It would be possible at a glance to imagine that the United States had taken complete collective leave of its senses.
That wouldn’t be an unjustifiable reaction to the widespread public veneration of an organization, Black Lives Matter (BLM), which until fairly recently was best known for the championship by a number of its adherents of the virtues of murdering white policemen (i.e., Dallas and Baton Rouge, July 2016).
It has certainly progressed as an organization since then, though it’s not centrally directed, and is elaborating a program whose principal elements are that it will effectively take over the nation’s police forces, through “community action,” enact massive interracial wealth transfers to African Americans, starting with immense reparations to all nonwhites, and the apparent eventual objective of subjugating white America.
In the name of attacking racism, it promotes a more virulent, minority-based racism. It is, on its face, fantastic that any such organization would enjoy the support of any significant number of Americans of any pigmentation. It’s obviously a ramshackle fraternity of aggrieved people, the enactment of whose policy conceptions would lead to the self-immolation of the world’s most important country.
The spectacles of U.S. senators and representatives kneeling in silence with multicolored scarves on their shoulders replicating traditional West African ceremonial garb; a great boulevard in Washington bearing the words “Black Lives Matter” painted in white in letters as wide as the street; the National Football League capitulating ignominiously to the demands of rich, underworked professional athletes asserting their right to mock the national anthem by silently kneeling on one knee while it is played at the beginning of games; the former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney marching with BLM and reciting platitudes affirming subjects of 100 percent popular agreement (that all human lives matter), and the peppier BLM spokespeople calling for the Washington Monument to be renamed and for the statue of Thomas Jefferson to be removed from the Jefferson Memorial.
These are all indications of a widespread state of public madness.
So, with the added taint of unprofessional partisanship is CNN’s Don Lemon’s theory that Trump chooses the date for his popular rallies on anniversaries of oppressive events in African American history, to offend them and rally the bigots. (This is not a sane opinion.)
Shock and Consensus
What actually is occurring is a phenomenon that has a number of precedents in the history of the United States and other advanced countries, when a shocking event instantly creates an airtight consensus on an issue which quickly but briefly leads to a more fervent reaction than can be long sustained.
Such phenomena are more frequent and generally more positive in a foreign context, as when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 created a unanimous demand for the removal of the threat and the military defeat and humiliation of Japan.
Something similar occurred following the even more shocking terrorist assault upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. The enemy was harder to identify than a great nation making no secret of its action, but the unity of goal and purpose was equivalent.
And, of course, the United States was entirely militarily successful in World War II, and while terrorism remains a threat, there’s no question that terrorist organizations have been effectively pursued and destroyed and the initial alarm that incidents such as those of 9/11 could be frequent and almost impossible to prevent has been shown to have been unduly alarmist.
In real wars, entered for cause in the national interest and with victory as the declared objective, the United States is undefeated. It is in the exuberant application of the word “war” without the total commitment that that implies, to less-appropriate enemies such as the “wars” on drugs and poverty, that America’s wars have been less successful.
Revulsion Leads to Approval
The killing of George Floyd, an African American suspected of a petty offense, who wasn’t resisting arrest, by a white policeman in Minneapolis, and which was recorded on a cellphone, disgusted the entire world. The immediate reaction, by a complete coincidence based on the apposite timeliness of the words “black lives matter,” has led to a momentary investment of approval of that organization that vastly exceeds what it deserves or has any chance of retaining.
BLM is more of a sentiment than an organization and the program it espouses, beyond respect for human life and dignity, is nonsense, and in practice dangerous and violent nonsense. People removing Black Lives Matter graffiti from monuments and public buildings in Washington are accused of racism. People stating in gentle and diplomatic terms that all lives matter and some of BLM’s other nostrums won’t fly have been fired from their jobs.
What has occurred is a state of public revulsion at a disgusting criminal act that has translated itself into a momentary intolerance of anything except extreme black militancy. On a few weeks’ reflection, it will be seen that the cause of respect for life can’t be entrusted to bigots, anarchists, and fanatics, or shopworn charlatans like Al Sharpton. The respect of life must be legally based and it must be supported by the entire nation and the whole of society and enforced where necessary by suitably recruited and trained constabulary.
The closest precedent in living American memory to going into the deep end on a public issue like this was in the McCarthy era, which reached its apogee of ludicrous and demented excess when Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy harangued the U.S. Senate for eight hours on June 14, 1951, with a 60,000-word speech in which he accused Gen. George C. Marshall of treachery promoting every gain communism had made from eastern Europe to China, of “a conspiracy so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man. … So black that, when it is finally exposed, it’s principles shall be forever deserving of the malediction’s of all honest men.”
Marshall, as chairman of the combined Allied military chiefs in World War II, was “the organizer of victory” in the words of Winston Churchill; he was the author of the Marshall Plan that led to the economic revival of Western Europe and the defeat of communism there; and then he was again recalled from retirement as secretary of defense to assist in the repulse of the Red Chinese invasion of Korea.
Marshall is generally reckoned one of the greatest soldier-statesman of modern history.
McCarthy’s comments included suggestions that Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman were either outright communists or “communist dupes.” It’s unbelievable now that the United States could ever for a moment have approved of such malignant foolishness. And some of what is being uttered in the country today in support of the unexceptionable proposition that black lives matter, is equally foolish and putrid.
A Suicide Potion
While even the president and most of his Republican partisans have been fairly guarded in this time of cant and emotionalism, they have staked their opposition to open borders, defunded police, and the analysis of every aspect of American life through the prism of acute racial sensitivity. The Republicans will presumably maintain their cautious but sensible line.
Black Lives Matter will relapse back into an activist group outside the mainstream in the reckless fervor of its professed ambitions. For being gulled and co-opted by extremists and for making itself a vast collective useful idiot for disreputable people and opinions, the Democrats will pay a penalty on Election Day.
For now, tempering the ferocity and unanimity of decent public reaction to the Minneapolis killing is a third rail, but responding to it by the promotion of national self-loathing, mockery of the U.S. flag, and attacks upon the monuments and the memory of America’s great men, is a slow-acting suicide potion.
Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and, most recently “Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.