My Thoughts on the Ferguson Shooting

“Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

“Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.

“Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.” Ayn Rand, “Racism,” The Virtue of Selfishness

The August 9th incident in Ferguson, Missouri, in which 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson, has prompted a torrent of heated opinions, protests, and violence. One would expect tensions to rise after any such killing incident, but the allegations being made have reached an extreme. Despite the conflicting stories being told by witnesses and officers, and despite the lack of certainty regarding the facts at this stage, the adamant opinions of many onlookers are almost intimidating enough to make one think that the specifics of the incident are public knowledge. Almost.

A vast amount of people have accused Wilson of wrongly killing Brown through racial profiling. To make such a strong allegation, one would hope the accuser first collects evidence in support of such an assertion. The mere fact that Wilson is white and Brown was black does nothing to prove such an accusation, yet this seems to be the only shred of support that the accusers are counting on. In fact, whether or not Wilson is guilty of this charge, one cannot help but wonder about the motivation of the accusers themselves. It could be argued that such an unsupported allegation would not have been made so hastily unless the accusers were accustomed to viewing the world according to race. At this point in the case, the masses of protesters can be perceived just as racially motivated as they consider Wilson to be. After all, if this incident had occurred with a black officer and a white civilian, would race have been a primary concern?

Of course there’s a possibility that the incident was motivated by racial prejudice, but why assume the worst in others before knowing the truth? In fact, both Wilson and Brown could have acted with racist intentions. The motivation of those making unsupported accusations, not the actual shooting itself, is what suggests how regressive some individuals still can be in today’s society. To automatically assume that others act with racial prejudice, like many of the protesters have concluded about Wilson, is a reckless habit. Racism is not a label to be doled out heedlessly. Racism is essentially determinism. It maintains that genetics, which are completely beyond one’s control, determine an individual’s character, rather than acknowledging that individuals are capable of relying on reason and free will in guiding their thoughts and actions. The grave nature of racism demands that any such accusations must be made with adequate evidence.

Perhaps race did play a role in this incident, and perhaps Wilson had no justification for shooting and killing Brown. Or maybe Wilson justifiably acted in self-defense. Regardless of the actual actions and intentions of Wilson and Brown, no one truly knows what happened that day except the few involved. Until the truth is revealed, those on the outskirts, no matter how emotionally charged, should not be making premature accusations or conclusions. Instead, we should all be relying on the objective rule of law to justly resolve this case. After all, what happened to the legal standard of being innocent until proven guilty?

Here’s an article worth reading regarding the overwhelming public reaction to this case:


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