Black Lives Don’t Matter

Despite the Pieties of both the Left and Right

by Stephen Baskerville (August 2023)

Chain Gang,
William H. Johnson, 1939–40


If one figure is pivotal in the coup d’etat that the Left has staged since early 2020 in the United States and beyond, it is the young African-American male. His death is what set in motion the events leading to the coup, and long before that his degradation had already created the conditions that rendered those events likely.

The young black male is truly an extraordinary figure. His culture in large measure distinguishes that of the United States itself, and he has spread it all over the world—in music, films, sports, religion, and politics—where it inspires widespread imitation. Today it is largely a culture of anguish, impotence, and rage. For in his own homeland, he remains a figure of fear and contempt, despised by both the Left and the Right but also exploited by both as a pawn for their political agendas. No sooner did the slaveholders and segregationists finish with him than the liberal elites who granted his freedom themselves connived to re-enslave him. And they used his women to do it.

Well before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the emasculation of black men was a central theme in African-American literature, from Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison to James Baldwin.[1] Few—Left or Right—paid much attention because it did not suit their agendas. But the black male is the canary in the mineshaft. He is the scapegoat who bears the punishment for the recklessness of the Left and indifference of the Right.


Emasculated by Social Programs

The black male’s current degradation began with the welfare machinery. The growth of welfare under Progressivism, the New Deal, and especially the Great Society with its “War on Poverty” accomplished what slavery and segregation could not: It decimated the African-American family and created a permanent, self-perpetuating underclass of impoverished single-mothers, fatherless children, and criminalized fathers.

Since this population was disproportionately minority, everyone else got into the habit of not caring. The Left feigned compassion for “oppressed” blacks but could not decide if the cause of their oppression was racism or capitalism (it was neither). Conservatives, who could have reaped decisive political advantage by pointing out that the real culprit was family destruction, instead decided that the only solution was “law-and-order,” with draconian punishments that created the American prison gulag—and enormous resentment. Having foolishly yielded the moral high ground to the Left, the Right had no plausible remedies to offer—other than an ugly punishment mentality—when faced with periodic revolts: following the murder of Martin Luther King, Rodney King’s beating, George Floyd’s death, and numerous others.

The extensive and expensive anti-poverty programs of the Great Society did not benefit black men in any way, just as similar but more authoritarian programs now being pushed by the Biden administration in the name of racial “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “equity” —programs largely rationalized by exploiting the violent deaths of black men such as George Floyd and Tyre Nichols—likewise have zero benefit for black men. On the contrary, these programs proliferate single motherhood and emasculate black men by usurping their roles of provider and protector. They deprive black children of fathers, drag them into poverty, and consign them to lives as dropouts, delinquents, criminals, addicts, derelicts, and prostitutes. The same programs also offer black women careers as state functionaries that elevate them still further above their men (rendering both sexes unmarriageable) and even train them to be the men’s jailors.

As the social work matriarchy transformed itself into a leftist gendarmerie by acquiring quasi-police powers over matters like child abuse and domestic violence, black men endured not only emasculation but vilification as child molesters and wife-beaters—accusations devoid of any evidence. Already well on their way to criminalization since their father-deprived adolescence, they are also the most likely to be snared by the new gender crimes, including rape and other serious accusations that are likewise adjudicated in notoriously unjust proceedings.

Having used welfare payments to leverage the removal of the fathers from the mothers and children and turn the adolescents into delinquents, the welfare gendarmes thus criminalized the fathers too. A third stage of criminalizing their rivals—legitimate policemen trying to keep order amid all this—is now in full swing.[2]


Plundering the Poor

Yet the welfare gendarmerie’s criminalization of black men had only begun. While many assume that young, low-income black youth are semi-criminals or worse, few bother to understand why. While true criminal violence is perpetrated overwhelmingly by the offspring of single mothers, as the social science demonstrates unequivocally, young black men today are far less likely to be incarcerated for violent crime than for unpaid child support. (Or for drug-dealing, which is driven by child support because penalties for selling drugs are less harsh.) Child support is another dishonest, extorted, and lucrative subsidy on single-motherhood that hugely exacerbates fatherlessness, grows government power, criminalizes low-income parents, and even fills government coffers, while enjoying uncritical conservative support. It demonstrates that most young black men, even those who populate the prisons, are not violent criminals or criminals at all. They are interned for failing to perform their role as slaves to finance the welfare “state.”

Prosecutions for child support are especially formulaic and demand no intelligence from entry-level prosecutors. No trial or conviction is necessary, and no record will be found specifying the terms of their internment. A robotic prosecutor simply shows some meaningless numbers to an equally robotic judge, who orders the next dozen locked up.

Like hysterias over child abuse and domestic violence, that over unpaid child support is a hoax. But the social workers, lawyers, judges, and various hangers-on have too strong a pecuniary interest in demonizing “deadbeat dads” to bother with quibbles about truth and justice. Advertised to provide for “abandoned” families, the reality is that “a father is forced to finance the filching of his own children.” Yet another coerced subsidy on fatherless homes, it confers further police powers on social workers and transforms the welfare machinery into a complete self-perpetuating, self-financing, and self-enforcing state-within-a state.


Further Degrading Black Men

Similarly unjust proceedings govern the adjudication of more serious crimes. Notorious miscarriages of justice perpetrated by America’s corrupt penal system are suffered overwhelmingly by the poor and, above all, low-income black males.

American criminal courts are a nightmare underworld where poor, uneducated, mostly minority men are the victims of hideous injustices. Coerced into plea bargains they often do not understand and amounting to nothing less than extortion—often made in a matter of seconds during “mass plea hearings” (what many call “assembly-line justice”) —they then spend decades in prison, before being released onto the streets where they constitute the bulk of the homeless. Jury trials are so rare that demanding one serves only to annoy judges and prosecutors, who are certain to resent and punish such insolence. “A fair trial is considered an interruption.”[3]

The standard excuse for such systematic injustice is that real justice is not possible because courts are “overburdened and under-resourced.” But this is self-serving nonsense. It is in the courts’ self-interest to be overburdened, and they do everything they can to overburden themselves and make sure their dockets are exploding with cases, since judicial salaries, like any others, increase with demand for their services.[4] Cliches about overcrowded dockets simply rationalize more funding. Pointless and predatory litigation, both civil and criminal, is precisely what keeps the entire enterprise in operation.

Nowhere does this principle operate with more ironic and cynical force than when the courts create the very criminals they later punish. The crimes that “law-and-order” conservatives are keen to punish are committed, virtually 100%, by youths rendered fatherless by the court system itself. It is the courts that put them on the path to criminality, addiction, and homelessness before their lives have a chance to begin.

None of this will be ameliorated in the slightest by “affirmative action” —nor by eliminating affirmative action. Nor by exhorting young black men to “hard work” and “accept responsibility” —though conservatives act as if those are the only available options. The youths are trapped in a maze of government-manufactured criminalization and criminality, from which there is effectively no escape. It is the prototype for precisely the “Deep State” that now threatens to engulf us all.


“Empowered” Apparatchiks

The welfare/carceral machinery responsible for these injustices is embodied in figures like Kamala Harris whose political careers begin as prosecutrices and attorneys general[5] – offices sustained largely by incarcerating huge numbers of young black men (and increasingly others). Putting these men in the pokey is now a major growth industry, employing substantial numbers of black women. These young women can be seen on the Washington Metro in dreadlocks, incongruously carrying thick textbooks with titles like Administration of Criminal Justice, which train them as petty functionaries to lock up the men they should be marrying.[6] Some grow up to be Kamala Harrises, Lori Lightfoots, and Muriel Bowsers, models of feminine “empowerment” who build careers on the remains of dead and destroyed men, presiding over entire cities and now a country descending into chaos.


The New Ideology

Here we can see how the Americans built the world’s most massive prison gulag. While “law-and-order” conservatives certainly contributed, the weaponization of the judiciary and the creation of what Marie Gottschalk calls the “carceral state” was pioneered by the Left, specifically the New Left, and above all, by the sexual Left.

Like the politicization of the welfare machinery, the massive criminalization of the American population—overwhelmingly the male population—coincides precisely with the advent of sexual politics. “The women’s movement became a vanguard of conservative law-and-order politics,” Gottschalk writes in The Prison and the Gallows (Cambridge, 2006). “Women’s organizations played a central role in the consolidation of this conservative victims’ rights movement that emerged in the 1970s.”

From the beginning, the most authoritarian pressure group in American politics has consistently been women’s rights activists. “If one looks back at the history of penal policy and reform, it is striking what an uncritical stance earlier women reformers took toward the state,” writes Gottschalk. “Periodically, they have played central roles in defining violence as a threat to the social order and uncritically pushing for more enhanced policing powers.” No organized group has done more to politicize criminal justice, expand the penal apparatus, and increase the prison population. “Feminist groups … became champions of state intervention to address problems like rape and domestic violence.”

Gottschalk, an avowed feminist, tries to absolve her sisters of responsibility by labelling them as “conservative,” But what she describes could not be a clearer case of collusion between the Left and Right:


Being for victims and against offenders became a simple equation that helped knit together politically disparate groups ranging from the more traditional conservative, law-and-order constituencies mobilized around punitive policies like “three-strike-and-you’re-out,” to women’s groups organized against rape and domestic violence, to gay and lesbian groups advocating for hate crimes legislation, to the Million Moms pushing for gun control…


This collusion leaves no voices of opposition or dissent. But more, it creates a vicious cycle. Justifiable outrage about genuine crime rationalizes ever-more draconian measures against law-abiding but defenseless citizens, whom leftist lawyers refuse to defend and who are not always entitled to a (ineffective) public defender. Meanwhile, by averting our eyes from the central role of sexual radicalism in the incarceration explosion, we futilely seek to address its more obvious miscarriages of justice by further weakening the measures available to adjudicate and punish real crimes. Thus we rotate the guilty out of the prisons as we rotate the innocent in.

And here again the key figure—disdained by conservatives and targeted by feminists as the easiest male to emasculate and degrade—is again the young, low-income black male. He both disguises and reveals the trend. As the likely child of a single mother, he is most liable to commit crime in the traditional sense. This makes him a political client of the Left and a villain of the Right. He is also the most defenseless and therefore likely target for incarceration by the rape/domestic violence/child abuse/child support gestapo. This makes him a malefactor to both the Left and Right. This leaves him about a 75% chance of incarceration, depending on how he is played as a pawn in others’ games of political power.

All this illustrates how the ideological obsession with race by both the Left and Right, while willfully ignoring the dimension of sex and family, creates the optical illusion that allows the problem to fester and worsen. Gottschalk accepts the standard leftist line that crime and incarceration are driven by “racial disparities, racial discrimination, and institutional racism” but finds that “the USA would still have an incarceration crisis even if black people were sent to prison and jails at ‘only’ the rate at which white people are currently locked up.” So instead of race, “class” becomes the culprit, and the solution then becomes more welfare to ameliorate poverty. Yet her own account makes clear that it was not racism or poverty but welfare itself that created the African-American prison population in the first place: “In the 1920s [after centuries of slavery and decades of segregation], fewer than one in three prisoners were black. By the late 1980s [after decades of welfare], for the first time in US history, the majority of prisoners were black.”


Black Male Lives Don’t Matter Much to BLM

With this context, we can see how the current New Left junta exacerbates this dynamic by exploiting the degraded condition of black men to further a leftist agenda and especially a sexual agenda that consigns the entire black community to decline. By blaming ongoing black degradation caused by family destruction on “racism,” black resentment is the gift that keeps on giving. It allows Black Lives Matter and other leftists to generate an endless supply of grievances to complain about. Ostensibly about racial injustice, BLM is in fact the brainchild of radicalized women and quasi-women, and the people it “empowers” are not disadvantaged black citizens but affluent sexual militants: “queer affirming,” “transgender affirming,” “free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered,” “dismantle the patriarchal practice,” “disrupt the … nuclear family structure,” “collectively care for … children.” BLM thus offers the perfect agenda to further decimate the black family and low-income communities by emasculating and criminalizing the ever-disposable black male.


Guinea Pigs for the Deep State

In retrospect, low-income black men are also the guinea pigs on whom the injustices of the last 3+ years were rehearsed before being released on the general population: the accusatory politics of #MeToo; lawfare techniques used to eliminate Donald Trump and punish his “insurrectionist” and “domestic terrorist” supporters; child abuse and domestic violence accusations used to intimidate and confiscate children from parents who object to their sexualization and mutilation in the name of “gender transitioning.” These methods were pioneered and refined by the welfare/carceral state against low-income black males.

Prosecutors who bring criminal charges against Donald Trump and other disfavored citizens for political reasons do not “go rogue,” they are systematically trained to be rogue from the start, because they cut their teeth prosecuting law-abiding citizens entrapped in concocted criminality beyond their control. We are all paying the price for averting our eyes and holding our tongues from these deliberate injustices.


Real Empowerment?

Yet this rather ugly cloud has an important silver lining. If black men want to be America’s saviors rather than its scapegoats, they have greater moral leverage than anyone to break the stranglehold of the ruling Left junta and its right-wing enablers. They can reject the either/or choice offered to them by the American political class, stand up and tell the Left where to go in no uncertain terms, while also making it clear to the right-wing establishment that they will not be its pawns either. If Americans fail to rectify one of our most unjust and costly mistakes, we have only ourselves to blame when the gendarmes come for us.


[1] Recent academic literature, saturated with feminist ideology, wants us to believe that these classic writers propounded “myths.” Conservatives take the “Woke” obsession with race at face value. But black males, even the most venerated, are hardly off-limits when it comes to rewriting history and literature according to “Woke” sensibilities.
[2] The policeman convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd is only one example. Here too, hyperbolic charges of “racism” drip further poison into the black community. Five black policemen now face murder charges in the violent death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis. See the penetrating commentary by Jason Whitlock in a video removed by YouTube but quoted here.
[3] “Our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors.” Jed S. Rakoff, “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty,” New York Review of Books, 20 November 2014.
[4] The courts are playing an old game—long ago observed by Charles Dickens, Walter Bagehot, and others. “The one great principle of the English law,” wrote Dickens, “is to make business for itself.”
[5] See John Gizzi, “State Attorneys General: A National Association of Aspiring Governors”, Capital Research Center, September 2005.
[6] To be sure, and with equal irony, the machine also employs plenty of middle-class white men and women who end up as prosecutors and attorneys general on the political Right. This includes “family values” Republicans, ensuring that they will never challenge these injustices and giving them too a financial interest in destroying black and other families.


Table of Contents


Stephen Baskerville is Professor of Politics at the Collegium Intermarium in Warsaw. He is the author of The New Politics of Sex: The Sexual Revolution, Civil Liberties, and the Growth of Government Power (Angelico, 2017) and other books and articles available at

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


7 Responses

  1. Tour de force of social and cultural truth. The age of slavery is with us still. Slave to a planter or slave to an ideology or political party. Not a distinction that much matters in the confines of a figurative, and many cases, litteral ghetto.

  2. Aha! Finally got it! Although race is only a social construct, it’s all Whitey’s fault! Settled political science. Or something.

  3. The NAACP President in Oakland, CA has announced that the rampant crime in the area led her to denounce the establishment and suggest that black voters not vote Democratic. I thought “Finally waking up – if I ran the circus, all minority people, especially blacks, would play one party against another at each election cycle by evaluating all candidates and deciding which (regardless of party) pledged to represent the interests of that minority group most closely. I think that might keep political parties a bit more on their toes, and more mindful of what the minorities themselves perceive their interests to be. They would have to earn minority votes on a regular basis. That might accomplish more than the Left assuming that all black citizens think alike, and taking their votes for granted.

  4. Thank you for putting this all together. Well written and a rational assessment of black and white politics.

  5. Squirt and run and you spend your life paying. We are not talking about divorces here. It is the long cost of the fun they had. No sympathy.

  6. Better them than me (welfare). Hows about no gov money until there is a notarized document stating that “Daddy” can’t be found. Birth control is cheap. Don’t come knocking on my door cuz you couldn’t remember that there is always a bill come the morning. Momma can always get a name or license number. Don’t expect me to pay if you will not do your part.

  7. “American criminal courts are a nightmare underworld where poor, uneducated, mostly minority men are the victims of hideous injustices. Coerced into plea bargains they often do not understand and amounting to nothing less than extortion …”

    We should be careful not to imply that “mostly minority men” in criminal courts are mostly innocent of the crimes with which they’ve been charged simply because they later claim to have felt rushed and coerced, and then further claim that they did not understand the plea bargain presented to them.

    Criminals, especially those with past criminal histories even as juveniles, are much wiser in the workings of the criminal justice system than most journalists are willing to credit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New English Review Press is a priceless cultural institution.
                              — Bruce Bawer

The perfect gift for the history lover in your life. Order on Amazon US, Amazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Order on Amazon, Amazon UK, or wherever books are sold.

Order on Amazon, Amazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Order on Amazon or Amazon UK or wherever books are sold

Order at Amazon, Amazon UK, or wherever books are sold. 

Order at Amazon US, Amazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Available at Amazon US, Amazon UK or wherever books are sold.

Send this to a friend