Hate Crime Hoaxes: What Gets Rewarded Gets Repeated

Jonah Goldberg writes on manufactured hate crimes in his weekly newsletter.


Here’s something you might not know: In Nazi Germany, very few Jews staged bogus hate crimes against themselves.

Here’s some more trivia: Very few blacks in the Jim Crow South went to great lengths to pretend that they were harassed or attacked by racists.

You know why? Because that would be incredibly stupid. What, exactly, would the German Jew who staged an assault on himself gain from it? Where would he or she go to ask for sympathy or recompense? Conjure any horror story you like, the Nazi official you brought it to would say, “Yeah, and . . . ?” The black sharecropper who took the time to make his own cross and burn it on his own property would benefit . . . how?

Why am I bringing this up? Well, for a bunch of reasons. I have more points to make than can be found at an English Setter competition.

First, people who live under real oppression have no need to fabulate oppression. To paraphrase Madge from the old Palmolive ads: They’re already soaking in it.

Second, when you live in an oppressive country, there’s no one you can take your grievances to because that is what it means to live in an oppressive country! 

The Hate Hoax Bonfire

And indeed, calling a real racist “racist” doesn’t work. “Name and shame” is not very effective against those who aren’t ashamed.

Which brings me to the third point: In non-oppressive countries, there are people to take your case to. Sohrab Ahmari put it nicely in an essay a couple of years ago:

And as Pascal Bruckner wrote in his essay “The Tyranny of Guilt,” if liberal democracy does trap or jail you (politically speaking), it also invariably slips the key under your cell door. The Swedish midwives driven out of the profession over their pro-life views can take their story to the media. The Down syndrome advocacy outfit whose anti-eugenic advertising was censored in France can sue in national and then international courts. The Little Sisters of the Poor can appeal to the Supreme Court for a conscience exemption to Obamacare’s contraceptives mandate. And so on.

This is a hugely important point, and there’s an urgent need for more people to understand it. A free society is a rich ecosystem of competing institutions. Some are powerful, some weak. Some have great influence in a specific sphere of life: the American Bar Association, the military, the Catholic Church, whatever. Some only have power in a certain place: the county zoning board, the local police, your parents, etc. But none have unchecked power over the whole of the society and, thanks to the Constitution, that goes for the government itself, too.

A free society is a honeycomb of safe havens, competing authorities — legal, moral, cultural — that allow for people to find safe harbors from other institutions

ibid

And the hoaxes often get rewarded, at least for a while. And it’s rare to see one punished.

Goldberg wanders into economics. But what is economics except the organized study of how people respond to incentives?

A truism of economics is that you get more of what you subsidize and less of what you tax. I have no quarrel with that. But it seems to me we don’t think enough about how this principle applies to areas we see as outside of economics.

For instance, contrary to what one hears in the left-wing punditsphere, there’s a high cultural penalty — a tax, if you will — on open racism, which is one reason there is so much less of it today.Already, I can hear throats clearing to say “Oh yeah, what price has Donald Trump paid!!!?!?!” Well, leaving aside the merits of the cases for and against the claim that Donald Trump is a racist, it’s transparently obvious that he’s paid a political price for the perception that he is one. The reflexive opposition to Trump by many of the media outlets from which he craves approval is driven in no small part by the widespread liberal assumption that he’s a bigot of one kind or another. Similarly, he’s almost surely paid a price among many independent and moderate voters, including the millions who voted for both Trump and Obama, because of how he’s perceived, fairly or not.

But my point here isn’t to talk about Trump, but to check the box so I don’t have to talk about him further.

….

The sort of racism Smollett manufactured has never been lower in the United States, but rather than celebrate or express gratitude for this incontestable fact, people look for proof it’s worse than ever. Bereft of giants to slay, they construct windmills and pretend they are heroes for levelling their lances at them. Like the elders of Salem, they mistake their quiet hysteria for sober reality and believe every tale of witches beyond the tree line. On the principle that some things have to be believed to be seen, wearing a blanket at Oberlin is all the proof one needs for a moral panic over the invading armies of the Klan, just as the splash of a dolphin’s tale was proof of mermaids for horny sailors centuries ago.

….

Hoaxes and hysteria-fueled misinterpretations are common on the left because a certain kind of pity and hate has become institutionalized, monetized, and sacralized. But while pity and hate take a certain recognizable, custom-made form on the left — call it bespoke woke — the left doesn’t have a monopoly on the larger phenomenon. Donald Trump demands pity almost daily, and he gets it. And the pitiers get their opportunities for hatred, too. Christopher Hasson is an exceptional case, but only because he took the rhetoric of pity and hate duopoly to an extreme conclusion.

….

So I’ll leave with this depressing prediction. Obviously more Smollett-style hoaxes are coming. If the negative attention heaped on mass shooters is enough to inspire other losers to commit that kind of evil, it’s easy to imagine that the attention Smollett has gotten will inspire losers to do likewise. But that’s not my prediction. There will be a hoax involving MAGA hats, but the fake victims will be those wearing them. We already saw the hunger for this kind of thing in the Covington case — but those kids were in fact victims. President Trump invited that kid named Trump to the State of the Union precisely because he wanted to exploit this great reservoir of pity. And the coverage of this legitimate outrage will no doubt encourage others to get a piece of that on the cheap.

So mark my words, some loser, desperate to be lionized by Candace Owens or applauded at CPAC, will manufacture some story of victimhood that will ignite a bonfire of outrage on the right and a riot of sympathy about MAGA persecution. The mainstream media will suddenly remember the professional integrity it forgot in the Smollett case and debunk it. But before then, the pitiables of the right will claim victimhood by proxy and denounce the insensitivity of an uncaring media that hates them. The roles will be reversed, but the script will be the same, and the actors will all yell just a little bit louder, as the snake ups the tempo of its own repast.

ibid

Regulate immigrants like guns?

I’ve seen articles describing what it would be like if we regulated cars the way we regulate guns. (Hint: car drivers would riot.)

I’ve seen articles describing what it would be like if we regulated guns the way we regulate cars. (Hint: gun control activists would have strokes.)

Now, a piece on LifeZette describing what it would look like if the Left treated immigrants the way they do guns.

Any horrific shooting that makes national news brings a predictable cacophony of calls from progressives for gun control. But what if the Left applied that logic to immigration?

We’d be hearing a lot more demands for “immigrant control” and “common-sense immigration restrictions.”

[snip]

There would be calls for banning immigration. Banning all immigration into the United States in response to crimes committed by some illegal immigrants would, indeed, be radical. And irrational. No serious person has suggested that sealing the border and allowing no more immigrants ever again would be a reasonable approach to immigrant crime.

Yet, the most radical of gun control advocates demand that approach for guns. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) called for reinstatement of a ban on so-called assault weapons, along with aggressive measures to remove existing weapons.

[snip]

Liberals would highlight sensational crimes by immigrants. The culprit is clear anytime someone shoots up a school or a workplace, according to liberals — guns. Progressives are far more circumspect whenever an illegal immigrant commits a high-profile crime, such as the recent murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts.

The blame in those cases, liberals preach, rests with the individual murderers; don’t dare suggest that all immigrants or immigration policy bear responsibility.

[snip]

There would be calls to close the immigration background check loophole. Liberals for years have demanded that Congress close the “gun show loophole.” This is shorthand for people being able to buy firearms at a gun show without having to undergo a criminal background check.

But it is not really a gun show loophole at all. The “loophole” has to do with people who sell their personal guns. Federally licensed firearms dealers must run the background check whether the sales takes place in a store or at a show.

The federal background check requirement does not apply to people who do not have firearms businesses but want to sell from a personal collection. (Some states do require background checks even for those people).

[snip]

Liberals issue no similar calls to close the immigration background check loophole, however. The United States admits roughly 1 million people legally each year, both through permanent immigration and on nonimmigration visas, such as those allowing foreigners to work or study in America. All of those foreigners undergo some type of background check.

But foreigners who come across the border illegally, by definition, evade all background checks. In fiscal year 2017, border and customs agents apprehended 415,191 illegal immigrants. Experts estimate that for every foreigner apprehended, one makes it through to the interior of the country.

 

They won’t like The New Rules

From Powerline: She should have asked them to bake a cake

But yesterday’s peak outrage is one you probably already know about: the manager of a Red Hen restaurant kicked Sarah Sanders and her family out of her establishment last night. Sanders tweeted about it:

Sarah Sanders
@PressSec
Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so

And the manager boasted of her intolerably rude (and economically irrational) treatment of Sanders’ family on social media.

Remember when Republican restaurant owners wouldn’t let Obama administration employees eat in their restaurants? No, I don’t recall that either. I only have two observations about the Red Hen outrage: 1) We don’t have Red Hen restaurants in our part of the country, or I would boycott them. 2) I hope Republicans are taking notes. One of these days, we will have a Democratic administration. And when that happens, every single outrage that the Democrats have perpetrated beginning in January 2017 should be visited upon them.

Well, fine. We have New Rules.

Harassment policies for science fiction conventions are all the rage. Many big name authors and others are threatening to boycott conventions that don’t have policies regarding harassment. Here’s how I propose modifying these policies, given The New Rules:

Harassment Policy for SyfyCon

1: The Convention’s response to any reports of harassment will be contingent on whether the committee head believes harassment is deserved. If the committee head believes the alleged victim is unworthy, then she’s on her own.
2: …

 

Why Anti-Semitism On The Left Is More Dangerous Than Anti-Semitism On The Right – The Forward

Source: Why Anti-Semitism On The Left Is More Dangerous Than Anti-Semitism On The Right – The Forward

But left wing anti-Semitism is even more dangerous than its Nazi counterpart in some respects, for the simple fact that while Nazis are considered beyond the pale of what is accepted by civil society, left wing anti-Semitism is increasingly considered “legitimate” because it can hide behind widely accepted liberal ideas like anti-Zionism, for example.

Patterico’s Pontifications » Memo To Employees From Google’s CEO Seems A Bit Inconsistent

Source: Patterico’s Pontifications » Memo To Employees From Google’s CEO Seems A Bit Inconsistent

1. Google claims to strongly support the rights of employees to express themselves. And yet when one employee exercised those Google-given rights to express himself, he was fired.
2. How does the CEO know that the vast majority of employees disagree with Damore’s memo? Would they actually want to go on record agreeing and supporting Damore after seeing him be fired for exercising his Google-given rights?
3. It’s fair to debate what is in the memo per the CEO, and yet when Damore brought up what was fair to debate, he was fired.
4. It allegedly crossed the line by promoting harmful gender stereotypes, except that Damore simply suggested that innate differences between the sexes, to some degree, contribute to the low representation of women in tech, and then he provided options to work with that possibility to increase, or at least encourage a greater participation of women. He didn’t ridicule or threaten or harass anyone. This is what an intellectual challenge looks like.
5. James Damore, in exercising his Google-given rights to express himself, was directly attempting to “do his utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination”. He was attempting to open discussion, honestly and seemingly without fear of reprisal directly because of the words and assurances in Google’s own Code of Conduct.
6. In as much as some employees feel hurt and judged as a gender, it appeared that Damore was also feeling judged and possibly hurt for his non-leftist views and resistance to conforming to the prescribed political positions held by Google – even before he wrote the memo. Because his feelings of being judged were the result of the company’s political biases, and were in the minority, does that make them invalid?
7. While the CEO does not want employees to have to worry about opening their mouths, in retrospect, shouldn’t Damore have worried about opening his own mouth via a memo? Does that freedom from concern really extend to every employee and the positions and views they value and stand upon?
8. If employees holding minority views question whether they can really freely express their views (without fear of reprisal) because they already feel under threat, and they’ve just witnessed an employee holding similar minority views be fired for doing that very thing, why on earth would any concerned employees sharing similar views believe his claims?

The “author had a right express their views on those topics—we encourage an environment in which people can do this and it remains our policy to not take action against anyone for prompting these discussions,” AND YET WE JUST TOOK MAJOR ACTION AGAINST AN EMPLOYEE FOR EXERCISING THOSE RIGHTS WHEN HE EXPRESSED HIS VIEWS.

The Insidious Influence of the SPLC – WSJ

Source: The Insidious Influence of the SPLC – WSJ

Aided by a veneer of objectivity, the SPLC has for years served as the media’s expert witness for evaluating “extremism” and “hatred.” But while the SPLC rightly condemns groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Westboro Baptist Church and New Black Panther Party, it has managed to blur the lines, besmirching mainstream groups like the FRC, as well as people such as social scientist Charles Murray and Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a critic of Islamic extremism.

A clear illustration of the SPLC’s pervasive and insidious influence is the March riot at Middlebury College, where Mr. Murray had been invited to speak. “The SPLC is the primary source for the protesters at my events,” Mr. Murray told me. “It is quotes from the SPLC, assertions by the SPLC that drive the whole thing.”

Mr. Murray’s politics are libertarian, but the SPLC labels him a “white nationalist.” In reporting on the Middlebury fracas, numerous news organizations repeated the SPLC’s characterization without noting it was false. The AP even put it in a headline: “College Students Protest Speaker Branded White Nationalist.”

How did the SPLC become the default journalistic resource on purported hate speech, racism and extremism? Morris Dees, still the SPLC’s chief trial attorney, founded the organization in 1971 along with Joseph Levin Jr. , now an emeritus board member. In its early years, the SPLC made a name for itself by winning some high-profile cases against the KKK and other white-supremacist groups. But over time its mission changed. In recent years it has focused on “tolerance education,” hate-group tracking (including an online “hate map”) and fundraising.

Although the SPLC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and therefore statutorily prohibited from engaging in partisan politics, even a cursory review of its website belies its nonpartisan status. During the 2016 election, the SPLC posted “Margins to the Mainstream: Extremists Have Influenced the GOP 2016 Policy Platform” and “Here Are the Extremist Groups Planning to Attend the RNC in Cleveland.” The Democratic platform and convention received no such scrutiny.

An SPLC post titled “Electoral Extremism” ostensibly profiles “a dozen 2014 candidates, including Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, independents and others.” Only a single Democrat is profiled, along with five Republicans and five third-party candidates. All of those listed are considered “right wing” or conservative, including the third-party ones. Even the Democrat on the list formerly belonged to the Constitution Party.

Last August SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok tied Donald Trump to David Duke, whom Mr. Trump had denounced. “Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see the denunciations [of Mr. Duke] are not sincere,” Mr. Potok told the Huffington Post. “The sad reality is that David Duke and Donald Trump are appealing to precisely the same constituency.” Not quite. Mr. Trump took 58% of the vote in Louisiana. Mr. Duke, running for U.S. Senate on the same ballot, managed only 3%.

The SPLC reflexively plays down threats from the left. This February Mr. Potok wrote that in the 1990s “the American radical right” was “deprived of the bogeyman of communism.” Even when condemning far-left groups, the SPLC shows an odd deference. Describing black separatists, the SPLC avers that “much black racism in America is, at least in part, a response to centuries of white racism,” and “the racism of a group like the Nation [of Islam] may be relatively easy to understand.”

Kori Ali Muhammad allegedly murdered three white people in California in April. The SPLC reports that on Facebook Mr. Muhammad wrote of “grafted white devil skunks” and repeatedly referred to the mythical “Lost Found Asiaiatic [sic] Black Nation in America.” Yet in contrast with its unequivocal (and false) tagging of Mr. Murray, the group describes Mr. Muhammad as a “possible black separatist.”

The SPLC’s work arguably contributes to the climate of hate it abhors—and Middlebury isn’t the worst example. In 2012 Floyd Lee Corkins shot and wounded a security guard at the Family Research Council’s headquarters. Mr. Corkins, who pleaded guilty to domestic terrorism, told investigators he had targeted the group after learning of it from the SPLC’s website. The SPLC responded to the shooting with a statement: “We condemn all acts of violence.”

Last week the SPLC found itself in the awkward position of disavowing the man who opened fire on Republican members of Congress during baseball practice. “We’re aware that the SPLC was among hundreds of groups that the man identified as the shooter ‘liked’ on Facebook,” SPLC president Richard Cohen said in a statement. “I want to be as clear as I can possibly be: The SPLC condemns all forms of violence.”

Some journalists harbor doubts about the SPLC. “Any time a group like that is seen as partisan it undermines itself and its noble mission,” a network anchor told me on condition of anonymity. “Anti-LGBTQ bigotry is heinous, but classifying the Family Research Council in the same terms as Nazis did not help SPLC in its nonpartisan mission.”

Still, as long as journalists serve up what the SPLC dishes out, the group has little to gain by directly engaging its critics. (It did not respond to three inquiries for this article.) Now the GuideStar partnership may further burnish its credentials as an unbiased arbiter of hate.

Alan Dershowitz: Democrats, not Sean Spicer, are the ones exploiting the Holocaust for political gain

Source: Alan Dershowitz: Democrats, not Sean Spicer, are the ones exploiting the Holocaust for political gain

Democrats have merely discovered what they consider a useful club for beating up on a Republican. They didn’t object when Chris Matthews made the same point, because they weren’t interested in beating him up.

By not complaining about Chris Matthews, Democrats have waived the right to complain about Sean Spicer.