Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Well, OK. I guess I chose the title just to get your attention. Nevertheless, this is probably the most pro-Sterling article you are likely to read, even though its purpose is not so much to defend Sterling as to condemn the jackals (Oprah, Adam Silver, LeBron James, Al Sharpton, etc.) who are trying to take the L.A. Clippers away from him.

So let's summarize.

Donald Sterling has a relationship with a a woman fifty years his junior who is called, for some reason, V. Stiviano, though that is neither the name she was born with nor one of the many other names she has used over the years. The nature of the relationship is that, in exchange for money and expensive presents, she has sex with his 80-year-old carcass and accompanies him in public to basketball games and other events and behaves with respect to him as would a “girlfriend.” Sterling has had many other such relationships with women in the past.

Recently, a recording was made of a conversation between Mr. Sterling and Ms. Stiviano, and the only thing we really know about the provenance of this recording and its production is that Mr. Sterling was unaware it was being made. Nevertheless, it was disseminated widely by TMZ, the gossip-news internet site. I infer (as does everyone else who has heard it), that Stiviano is the source of the recording.

The topic of conversation, or one of them, is Ms. Stiviano's sexual dalliances with black men, including famous black athletes. Sterling expresses no objection to her relationships with these other men per se, and in fact, he tells her to hang out with them, love them, admire them, have sex with them—whatever she wants. He does ask, however, that she refrain from publicizing these relationships by putting pictures of herself and her lovers on Instagram, and bringing them to Clippers basketball games. Magic Johnson's name is featured rather prominently in the conversation, and he appears to be a particular bone of contention between Sterling and Stiviano.

(One cannot but wonder about the reaction to this chatter of Cookie Johnson, the long-suffering wife of America's most-famous HIV survivor, but this aspect of l'affaire Sterling has received zero attention in the media.)

So here's the first question: is Sterling's request really so unreasonable? This is, after all, a purely commercial relationship, and whether you approve or disapprove of such a relationship, the fact is that such arrangements have existed between rich old men and pretty young women since the beginning of time. They are entirely voluntary. And in this case, he is not even demanding she be faithful to him. All he seems to be asking is that she refrain from flaunting these other liaisons and publicly cuckold him. Do what you want, he is telling her. Just don't make me look like a jackass.

Is this so much to ask? Let us not forget that this bought-and-paid-for “girlfriend” has been well bought and well paid for. It has been alleged in a lawsuit (and apparently not denied), that he recently gave her a Ferrari, two Bentleys, a Range Rover, and an expensive condo. The guy is entitled to something for his money, isn't he?

(An aside: two Bentleys? I understand this is not a question a conservative should ask---I mean, it ain't my money---but two Bentleys? The socialist view of the two-Bentley phenomenon is that no 30-year-old ”girlfriend” of an 80-year-old-guy should have two Bentleys until every 30-year-old “girlfriend” of an 80-year-old guy has one Bentley, and while I am capable of arguing that this socialist view of other people's wealth is immoral, I find myself little inclined to do so in this instance.)

That's the first point---that his demands on Stiviano seem eminently reasonable given the context in which they were made. This was a private negotiating session over the terms of the young lady's duties in her lucrative arm-candy gig, and Sterling doesn't even seem to be asking much. And what possible beeswax is this of Oprah? Or LeBron? Or Keith Olbermann?

Ah, but it's the racism, you see. That's the objection, or at least that's what we are told. The guys she is screwing are black, and Sterling's comments about them are race-based and ugly, and that is his real transgression. That's why his $500 million team must be taken away from him. That's why he can never be allowed in an NBA venue. We're outraged, you see. We're outrageously outraged, and that's why an enormous chunk of this man's wealth must be taken from him without due process, or any process, though he has committed no crime and has apparently injured no one.

Again, let's put this incident in context.

Sterling probably doesn't like it that his mistress screws other guys. He says it doesn't matter, but this may simply reflect his acceptance of the reality of their relationship and the reality of who she is. In any case, he probably feels he is in no position to object to her other relationships, though that doesn't mean he likes them. Sterling may be a lizard, but lizards have feelings too, or they can. Thus, in this private, and somewhat emotional, conversation, some of that hurt and disappointment may leak out, and he may say some disparaging things about the other guys she is screwing. Had they been Lithuanians or Sikhs or Eskimos or Vietnamese guys, Sterling might have made some nasty remarks about Lithuanians, Sikhs, Eskimos or Vietnamese guys, but apparently she only does black guys (apart from Sterling), so his nasty remarks are the kind typically directed toward black guys.

And the racist remarks themselves? What are they? I listened to the tape, and while he does ask her not to “broadcast” her relationships with black guys, one searches in vain for the “Yo bitch---stay away from niggers” part. There simply isn't any such language on the tape that has been made public. In fact, what I hear is Stiviano's repeated attempts to goad Sterling into saying something overtly loathsome and racist and him not taking the bait.

And not only do I not hear Sterling saying anything loathsome, I do not hear Al Sharpton or Diane Sawyer or LeBron James or anybody else TELLING me what it is he said that was so loathsome. That is really what gets my spidey-sense tingling about this sorry spectacle. Every decent human being in America (which doesn't include me, I guess), is outrageously outraged about the horrible, nasty, vicious, racist things Donald Sterling said to V. Stiviano, but in the 60,000 hours of live television coverage and commentary since the incident, nobody will tell me exactly what it is Sterling said that should get me as outrageously outraged as they are. All we are told is that it's extremely nasty and offensive and racist, and we are informed of this endlessly, but the final step of the argument, the linking of evidence and conclusion, never occurs.

Since the tape was released, plenty of stories have surfaced about Sterling and about his views on black people. There was trouble with federal authorities some years ago, and Sterling was heavily fined for his efforts to avoid renting apartments to black tenants. Rollie Massimino, who once was considered for the Clippers coaching job, tells of standing courtside with Sterling and being told, “I don't know why you think you can coach these niggers.” At this point, we can fairly stipulate that Sterling is an anti-black racist who will occasionally express that racism in a very crude and offensive manner.

Based on the recording, however, and on his stewardship of the Clippers, what he is being accused of are merely thought-crimes. There is not even an allegation that he discriminates against blacks in the way he runs the team. This is the NBA! Even if he wanted to, how could he? Thus, his head coach is black, as are most of the players to whom he pays tens of millions each year. In the public sphere (as opposed to what he thinks, or what he may say in private conversations), what has he ever done as the owner of the Clippers to disqualify him from owning a team?

We are not trying to decide whether to give him the Nobel Peace Prize. All of us can agree he doesn't deserve it. We are trying to decide whether he should be stripped of a piece of property worth $500 million because his views on race, and the way he expresses them privately, are way out of step with contemporary mores. And do not be deluded by the unctuous pronouncements of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. This “suspension” is a taking. According to Silver, Sterling is to have NO voice in the management of the team and is barred from NBA arenas. When every aspect of “ownership” is taken away, in what sense can Sterling still be said to be an owner? If Sterling is barred from any connection with the Clippers, and all management decisions are now to be made by the league itself, what is to stop Silver from simply folding the franchise and destroying the thirty years of wealth Sterling has created for himself and his family?

Sterling did not suddenly become a racist in a recent conversation with V. Stiviano. He's had these views, and expressed them, for years. Nobody in the NBA cared enough to impose any sort of league discipline on him. And in the larger world, Sterling is a sought-after contributor to Democratic politics and liberal causes. He has apparently been bankrolling the NAACP in Southern California for years, and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by that organization. Neither George Wallace nor David Duke ever got one of those plaques.

And certainly, he represents no danger to the prospects for racial harmony in America. At 80 years old, with prostate cancer, he is not exactly the voice of the future, is he? And since he does not (and cannot) engage in racial discrimination in the NBA, he is not a threat to the present either. He'll be dead soon. Soon he won't be able to offend LeBron James anymore. Most significantly, the outraged reaction to his taped remarks proves that Donald Sterling is out of touch with most of his countrymen. Doesn't the reaction to this story, across America, prove that this is not a racist nation? So what is the point of destroying Donald Sterling?

But there is a point to this exercise, and there is a reason. The reason is that America has changed, and that dissent from politically correct views is no long permitted, even in private. There can be no debate, and there can be no tolerance. The Left in America has changed, and those who are not sufficiently evolved must be silenced, or destroyed, or both. Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty must have his TV forum taken away. Government use of snipers on Cliven Bundy's ranch is justified, according to the NYT, because Bundy has incorrect views on race. Brendan Eich must be fired as CEO of Mozilla because he once donated money to the Prop 8 campaign in California. Universities must punish students who voice incorrect ideas. Little old Mormon ladies must be knocked to the sidewalk on their way to church because the LDS believes in traditional marriage. Other Mormons who supported traditional marriage must lose their livelihoods. Ayaan Hirsi Ali cannot be permitted to speak at Brandeis and Condoleezza Rice cannot address commencement at Rutgers. Pro-life students who set up tables on campus to persuade their fellow students must be shut down and have their literature destroyed. “Climate-change deniers” cannot be published in America and are banned from the BBC. Hundreds of Romney and McCain campaign offices are trashed by vandals (while almost no Obama offices are). Israeli academics are banned from international conferences of scholars.

At the federal level, the same process is occurring as the apparatus of government is converted to promote the political ends of the Obama Administration rather than our nation's laws. Here again, the goal is not to persuade, or to win an argument, but merely to silence the opposition. The IRS prosecutes conservatives and denies them equal tax treatment. The EPA, the ATF, the FEC, and the Justice Department enforce only those statutes their leftist administrators approve of, that embody their notions of “social justice.” The message for the rest of us is simple. Shut up. Keep your head down.

None of this happened ten years ago (or to the extent it was attempted, it rarely succeeded). But now a man must have half a billion dollars taken away from him because Al Sharpton disapproves of things he said to his mistress in private.

The Donald Sterling story has nothing to do with racism in America. It has to do with the rise of mob rule and the destruction of the rule of law. Law, if it is law, applies to everyone equally and protects everyone equally. It protects Donald Sterling just as it protects Rosa Parks. The attack on Donald Sterling is an attack on our freedom and our rights as individuals, and it is being executed by the caring, nurturing, intolerant Left which now decides which of us will be permitted to speak, and what we will be permitted to say. This is totalitarianism. This is mob rule, and it is taking over America.