Being Libertarian Perspectives will serve as a weekly, multi-perspective opinion and analysis piece by members of Being Libertarian’s writing team. Every week the panel, comprised of randomly selected writers, will answer a question based on current events or libertarian philosophy. Managing Editor Dillon Eliassen will moderate and facilitate the discussion.
Dillon Eliassen: What would be the most effective approach for Black Lives Matter to advance their cause than the petty and absurd methods they employ now?
In other words, how do chants that advocate violence against the police and white people, or blocking highways, help to resolve the dissolution of black families, poverty, lack of education, etc., the real problems facing not just blacks, but poor people of any ethnicity?
Martin van Staden: Divorce from the tradition of Critical Theory. CT exists to undermine systems and cultures, and is extremely effective at doing it. With Black Lives Matter, they are assuming targeting black persons is institutionalized, when, in fact, it’s just ordinary everyday statism.
BLM needs to grow itself some libertarian roots, because libertarianism is the only philosophy which truly believes in an accountable and restrained police force. Critical Theory does not, and will simply use the police to enforce whatever perversion emerges from the ashes of Western civilization.
Brandon Kirby: I approach it from an Augustinian perspective (which is similar to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Thomas Aquinas approach) in that goodness isn’t rooted in anything systemic, it’s rooted in free will. Right and wrong, good and evil, blame worthy and praise worthy actions all depend on an individual making a choice; if I kill someone, only because Darth Vader used his Force powers to move my hand to pull the trigger of a gun, I didn’t actually do anything wrong because it wasn’t my choice. A good society is superficial if it’s organized to be a good society rather than individuals actually choosing to be good.
Prior to Augustine, philosophers mainly focused on ways to structure a society to arrive at justice or goodness. They would look to a Republic, or Pax Romana, for goodness, but Augustine focused on the individual and their will and what the will pursues. Augustine saw through the superficial and moved into something substantial. Augustine believed that we have the capacity to choose higher things over lesser things – morality is simply a choice between higher things over lesser things. Do I choose camaraderie and steal some neighbor’s fruit with my friends or do I choose justice and let her keep her fruit?
Martin Luther King Jr. gave us something to love, and so he and his message were embraced because it called individuals to a higher state of moral being. If the BLM movement offers us hatred, our wills will thus be repulsed. They need to focus on individuals rather than systems and love rather than hatred in order to attract everyone else’s will so that we pursue the BLM goals along with them.
Ni Ma: BLM was founded on the narrative that cops in the US are more likely to shoot a black person than a white person in the same situation. Unfortunately, they forgot to present objective evidence for this hypothesis, and instead cling to and propagate long debunked mythologies to motivate their members to throw public tantrums. If their cause is chaos, misinformation, destruction, and ultimately a federalized police force, then I’d say they’re doing quite well.
Alon Ganon: They should focus on the socio-economic issues within intercity communities affected by the War on Drugs and other factors leading to a decline of quality of living in those communities. I have friends who live in them, and the issues are quite overt. It seems BLM would rather be professional victims than accept the reality that the first steps to rebuilding requires individuals to use our own two hands, a method undertaken by every single community, whether it be Italian, Jewish, Japanese, German, Irish, etc. throughout American history.
They focus so much on external issues that they get mired in the fact that police are individuals and should be judged accordingly. We have seen BLM support the worst kind of thugs merely because they stood up to police. They don’t want to recognize the issues that stem from cronyism, corrupt leadership, and the single party Democrat rule for long periods of time in multiple cities. They forgot to realize that the first step to analyzing the problem is looking at it, and seeing if perhaps they are in fact part of the problems themselves. BLM solidified a narrative before evidence came out; they keep promoting “Hands Up Don’t Shoot.” A lot of BLM has this “They’re black so they must have been wronged” mentality rather than, “They are people who may have been doing something wrong.”
Gary St. Fleur: The movement has become a confluence of every Leftist notion of what undermines the black community instead of a focused approach that reaches to the heart of their concerns. The real issue they are confronted by is police brutality which is due to the state enforcing nonsensical drug laws and profiting from the imprisonment of citizens. Fundamentally, BLM should focus solely on reducing the need for policing by having civilian oversight of police, move to the reduction of the police force and its professionalization while decriminalizing the use of drugs which would reduce the need for all this policing.
Dillon: There is a silver lining to this grey cloud. The father of the shot kid in Milwaukee blamed, in part, himself for being a poor role model for his son.
I wish this would become the narrative, but it won’t because of the statist-agenda-driven enablers in the MSM. If BLM really wanted to make a positive difference for black people, they’d advocate a woman should not have a child unless she is married to the father and he has a non-criminal way of providing for the family. Also, they should not teach their children that all cops are bad and that you should resist arrest; that is how criminals become casualties. Also, blacks and any and all minorities need to free themselves from the mindset that the way to salvation is through voting for Democrats who promise a nanny state and the soft reparations of other people’s tax dollars. Democratic politicians don’t give a good goddamn about helping lower class peoples, they care about getting votes, which means condescending and pandering to people who don’t know any better.
Martin Luther King would view BLM with disdain. Two generations ago, blacks and whites marched for civil rights, to bring an end to Jim Crow, for blacks to be able to vote, have trial by jury and be allowed to be a customer with equal standing at both private and publicly run enterprises. Now, they are agitating for the “civil right” of not being shot if/when they resist arrest. If a person from any socio-economic demographic/ethnicity resists arrest, the police will use whatever force they deem necessary, and even unnecessary, to subdue the resister. If you find yourself on the wrong side of handcuffs and a nightstick, just go along quietly; never resist arrest, it is 100% a losing proposition, you can not win. The police have backup and are much better equipped than private citizens. You will be severely injured or killed if you continue to resist arrest. You have a moral obligation to yourself and your family to keep yourself alive in any and all scenarios. If you want to resist the police state, you do it via the courts and legislation, not in the street when there are cops with guns drawn at you. Change comes about via long term planning, execution and follow through, not by making yourself a martyr. Even if you are being arrested for breaking the most capricious of laws, allow yourself to be arrested; being another Eric Garner helps nothing and no one.
Micah J. Fleck: Video evidence shows cops hurting and killing black and white people (but blacks more so) that don’t appear to be resisting arrest. Therefore your claim about them wanting the special right to get away with resisting is cherry picking. And “they” don’t all agitate, either. Some just march. MLK wouldn’t have disdain for the peaceful among the BLM marchers. It’s as simple as nuance vs. broad strokes making the difference.
Dillon: “Agitate” as in working towards a goal by spotlighting an issue. That includes marching. MLK obviously wouldn’t have disdain towards those marching as a means, but he would not agree with a great many of their ends, some of the more ridiculous demands they’ve made.
John Engle: I think the problem comes with a conflation of the hard core of extreme/extremist activists who have internalized a false view of the world, thanks to a range of factors driven by intersectional thinking and violent ideology. The vast majority of the people involved are just ordinary people who perceive persistent injustice and their communities getting worse, not better. That can create a sense of (legitimate) grievance. The problem is that the solutions offered by both mainstream parties do nothing to actually address root causes. A libertarian approach has to combine not only the classic pitch about the drug war, but also the idea of delivering more power into the hands of local communities so they have the policy-making agency to protect themselves and their communities.
Dillon: I think a more accurate parallel regarding police shootings is not race, but wealth and income. I’ve been saying for a long goddamn time, it isn’t so much white privilege, it’s wealth privilege. The benefits of wealth have been conflated with the supposed benefits of being white. Asians have the lowest crime rates, and culturally have a high emphasis on family structure, education and work ethic, which are factors that greatly influence the ability to accumulate wealth. Wealth buys you property in safe neighborhoods, and good lawyers to defend you when charged with a crime.
John: Wealth certainly does play a large factor, sure. And the fact that there is such significant overlap between black communities and poor communities makes that distinction difficult to register. But that doesn’t change the sense of alienation that is particularly true of urban black communities, and their grievances as they understand them. Sometimes policy focus has to be on the perception, not just the statistics. Because unless people feel that things are changing, it doesn’t matter if they really are.
Dillon: My position about the wealth and family structure aspects are not meant to ignore that there are racist cops on the streets and even self-loathing black cops. But to say that the plight of blacks is simply racism is incredibly disingenuous.
John: That’s fair. I think the problem is that too frequently each side says it is one or the other, which is obviously not constructive.
Charles Peralo: BLM should change their platform to cater to a variety of political ideologies with a focus on less government on regulatory issues regarding economics, but more programs in education and economic growth to cater to poorer communities. This way the Right can begin to gradually get behind it. Yet, the big thing is honestly making the BLM movement more like the Black Panthers. The Panthers in the 1960s were feeding more people than any other group in this country. BLM needs to become less about protest and more about going to poor communities offering free meals and help in communities.
Dillon: I agree BLM should focus on making black communities more stable.
Charles: I agree with their primary movement, similar to how Gary Johnson and Glenn Beck have said it’s a good cause. I don’t like how some members of it are violent, but what movement doesn’t have those people?
Plus, they went from nothing to a MASSIVE movement overnight reaching millions and having raised more over all libertarian causes in the last twenty years combined. You don’t get that big without some idiots coming in.
Dillon: They are some morally positive and pro-liberty things they want, but a lot of it is just cultural Marxism. They want more government, not less.
Gary: BLM is based on a Marxist ideology that seeks to resolve all issues within the black community through the creation of a nanny state. In addition, they also seem to have enlarged their goals to the point of irrelevance.
Charles: This is about the problems they have being real.
Brandon: Couldn’t you say the same for feminism, that much of their philosophy is predicated on Marxism in that there are power imbalances between races and/or genders? But can’t we also say that the Marxist analysis is correct but the Marxist solution is incorrect. They’re good at making the diagnosis but poor in delivering the cure.
Gary: Correct. Just because you’ve come up with a response to a problem, it doesn’t mean it is the correct one or effective.
The probability of a black person being killed by a cop is less than the chances of being hit by lightning. BLM making police going after black people is not something that poses an existential threat to a black person or black community. The problem with the black community is poverty and marginalization. Their primary focus should be in forwarding policies that don’t rely on external resources that may never come. Education and stable households would redound in great benefits to them. That should be their priority.
Dillon: Amen, Gary. Stable households, work ethic, the morality informed by individual rights and education are helpful to people of any ethnicity, but is needed by poor people most of all.
Gary: Agreed. I already wrote something on this for Being Libertarian. I basically explain that the problem with the black community is an ideology rooted in Marxist materialism that ignores the concept of human agency and/or autonomy.
Fundamentally, what is being told to black people is that they have no hope of ever resolving their own problems. This nihilistic and fatalistic narrative ignores concepts like free will, meme theory, stable adaptation, empiricism, cause and effect, etc.
It is the same thing that socialists claim with their worldview which posits the supposition that if you are a proletariat you have no hope of ever rising up in society because of (insert excuse). Thus, education, information, behavior, culture, strategy, adaptation, invention, innovation, ingenuity, creation, cooperation, IQ, emotional intelligence, and experience all count for nothing because the bourgeoisie owns the means of production. This is whole sale propaganda and ignores reality. This is at the heart of the black identity which has become rooted in this sort of socialist/Marxist materialistic worldview where government is the only answer to every problem. I.e. slavery.