Should black conservatives be allowed to form their own beliefs?

Are black conservatives allowed to form their own views in America?
Are black conservatives allowed to form their own views in America?

My friend Wes sent me an hour-long video, featuring famous black conservative Larry Elder.

Outline:

1:23 New “Uncle Tom” documentary

10:53 Stats don’t show systemic police racism

14:30 Why police body cams are a good idea

28:12 The rise of “revenge culture”

38:39 Affirmative action is condescending?

44:03 Issues in the Black Lives Matter movement

Are police actually using deadly force disproportionately against black people? And how does the focus on police overshadow other monumental problems facing black America today? Why is believing that, black lives matter, not the same as supporting the Black Lives Matter organization? And, why are black conservatives often excluded from mainstream public awareness and discourse? In this episode, we sit down again with radio talk show personality and bestselling author Larry Elder, who hosts The Larry Elder Show for The Epoch Times. He is the executive producer of the new documentary “Uncle Tom.”

Here’s the video:

For those who cannot watch, I found you a good Larry Elder column about race and policing.

It says:

A new study on racial disparities in police conduct found that differences in offending by suspects, not racism, explains officers’ responses.

In the study “Is There Evidence of Racial Disparity in Police Use of Deadly Force?” professors from Michigan State and Arizona State universities analyzed officer-involved fatal shootings in 2015 and 2016. The report’s abstract says: “We benchmark two years of fatal shooting data on 2016 crime rate estimates. When adjusting for crime, we find no systematic evidence of anti-black disparities in fatal shootings, fatal shootings of unarmed citizens, or fatal shootings involving misidentification of harmless objects… Exposure to police given crime rate differences likely accounts for the higher per capita rate of fatal police shootings for blacks, at least when analyzing all shootings. For unarmed shootings or misidentification shootings, data are too uncertain to be conclusive.”

Two recent studies found cops more reluctant to use deadly force against blacks, including one by a black Harvard economist. Professor Roland G. Fryer Jr. concluded: “On the most extreme use of force — officer-involved shootings — we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account.”

But aren’t blacks routinely “racially profiled” by cops? Not according to the Police-Public Contact Survey. Produced every three years by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the survey asks more than 60,000 people about their interactions with the police. It asks respondents’ to provide age, race and gender. It asks them whether they had any contact with the police in the last year; what was the experience like; how were your treated; was there a use of force and so on. Turns out, according to a September 2017 National Review article, black men and white men are about equally likely to have a contact with a cop in a given year. As to multiple contacts, defined as three or more with the police in a given year, 1.5 percent of blacks vs. 1.2 percent of whites fall in that category. Not much difference.

There’s also the National Crime Victimization Survey, which questions victims of crimes, whether or not the criminal was captured, as to the race and ethnicity of the suspect. It turns out that the race of the arrested matches the percentage given by victims. So unless victims are lying about the race of their assailant, unconcerned about whether he gets caught, blacks are not being “overarrested.”

[…]In 2012 in the city of Rialto, California, population approximately 100,000, cops were randomly assigned body cameras based on their shifts. Over the next year, use-of-force incidents on the shifts that had cameras were half the rate of those without cameras. But something rather extraordinary also happened. Complaints against all Rialto police officers with were down almost 90 percent from the prior year.

It turns out when civilians knew they were being recorded, they — not the cops — behaved better and stop making false accusations. The use of force by cops also declined, but, again, not because the police changed their conduct. No, the cops continued performing as they’d been trained. Civilians, aware that they were being taped, were less confrontational and were more likely to cooperate and follow instructions. As a result, cops needed to use force less frequently.

I have never read a Larry Elder book, because I like audio books, and his books are almost never made into audio books. If you’ve read one, leave me a comment so I know which ones are good.

Podcast: Was Jesus a socialist? Does Christianity teach socialism?

Let's take a deep dive into the Bible
Let’s take a deep dive into the Bible

I noticed that Christianity Today, which has turned hard left in recent years, is now openly endorsing socialism. So, I thought it might be a good idea to listen to this new episode of the Think Biblically podcast, which deals with the issue of Christianity and socialism. The hosts actually brought an economist on to define socialism, then they analyze the teachings of Jesus.

Here’s the description: (H/T Nathan)

It has not been uncommon for advocates of virtually every economic system to invoke Jesus in support of their views, though some of the most ardent advocates for both capitalism and socialism did not have any particular religious views themselves (Rand, Marx). Over the years, some of the more recent advocates of socialist type economic arrangements have appealed to Jesus and the gospels in support of such systems. Economist Lawrence Reed helps us sort out the application of the teaching of Jesus to economics and its relevance for economic life today. Join us for this provocative conversation as he tackles the question of Jesus and socialism.

Show notes, including a full transcript, are available at: biola.edu/thinkbiblically

Topics:

  • who plans the economy in socialism?
  • who should own the means of production in socialism?
  • how should wealth be distributed in socialism?
  • what tools does socialism use to provide people with health care, employment, security, etc.
  • which countries have adopted socialism? North Korea? Cuba? Venezuela? How about the Scandinavian countries?
  • what in the New Testament has caused people to think that Jesus was a socialist?
  • did Jesus ever advocate for concentrating power in the government in order to meet the material needs of people?
  • did Jesus ever advocate for voluntary charity in order to meet the material needs of people?
  • in our experience, is government seen to be more compassionate or less compassionate than individual people?
  • does voluntary charity have any advantages over forced redistribution by a powerful central government?
  • what about the example of common possessions among the earliest Christians?
  • what is the Bible’s view of wealth? is it always bad to be wealthy, or does it matter how you obtained it and how you use it?
  • what does the parable of the talents tell us about socialism vs capitalism?
  • what does the parable of the good Samaritan tell us about socialism vs capitalism?
  • what does the parable of the three different shifts of workers tell us about socialism vs capitalism?
  • what about socialist policies and higher tax rates in countries like Canada and Scandinavian countries?

I have to be honest. I think that some of the economics reasoning about the parables was a stretch, because those parables are talking mainly about other topics, not economics. But it’s true that the parables aren’t friendly to socialism even if they are interpreted as being about economics.

Authors of study showing no police bias against blacks want their study retracted

If you're looking for truth, you won't find it at the university
If you’re looking for truth, you won’t find it at the university

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is a peer-reviewed journal that claims to publish “only the highest quality scientific research.” Now, the authors of a 2019 PNAS article are disowning their research simply because I cited it.

Psychologists Joseph Cesario of Michigan State and David Johnson of the University of Maryland analyzed 917 fatal police shootings of civilians from 2015 to test whether the race of the officer or the civilian predicted fatal police shootings. Neither did. Once “race specific rates of violent crime” are taken into account, the authors found, there are no disparities among those fatally shot by the police. These findings accord with decades of research showing that civilian behavior is the greatest influence on police behavior.

In September 2019, I cited the article’s finding in congressional testimony. I also referred to it in a City Journal article, in which I noted that two Princeton political scientists, Dean Knox and Jonathan Mummolo, had challenged the study design. Messrs. Cesario and Johnson stood by their findings. Even under the study design proposed by Messrs. Knox and Mummolo, they wrote, there is again “no significant evidence of anti-black disparity in the likelihood of being fatally shot by the police.”

My June 3 Journal op-ed quoted the PNAS article’s conclusion verbatim. It set off a firestorm at Michigan State. The university’s Graduate Employees Union pressured the MSU press office to apologize for the “harm it caused” by mentioning my article in a newsletter. The union targeted physicist Steve Hsu, who had approved funding for Mr. Cesario’s research. MSU sacked Mr. Hsu from his administrative position. PNAS editorialized that Messrs. Cesario and Johnson had “poorly framed” their article—the one that got through the journal’s three levels of editorial and peer review.

Mr. Cesario told this page that Mr. Hsu’s dismissal could narrow the “kinds of topics people can talk about, or what kinds of conclusions people can come to.” Now he and Mr. Johnson have themselves jeopardized the possibility of politically neutral scholarship. On Monday they retracted their paper. They say they stand behind its conclusion and statistical approach but complain about its “misuse,” specifically mentioning my op-eds.

The authors don’t say how I misused their work.

College Fix notes that Michigan State University has even deleted a press release they had put out about the study, in which they praised it. The press release said:

Reports of racially motivated, fatal shootings by police officers have garnered extensive public attention and sparked activism across the nation. New research from Michigan State University and University of Maryland reveals findings that flip many of these reports on their heads – white police officers are not more likely to have shot minority citizens than non-white officers.

“Until now, there’s never been a systematic, nationwide study to determine the characteristics of police involved in fatal officer-involved shootings,” said Joseph Cesario, co-author and professor of psychology at MSU. “There are so many examples of people saying that when black citizens are shot by police, it’s white officers shooting them. In fact, our findings show no support that black citizens are more likely to be shot by white officers.”

In addition to trying to retract the study, and deleting the press release, we also have people losing their jobs.

College Fix notes:

Michigan State University leaders have successfully pressured Stephen Hsu to resign from his position as vice president of research and innovation after the Graduate Employees Union launched a campaign to oust him from his role.

As VP of research, he allocated money to partially fund the study. And the woke-scolds at MSU didn’t like that, so they got him to resign. There was no problem found with the research or the funding, they just didn’t like the conclusion.

If you’re going to go to university, be careful what you study. If you’re going to get a job, be careful what job you get and where you work. You need to be thinking about what sorts of programs and workplaces harbor these far-left psychopaths.

The psychological motivation of those who embrace postmodernism

Can a person be postmodern and a Christian? Not for long
Can a person be postmodern and a Christian? Not for long

Famous analytical philosopher John Searle has written a book “Mind, Language And Society: Philosophy In The Real World”, explaining what’s factually wrong with postmodernism. In the introduction, he explains what postmodernism is, and what motivates people to accept postmodernism.

He writes:

[…][W]hen we act or think or talk in the following sorts of ways we take a lot for granted: when we hammer a nail, or order a takeout meal from a restaurant, or conduct a lab experiment, or wonder where to go on vacation, we take the following for granted: there exists a real world that is totally independent of human beings and of what they think or say about it, and statements about objects and states of affairs in that world are true or false depending on whether things in the world really are the way we say they are. So, for example, if in pondering my vacation plans I wonder whether Greece is hotter in the summer than Italy, I simply take it for granted that there exists a real world containing places like Greece and Italy and that they have various temperatures. Furthermore, if I read in a travel book that the average summer temperature in Greece is hotter than in Italy, I know that what the book says will be true if and only if it really is hotter on average in the summer in Greece than in Italy. This is because I take it for granted that such statements are true only if there is something independent of the statement in virtue of which, or because of which, it is true.

[…]These two Background presuppositions have long histories and various famous names. The first, that there is a real world existing independently of us, I like to call “external realism.” “Realism,” because it asserts the existence of the real world, and “external” to distinguish it from other sorts of realism-for example, realism about mathematical objects (mathematical realism) or realism about ethical facts (ethical realism). The second view, that a statement is true if things in the world are the way the statement says they are, and false otherwise, is called “the correspondence theory of truth.” This theory comes in a lot of different versions, but the basic idea is that statements are true if they correspond to, or describe, or fit, how things really are in the world, and false if they do not.

The “correspondence theory of truth” is the view of truth assumed in books of the Bible whose genre is such that that they were intended by the authors to be taken literally, (with allowances for symbolism, figures of speech, metaphors, hyperbole, etc.).

But what about the postmodernists, who seek to deny the objectivity of external reality?

More Searle:

Thinkers who wish to deny the correspondence theory of truth or the referential theory of thought and language typically find it embarrassing to have to concede external realism. Often they would rather not talk about it at all, or they have some more or less subtle reason for rejecting it. In fact, very few thinkers come right out and say that there is no such thing as a real world existing absolutely, objectively, and totally independently of us. Some do. Some come right out and say that the so-called real world is a “social construct.”

What is behind the denial of objective reality, and statements about external reality that are warranted by evidence?

It is not easy to get a fix on what drives contemporary antirealism, but if we had to pick out a thread that runs through the wide variety of arguments, it would be what is sometimes called “perspectivism.” Perspectivism is the idea that our knowledge of reality is never “unmediated,” that it is always mediated by a point of view, by a particular set of predilections, or, worse yet by sinister political motives, such as an allegiance to a political group or ideology. And because we can never have unmediated knowledge of the world, then perhaps there is no real world, or perhaps it is useless to even talk about it, or perhaps it is not even interesting.

Searle is going to refute anti-realism in the rest of the book, but here is his guess at what is motivating the anti-realists:

I have to confess, however, that I think there is a much deeper reason for the persistent appeal of all forms of antirealism, and this has become obvious in the twentieth century: it satisfies a basic urge to power. It just seems too disgusting, somehow, that we should have to be at the mercy of the “real world.” It seems too awful that our representations should have to be answerable to anything but us. This is why people who hold contemporary versions of antirealism and reject the correspondence theory of truth typically sneer at the opposing view. 

[…]I don’t think it is the argument that is actually driving the impulse to deny realism. I think that as a matter of contemporary cultural and intellectual history, the attacks on realism are not driven by arguments, because the arguments are more or less obviously feeble, for reasons I will explain in detail in a moment. Rather, as I suggested earlier, the motivation for denying realism is a kind of will to power, and it manifests itself in a number of ways. In universities, most notably in various humanities disciplines, it is assumed that, if there is no real world, then science is on the same footing as the humanities. They both deal with social constructs, not with independent realities. From this assumption, forms of postmodernism, deconstruction, and so on, are easily developed, having been completely turned loose from the tiresome moorings and constraints of having to confront the real world. If the real world is just an invention-a social construct designed to oppress the marginalized elements of society-then let’s get rid of the real world and construct the world we want. That, I think, is the real driving psychological force behind antirealism at the end of the twentieth century.

Now, I’ll go one step further than Searle.

People, from the Fall, have had the desire to step into the place of God. It’s true that we creatures exist in a universe created and designed by God. But, there is a way to work around the fact that God made the universe and the laws that the universe runs on, including logic, mathematics and natural laws. And that way is to deny logic, mathematics and natural laws. Postmodernists simply deny that there is any way to construct rational arguments and support the premises with evidence from the real world. That way, they imagine, they are free to escape a God-designed world, including a God-designed specification for how they ought to live. The postmoderns deny the reliable methods of knowing about the God-created reality because logic and evidence can be used to point to God’s existence, God’s character, and God’s actions in history.

And that’s why there is this effort to make reality “optional” and perspectival. Everyone can be their own God, and escape any accountability to the real God – the God who is easily discovered through the use of logic and evidence. I believe that this is also behind the rise of atheists, who feign allegiance to logic and science, but then express “skepticism” about the origin of the universe, the fine-tuning of the universe, objective morality, the minimal facts concerning the historical Jesus, and other undeniables.

Children dying in droves in cities that have been run by Democrats for decades

Only 15 unarmed black men were shot and killed by police in the past year. The BLM push for Marxism as a fix for “police brutality” is based on these 15 deaths. But what about the hundreds and thousands of black deaths at the hands of black criminals? BLM, their mainstream media allies are silent about that, because they know Democrats run those cities.

Daily Wire explains:

At least half a dozen children were shot and killed over the holiday weekend as high levels of violence ravaged some of the United States’ largest cities.

The children’s ages ranged from 6 to 14 as they fell victim to violence in cities from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, according to the list compiled by CNN. In some cases, the tragedies added to already surging levels of violence from last year to this year.

In Washington, D.C., 11-year-old Davon McNeal was preparing to leave a Fourth of July cookout with his mother when shooting broke out somewhere nearby. A bullet struck the youth football player in the head, killing him, according to The Washington Post.

[…]Just under 90 people have been killed in Washington, D.C., this year, a roughly 17% increase over last year. 2019 ended with the most people killed in the city in a decade.

The victim was black.

More:

In Atlanta, 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was killed when a group of armed individuals fired at the vehicle she was riding in near the burned-out shell of a Wendy’s restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was killed last month.

[…]More than 30 people were killed on Saturday and Sunday in the city, continuing a wave of violence that has ravaged Atlanta since protests over the death of George Floyd began. The violence intensified after Brooks’ death.

The victim was black.

More:

In Chicago, 7-year-old Natalia Wallace and a 14-year-old boy whose name has not yet been released were victims in two separate shootings over the weekend. Both children were killed while celebrating the July 4th holiday with friends and family, according to ABC News.

[…]The number of homicides in Chicago has jumped by about 34%. This June, there were 329 homicides, up year over year from 246 in 2019.

The victims were black.

All of these cities are run by Democrat party mayors, and Democrat party city councils. They have been for decades. Many of the majors and city council members are black. But in all that time, nothing was done by these Democrats to fix crime. These Democrat politicians are extremely permissive of crime and criminals, and they don’t dare take on the root cause of the crime problem: fatherlessness.

Fatherlessness and crime
Fatherlessness and crime

Here is how BLM responds to the problem of fatherlessness:

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

The more people get married and stay married, the less supportive they are of communist government. They don’t want government confiscating and redistributing their earnings – they want their earnings to stay in the family. BLM isn’t in favor of that. And that’s why they are strangely silent about the crime wave caused by children raised in fatherless homes. They don’t want to fix the root cause of crime, because that would destroy support for their real goal: communism.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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