Why BLM is Bad

Why BLM is Bad

Photo by: Lalesh Aldarwish

My friend Roger asks:

In this and other of your opinion pieces you assume good faith on the part of the reader. You write not to amplify or explain but to promote. You're a smart guy. What I want to know from you is what you contend and why. For example, I reject the BLM movement. You seem to also. Why? What constitutes the BLM movement to the extent that you and I and conservatives reject it. What is it that makes it inherently flawed. I'm not interested in doing good. I'm interested in knowing what is good.

First, I'm going to make an observation as a coach. If you are up to something in the world, you've got to start with your crew. My friend Roger always has insight that sharpens my thinking and makes me a better person. Whatever you want to do, whatever you are up to, your chances of success are just going to be that much better, if you surround yourself with the people who you want to be like and who will support you. It just works. Do it.

Now, I'm going to get to the substance. The question essentially is why does this whole Black Lives Matter movement bother us in our kishkes?

BLM looks to an answer outside of itself, and this is not the American way.

Let us say that the black community (and do not berate me for using this term; this is what the movement calls itself) is correct in its premise that black people suffer different treatment at the hands of the police. Let's take it one step further, that blacks are seen differently by a majority of whites and subject to different treatment as a result.

They are not special in this. Slavery and subjugation are a part of the human condition. From the moment he started to settle down, work fields, and build cities, man enslaved others to do his work. Every empire created was at the cost of other people, and most included a fair amount of death and persecution along the way.

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They're Right: Black Lives Don't Matter

They're Right: Black Lives Don't Matter

They're Right: Black Lives Don't Matter

Black lives don't matter. But then neither do those of anyone else. It's just not a principal of our system of government that any particular life matters at all.

Aren't All Men Created Equal?

But didn't we say “All men are created equal?” We did, but it was only a preamble to tell George the Third to kiss-off. All it really means is your life doesn't matter any more than mine. And while the Declaration of Independence is a good read (I read it most every Fourth of July), it has no legally binding effect.

The truth is your life doesn't matter any more than you make it matter. Read the Constitution. It's a fairly technical document.

And the Bill of Rights?

The Bill of Rights was actually pushed by the Anti-Federalists who thought of it as a necessary to safeguard individual liberty. The Federalists opposed saying “Hey, the states already have all the powers not enumarated in the Constitution. These are your natural rights anyway. We don't really need to spell them out.”

When Life Matters

The way to make your life matter is to make your life matter. You can choose to do it for one, to take care of your mom or dad, or your wife, or your kid, or you can choose to make it matter for the world, to “Have a Dream,” as Martin Luther King, Jr. might say, or to “be the change you wish to see in the world,” Ghandi, or to “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier,” Mother Teresa, or even to “Make America Great Again.”

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Evergreen, I Offer My Help

Evergreen, I Offer My Help

Dear Friends:

We share a common purpose, I hope. We want to foster a generation of strong, informed, involved, risk-takers, people ready to take on life and the world, people ready to leave a better world behind them.

We share a vision. We believe that people who determine the path of their own education are more likely to stay the course, to go to depth, to connect their education with their future and the world, to take that to places we can't even imagine. We believe this is good.

I am a parent of four exceptional children. My mother was a nurse. On her first day of rounds as a student nurse in the psych ward, the Attending told her class “the people you see here are people who never had any limits.”

Evergreen is a “think outside the box” kind of school. This is impossible when the box isn't clearly defined or doesn't even exist.

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American Trigger Warning

American Trigger Warning

I shared with my mom this conversation regarding Canada's Bill C-116. A conversation on the nature of free speech opened with a trigger warning. If I weren't already sensitized to the issue, I would have been appalled. I thank our G-d that we aren't here yet in the United States, but we're moving in this direction:

Harassment motivated by gender is a form of discrimination.…
For example, refusal to use a transgender employee’s preferred name, pronoun, or title may constitute unlawful gender-based harassment.

New York City Gender Identity/Gender Expression: Legal Enforcement Guidance Leaving aside the obvious problems—like a man deciding he's a woman to walk into a woman's shelter or locker room—I think this runs up against our First Amendment rights to free speech:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This amendment is based on the premise that the free expression of our ideas, and the give and take that follow therefrom, will give us an opportunity to challenge ourselves, to examine our thoughts and those of others, and come to a better question, maybe even approach a truth, although yours and mine might be completely different.

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Free Speech on the College Campus

Free Speech on the College Campus

Photo by: Kat Jayne

I'm prompted to write this week by the recent kerfuffles surrounding Professors Jordan B. Peterson (University of Toronto), and Bret Weinstein (Evergreen State College). I'm also informed by Professor Yuval N. Harari's Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind.

Professor Harari suggests that there is a continuum between religion and ideology, suggesting that either are just a set of shared myths. We build our societies and states around certain shared sets of ideas.

In our American case, our shared beliefs—political at least—are enshrined in our constitution. Informing this is a certain Christian tradition, and the moral and ethical code that it carries with it. I'm reminded of Franklin's emphasis on thrift and industry and respect, a rather simple elegance informing our dignity.

The part relevant to this discussion is the First Amendment:

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Assuming Professor Harari's premise is correct, we have made a religion of our freedom to embrace our own beliefs, and share our own thoughts. As I see it, this amendment was written to concretize our creed "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

So why does this show up here? It seems some of us have forgotten our roots. The people screaming against Professors Weinstein and Peterson are demanding that their positions be “respected,” but wish to do that by creating and enforcing codes and thoughts and practices directly abridging the freedom of speech of the next person.

In Professor Peterson's case, it is worse. Those who claim to be the victims of Peterson's speech have the ear of Prime Minister Trudeau. For Professor Peterson, there is a real threat that his incautious choice of words will have criminal consequences. There's a fair argument to be made that we are not far behind, regardless of our constitutional protections.

Those protesting professors Peterson and Weinstein think that we ought to protect them from being offended, that we should be forced to respect what they believe, but that's simply not how our system operates.

It's time we take a stand. You, snowflake, are welcome to advocate all you want to be called ze or for a white-free day on your campus. What you are not welcome to do is command that I call you ze, or not show up because I am too white for your political purposes.

You may argue for a different world order, but that's not what the rest of us signed on for.