Come Let us Worship (Just Do It Nicely)

April 29, 2015

I am not prepared to weigh in on the immense legal, ethical, and personal issues currently firing (literally) the streets of Baltimore, apparently in protest over the death of Freddie Gray. Neither do I want to pontificate over the two people who were shot in Ferguson in protest over Michael Brown, in whose name yet more blood is shed at the altar of social peace and equality. I would simply like to make a simple observation: to support life by wreaking death, and to make war for the sake of peace, forces the thinking citizens of America to question the motivations of those involved. The massive, racially charged riots in Baltimore, I must contend, have very little to do with Freddie Gray. Gray is a name, a shield behind which agitators push forward their own game and goals. Neither is Michael Brown’s death the cause of the violence in Ferguson. This is revolutionary violence proceeding under the name of a self-pity party and mutual backscratching contest. Revolutionaries have always loved a nice front, the more “righteous” and “just” the better. Communist Russia committed its violence against its own citizens while crying out for financially and cultural “justice.” Nazi Germany insisted on “purity.” Revolutionary France sent tens of thousands of its own citizens to the guillotine for the sake of “equality,” and “fraternity.” But none of these movements have ever been about purity, righteousness, love, fraternity, or justice. Even the most naive and optimistic of historians willingly grants this. Yet when in our own time, in the streets of America, we see the same violence, the same blood-letting, the same vitriolic pitting of some groups against others in the name of “justice,” “righteousness,” and “equality,” we refuse to learn the lessons of history. We refuse to cast on these events the eye of historically-informed doubt, even for a moment, for fear that we might be insensitive, or (gasps all round) racist. We don’t want to be sacrificed ourselves, and so we rush down, sycophantically, to the temple of Not Hurting Anybody’s Feelings and worship softly in a corner by ourselves, and try not to hear the screams of human sacrifice. Where there’s smoke and mirrors, there’s probably magic. Riots for the sake of justice are not what they seem.

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Michael Helvey

Just want to talk? Feel free to tweet @helvetici.