Just a few weeks ago on the streets of Brooklyn, protesters chanted, "NYPD KKK, how many kids did you kill today?" But any elderly Kleagles from the KKK heyday minded to visit Fun City would find the NYPD an odd sort of Klan outfit. A Black Muslim called Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley executes two police officers called Rafael Ramos and Wen Jian Liu - "obviously avatars of white privilege," as Jay Nordlinger put it - and the nearest thing to white male privilege in this story is the socialist mayor on whom Officer Ramos and Liu's grieving colleagues ostentatiously turned their backs. And Bill de Blasio uses his mother's maiden name, and is married to a black sometime lesbian by whom he has two biracial children.
When I first heard of de Blasio, I recalled something Howard Dean had said when I shared a stage with him and Fred Thompson in Calgary four years ago. Dean had been enthusing about how today's generation of young Americans were the most diverse ever and were way beyond the old categorizations: "They all have friends of every race, every ethnicity, every immigration status, every religion, every sexual orientation - and they all date each other." In the Dean utopia, the big bearded imam is dating an undocumented pre-op transgender infidel and having a grand old time. Oh, you can titter, but you can sort of see Dean's point when you look at the multiracial, multiorientational de Blasio family: until that one grim day (of which the Mayor spoke the other week) when their son Dante has his first, long-anticipated run-in with Dad's own police department, the de Blasio clan are living the diversity dream.
Diversity seems to be working out fine in the upper echelons of society. But lower down the ladder identity-group politics requires ever more virulent demonization of "the other". Otherwise, how's an ugly thug race-baiter like Al Sharpton supposed to stay in business? And so #blacklivesmatter, and Rafael Ramos and Wen Jian Liu are serviceable stand-ins for Bull Connor, as was "white Hispanic" George Zimmerman a couple of grievances back. Aside from being a respectable NBC anchor and a welcome guest at Obama's White House, the Reverend Al is said to be the "co-mayor" of New York. This term is largely metaphorical - for the moment. But you can already discern the contours of the American future: A chichi Green Zone within which the consequences of identity-group politics are confined mainly to sudden vapors over microagressions and nanoaggressions, and the plump prosperous power-brokers of "social justice" live lives comfortably undisturbed by the passions they foment when they jet forth with ever larger entourages to toss some red meat to the mob in Ferguson or Staten Island. And beyond the Green Zone a land of minimal economic opportunity fracturing into ever fiercer tribal resentments that find ever more violent expression.
If you want the picture in a nutshell, the same Department of Homeland Security that declines to fence America's vanished southern border is recommending the fence round the White House be made even taller. The Obamas and de Blasios and Sharptons will always be inside the fence. The effects of their policies are largely on the other side.
~Is it relevant that Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley is a Muslim? Maybe not. But it isn't so irrelevant that every news outlet (including Fox) has to be quite so cautious about mentioning it at all. Newsday, one of the few papers that did, reported the view of Robert Boyce, the NYPD's Chief of Detectives:
Boyce said Brinsley had no gang affiliation or tattoos. His family is Muslim but the NYPD found no indication that he was religious or that the slaying was motivated by religion. He said the family said he never manifested "any radicalization."
So the preferred explanation is mental illness:
The shooter may have had an undiagnosed mental illness, according to his family, and may have been on medication "later on in life," Boyce said in a briefing in Manhattan. But he said he had no official reports of any mental illness.
Indeed. In fact, there's less hard evidence for any mental illness than there is for "radicalization", at least to the extent that Brinsley appears to have posted on his Facebook page the Koranic soundbite about "striking fear into the enemies of Allah". Nevertheless, the preferred explanation is that Brinsley was mentally ill, just like the guy who beheaded a coworker in Oklahoma was mentally ill, and the Sydney bloke who took those hostages at the coffee shop was mentally ill, and the son of the Canadian Refugee Board honcho who killed a soldier at the Canadian War Memorial was mentally ill. They were also all Muslim. Oh, and the fellow in France who ran down 11 people with his car while shouting "Allahu Akbar!" only yesterday has already been pronounced mentally ill. By sheer coincidence, he was Muslim, too.
Is this one of those parlor games - like "Dead or Canadian?" Or "Gay or European?" Don't forget, if you're playing in the western media's daily Nothing-to-See-Here quiz, in the "Crazy or Muslim?" round the correct answer is "Crazy", every time.
These are not mutually incompatible categories: There are dead Canadians, and gay Europeans, and crazy Muslims. To get people to march in the streets shouting "What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Now!" is relatively easy. To persuade Al Sharpton's swaggering halfwit goons to act on their slogans is another matter. A person has to be suggestible, and there's an accumulation of evidence that in today's world disaffected young Muslim men are the most easily suggestible of all. Whether they're suggestible because they're Muslim or they're Muslim because they're suggestible is one of those chicken-or-egg conundrums.
~As for why a Muslim would be roused to action by the infidel Reverend Al Sharpton, well, Sharpton's in the grievance business and always looking to expand. If an Islamo-Sharpton convergence seems unlikely, so does a Kim Jong-Al axis of shakedown. But it happened. As I understand the new arrangements agreed between Reverend Al and Amy Pascal, the films Sony makes have to be approved by Sharpton, while the films Sony releases have to be approved by Kim Jong-Un. From the Hays Code to the Al & Kim Code: Celebrate diversity!
Ms Pascal is under fire for private emails in which she breezily asserts to the head of her TV division that major movie stars taking small-screen gigs is now "the new black baby". I can't really see, even by the touchy standards of Reverend Al, what's so "racist" about this. But, accepting for the purposes of argument that it is, I'd rather have a world in which studio chiefs mock the fashion trends in child adoption of their A-list talent than one in which they kiss the ring of a race-baiter like Sharpton. The CGI is gonna have to be spectacular to make up for the scripts that'll get greenlighted after this.
~Speaking of celebrating diversity, I'm honored to be the highest-ranked foreigner in John Hawkins' hit parade of the Most Admired People on the American Right. Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Scott Walker and Mia Love hold the Top Four slots, and then I sneak in at Number Five, albeit tied with Charles Krauthammer, who was raised in Montreal and thus makes it a bit of a Canuck twofer. Still, terrific company for Steyn: Sowell, Thomas, Love, Krauthammer... Maybe we need a new parlor game: Black or Canadian?
~I'll be back in my native land in January for an appearance with Heather Reisman at her flagship Indigo bookstore at the Manulife Centre in Toronto. It's always fun taking the stage with Heather, and it was a big hit last time we did it. We'll be talking about The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, and much more. Seven o'clock, Wednesday January 28th. Hope to see you there. And, for any readers in upstate New York, it's an easy 90-minute zip up the QEW from Buffalo.