Some time ago, I read an excellent article, possibly in Foreign Policy, about how the Chinese government handled criticism at the higher levels. (How do they handle it at the lower levels? With a tank, of course.) Recognizing that China could not improve and progress if it didn’t continually address mistakes made by its leaders, but also understanding that it could be fatal to question or criticize the man in charge at any given time, the Chinese came up with an ingenious solution. Let’s say, for example, that Hu Jintao, the previous Dude Who Runs China, had introduced some ineffective or dangerous policy during his term. Some senior person would notice this problem and would address the leadership like so:
“Gentlemen, it has come to my attention that a dangerous policy introduced by Jiang Zemin is threatening this country.” He would then outline the policy as if it had been created and/or implemented by Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao’s predecessor. Everyone, including Hu Jintao, would listen politely. And if the senior official’s argument and/or facts proved to be persuasive, Hu Jintao would announce that he was addressing errors made by the previous administration, the bad policy would be removed, and everyone would continue to go about their business.
Our natural response as Westerners to this is to recoil from the hypocrisy! of this tactic, but in fact it is the only way to deal with the unfettered power of a uniparty state. By freeing the current powers that be from the admission of fault, you allow them to treat the problem as a problem to be solved rather than as a challenge to be defeated. This tactic is no more “hypocritical” than declining to wrestle a grizzly bear.
In any event, I think it would be irresponsible to suggest any correlation between this highly effective practice from overseas and the recent spate of “AAPI March Against White Supremacy” events that have, entirely correctly of course, placed the blame for the spate of attacks on AAPI individuals by non-whites on the root cause of white supremacy. We do not have a Uniparty in this country and the idea that a group of people who are suffering a remarkable string of violent attacks would use “white supremacy” as a means to have a discussion about countermeasures without upsetting the jealous power of that Uniparty is, of course, the most ridiculous of conspiracy theories.
Let’s move on.
This video is from a recent event in Washington DC where two girls, aged 13 and 15, carjack and murder a immigrant rideshare driver. (Do not confuse this with the other recent event in DC where two boys, aged 13 and 14, carjacked but only injured an immigrant rideshare driver.) For those of you who are tuning in after the video gets censored, or after it disappears from the high-resolution host at Worldstar, here’s what happens:
* The video starts with the two girls, one in the front seat and one in the rear, physically assaulting the 66-year-old man, identified as Mohammed Anwar. One of them starts using a taser on Anwar as he tries to get out of the car. Anwar, meanwhile, is repeating “This is my car!” in broken fashion during the assualt.
* The girl in the front seat puts the car in Drive while trying to steer the car, presumably to throw Anwar out. He is in the process of falling out of the car as it accelerates towards and strikes a bicycle rack with the open driver’s door.
* The Accord continues to accelerate in the wrong lane towards a T-juncture, with Anwar’s dying foot on the accelerator. At this point, the girls probably realize that they have no way to actually stop the car. This was a bad plan. The one in front settles for jerking the wheel to the right.
* Whoever was filming this starts running down the street. When he reaches the end of the street we see that the Accord has rolled onto the driver’s door and struck a parked car. We cannot see Anwar at this point.
* A group of
Praetorian National Guardsmen is helping the girls out through the Accord’s passenger doors. The person who is filming starts yelling, “They stole the car!” At this point we see the limp, twisted body of Mohammed Anwar on the sidewalk. Nobody is looking at Anwar or making any effort to assist him.
* The Guardsmen are still focusing on the girls, whom they are walking to a door of the nearest building. The person taking the video reiterates that “Those girls stole the car.” Someone, possibly a Guardsman, confronts him from the side with an angry “What’s up?” (It might also be “Who Else?” as in, “Who else is in the car?”)
And now we come to the part that will probably ensure that this video, or at least the sort of samizdat descriptions of it that you are reading now, will come to live in the post-American consciousness. The girl who had been sitting up front, the one who tazed Anwar and then took the actions that directly caused his mutilated death, has already effortlessly and naturally transformed herself into the role of victim. She realizes that something is very wrong.
No, it’s not the crumpled body next to her.
It’s the fact that she left her phone in the car.
* “Please, my phone is in here!” she cries, nimbly stepping around Anwar’s body as she attempts to return to the Accord. A Guardsman grabs her hand but we can hear her making some difficult-to-understand pleas to the Guardsman. “My phone!”
* A Guardsman and (possibly) a Capitol cop are standing apart from the rest of the Guardsmen and the car. One of them says, “sigh I saw what happened.”
That’s the end of it. The first thing that strikes me about this situation was that the carjackers almost got away with it. Let’s say their joyride had been a few hundred feet longer, or that fewer people had been around to see what happened. It would have been no trick to slip past the Guardsmen and disappear back into the streets. The Capitol Police would have lazily reconstructed it as “immigrant driver loses control of 170-horsepower Honda.” And who would have been able to gainsay that?
The second thing is, of course, the absolute and total self-righteousness of the girl in the red hoodie. She is willing to step around the body of her murder victim to retrieve her phone. It occurs to me that most of my readers grew up like me — in a culture that never failed to emphasize the likelihood that whatever had just happened was, indeed, our fault. That sense of immediate guilt, welded in during childhood, has never left me. A few years ago I was in the middle of an SCCA race and the sixty-something bat-blind idiot next to me just turned his car into me for no reason. My immediate thought was: OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?
By contrast, the girl in the red hoodie has been raised by a society, and a media, that has been at pains to inform her of her impeccable innocence in any and all things; indeed, that she could never be at fault. The primary response that expresses itself as crippling guilt in me has been upgraded to victimhood in her. She can murder a man in cold blood, step over his body like it was a lump of dogshit, then sob over her phone.
It doesn’t make her an “animal”, as many people on Twitter and elsewhere have suggested. Rather, she is entirely human in the sense that she has totally and completely learned all the lessons taught to her. We told her that everybody is trying to hurt her, that she can’t trust anybody who doesn’t look exactly like her. She listened, and heard, and acted.
Her defense attorney will have a tough row to hoe here. The DC justice system wants to — is designed to — slap her on the wrist for even felony murder charges. The goal here is to make sure she is back on the street before her 18th birthday, because incarceration is expensive. But she will need to show a minimum of remorse in order to lend a facade of righteousness to the proceedings. This will not make any sense to her. Isn’t she the victim? Hasn’t she been told that for her entire life? Her so-called “victim”, on the other hand — why, he had a car! A family! Probably a house! All the things she doesn’t expect to have! Haven’t we told her that those things have all been stolen from her by a profoundly broken society? Well, who can blame her for trying to steal them back?
I’m not being sarcastic here. If we tell a whole group of Americans that they have been the victims of an institutional crime, don’t we also to some degree encourage them to seek their own justice, however rude and random, for that crime? Your humble author identifies as German-American. Let’s say I’d grown up hearing how other ethnic groups had stolen my birthright, taken the wealth of my people, used us as disposable automatons. Imagine that I was told “The police love to murder unarmed German-Americans.” Imagine that I saw other immigrant groups — Austrian-Americans? Swiss-Americans? — come to this country and become fantastically wealthy. Then imagine that I was told that the discrepancy between my outcome and theirs was due to the efforts of a third party — let’s say the Dutch-Americans.
If you pump me full of that propaganda for decades, what will happen? I mean, we already know, because it kinda-sorta happened in 1937. If you tell a group of people for long enough that they are victims, and you are sufficiently convincing, some of them will eventually decide to balance the scale on that count.
For that reason, I will not join the chorus of people seeking the death penalty for this girl. She is still fundamentally a child. She is a product of her environment and her education. My eleven-year-old son has been slightly mispronouncing the word “interesting” for a few years now; he says “intern-sting”. Should he face the death penalty for behavior that I have not been willing to correct?
No, what’s required here is that we punish, or at least ameliorate, the corrupt system of education and discipline that has produced a seemingly endless number of teenage robbery-homicide experts in the District of Columbia and elsewhere. By doing so, we would both be addressing the root cause of the existing horrors while preventing any new horrors from occurring. There’s just one little problem: The system that created our young carjackers is, in fact, imbued with fantastic and tremendous power. It is beyond confrontation. Let’s say, as a basis for argument, that a Republican administration would solve the problems in Washington, D.C. (Try not to laugh.) Is there any chance whatsoever that a Republican administration could ever be elected there?
Of course not. There is literally zero alternative to the existing power structure. Therefore, we have to petition the existing power structure to change, one painful bit at a time, knowing that there will be many a murderous 13-year-old created between now and the time that such things no longer happen. We also know that we cannot present even the appearance of a threat to the existing power structure, or we will suffer a fate ranging from the permanent defeat of our ideas to a complete unpersoning.
The best thing to do is to lay the blame at the feet of the powers that existed in DC before — but the last Republican Mayor of DC ended his term in… uh… 1910. So that won’t work. It’s too absurd. What we need instead is an artificial enemy, someone to play Emmanuel Goldstein to Muriel Bowser’s benevolent and lovable Big Brother. We need something that doesn’t quite exist in reality but is very present in the popular imagination, like Emmanuel Goldstein. Then we can work together with the power structure to rectify the errors that were caused by this Goldstein-like force.
I got it! We’ll have a march to protest wh…
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For Hagerty, I wrote about the modern Eldorado convertible.