Ferguson, and the perils of liberal moralizing

Liberals, as usual, were quick to express their outrage. But self-righteousness can as easily lead to wickedness as justice.

Liberalism
(Image credit: (Scott Olson/Getty Images))

The killing of Michael Brown by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9 and the nights of sometimes violent clashes between protesters and police that followed were troubling to me for two very different reasons. The first is obvious: it's disturbing to see such stark evidence of the persistence of racism and police brutality in American life. The second focused less on the events themselves than on the reaction to them on social media, especially Twitter.

Night after night for a week and a half, as cops armed with military gear pointed heavy weaponry and fired tear gas at civilians, a slew of liberal activists, journalists, professors, and amateur commentators whipped themselves into a frenzy of moral indignation, unleashing a flurry of angry tweets — against the cops themselves, against Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson, against Ferguson Mayor James Knowles, against Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, against white America, against Barack Obama.

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