As Theodore Dalrymple has pointed out (see ‘The knife went in’) it is common for people to assign motive to inanimate objects when they are loth to admit to being in the wrong. I suspect that the suitably named Ms Cabal knows that the state of Wisconsin did not auto-combust this week, as Krook does at the end of Bleak House. True, there was first a police shooting and arrest. But someone must then have put a match to the place. The American public, press and politicians know that. But any willingness to say it appears now to fall along strictly party-political lines.
It is one of the most striking things about the violence and unrest that have followed the killing of George Floyd. Not the violence, but the increasingly ostentatious desire of a portion of the population to pretend they do not see it. Some friends in New York tell me of gang robberies at restaurants in broad daylight, of lootings, shootings and boarded-up shops. ‘Peaceful demonstrations’, I am assured by other friends, who identify as ‘liberals’ though have mysteriously stayed away from the city of late.
The same story is rolling out across America. The left says that there are nightly protests for ‘social justice’. When these protests involve mass lootings, such as those in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, they are claimed (if acknowledged at all) to be the actions of a tiny fringe. Such dogged blindness has a clear political and cultural purpose. The political purpose is a desire to prevent the reelection of Donald Trump. The wider justification would appear to be a belief that ‘anti-racism’ is such an important omelette of a cause that a few broken eggs — or cities — is a price worth paying.