Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

In his July 18 article, “Rand Paul can never be a mainstream Republican,” former George W. Bush speechwriter and Washington Post writer Michael Gerson can barely contain his glee over what he perceives to be the Kentucky Senator’s fall from grace.  “For a while,” Gerson writes, Paul “succeeded in a difficult maneuver: accepting the inheritance of his father’s movement while distancing himself from the loonier aspects of his father’s ideology.”  But given recent revelations regarding the “neo-confederate” background of one his senior staff members, Paul “has fallen spectacularly off the tightrope.”

Yet his staffer’s “disdain for Lincoln is not a quirk or coincidence,” Gerson is quick to note. What he calls “Paulism” demands “more than the repeal of Obamacare.  It is a form of libertarianism that categorically objects to 150 years of expanding federal power,” the “main domestic justification” of which “has been opposition to slavery and segregation.” From this perspective, “Lincoln…exercised tyrannical powers to pursue an unnecessary war,” and the 1964 Civil Rights Act “violates both states’ rights and individual property rights [.]”

None of this means that the “Paulites” are “racists,” Gerson assures us.  However, it does mean that they are “opponents of the legal methods that ended state-sanctioned racism.”

Gerson is not yet finished. Paul and his supporters “tend to hate war and federal coercion in any form, even in causes generally regarded as good. They opposed the Cold War and nearly every post-World War II American exercise of power. They equate the war on terror with militarism, imperialism and empire. And they remain unhappy with the War of Northern Aggression.”

Gerson’s verdict is unambiguous: It is “impossible for Rand Paul to join the Republican mainstream.”

Let’s simplify Gerson’s argument.  It goes like this:

  1. Rand Paul’s supporters “tend to hate war and federal coercion in any form [.]”
  2. They also tend toward “neo-confederacy” inasmuch as they are “opponents of the legal methods that ended state-sanctioned racism.”
  3. Therefore, Rand Paul can never “join the Republican mainstream.”

Considered individually, the inaccuracy of Gerson’s claims can easily be exposed.  The largest problem with his argument, though, isn’t the substance of its parts, but its incoherence.

If Paul’s supporters were the “neo-confederate” quasi-racists who Gerson says they are, defenders of “a regime founded on slavery” and de facto defenders of “state-sanctioned racism,” then we would surely have to consider carefully Gerson’s admonishment regarding Paul.

And if Paul’s supporters really did “hate war and federal coercion” under and any and all circumstances, then, again, the wise would have to take to heart Gerson’s counsel against backing Paul.

But Gerson would have us think that these libertarians are at once consumed by an inordinate passion for liberty as well as an equally inordinate passion for “a regime founded on slavery,” a burning hatred for war, the penultimate emblem of coercion, and a comparably intense affection for the coercion required by “state-sanctioned” racism.

Paul and his supporters love liberty and they hate liberty. They love coercion and they hate coercion.  They are statists and anti-statists.

Gerson’s position is what we may call an “argument from the Kitchen Sink,” an argument in which the arguer tries to throw everything and the proverbial kitchen sink against his target in the hopes that, eventually, something will stick.

It is also what logicians have long recognized as an argument against the person, the old ad hominem attack.

Whatever name we choose to give to it, Gerson’s argument is bad, even pathetic.  We should, unfortunately, get used to it, for Rand Paul’s rivals—the Gersonians of the Republican Party—promise to haunt us with it in one form or another until Paul has been discredited.

 

 

 

 

A journalist by trade, Nicholas Stix is as prolific as he is courageous a writer.  For years, he has waged a relentless campaign to draw his readers’ attention to a phenomenon that, however ubiquitous, neither the “mainstream” nor the “conservative” media dare to touch: black-on-white violence.  Many writers claim to write on behalf of truth and justice.  All too few of them actually do so.  Stix is one of these few.

Given my obvious admiration for this veteran beacon of truth, one can imagine my surprise and disappointment upon discovering that Stix recently accused me of being among those of his “sons” who have “ripped off [his] work.”

In “While Reading about the Knoxville Horror, Journalist Finds Son He Didn’t Know He Had,” Stix remarks: “I just discovered a new son, and his name is Jack Kerwick!”

On July 3, I published an article in Front Page Magazine entitled, “Paula Deen and the Fundamental Transformation of America.”  The objective of the piece was to draw out the glaring contrast between, on the one hand, the media’s obsession with Deen’s use of “the N-word” decades ago and, on the other, its indifference toward black-on-white cruelty.  As an illustration of the latter, I selected the grisly ordeal of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, a young white couple from Tennessee who were carjacked, abducted, raped, tortured, and murdered by four black men and one black woman in Knoxville back in 2007.

And to show that this wasn’t just an event that was six years old, but a saga that continues to the present, I segued into a description of the circumstances in which the victims spent their remaining hours by way of mentioning that even while the brouhaha over Deen is all of the rage, one of the victimizers, George Thomas, had just been retried and convicted once more.

Admirably, gallantly, Stix had been writing about this topic from the time that it first occurred.  Yet because of this, and because I, admittedly, and carelessly, misspelled the name of the Knoxville Sentinel reporter, Jamie Satterfield (I wrote Sutterfield), to whom I alluded in my piece, Stix’s verdict is that I “ripped” him “off.”

“Kerwick and his defenders would surely respond that it was an innocent mistake, but that won’t wash.  He makes the same mistake twice, and never gets her name right.”  Stix confidently declares: “Nobody familiar with Jamie Satterfield’s work would do that.”

Of both the Orwellian concept of theft that Stix employs here, as well as the shoddiness of his reasoning, more will be said shortly.  First, though, it should be noted that Stix is correct about one thing: I am not “familiar with Jamie Satterfield’s work [.]” I thought to even glance at the name attached to the Knoxville-Sentinel’s article from which I quoted only because, well, I was quoting from it.  Stix, however, in a feat that would make a college freshman in a basic logic course blush, reasons from my carelessness to the conclusion that I “ripped” him “off.”

This is a vintage example of what logicians from the time of Aristotle have called “false dichotomy”: Either Jack is familiar with Satterfield’s work or all that he knows of the Knoxville case he stole from Stix. He is unfamiliar with Satterfield’s work. Therefore, he stole from Stix.

So much for Stix’s reasoning here.

But what exactly can it mean to be “ripped off” in this context?  Notice, Stix never accuses either me or any of his other “sons”—his not so affectionate term for those of us who also seek to bring the national scandal of media silence on black-on-white violence to more people’s attention—of plagiarism.  There is a very good reason for this: Stix has zero grounds upon which to root such a charge.

Upon googling the names of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, no fewer than 136,000 results are listed.  And the very first result is a link to the Knoxville-Sentinel’s archive on this case.  The second result is a link to a Wikipedia entry on the latter.  To his eternal credit, Michael Savage, the third most listened to nationally syndicated radio talk show host in the country, a man with probably 10 to 12 million listeners, has talked about the fate of Christian and Newsom since 2007.

In other words, this story has been in the public domain since the time that it first broke—and Stix was not the person to have first broken it.  It is preposterous to imply that any discussion of this case that doesn’t give a tip of the hat to Stix is disreputable.

As for my own piece, there isn’t a single argument, turn of phrase, idea, or detail in it that can in any way be construed as having been lifted from Stix’s work.  It merely recapitulates the bare bones of the “Knoxville Horror,” as Stix quite appropriately refers to it (Now, had I not credited him as having coined this term, then I would indeed be guilty of “ripping” him “off.”).  To lend authority to my summation, I turned to the Knoxville-Sentinel archive and quoted Satterfield, the local reporter who, I discovered, had been all over this story, as well as the medical examiner who she in turn quoted.

Perhaps more than most, writers, including yours truly, take themselves entirely too seriously. Yet as the great Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton said, seriousness “is no virtue.” Being that it is “the easiest things to do,” it is more of a vice, for it is nothing other than “a natural trend or lapse into taking one’s-self gravely [.]”

Stix should keep up his good work. While he is at it, he should brush up on his Chesterton.

 

When Barack Obama ran for the presidency five years ago, pundits on both the left and right reassured the country that the election of America’s “first black president” promised to issue forth a new era of interracial harmony.

Some of us, however, knew all too well that this was the kind of stuff that only fools and liars could peddle.  In fact, we predicted that, far from inaugurating a “Post-Racial” America, cries of “racism” were sure to increase if Obama seized the White House. Unfortunately, in retrospect, we appear to have been prescient.

We knew, first of all, that there is indeed such a thing as the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC) that is every bit as massive as any other industry.  Ideologically, professionally, and even emotionally, RIC agents are deeply invested in sustaining their narrative of endemic “white racism” and perpetual “black suffering.”  The election of a black man to the most visible and potent office on the planet threatens that narrative.

Thus, the cries of “racism” would have to become both more frequent and more extravagant if RIC was to continue to flourish.

Secondly, we also knew that, given his background, racial unity would be the last thing on Obama’s mind.  Quite the contrary: Obama’s lifelong preoccupation with achieving racial “authenticity” and his passion for “community organizing” foretold a presidency that would be accompanied by endless crises—including and especially racial crises.

The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of black 17 year-old Trayvon Martin is the latest such crisis that Obama is exploiting for all that it is worth.

Far from using his influence to affect some measure of calm, last Friday, following a week of mayhem in which roving mobs of blacks disrupted cities, destroyed property, and randomly subjected innocent whites and others to violence, the President decided to exacerbate this situation.

It is crucial, Obama maintained, that we—i.e. white folks—understand why blacks share “a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario” as was Trayvon Martin on the night that he was shot dead by George Zimmerman, “from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.”

Blacks suffer “pain” over the Zimmerman verdict because they are “looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”  But this past is very much alive in the present, according to Obama, for to this day, black men continue to fall prey to the sinister machinations of wicked white racial profilers.  Moreover, even Obama himself isn’t safe from this virulent white “racism.”

Most black men, including Obama, have “had the experience of being followed while shopping in a department store.” Most black men, including Obama, share “the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars.”  Most black men, including Obama, have “had the experience of getting on an elevator” and seeing “a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.”

Ironically, immediately upon lamenting the ugliness of this racial profiling, Obama unwittingly acknowledges its reasonableness, for he assures us that blacks have no delusions concerning “the disproportionately” high rates of black criminality and the fact that “they’re disproportionately both perpetrators and victims of violence.”  Yet even this, he is quick to observe, “is born out of a very violent past in this country [.]”

In other words, while blacks do indeed act more violently than others, this too is because of the oppressive “racist” treatment to which whites have traditionally subjected them.

To the intimidation and wanton cruelty in which the anti-Zimmerman forces have engaged in the aftermath of Zimmerman’s acquittal, Obama spoke not a word except to caution them against “dishonoring” the memory of Trayvon Martin.

So, why did Obama insert himself in this case in the first place?  Why has he chosen to fan the flames of an already combustible situation and all but justify even the violence that has been done to innocent person and property?

Answer: Obama is first and always a “community organizer”—a community agitator. 

As the Godfather of community agitating, Saul Alinksy, wrote, the agitator should always seek to “cause confusion, fear,” “to agitate to the point of conflict,” and “stir up dissatisfaction and discontent.”  The agitator “begins his ‘trouble making’ by stirring up these angers, frustrations, and resentments, and highlighting specific issues or grievances that heighten controversy.” He also “dramatizes the injustices [.]”

The agitator has but one objective: the construction of a “mass power base of what he calls the army.”

Obama most definitely does not want interracial harmony in America.  He never did.  He wants—he needs—mutual antagonism between the races.  It is in his interest, as well as that of his party, for the members of his black base to be ruled by an “us versus them” mentality when it comes to race relations.

This is why Obama has fueled the persecution of George Zimmerman and the Brown Shirt tactics of the black mobs that have taken to the streets courtesy of the inspiration of the Jesse Jacksons, Al Sharptons, Eric Holders, and, yes, Obamas of the world.

And this is why, politically, the acquittal of Zimmerman was a win for Obama.

 

 

 

The Racism-Industrial-Complex is as gargantuan an industry as any that has ever existed. And it is more dangerous to life, limb, and liberty than most.

The Industry depends upon the perpetuation of a specific narrative, a racially “correct” story that is the oil that keeps its wheels turning.  The Story goes something like this:

In the beginning, the White Man created a “New World.” He called it America.  But he erected this new land on the ashes of the corpses of the aboriginals who had inhabited it in peace for millennia, “Native Americans” who the White Man slaughtered en masse.  His “New World” also came into being at the expense of the pain of the black Africans who he abducted from their homes and enslaved. Though these blacks eventually achieved their emancipation from slavery, their suffering persists to the present day, for the White Man has never tired of subjecting them to the sinister machinations of his “racism.”  At the same time, and because of his sinful, his “racist,” condition, he has continually tried to repent of his transgressions by seeking to repair the irreparable damage that he caused.

The Story is as unambiguous a “morality tale” as Star Wars, though not nearly as sophisticated as this most unsophisticated film franchise.  However, there are still other similarities between The Story and Star Wars. 

Both have been remarkably successful in enriching their “creators.”  George Lucas is now a gazillionaire because of his brain child.  The creators of The Story, the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of the world, aren’t much worse off because of theirs: the captains of the Industry and their cronies in the media, D.C., and the academy have flourished many fold.

Both Star Wars and The Story are deeply ensconced in the popular imagination. Contemporary American pop culture would be inconceivable without either of them —even if the mythos of The Story exerts far more influence than that of Star Wars.

Both stories depict a perpetual galactic-like contest between the forces of light and those of darkness.  Both supply us with bold contrasts between their respective characters.   In Star Wars the battle transpires, on one level, between the evil Empire and the noble Rebels. On another level, it occurs between the Sith Lords and the Jedi Knights. The Story, though, is a struggle between the White Oppressors and Black (or Non-White) Victims.

A crucial difference between Star Wars and The Story lies in the fact that the former found resolution in the redemption of its main villain, Darth Vader.  The villain of the latter—the White Man—lacks any such grace, for redemption manages to forever elude him. In fact, insofar as the saga of Star Wars reveals that its arch-villain is actually a fallen hero whose pains and internal conflicts are in many respects more acute than those of the Rebels determined to restore peace and justice to the galaxy, it garners some measure of sympathy for Darth Vader.  The villain of The Story, though, is demonized just enough so as to preclude sympathy for him.

There are legions of truths that put the lie to the Ignoble (but all so useful) Lie that is The Story.  In a future article, they will be laid bare.  For now, a simple consideration or two should suffice to expose it for what it is.

Everyone knows that Star Wars is, and was always understood to be, fiction.  The Story, on the other hand, is promoted as if it were fact.

Yet if life has taught us anything, it has taught us that it is far messier, far more complex, than anything that appears in the works—any work—of fiction.  In real life, all of the differences in character that exist between human beings can’t conceal the cold hard truth that the saint and the sinner co-exist within the chest of each and every person.  The best morality tales suppose this.  Sometimes, as in the case of Star Wars, even the most vulgar hint at it as well.

The Story, however, neglects the human condition entirely.

Thus, The Story is more fiction than fiction.  That is, not only doesn’t it have anything to do with real life. It isn’t even good fiction.

It is, though, good politics.