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The title that I have chosen is incendiary. Of this, I am wholly cognizant. To pose the question is to court rage. But that does not mean that it should not be asked – for rage of this sort is misplaced and serious thinking is required, as you will soon see.
Black lives ought to matter. Indeed, all human lives ought to matter. But do they? In particular, do they matter to the individuals who recently marched and demonstrated in this country’s streets?
Some of these do, indeed, care. But most of those who busied themselves ostentatiously displaying their virtue and intimating, if not shouting, that their fellow citizens were by and large utterly careless (or worse) fall firmly into that category themselves.
To see that this is so, one need only ask a simple question, “What about abortion?”
A thought experiment is in order. Consider what would happen if someone showed up for such a march carrying a sign that read, “Black Lives Matter! All Lives Matter! End Abortion!” Would such a person be welcome?
I think not – and, if I am right, the fact is pertinent. For a great many more black lives are snuffed out in abortion clinics each year than anywhere else. Year in and year out, more black babies are aborted than are born in the city of New York, and the like can be said for many another American metropolis.
Do those who marched care? Do these black lives – the lives of harmless, helpless innocents – matter to them? Not, I suspect, one whit.
Or try another thought experiment. Suppose someone joined such a demonstration carrying a sign that read, “Black Lives Matter! Introduce More Rigorous Policing!” What would happen to this individual? I shudder to think.
We need to keep one thing in mind. Very few black Americans die at the hands of the police. Those African-Americans who are fortunate enough not to have been murdered in the womb are far, far more likely to die at the hands of other black men than at the hands of the police. If we were to defund the latter, as many of the demonstrators urged, a great many more black men would be murdered than are now. The experiment has been tried over the last five years in Baltimore. The results are in, and they are not encouraging.
If black lives really mattered to the self-righteous in our midst, they would demand more and better policing. They would demand the abolition of public-sector unions, that civil review boards be established, and that the bad apples be rooted out of our police forces. Then, they would advocate increasing the money allocated to support cops on the beat, and they would suggest flooding the neighborhoods where black men kill black men with upright men (and women) of all races dressed in blue.
Let me add one final point. One can argue that a disproportionate number of black men die at the hands of the police only if one bases one’s calculations on the relative size of the black population and not on the relative number of crimes committed by black men. If a radically disproportionate number of criminals are black men, then, if the policing is done properly, the police will be far more likely to have unpleasant encounters with black than with white men – and that is what happens in every tolerably well-run city in the land. On most occasions, when a black man dies in the course of such an encounter, the policemen involved are in no way at fault. What happened in Ferguson is the norm. What happened in Minneapolis is the exception.
I am surely wasting my effort here – for black lives do not matter to the vast majority of the self-satisfied liberals and radicals who have been marching in our streets, and I doubt that they ever will. What we have witnessed is not an upsurge in the desire for justice. What we have watched is a display of childish self-indulgence on the part of people who want to be seen as just.Published in