“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment that I love them… I destroy them.”
—Orson Scott Card, “Ender’s Game”
Dylann Storm Roof’s manifesto is interesting for a number of reasons. It is articulate for a person his age, in spite of the typos and grammatical errors he apologizes for at the end. It demonstrates a serious independence of conscious fueled equally by the author’s independent observations and by serious research. It shows sincerity and honesty, while simultaneously underlining the cynical dishonesty of the mainstream media, particularly in the Trayvon Martin case.
Dare we ask if his claims are true? Many of them are, a few of them are not, and most of them are half-true. But merely asking the question is scary. “If I agree with someone who just killed nine people about something, does that make me guilty by association? Will that scare people?”
It probably will. Who knows. Hitler was an environmentalist, after all.
One thing that everyone seems in strange agreement on however is that his murder, killing the nine gracious black men and women who accepted him into their church for an hour, is not the story. Murders happen every day, after all, and as Dylan himself pointed out, “how could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?”
Yes, Dylann Roof is evil. His actions are reprehensible. Believe it or not, everyone is really in agreement about that. But if we really care about avoiding future incidents of a similar nature, emoting together (and punishing those who don’t emote with sufficiently enthusiastic vigor) won’t be enough. We have to understand the why.
Given the disregard for the why—everyone seems already to know the cause, before they know details of the story, and to know the minds of those who disagree with them too—we have reason to believe that preventing more crimes like this is perhaps not the primary reason for spouting out their view. After all, it is cognitively very difficult to actually sympathize with people we’ve never met who live hundreds or thousands of miles away. Voicing one’s opinion in this pre-factual, righteous, emotional manner is not, in function, participation in a search for truth, but a display of loyalty.
Loyalty to whom? It depends on one’s posited explanation.
Fox News was quick to (hilariously) attribute the crime to anti-Christian bigotry. This may sound idiotic to the lay person—and it is—but why would they posit such an incredibly stupid explanation for the crime, let alone posit any explanation for it with the conviction they did so early on? It appeals to the beliefs and values of their viewers, of course.
The more political, rather than religious, conservative base posited that the problem was mental health, then psychotropic drugs. This was initially the most convincing theory to me.
Some elements of the left predictably made it an issue of gun control (as it happens, it was already illegal for Dylann to own the gun that he had, with several drug charges on his record). For others, it was racially-motivated. This last one can be misleading because it is true; we all can see that the evidence, as it now stands, indicates that a racial-supremacist ideology was the primary impetus of his behavior. He wasn’t stupid, appears not to have suffered the kinds of mental illness and drug-induced insanity of many other similar mass-shooters over the years, and (trigger warning to you Fox News viewers) had no apparent issue with Christianity, or religion generally. His manifesto makes his views not only explicitly clear, but does so with calm, clarity, and intelligence. This was a sober mind at work.
But the ones making these claims initially had not seen his manifesto, if they had even read the facts at all. As Dylann himself observed, the media has consistently lied about virtually every crime related to race that has crossed the headlines in the last decade. They exaggerate, obfuscate, omit, and sometimes even fabricate information to fit with their narrative. There was no “rational” reason to believe the initial reports of the news. Not if truth, rather than an expression of loyalty to ones’ group, was the goal.
Because academia and the media is dominated by the progressive left, the narrative comes across as anti-white, anti-male, anti-Christian, and broadly anti-Western. It happens in the news, it happens in schools, and it even happens in larger corporations.
“The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?[…]
“I wish with a passion that niggers were treated terribly throughout history by Whites, that every White person had an ancestor who owned slaves, that segregation was an evil an oppressive institution, and so on. Because if it was all it true, it would make it so much easier for me to accept our current situation. But it isnt true. None of it is. We are told to accept what is happening to us because of ancestors wrong doing, but it is all based on historical lies, exaggerations and myths. I have tried endlessly to think of reasons we deserve this, and I have only came back more irritated because there are no reasons.
Only a fourth to a third of people in the South owned even one slave. Yet every White person is treated as if they had a slave owning ancestor[…]
“In a modern history class it is always emphasized that, when talking about “bad” things Whites have done in history, they were White. But when we lern about the numerous, almost countless wonderful things Whites have done, it is never pointed out that these people were White. Yet when we learn about anything important done by a black person in history, it is always pointed out repeatedly that they were black.”
Read these quotes carefully. There is not a single drop of untruth in it (except maybe the premise that ancestral crime could vicariously extend to us). We are lectured endlessly about “what it means to be black in America,” and about listening and believing “the lived experiences of women.” These are all well and good. But what about the experiences of men? What about whites? These are not only ignored, but denied outright. Laughed at even. Hath not a white man eyes? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
Not according to the mainstream media. Not only have their sensationalist tendencies been linked by mainstream psychology to other shootings by promising attention and glory (however infamous in nature that glory may be), but their ideological deception seems to have been directly responsible for Charleston. Not that they mind, of course. I’ll bet their numbers are through the roof right now (thanks to Roof). And if it ain’t broke, why fix it? The mainstream media is now running all over the place, dutifully talking about “toxic masculinity,” “white supremacy,” “gun culture,” “the patriarchy” and all the other usual suspects.
Charleston didn’t happen because masculinity and white separatism are pervasive. They are the opposite of pervasive: taboo. Concepts like those are so politically incorrect and impossible to hold in public that white men often feel like they’re being gas-lighted when their lived experiences contradict what they are told what their lived experiences actually are. They’re told that they are too afraid of commitment, of intimacy, that they aren’t emotional. But if they do open up about how they really feel, they’re promptly told that they’re wrong, that they’re being entitled, that they are in fact “privileged.” They might even be fired. And so underground neo-Nazi groups and insular internet communities, free from the correcting influence of intellectual daylight and the forge of rigorous debate, are the only place where intellectually curious young white men can go and find worldviews that actually match what they themselves see, all while watching the political powers that be pander to everyone other themselves. “White-male privilege.”
This isn’t a recipe for a cohesive and peaceful future society. But it is a recipe for a good news story.
There is, fortunately, a very simple solution to problems like Charleston: respect freedom of inquiry.
In a scientific and argumentative environment, bad ideas cannot withstand the assault of good ones, at least not for very long. Also, in such an environment, there is no need for insecurity or fear about the views that one holds. Good ideas, after all, do not need the protection of the law, or of social standards of “political correctness.” They can stand quite well for themselves. Only bad ideas, (and lazy thinkers; the two are often hand-in-hand) need extra protection. But as it stands, this is not the case. Just last week, Tim Hunt was eviscerated for making an offhand observation about men and women doing science together. Jerry Seinfeld quite reasonably refused to do stand-up at Universities for fear of accidentally becoming a bigot in the eyes of students who have been trained as Warriors—Social Justice Warriors—to hunt down and destroy anything that could be construed as racism, sexism, or homophobia. And god help the biologist who might want to do a more serious investigation of heredity, intelligence, and race. The thought-police of progressivism have made it so that the only people who can say that the emperor has no clothes are crazies who have a lot of other things to say, and can now say them safely beyond the pale and beyond the reach of rational criticism.
Predictably, the media’s reaction to Dylann’s murder-spree has been to double-down. Their dutiful loyalty shines through as they point to all of sorts of associations with different views that that most hateful of groups—the Southern Poverty Law Center—has labeled as “hate groups,” depending more on ideology than on the hateful quality of the targeted group’s beliefs. They point out that Dylann frequently made racist jokes (what a sly, plausibly-deniable insinuation that is…). They emphasize over and over again how he is right-wing, and holds conservative beliefs. And, of course, that he is another straight-white male. Dissenters are not people who disagree on the facts, but are evil, apologists for the crime and excusers of the criminal, rather than merely people trying to get to the bottom of the actual cause. It doesn’t matter that even while critically, fatally flawed, Roof’s truth is a far more accurate worldview to a very large part of the population than the “official” one being offered as the only acceptable one.