Slavery 2

Thomas Sowell tells historical facts about slavery that need to be known:

Posted under Slavery by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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The American racist party 6

The Democratic Party wanted and fought for slavery, secession, and segregation.

Why, in the name of common sense, doesn’t every Republican candidate for office, every Republican in office, and every Republican voter constantly tell this to the electorate, until the rotten reputation that the Democrats have earned, sticks to their party irremovably? Wouldn’t that be a good way to destroy it?

Theodore Roosevelt Malloch summarizes the horrible history of the Democratic Party so well, we quote his article almost in full:

The Democratic Party was founded in 1828 by the backers of General Andrew Jackson, a Southerner and ardent racist who owned slaves and thought nothing wrong with the practice. Jackson, who became the 8th president, earned his fortune in a cotton industry based entirely on slaveholding. 

“Old Hickory” as his troops called him, was one tough son of a bitch. Compromise was not in his lexicon. Aside from his attitudinal superiority over blacks, Jackson is also famous for the “Trail of Tears” which forced Native Americans off their ancestral lands. These are the seminal beginning roots of the Democratic Party tradition in America.

Leading up to the Civil War, the Democratic Party had only one platform: Keeping slavery and the plantation economy intact.

In an attempt to settle sectional conflicts about the expansion of slavery, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The Act stated that the residents of those states, rather than the federal government, would determine the legality of slavery in those territories. The Republican Party was created largely in response to the Act; their 1856 platform of “free labor, free land, free men” aimed to protect poor white farmers and laborers from competition with slave labor. In response, the Democratic Party took a position of non-interference with the institution of slavery, which they favored and defended.

The Democratic Party was founded in a racism that was intended to support the interests of the ruling class and its party grandees as its first political principle. It was the core tenant of their political philosophy, public policy, and actions for the better part of a century.

The Democrats controlled the South and fought the Civil War as “Confederates,” to protect and preserve slavery and their way of life. The Confederacy never had political parties because they were all Democrats. All of the governors, generals, and leaders of the South in its war of secession were, in fact, Democrats.

The Republican Party was formed to abolish slavery and maintain the Union. In Ripon, Wisconsin, former members of the Whig Party meet to establish a new party to oppose the spread of slavery into the western territories. The Whig Party, which was formed in 1834 to oppose the “tyranny” of President Andrew Jackson, had shown itself incapable of coping with the national crisis over slavery.

With the successful introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854, an act that dissolved the terms of the Missouri Compromise and allowed slave or free status to be decided in the territories, the Whigs disintegrated. When Lincoln, the first Republican president, was elected with a split vote in 1860, it took only three weeks for the states of the South, all Democratic, to secede from the Union and start the Civil War, the bloodiest tragedy in all of American history.

After the surrender of the Confederates, the Democrats were implicated in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor, was a staunch supporter of slavery and the Southern Confederacy during America’s Civil War. On the night of April 14, 1865, three days after the war ended, he entered Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., and shot Lincoln. The assassin shouted, “Sic semper tyrannis! [Ever thus to tyrants!] The South is avenged,” as he jumped onto the stage and fled on horseback. Booth was funded  and supported by the Democratic Party and the Confederacy, and his known plan was to reignite the Civil War and keep slavery.

The turbulent era of Reconstruction (1865-77) following the Civil War saw an effort to reintegrate Southern states and four million newly freed black people into the United States. The Democrats had a different plan for Reconstruction  based on a reversion to their supremacist racist policies and ideology. Under the administration of President Andrew Johnson (a Democrat from Tennessee) in 1866, new southern state legislatures passed highly restrictive and harsh “Black Codes” to control the labor and behavior of formerly enslaved people and other African Americans.

Outrage in the North over these racist measures eroded support for the approach known as Presidential Reconstruction and led to the triumph of the more radical wing of the Republican Party. During Radical Reconstruction, which began with the passage of the Reconstruction Act of 1867 by Republicans, newly enfranchised black people gained an active voice in government for the first time in American history, winning election to southern state legislatures and even to the U.S. Congress. In less than a decade, however, reactionary forces—primarily the Ku Klux Klan—would reverse the changes wrought by Radical Reconstruction in a violent backlash that restored white supremacy in a South that was still totally Democrat controlled.

At the conclusion of the Civil War, six Confederate veterans, all Democrats, gathered in Pulaski, Tennessee, to create the Ku Klux Klan (Greek for circle), a vigilante group mobilizing a campaign of violence and terror against the progress of Reconstruction and the Republicans. As the group gained members from all strata of Southern white society, they used violent intimidation to prevent black people—and any white people who supported Reconstruction (namely, Republicans)—from voting and holding political office.

All of the members of the Klan were Democrats; participation in the Democratic Party was explicitly mandated by the Klan, and the linkage between that political party and its extremist, violent terrorist wing is well documented.

In an effort to maintain white hegemonic control of government, the Klan, joined by other white Southerners in the Democratic Party, engaged in a violent campaign of deadly voter intimidation during the 1868 presidential election. From Arkansas to Georgia, thousands of black people were killed. Similar campaigns of lynchings, tar-and-featherings, rapes and other violent attacks on those challenging white supremacy became a hallmark of the Klan for decades. Again, this was informally sanctioned by the Democratic Party.

Jim Crow [laws] … originated with Democrats and included these abhorrent practices. These laws enforced racial segregation in the South between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and the beginning of the civil rights movement in the 1950s. (Jim Crow was the name of a minstrel routine that mocked black people. The term came to be a derogatory epithet for all African Americans and a designation for their  segregated life.)

From the late 1870s, Southern state legislatures, totally controlled by the Democrats, passed laws requiring the separation of whites from “persons of color” in public transportation and schools. Segregation was extended to parks, cemeteries, theaters, and restaurants in an attempt to prevent any contact whatsoever between blacks and whites as equals. Although the U.S. Constitution forbade racial discrimination, every state of the former Confederacy, all with Democratic governors and state legislatures, moved to disenfranchise blacks by imposing biased reading requirements, stringent property qualifications, and complex poll taxes. Jim Crow laws were a Democratic invention and lasted until the 1960s.

Democratic leaders like the late Senator Robert “Sheets” Byrd (D-W.Va.), were high-ranking officials in the KKK. Byrd was himself a grand cyclops of the KKK. He actively recruited hundreds of members and bragged about it. He held political office as a Democratic leader for five decades and was the longest serving Democrat in Congress. In December 1944, Byrd wrote to segregationist Democrat Mississippi Senator Bilbo:

I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side . . .  Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

During the Civil Rights Movement Democrats did everything in their power to forestall the rights of minorities and continue the subjugation of black voters.

When all of their efforts to enslave blacks, keep them enslaved, and then keep them from voting failed, the Democrats came up with a new strategy: If black people are going to vote, they might as well vote for Democrats. As President Lyndon Johnson was heard to have said about the Civil Rights Act, “I’ll have them n—–s voting Democrat for 200 years.”

So now the Democratic Party prospers on the votes of the very people it has spent much of its history oppressing. And the names of those oppressors are well known.

Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor was an American politician and dedicated member of the Democratic Party who served as Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama, for more than two decades. He strongly opposed the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and was famous for his racist rhetoric and use of police dogs against protestors. He came to typify the Democratic attitude against equality and the 13th Amendment.

George Wallace, the fiery Democrat governor of Alabama was infamous for standing in the doorway of the University of Alabama to block integration in 1963. He attempted to keep his inaugural promise of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” and stop the desegregation of schools and society. He came to personify the Democratic attitude to race relations and later went on to mount a losing run for the presidency.

Dixiecrat Democrats, formed in 1948, were opposed to civil rights, and bolted when Harry Truman took the Democratic nomination. Southern Democrats tried to forestall the signing of both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in 1964. If Republicans had not sided with certain Northern Democrats to end the longest filibuster in history by then-Democrat Senator Strom Thurmond (D-S.C.), the Act would not have become law.

People like then-Senator Joe Biden, (D-Del.) from the border slaveholding state, Delaware, below the Mason-Dixon line, got elected on a segregationist banner and opposed integration and school busing throughout the 1970s and 80s. Biden worked closely for years with Democratic Mississippi Senator James Eastland and Democratic Georgia Senator Herman Talmadge, two demonstrably racist Democrats, who opposed civil rights legislation and all integration efforts.

The tortuous history, when actually read and studied, demonstrates one abundantly clear fact; America has long had a racist political party.

They are called Democrats.

Their obsession with race is as intense now as it has ever been.

But there has been a change in the party. Though still predominantly white, the Democrats are now viciously anti-white!

And their favorite term of abuse to fling at others who do not share their obsession, is “Racist!”

They must not be allowed to conceal their anti-black history.

Black mamas 1

A Note on America this Mother’s Day, May 9, 2021

The patriarchy is gone.

We are all now as fatherless as most black families have been for generations.

We are ruled by women.

Black women.

If you are against them, if you are against a black matriarchy, you are a racist sexist, or a sexist racist, and a worse thing than that you cannot be.

If you are for them, if you want America and the world to be ruled by black women, you are woke.

If you are male but woke, you can live, but humbly.

If you are white but woke, you can live, but humbly.

If you are male and white, and not woke, your days are numbered.

Posted under Race, Slavery, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 9, 2021

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The color of chocolate 1

Nestle the famous chocolate makers are “woke”, are caring, are concerned about the environment, and advertise their virtue on all the big issues à la mode.

Nestle’s USA branch give their employees “mandatory bias training” (to show them that they are racists whether they realize it or not).

We learn this from an article by Daniel Greenfield, from which we have taken our quotations and information for this Sunday hymn to Hypocrisy.

The leadership of Nestle’s UK branch urged, “I want people talking about race, about inequality and about why it should ever be called into question that black lives matter.”

However, Nestle makes its chocolate from cocoa beans picked by –

African child slaves [aged between 12 and 14] working fourteen hours a day on cocoa plantations, given scraps of food to eat, beaten with whips and tree branches, forced to sleep on the floor, and to drink urine if they try to run away.

Nestle has a history of using slave labor. The company made use of the slave labor of Jews during the Holocaust.

Nestle … had helped finance the Swiss Nazi Party and became an exclusive supplier of chocolate to the Wehrmacht. Helmut Maucher, Nestle’s longtime CEO and honorary chairman, had served in the Wehrmacht. But that’s all water under the national socialist bridge.

Nestle went from profiting from Jewish slave labor it claimed it couldn’t do anything about to profiting from African slave labor it claims it can’t stop.

Cocoa is the black gold of the Côte d’Ivoire. 

The slaves … were trafficked from Mali to Côte d’Ivoire … which underwent a Muslim-Christian civil war in Obama’s first years in office.

Why would child slavery have dramatically increased under Obama?

Obama’s backing for Islamist takeovers in Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, and Nigeria … led to a boom in slavery. Obama did more than any other politicians to mainstream both black nationalism and black slavery. 

Côte d’Ivoire’s indigenous population was concentrated in the richer forests of the south, allowing the migration of Islamic tribes to occupy the drier north. When Muslim rebels, many of them illegal migrants, rigged the 2010 Côte d’Ivoire election, Obama backed the Muslim north over the Christian south. [And] the French and the UN intervened militarily to subjugate the indigenous Christians to Muslim rule. Since then, Alassane Ouattara, a descendant of Muslim rulers, dubiously won the latest presidential election by 83%.

The virtuous Obama, virtuous Europeans, and that upholder and arbiter of the world’s political virtue the UN, subjugated the Christians of Côte d’Ivoire to Muslim rule and the whole country is now being Islamized and turned into a slave state. 

The beneficiaries of that slave labor are the multinationals who preach social justice, as long as it doesn’t raise the price of cocoa. It’s one thing to chant Black Lives Matter and support the racist hate group burning and looting stores, and another to actually stop profiting from black children being sold into slavery …

Nestle dispensed money to maintain farmers’ loyalty as exclusive suppliers to the men running the slave plantations.

While Black Lives Matter leaders get cash from woke corporations, those same corporations profit from slavery in Asia, where lives don’t matter, but also in Africa, where they supposedly do. While the Times serves up the 1619 Project [ridiculously claiming that the US was founded in that year as a slave nation], and the statues of anyone who ever had anything to do with a slave centuries ago are toppled, real African slavery continues today.

Posted under Africa, Libya, Nigeria, Slavery by Jillian Becker on Sunday, December 27, 2020

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Remorse 1

As comment on “The Great Reset”, and in particular on the post Advertisement for totalitarian communism, here is an extract from L: A Novel History by Jillian Becker.* It is set in England in the 20th. century, but is precisely applicable to this moment of political choice in the US:

Here the (fictitious) historian relates what one or two enthusiasts for totalitarian communism discover when they get it:

At first the Winsomes had rejoiced in the revolution. It was what they had hoped for, worked for, and, as long as they could, voted for. “I don’t mind not owning my own house if nobody else does,” Ted Winsome had written cheerfully in his Revolution Issue of the NEW WORKER (which came out six weeks after Republic Day, as his paper, like most others, had been ordered to suspend publication until all newspapers that were to continue had been nationalised, and permits granted to their editors). Had not his wife, in her capacity as Housing Committee chairperson on Islington Borough Council set an example, by compulsorily purchasing more private houses for local government ownership than anyone before or after her (until the revolution made purchase unnecessary)? He was proud that she had been an active pioneer, one of the avant-garde of the socialist revolution.

However, he was less pleased when three families were quartered in his house. And then another was sent by the Chief Social Worker (a sort of district commandant) when his own children, delighted to drop out of school, had left home to join a WSP group and vent righteous indignation on landlords, capitalists, individualists, racists and speculators. All of his fellow lodgers were, in his view, “problem-families” – drunken, noisy, filthy, careless, inconsiderate and rude. (“That,” said the Gauleiter, “is why they were chased out of their last lodgings by angry co-residents on a former Council estate.” She had thought the Winsomes would be “more tolerant”.) Before he could hand over his stereophonic record-player to the local community centre – as he assured those he complained to that he had fully intended to do – one of the problem-children broke it, threw his classical records away, and also deliberately smashed his high-speed Japanese camera. His furniture was soon broken too. Precious antiques which he had restored with his own hands in hours of patient labour, were treated like fruit-boxes, to be stood on, and spilt on, and thrown about. When cups and glasses were smashed, it was he who had to replace them if he was to have anything to eat or drink out of; which meant recourse to the black market, against which he had so often fulminated in his editorials in the NEW WORKER. He started hiding things away in his room, taking special care to keep his carpentry and joinery tools from the hands of those who would not understand how he had cared for them, valued them, kept them sharp, adapted some of them to his particular needs. One of the problem-fathers accused him of “hoarding private property”, and threatened to go to the New Police with the complaint, or call in “some RI people”.

He confided to a woman journalist at his office how he had begun to suspect that “when a thing belongs to everybody, it belongs to nobody”. And he even went so far as to suggest that “as people only vandalise things they don’t own themselves, there is something to be said for private ownership after all”. The woman with whom he shared this confidence was a Miss Ada Corinth, a WSP member. She was also a spy for L, as most WSP members were.

Soon Ted Winsome was no longer editor of the NEW WORKER. Nobody was. Everybody wrote what he was told to write. Ted Winsome felt a secret regret at his loss of power and pride in his position. He began to feel that hierarchies were not such a bad thing. They allowed promotion, advance, a sense of success and reward for effort. “I suppose I really am a bourgeois at heart,” he said, more wistfully than guiltily, to Ada Corinth.

Some weeks passed. The day of hunger descended on the city. The problem-families tucked under their arms as many of the things the Winsomes had once owned as they could carry, and set off to find survival where food grazed, roamed, swam or grew. And one night a WSP posse came and took Ted Winsome away to be treated in a special hospital for holding incorrect opinions.

Marjorie Winsome watched him go, calling out, “Don’t worry, Ted, I’ll go to Downing Street and see Ben or Jason or John Ernesto, or L himself if necessary. They can’t know about this. When they do they’ll have to let you go.”

She set out for Downing Street. Her old friends Shrood, Vernet and Ernesto would not see her; nor would Hamstead or Fist, or any of the others.

L was not at his office. So she walked to Hampstead Heath. As she approached his house, she was stopped by the guards, and she explained what she wanted. They didn’t seem to understand. They hardly seemed to understand English at all. She began to shout, “Comrade L is my friend! Don’t you understand?”

They told her to go away, and pushed her roughly. She shouted louder, “L! Comrade L – it’s me, Marjie, Marjorie Winsome. L, they’ve taken Ted! Can you hear me? L! L!….” and she struggled with the guards, trying to push past them to get through the gate and up the garden path to the front door. One of the guards pushed her away with his Kalashnikov sub-machinegun. She fell hard, but got up feeling stunned, bruised, and very bewildered. “But –,” she began. The man advanced again with his gun held in both hands, and she gave up.

Limping home, she “tried to think what had happened exactly”. She never did work it out, by her own account, though she survived the Republic, and lived to grieve and write a brief memoir. She became a heavy drinker, when spirits could be bought again. She mourned more for “the empty thing [her] life had become” than for her husband and children, all of whom she lost. She wrote sadly that “after the revolution, there was no way one could serve others any more. Except your family, but then families broke apart. You felt you could not build anything, whatever you did was just for that day, that moment.” She came to certain conclusions that her husband had come to: “You couldn’t achieve anything really, or if you did – say you discovered something or made something with your hands – there was no way you could get recognition for it, no feeling that it might be appreciated by other people, or that anyone would thank you or honour you for it.”

Read the book for a full and graphic description of what life would be like under totalitarian communist government as proposed by “The Great Reset”. 

*From Chapter 9: The Floodgates of Chaos pages 261-263

Posted under Britain, communism, Marxism, Progressivism, Slavery, Socialism, Totalitarianism, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Friday, November 20, 2020

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Heart versus head 3

At a congressional hearing on reparations in June, 2019, passionate Ta-Nehisi Coates argued with brilliant thinker Coleman Hughes:

 

We declare Hughes the winner of the debate.

What are our readers’ opinions?

Posted under History, Race, Slavery, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 25, 2020

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Of rights and wrongs 1

Questions about rights – what they are, who or what grants them, how they may be upheld – are not and cannot be settled. They’re continually subject to debate in our culture.

Everyone’s right to life is quite widely accepted – though not by Communists and Muslims, and only provisionally by French philosophers and American Democrats. A right to liberty has been acknowledged increasingly by most governments – not yet all – over the last couple of hundred years. But other proclaimed rights continue to be passionately demanded and challenged: Does everyone have a right to medical treatment, to education, to housing? Do we have a right not to be offended? If these are rights, how might they be protected?

Rights are things that can be possessed. Individuals own them.

Wrongs are things that people do, or have done to them.

What it is wrong to do was settled for civilized peoples thousands of years ago: it is wrong to kill, to harm, to steal, to lie.

But unsettled questions linger about wrong-doing:

How can wrong-doing be assessed? How should it be dealt with? By whom?

Are some killings not wrong? Is it not wrong to kill in war, in self-defense, in the execution of justice?

And to acknowledge certain (uncivilized) schools of thought we note that it is not wrong according to Communists for a leader to kill individuals for the benefit of the community; not wrong according to Islam for Muslims to kill non-Muslims or their own children; not wrong according to certain French philosophers to kill for the erotic excitement of killing; not wrong according to certain American Democrats to kill an elected president.

Posted under communism, Islam, jihad, liberty, Muslims, Philosophy, Slavery, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 29, 2020

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The case against reparations 4

It is surely true to say that no matter who you are or where you come from, you have ancestors who were slaves and ancestors who owned slaves.

That alone is an argument against the idea that, on the grounds of an ancestral debt, people living now who do not and never have owned slaves, owe reparations to other people living now who are not and never have been slaves.

Yet a number of Americans – all Democratic Socialists, in a range of skin colors, some of them male but awfully sorry about it – who want to be president of the United States, are considering a policy of paying reparations to descendants of black slaves who were brought to America from Africa.

Those who are for it do not stipulate who will pay the reparations. All American tax-payers, including the descendants of slaves? All white American tax-payers? All Americans who have some white ancestors? Or only the descendants of slave owners?

Coleman Hughes, an undergraduate philosophy student at Columbia University, has written an article at Quillette which asks all the right questions about reparations, and gives all the right answers. It is a brilliant piece of lucid argument.

Coleman Hughes

In 2014, Ta-Nehisi Coates was catapulted to intellectual stardom by a lengthy Atlantic polemic entitled The Case for Reparations. The essay was an impassioned plea for Americans to grapple with the role of slavery, Jim Crow, and redlining in the creation of the wealth gap between blacks and whites, and it provoked a wide range of reactions. Some left-wing commentators swallowed Coates’s thesis whole, while others agreed in theory but objected that reparations are not a practical answer to legitimate grievances. The Right, for the most part, rejected the case both in theory and practice.

Although the piece polarized opinion, one fact was universally agreed upon: reparations would not be entering mainstream politics anytime soon. According to Coates’s critics, there was no way that a policy so unethical and so unpopular would gain traction. According to his fans, it was not the ethics of the policy but rather the complacency of whites—specifically, their stubborn refusal to acknowledge historical racism—that prevented reparations from receiving the consideration it merited. Coates himself, as recently as 2017, lamented that the idea of reparations was “roundly dismissed as crazy” and “remained far outside the borders of American politics”.

In the past month, we’ve all been proven wrong. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have both endorsed the idea, and House speaker Nancy Pelosi has voiced support for proposals to study the effects of historical racism and suggest ways to compensate the descendants of slaves. These people are not on the margins of American politics. Most polls have Harris and Warren sitting in third and fourth place, respectively, in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and Pelosi is two heart attacks away from the presidency.

Let me pre-empt an objection: neither Harris nor Warren has endorsed a race-specific program of reparations. Indeed Harris has made it clear that what she’s calling “reparations” is really just an income-based policy by another name. The package of policies hasn’t changed; only the label on the package has. So who cares?

In electoral politics, however, it is precisely the label that matters. Given that there’s nothing about her policies that requires Harris to slap the “reparations” label onto them, her decision to employ it suggests that it now has such positive connotations on the Left that she can’t reject the label without paying a political price. Five years ago, Coates, his fans, and his critics more or less agreed that it would be political suicide for a candidate to so much as utter the word “reparations” in an approving tone of voice. Now, we have a candidate like Harris who seems to think it’s political suicide not to. The Overton window has shifted.

In one sense, Coates should be celebrating. He, more than anyone, is responsible for the reintroduction of reparations into the public sphere. Most writers can only dream of having such influence. But in another sense, his victory is a pyrrhic one. That is, the very adoption of reparations by mainstream politicians throws doubt on the core message of Coates’s work. In his 2017 essay collection, We Were Eight Years in Power, Coates argued that racism is not merely“a tumor that could be isolated and removed from the body of America,” but “a pervasive system both native and essential to that body”; white supremacy is “so foundational to this country” that it will likely not be destroyed in this generation, the next, “or perhaps ever”; it is “a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it”.

Now ask yourself: How likely is it that a country matching Coates’s description would find itself with major presidential contenders proposing reparations for slavery, and not immediately plummeting in the polls? The challenge for Coates and his admirers, then, is to reconcile the following claims:

1. America remains a fundamentally white supremacist nation.

2. Presidential contenders are competing for the favor of a good portion of the American electorate partly by signaling how much they care about, and wish to redress, historical racism.

You can say (1) or you can say (2) but you can’t say them both at the same time without surrendering to incoherence. Coates himself has recognized this contradiction, albeit indirectly. “Why do white people like what I write?” he asked [italics in original] in We Were Eight Years in Power. He continued:

“The question would eventually overshadow the work, or maybe it would just feel like it did. Either way, there was a lesson in this: God might not save me, but neither would defiance. How do you defy a power that insists on claiming you? What does the story you tell matter, if the world is set upon hearing a different one?” [italics mine]

In Coates’s mind, the fact that so many white people love his work suggests that they do not fully understand it, that they are “hearing a different” story to the one he is telling. But a more parsimonious explanation is readily available: white progressives’ reading comprehension is fine and they genuinely love his message. This should be unsurprising since white progressives are now more “woke” than blacks themselves. For example, white progressives are significantly more likely than black people to agree that “racial discrimination is the main reason why blacks can’t get ahead”.

This presents a problem for Coates. If you believe, as he does, that the political Left “would much rather be talking about the class struggles” that appeal to “the working white masses” than “racist struggles,” then it must be jarring to realize that the very same, allegedly race-averse Left is the reason that your heavily race-themed books sit atop the New York Times bestseller list week after week. Coates’s ideology, in this sense, falls victim to its own success.

But a pyrrhic victory is a kind of victory nonetheless, and so, partly thanks to Coates, we must have the reparations debate once again.

First, a note on the framing of the debate: Virtually everyone who is against reparations is in favor of policies aimed at helping the poor. The debate, therefore, is not between reparations and doing nothing for black people, but between policy based on genealogy and policy based on socioeconomics. Accordingly, the burden on each side is not to show that its proposal is better than nothing—that would be easy. The burden on each side is to show that its preferred rationale for policy (either genealogy or socioeconomics) is better than the rationale proposed by the other side. And, framed as such, reparations for slavery is a losing argument.

For starters, an ancestral connection to slavery is a far less reliable predictor of privation than a low income. There are tens of millions of descendants of American slaves and many millions of them are doing just fine. As Kevin Williamson put it: “Some blacks are born into college-educated, well-off households, and some whites are born to heroin-addicted single mothers, and even the totality of racial crimes throughout American history does not mean that one of these things matters and one does not.”

Williamson’s observation holds not only between blacks and whites but between different black ethnic groups as well. Somali-Americans, for example, have lower per-capita incomes than native-born black Americans. Yet they would not see a dime from reparations, since they have no connection to American slavery. But should it matter why Somali immigrants are poorer than black American natives? Insofar as there is a reparations policy that would benefit the poor, should Somali immigrants be denied those benefits because they are poor for the wrong historical reasons? The idea can only be taken seriously by those who value symbolic justice for the dead over tangible justice for the living.

We can either direct resources toward the individuals who most need them, or we can direct them toward the socioeconomically-diverse members of historical victim groups. But we cannot direct the same resources in both directions at once. In 2019, “black” and “poor” are not synonyms. Every racial group in America contains millions of people who are struggling and millions of people who are not, and if any debt is owed, it is to the former.

Secondly, the case for reparations relies on the intellectually lazy assumption that the problems facing low-income blacks today are a part of the legacy of slavery. For most problems, however, the timelines don’t match up. Black teen unemployment, for instance, was virtually identical to white teen unemployment (in many years it was lower) until the mid-1950s, when, as Thomas Sowell observed in Discrimination and Disparities, successive minimum wage hikes and other macroeconomic forces artificially increased the price of unskilled labor to employers—a burden that fell hardest on black teens. Not only did problems like high youth unemployment and fatherless homes not appear in earnest until a century after the abolition of slavery, but similar patterns of social breakdown have since been observed in other groups that have no recent history of oppression to blame it on, such as the rise of single-parent homes in the white working class.

Nevertheless, there is a sense nowadays that history affects blacks to such a unique degree that it places us in a fundamentally different category from other groups. David Brooks, a New York Times columnist and a recent convert to the cause of reparations, recently explained that “while there have been many types of discrimination in our history”, the black experience is “unique and different” because it involves “a moral injury that simply isn’t there for other groups”.

I’m highly skeptical of the blacks-are-unique argument. For one thing, it’s not true that blacks have inherited psychological trauma from historical racism. Though the budding field of epigenetics is sometimes used to justify this claim, a recent New York Times article poured cold water on the hypothesis: “The research in epigenetics falls well short of demonstrating that past human cruelties affect our physiology today.” (For what it’s worth, this accords with my own experience. If there is a heritable psychological injury associated with being the descendant of slaves, I’ve yet to notice it.) 

But more importantly, if humans really carried the burden of history in our psyches, then all of us, regardless of race, would be carrying very heavy burdens indeed. Although American intellectuals speak of slavery as if it were a uniquely American phenomenon, it is actually an institution that was practiced in one form or another by nearly every major society since the dawn of civilization. As the Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson wrote in his massive study, Slavery and Social Death:

‘There is nothing notably peculiar about the institution of slavery. It has existed from before the dawn of human history right down to the twentieth century, in the most primitive human societies and in the most civilized. There is no region on earth that has not at some time harbored the institution. Probably there is no group of people whose ancestors were not at one time slaves or slaveholders.”

And that’s to say nothing of the traumas of war, poverty, and starvation that would show up abundantly in all of our ancestral histories if we were to look. Unless blacks are somehow exempt from the principles governing human psychology, the mental effects of historical racism have not been passed down through the generations. Yes, in the narrow context of American history, blacks have been uniquely mistreated. But in the wider context of world history, black Americans are hardly unique and should not be treated as such.

Finally, the framing of the reparations debate presupposes that America has done nothing meaningful by way of compensation for black people. But in many ways, America has already paid reparations. True, we haven’t literally handed a check to every descendant of slaves, but many reparations proponents had less literal forms of payment in mind to begin with.

Some reparations advocates, for instance, have proposed race-conscious policies instead of cash payments. On that front, we’ve done quite a bit. Consider, as if for the first time, the fact that the U.S. college admissions system is heavily skewed in favor of black applicants and has been for decades. In 2009, the Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade found that Asians and whites had to score 450 and 310 SAT points higher than blacks, respectively, to have the same odds of being admitted into elite universities. (The entire test, at the time of the study, was out of 1600 points.)

Racial preferences extend into the job market as well. Last September, the New York Times reported on an ethnically South Asian television writer who “had been told on a few occasions that she lost out on jobs because the showrunner wanted a black writer.” The article passed without fanfare, probably because such racial preferences—or “diversity and inclusion” programs—pervade so many sectors of the U.S. labor market that any particular story doesn’t seem newsworthy at all.

Furthermore, many government agencies are required to allocate a higher percentage of their contracts to businesses owned by racial minorities than they otherwise would based on economic considerations alone. Such “set-aside” programs exist at the federal level as well as in at least 38 states—in Connecticut at least 25 percent of government contracts with small businesses must legally be given to a minority business enterprise (MBE), and New York has established a 30 percent target for contracts with MBEs. One indication of the size of this racial advantage is that, for decades, white business owners have been fraudulently claiming minority status, sometimes risking jail time, in order to increase their odds of capturing these lucrative government contracts. (A white man from Seattle is currently suing both the state of Washington and the federal government for rejecting his claim to own an MBE given his four percent African ancestry.)

My point is not that these race-conscious policies have repaid the debt of slavery; my point is that no policy ever could. For this reason I reject the appeasement-based case for reparations occasionally made by conservatives—namely, that we should pay reparations so that we can finally stop talking about racism once and for all. Common sense dictates that when you reward a certain behavior you tend to get more of it, not less. Reparations, therefore, would not, and could not, function as “hush money.” Reparations would instead function as a kind of subsidy for activism, an incentive for the living to continue appropriating grievances that rightfully belong to the dead.

Some reparations advocates, however, are less focused on tangible dispensations to begin with. Instead they see reparations as a spiritual or symbolic task. Coates, for example, defines reparations primarily as a “national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal” and a “full acceptance of our collective biography and its consequences”—and only secondarily as the payment of cash as compensation. How has America done on the soul-searching front? As Coates would have it, not very well. For him, the belief occupying mainstream America is that “a robbery spanning generations could somehow be ameliorated while never acknowledging the scope of the crime.”

By my lights, however, we’ve done quite a bit of symbolic acknowledging. For over 40 years we’ve dedicated the month of February to remembering black history; Martin Luther King Jr. has had a national holiday in his name for almost as long; more or less every prominent liberal arts college in the country has an African-American studies department and many have black student housing; both chambers of Congress have independently apologized for slavery and Jim Crow; and just last month the Senate passed a bill that made lynching a federal crime, despite the fact that lynching was already illegal (because it’s murder), has not been a serious problem for at least half a century, and was already the subject of a formal apology by the Senate back in 2005.

If this all amounts to nothing—that is, to a non-acknowledgement of historical racism—then I’m left wondering what would or could qualify as something. The problem with the case for spiritual reparations is its vagueness. What, precisely, is a “national reckoning” and how will we know when we’ve completed it? The trick behind such arguments, whether intentional or not, is to specify the debt owed to black Americans in just enough detail to make it sound reasonable, while at the same time describing the debt with just enough vagueness to ensure that it can never decisively be repaid.

At bottom, the reparations debate is a debate about the relationship between history and ethics, between the past and the Good. On one side are those who believe that the Good means using policy to correct for the asymmetric racial power relations that ruled America for most of its history. And on the other side are those who believe that the Good means using policy to increase human flourishing as much as possible, for as many as possible, in the present.

Both visions of the Good—the group-based vision and the individualist vision—require the payment of reparations to individuals (and/or their immediate family members) who themselves suffered atrocities at the hands of the state. I therefore strongly approve of the reparations paid to Holocaust survivors, victims of internment during World War II, and victims of the Tuskegee experiments, to name just a few examples. Where the two visions depart is on the question of whether reparations should be paid to poorly-defined groups containing millions of people whose relationship to the initial crime is several generations removed, and therefore nothing like, say, the relationship of a Holocaust survivor to the Holocaust.

Among the fallacies of the group-based vision is the conceit that we are capable of accurately assessing, and correcting for, the imbalances of history to begin with. If we can’t even manage to consistently serve justice for crimes committed between individuals in the present, it defies belief to think that we can serve justice for crimes committed between entire groups of people before living memory—to think, in other words, that we can look at the past, neatly split humanity into plaintiff groups and defendant groups, and litigate history’s largest crimes in the court of public opinion.

If we are going to have a national reckoning, it must be of a different type than the one suggested by Coates. It must be a national reckoning that uncouples the past and the Good. Such a reckoning would not entail forgetting our history, but rather liberating our sense of ethics from the shackles of our checkered past. We cannot change our history. But the possibility of a just society depends on our willingness to change how we relate to it.


 

Good, bad, and abominable cultures 37

The assertion, frequently heard, that “all cultures are equal” is sheer nonsense. Are they equal in achievement? Obviously not. Since all the races (or correctly speaking sub-races, humankind being one race, members of every sub-race able to reproduce with members of all other sub-races) are equally old, there is no such thing as a culture that hasn’t had enough time to develop as others have. But while some are developed to the point that they can send a man to walk on the moon, there are some that never invented the wheel. There has been the same amount of time for the development of both the space-exploring culture and the wheel-less culture, and in that time-span one developed much further than the other. It is so plain a fact it doesn’t really need saying. But there are those who will cry “Racism!” – the sin of sins to Leftists – if it is said.

Well, we are saying it.

And it is not “racism”. Generalizations can be made about cultures. But the generalization cannot be applied to individuals. An individual whose parents moved away from an illiterate culture can become (say) a professor in an American university, given the necessary education.

Not only are there inferior cultures, there are positively bad cultures that the human race would be better without. They practice abominable customs and are unworthy of tolerance. It’s absurd to want the worst of them to be preserved as scientists want to preserve species. (Some scientists protested against the last of the small-pox virus being destroyed!)

Eminently qualifying for destruction are such cultural customs as (to give just a few examples) those that: Burn widows on the funeral pyres of their dead husbands. Kill girls for “dishonoring” their families by their choice of husband. Kill women as a punishment for having been raped, and stone people to death – as Islamic law prescribes. Bury people alive – as the Islamic State (ISIS) does. Mutilate women’s genitals and flatten their breasts with hot rocks, as is done routinely in parts of Africa (and by Africans in Britain). Murder children for their organs to make the disgusting “remedies” of South African witchdoctors. Own slaves. Judicially punish a man who has wronged another by ordering that his sister be raped by his victim, as happens in India and Pakistan. (See here, here, and here.)

Many such abominations are sanctioned or commanded by religion, or are essential aspects of an ideology. They are rooted so deep in this or that culture that they are hard to eradicate.

After the British had put an end to the custom of widow-burning among certain castes in India, widows were instead kept imprisoned in their houses for the rest of their lives. If they were to live on, they had still to be kept from ever re-marrying. Rudyard Kipling wrote about them. A kind husband, he found, would leave instructions that his widow be allowed a small peephole through which she could glimpse the outside world.

Western feminists refuse to condemn such practices on the grounds that no culture is inferior. One argument often produced by them and other Leftists to explain why a culture that does evil things should not be called evil is, “We do evil things too”.

No we don’t. Not by law. Americans once owned slaves, but not now. If the same standards are applied, ours is a good culture. (Though it wouldn’t be if the Socialist Democratic Party were to get complete control of the federal government.)

However, within our culture there are differences which, measured by different, higher standards, are to be judged better and worse.

Professor Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and Professor Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego wrote an article, in August 2017, discussing good and bad culture within America. (They were furiously condemned for it by fellow academics, accused of “racism” of course, though there was not the least trace of race prejudice in it.)

They wrote:

Too few Americans are qualified for the jobs available. Male working-age labor-force participation is at Depression-era lows. Opioid abuse is widespread. Homicidal violence plagues inner cities. Almost half of all children are born out of wedlock, and even more are raised by single mothers. Many college students lack basic skills, and high school students rank below those from two dozen other countries.

The causes of these phenomena are multiple and complex, but implicated in these and other maladies is the breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture.

That culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.

These basic cultural precepts reigned from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. They could be followed by people of all backgrounds and abilities, especially when backed up by almost universal endorsement. Adherence was a major contributor to the productivity, educational gains, and social coherence of that period.

Did everyone abide by those precepts? Of course not. There are always rebels — and hypocrites, those who publicly endorse the norms but transgress them. But as the saying goes, hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue. Even the deviants rarely disavowed or openly disparaged the prevailing expectations.

Was everything perfect during the period of bourgeois cultural hegemony? Of course not. There was racial discrimination, limited sex roles, and pockets of anti-Semitism. However, steady improvements for women and minorities were underway even when bourgeois norms reigned. Banishing discrimination and expanding opportunity does not require the demise of bourgeois culture. Quite the opposite: The loss of bourgeois habits seriously impeded the progress of disadvantaged groups. That trend also accelerated the destructive consequences of the growing welfare state, which, by taking over financial support of families, reduced the need for two parents. A strong pro-marriage norm might have blunted this effect. Instead, the number of single parents grew astronomically, producing children more prone to academic failure, addiction, idleness, crime, and poverty.

This cultural script began to break down in the late 1960s. A combination of factors — prosperity, the Pill [birth control], the expansion of higher education, and the doubts surrounding the Vietnam War — encouraged an antiauthoritarian, adolescent, wish-fulfillment ideal — sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll — that was unworthy of, and unworkable for, a mature, prosperous adult society. This era saw the beginnings of an identity politics that inverted the color-blind aspirations of civil rights leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. into an obsession with race, ethnicity, gender, and now sexual preference.

The writers do not mention “the New Left” with its agenda of a “long march through the institutions”, but it belongs among the causes of the cultural breakdown. 

And those adults with influence over the culture, for a variety of reasons, abandoned their role as advocates for respectability, civility, and adult values. As a consequence, the counterculture made great headway, particularly among the chattering classes — academics, writers, artists, actors, and journalists — who relished liberation from conventional constraints and turned condemning America and reviewing its crimes into a class marker of virtue and sophistication.

All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy. The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits, prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-“acting white” rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants. These cultural orientations are not only incompatible with what an advanced free-market economy and a viable democracy require, they are also destructive of a sense of solidarity and reciprocity among Americans. If the bourgeois cultural script — which the upper-middle class still largely observes but now hesitates to preach — cannot be widely reinstated, things are likely to get worse for us all.

Would the re-embrace of bourgeois norms by the ordinary Americans who have abandoned them significantly reduce society’s pathologies? There is every reason to believe so. Among those who currently follow the old precepts, regardless of their level of education or affluence, the homicide rate is tiny, opioid addiction is rare, and poverty rates are low. Those who live by the simple rules that most people used to accept may not end up rich or hold elite jobs, but their lives will go far better than they do now. All schools and neighborhoods would be much safer and more pleasant. More students from all walks of life would be educated for constructive employment and democratic participation.

But restoring the hegemony of the bourgeois culture will require the arbiters of culture — the academics, media, and Hollywood — to relinquish multicultural grievance polemics and the preening pretense of defending the downtrodden. Instead of bashing the bourgeois culture, they should return to the 1950s posture of celebrating it.

Is that likely to happen? We’re inclined to say sadly, no.

Posted under Africa, Arab States, Asia, Ethics, Feminism, India, Islam, Leftism, Slavery, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Sunday, February 10, 2019

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Slavery now 63

Britain passed the Slavery Abolition Act which set free all the slaves and abolished the institution of slavery throughout its empire in 1833.

The United States Congress freed all the slaves and abolished the institution of slavery throughout the Union in 1865.

People had been enslaved by other people for as long as there had been people on the earth. No power had ever before 1833 abolished slavery and made enslavement a crime.

So now, in the 21st. century, slavery is long over and gone?

No.

There are tens of millions of people trapped in various forms of slavery throughout the world today. Researchers estimate that 40 million are enslaved worldwide, generating $150 billion each year in illicit profits for traffickers.

Labor Slavery. About 50 percent toil in forced labor slavery in industries where manual labor is needed—such as farming, ranching, logging, mining, fishing, and brick making—and in service industries working as dish washers, janitors, gardeners, and maids.

Sex Slavery. About 12.5 percent are trapped in forced prostitution sex slavery.

Forced Marriage Slavery. About 37.5 percent are trapped in forced marriages. 

Child Slavery. About 25 percent of today’s slaves are children.

New slavery has two chief characteristics—it’s cheap and it’s disposable. Slaves today are cheaper than ever. In 1850, an average slave in the American South cost the equivalent of $40,000 in today’s money. Today a slave costs about $90 on average worldwide. (Source: Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy. See all Free the Slaves books.)

Modern slaves are not considered investments worth maintaining. In the 19thcentury it was difficult to capture slaves and transport them to the United States. But today, when someone in slavery gets sick or injured, they are simply dumped or killed.

So there are at least forty million slaves in the world. (“At least” because it can fairly be said that the populations of all Communist countries are held in slavery.) A quarter of the forty million are children. And the number of child slaves will grow because more are continually being born in slavery.

In 2017, a coalition of states and non-government organizations estimated that there were some 40 million people enslaved worldwide, as well as 152 million child laborers.

Modern slavery

Total

40 m

Forced labor in the private sector

16 m

Forced marriage

15 m

Forced commercial sexual exploitation

5 m

Forced labor imposed by state authorities

4 m

Child labor

Total

152 m

Agriculture

108 m

Children living in middle income countries

84 m

Hazardous work

73 m

Children (ages 5-14) outside the education system

36 m

An estimated 40.3 million men, women, and children were victims of modern slavery on any given day in 2016. Of these, 24.9 million people were in forced labour and 15.4 million people were living in a forced marriage. Women and girls are vastly over-represented, making up 71 percent of victims. Modern slavery is most prevalent in Africa, followed by the Asia and the Pacific region.

Although these are the most reliable estimates of modern slavery to date, we know they are conservative as significant gaps in data remain. The current Global Estimates do not cover all forms of modern slavery; for example, organ trafficking, child soldiers, or child marriage that could also constitute forced marriage are not able to be adequately measured at this time. Further, at a broad regional level there is high confidence in the estimates in all but one of the five regions. Estimates of modern slavery in the Arab States are affected by substantial gaps in the available data. Given this is a region that hosts 17.6 million migrant workers, representing more than one-tenth of all migrant workers in the world and one in three workers in the Arab States, and one in which forced marriage is reportedly widespread, the current estimate is undoubtedly a significant underestimate.

The 10 countries with the highest prevalence of modern slavery [and the predominant religion in each of them] are: 

North Korea [Communist]

Eritrea  [Christian and Muslim]

Burundi [Christian] 

Central African Republic  [Christian]

Afghanistan [Muslim] 

Mauritania [Muslim] 

South Sudan [Christian] 

Pakistan  [Muslim]

Cambodia [Christian] 

Iran [Muslim]

Mauritania and Cambodia remained in the top 10 in 2018. Mauritania continues to host a high proportion of people living in modern slavery. …

The practice is entrenched in Mauritanian society with slave status being inherited, and deeply rooted in social castes and the wider social system. …

In Cambodia, men, women, and children are known to be exploited in various forms of modern slavery – including forced labour, debt bondage and forced marriage. … The government has been slow to improve their response to modern slavery.

Both ISIS and Boko Haram (the Nigerian affiliate of ISIS) have captured and enslaved untold thousands. The number of Yazidi women and girls enslaved by ISIS is estimated at about 7,000. Some who escaped or have been freed as ISIS has been defeated, have reported what they had to endure.

One story in particular haunts us (and it is certainly one of many as terrible.) A little Yazidi slave girl, 5 years old, got sick and wet her bed. Her ISIS Muslim owners in Iraq, a man and his German wife, punished her by putting her, chained up, out in the scorching heat and letting her thirst to death.

Posted under Afghanistan, Africa, Arab States, Cambodia, communism, Iran, Islam, Labor, North Korea, Pakistan, Slavery by Jillian Becker on Monday, January 21, 2019

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