Notes from Underground


"My race, right or wrong"

Vick and his defenders



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Michael Vick, former star quarterback of my hometown team, the Atlanta Falcons, has pled guilty to charges that he ran a dogfighting ring out of his spacious home in Virginia over the past six years. In taking the plea, Vick is likely to lose both a large chunk of his personal freedom (he faces a minimum prison sentence of 12 months, to be meted out at a sentencing hearing in December) and his fortune. Whether the NFL will let him back into the league once he gets out of the joint is still an open question.

By pleading guilty, Vick has at least spared us the spectacle that I was predicting to my friends when the media broke the news of his rather shocking pastimes of bankrolling canine pugilism and participating in canine torture — including electrocuting, drowning, and hanging dogs that didn't have enough "fight" in them. Mercifully, there will now be no public trial. Since Vick is black, such an event would almost certainly have become "O.J. Part 2," and all of the nauseating cant and disingenuousness that blighted the national discourse during that 1995 trial would have returned with a vengeance. If Vick somehow managed to beat the rap, we would again be treated to scenes of jubilant black folks cheering while whites stood around muttering and looking flummoxed. If, on the other hand, he were convicted, we would perhaps again face the threat of riots and random beatings of whites — a la Reginald Denny — in inner-city areas.

Before Vick admitted guilt, many members of the black community of Atlanta and elsewhere had been rallying behind him, subscribing wholeheartedly to conspiracy theories that he'd been set up by "the man," because said "man" can't stand to see a "brother" become successful. Only a few days after news of Vick's indictment surfaced last month, a predominantly black crowd made a pilgrimage to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to whoop and holler their support for Vick, in what I can only call a concerted effort to send the message: "My race, right or wrong."

It's not enough that a plethora of half-baked conspiracy theories and proclamations of belief in Vick's innocence have emerged, O.J.-style; equally tiresome yet inevitable is the misuse of the Biblical aphorism not to "judge." A lot of people can't seem to get into their skulls the fact that Jesus never told anyone to excuse heinous wrongdoing or to refrain from seeing sins as sinful; the same people, of course, throw Jesus's sweet pleas for mercy right out the window when the accused is a white male "racist" — John Rocker, Michael Richards, or Don Imus, for example — but all of that is a subject for another day.

Now that Vick has admitted to doing exactly what he was accused of doing, his defenders don't seem to have lost a step. They are now making pleas for leniency, drawing attention to Vick's supposed contrition for his actions. More creatively, they have even questioned the notion that Vick did anything wrong, through the following ingenious formulations:

    1. Dogs aren't people, so what's the big deal about torturing and killing them?
    2. Dogfighting is a "sport," so what business do we have finding it brutal and barbaric? To each his own; judge not, blah, blah, blah.
    3. We kill animals for food all the time, so why make a fuss about torturing and killing dogs?

Having listened intently to sports talk radio over the past few weeks, I have heard all of those arguments made by callers, who invariably speak in a giveaway black dialect. Though many Last Ditch readers would no doubt welcome the fact that these callers question the state's arrogating to itself the power to deprive someone such as Vick of his freedom, one has to question their timing. In fact, one must suspect that such arguments are a case of throwing everything against the wall and hoping that something sticks, the better to help rescue a celebrity who's a member of your own ethnic stock. Once again, the unspoken underlying credo appears to be "my race, right or wrong."

The fascinating thing about the Vick case is the light it sheds on the rifts between different and competing brands of contemporary activism. I have pointed out before that liberalism is, for better or for worse, an almost exclusively white phenomenon, one that developed in the Western world and nowhere else. Liberals throughout history have begun with the premise that the self-interest of one's own kind should sometimes, if not often, be subordinated in order to accommodate the demands or grievances of another, outside group. Comedian Lenny Bruce famously called a liberal "someone who can't take his own side in an argument." Jared Taylor, in a more serious but equally profound insight, once said that liberalism springs from the sentiment that "the other fellow has a point of view."

Only the white West gave rise to notions such as the moral imperative of abolishing slavery and observing equal rights for all. Blacks suffering under enslavement and the oppressive conditions of racial segregation were recognized as the "other fellow" by white liberals, who actively participated in efforts to liberate this outside group from unjust laws that denied them the same rights as whites. Feminism also grew out of a liberal understanding that women, like men, "have a point of view" and ought not be excluded from traditionally male pursuits if they have the aptitude to excel in them.

Likewise, the "animal rights" movement owes its very existence to liberalism, which in turn owes its existence exclusively to Western mores. To groups such as PETA, the "other fellows" are not "fellows" at all, but rather dogs, pigs, deer, foxes, and the like. We may argue that animal-rights liberals have dropped or mangled certain Western premises along the way, but it is still the case that the membership of PETA and other like organizations is predominantly, if not exclusively, white. On the other hand, Vick's supporters are almost exclusively black.

Thus, the Vick case pits at least one brand of liberals (whites and a few non-whites who are no doubt culturally quite "white") against blacks, who as a group are usually favored by white liberals (being one of "the other fellows") but whose true values are utterly alien to liberalism. Blacks may vote Democrat in overwhelming numbers, but they do so mainly for reasons of self-interest — they think the Democrats will give them more, and they are convinced that the Republicans will take things away from them. They don't vote Democrat to further a liberal cultural revolution; in fact, they are largely opposed to abortion, homosexual "marriage," and other staples of contemporary cultural liberalism. And their insistent tribal solidarity with Vick, accompanied by a continued tendency to excuse his canine atrocities, shows how little they care about "animal rights."

Blacks as a voting block, in other words, aren't terribly interested in the "other fellow's point of view." Like most ethnic groups across the world, they look to advance their own interests. They are perfectly capable of taking their own side in an argument. And when one of their own is in trouble, they instinctively close ranks around him and defend him against the rest of the world. Such is the reason for the black community's continuing support for Vick, even after he has become a confessed felon. There is something admirable about loyalty to one's own kind — to one's extended family, i.e., race. After all, should we not be protective of our own? However, as we saw with the joyous reactions of blacks to O.J.'s acquittal, the lengths to which some groups take that loyalty can be very disturbing.

By and large, whites seem to be the one people in the world who resist in large numbers the tendency to support their own kind when their own kind are clearly in the wrong. It is likewise among historic Westerners that the principle of "a nation of laws, not of men" holds sway. Thus, the continuing demographic decline of whites in the United States and across the Western world will likely mean that many future would-be felons will have little to fear — their racial identity will shield them from responsibility for their crimes. Ironically, Vick's supporters are right, in a sense, when they imply that "the (white) man" is responsible for Vick's troubles. After all, had Vick been born in a nation whose majority was his racial kin, one suspects that the authorities would have left him alone and let him go about his business, no matter how many pit bulls and Rottweilers he helped slaughter behind the closed doors of his palatial home.

September 3, 2007

© 2007 WTM Enterprises. All rights reserved.

Mr. Nowicki's personal blog is Dyspeptic Myopic, at www.andynowicki.blogspot.com.

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