Angels And Demons In America

It’s been obvious for a long time, though denied with a vehemence that only the unduly passionate could love: Identity trumps facts, law and reality. Orin Kerr summed it up.

Simultaneously the excuses and condemnations fly, ranging from the inane to the outright lies, all to achieve the only possible outcome: as to the shooting of Jacob Blake, that this was a clear example of racist police attempting to murder a black man, and as to Kyle Rittenhouse, that he was a white-supremacist vigilante out to murder protesters.

No one on either side of the ideological divide is interested in the facts, the circumstances or the law. They care only whether the person under discussion — strike that, because these aren’t people, but cartoon characters for the cause — are supposed to be loved or hated. What’s their race? What’s their politics?

What happened? What really happened? What are the facts? What are the circumstances? What is the law? It’s racist, or sexist, or whatever victim identity is thrown against the wall, to ignore what the tribe tells you to believe and instead get mired in the facts, as if a black man can do wrong or a white teen can act in self-defense. Or even worse, to doubt the orthodoxy of either left or right makes you an enemy of both flavors of crazy.

Greg Prickett takes them on today, with a post considering his view of the facts. He has already made very clear where his sympathies lie, that he views the situation of black people as being with their backs against the wall, left to take extreme measures to make clear their treatment at the hands of police and end the intransigent racial assumptions that black people are more prone to crime and violence, which colors the cops’ perceptions and treatment of black people.

And yet, he picks apart what are understood to be the facts relating to the shooting of Jacob Blake and the shooting by Kyle Rittenhouse without regard to their race, their politics or the outcome either team demands.

Since Greg’s post was written, Rittenhouse has been charged with six crimes, the most serious of which is Intentional Homicide, an A Felony. It follows on an extremely surprising New York Times post about the sequence of events based on video taken at the time.

On the flipside, the adoration of Blake continues unabated by the spreading of new reasons to be outraged that aren’t reasons at all.

In a sense, people can be forgiven their blind faith in their tribe’s claims. The media has dedicated itself to telling only the stories and lies that it’s certain will lead readers to the only correct conclusion. It’s not done with malice, but for the sake of making sure that no reader could possibly be blinded by the false god of objectivity and fail to see the far more important “truth” of good and evil.

Our circumstances are complex and our troubles are many, but the battle lines are becoming increasingly clear. On the one side are the hated police, bent on slaughtering black people en masse.

On the other side are the righteous fighters for equality and tolerance.

Between the two are the facts and circumstances of each interaction that lights up a city. We can argue who is right or wrong, what the facts are and what conclusions should be drawn from them, what the law is and should be, and that’s what we do here and have been doing for a very long time. But we argue about reality, not identity, not ideology, not lies or fallacies to back a tribe no matter what.

If your principles blow with the wind of identity, then you have no principles. This was how identity politics was bound to play out all along, even if you couldn’t see it because of the tears in your eyes for the marginalized or Old Glory. It won’t make you popular to be a heretic, even if you know in the back of your mind that your sympathies toward one side or the other defy the facts and reason.

If you can’t break free of your ideology and face the facts, even if it means Jacob Blake isn’t an angel and Kyle Rittenhouse isn’t a demon, then you are the reason the streets are burning.

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