I’ve been very busy at work and peddling my Age of Barbarity wares, so I apologize for the absence. I probably shouldn’t do this, but I just noticed a couple of really instructive comments from Skeptical Enlightment, our resident glibertarian, on one of the Trayvon posts. I’m going to address them because I find them perfect illustrations of the juvenile mindset of the modern libertarian. I find them typical of the type of thing one hears from libertarians.
Certainly a jury is going to have to sort this one out, but I can’t get over the fact that Zimmerman got out of his vehicle when told by the dispatcher not to. I don’t see how Zimmerman did not immediately lose the protection offered by the stand your ground statute. He may not have lost his right to self defense, but certainly he has a higher standard to meet now because he admits to pursuing Martin by exiting his vehicle and the protections it offered to physical attack.
I think that as long as people like Sharpton and Jackson are around doing what they do, it’ll be harder for us as a country to move beyond racial issues. I do take some heart in seeing them fade somewhat between issues.
Skep can’t get over the fact that Zimmerman got out of his vehicle. Well, get over it. Zimmerman did, and he got away with it — for a while.
Skep does not see how Zimmerman did not immediately lose the self-defense defense provided by the Kill-at-Will statute. And yet Zimmerman did not.
Believe it or not, the world lived by human beings does not always adhere to what Skep can see.
Instead, it took history’s greatest monsters, “people like Sharpton and Jackson doing what they do,” to get an arrest. More precisely, it took Trayvon’s parents, who had the bad taste not to roll over and accept their kid’s death, to get an arrest. And they were willing to accept any allies in that effort. I assure you, I would have, too. For that, Skep is sad because lots of people did lots of chanting. And it annoys him.
Well, I have a counter suggestion, Skep. As long as 17-year-old unarmed boys get killed in the street and it takes Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to get an arrest, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are going to be around. If they offend your tender sensibilities of tribal unity, I suggest you talk to the police, prosecutors, and lawmakers. As long as 6-year-old girls get handcuffed for tantrums in rural Georgia, you’re going to have to hear about it. As long as drug enforcement falls overwhelmingly on the black and brown and poor while drug use is uniform across race and class, you’re going to have to hear about it. So why don’t you drop your delusions and do something productive?
Skep, like most libertarians I encounter, moves through life wearing abstraction-colored glasses. Nothing is real but what he feels. A dead kid in the street pales in comparison to his deep concern about the real problem, which is a couple of opportunists raising their profile by helping deliver the correct result. Libertarianism, as lived practically by most people, begins and ends with the individual libertarian’s ability to accumulate money in however way he sees fit and to live his life in whatever way makes him feel good. Screw everybody else. Dead kid? Well, that’s not what I meant to happen, so don’t talk to me about it. I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat: it’s not a belief system, it’s a personality disorder.
You see that personality disorder on display here, too:
“We may not have reached the proverbial post-racial promised land, but has anyone noticed that we have a Black President? He wouldn’t have been my choice for the first Black to hold that office, but he has it and he won it with a majority vote of the American people.”
There is no human trait more disgusting than taking credit for someone else’s work and sacrifice.
Half the country, including Skep, fought that achievement with all they had. And you called those of us in the other half foreign and unAmerican. Because my half beat you in 2008 does not entitle you to claim our work as your victory. But that is the conservative way, in my experience.
More importantly, I think it’s important to know that at no point in American history would Skep or modern libertarians have supported any of the measures that ended state-sanctioned repression of an entire swath of America. Remember, property rights (money) always takes higher priority for libertarians than human/individual rights.
Skep and his ilk would have supported the Dred Scott decision because of property rights’ issues. They would have fought for the Confederacy for the same reason. They would have opposed the 14th amendment because of state’s rights. They would have taken part in the “Redeeming” of the Southern states for the same reason. Like Barry Goldwater, they would have opposed the Warren Court’s application of federal power to enforce the 14th amendment. They would have opposed any measure which allowed the federal government to tell states what to do with their negroes. And this, of course, is the bedrock not just of libertarianism, but of modern “conservatism” as well. All the other garbage is built on that. If you want to prove me wrong, right wingers and libertarians, go actually end the drug war you claim not to support. I’ll help.
This is fresh in my mind because last night I attended a forum in Cocoa Beach in honor of Harry T. Moore, the black educator, NAACP official, and community organizer who, along with his wife, was blown up in bed in Brevard County on Christmas Day 1951.
Moore’s last living daughter, Evangeline Moore, spoke at the forum. She talked about her father and how she learned of his death and her mother’s injuries (of which she died later) when she arrived home on a train. She was a teenager met by her whole extended family, none of whom could bring themselves to break the news for several minutes. She talked about how all the investigations, including a couple in the last few years, have produced just a handful of speculative names. But they’ve otherwise gone nowhere.
Think about how many times in her life — I’m guessing she’s about 75 — Evangeline Moore has had to tell that story, to how many sympathetic strangers. Think about how that intrusive, unpunished violence has defined a major part of her life. Think about how every Christmas Day mingles celebration and sadness. That’s a flesh and blood woman still alive, still fully possessed of memory. And she knows there’s a good chance another flesh and blood human is walking around with precise, firsthand knowledge of who murdered her parents. And I promise you, based on my own experience in tracking down these types of stories from an earlier generation, plenty of closely held white family stories in Brevard County or elsewhere contain the names of who did it. People know.
What if Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and Trayvon Martin’s parents showed up in Cocoa Beach to stand next to Evangeline Moore and start saying uncomfortable things? Skep would be appalled. And he wouldn’t be the only one. Suffer in silence, old lady. To do otherwise makes it “harder for us as a country to move beyond racial issues.”
If Skep were around in 1951, he might have looked at the Harry T. Moore case and mused:
“I can’t get over the fact that somebody planted a bomb and blew up a husband and wife in their bed. It seems like the murderers should forfeit their right to be free. Oh well, that’s a small price to pay for keeping the federal government out. Self-reliance. A small price to pay for my freedom and property rights.”
And today, Skep, you take credit for the fights and sacrifices of Evangeline Moore and so many other people as somehow representative of your country. Nope. It’s an achievement of my country — and more importantly of Evangeline Moore’s country. You despise everything her father was martyred to achieve. You despise the very nature of the country built by the application of federal power in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. You make that clear every time you write. You picked a side. And it’s not Harry T. Moore’s. You don’t want to live with us in the world he died to create. You see our aspirations as impositions. And the black president for whom you take credit is a usurper. Just listen to the language your friends and fellow travelers use.
By your standard, Harry T. Moore’s murderer can also take credit for the first black president. That murderer either lives as a free man or died as one. Either way, he’s a member of this country in good standing, just like you. Barack Obama is as much his accomplishment as yours. You should think about that, but you won’t.
To cap this off, I’m going to turn to my favorite demolishers of abstraction, the Drive-By Truckers. I saw them in concert last weekend, and they played one of my favorite songs: “Shut Up and Get on the Plane.”
It opens with one of great BS-skewering lines you’ll ever hear:
“Well your wishes and your feelings,
your bad dreams and intuitions
are about as much use to me right now
as a brand new set of golf clubs.”
That’s about how much use you and your “beliefs” have been for my country, Skep. The country that actual human beings inhabit. That goes equally for most libertarians. (The are a few exceptions. See Radley Balko.)
If you want to prove me wrong, do something besides sitting around and lying about how rugged and self-reliant you are. But that’s not gonna happen. The rest of us will go on working, with you complaining the whole time, and then taking credit when we win.