January 5, 2017

CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS:

Shot:

“It is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion*, just as effectively as by bombs.”

—Kenneth Clark, script for [1969 BBC TV series] Civilisation.

—“Almanac: Kenneth Clark on how civilizations commit suicide,” Terry Teachout, today.

Chaser:

Judge Edwin Torres of the New York State Supreme Court, Twelfth Judicial District described how…“A society that loses its sense of outrage is doomed to extinction.” There is no expectation that this will change, nor any efficacious public insistence that it do so. The crime level has been normalized.

Consider the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. In 1929 in Chicago during Prohibition, four gangsters killed seven gangsters on February 14. The nation was shocked. The event became legend. It merits not one but two entries in the World Book Encyclopedia. I leave it to others to judge, but it would appear that the society in the 1920s was simply not willing to put up with this degree of deviancy. In the end, the Constitution was amended, and Prohibition, which lay behind so much gangster violence, ended.

In recent years, again in the context of illegal traffic controlled substances, this form of murder has returned. But it has done so at a level that induces denial. James Q. Wilson comments that Los Angeles has the equivalent of a St. Valentine’s Day Massacre every weekend. Even the most ghastly re-enactments of such human slaughter produce only moderate responses.**

—Patrick Moynihan, “Defining Deviancy Down,” the American Scholar, Winter 1993.

Hangover: CNN’s Don Lemon: Anti-Trump Violence Against Disabled Man ‘Not Evil.’

—Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media.com, today.

* A look at England in the decades after Clark’s epochal series ran is in its own way proof of that statement as much as Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago.

** Chicago hit the 500+ murder milestone for 2016 in September. It would hit almost 800 before the year was out.

Related: Lemon is far from the only member of the DNC-MSM loathe to examine this story. The Washington Post’s Callum Borchers does a whole lotta throat-clearing (and anti-Trump, anti-GOP virtue signalling) in the lede before laying out the actual details:

wapo_chicago_anti-trump_hate_crime_1-5-17

Just think of them as Democrat operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense.

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