Ethics Quiz (And Poll): The Cop And The KKK Application

Either our nation is committed to the principles of freedom of thought, speech, expression and association,  or it is not.

With that preface, here is the kind of gray area, bizarre fact pattern controversy that puts ethical analysis to the test.

In the Muskegon County (Michigan) town of Holton, African-American  Rob Mathias, accompanied by his wife and children, was walking through the home of Charles Anderson, a local police officer, with the intent of possibly purchasing it.  Then he saw a framed Klu Klux Klan application hanging on a wall, as well as several Confederate flags. He and his family immediately left the property.

Later he posted a photograph of the KKK application on Facebook, (above) explaining later that he felt it was something the public had a right to know about, especially if the officer had a history of questionable interactions with African Americans.  Mathias wrote that Anderson “was one of the most racist people” in the community and “hiding behind his uniform.” The post was also personal and threatening, concluding with “I know who you are and will be looking for resources to expose your prejudice.”

The Facebook post triggered an internal investigation of Anderson, and he was placed on administrative leave. “We do take this sort of issue, seriously, and we are working hard to understand if/how this may impact his ability to safely and fairly police our community,” Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson reporters. Muskegon County NAACP President Eric Hood piled on, saying, “We want a thorough investigation to be sure that when he goes out there and puts on that uniform and performs his duties as an officer that he’s being fair and impartial.”

“I’m still disgusted by it. I’m hurt,” said Mathias “You can’t serve your community and be a racist. You can’t. There are people of all different colors, of all different nationalities … out there that you have to serve and protect. You can’t just protect one group of people.”

 Rachel Anderson, the officer’s wife, told reporters that her husband is not and never was a KKK member. She said he was a collector, and called the uproar a misunderstanding.

Mathias’ wife said in rebuttal,

“I like antiques, but I collect things that I represent. You can go in my basement, we have Detroit Lions, Red Wings, Michigan stuff, everything we associate ourselves with.So why would you collect something you don’t associate with yourself?” 

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Has this situation been handled fairly, responsibly and ethically?

My answer?

Absolutely not.

Nonetheless, it’s complicated. Observations;

1. It is nobody’s business but the citizen what that citizen chooses to have in his or her home, on the home’s walls, or anywhere else. Unless he has human skin lampshades like Ed Gein, stolen Picassos or sex slaves chained to the wall, such personal items and choices are legal and private, and the citizen’s decisions in regard to them are Constitutionally protected.

2. Mathias was wrong in many ways. It is wrong to enter a house as a guest and take photos of the interior with the intent of embarrassing or impugning the owner. It is wrong—unfair, disrespectful, dishonest—to make such a decision as well as assumptions about the significance a home’s accouterments without informing the host and asking for an explanation, not that the home owner would be obligated to supply one.

3. Posting the photo on Facebook also wrong, and inexcusable. Mathias says he “prayed” before doing it. Yechh. So God ratified this unethical decision, did he? Have the courage to take responsibility for your own unethical conduct.

4. Don’t ask me why a police officer, or anyone, would show their home to a potential purchaser, especially an African American, with a framed KKK applications and Confederate flags on the wall.  Maybe he was trying to avoid discrimination charges by using the decorations to discourage a black buyer. Or maybe he’s an idiot.

5. Having such decorations does not prove a homeowner is a racist, but it creates a rebuttable presumption that he is. However, it is not illegal to be a racist. It is not illegal to like memorabilia that extol racism. It is illegal to engage in racist and discriminatory conduct. Absent evidence of such conduct, racist decorations are not an empoyer’s concern, nor the governments.

Freedom of thought, speech, expression and association…

6. Mathias says, “You can’t serve your community and be a racist. You can’t.”  Wrong, very wrong, and demonstrably wrong. Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were racists; so were Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and cousin Franklin. They served the community, indeed the whole nation, extremely well and fairly. After Clarence Darrow confronted the all-white jury in the Sweet trial and told them that as whites passing judgment on a black man accused of murder, they would have to “get past” their racism in the best interests of the nation and humanity, they did, acquitting his client. We must not judge, condemn and punish people for what they think, might think, believe or may believe. We must  pay attention to what they do.

7. Anderson is a 20 year veteran who has not, apparently, been accused of racial bias. The one incident cited in news reports was a 2009 a fatal shooting involving a Black parolee anmed Julius Johnson. He  was fleeing a traffic stop on foot when  he struggles with the officer, who was badly beaten . Anderson fired on Johnson, saying he feared for his life in the fight. The Muskegon County prosecutor determined the officer was justified in using deadly force. Of course he did: I doubt any shooting that is preceded by the victim fighting with the police and injuring would be called excessive use of force. The NAACP unsuccessfully called for a federal investigation of the shooting. Of  course it did. Like Black Lives Matters, any white officers who shoots a black perp in the act of resisting arrest is presumed racist, a murderer, and guilty.

8. All of that said, the city and police force has no choice but to investigate, since the Facebook post, unfair and unethical as it is, incites emotional responses  and puts everyone involved on the proverbial spot. The episode reminds me of the Donald Sterling fiasco, an Ethics Train Wreck, in which an NBA owner was surreptitiously recorded by his mistress making racially charged comments, which she then allowed a radio host to broadcast. No one should be punished, fined and pilloried for what they say in confidence in their own bedroom, but if such statements become public, they can hardly be ignored.

9. Mathias’s wife is especially presumptuous. Just because she collects items that “represent her,” others can, do, and have a right to collect things for different reasons. “That person is bad because they aren’t like me” is a particularly insidious attitude, and there’s a lot of it going around lately.

10. In the end, perhaps what we have is a “Racist Home Decorations and Memorabilia Principle,” similar to the Naked Teacher Principle so familiar to frequent readers here. You have a right to display and collect whatever you want, but if your tastes appear objectively racist and your memorabilia somehow becomes known to the public, you can’t complain about the  adverse consequences. You accepted the risks.

Now the poll:

 

58 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz (And Poll): The Cop And The KKK Application

  1. I chose yes. What hangs on his walls are his business.

    I have a copy of General Lee Matthew Brady photo hanging on my wall. This was the last photo of Lee before the buttons were taken off his jacket at Appomatax. My grandmother donated the original photo to Washington and Lee University. Their letter of thanks is in a pocket on the back of the photo. That photo is merely a connection to my grandmother who was related in some way to the van Dorns of Virginia; nothing more should be assumed from that wall hanging.

  2. I want to know if the realtor had been in the house before.

    I watch shows sometimes dealing with house selling and the realtor is constantly telling sellers showing their home to make sure the rooms are de-cluttered and that personal photos and other effects are removed so that the potential buyers will be able to see themselves living there rather than the strangers whose pictures are on the bookshelf.

    In the current political climate, it’s the height of foolishness not to know that potential home buyers could find these objects offensives. I can’t imagine what the homeowners were thinking.

    Didn’t their realtor, taking a walk through the home for the first time, strongly advise removing the objects while the house is being shown?

  3. Things that jumped out at me…

    “It is not illegal to like memorabilia that extol racism. It is illegal to engage in racist and discriminatory conduct.”

    “We must not judge, condemn and punish people for what they think, might think, believe or may believe. We must pay attention to what they do.”

    “No one should be punished, fined and pilloried for what they say in confidence in their own bedroom, but if such statements become public, they can hardly be ignored.”

    “You have a right to display and collect whatever you want, but if your tastes appear objectively racist and your memorabilia somehow becomes known to the public, you can’t complain about the adverse consequences. You accepted the risks.”

    I agree with each of those statements.

    This police officer exercised extremely poor judgement in not taking down all the things that could imply that the homeowners were racist. He knew that there would be potential buyers touring his home. He should have remove the items from view or maybe it would have been better to actually remove them from the house and put in storage elsewhere. The police officer put himself, his family and his employer in a terrible position with his extremely poor judgement.

    Question: Does the Police Officer have a valid defamation case for what Mathias wrote, there is no proof that Anderson is actually a racist and the Facebook post was clearly posted to intentionally harm Anderson? Libel?

    • Question: Does the Police Officer have a valid defamation case for what Mathias wrote, there is no proof that Anderson is actually a racist and the Facebook post was clearly posted to intentionally harm Anderson? Libel?

      There is “proof”, and it was presented. Defamation requires a harmful opinion based on a provably false statement of fact, which does not apply here.

      The statement, “He is a racist because he displays racist collections” is a protected opinion. The evidence of racism, the existence of the KKK memorabilia (and photos proving its existence), is fully documented and disclosed.

      The claim of racism based on the existence of the memorabilia. There is no false statement of fact, thus no claim of defamation. The expression of the opinion is not ethical, because it discloses information reasonably expected to be private, but it is not defamatory.

        • If that application had been filled out with the Officer’s name on it I’d be singing a completely different song. The fact is that the application was blank and there was no evidence that the officer is a racist, what the guy did was make up a lie.

        • Steve Witherspoon:

          Parse that statement. What exactly is stated?

          What EXACTLY is false?

          That he feels sick to his stomach?

          That he walked in someone’s home?

          One of the most racist people in Muskegon?

          Maybe he is one of the most racist people in Muskegon?

          How do you prove it? How do you disprove it?

          If he does not make the Top 5 But is in the Top 10, does that count as one of the most racist people in Muskegon?

          Here is something different: “I feel sick walking through the house of someone who is in the KKK.” That is much closer to a statement of fact that would support a defamation claim.

          -Jut

          • My whole question really surrounded Mathis’ use of the word “knowing”, he doesn’t “know” any of those things he stated, he assumes those things based on correlation and bias; I took that use of the word “knowing” as a statement of fact. Based on Mathis’ reactions, he appears to be racially biased, he leaves absolutely no room for himself to be in error, he professes to the world that Andersen is a racist! Mathis doesn’t even give Anderson, his smear target, the opportunity to explain the presence of the items, he goes public trying to destroy him. What Mathis did was unethical and in my opinion, immoral!

        • I was not quoting him verbatim, but paraphrasing his implied argument.

          His conclusion that the cop is racist is based entirely on the existence of the blank KKK application. His basis for the conclusion is factual and fully disclosed.

          It is neither a fair nor intelligent conclusion, but it is not defamatory.

          Racism is not an objective state for which determinate criteria exist to demonstrate it. Rather, one must weigh evidence and behavior and make a conclusion as whether someone is racist. Short of self-disclosure of holding racist views, an outsider can never positively know whether if another is racist.

          Defamation requires presentating false evidence that would lead another to make an unfavorable conclusion. That was not done here.

  4. “It is unfair to place him on leave based solely on his wall hangings.”

    Yes, it’s unfair to him as an individual. But there is a utilitarian argument here that, while unfair to him, the police force and community needed to put him on admin leave, which, is nicely short of scapegoating OR going too far and making a permanent example of him.

    After things cool down a bit, someone in charge should probably explain all the ethics involved, then reinstate the officer in some situation where his contact with people is diminished. He seems close to retirement…

    • “Yes, it’s unfair to him as an individual.”

      I disagree.

      It’s not unfair to put him on administrative leave or even give him a desk job while they do their due diligence to look to his interactions with the public while on the job to do anything less would be negligent on their part. Do the “investigation” quickly and present their findings, if he has nothing to support any claims of racism then reinstate him immediately otherwise take corrective action based on what they find.

      The unfair part is what the libelous smears that Mathias posted about a person he had absolutely no contact with and no evidence that he was a racist. Mathias jumped to a conclusion that was not supported by fact.

      • No, it’s unfair to him because it was no business of the potential buyer to broadcast what he saw in his own home. This was all triggered by completely unethical conduct. So yes, it is unfair to him.

        • “No, it’s unfair to him because it was no business of the potential buyer to broadcast what he saw in his own home. This was all triggered by completely unethical conduct. So yes, it is unfair to him.”

          We are in “violent” disagreement. 😉

          Jack correctly wrote above; “You have a right to display and collect whatever you want, but if your tastes appear objectively racist and your memorabilia somehow becomes known to the public, you can’t complain about the adverse consequences. You accepted the risks.”

          Once this became public, the Police Department MUST do it’s due diligence to look into it and part of that due diligence is to temporarily remove the officer from direct public contact as their employee. It would be negligent if they failed to do either of those two things.

          Choices have consequences.

              • Actually reading back over what we’ve both written, I think we pretty much agree about everything except the “invasion of privacy”. I don’t think there was any invasion of privacy, the home owner willingly allowed the realtor to bring anyone they wanted into their home to view it, there is no reasonable presumption of “privacy” for things that are in open view when people are touring a home. Now what that touring visitor did with what he saw in the home, THAT was an unethical and libelous personal attack with the intention of causing harm.

                • There is an implicit agreement that the potential buyer is there to assess the livability of the house and nothing more. Absolutely nothing more. That would mean, that all of a homeowner’s possessions inside the home are theoretically invisible to the potential buyer…excepting of course what Jack lists, such as violations of law. So all potential buyers should conduct themselves as though they see nothing (while of course they do, they must conduct themselves that way).

                  • Let the house be in 1910. A family goes in to view the home. On all the shelves are photos of a man, with another man, in poses implying romantic association similar to a husband and wife. Then paperwork is seen showing communications between the man and a larger community of men who associate homosexually.

                    The family leaves the home and broadcasts to all their neighbors and greater community about the man who owns the home.

                    The man, given the era, is turned out by the community. Temporarily relieved at work, etc.

                    Unfair?

                    Yep.

                • If Mr. Mathis had gone through the medicine cabinet, taken a photo of medication with labels on it and posted it, that would be an invasion of privacy. If he’d gone through dresser drawers and posted photos of Mrs. Anderson’s dainty things, that would also be an invasion.

                  I’m leaning with you on this, Steve. The flags and the framed application were right there for anyone walking through the house to see. If Officer Anderson had boxed them up and Mr. Mathis had gone through the box, it would be different.

                  I do think there was a better way to handle it than taking photos and posting them online. That seems to be the default reaction these days.

    • What if they had complained because they found a ‘Trump/Pence 2016’ sign in the closet? Would they still have to place him on leave? What if someone complained that he was a Republican? You know that today that is even stronger evidence that he a racist than collecting such memorabilia.

      In other words, you support putting a man on leave because someone complained. Will you put everyone on leave and investigate them for any complaint? If the man had a room dedicated to mob memorabilia and artifacts from the 1930’s, would he have been put on leave and investigated as a potential mafia member? There was no reason to put him on leave. There was no reason for an investigation. With no other information besides ‘he collects evidence of racism from US history’, I don’t see any reason for an investigation.

  5. Seeing the people, listening to their story, helps to understand it better.

    The most important aspect of this is that it shows where the present social hysteria is going. It also shows that there is coming a time where what you say, think, what art or books you collect and read, the people you communicate with, will come under scrutiny. And if someone decides they do not like any of that, you will suffer harm as a result.

    There is nothing at all wrong with having a Confederate flag. What is wrong is that the flag and showing it has been transformed by coercive social pressure into being a sign of the bad, a sign of evil. That is what needs to be paid attention to — the dynamic that has brought this about — not that any particular person either has or does not have that flag.

    The membership application was not filled out. I thought the officer had framed his own application! But no, it is simply an old application he got somewhere and framed.

    If the question is: Did the potential home-buyer who informed the papers do something wrong? I would say that it doesn’t really matter the specifics of the right or wrong. What he did fits into the temporal modality, and this temporal modality has a purpose. I do not think it is a good purpose, but then I believe that white culture and white people must wake up and *see* the present somewhat differently than they now are. Do I blame him (the home-buyer) for creating a scandal? Not exactly.

    Do I ‘stand behind’ the officer? Probably if I looked into it I would, even if he had race-realist ideas and even if you-plural or the whole country would label him a ‘racist’. If the officer is fired, and Heaven knows this is possible, it will help average people to see better where the present movement is leading.

    I am not convinced that it is immoral to have race-realist (racist) notions. What seems potentially immoral, but perhaps misguided is a better term, is the notion that you can or should scramble people together and not create conditions of conflict. Even the Klan, if my researches are correct, arose out of a reaction to the Northern social undermining of the South in the aftermath of its invasion and occupation. Similar things happened in Iraq, in Syria and Afghanistan.

  6. This is incredibly frustrating.

    I feel forced to agree with the “Racist Home Decorations…” principle, but I desperately want to disagree with it.

    There used to be an old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It was often the guiding principle in cases of teasing in school and other places for children.

    Our society has now regressed to the point where words not only “hurt” people, but any visual cues allowing them to draw “hurtful” conclusions about the person. This is amplified by social media into a mob action, requiring employers to take steps in order to protect their investors and/or public reputation. It is a kind of scarlet letter on steroids, because it isn’t confined just to the community in which the person forced to wear it resides.

    It is this threat of mob action that permits people to be “injured” by innocuous memorabilia, as in the instant case. I notice the application form for the KKK was not filled out. That suggests it was there purely as a bit of history. Have we reached the point where we must no longer display documents, signs, or symbols created by racist authors or organizations, whatever their historical value? It seems we are headed that way. Walt Disney should be worried.

    Having said all that, I can understand why the Mathiases might have been concerned. But photographing someone’s stuff, especially inside a home, without their permission and then publishing it in an online forum with an intent to do that person harm ought to be a criminal act or at least a civil cause of action, unless it depicts an actual crime and was given to the authorities. That they felt justified in exposing a stranger’s personal effects to the world without any hint of context as to why they were there is a shameful and cowardly act of reflexive hate. I have no doubt that if Anderson had merely had a MAGA hat sitting on the mantle, or a picture taken with Donald Trump, the Matthiases would’ve photographed and published it as well, to similar effect.

    The Mattiases took the Golden Rule and defenestrated it. What would they want done if had left chains and whips in their bedrooms only to have them discovered by a putative buyer of the home who happened to be sexually repressed? Would they have wanted said tools photographed and placed all over social media, potentially jeopardizing their place in the community, harming the prospects of their children in school, and damaging their reputation? I don’t think so.

    Yet that is precisely what they did to Mr. Anderson and his family. Not only him, but his entire family will be forced to live with the judgment social media has rendered with only part of the facts. Even if he keeps his job, which I doubt (because these days, you don’t need to actually be a racist to be fired, but merely accused), his reputation among his community will be damaged to the point of untenability.

    We feel empowered by the mob to do this terrible public shaming these days. We can’t wait for their approval after we “out” some previously unknown person who holds opinions or merely possesses artifacts that can be used to categorize them as evil. We are empowered by the mob to treat our fellow man without compassion, understanding, or even offering him the benefit of the Golden Rule.

    How did we come to such a pass?

    • How did we come to such a pass?

      It seems to me that we would have to define ‘the pass’. I do not think that definition is immediately or universally clear. It is certainly not agreed upon.

      A starting point could be to analyze more closely what Mr (and Mrs) Mathias intended. I do not think this is a simple as it appears. It has been said that we choose actions for certain reasons (the unconscious factor, the desire factor) but justify these actions to ourselves with a sort of rationalizing overlay.

      So, on the surface Mr Mathias wanted to call attention to an officer whose racism may affect his police work. That sounds noble, doesn’t it? But at a deeper level, we must ask, what else is going on there? I venture to suggest that the motive is revenge. It is a very complex form of revenge though. Or it is a revenge which has been formed out of very complex material. What that ‘material’ is is also extremely complex because it has to do with the entire motive and underpinning of profound African-American resentment, anger and hatred for everything that had been done to them by white American culture. Indeed it is nearly a cosmic complaint and a metaphysical resentment and anger against Forces which as Angela Davis says ‘robbed them from the shores of Africa’. Without a certain dedication of time to reading Black authors I doubt that any average white person could easily grasp ‘Black rage’.

      But all of these sentiments, it is fair and necessary to say, have also been ‘cultivated’ and grown. That is to say they have been fed and nourished and I might also say ‘concocted’. I do not mean that they arise out of false apperception, but rather their potency and kick has to do with selection. The ‘rebellion’ of the Black person within white culture — its ‘prison’ — is very very complex. The effect of this rebellion (I use the term ‘undermining’) is also extremely complex. So again, if one looks at surface one does not always *see* what is really operating under the surface of things. I suggest that Black rage results in open destruction: as for example in riot and burning. You cannot build with those sentiments, don’t you see? But you can very successfully tear down.

      And again: there is a need to define what this ‘pass’ is.

      I have often thought — I have certainly repeated it often — that we always focus on ‘surface’ but do not see ‘depth’. This strange situation (Mathias vs Homeowner-officer) seduces for all its surface elements. The more one focuses on them, the less one actually *sees* the larger picture. However, if I began to speculate as to what the ‘larger picture’ is I would immediately run into opposition by fellow blog-commentators, as I always seem to. But that means (in my view) that *they* (you-plural) share a specific and enticing ‘narrative’ about the US, about ‘progress’, about American history, about the Postwar, certainly about the values of the Sixties, about goodness and justice too, which carries you along as either a lazy, meandering current, or one with more furious motion.

      That current is ‘American Progressivism’.

      So, one asks a question about causation. Everything that we are now experiencing and seeing happen are octaves upon octaves of causal chains put in motion by The War Between the States. That sounds like just an easy and perhaps even reductionist analysis. Yet it really is true that through that event that a New America was sort of ‘birthed’ I guess one would say. And if you accept that metaphor you will further accept that ‘that child has grown’. And now (here I rev up into the metaphor!) that angry bold child storms across the land with thunderous footsteps like Godzilla. I will agree that my simplistic analysis is rather trite and indeed reductionist, but these simple turns of phrases with bold similes and metaphors illustrate an important point: we experience now the OUTCOME of certain radical actions, choices and decisions.

      You surely must see that there will be a further progression, don’t you? What I mean is that if you can rise above the fray just for a moment to see the causal chain extending back into the past, you also have a vista available before your mind’s eye to see the progress of that causal chain into the future. But to see that requires *imagination*. Speculation. I suggest that the portended end of the initial causal chain, if it proceeds, will result in a similar circumstance as we now see in South Africa. I say *see* but in fact no one *sees* South Africa. There are various factors. One, that it is completely unreported. But the other is that *we* do not want to see the results of the currents that we ourselves are deeply involved in, invested in, and those we defend.

      Well, there you have it. An attempt to define ‘the pass’.

      • So, a willful ignorance of history then? I noticed the Angela Davis quote ‘robbed them from the shores of Africa’. I have noticed that a lot of American blacks have been told that white Europeans just sailed to Africa with ships, then ran into the jungles, capturing the slowest Africans they could find. You will hear many jokes about this. Of course, they all learned about the Triangle Trade in school. In the Triangle Trade, rum, textiles, or manufactured goods were carried to Africa. You don’t take a bunch of money when you go to rob someone, you take a lot of money when you go shopping. They bought those slaves from other Africans or the Arab slave traders that dominated in Africa. However, most people willfully ignore that obvious fact. I have always been amused by the American left’s obsession with slavery and there dogged determination not to know anything about slavery. An honest study of African slavery would be very uncomfortable for the likes of Rep. Ilhan Omar and the supporters of Muhhamed Ali.

        Of course, that is what this post is all about. We must not allow anyone to have any forbidden knowledge. The caretakers of the inconvenient past must be hunted down to allow the tide of progress to flow.

        • I have noticed that a lot of American blacks have been told that white Europeans just sailed to Africa with ships, then ran into the jungles, capturing the slowest Africans they could find.

          You are very right of course. If the *real truth* were told it would be one in which they shared complicity. That is, if by ‘they’ one could mean other people with black skin.

          “They sold themselves into slavery” would then have to be seen, processed, included in the narrative, as Black people meditate on their condition, what brought them to the New World. A too hard pill to swallow perhaps. I have read a good deal of Afro-literature and it has always been interesting how much it is based on specific, tendentious interpretations. Not un-truths, but incomplete stories.

          Stephan Molyneux has a very good presentation on slavery, past and present that I found compelling.

    • Now, there are even further dimensions here, important ones, that require mention.

      How did we come to such a pass?

      This pass must be further defined. There is an article in today’s Times (the Times having almost a mantic function!) titled What Would Sartre Think About Trump-Era Republicans? Now, you will have to hold on to your seat here because this is going to be a bumpy ride!

      The reference employed in the article — its central metaphor — is Vichy. That means a collaborating, complicit, functionally dishonest accommodation with a Hitlerian power. What I am compelled to suggest to those who read here is that the New York Intellectual Establishment is now playing far more brazenly with Jewish tropes than it had been in the recent past.

      [It must be remembered that Sartre ended up fairly discredited — somewhat ignored — when he became a Maoist, more or less. That by the way].

      We must stop to consider ‘mediating influence’. The Times is acting as a Maoist mediator. It is less a newspaper and more a sort of Maoist social transformation organ. I am not exaggerating. In fact I am trying to be fair and accurate.

      This is going to be very very hard for some here to face, but I must point out that what the Times is doing (it is a question of degree) is a very strange and also a very dangerous meddling within the national-social- cultural milieu of America. And just as it is using tropes from the recent past — from tragic history and tragic circumstances — it illustrates, in my view, how the Jewish revolutionary spirit functions. (That term is E Michael Jones and I use it with some qualification and reservation).

      One of his primary observations in The Slaughter of Cities involves the cynical use by Jewish American intellectual elites of the African American rebellion movement as part of a strategy to undermine the existing social order in America. The NY Intellectual Establishment is largely Jewish, as everyone knows. As a subscriber to the Times, and a daily reader of it, I also get emails called “Race/Related”. The Jewish establishment (I don’t know how else to put this) involves itself in social manipulation as part of a concerted effort of undermining a previous power structure within America. Yes, these are in a sense ‘tropes’ that do indeed fit into standard Jewish critical positions. Yet in my view, if it is handled carefully, there is sound ground here. And it must be considered.

      So, if the effort is to understand ‘the pass’ we are in now, which the NY Intellectual Class interprets as a period of Nazi accommodation with an Evil Politician compared to Hitler, we have further material to include in our attempt to define this strange and difficult time.

      I need to be bold in what I say: The NY Intellectual Establishment is telling me that America has been taken over by Nazis. That the people who support Trump are the same class that supported Hitler. And the implication is that these people, and that evil politician, must be taken out by any means necessary. That is after all the takeway from the Nuremberg Trials: “Why did you not take action when you say Evil being enacted?”

      This is what generations of children were taught in school.

      People hate my long essays and persecute me mercilessly for them! but I offer this one in good faith. Please, don’t beat me! 🙂

  7. “We feel empowered by the mob to do this terrible public shaming these days. We can’t wait for their approval after we “out” some previously unknown person who holds opinions or merely possesses artifacts that can be used to categorize them as evil. We are empowered by the mob to treat our fellow man without compassion, understanding, or even offering him the benefit of the Golden Rule.

    How did we come to such a pass?”

    Here’s how…

    BREAKING NEWS: Hoards of Anti-Social “Stupid” People Stomp Civility Into Submission!

    • Well, I see you come to the same conclusion. But how we got there?

      That’s what I’d like to know. It can’t all be virtue signalling, but some certainly. Lust for power? I’m sure that’s a factor. But what I wonder is what underlying social disease has made these things acceptable rather than offensive, like I was taught they were?

      The simplest explanation, I suppose, is the pervasive nature of “The ends justify the means.” That would seem to make sense, and it seems to suffuse most of these arguments. For example, in the instant case, the Matthises decided that the ends of exposing a racist cop justified the means of:

      a) ignoring the Golden Rule;
      b) engaging in public shaming lest the discipline be “in house” rather than something more dramatic if they simply informed the police department of their concerns.

      I conclude there is also a virtue signaling component, and a desire to be “Internet famous,” both forms of selfishness and greed.

  8. The officer was an idiot for not putting away obviously racist paraphernalia like this before showing the house to potential buyers – he put zero thought into who might be coming through. Here’s the thing, though, if he sold the house and moved elsewhere, presumably he would collect his belongings and take them with him. There is no residue of racism clinging to the walls. In epic fantasy ghosts of what happened stay where it happened. In real life the seller brooms the house clean and the buyer starts anew.

    I also think that the would-be buyer saw a chance to morally grandstand and took it. If he was that offended, he had every right to leave and not buy the house, he hadn’t signed a contract or put any money down. He had no right to splash the inside of this man’s house or his private possessions across the internet. There could be only one result to all of that, and it resulted. He might have been more within his rights to quietly pass this information along to the department, letting them know that this officer was displaying sympathy towards a problematic set of beliefs, and they might want to check his record, keep an eye on him, and warn him, saying that even though for the moment he’s done nothing overtly racist, they are aware of his collection and if he does or says anything overtly racist they will throw the book at him.

    I have to say I don’t like the precedent for anyone entering anyone’s house as an invitee and posting pictures of the interior or of their possessions, complete with their oh-so-witty commentary, all over the internet, whether it’s to appear “woke,” to poke fun at the host, or simply because they have too much time on their hands and feel the best use of it is to judge someone and hold them up to public judgment.

    My father’s a gun collector, every firearm he owns he owns legally, and never once has any of them been used in the commission of a crime or been involved in an accident. It’s not for anyone else to snap a picture of his den wall and post it all over, saying “beware Mr. so-and-so, look at the arsenal he’s got!” or “gun nut in the neighborhood!”

    I’m a collector of military history and emergency services memorabilia. I have multiple aviation prints and framed photos I have taken on my walls and I have four cabinets full of metal figures of soldiers, police, and other significant historical individuals. They include some admittedly controversial stuff: conquistadores, Civil War personalities from both sides, the Victorian wars (including British soldiers stabbing and shooting dervishes, Zulus, etc.), both sides from WWI and WWII, security forces in Northern Ireland (I’m half Irish but I loathe the IRA and all it stands for) and many Crusaders painted to a very high level, including one standing over an Arab officer he’s just clobbered and another on a rearing horse about to run a lance through another Arab type. I don’t want someone shooting pictures of my collection and posting them saying I’m a Confederate sympathizer or Islamophobic or a white supremacist.

    There is no reason to do any of that except to cause trouble, and to deliberately cause trouble for someone who invited you in as a guest is a terrible breach of the rules of hospitality.

  9. He’s a racist idiot. I think the fair housing laws should apply here when you were showing the home and you have something overtly racist like those items. For all we know he was given $50 by a neighbor to hang those items in his home in order to discourage a black buyer. What if one of the items he collected was a “blacks need not apply” sign?

    A good realtor will tell you to remove all personal effects which include pictures of your family. How these things remained on the walls is an indication of professional incompetence.

  10. Well, the KKK is an actual criminal organization, or at least was. Mathias would have been correct to privately contact the city or police department, and let THEM do an investigation. But he was wrong to go public, and his motivation was probably just lust for attention, which he has received.

    He was also not very clever to not notice that the “application” was clearly very old, discolored, and not actually filled out, and didn’t have the officer’s name on it or anything. That it was a collector’s item should have been his first inclination.

    His wife is unfortunately just doesn’t appear very smart and probably shouldn’t be on social media.

  11. There are reasons why Shirley Jackson’s 1948 short story, ‘The Lottery,” still resonates. We’ve gone from “someone has to be punished for our sins” to “everyone must participate” in the punishment, now metastasized into a CUSTOM of vicious, ignorant cruelty.

    I am particularly dismayed by the expedient truth of “…the city and police force has no choice but to investigate, since the Facebook post, unfair and unethical as it is, incites emotional responses and puts everyone involved on the proverbial spot.” If ever there was a slippery slope starting with the public expression of one man (and his wife)’s unsupported opinion or in other words (1) a “belief stronger than an impression and less strong than positive knowledge” that carries (2) sufficient proof to the contrary to invalidate that opinion. In other words (again), a piece of deliberately invented and disseminated scandal. Or fake news. Yes, the city and the police force do have a choice not to act on everything that ‘incites emotional responses.” In fact, they have a duty to discourage unreasonable or out-of-control reactions and to defuse provocation of that kind, not to surrender to them. That’s what able spokespersons, preferably those in positions of authority, and Town Meetings are for, not for safe, anonymous long-distance vomiting on strangers for what they own, do or say in their private lives. .

    Dear Mister and Missus Mathis: We are collectively sorry your feelings were hurt. We have taken care of that for you, free of charge. Mister Anderson’s livelihood has been taken away and the security of his family destroyed as far as possible. We hope you are satisfied with the outcome. Please feel free to let us know if and when your feelings are hurt in the future. All power to the people! Cordially yours, Your Friendly City Council and Police Force

    Memo to Self: File copies under Why didn’t Mathis have the Intelligence, humanity, real pride and guts to return when Anderson was home and confront him? Or write him a letter? Given Anderson’s response, it should have ended there.

  12. I don’t really want to agree with Mathis here, because taking photos of stuff inside someone else’s house without permission and posting it online is an incredibly chickenshit move. However, the best case scenario here is that Anderson is a complete fucking idiot (all the other possibilities are even worse), and I am of the belief that stupid behavior must incur some pain, or it won’t be corrected. I think the investigation by his department is warranted, because although the memorabilia doesn’t necessarily prove that he’s racist, it does demonstrate that he has the judgment and critical thinking skills of a porcini mushroom, and someone so intellectually impaired might be a questionable cop.

    • Slight clarification: I don’t think merely possessing the memorabilia necessarily shows a lack of judgment, but proudly displaying it to potential home buyers in 2019 is where the relative brainpower ratings between Mr. Anderson and edible fungi reach parity.

    • False reasoning. Erroneous conclusions. He can have on his wall what he wishes. And in this case it was not odious. To make it odious requires a cynical interpretation.

      That he managed to cause the department to suspend him and question his qualifications or character reflects the intrusion of profoundly unconstitutional precedent.

      No action should have been taken by the department unless there was a work-related infraction.

      Allowing the home buyer’s action to have power is evidence of hysteria intruding into law and politics.

      The home buyers actions and what he is allowed to achieve by them has a vigilante tone to it also. This connects to social media hysteria which is rampant and dangerous.

      • He absolutely can have whatever he wants on his wall. But if you’re going to have strangers roaming through your house unsupervised, don’t be surprised when your memorabilia from a racist criminal organization is interpreted as support for the organization. A police officer who isn’t aware of how utterly stupid and overly sensitive our society has become (thanks, social media!), and how even totally innocent things can and will be twisted by people with agendas is, at a minimum, maybe too dumb to be a cop.

        • He absolutely can have whatever he wants on his wall. But if you’re going to have strangers roaming through your house unsupervised, don’t be surprised when your memorabilia from a racist criminal organization is interpreted as support for the organization. A police officer who isn’t aware of how utterly stupid and overly sensitive our society has become (thanks, social media!), and how even totally innocent things can and will be twisted by people with agendas is, at a minimum, maybe too dumb to be a cop.

          I see your point naturally. Your argument, put that way, has a certain merit.

          But *ultimately* it is the department that should have resisted the whole implication and refused to suspend the man. They have no fair reason to conduct an investigation and no fair grounds for dismissal. And people *should* see that it requires a cynical interpretation to make the man a vile racist. Perhaps he is a racist, perhaps not. It is no one’s business.

          The further point — to be lost by all — is that he has every right to be a racist and a member of the Klan if he chooses.

          (I don’t think the Klan is a criminal or an outlawed organization, is it? I think there are chapters that are entirely legal. Is there any club or organization that is outlawed in the United States? Just curious.)

          • “Perhaps he is a racist, perhaps not. It is no one’s business.”

            If he’s a public servant charged with the administration of justice, like a police officer, prosecutor, or judge, it absolutely is his employer’s business if he is a racist or not. Even if a racist cop manages to somehow remain completely compartmentalized and never brings his bigoted beliefs into his work, the perception alone that he might be doing so is enough to interfere with his ability to do the job. At the very least, it provides a mile-wide opening for defense attorneys to exploit in cases where he arrests minority suspects, reducing his effectiveness at the job.

            The Klan isn’t an illegal organization, but plenty of criminal acts have been committed in its name over the years. It’s certainly legal, if terribly ill-advised, to be a member. When people hear “Ku Klux Klan”, they aren’t going to think about some local chapter that just gets together in the woods occasionally to drink beer and grumble to each other about Catholics and “race mixing” and has adopted a stretch of highway for litter clean-up. They’re going to think of the history of lynchings and terrorism, and of associated neo-Nazi gangs like the Aryan Nation. That’s sort of the KKK’s “brand”.

            I can’t think of any organization in which mere membership is illegal in America, thanks to the first amendment’s protection of the right of assembly, which is as it should be. I suppose some state and local anti-gang laws might be skirting a bit close to the line on that, but I admit my knowledge of the specifics of such laws and how they’ve been interpreted by the courts is miniscule.

            • If he’s a public servant charged with the administration of justice, like a police officer, prosecutor, or judge, it absolutely is his employer’s business if he is a racist or not.

              I know that employers have made it their business; I know that the culture and modern ethics allows people, perhaps even forces them, to believe that it is right and proper that it be their business; and I disagree that it should be their business.

              You could make an argument that a person with a Christian religious viewpoint (insert any number of different viewpoints, say ‘pagan’ or ‘Wiccan’) could not properly adjudicate a case, or be a good prosecutor or defender, or a good police offer. You could make that assertion. Similarly, you could state that a ‘racist’ should not be a judge or prosecutor or police officer. But ‘racist’ is a very subjective category. It completely (or very largely) depends on who wields it.

              By that argument you could only conclude that the Occident is and has been ‘racist’ — it did after all largely construct the anthropological argument out of which classical racism comes — and therefore dis-invalidate the Occident, or its jurisprudence, or philosophy, etc.

              It is not evidence of ‘racism’ that a man have Confederate flags or a frames KKK application form. It requires a specific, and tendentious, interpretation. You cannot rely on that interpretation for anything at all. But more than that it should not become the employers business what the man has hanging on his walls in his home.

  13. Perhaps it is because I am around too many academics, but I never thought that collecting things like that made you a racist. How is anyone supposed to study things like the Civil Rights Movement without collecting artifacts like that? How many such items does the National Civil Right Museum own? Are they racist?

    I hate to break it to you, but lots of people collect Civil War memorabilia and artifacts. Confederate artifacts are much more valuable than Union ones. Lots of people collect Nazi memorabilia as well. Very few of such collectors are racist. Lots of people collect Japanese artifacts, they aren’t racist either.

    How do people get into collecting such weird things? I don’t know. Many a collector of Nazi memorabilia started with war trophies brought back by a relative. Sometimes you luck into something, you research it, and find an interesting story. Then, you follow it from there. I purchased a Spanish handgun that had confusing proofmarks. I knew what it was, but the proofmarks made no sense. It turns out, an importer added the proofmarks to sell them as Nazi memorabilia. The others had the fake proofmarks ground off, but mine was missed. I have one of the few pieces of that story that remain. Collectors look for the rare and the unusual. That is one of the reasons Confederate materials are worth more than Union. The Union had a well funded army with regular, semi-standardized equipment. The Confederates had pretty much what they could scrounge up. This makes Confederate artifacts varied and rare. Most of the Walker Colts fell into Confederate hands. Because the Confederates had so few guns, those things were used until they were worn out and destroyed or discarded. That makes them incredibly valuable, rare, and often faked.

    I have a firearm I lucked into from the Wiemar Republic. I didn’t know what it was when I purchased it. It has such an interesting story behind it. I found that it was one of the last firearms produced at that arsenal, and that the arsenal was destroyed due to the actions of the League of Nations. There are no surviving pictures of the arsenal, its very location may be unknown. It seems odd that something so recent could be so thoroughly scrubbed from history, like Robert Hooke was. I may try to purchase more Wiemar-related pieces to make a collection.

    We are lucky that we are allowed to collect such things in the US. In other countries, such things would be forbidden and we would have to rely on ‘official’ histories and ‘official’ positions. These private collections keep history alive and keep the stories available. We are burning the books right now (look at how many schools no longer use books), we have made sure most of our knowledge will be unavailable to future generations with perpetual copyright, and people are trained to think that historical collections are offensive. If only we had more museums and collections on how fascists and other totalitarian systems worked, maybe we wouldn’t fall for this stuff over and over again.

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