It is regrettable that Jonah Goldberg refuses to embrace truth where it conflicts with his identity politics, because he’s still quite good when he’s able to be honest with himself. In a recent G-File, he observes an obvious implication of the frequency of hoax crimes in the United States:
Here’s something you might not know: In Nazi Germany, very few Jews staged bogus hate crimes against themselves.
Here’s some more trivia: Very few blacks in the Jim Crow South went to great lengths to pretend that they were harassed or attacked by racists.
You know why? Because that would be incredibly stupid. What, exactly, would the German Jew who staged an assault on himself gain from it? Where would he or she go to ask for sympathy or recompense? Conjure any horror story you like, the Nazi official you brought it to would say, “Yeah, and . . . ?” The black sharecropper who took the time to make his own cross and burn it on his own property would benefit . . . how?
Why am I bringing this up? Well, for a bunch of reasons. I have more points to make than can be found at an English Setter competition.
First, people who live under real oppression have no need to fabulate oppression. To paraphrase Madge from the old Palmolive ads: They’re already soaking in it.
Second, when you live in an oppressive country, there’s no one you can take your grievances to because that is what it means to live in an oppressive country! For God’s sake, people, you’re making me use exclamation points and italics here. If you’re an inmate in the Shawshank prison, you can’t go to the guards to complain. When you live in North Korea, you can’t go to the local police and gripe about your working conditions or the sawdust in your bread.
Jonah is correct. The very need to fake these crimes in the first place is evidence that the problem they supposedly highlight does not actually exist. But unfortunately, he couldn’t actually finish the piece without meandering into anti-Americanism:
There will be a hoax involving MAGA hats, but the fake victims will be those wearing them. We already saw the hunger for this kind of thing in the Covington case — but those kids were in fact victims. President Trump invited that kid named Trump to the State of the Union precisely because he wanted to exploit this great reservoir of pity. And the coverage of this legitimate outrage will no doubt encourage others to get a piece of that on the cheap.
As I said, regrettable. But identity almost always wins out in the end. The great irony of those who make a virtue of decrying identity politics is that they are observably some of the most relentless practitioners of identity politics around.