Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Freedom, Accountability, and Narissism

Reading Instapundit this morning, I am led to a article by the black scholar Shelby Steele,   The article itself is  behind a paywall at the Wall Street Journal, but OD DREHER  excerpts it extensively at the American Conservative.  It's  powerful piece that speaks to the black protests of the past couple of years, and speaks volumes about why those protests have lost the power of the narrative, to speak to the hearts of the rest of us.
What they missed is a simple truth that is both obvious and unutterable: The oppression of black people is over with. This is politically incorrect news, but it is true nonetheless. We blacks are, today, a free people. It is as if freedom sneaked up and caught us by surprise.
It must have taken incredible courage for Mr. Steele to write that paragraph, but he goes further, equating freedom with responsibility, and understanding that I've come to both respect and applaud.
That’s why, in the face of freedom’s unsparing judgmentalism, we reflexively claim that freedom is a lie. We conjure elaborate narratives that give white racism new life in the present: “systemic” and “structural” racism, racist “microaggressions,” “white privilege,” and so on. All these narratives insist that blacks are still victims of racism, and that freedom’s accountability is an injustice.
And that's the thing I've come to understand.  Freedom is a choice not a gift.  It is not dependent on the good will of others, it is a decision that we make, a state of mid.  But, with freedom comes responsibility.  Once we make the decision to be free, we are responsible for ourselves.  For once we are free, we will be judged on our own merits.  We are accountable to the law, to the rest of society, to the moral imperatives that freedom dictates. 

That's not to say that we won't struggle, won't fail, won't strive mightily.  Freedom is about struggle.  And, the choices we make as free people might live with us for many years.  A free person might choose to be a victim, to be ignorant, to live in poverty.  But, that doesn't mean that the rest of us need to participate in his choices.  Neither does it require that other free people contribute to his narrative of vivtimhood.

In my briefcase, for many years, I carried a quote attributed to Cesare Beccaria:
Every act of Authority of one man over another, without just cause, is Tyranny.
That quote, whether rightfully attributed or not, has been my guiding light since college.  And, I thank Mr. Steeel for putting my aggravation with the recent racial protests into perspective.  The racial protest of the past decade claim moral authority over me without just cause.  As such, they are tyrannical.  As a free man, I object. 

Now, as a free man, I have my own freedom to attend to.  I suggest that you all do the same.

UPDATE:  Surfing around later, I found this clip.  You may not believe me, because I'm all conservative and white, but would you listen to Morgan Freeman?

The bus runs every day.

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