By Jeremy Egerer
I believe that black lives matter — but when it comes to Black Lives Matter, a little proportion goes a long way in society. You have to realize how small you are to be a big deal in my book. You have to play by the rules like the rest of us, or we have no choice but to consider you a menace.
The man who puts himself or his race above the rules isn’t a victim. He’s an oppressor. He robs a woman, or drives trashed, or beats up children, and then tells cops to shove it — and when the cops shove him, we find out how special he really is. Privileged, even. Way beyond the rest of us. An Arab man was killed by two black girls, and they got off the hook, and nobody knows his name. But we know Jacob Blake’s and George Floyd’s names — even though they had a history of hurting women.
The knee-jerk reaction here would be to wish equality for everyone else. But why would I want that? What man in his right mind would see a drunk and belligerent redneck getting pulled over and wish him a safe journey? Who would turn the cop in if he beat him? White people especially know that one criminal isn’t worth burning a whole city — especially not your city. Not when it’s filled with your people’s businesses, filled with your kids’ schools, filled with your neighbors’ churches. Do black lives matter too much? Will there ever be a point when the black criminals feel safer than the cops? Should there ever be a point? And if we do reach this criminal’s utopia, what happens to the rest of us?
I blame this whole train of events on our ridiculous sense of empathy. First off, we taught our kids, from cradle to grave, in movies and grade schools and speeches and literature, that white people hurt black people. Second, we taught our kids that to feel for other people, people different from yourself, and underdogs, generally, is the highest use of your pity. Pitying people like you? That’s selfish. Pitying “others”? What a great person you are.
In reality, it makes you a terrible person. “Compassion first,” or “radical empathy,” is the main virtue of the degenerate. To prove this, consider that all the other virtues require some talent. Prudence, or knowing what to do and when, requires not only brains, but knowledge and experience. Justice requires a sense of balance, and harmony, and a willingness to forgo your own advantage for the sake of a group — a keeping your word even when it kills you. Fortitude means you know what you ought to do, and you have the strength to carry it out, and even to take a beating for it. Temperance means you like to have a good time and play with a good idea, but you know when to cut it short so you don’t ruin other things. These virtues bleed into each other and support each other, and each of them takes lots of practice. They’re revered wherever you go, and they are the only reason, alongside luck, that any society happens to get anywhere. The more of them you have, the less compassion you actually need.
None of these is required to look “compassionate.” You just pick a target — any target — any down-in-the-dumps junkie, any 900lb woman on a motor-scooter, any black criminal, any gang-banging border-jumper, any man failing badly to be a woman, then you look at everyone else, and you tell “your” people to do something about it. And if they don’t do it, you tell them all they’re selfish.
The fact is that you are the selfish one — and a master at sleight-of-hand. After all, you’ve picked this 1% of 1% and told everyone else to change the world for them. If rules are in the way, you throw away the rules — no matter how foundational. If someone doing well has something, you take it away — regardless of whether he earned it. You force everyone to change his life, and you convince yourself you’re not an ass because you’re doing it for someone else. If it were for you, well, that would be selfish. But pick any random nobody to do it for — the more obscure, the better — and you’re not selfish at all. You’re a saint.
Doing this requires no talent. You don’t have to be wealthy, or useful, or beautiful, or intelligent, or even particularly good to others to jump on board the compassion bandwagon. Anyone of any station can jump on board this train, and anyone can invent a new train to jump on. The newer the train, the more random the sufferer, the more trendy the pity-party, the higher the “virtue” — the better the saint.
Thus, the movement to “liberate” and “raise up” the underdog is constantly degenerating. Yesterday, it was for Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of substance and genius who was kicked for the color of his skin. Today, it’s for George Floyd, who died of an overdose while resisting arrest. The need to look compassionate — cheap and runaway vanity, at bottom — means that the need to create victims always exists, even when the class of alleged victims have already been saved. The worst of us want to look like the best of us, and their grasping at a mass-manufactured dignity, the Gucci-knockoff brand of spiritual greatness, means that sufferers and martyrs are churned out en masse — each one less legitimate than the last.