Monday, May 4, 2015

Baltimore: how a liberal society destroys itself

Perhaps you’ve had this experience: you meet someone and an hour later you’ve forgotten his name; but you remember forever something that person said. I’ve had that experience.

The man I met—whose name I quickly forgot—told me, ‘a liberal society always sows the seeds of its destruction’.

It’s a simple, straightforward statement. It’s easy to understand. Is it true?

It might be. Look at Baltimore, Maryland. As a result of America’s liberal ideology, a black woman (whose skin color and gender once made her invisible) has become that city’s elected ruler (mayor). I would suggest to you that, without the creation and sustained power of that liberal worldview, American voters wouldn’t have been interested in voting for her. I would suggest also that her ascendency was founded on the effect of decades of liberal culture and law-making.

As a result of that liberal conquest, the Baltimore mayor’s color and gender were rendered irrelevant. She won her election because power brokers, supporters and voters agreed with her views—which, I might add, appear to be quite liberal indeed. True, I don’t know much about her. But she is Secretary of the Democratic National Committee, which has been promoting a very liberal agenda recently (S.A Miller, “Democrats to examine liberal agenda and class-warfare roles in election losses”, Washington Times, February 18, 2015).  She has also expressed support for US President Barack Obama, having said on one occasion that she hopes to “carry forward the momentum of the Obama administration” (John Fritze, “Rawlings-Blake to take leadership post at DNC”, The Baltimore Sun, January 21, 2013). I take that to mean she’s a liberal in the Obama mould.

Her election gives a modern American liberal reason to celebrate. She’s what liberalism is all about: spreading wealth and power.

But all that ‘spreading’ creates a problem. Its magic has a dark side: it dilutes morality as it spreads. It brings to Baltimore seeds of destruction.

There was rioting in Baltimore last month. A police arrestee died while in police custody (“Freddie Gray dies a week after being injured during arrest”, The Baltimore Sun, April 19, 2015). His reported cause of death was a broken vertebra—or, as others reported, a nearly-severed spinal cord (Michael Muskal, “Baltimore man died of spinal injury that occurred while in police custody”, LA Times, April 20, 2015).

In Baltimore, as in many other US cities, there’s an existing ‘history’ of tension between police and blacks (the arrestee, Freddie Gray, was reported to be black). With this incident, that tension exploded in violent rioting. As those riots spiralled out of control, Baltimore’s mayor told a press conference that she had instructed police to allow protestors to express themselves and that ‘we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well’ (CBS Baltimore, April 25, 2015).

Her full comment on this subject was:

“I made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech [emphasis mine]”. She said. “It’s a very delicate balancing act. Because while we try to make sure that they [the rioters]were protected from the cars and other things [emphasis mine]that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well [emphasis mine]. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate” (ibid).

Her comments, for me, express the ultimate of the liberal outlook, which mandates: first, we must protect the rioters’ free speech (apparently, burning stores and destroying police vehicles represent a legitimate ‘freedom of speech’ issue). Second, we must first-and-foremost protect the rioters from injury caused by ‘cars and other things’. Third, we must give those who wish to destroy a place to do that.

The mayor later changed her mind about this approach to the rioters. She later called them, ‘thugs’. But then the liberal establishment grew angry that the rioters should be described that way. She felt compelled to apologize.

This response to the riots is saturated with liberal requirements. But those requirements didn’t help Baltimore to protect itself or its police force (which was attacked by the rioters).

Liberalism’s requirements represent a kind of compassion (for the rioters) that exposes an entire community to chaos. Those requirements empower criminal intent, not communal calm. They expose the truly compassionate to the full viciousness of the truly cruel.  

This mayor’s liberalism reveals how a liberal social order might, if challenged, enable the destruction of a major American city.

Has America’s liberal ideology brought to America the seeds of its destruction? Stay tuned.

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