Tuesday, April 10, 2007

When Al Met Imus - After I finished listening to Don Imus' appearance on The Al Sharpton Show, I remembered feeling an abiding sense of frustration over the fact that the "big story" was being wholly misconstrued. For his part, Rev. Sharpton was nonplussed by Imus' repeated attempts at apology, focusing instead on the idea of the broadcast media needing to be held accountable for that which they transmit. One can hardly blame Sharpton for his intransigence; Imus is certainly no stranger to the type of scrutiny that he is enduring, as he has been called on the carpet before for comments about African Americans.

My frustration arose from the fact that as it pertains to accountability more generally, there is more to be observed than the remarks of an otherwise irrelevant crank. We would do well to note that, his many disparaging references to both Bill and Hillary Clinton notwithstanding, John Donald Imus is a liberal of the first order. If such is not the case based upon guilt by association - one could argue as much, as the roster of guests on his show reads like a "Who's Who" of the liberal media establishment - it is by his sins of commission by way of his support of John Kerry's abortive presidential run and his disparagement of the War on Terror.

It is also worth noting that Imus' CBS radio show is simulcast on the slightly right of Al-Jazeera MSNBC, no friend to conservative causes. (Imagine if these remarks were broadcast by Fox News Network.) It is therefore more than fitting that he has been found guilty of liberalism's cardinal sin. To the Left, racism itself is no vice; it is liberals failing to sufficiently conceal their racism that is the greater offense.

But the sins of liberal racism go beyond the comments of individuals. Even as the justly aggrieved faculty and students of Rutgers call for more diversity, equality and tolerance, one must acknowledge that these bromides are just as often used to obfuscate the fact that the most virulent threats to equality of opportunity are neatly circumscribed by the borders and contours of liberalism, as discussed elsewhere. Indeed, the very patronizing progressivism that Rutgers and other like-minded universities espouse is of a piece with that expounded by the very media commentators that swarm Don Imus' program, and those expressed by Imus himself.

Buzzwords like "diversity" and "tolerance" are ephemeral catchphrases that serve largely to diffuse responsibility. This externalization of guilt in turn has the effect of negating the need for personal answerability to society (and more importantly to self) for one's behavior. So when Don Imus says that he is "not a bad person, but [he] said a bad thing," we are not entirely surprised; we are left to conclude that this is the logical end of liberalism.

This idea of "good" people doing or saying bad things flows directly from the thoroughly humanist notion that morality is a corporate construct - humanism itself having devolved into an inordinate preoccupation with self-esteem - and that individuals cannot be inherently bad (unless they oppose embryonic stem cell research, are pro-War on Terror or are agnostic about global warming.)

And so this is where we are with race in America; the very people who have claimed a mantle of leadership and moral authority on the topic are themselves entirely unwilling to see beyond their own paternalistic notions. They rely on their acquired definitional indemnity (and the sycophancy of the media) to shield them from the consequences that would surely befall a similarly culpable conservative. All the while, those whom liberals claim to represent and support continue to wallow in three stages of darkness, and not one of the good people is held to account.

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