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 nithsdale on 04/21/12 02:17 PM
You are on to something but you seem timid to define it.
As an observer, serving no group, I have noticed the emergence of an anti-hispanic movement responding to pro Mexican movements like Rasa, now rising to redress the problems of American expropriation of what had been Spanish colonial lands briefly held by the new Mexico in the 19th Century.
Conflict in society occurs when cultures collide and the American/Mexican one is a classic. The violence breaks out when one culture suddenly decides it has had enough of the other and in a Republic like ours, that means lining up sides before the final battle.
That dancing preamble characterized the Bush the Younger years, when he embraced the hispanic side and rode to power with it. his brother Jeb had shown the way in Florida, possibly without forethought, since he was married to a hispanic. In any event, it worked!
The Democrats were stunned by the desertion of the hispanic poor and turned in frustration to the Black, or African American groups, normally wrent between the two parties, depending on whether they were working or "on the dole". They went all out to assure the loyalty of these Americans, had to soft pedal their co-operation with the "illegals" but since they could not vote and did not add to Dem vote totals, well that was it!
The Zimmerman episode was unexpected but the Dems made a "crisis" decision driven by their "African American" President now facing re-election in a disastrous situation. He sided with his "folks" without contemplation of all the facts, setting in motion the same forces France knew in the Dreyfus Affair!
One aspect of this drama now you could have emphasized is how two names, foreign to both France and the USA, characterized the world involvement in this growing affair. In France, the name Esterhazy was not French but was indicative of the inolvement of the exotic people of Eastern Europe wih developments in that nation leading to the Belle Epoche. In the USA, the name Zimmerman wafts a decidedly German aroma, perhaps even Jewish and therein stirs confusion, even mischaracterization of the young man's obvious hispanic roots. That confusion masks, but enhances the real problem.
As that problem begins to come out, there will be some interesting side effects. The Doctrine of Unintended Consequences will be immense in this cause celebre!
Reply from The Daily Bell
This is most thoughtful, Nithsdale.
Posted by fabien_hug on 04/21/12 01:29 PM
Interesting and insightful.
Posted by fabien_hug on 04/21/12 01:28 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.
Posted by victorbarney on 04/21/12 01:14 PM
Not for nothing, but France also is a tribe of Israel, as America & Britain. Although the promise of greatest ONLY went to Britain & America, France also is Israelite in seed(actually the first born, Reuben), as Germany by the way(Gad)also is of the seed of Israel. However what is now called PIGS(Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain) are not of Israel and only LIVE OFF ISRAEL, especially off of Germany or Gad. By the way, "Dan" is "Ireland" and they are LEFT OUT of being "protected" in these last days of man(Rev. chapter 7).Just saying...
Posted by DrBryant on 04/21/12 12:51 PM
Though I agree with much of your comment concerning "hate crimes", I would take issue with your assumption that there are "problems" with Zimmerman's story. Based on what EVIDENCE?
Making ASSumptions is at the root of the disturbing actions perpertrated by the Black Panthers when they solicited murder-for-hire with no legal actions pending against them. ASSumptions were evident when Martin's father called for "arrest, trial, and conviction". (Sure, we can give him a trial before we hang him!)
You don't have a clue why Zimmerman MAY have turned his back. What if he was trying to prevent the situation from escalating? How about, the very last thing he wanted was to draw a weapon to defend his life... .a weapon he was LEGALLY PERMITTED TO CARRY and provides no concern when it was being carried.
Perhaps... perhaps... perhaps... .
Perhaps if all we have are ASSumptions, we should allow a PROPER investigative process to be completed BEFORE we allow the lynch mob to hang an (possibly) innocent person.
You go further in making mistakes when you assume you know what is in the mind of the Prosecutor. This mistake is too obvious since the prosecutor charged Zimmerman with 2d Degree Murder and NOT manslaughter, DESPITE THE FACT, that investigators had NO PROBABLE CAUSE and NO EVIDENCE to support a charge of 2d Degree Murder, per the SWORN TESTIMONY by the investigating detective.
Posted by Mark Davis on 04/21/12 12:36 PM
"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 think their is little doubt that Martin initiated physical violence and Zimmerman probably didn't shoot him just because he was black. I believe a more likely possibility, if you are seeking to provide a scenario where Zimmerman is guilty of wrongdoing, is that if Zimmerman was somehow able to get the upper hand on Martin, after surviving the punch on the nose and getting his head beat on the concrete, and then shot him in anger anyway.
The recording of the event in the 911 call where someone is whimpering like a little girl right before we hear the shot and then silence is a key bit of evidence. Both sides claim that they were the victim crying out for help. I can't tell, and I'm not sure that anyone will be able to definitively.
Posted by timothyprice on 04/21/12 12:00 PM
While I understand the argument in this article, I think my primary reaction to the case of Zimmerman, having shot a "young black man" who incidentally, has a name: Trayvon Martin, is to be alarmed that an adult, armed with a gun, could be so poorly equipped to deal with the situation that he ended up killing the kid. Why, who is this acceptable?
He could have simply let the guy go and reported him. We have now a society of extreme violence being practiced. When the vets get back from over-seas, things should get even more so as the training the vets has accustomed them to it.
Trayvor Martin should still be with us today. This incident should be a warning sign and corrective training taught which is more appropriate, more caring and respectful of people's lives.
Posted by Darryl on 04/21/12 11:30 AM
Anthony hit the old nail on the head. America is in a mess and the government is the main reason for the mess we are in.Regulations, bureaucrats,representatives that don't represent, a narcissistic president determined to Marxisize the USA, have created a people with their hands out to the government for "help."
At 73, I lived through the glory days of America, and pray to God Almighty that United States of America will return to moralitry, independent thinkers, and freedom from governmental control over our lives.
Posted by RF on 04/21/12 11:15 AM
The contradiction to law is a problem with Zimmerman- his crime is homicide- he shot and killed an unarmed teenager..The media, began a race issue where a white man shot a black man, applying the "Hate" crime laws in calling for death penalty, all the major stars of America's Media Race war jumped into the fray, protests were mounted, rewards for Zimmermans death were posted, the enlightment of the "internet" became apparent..Photos of the back of Zimmermans head are circulating, Cell phone shorts of Tyron Martin's 'displeasure" with the white races and perhaps life in general have surfaced.. Maybe the photo posting of him at 12 in the papers was a little manipulative?? just a tad..He is a product of his enviorment,isn't he??- and so is Zimmerman.. Walking around with a loaded pistol finding the moment to use it..The question of degree is here- if a black teen shoots and kills a white man- it gets little notice in the public eye other than it is a homicide-these things occur daily in many parts of the country, particulary in inner city areas..No one shouts, "Hate Crime"!! ,the Al Sharptons of American, Afro media culture don't get Click to view link simply is a statistic and gets to the detective unit of that area and the prosecutor's role is plain, to prosecute a homicide-- reaching out to which degree can be produced a case, trial eventualy jail for the dooer... but Here we have added to a simple homicide case-- the extra venue of a race crime- changing the status of it to a greater more media worthy degree- but not by degree of law-- where it should simply be what it is- a homicide-- no more-- no less-- I doubt there has been a killing thru history ,that didn't involve some degree of hate, it seems to perpetuate the act, Why then can a white man be charged with hate where a black man isn't??? shoudn't all killings be considered
hate crimes" by equal rights of law??? The basis of Constitution is equality in justice-- adding a degree to one side and not the other shifts that balance- violating George Zimmermans rights to equal justice... .His homicide is more than a homicide in the media's eye.. why???? Hate Crime law has to be applied to all crimes to be equal in our justice system, if it is not, it unfairly prejudices -- That is the crime in itself- The truth is there are no witnesses and George Zimmerman's story has problems-- why would he turn his back on a young black teen threatening him while he was cvarrying a gun on his Neighborhood watch?? Perhaps he wanted Tyron Martin to attack him, granting him the oppertunity to use deadly force-a premeditated act of murder- if it could be proven... turning his back., suckering him into it..He now plays the media for his defence, posting photos of his bloody head, it remains unprovable-- the prosecutor 's decision to skip the Grand Jury, was in an effort to make what case could be made-- manslaughter- none the less George Zimmerman did shoot and kill an unarmed teenager- not black or white-- race or hate just simply homicide--