Victor Hanson asks:

Must our ancestors be reduced to villains of the past who do not fit our model of political correctness? Or were they just folks who had it far rougher than we citizens of the 21st century, and sacrificed their all so that we would not have to endure everything they did?

Of course we all owe an enormous debt to those who developed the Enlightenment values that underpin modern civilization, and the ridiculously awesome material and civic benefits they bestow, and if their sins were legion then their contributions were far greater, and far more painfully bought than modern First Worlders can really conceive.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands the import of failing to pay the interest on that debt:

In his memoir The Beautiful Struggle, Coates described how his father, a former Black Panther and full-time conspiracy theorist, drove his son around West Baltimore “telling me again the story of the black folk’s slide to ruin. He would drive down North Avenue and survey the carry-outs, the wig shops, the liquor stores and note that not one was owned by anyone black.” Whites had “plundered” what belonged to blacks, his father explained, as they had done with once-great African kingdoms. Coates, who lived in fear of black street toughs as a teen, sees the police as a greater threat to black well-being than the drug “crews” and gangs roaming the streets of West Baltimore today. His vision, in part, is to free gang-ridden areas from the malign grip of white standards and aggressive policing. Coates has adopted his father’s view that “our condition, the worst of this country’s condition—poor, diseased, illiterate, crippled dumb—was not just a tumor to be burrowed out but proof that the whole body was a tumor, that America was not a victim of a great rot but the rot itself.” Not even a hurricane of violence, says the new riot ideology, justifies a vigorous police presence in black localities.

For Ta-Nehisi Coates, the crews and the gangsta rappers singing about the need to “Fuck the Police” are preferable to the cops. The cops, complains Coates, “lord over” young black men with “the moral authority of a protection racket.” There is a touch of truth in this. But, Coates goes on, the problem with the police “is not that they are fascist pigs but that our country is ruled by majoritarian pigs.” The solution, he implies, is a black population released from the ideals of the American dream and from the “false morality” of white Americans. For Coates, blacks can only be freed from racism after whites have been emancipated from capitalism.

The more evolved sensibilities of future generations, armed with higher IQs (Flynn) and superior rationality (moral reasoning and psychiatric biochemistry do advance, in tandem) will doubtless view such sentiments with something akin to the horror our generation sees in the attitudes that demanded the castration and suicide of Alan Turing or the burning of black Tulsa.  A lot of good people always die in these riots and moral panics and abdications of order.

A man, a city, a movement, and a moment have met: West Baltimore has, for the time being, been liberated from American morality. Let’s judge Coates’s vision on how that plays out.