For the past few months I have been seeing at least one new article written on the need for Justice in our time. This ideal is actively sought at the cost of reality, unfortunately. I am a child of the fifties when the world was engaged in a great cold war. The Korean War, or rather World Policing, was over and the results of that new world policing left Korea divided and political solutions in a stalemate, a symbol of the affairs between East and West. Berlin became the new 38th parallel with the division of that German City carved up into four sectors, each belonging the one of the four victors of the war on Germany. The German state had been reduced to its prewar borders and similarly carved up. A new vocabulary was heard in my grade school years. Physical territory was not so important as power exercised in various spheres of influence. Freedom was now pursued in the guise of self determination. Yes, our basic freedoms were at stake as the Red Bear threaten to make us all slaves.
But my childhood would encounter another fight for Freedom, that of the then negro population renamed colored people marching and demanding their Freedom. The war between the states had never settled that peculiar problem in the south. The slaves may have been emancipated but they were not encouraged to become anything more than an adjunct to society. For most of white America, blacks remained out of site and out of mind. The black communities remained segregated and allowed to exist on their own. Of course racism has always existed and every alien group, regardless of skin color has suffered from segregation and exclusion. One has only to look at the various Jewish communities that lived in Europe and some other parts of the world to see how one society is willing to treat another. On the other hand, the Jewish community has always practiced its own exclusionary practices. The black communities had their own leaders and businesses. They created their own banks and construction companies, their own pharmacies and medical practices, ran their own primary and secondary schools. As an excluded society they grew and developed. But their growth was still in the back of the bus. There have been several migrations of black individuals and families through out the decades. After the Civil War a number traveled north seeking better opportunities. After all, had not those with the loudest voices calling for an end to slavery welcome them with open arms? Ideals may only be fairy tales as most blacks discovered that they were not welcome in the northern cities and the local farming community could not employ them in any number. Besides, they had to compete with waves of foreign immigration for Europe. The Irish and Italians, the Swedes and Germans, even Russians, both Jew and Orthodox came looking for a new life and Freedom. The black had been emancipated, set free from slavery, but the black was not free. The black man and woman was still the slave of second class citizenship and the offspring would never achieve that sense of Freedom and Equality that every white child learns in public schools.
That quest of the then colored community and society to brake those bonds grew until protests and even violence made their voices heard. No more segregated schools, no more legal discrimination, no more legal barriers to opportunities. But much of this came at a price. Long bus rides for black students attending schools in mostly white neighborhoods. More laws were enacted, the worst of which those of Welfare subsidies. Under the guise of helping low income families these laws and practices broke up families. The black single mother, head of her family became the new institution in black society. And welfare does not get the black family out of their closeted communities, it keeps them chained to those areas of real estate that decay. These ghettos and gulags for the black and hispanic and every other society that has neither income nor opportunity to advance contain the seeds of destruction. The White Flight has gone to the suburbs along with what manufacturing and other jobs moved out of the city. Now the new price for would be black workers was the long bus rides and long walks to employment. The once white inner city public schools were now almost all black or mixed ethnic and the effect was that the quality of teaching, of educational opportunities declined to levels that left half its graduates unable to read or write or do simple math. Where once when the black community controlled its own school system and graduated students who could read, write, and do complex mathematics there was now a legal institution that helped to enslave generations into that second class status that supposedly had been outlawed.
Those ideals of Freedom and Equality have become more real for many blacks. For those many, they were the gifts of place where their families were close to or within the white communities. But for those whose communities were closed off or were decayed and thus unapproachable to whites, these communities became the slaves of their own distorted sense of racism. High crime rates mean living in fear. The police are hostile units to the communities and thus are given little if any respect. Rule of law becomes an unknown concept. These low income and high crime areas become the blood suckers of vital life. Individuals of the police forces do not live in these areas. Why should they? And every demigod who comes to town and raises the scourge of Racism, who screams at the Lack of Freedom, and who demands that Equality for the community should be Paid from the Public Treasury, ensures that the community will be kept in slavery. The Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the other demigods of distemper and race baiting would not have their wealth and power without these groups, whom they profess to be helping. Race Baiting has become an industry, a billion dollar industry and a source of political power. This industry needs the ghettos and the victims for that income that neither helps nor reduces poverty, police brutality against blacks, stops drug trafficking, reduces crime, or increases the effects of education upon its people. Al Sharpton doesn’t go home every night to a cold water flat where rats and cockroaches run unabated. He doesn’t live in fear that someone will mug him or rape his wife and daughters. He lives like a rich white man would. But unlike that rich man, he has an attitude, a problem of not respecting the larger community as a whole. He invites the young black male to continue to exhibit an attitude of contempt and loathing of police, of whites, of education, of honest work. That is the problem of Ferguson, it’s the attitudes that keep it embroiled in a vicious spiral of destruction.
As a philosopher might have said, the problem is not with our ideal but with our attitudes. Justice is a great ideal but when we believe we are the final arbiters of that universal ideal we find that Justice cannot exist on this earth. Our attitudes will kill it, destroy it, erase every evidence of its existence. Just as one cannot demand beauty and become beautiful, one cannot demand justice and become just. We must seek it by respecting the nature of this ideal. We must support the ideal through our own conduct in life and our conduct towards others. Justice cannot exist without the rule of law and respect toward it. One must uphold the rule of law by living it in daily life. Ideals are only ideals until we attempt to live them. It is that living that makes the difference, that makes Justice live in the community, not Al Sharpton.