Willful ignorance leads to comfort and conformity; any little thing that rocks the boat is met with the hostile resistance from all fronts. And it seems the further from the truth one sails on the good ship Delusional, the more hostile the resistance is. AATTP critically examined a number of “techniques” employed to maintain conformity and willful ignorance; the short-list of fallacies included venerable standbys like the ad hominem and false choice, but one missing from that list is shifting the goal post.
Moving the goal post is a way of refusing to concede defeat. It’s what happens when a person makes a demand for facts or evidence, which is then supplied. Once the facts or evidence is supplied, the person — now confronted with the possibility their outlook might be wrong — refuse to concede ground, and instead shift the demands to something else that their opponent might not have on hand at that moment, using that as a means to proclaim victory.
For instance, when Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman, a lack of witnesses made for an weak case, and as a result, Zimmerman walked. It didn’t turn out so hot for him a year later, but that’s a different story. What would it take to convince people that the murder had happened unjustly? Eyewitnesses, apparently, which were in short supply.
Fast forward to August 2014. Mike Brown, an unarmed Black man, is shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a White cop. The case fractures along racial faults in the country. However, this time, there were witnesses, and lots of them. So what did people want now to believe that a Black man might have been killed without justification? Now they wanted video — which was conveniently absent, as Ferguson cops didn’t use dashboard cameras.
Along comes Eric Garner. Garner was killed by cops when he suffered a heart attack. Police were taking him down for the unthinkable crime of selling loose cigarettes, but this time, there was a video. And the cop that killed him, predictably, walked.
First Trayvon Martin happened, and they demanded witnesses. Then Mike Brown happened, and they demanded footage. Then Eric Garner happened…
All three murderers walked.
Stop moving the goal posts. There are only so many black corpses you can anchor them in.
What is it going to take to wake people up so they can see the war being waged against African Americans by our injustice system? When are Americans going to stop moving the goal posts and realize that we have a very real problem on our hands?