Always Looking Elsewhere

by Jonah Goldberg

I loved Kevin’s piece on Baltimore. He fleshes out a point I’ve been making for years — to the anger of many — about the Left’s love for HBO’s The Wire. I loved the show too, and while it certainly is a deep-seated left-wing indictment of “the system,” the actual, real, non-figurative system it aims at is almost entirely the product of big city liberalism and the Democratic party (I say “almost entirely” because the drug war is bipartisan). 

If Republicans were responsible for the systemic, intergenerational failure of urban America, liberals would have an easy explanation: racism. That would be unfair to say of Republicans, and it’s unfair to hurl the charge at Democrats, too (Though a certain kind of liberal condescension is a kind of racism, I suppose.). But since they are incapable or unwilling to discuss the obvious explanations  – corruption, cronyism, incompetence etc — liberals must offer an even broader indictment of “the system.”

When you start with a premise that excludes the obvious facts, you can end up saying some impressively stupid things.

David French (welcome aboard, btw) posted this last night. CNN’s Brooke Baldwin seems to believe that the real culprits behind the riots just might be veterans returning home from Bush’s wars. She doesn’t use the phrase “Bush’s wars” but it’s implied (variants of this theory are like catnip for liberals, desperate to turn veterans into either victims or villains). As David rightly notes, the “veterans did it” angle is absurd on its face. The kids jumping up and down on burned-out cop cars clearly didn’t spend two tours in Fallujah or Kandahar. Moreover, the people most “ready for battle” aren’t the veterans of conflicts abroad, but veterans of the Battle of Ferguson. These migratory professional instigators think it’s bold and revolutionary for thugs to burn down middle class black shops and the chain drug stores low income people buy their medicines from. 

But ultimately these losers aren’t responsible for making the conditions ripe for such instigation, either. They’re opportunists. And the opportunity was created by corrupt one-party rule in Baltimore — and other Democrat-monopolized cities across the country. 

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