Sacrifice vs. Common Sense

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Walter Williams writes a column that might have been regarded as condescending in better days, owing to some of the advice it offers:

[T]he advice that I would give to anyone of any race in dealing with police is: Follow the officer's instructions. Do not resist arrest or attempt to flee. Do not assault the police officer or try to disarm him. Had this advice been taken, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Walter Scott would be alive today.
But these aren't better days. Instead, we have the following situation:
Criminal activity is a major problem in many black communities. That means many black citizens will have some kind of contact with police officers, either as victims of crime or as criminals. One of the true tragedies is that black politicians, preachers and civil rights advocates give massive support to criminals such as Brown, Garner and Scott. How much support do we see for the overwhelmingly law-abiding members of the black community preyed upon by criminals?

The average American has no idea of the day-to-day threats and fears encountered by the law-abiding majority in black neighborhoods on account of thugs. In addition to giving threats and instilling fears, criminals have turned many black communities into economic wastelands where there is a lack of services that most Americans take for granted, such as supermarkets, other shops and even home delivery. Black residents must bear the expense of having to go out of their neighborhoods to shop or shop at high-cost mom and pop stores.
The "support" of which Williams speaks comes from the left. The leaders of this political movement also offer, for example,  similar "support" for college-aged women who choose to get drunk at frat parties.

How so many pied pipers acquired such influence can be blamed in part on the right: Too many conservatives, on the grounds of altruism, fail to question the propriety of making some pay for the mistakes of others. (Follow any stand for self-reliance to the conclusion that government assistance should end altogether. You'll hit , "Yes, but..." sooner or later.) Ayn Rand once put this well:
The creed of sacrifice is a morality for the immoral -- a morality that declares its own bankruptcy by confessing that it can't impart to men any personal stake in virtues or values, and that their souls are sewers of depravity, which they must be taught to sacrifice. By its own confession, it is impotent to teach men to be good and can only subject them to constant punishment.
Forget our failing public schools: Nothing rivals altruism in its ability to dumb down an entire culture. When sacrifice is regarded as an ideal, there seems no reason in reason to be moral, and there is always a sucker to cushion the blow from a bad decision. No wonder common sense seems increasingly outlandish these days.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

You make valid points about altruism's destructive nature. It seems black people are always set to lowered standards. Nothing shows this more clearly than in the public schools. I've been a substitute for two school years and I am appalled at the behavioral problems that are excused. This is pure racism. It's as if the schools make an effort NOT to set high standards for black students. This mentality would inevitably trickle to the larger culture.

Bookish Babe

Gus Van Horn said...


Ah, yes. This and a few other similar things are sometimes collectively known as the "soft bigotry of low expectations". Couple that with the pseudo-self-esteem so fashionable in the education establishment and you get kids remarkably immune to constructive criticism and ill-prepared for adult life. It is saddening to see politicians cash in on this short-term than campaign on ending such practices. (Not that change should stop at merely attempting to improving government schools. These schools should ultimately be privatized so the profit motive can really improve education.)