Repost-Sam Harris, Heather MacDonald, BLM & Crime Statistics-Oh, There Will Be Rules

Here’s Sam Harris on police statistics, what conclusions one might draw from them, and why he disagrees with the empirical claims of Black Lives Matter as it presently stands (BLM has since removed the page).  Rioting, looting and violence are crimes; outcomes of what presents itself to be a non-violent movement.

Despite the legitimate grievances and reasons to be angry, radical ideas act as accelerants, mobilizing resentment, aiming it outwards and towards destruction.

As a man of the Left on many issues (TDS, change-focused political philosophy), I imagine this makes Harris a particular target as a turncoat and heretic, alienating a good chunk of his audience.  As a man dedicated to thinking problems through, however, using statistics towards greater knowledge of empirical problems, this makes Harris rather consistent.

It’s not like these problems haven’t been with us for a while.  Without police protection, you’ll probably get worse outcomes and more retributive violence. A reader sends a link to The Confessions Of Bernhard Goetz, subway vigilante:

There’s a lot here: Genuine threat (thugs), fear, real victimization (previous muggings and a likely soon-to-be mugging), but also serious ignorance and over-reaction.

I imagine Goetz was a bit like a feral animal fleeing out of that subway car, up the station stairs and into the night.

From min 33:40:

The question to be litigated was whether the community would make a judgment about his (Goetz) own good faith belief….are we in a position to condemn him for over-reacting?

As Heather MacDonald has pointed out (a postmodern conservative of sorts, with a background in the humanities), there is crime, and there will be police and limited resources to target criminals, and there will be new technologies used within current police rules in acccordance with the laws.

A while ago, she spoke for a while before BLM protesters rushed the stage:

It strikes this blog that focusing on data and actual victims of crime in communities (robbery, theft, gang/turf/drug wars etc.), and by extension, how the police approach these problems is a very reasonable [topic] despite the genuine racial tensions all about.

It also deeply threatens one of the core planks of the activist worldview: Namely, that an oppressed victim class must be led by activists against the oppressors who are using morally illegitimate state resources to punish them. For such folks, the system was always racist and rotten to the core, and thus requires their moral, social and political vision of a just society and their political activism to make it right.

Damn those who disagree.

Unsurprisingly, this is probably how you get campus protesters, university enablers and sympathetic mobs emotionally, financially, and personally justified in stopping Heather MacDonald from speaking and requiring her to get a security detail.

Now it’s just spilled out into the public at large.

My guess is, you are now more scared of disagreeing publicly, and you would be right:

Meanwhile, criminals, victims of crime, police officers and private citizens carry on.

Heather MacDonald: ‘The War On Cops’ C-Span interview with MacDonald on the book here.

As previously and often posted:

“First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.’

‘Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied. ‘

‘Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. ‘

And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience.”

-John Stuart Mill ‘On Liberty: Chapter II-Of The Liberty Of Thought And Discussion’

The Intellectual Cowardice Of The Crowd-Charles Murray At Middlebury College

The Two Clashing Meanings Of Free Speech-Whence Liberalism?

On this site, see: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”…

Repost-Classical Liberalism Via Friesian.Com-‘Exchange with Tomaz Castello Branco on John Gray’

How might this relate to the Heglian/post-Marxist project via ‘The End Of History’: Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’

A Modern Liberal, somewhat Aristotelian and classical?:  From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’…Repost: Martha Nussbaum Channels Roger Williams In The New Republic: The First Founder

Samuel Huntington was quite humble, and often wise, about what political philosophy could do:  From Prospect: Eric Kaufmann On ‘The Meaning Of Huntington’

From The NY Times Book Review-Thomas Nagel On John Gray’s New ‘Silence Of Animals’From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘The Evolution of Mind and Mathematics: Dehaene Versus Plantinga and Nagel’

From Edward Feser: ‘Nagel And His Critics Part IV

6 thoughts on “Repost-Sam Harris, Heather MacDonald, BLM & Crime Statistics-Oh, There Will Be Rules

  1. “As a man of the Left on many issues,” I have some of the same problems with woke progressives. To them you’re either a 100% party-line woke, or you’re lumped in with Trump or the KKK. There are many liberals — and some quite radical leftists rooted in the 1960s — who want to fix race relations but feel the wokes are dragging us backwards. To lump all those people in with Trump or the KKK is simply immature and counterproductive. The wokes would like it to be “wokes” vs “racists” but the larger conflict is “woke anti-racists” vs “liberal anti-racists,” with the true racists being somewhat on the margins of public life (albeit still there and doing harm).

    • Lex,

      Thanks for the comment! I’m a bit further right and more conservative myself, but true belief, and righteous zeal is always frightening. Unfortunately, given human nature, ‘wokism’ is uniting many, many people factionally, and which I view as deeply resentful and radical.

      As for the real racists, they’re there, of course. It can be a vicious and ugly thing, and institutional. In addition to the old and usual types, racists exist within every group, upon deeper foundations, I suspect. Which is why ‘racist/non-racist’ is insufficient to frame what I think is possible.

      You really only change people’s minds and form bonds through actual contact, friendship and trust. A growing economy can provide quite a bit of this. A football team. The military.

      So, apparently, can ideology, activism and radical politics. So can large coalitional politics and political idealism.

      • Yes, Chris, you are probably more conservative than I am — I would say I’m still solid left by 1960s standards, which places me equidistant from left, right, and middle on today’s spectrum. But I’m 100% with your reply up to “football team” and thereafter. I share your view that friendship and trust across demographic lines (race, political, etc.) is key. But I find activists across the spectrum, with their “us vs them” football mentality, are a major obstacle to that friendship and trust. Activism today is almost by definition a silo mentality, with everyone outside the small circle of true believers scarlet-lettered as fascist, racist, evil. Activists have (perhaps ironically) proven themselves over and over again to be part of the problem and not the solution. The only solution I can see is to throw away politics as we know it and connect to each other in our public spaces using only the tools of heart and imagination, stripped of everything we learned about politics. As the great hippie icon, Timothy Leary, said: “Drop out, turn on, tune in!”

      • Lex,

        Very well said! Living in Seattle, I’d like to think I speak a few hippie dialects, and perhaps can imagine myself into the shoes of what a kind of reasonable man of the Left might think from time to time.

        There’s a question which gnaws at me however: If the ideological framework driving change does not explicitly prohibit violence, and the logic exalts (M)an or some presumed universal truth as the highest ideal, then you will have violent thugs doing your dirty work, and eventually they come after you too. The higher ideal will still be measured by outcomes, not intentions (which is why I get into trouble with many on the Right.) The true-belief and radicalism was always there on the Left, now it’s just more out in the open. This makes me think there are unresolved structural problems on the political Left regarding human nature and maintaining legitimate moral authority and governing consent. The religious framework is often deeper and wiser about our nature, when that framework capable of tolerating dissent and free thought.

        Maybe that’s one of my strongest biases, anyways.

        Thanks again for the comments. These are good :0

  2. I agree with you mostly, except I find the religious component dispensable (neither good nor bad but unnecessary) in promoting good, salutary, human-friendly ideals. The essentially secular ideals of the 18th-century Enlightenment are fine by me. (This gets ME into trouble with woke progressives but not with the older-school or hippie leftists.) You might enjoy this post on the topic.

Leave a Reply