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Constructing Left-Wing Conformity

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Here we have a woman who believes that black shoplifters should be allowed to get away with it because reporting them to the police would be putting them at risk of death. Seriously, this is the argument she uses to abuse this CVS store manager:

Is she right? If you report black male shoplifters to the police, are you therefore at risk of being killed? Sure seems like these protesters think so:

According to USA Today, using the Washington Post database, the number for 2019 was actually thirteen. Read the piece, though, and appreciate the weird, shrill way the USA Today writer doesn’t trust readers to draw their own conclusions from the data. She wants them to be very sure that they know that the true numbers are probably a lot worse than thirteen! Probably hundreds, or even thousands, I reckon.

The left, including the left-wing media, does this kind of thing with numbers all the time. I’ve written before about how activists and their media allies completely distort the meaning of murder statistics involving transgenders, for the sake of creating a narrative. Here’s what I said in December 2019. Excerpts:

At last night’s Democratic debate, Elizabeth Warren solemnly declared that if she is elected, she will make a point of coming out onto the White House lawn once a year and reciting aloud the names of all the transgendered Americans who have been killed in the past year.

Dying While Trans is a big thing on the Left, and in the mainstream media. We keep having stories — Google them, you’ll see — on the “epidemic” of murders of transgendered Americans. The American Medical Association has also labeled it an “epidemic.” According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the leading LGBT lobby, 22 trans persons have been murdered so far in 2019. One is too many, but to put this in perspective, in 2018, there were over 16,200 murders in the US. In my medium-sized city alone in 2019, there have already been 75 homicides — over three times the “epidemic” of trans murders. Nobody is talking about an “epidemic” of murder in Baton Rouge. Nor should they, as awful as the killings are, because to label it an epidemic would be meaningless.

The word “epidemic” when applied to the killing of transgendered people is 100 percent a political term, one that has no real-world meaning whatsoever, except insofar as it can advance the pro-trans narrative. It is pure propaganda. 

In the piece, I looked into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of each of the 22 transgendered people murdered that year, according to the LGBT activist organization Human Rights Campaign — all of them, according to HRC, victims of “anti-trans hate.”

It was a lie. A flat-out lie. Read the details. Only one of the cases might have been legitimately framed as anti-trans hate. Most of the murder victims were prostitutes. That doesn’t justify their murder, heaven knows, but walking the streets selling sex is extremely dangerous. There is no evidence to justify belief that these people were murdered in hate crimes. It’s total propaganda.

Look at this news from Gallup in 2019:

U.S. adults estimate that nearly one in four Americans (23.6%) are gay or lesbian. Gallup has previously found that Americans have greatly overestimated the U.S. gay population, recording similar average estimates of 24.6% in 2011 and 23.2% in 2015. In each of the three polls in which Gallup has asked this question, a majority of Americans estimated this population to be 20% or greater.

Americans’ estimate of the proportion of gay people in the U.S. is more than five times Gallup’s more encompassing 2017 estimate that 4.5% of Americans are LGBT, based on respondents’ self-identification as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

You can easily imagine why Americans think this, given how obsessive our news and entertainment media are about LGBT issues. They’re that way about identity politics, period. They create these false and destructive narratives that drive us to fear and loathe each other.

In Quillette, Matthew Blackwell writes about how the data on police shootings don’t support the activists’ narrative — but facts don’t matter. Excerpts:

Before proceeding further, it’s important to emphasize caution on over-interpreting the anti-white findings of recent scholarship. The evidence on racial differences in police killings is not unambiguously settled; scholars continue to argue over the minutia of data collection and statistical techniques, and Fryer himself has warned against drawing strong conclusions at this stage: “Are there racial differences in the most extreme forms of police violence? The Southern boy in me says yes; the economist says we don’t know.” But uncertainty is sufficient to set off alarm bells about the Black Lives Matter movement among those who adopt a sceptical approach when evaluating knowledge claims. “There’s so much we don’t know,” says author Sam Harris in a recent podcast, “And yet, most people are behaving as though every important question was answered a long time ago.” Harris, known for his staunch atheism and critique of faith-based religion, asks some troubling questions about the Black Lives Matter movement by pointing out that it disguises empirically fragile claims with absolute conviction and then stonewalls any attempt to examine the evidence: “Like most religious awakenings, the movement does not show itself eager to make honest contact with reality.”

While doubt prevails among those familiar with the data on policing killings, faith-based inerrancy seems to invigorate activists to the point where discussion becomes futile. When video journalist Ami Horowitz tried to engage with Black Lives Matter activists he found they had virtually no familiarity with the data on police killings and no desire to know about it. “I can’t, I’m getting angry, I don’t want to talk anymore,” said one activist in response to Horowitz’s attempt to discuss the evidence. Another said, “Your data can go and suck the same dick you’re gonna suck.” Another rebuffed Horowitz by demanding to see his sources but then refused to look when he attempted to produce them on his phone. Yet another resorted to conspiracy theorizing, suggesting that any study conflicting with the sentiment of Black Lives Matter must be some kind of academic plot.

This aligns with what a (white) friend of mine told me recently about some young (white) relatives of his who are Black Lives Matters zealots: that when he asked them to explain how they came to believe the things that they do, they got upset and accused him of aggression. Merely asking how do you know that? is to prove your racism in the eyes of these people.

More Blackwell:

And, as likeminded people surround each other, the more resistant they are to discrediting information. Leon Festinger describes this process in When Prophecy Fails, but the most eloquent description comes from Adolf Hitler’s architect and Minister of Armaments Albert Speer, who spent decades in prison after the war attempting to understand how he had allowed himself to become swept up by the delusions of the regime he supported:

… in normal circumstances people who turn their backs on reality are soon set straight by the mockery and criticism of those around them, which makes them aware they have lost credibility. In the Third Reich, there were no such correctives, especially for those who belonged to the upper stratum. On the contrary, every self-deception was multiplied in a hall of distorting mirrors, becoming a repeatedly confirmed picture of a fantastical dream world, which no longer bore any relationship to the grim outside world. In those mirrors I could see nothing but my own face reproduced many times over.

Just as sticks propped against one another are kept upright by mutual inter-dependence, false beliefs may acquire spurious validity in the public square from the confidence engendered by their popularity. When one is brought up in a society where everybody practises a religion, there is scarcely any reason to question that religion, even though it may have no contact with reality at all. Over the past few months, I’ve asked friends and acquaintances if they believe in an epidemic of killings by police, and if so how they came to believe this. I tended to receive answers such as “everyone knows,” or “literally nobody disagrees.” These are the words of believers who have relied on cues from their peers to form the belief.

Blackwell discusses how this eagerness to believe an activist narrative, heedless of the facts, plays out once the media pick it up, and it becomes too dangerous for politicians and public figures to dissent from the approved narrative. One result of this is bad public policy, says Blackwell.  You could say that it allows petty criminals like shoplifters to get away with crime, for fear of being doxxed and harassed by activists. Or you could say, as Blackwell does:

Investigations into alleged police misconduct are obviously important, but not when conducted in response to the histrionic demands of uninformed activists. A recent 50-page study examined the effects of investigations into police forces on crime. It found that most investigations are followed by a reduction in levels of crime, but with one important exception. If an investigation into the police force occurs after a viral media storm due to the shooting of a black suspect, the effect is a significant decrease in policing and a catastrophic increase in crime. The paper warns, “If the price of policing increases, officers are rational to retreat. And, retreating disproportionately costs black lives.”

Read it all.

Now, ask yourself how likely it is that a high school teacher or college professor is likely to raise even the slightest criticism of Black Lives Matter and its narrative, even in simply trying to get students to understand the situation. You’d have to be professionally crazy to take that risk. And so you allow your students to remain ignorant but serene, and you protect your job. Same with the “epidemic” of trans murders.

Speaking of the Third Reich, did you see the report that transpeople and their allies are burning J.K. Rowling’s books and tiktokking the pyres? Y’all keep rolling your eyes when I talk about soft totalitarianism, and don’t notice bookshops declaring that they will no longer stock the books of “transphobes” like Rowling, because they don’t want their trans customers to feel “unsafe”. Because of a book on the shelf. Of a bookstore. In a free country.

 

 

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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