Tag: Social Activism

Making Black Lives Really Matter

I can’t believe I’m going to say this but … ahem … is this thing on? … I agree with Hillary Clinton.

Last week, she met with members of the Black Lives Matter movement. Hillary has a lot to answer for. As First Lady and then as Senator she actively supported the harsh prison sentences and militarized police tactics that have led to two million Americans being incarcerated, millions more under some kind of supervision and cops with assault weapons and body armor assaulting Americans mostly for drugs.

The 2016 candidate even gave suggestions to the activists, telling them that without a concrete plan their movement will get nothing but “lip service from as many white people as you can pack into Yankee Stadium and a million more like it.”

“Look, I don’t believe you change hearts,” Clinton said, arguing that the movement can’t change deep seated racism. “I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You’re not going to change every heart. You’re not. But at the end of the day, we could do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them, to live up to their own God-given potential.”

She is absolutely correct, although probably for reasons she would disagree with. I think it was P.J. O’Rourke who defined a statist as someone who thinks government can change human nature. Government can not make people less racist, assuming that racism is the problem here. Government can, however, make itself less powerful, less intrusive, more accountable and more respectful of our basic civil liberties. In other words, it can create a system whereby human weaknesses and failings — greed, power-lust or even racism — have less ability to damage the lives of its citizens.

She’s also right about Black Lives Matter. Right now, they don’t have any solid proposals for how to deal with any of the problems they are worried about. They are reminding me increasingly of Occupy Wall Street which had an issue (wealth inequality, bailouts) but no idea of what to do about it.

Raising awareness is a good thing. But ultimately, it has to be followed by concrete action or it’s just noise. And I’ll give Mrs. Clinton credit for saying so.