Belmont Club

Denial Dies in Dallas

The dry branches were piled high on the forest floor waiting for a spark. The City Journal wrote:

Violence in Chicago is reaching epidemic proportions. In the first five months of 2016, someone was shot every two and a half hours and someone murdered every 14 hours, for a total of nearly 1,400 nonfatal shooting victims and 240 fatalities. Over Memorial Day weekend, 69 people were shot, nearly one per hour, dwarfing the previous year’s tally of 53 shootings over the same period. The violence is spilling over from the city’s gang-infested South and West Sides into the downtown business district; Lake Shore Drive has seen drive-by shootings and robberies.

The crime wave in Chicago illustrates how politicians trapped themselves in a vise of conflicting expectations from which there is no escape. It has proved impossible to do something and its opposite simultaneously, in this case withdraw the police and protect the community. It may prove just as impossible to require transgender bathrooms and guarantee no sexual harassment takes place or open the borders while promising there will be no terror attacks. When one thinks of it, making health care “affordable” while opening it to high-risk groups was always a unlikely proposition.

Impossible, yet Big Tent constituencies are routinely green-lighted on both ends of a one-way street and told to floor the pedal. For a while they could spin it with smoke and mirrors. But in the end, illusion does not last.

“What if I told you,” asks a Matrix-themed photo meme circulating on Facebook, “that you can be against cops murdering citizens and citizens murdering cops at the same time?” To that one might reply that the America in which that was possible might have died in Dallas, Texas in the last few hours. The age of the zero sum game may have arrived with a vengeance:

Dallas police say four officers have died after at least two snipers opened fire during protests downtown. Seven other officers were wounded.

Police Chief David O. Brown said police have a suspect cornered in a garage and are negotiating with that person. He says the snipers fired upon officers “ambush style.”

Brown had said three officers were killed, and police issued a tweet later saying a fourth officer had died. Brown says snipers shot from “elevated positions” during a protest over two recent fatal police shootings.

Was terrorism involved? Were the ideas of Ferguson taken to their final, frightening conclusion? While the individual culprits of the shooting have yet to be identified, the factors which have turned the summer of 2016 into a witches’ brew were clear for all to see. It is the culmination of decades of identity politics, the fruit of open borders, the outcome of an unwarranted disdain for Islamic extremism, the destruction of everything once held in common. Most of all it is the product of a collapse in legitimacy that has soured the public on nearly every institution: the political parties, the Supreme Court, the presidency, the police and the FBI. Now at the very moment when the public needs to trust someone the question is: whom can you trust?

The security system of America is trust, which manifests itself in legitimacy which in turn makes it possible to govern a huge nation largely on consent. The mistake was to believe it was possible to play the identity card endlessly, to set one against another, to destroy trust — without consequences.

The public is suddenly face to face with the realization that the solid status quo is a fragile facade that might at any moment dissolve into something unrecognizable.  It’s a veneer masking a crumbling structure. Donald and Hillary are not freaks. They are monsters from our Id. If any proof were needed that the discontent sweeping Europe and the United States is all too real, that the can has reached the end of the road, it may be provided in the next few weeks.

Dallas leaves the Narrative with no place to go. What’ll it be? Withdraw the police from the streets? Crack down on the usual suspects? Announce this was the work of that Jayvee team, ISIS? Close the borders? Confiscate the guns? Call in the FBI?

Or maybe we can listen to another speech about how hatred is on its last legs? There’s nowhere to turn without admitting failure. Or perhaps we can just change the subject and talk about the war on women and Christian hatred? What’ll it be? It’s always worked before, maybe it’ll work again.

For once the Narrative will find this can’t be spun, though it will try, this time in the growing realization that lies may only make it worse, as the former lies have worsened things till now. The roots of discontent run deep. The status quo has been living on borrowed money and borrowed truth. It is now living on borrowed time.

Denial will no longer work. That is the single most important thing to understand.

Update:

Dallas chief of police David Brown described the motive of one attacker. He “wanted to kill white people”, especially police., as the Washington Post reports. It’s a sad outcome. The Narrative truly has nowhere left to go.

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