Saturday, May 13, 2017

Leiter on Tommy Curry and: When Is It OK To Kill White People?

This seems a little less clear to me than it seems to seem to Leiter.
   It should go without saying--though perhaps now, during the PC/PoMo reign of (t)error, it doesn't really--that Curry's speech is protected both by the First Amendment and academic freedom. Not to even mention the Common Law tradition, the natural and inalienable (though not God-given, because that doesn't work) rights of man, and the norms of rational (and even scholarly) discourse...which...well...I guess I did mention them after all. So sue me...
   Because make no mistake about it: I will absolutely go to the freakin' battlements to defend Curry's right to discuss such things openly.
   Furthermore--though it's not terribly relevant--I actually found Curry's comments interesting. Which is not something I can say for most discussions of race coming out of the contemporary academy...
   However...I have to say...having listened to what he said three (four?) times...he does come uncomfortably close to advocating political violence by blacks against whites. Leiter seems to me to represent Curry's comments in a way that downplays Curry's flirtation with that position. Now...to address these issues seriously, we'd need a transcript. Serious thinking doesn't really happen so much with speech. You've got to have things written down. But it seems to me that Curry is lamenting the fact that a certain view is not taken more seriously. And that view is: that blacks should employ violence against whites for political reasons.

   (Just a word on the PC/PoMo double standard in play these days: note that the standard line over there on the loonier reaches of the left is that even merely expressing a purely theoretical view that they disagree with constitutes literal and actual violence against certain groups of people. Whereas I have no doubt that they'd say that Curry's actual (apparent) flirtation with advocacy of actual political violence is just dandy... But that's neither particularly here nor there.)
   So...I'm less sure than Leiter that there's anything wrong with TAMU's statement. They defend Curry's right to say what he said, and they express disagreement with it. I'm not sure what's supposed to be wrong with that. Even if they (and I) are (am) wrong about the right interpretation of Curry's comments, their caution is reasonable given the uncertainty about what he meant. The statement is within the realm of the reasonable.
   Or, anyway, so it seems to me. I'm not what you'd call 100% certain about this.
   Though...I've got a bunch of complicated views about all this stuff that make me particularly sensitive to comments like Curry's. Even ignoring everything else, I've got a personal test of such things, and it goes like this: WWMLKD? I'm not saying that we all have to be like the good Reverend Doctor... I think that's setting the bar too high for the vast majority of us. But I do think it gives us an important touchstone in such cases. And I'm not so sure that Curry's comments pass. Now...the very substance of his comments call into question the value of my test...and the thing is that I understand that. In fact, I don't just understand--I sympathize. A former colleague of mine back in my W&M days once said something to me that I think about quite a lot: "I admire Martin Luther King; But I understand Malcolm X." (Thanks for that one, George. You implanted an inordinate number of wise saying in me noggin'...) I understand Malcolm X and John Brown and Nat Turner. I always have and always will. And one of the reasons that I think black Americans are, collectively, heroes of the American story is that they've so shunned such attitudes...despite the fact that the attitudes are defensible. I don't so much disagree with Curry as think that it's a dangerous box to open up...
   And that right there puts me at odds with some of my fundamental philosophical and political commitments...and so I'd best shut up and think about this some more...

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