Editor's Note: This was co-written by Loyd Pettegrew.
When Gregory West’s The Wicked Witch of the West met her demise and was melting, she uttered the words, “Ohhhhhh, what a world, what a world.” Many citizens in the United States might be feeling that same sense of despair as they watch riots, looting, destruction of national monuments, and a daily proliferation of attacks on law and order. At the heart of much of the present-day pandemonium is the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Founded in 2013 by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. They met through "Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity," a national organization that trains community organizers. Garza wrote a Facebook post titled "A Love Note to Black People" in which she said: "Our Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter." Cullors replied: "#BlackLivesMatter". Tometi then added her support, and Black Lives Matter was born as an online campaign movement. Many on the left consider BLM as a direct continuation of the Civil Rights Movement which achieved many of its stated goals with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing all forms of discrimination.
Whereas the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was clearly integrated with articles and amendments of the U.S. Constitution, the BLM movement’s goals and purposes espouse unconstitutional change: “We call for an END to the systemic racism that allows this culture of corruption to go unchecked and our lives to be taken. We call for radical, sustainable solutions that affirms [SIC] the prosperity of Black lives throughout America: 1) We demand acknowledgment and accountability for our pain and injustice; 2) We demand divestment in the police force; 3) We demand investment in the health and prosperity of our communities.
The movement’s justification is its reliance on logic fallacies to absolve its existence. Cognitive scientists have identified common fallacies in the way people reason that undermine the validity of their critical thought processes. It is important to note that the whole of the BLM Movement is solidly established upon four of the most common fallacies in logical reasoning.
Their first logic fallacy is Scapegoating. This fallacy occurs when an unfavorable person, organization, or group is blamed without adequate cause. In this case, the Movement’s premise is established on small numbers, insufficient support, and weak inductive generalizations. For example, their first mission is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.” A 2015 Gallup poll presented data that more than half of blacks in America believe cops treat them either fairly or very fairly. As black journalist Coleman Hughes points out in “Stories and Data,” “Since 2001, the national incarceration rate for black men ages 18-29 has gone down by more than half.” Heather MacDonald presents data showing “As of June 1, the Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings showed nine unarmed black victims and 19 unarmed white victims of fatal police shootings in 2019. That number of black unarmed victims is down 76 percent from 2015 when the Post began keeping its database...That is 0.2 percent of all black homicide victims, still a negligible number.”
Finally, Harvard University scholar Ronald Fryer presented a large-scale study in the Journal of Political Economy, “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force” that completely deflates the assertions of the BLM Movement. The Bureau of Justice Statistics released its 2018 survey of criminal victimization where there were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations (excluding homicide) between blacks and whites, including white-on-black and black-on-white attacks. Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies or 90 percent, and whites committed 56,394 of them or less than 10 percent.
A second logical flaw in the BLM Movement is the Straw Man Argument. In this deviation from sound reasoning, one individual or group takes another person’s position, grossly distorts or exaggerates it, and then attacks the extreme distortion that they created as if it was part of the original argument from the person being misrepresented. For example, the only person who has said that “black lives don’t matter” turns out to be Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, who called on the UN to investigate systemic police violence against African Americans in the US saying that “Black lives do not matter in the United States.”
In fact, data in cities like Chicago where last weekend there were 104 shootings and 14 deaths, mostly in black neighborhoods, would suggest that black lives don’t matter to blacks. The BLM movement distorts their position to defend their own ambitions. BLM direct their protests against this Straw Man, supposedly systemic and structural racism in American society, against white society when data overwhelmingly discredit their argument.
A third BLM logic fallacy is known as Appeal to Ignorance. Here a position claims that a proposition must be true because there is no evidence against it. This fallacy is lacking in any sophistication. It accuses an individual or group of something, and if there is no convenient way to prove otherwise, then the assertion must be true. This fallacy is especially difficult if the accusing party refuses to accept evidence to the contrary, like no “systemic racism.” Members of the BLM movement accuse virtually every segment of American society of being overtly racist. There is white racism in government, education, business, sports, entertainment, income, and opportunity. The list and accusations go on and on.
Many scholars and researchers, even those of color, have challenged these assertions to no avail. In the face of accusations, many aspects of our society have been cowed into accepting the claim and feel compelled to make new commitments and concessions to people of color. This type of veiled admittance of guilt, where no sin really exists only emboldens the BLM to seek more of an advantage in a society that has already given them countless advantages like affirmative action and a cadre of other entitlements based solely on skin color alone. A stronger and unjust reverse discrimination may result. It is interesting that members of the BLM Movement fail to see the racism in their own slogan or motto. Black Lives Matter is inherently racist in the context of the statement itself. All Lives Matter should be the slogan of humanity.
A final logic fallacy in the BLM Movement is the Ad Hominen Fallacy. This fallacy occurs when instead of rationally addressing the positions or arguments of those with opposite points of view, or disagree with you, you vehemently and forcefully attack the individuals holding that opposite point of view. The implication by BLM and the mainstream media is that if you disagree with me that you are racist, this must mean you ARE racist. The fact that we have seen corporations like PepsiCo cower to accusations of racism by removing the Aunt Jemima label of products, NASCAR outlaw flying the confederate flag at races, Disney closing their “Splash Mountain” ride because it contained figures from the Disney movie Song of the South, Wendy’s giving $500,000 to black charities after rioters burned one of their franchises down anyway in Atlanta after Rayshard Brooks was killed there and Google-owned YouTube announcing a $100 million fund for black video creators. Perhaps this is less about black lives mattering than generating a false sense of white guilt.
The study of human reasoning and logic is an important area of science because it establishes the criteria of valid inference and demonstration of truth. It teaches the relationship between truth, fact, reality, and critical thinking. It provides an understanding of the difference between logical reasoning and fallacy.
The mainstream media has so inundated our information channels with false information and faulty logic that many people merely accept it as presented, instead of evaluating rigorously the facts and claims in the news. The failure of many in our society to recognize and call out the BLM on its vacuous intellectual grounds is a cause of great concern. The BLM is so intellectually bankrupt that it even attacks the dead, those with no voice to defend themselves. Is our nation now void of sound logic and critical thinking? This is the very reason we are ripe for socialism.
Ohhhh, what a world, what a world