“Hands up, don’t shoot!”—the rallying cry of the Ferguson protestors (or rioters, in some cases)—was always a fiction, the Department of Justice admitted last week.Thus does Benny Huang begin his acid trip (sic) Inside the Leftist Mind: The Primacy of Narrative Over Facts.
Michael Brown’s hands were not up and he was not attempting to surrender when Officer Darren Wilson killed him in self-defense.
That Eric Holder is finally admitting this, five months after autopsy results indicated that Brown’s hands must have been at his side, is progress, I suppose. But don’t expect too much from the attorney general too quickly. Baby steps. Despite admitting that there’s no evidence that Officer Wilson did anything wrong, Holder still wants us to contemplate why so many people believed the lie. “It remains not only valid – but essential – to question how such a strong alternative version of events was able to take hold so swiftly, and be accepted so readily,” he said.
Holder’s clear implication is that the lie could only have gotten legs if it had the ring of authenticity in the ears of Ferguson’s black citizens. So even though it’s not technically true, let’s all pretend that it speaks to the larger truth that white cops routinely gun down defenseless black males for sport.
Which they don’t. In this great big country we live in, liberals have tried and failed to evidence even one example of cops wantonly murdering unarmed blacks out of racist motives.
… What Holder is trying to say is that even though the “alternative version of events” has been thoroughly debunked, the narrative lives on. It always does.
The primacy of narrative over facts is perhaps the greatest enigma of the leftist mind. “Fake but accurate” seems to be their guiding philosophy, as evidenced by the 2004 Rathergate scandal. Seemingly intelligent people really believe that it doesn’t matter that Matthew Shepard wasn’t the victim of a “homophobic” hate crime because surely someone else was. The same people also find it immaterial that Crystal Mangum wasn’t actually raped by three Duke lacrosse players because white men have been raping black women since slave times.
In place of facts they prefer compelling narrative, usually cultivated at the expense of actual people, their lives and reputations. The now utterly debunked UVA rape story that Rolling Stone ran in November is an excellent example. Reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely failed to conduct even the most basic fact checking; in fact, she promised not to contact the accused rapists as a condition of getting her exclusive interview with “Jackie,” the alleged victim, who turned out to be a fraud.
… This tendency to elevate the narrative over the facts is not a new feature of the Left. Consider Ray Mungo, the radical 1960s journalist and co-founder of the Liberation New Service, a wire service for the underground press. Mungo admitted in his 1970 memoir, Famous Long Ago, “Facts are less important than truth and the two are far from equivalent, you see; for cold facts are nearly always boring and may even distort the truth, but Truth is the highest achievement of human expression.”
… What liberals fail to realize is that their narrative, if it is to be worth anything, must be supported by facts. Like a house standing on a crumbling foundation, their larger, capital-T Truth cannot remain upright while its foundation of smaller truths—what used to be called “facts”—dissipates. But alas, for liberals, it can. A myriad of concrete examples can turn out to be bogus and their narrative will still hold, because they “know” they are correct in the abstract. In their own minds, they are still right even when they’re wrong, and truthful even when they’re lying.