- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2002

'Expert' errors
"For three weeks straight, until John Allen Muhammad and his sidekick, John Lee Malvo, were arrested on Oct. 24, we listened to an endless cacophony of speculation, fabrication, and wild conjecture. In lapel mikes and pancake makeup, they went at it like a roomful of drunks playing darts blindfolded the criminologists and journalists, the shrinks and psychological profilers, of whom those last have proven to be the phrenologists of the criminal science world.
"Even at this early stage, with the bare minimum known about the two suspects, it seems the 'experts' were wrong in nearly every respect: There was no lone shooter who drove a white van and resembled some ticked-off Caucasian amalgam of Charles Manson and Drew Carey. Prior to the arrest, columnist Michelle Malkin was nearly alone in raising a red flag on the white-guy theory, taking to task people like Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, who confidently assumed that the killer was 'kind of a wallpaper white male who's getting back at society.'
"Likewise, the fine people of the Council on American-Islamic Relations wrongly insisted that the sniper couldn't be a Muslim. Writing 'I am God,' they said, as the sniper did on the tarot card, would be an 'unforgivable sin in Islam.' Islamic devotees committing unforgivable sins. Imagine that."
Matt Labash, writing on "All Blather, All the Time," in the Nov. 4 issue of the Weekly Standard magazine

Racial sins
"Considering the impressive economic and political strides that many black Americans have made over the past several decades, it is fair to wonder why the reparations movement has emerged at this particular moment, and with such extreme demands. Much of the answer has to do with the notoriously elusive commodity of equality: The more one has of it, the more galling become the inequalities that remain.
"For black Americans, the attainment of full equality before the law, ratified and extended by the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, naturally begot the desire for equality of fortune, of outcome. When this was not forthcoming, something had to be blamed for the intolerable result, and white racism was quickly identified as the culprit. What followed were the various remedies that black leaders demanded, and liberals readily granted, as compensation for the supposed persistence of discrimination. Today's proposals for actual case reparations are but the latest, and most desperate, scheme for enabling America's blacks to overcome their chronic ills by imposing atonement on America's whites for their racial sins."
Algis Valiunas, writing on "Paying for Jefferson's Sins," in the November issue of Commentary magazine

Carlin complex
"During the most recent presidential election a Time magazine-CNN poll asked voters whether they were in the top 1 percent of income earners. Nineteen percent reported that they were, and another 20 percent said that they expected to be there one day.
"We are a nation in which almost everybody is above average. We are convinced that we are running our own lives quite well, whereas the idiots around us are screwing up theirs. The journalist David Whitman called this 'the optimism gap' in his 1998 book of the same name: My kids' school is good, but the nation's schools stink; my congressman is wonderful, but members of Congress in general are bums; my neighborhood is safe, but crime in general is rampant.
"It's similar to the attitude that George Carlin says many people bring with them onto the highway: I drive responsibly, but people who drive faster than I do are maniacs, and people who drive slower are idiots."
David Brooks, writing on "Superiority Complex," in the November issue of the Atlantic Monthly magazine

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