The Decline and Fall of the Blue Wall

For a view of civil society’s steady unraveling, few professions offer a better vantage point than that of the police officer. Regardless of how someone may have arrived at a crisis, whether by his own self-destructive impulses or the cruel predations of another, it is the cop who is expected to respond and begin the process of making things right.

Speaking as someone who has spent more than 40 years in the trade, I acknowledge that a police officer’s arrival at the scene of some misfortune is not in every case a blessing to all involved. The amount of help a cop can offer is circumscribed by the available resources in his community, which in most places are limited. And when it comes to dealing with lawbreakers, the cop on the street is merely the usher into a system whose many components are intended to mesh together and deliver justice. For the crime victim, this means seeing the guilty punished; for the perpetrator, it means a sentence sufficient to deter further crime while allowing for the possibility of rehabilitation.

That’s the theory, anyway.

For the cop on the street, the knowledge that reality only occasionally conforms with the theory can be dispiriting, but he knows the pursuit of the ideal cannot be abandoned for inconsistent success. The fight goes on, no matter how dim the prospects.

Or so it was not so long ago. For most of my career, even as crime surged in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, as the bodies piled up in the morgues and it seemed America’s cities were in irreversible decline, we who worked the streets could find strength in the knowledge that among the political and media elites there was still a desire for improvement if only a way to achieve it could be found.

And a way was found. Developments in law enforcement such as those instituted by the New York Police Department under William Bratton proved that, as Bratton himself is fond of saying, “Cops count.” In 1990, the NYPD investigated a horrifying 2,245 murders. In ten years the number had been reduced to 649, and in 2017 the figure dropped below 300 for the first time since 1951, a remarkable achievement in a city of 8 million people. Cops found great satisfaction in bringing this about.

Now murder and a generalized disorder are again on the rise, in New York City and many other places. But, unlike in the ‘90s, when there was broad societal agreement that something needed to be done to stem the bloodshed, today’s elites turn a blind eye to the chaos on America’s streets in the name of “social justice” and “equity,” terms used to obscure the fact that a disproportionate number among certain ethnicities are committing the majority of these crimes, and that consistent enforcement of the law would necessarily result in a similarly disproportionate number among those same ethnicities going to jail or prison.

And we can’t have that.

So the cop on the street, faced with this escalation of disorder, is left to wonder what he is supposed to do about it. In years past, he was told to go out and find the shooters, robbers, burglars, and car thieves inflicting themselves on their law-abiding neighbors and, if the provable facts allowed, arrest them. Today, a cop who happens upon someone wanted for a crime, or whom he suspects is unlawfully carrying a gun, confronts the suspect at his peril.

Not merely the physical peril posed by a fight or a shooting, for which the cop has trained, but the peril to his and his family’s future should the arrest unfold in anything but a manner preferred by the elites who hold him in contempt. “If I try to stop him,” the cop thinks, “I may have to chase him, and if I chase him, I may have to hit him or, God forbid, shoot him, either of which will be judged by people who seldom if ever have had to make such fateful decisions.” In any violent encounter on the street, especially those in which the racial calculus attracts media attention, the cop knows there is at least some chance that it is he who will be punished for it and not the suspected lawbreaker.

Safer this way.

With this in mind, in ever more instances the cop elects to go on his way and allow the suspected lawbreaker to do likewise. In short, the risk-reward calculations favor the criminal, and the results are unsurprising and everywhere to behold.

There was a time I attributed this dynamic to naiveté among political and media elites, whose members I assumed simply could not fathom the depravity in the criminal element to which they are seldom if ever exposed. No more. So rapid has been the rise in crime since the summer of 2020, so inept has been the response from our elected leaders, so willfully blind to both have been the media, it can only be by design.

Call them Marcusians, neo-Marxists, neo-Jacobins, or whatever label you may choose, they have achieved dominance in every last institution shaping popular opinion in America and much of the world: politics, academia, the news media, and the entertainment industry. Recall for example that when Barack Obama first ran for president in 2008, he claimed to oppose same-sex marriage, an opinion considered uncontroversial at the time even among most Democrats. Imagine the uproar that would ensue if a candidate of either party espoused such a position today.

Yes, in the ensuing years a majority of Americans have come to accept same-sex marriage, but they are now being asked – no, compelled – to embrace the proposition that the very definitions of male and female are so amorphous and elastic as to include anyone who, despite his or her immutable biological makeup, fancies him- or herself to be one or the other or neither. And if you dare object, if you voice even the slightest skepticism about this madness, you will be silenced on social media, denounced in the press, hounded from your job, and evicted from your home.

Bursting with pride.

And soon, perhaps, you will be arrested for it. With the police now deterred from taking action against violent crime, police departments will see its most talented officers drift away to other types of employment or to agencies not yet in the grip of this modern thinking. They will be replaced not by crime fighters but by social justice warriors who will take it as their responsibility to squelch heretical opinion.

Do you think it can’t happen here? Witness the plight of one resident of our cultural mother country. Darren Brady, a 51-year-old veteran of the British army, was recently hauled into the dock for having caused someone “anxiety” by retweeting a meme showing four LGBT pride flags arranged so as to form a swastika. As if to prove the very point Brady was making, the Hampshire police came to Brady’s house and arrested him, handcuffs and all.

How long before such a scenario comes to pass here in the United States? The civil society continues to fray. In just a few short years, America’s cops have gone from being active opponents of societal breakdown to helpless spectators to it. The next step, as has already occurred in the United Kingdom, apparently, is their becoming active accomplices in it.

I’d rather die.

THE COLUMN: Zero Tolerance for 'Tolerance'

Everyone's heard this joke: In Heaven the French are the cooks, the Germans are the engineers, the British are the police, the Swiss are the managers, and the Italians are the lovers; in Hell, the British are the cooks, the French are the managers, the Italians are the engineers, the Germans are the police, and the Swiss are the lovers. 

It's a fine collection of stereotypes, and of course almost every bit of it, generally speaking, is true. That's what makes it funny. It might also make it "offensive," but who cares? If you can't take a joke, go home and play with the stuffed animals in your safe space. One of the things that has gotten America into such cultural and moral trouble is the Left's ability to seize and transform words into what they would like them to mean, instead of what they actually do mean. So powerful has this movement been, so successful, that perfectly innocent words like "stereotype"—and morally positive words such as "discriminating"— have taken on an entirely negative connotation, while formerly negative terms such as "tolerance" have instead been elevated to cardinal virtues.

It's time to put a stop to this degradation and weaponization of our language, which is now the cause of so much misunderstanding between the two sides of the cultural-political battles for America's soul. Time and again, conservatives have fallen victim to the fallacy that the Left's vocabulary and ours are identical. They are not: the words may be superficially the same, but they have (of course) radically different meanings. And until the Right realizes this, the restorative war cannot be won. 

Some things are simply intolerable.

Let's start with "tolerance," one of the most culturally dangerous words in the Left's vocabulary. It's often combined with such other expanded weasel words as "diversity" and employed as a Critical Theory cudgel against the larger culture in order to "push boundaries" and "break barriers." The object, of course, being the destruction of historic norms and the ushering in of a new age of moral anarchy in the name of "righting wrongs."

I explained the ancient origins of Critical Theory and its satanic roots (literally, as outlined in Milton's Paradise Lost and Goethe's Faust) in my 2017 surprise bestseller, The Devil's Pleasure Palace: the Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West. Of particular interest to me in writing that book was the Left's weaponization of the word "tolerance," particularly via Herbert Marcuse's infamous notion of "Repressive Tolerance" and its use by Marcuse and other members of the Frankfurt School as a cultural battering ram: 

The loss of cultural confidence was precisely what the Frankfurt School and its descendants sought and still seek to engender. It is their only path to victory, which is why—even as they have seized the high ground of the academy and the media—they continue to roll over and expose their bellies like whipped curs whenever they are directly confronted. Pleas for “tolerance,” a weakness masquerading as a virtue, still serve them well. It is long past time to give them a taste of their own “repressive tolerance,” à la Marcuse, to mark the boundary clearly between dissent and sedition, between advocacy and treason. By consistently claiming that some solutions are “off-limits” to “civilized” peoples, they undermine the very principles of civilization they pretend to advocate—the first of which is the right to civilizational and personal self-defense. They are a suicide cult enticing the rest of us to join them.

But the moral high ground is not yet theirs, as much as they would wish it so. Constantly forced into a strategy of subterfuge, dissimulation, misdirection, and open deception—I have dubbed it “American taqiyya,” a counterpart to the Muslim concept of religiously acceptable dissimulation—there is no lie the Left will not tell in the furtherance of its sociopolitical goals. To maintain the martial metaphor, they are essentially double agents, operating behind the lines of Western civilization. That they are not called out and dealt with aggressively in the court of public opinion and, when necessary, in courts of law, is one of the shames of our age.

Let's begin by recalling that the Latin root for our word "tolerance" is tolerantiaits gender, by the way, is feminine—which means "endurance, the ability to bear pain or adversity; patience, fortitude." In no way does it signify indifference to a given person, place, thing, or situation or, worse, approval. A "tolerant" society is one that is under mortal attack; and, with the perversion of the definition, is effectively prevented from fighting back. A "tolerant" society is a defenseless society and thus a doomed society. Even Marcuse recognized the martial, reactionary nature of "tolerance," in his essay linked above:

This essay examines the idea of tolerance in our advanced industrial society. The conclusion reached is that the realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period--a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression.

Oh, that repressive tolerance!

Similarly, the word "discrimination" once meant the ability to discern differences: "having or showing refined taste or good judgment." Keep the wheat, discarding the chaff. Advertising appeals were once made to the man of "discriminating tastes." James Bond, with his fondness for Sea Island cotton shirts, Aston-Martin automobiles, and certain kinds of libations, was discriminating. In other words, the word used to be a compliment. It means choosing the best; not "prejudice" or "bigotry." But it became racialized, and now here we are.

The same goes for "stereotype," originally a printer's term referring to a plate from which multiple copies could be run off, which then came to mean an image or belief widely held—the joke that opens this essay, for example. There could be positive stereotypes (German engineers) and negative stereotypes (British cooks) that everybody more or less agreed upon. Today, we might call them templates. Ethnic traits, too, were widely stereotyped, especially in melting-pot America: the dumb German or Swede, the violent Italian, the drunken Irishman were all stock characters in vaudeville and on Broadway at the turn of the last century:

(The above album also features "Darktown is Out Tonight," the great Will Marion Cook's show-stopping opening number from his 1898 musical Clorindy, or the Origin of the Cakewalk, the first all-black show in Broadway history, premiered in a rooftop theater and starring Ernest Hogan. Its lyrics would be considered "racist" today were they not written by the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, but even so still cannot be performed.) 

During the 1960s civil-rights movement, however, the word "stereotype" was hijacked to describe white notions of certain perceived black traits and given a modifier: "negative stereotypes," which soon enough was dropped, having colored the original meaning beyond rescue. 

The language has since been destroyed in many other ways: the introduction of the word "gender," a grammatical term, as a synonym for "sex." The genius of it was this: there are only two sexes, but three genders—masculine, feminine, and neuter—thus opening the door, via the deliberate conflation and confusion of the two terms, for today's multiple "gender identities" that so bedevil our public discourse and understanding of ourselves. Meanwhile, "diversity"—which is merely descriptive—has acquired a positive connotation, as if it were a moral imperative rather that what it really is, something generally destructive of social cohesion and entirely unnecessary in a merit-based culture.

Read it and weep.

The first step, therefore, in confronting the modern Left is to reject their transmogrification of the language and insist that words retain their original meaning. As with everything else they touch, words have become distorted and misshapen simulacrums of their former selves, used now not to communicate but to browbeat and propagandize. Such a situation has now become intolerable. So, as long as we're giving the devil his due, let's give Marcuse the last word:

Tolerance toward that which is radically evil now appears as good because it serves the cohesion of the whole on the road to affluence or more affluence. The toleration of the systematic moronization of children and adults alike by publicity and propaganda, the release of destructiveness in aggressive driving, the recruitment for and training of special forces, the impotent and benevolent tolerance toward outright deception in merchandizing, waste, and planned obsolescence are not distortions and aberrations, they are the essence of a system which fosters tolerance as a means for perpetuating the struggle for existence and suppressing the alternatives. 

Couldn't have said it better myself.