In the wake of the shooting death of a young black man by a white Ferguson, Missouri police officer, it is to no one’s surprise that the usual suspects on the left are screaming “racism” from the rooftops.
Infinitely more disturbing for the lover of liberty is that ever growing legions of “libertarians” are regurgitating this same talking point. Moreover, the libertarian’s obsession with “the State” has endowed him with boundless sympathy for the hordes of violent black criminals that have been violating every principle that he claims to hold sacred while attributing the assault against civilization on display in Ferguson to “the militarization” of the police.
“Paleo-libertarian” and long-standing World Net Daily writer, Ilana Mercer, takes to task Paul Craig Roberts, who recently suggested that “racism” may very well play a role in accounting for why so many whites are inclined to think that the shooting was justified. In her own inimitable way, Mercer puts this line out to pasture by noting it for the “nonsense” and “bullshit” that it is.
There could be any number of reasons for why white Americans are disposed to sympathize with the decorated police officer for whose death the rioters are now calling, Mercer notes. Among such reasons, she remarks, is that these “ordinary Americans who Paul Craig Roberts maligns as likely racists…have simply experienced ‘black crime’ first hand, or are fearful of experiencing ‘black-on-white’ violence in all its ferocity [.]”
Some remarks are in order here.
First, anyone who is interested in thinking clearly and honestly must realize that “racism” is the rhetorical ware of bumper stickers and t-shirts: Because it means—and is intended to mean—all things to all people, it has become meaningless. All that we do know is that “racism” is a dreadful, probably the most dreadfulthing, of which a white person can be accused.
To be called a “racist,” then, is like being called a “creep” or a “jerk,” only much, much worse.
Of course, no one knows why it’s supposed to be so terrible to be a “racist.” In and of itself, a “racist” could signify someone who has a special place in his heart, a certain partiality, toward the members of his own race. Yet such affection for the members of one’s race no more betrays a weakness in one’s character than does a fondness for one’s family or one’s nation.
May not “racism” be the moral equivalent to “family-ism” or “patriotism?”
However we choose to slice and dice this matter, the point is that “racism” is a vapid term that any thoughtful person should’ve abandoned long ago.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.