The events in Dallas, Texas have provided us with a point of reflection. It seems a sad fact of human behavior that bad ideas have bad results. We are seeing this now in Venezuela, where Chavez-style socialism is leaving a nation rich in resources so poor its citizens cannot buy food.
Bad ideas have again brought us bad results. Micah Xavier Johnson, the 25 year old shooter, did not kill white cops because he was insane; he killed them because his ideas said that killing white police officers is a good thing. In its report on the shooter, CNN attributes Johnson’s actions to ‘rage’ without telling us where this ‘rage’ may have come from or whether it was justified. This moral weakness is common. We like to believe that a strong emotion, so long as it is sincerely acted upon, is a reliable guide for how we should behave.
These acts, which most would call murder, became morally justified if you believe that police officers are targeting black men. But what are the facts?
It is true that a disproportionate amount blacks are in jail compared to whites, according to their percentage of the US population. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report, as of 2013 37% of incarcerated men and 22% of women were black. This compares to 32% for white men, 49% for white women, 22% for Hispanic men, and 17% for Hispanic women. 3% of black males are in jail, compared to 1% of Hispanics and 0.5% of white men. Black women are incarcerated at twice the rate of white women. On the surface his sounds racist, but is it? Between 1980 and 2008, blacks committed 52% of homicides. Blacks also commit 85% of non-homicidal violent crimes. Furthermore, if cops were targeting blacks for abuse, why is it the case that whites and Hispanics are killed at far higher rates than blacks? In 2015 alone, twice as many whites were killed by police as blacks. If we used the results-based thinking of the Left, this would show the police are racist against whites, wouldn’t it?
So what were the ideas which motivated the Micah Johnson to do what he did? Not statistics, which tell a different story, but an ideology, a narrative of racist cops targeting black men. Dr. Maurice Millier, founder of the African American Defense League, in an online post states, “We must kill white police officers across the country!…We must kill the one in blue who is killing me and killing you!” Johnson was a Facebook follower of this group. He also ‘liked’ pages related to Elijah Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam, a racist group that preaches whites are evil. It is not quite accurate to call Johnson a “black nationalist,” but to call him sympathetic towards racism is.
Ideology serves the goal of dividing men, not uniting them around a shared history, faith, or philosophy. President Obama has complained that “the deepest faultlines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed.” But he has played his part is creating and furthering an ideology of race war, which has now served to inspire a man to commit murder.
Ideologies of race, class, and sex damage the political process and civil society. Ideology short-circuits any attempt at the compromises that are part of living together in society. So long as ideologies of race continue to spread, there will be no end to racial strife and murder.