Is Zimmerman America's Dreyfus?
I've been tracking the George Zimmerman case and it does seem to have some surface parallels to the infamous Dreyfus Affair.
For those of you who may not know, Dreyfus was a Jew who was accused of passing French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris. He was declared guilty and sent to Devil's Island in French Guiana where he spent almost five years.
In 1896, evidence was unearthed that a French Army major named Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy may have been the one passing information but that evidence was suppressed and Dreyfus's conviction was sustained.
It took many more years but Dreyfus was eventually set free. He was reinstated as a major in the French Army and served throughout World War I, eventually reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Regardless of whether Esterhazy was an agent of a greater power or whether the affair itself was orchestrated, the controversy surrounding Dreyfus was surely indicative of larger issues surrounding France at the time.
The issue then was anti-Semitism. And while modern France has in a sense moved on, it remains a society riven by class conflicts and economic inequalities that are either glossed over or sanctioned by law.
The French Revolution itself stands athwart the American revolution that was fought somewhat within a republican ambit, thanks to the framing of thinkers and visionaries like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson.
The American Revolution's espoused aim was individual freedom. Unfortunately, the French Revolution was evidently influenced by the Age of Enlightenment and the Rousseau-like vision that humankind could be perfected by the proper application of logic and scientific thought.
The medium that was to provide this transformative grace was the government itself, in this the case a "republican" government that was created out of the terror of the Revolution and the busy bloodletting of the guillotine.
French society, in my view, has never entirely recovered from the Age of Enlightenment and still habitually looks to government to provide both solutions and economic succor.
In fact, they're apparently about to elect another socialist to the presidency and that's not going to end well, either. History continues.
And it continues in America, too, which began as a republic but is now surely turning into something else. The alphabet soup of American spy agencies as well as Draconian, authoritarian legislation now issuing out of Washington, DC, tells us that the formal US legislative process has gone badly wrong.
The US is surely an authoritarian state these days. There are millions on the government payroll, thousands of government spies and US official institutions are growing more and more frightened of their own people. The US Department of Homeland Security recently placed an order for hundreds of millions of hollow-point bullets. Homeland Security is a DOMESTIC agency.
Empire was achieved after World War II, but all empires eventually oppress their own citizens as well as those in other countries. That seems to be what's happening today.
Empires by their nature are pathological societies. Fear is a paramount signature of empires, along with corruption at the top, public shows of immorality and a general, evolutionary breakdown of civil society.
This is because empires substitute the rule of law for the discipline of private markets. Societies often begin anarchically, with private law and private morality enforced by the culture itself.
But over time, the private nature of society is gradually replaced by "law" and government mandates. What was once voluntary becomes coercive and people's behaviors become regulated by bureaucracies rather than by internal codes of behavior.
Within this context, society itself becomes increasingly unmoored. Once moral values have evolved into legal codicils, social mores become public passion plays. This is what's happening now with the Zimmerman mess.
Just as with the Dreyfus Affair, individual acts are being imbued with larger, societal characteristics. This can only happen in a society where the government has grown so large and intrusive that people are used to projecting their own problems and prejudices onto public events.
Once the private has become the public, it is relatively easy for government-controlled media to imbue almost any incident with moral and cultural power. In fact, in a healthier society such transformative conversations would not be possible. People would not put up with it.
But in a society where the power elite has worked relentlessly to make government the arbiter, such a trick is much easier to pull off. People have been trained to look to government for moral and legal insights.
In such societies, people no longer look inward – they've lost the habit of introspection. Instead, government itself sets the parameters of behavior and creates the larger societal conversation as well.
I would argue this is what's happening in the Zimmerman case. People are projecting their own prejudices and belief systems onto the case.
If Zimmerman is guilty, it's because he saw a young black man, assumed he was up to no good and shot him. If he is innocent, it's because he was attacked by the young man and shot him in self-defense.
I won't speculate on Zimmerman's guilt or innocence here. My point is only that the amount of attention being paid to the case and the heightened emotions it arouses may tell us more about the current state of the US union than about Zimmerman himself, or his actions.
The US is a pretty miserable place right now with unemployment between 20 and 30 percent and food stamp usage soaring well beyond 40 million. People are looking for outlets for their frustration, and the Zimmerman affair provides one.
In this sense, it is perhaps a window into the collective psyche of the American people. The mechanism itself – this too-public dialogue about an issue that in another place and time would have been localized – is discouraging.
Posted by bob on 04/22/12 12:01 PM
[In other word, a promotion of limitless 'private liberties' is basically a promotion of slavery!]
A simple example: back in the Dark Ages, medieval rulers had limitless "private liberties" over their subjects. Do we really like to glorify these evil times?
Reply from The Daily Bell
What did the subjects have?
Posted by bob on 04/22/12 11:30 AM
I see no connections between George Zimmerman case and the infamous Dreyfus Affair.
What we are having in America is a constant and gradual descent to a lawless and totalitarian society.
Unfortunately, Western governments instead of providing basic vital and essential services to its citizens are interfering into basic societies evolutionary processes.
The same is true for libertarian zealots promoting limitless "private liberties". It is absolute BS that citizens in civilized societies must be at ruling oligarchy mercy.
In other word, a promotion of limitless 'private liberties' is basically a promotion of slavery!
Reply from The Daily Bell
"In other word, a promotion of limitless 'private liberties' is basically a promotion of slavery!"
Wow, Bob. You present an oxymoron as profundity and we are supposed to marvel at your wisdom. Neat trick!
Posted by Bobby7 on 04/22/12 11:23 AM
How many non-Black Americans were killed by Black Americans around the time Mr Zimmerman shot Mr Martin?
How many non-Black Americans were killed by Black Americans this year, last year, the past 10 years?
Oh yeah, The most famous American folk singer is Jewish American, Bob Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman.
Is the Zimmerman/Martin case a BLACK OPS?
Is it diverting attention from something else we should be keeping our eyes on?
Posted by DrBryant on 04/22/12 10:14 AM
The fact that Mr. Zimmerman was walking around with a legally permitted weapon is actually irrelevant to whether he was acting in self-defense.
The fact that Mr. Martin was not carrying a firearm, legally or illegally, does not speak to the issue of whether or not Mr. Martin was the aggressor.
Hypothetically, if Mr. Martin somehow gained an advantage over Mr. Zimmerman, because of his larger and youthful physique, picked up a rock, or used some other kind makeshift weapon, and if Mr. Zimmerman believed his brains were about to spill out of the back of his head because Mr. Martin was repeatedly smashing his head on the concrete, it would be easy to make a case that Mr. Zimmerman believed his very life was in danger and LUCKILY was able to draw his legal means of protection and save his own life.
Without the sworn testimony of forensic specialists, arresting officers, on-site witnesses, and other RELEVANT EVIDENCE, any and all attempts to characterize Mr. Zimmeran as ANYHTING other than "innocent until proven guilty" are based in gross ignorance as was witnessed by the criminal acts of certain Black Panther Party members, the hate-mongering of Rev. Al Sharpton and others, Spike Lee's stupidity, and the inapproptiate use of the Office of the President.
Even carefully rewording a fact can be seen by some as a (misguided) implication of guilt. "... and finally the guy without the gun is shot in the head." That outcome in no way proves a crime was committed by Mr. Zimmerman OR Mr. Martin for that matter.
Posted by DrBryant on 04/22/12 09:33 AM
Given your extreme exageration and the absence of facts to back your childish insults, I commend you for being so humble by not including yourself in your comment.
Posted by TimurTheLame on 04/22/12 07:20 AM
It is odd that no one mentioned O' Teleprompter's, "if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon" comment. Surely this is some kind of Presidential precedent which infuses an emotional aspect to an incident in which the facts are yet to be established.
Would he have said " If I had a brother he would look like Orenthal " if he were President in a different decade?
It is one thing for the President to go before the nation and address a tragic incident ( usually the Governor of the state would suffice for a single shooting) but to personalize it arguably for the benefit of one side has to imply an agenda. Do not lose sight of the fact that every last word this President mumbles in public has undergone much aforethought by his 'team'. Plus it has to be transcribed to a screen. This was no ad-lib.
Watch the case unfold and maybe the motivations become clearer.
I may have missed the announcement but were you appointed or elected hall monitor? Most people who post at DB have minds of their own and do not require some God like authority who determines both people's inner thoughts and also what passes for ultimate truth. What hootspah!
Posted by Leonardo Pisano on 04/22/12 06:05 AM
Very well said, Anthony; nicely connecting the dots. Keep up the good work. Still zillions to educate.
Posted by the_IRF on 04/22/12 05:54 AM
"Is Zimmerman America's Dreyfus?"
Gosh,Anthony, i wish i could so well articulate insight as do you.
You say it so well ... so plainly ... How do you do it?
I suspect others here have known all of what you say for some time. Me too, yet i couldn't even begin to put that forth without being so emotionally charged that readers would take exception because of their own emotional orientations.
I hope others have lauded your capacity for clarity as i have meant to do here.
Posted by Dave on 04/22/12 02:54 AM
Suposedly 44 other black youth were shot that week in the US as well. It does seem to me that this case has attracted attention with the objective of creating a racial conflict. I have no idea if Zimmerman is guilty of murder and it will be difficult to sort it out now and have a verdict that will satisfy the majority of the population.
The media editing the 911 call was sleazy to say the least. Someone should be fired over that.
Posted by RF on 04/21/12 09:22 PM
the photos floating around show blood on the back of his head- top of his head for that matter-- having gfrown up in NYC area and it enviorns one thing one learns is when in an aggravated heated situation, not to turn one's back- it can be foolish-- how could he( Zimmerman) know whether the young black teen he was confronting with wasn't carrying a gun?
I would first assume he was and be thankful he wasn't-- by the way -the ASS umptions are comical--a little over emotional ,don't you think?? Zimmermans story is hardly based in evidence either - so taking his word is a stretch in a homicide--because he's white doesn't mean he's telling the truth- I tend to think he will manipulate the press as a good defence- thay have screwed it my opinion- this being a free country I am entitled to- the ASS umption you make that legal permittance to carry means the carrier has the mental ability to carry- \
I live in a right to carry state and could have a permit in a week- but out here in the country I see little need to carry- the deer or trees or black bears,squirrels ,chipmunks,birds, will not mug me in any short time..2nd gegree would involve the belief that he delibertly killed without opposing deadly force being seen..
Posted by truthorelse on 04/21/12 07:44 PM
"Well the point is that one is walking around with a gun and another without a gun and finally the guy without the gun is shot in the head. The rest is speculation."
Truer words have never been spoken!
Posted by truthorelse on 04/21/12 07:42 PM
Finally someone is talking sense in this blog!
Posted by truthorelse on 04/21/12 07:38 PM
This sounds like pseudo-biblical mumbo jumbo filled with opinions, speculations, and nonsense
Posted by truthorelse on 04/21/12 07:35 PM
Yes, indeed, these are facts. And, unfortunately, due to ancient tribal identifications, these people are biased in favor of their tribe's interests at the expense of the country they reside in. Thus the US information industry has been hijacked by those who are not loyal to this country and not loyal to Truth
Posted by truthorelse on 04/21/12 07:26 PM
your entire post reeks of prejudice
Posted by truthorelse on 04/21/12 07:24 PM
your first paragraph clearly indicates white prejudice.
Posted by zzznapzzz on 04/21/12 05:42 PM
They will seize on any opportunity to ensure that the little people fight among each other.
Posted by seer on 04/21/12 04:20 PM
Methinks you read way too much into this case. The media and family backers forced the police to take action. The evidence will be circumstantial excepting the police recordings and girlfriend's testimony as well as his statements. He was basically told to "stand down" but we do not know what happened after this order. In my state one would be guilty of second degree murder.
In fact one cannot begin an altercation that ends in one using deadly force. One cannot call someone a name and as the argument escalates to violence, shoot the fellow whom one called an offending name. The states all have various laws regarding self defense. In my state I cannot shoot someone stealing my car on My property.
This trial will appease the victim,s family and millions of supporters. Sadly we will probably never know what happened with certainty. Sadly this may impact our ability to defend ourselves from attacks.
On the positive side, this will perhaps enable states to Clearly define personal protection rights. To insinuate this is some sort of covert political action appears to be wishful thinking on the part of the DB.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Yes, Seer. "On the positive side" this mess may trigger state officials to better define how you can defend yourself without being locked up. Gee, what a positive thing that is to be grateful for. Be thankful for "little things," eh?
Posted by Charlie on 04/21/12 03:03 PM
The Zimmerman affair seems to be a media circus distraction employing the usual suspects: black/minority "victim", white (er?) perpetrator, and the usual memes (blacks/favored groups are always noble and justifiably outraged freedom fighters and the white (er) individual always acting criminally out of racist motives, to reinforce the crumbling PC borg.
This may be a replay of the Duke LaCrosse non-rape rairoading. That prosecutor also acted despicably. Whatever the case, it certainly is blown out of proportion as it is a local matter. What makes this case so media worthy over the scores of others like it every year?
Posted by mpresley on 04/21/12 02:37 PM
First, from a media and political standpoint this is not about Mr. Martin at all. To think so is to misread the situation altogether. From a local or state judicial standpoint, the issue is (or should be) whether Mr. Zimmerman was justified in shooting Mr. Martin. That is all. And that is, ostensibly, what a trial will determine, as long as the jury is impartial toward the facts and the law.
However, from the media's standpoint, and from the standpoint of certain political interest and racial groups, it is about 1) denying white people (ironic since Mr. Zimmerman is at least half-Hispanic) the ability to defend themselves from savage assaults (i.e.,the push to repeal extant "stand your ground" laws); 2) justifying an extra-legal judicial precedent by way of mob "justice" and intimidation; 3) replacing local law officials with individuals favoring the national "black" agenda; 4) allowing Federal encroachment into what should be a local/state matter.
Living in the area, and witnessing this first hand, I can say that the media's behavior in this, as well as the prosecutor's behavior, have been despicable. Once the grand jury system was ignored (remember, it is said that grand juries will indict a ham sandwich on less than probable cause) it was clear that this would be a political prosecution ignoring facts. It simply demonstrates the cowardice of politicians, however the chickens will roost once Mr. Zimmerman is (I predict) acquitted.