black crime rates do not account for the difference in stops is treated with skepticism because so often the issue of high black crime rates is passed over in claims of racism that people are skeptical of “this time it is different” when it comes from a source that isn’t trusted anyway.

#32 Comment By Barry On April 1, 2015 @ 9:18 am

“First, if you are going to blame conservatives, feel free, but do go after the liberals, whose outright lies led directly to the murder of Zemir Begic, the two NYPD cops, and to the shooting of two St. Louis-area cops (whom the protesters immediately mocked while they lied on the ground bleeding). ”

All of these statements are clearly false.

#33 Comment By Glaivester On April 1, 2015 @ 9:56 pm

Why is “ultimate consequence” of not handing out tons of blatantly extractive tickets and fines to poor people that murders go unpunished?

The ultimate consequence is that the city goes bankrupt. One reason for extractive fines is that the city does not have much of a tax base, because business tends to move out of the city.

What if the police did both things at the same time: stop handing out stupid tickets designed only to extract revenue, and (using the resources freed up from this) go after murderers?

Without the tickets, there might not be any resources to free up.

#34 Comment By Paul Harris On April 3, 2015 @ 3:15 am

Very similar views by conservatives about us who were stuck in the Superdome during Katrina. Many wanted to believe that 95% of us were gang members or drug addicts and that we deserved what we got. When the truth came out that probably 95% of the folks inside were decent and many couldn’t get out of town there was a general silence.

Author, Dairy From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privy During Katrina

#35 Comment By jtgw On April 3, 2015 @ 10:29 am

As Steve Sailer has pointed out, Ferguson is completely average when it comes to racial disparity in attention received from police. That part of the DOJ report is nothing more than a petty-minded ass-covering for Obama/Holder’s witch-hunt against the local law enforcement.

The problem with Ferguson isn’t just blacks. It’s underclass blacks with their savage ghetto attitudes forced on the local middle class residents (both white and black) by Section 8 housing regulations. They are going to draw police attention; it’s just their nature. Libertarian small government isn’t going to encourage better behavior on their part: they’re the sort of people who DO need their guns taken away. They also need to be segregated so they don’t harm more advanced and productive populations.

I live in Montgomery County, MD, and I’m surrounded by productive, middle class black citizens who obey the law and respect the norms of civilized life. This isn’t about race. I’m all for giving talented black kids of way out of the ghetto, but the way is not to force integration and drag down the better, cleaner communities. Personally, I think compulsory national military service is exactly what’s needed.

And to the commenter who replied with “Wow. Just wow”. Knock it off. This isn’t Salon or Jezebel or even Reason. It’s certainly not the Weekly Standard, National Review or Commentary. I expected TAC readers to have a clue about reality, including the reality of human differences and the fact that not all cultural groups are equally suited to the ideological values of advanced Western civilization.

#36 Comment By matt2 On April 4, 2015 @ 7:10 am

You still never answered my question, nor the substance of the “Wow. Just wow.” guy’s comment. What does letting murderers off the hook have to do with not giving extortionary fines and tickets to poor people?

#37 Comment By EliteCommInc. On April 4, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

Laughing. I am not a progressive. I am not liberal A soid of my incoherence would plave me right of Attila the Hun.

But this comment,

“As Steve Sailer has pointed out, Ferguson is completely average when it comes to racial disparity in attention received from police. That part of the DOJ report is nothing more than a petty-minded ass-covering for Obama/Holder’s witch-hunt against the local law enforcement.”

is interesting. The report is typical of or average to the general treatment around the country. So having not challenged the internal numbers demonstrating some disprportionate treatment of blacks, I safely conclude that this disproportionate treatement in natinwide and supports the contention that some manner of national disparity may very well exist where bias against blacks is the norm.

——–
“The problem with Ferguson isn’t just blacks. It’s underclass blacks with their savage ghetto attitudes forced on the local middle class residents (both white and black) by Section 8 housing regulations. They are going to draw police attention; it’s just their nature.”

The suggestion that anyone on welfare is genetically disposed to get attention by the police has got to be one of the funniest things i have heard in months. Bizarre. But hilarious. Since the report, data sets includes lower income whites, it is safe to asume that even they did not experience the level of genetic attention that similarly situated blacks did. Clearly, some unique bias exists. Your suggestion has every aspect of waterdown the issues by universalizing it — actually it further makes the argument. Bias exists.

Giving black kids a chance. Laughing still. look it is simple, the only wat redress what whites created as to education, employment disparity is to give blacks the same changes and second chances, and third chances and fouth chances that whites give each other.

The level of comprehension of the consequences of history are astounding. And while I don’t approve of rioting, if this is the view of the Ferguson whites as I think it does, I can certainly comprehend the frustration.

We all owe a debt to slavery — 4 to 6 hundred years of free labor ain’t no small gift. and while I agree slavery is gone the social training of the whites in power blacks receiving is not yet left us.

#38 Comment By EliteCommInc. On April 4, 2015 @ 4:45 pm

“The ultimate consequence is that the city goes bankrupt. One reason for extractive fines is that the city does not have much of a tax base, because business tends to move out of the city.”

If this were to make any sense, i would hand out fines among those with the most money. But instead since you grant the purpose is financial, it makes little economic sense to focus my efforts on the poorest because I would have to expand the number to make up the difference of those who couldn’t pay the fines levied to prop up the city.

Apparently given your view, the whites in power in ferguson are not very profit motive oriented nor socially bright. Because focussing on the poor, they have to expand the base of fines to the mostly black populations as they encompas the most poor thereby feeding what you call the myth of dispate treatment unevenly distributed among backs. But your suggestion actually feeds the indictment.

It takes a lot of work to anioulate arguments around the legacy left by the founders.

Harping on the officers innocence, certainly legally, misses what the report grants out and demonstrates the utter imbilicity of ignoring the underlying causes.

And certainly no doubt, people, even black people commit crimes. That really is not the issue. I don’t have to give black people a pass on criminal behavior to see that unequal due process is demonstrated.

I love Miss Ann Coulter, but I do not subscribe to her school of analysis on issues of color. It might be a good idea for others to do likewise.

#39 Comment By Luke Przybylski On April 15, 2015 @ 1:33 pm

It seems like a bait-and-switch (or some such slight of hand) undergirds the premise here, & it’s to do with the idea that we can/should conflate the death of Michael Brown & the subsequent riots with a kind of generalized, soft-racist corruption. The Left wasn’t concerned with parking tickets in Ferguson; they believed a racist white cop murdered a black man there & that the murder encapsulated endemic injustice perpetrated by the wrong kind of white people (who they most certainly were not). Conservatives- the other white meat in question- disagreed for some reason…