On Monday night, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced that Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, would not be indicted in the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown. McCulloch explained the falsehoods permeating the original media accounts of the shooting; he explained that Brown had, by all available physical and credible witness evidence, charged Wilson after attempting to take his gun from him in Wilson's vehicle.
And none of it mattered. The riots went forward as planned; the media steadfastly distributed its prewritten narrative of evil racist white cop murdering innocent young black man. President Obama stepped to the microphones to denounce American racism. He did not recapitulate the evidence; he did not condemn rioters and pledge that law enforcement would crack down on them. Instead, he said that protesters and rioters -- all of them ignoring the fact that a white police officer had not murdered an innocent black man in cold blood -- were justified in their rage.
Indeed, the president said, they had feelings. And those feelings were legitimate, all evidence to the contrary. "There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry. It's an understandable reaction," Obama said. What made disappointment and anger over an evidence-based verdict "understandable"? Obama explained: "There are still problems and communities of color aren't just making these problems up. Separating that from this particular decision, there are issues in which the law too often feels as if it is being applied in a discriminatory fashion."
The key word: feels. Obama did not cite a single instance of the law being applied in a discriminatory fashion -- because in Ferguson it was not. Instead, he made a general statement, of the sort leftists often make, that broad feelings of discontent must be inherently legitimate -- because, after all, if people feel, those feelings must have a basis.
Now, there are certainly individual instances of racism by law enforcement in American society. All such instances should be investigated and prosecuted. But to suggest, as President Obama and the media do, that such instances provide the basis for a justifiable and generalized feeling of discontent is to declare the war on racist activity unwinnable. We cannot fight a shadow-enemy. We can never overcome feelings on a public policy level.
That is why President Obama and the left love discussing feelings. Talking about feelings avoids more difficult conversations about prosecuting individual cases or fighting crime. Feelingstalk means evidence becomes irrelevant because we need no evidence for our feelings -- they are legitimized by virtue of their very being. Self-definition becomes societal definition: if I feel there's a social problem, there's a social problem. In fact, in Feelingstown, facts become insults: If facts debunk feelings, it is the facts that must lose.
Truth is the first casualty of the feelings society; morality is the second.
Civilization is the third. If feelings require no justification in order to receive the presidential seal of approval, we have moved beyond rational political debate. If those feelings require social change, problems become inherently unsolvable.
And so, on to the next Ferguson. Feelings required. No evidence necessary.