Reparations: America’s New Slavery

by | May 21, 2002

Reparations for descendents of slaves is picking up steam — not among the 80 percent of the population who (according to polls) oppose it; but with big name politicians in one of our two major parties. (Guess which party?) The Governor of California, Gray Davis, has refused to rule out using state tax dollars to […]

Reparations for descendents of slaves is picking up steam — not among the 80 percent of the population who (according to polls) oppose it; but with big name politicians in one of our two major parties. (Guess which party?)

The Governor of California, Gray Davis, has refused to rule out using state tax dollars to take money from non-black people to give to black people for wrongs committed hundreds of years ago. Jesse Jackson, approvingly standing with Governor Davis on a stage during a campaign event, reassured the audience that any slave reparations should go to nonprofit groups (including, presumably, his own?) rather than victims’ descendants.

The transfer of wealth from productive members of society to those (of any race) who would loot it is nothing new. What’s new about the slave reparations issue is just how morally low the attempt to rationalize and justify these transfers has become.

It used to be that such transfers were called “investment” in the economy — for the benefit of all. Or class action suits which compensate real, existing people who were allegedly victimized by real, existing victimizers.

Slave reparations means forcing someone whose great-great grandfather wasn’t a slave to hand over still more of his income to an individual whose great-great grandfather was a slave. It’s punishing people for the sins of their great-great grandfathers, and rewarding people for the fact that their great-great grandfathers may have been victims.

The transfer of wealth has hit a new low. In fact, it’s a moral obscenity. To even hint at the validity of such a move as launching a study on slave reparations — as the Governor of one of the country’s largest, most influential states has now done — demonstrates how far adrift our leaders have gone from the principles of individual liberty, freedom and personal responsibility.

It’s encouraging that 80 percent of the population sees this for the nonsense that it is. It will also be encouraging if Governor Davis’ opponent will use this issue against him, successfully, in the campaign for governor this fall. But what happens when white people who oppose such a measure, on principle, speak out against it? Will they go wobbly for fear of being called racist? That’s the as yet unanswered question, which makes slave reparations a real possibility.

Keep an eye on another case: Civil rights activist Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, who claims she is the descendant of slaves, has filed a suit against health insurance Aetna Corp., CSX Inc. and Fleet Boston Financial, seeking upwards of $1.4 trillion on behalf of 35 million such descendants in the United States.

That such a case was not immediately thrown out by a judge is a disturbing sign of what may be coming. What the looters won’t be able to get legislatively (since one of our two major parties still opposes slave reparations), you can rest assured they will get judicially.

It’s fascinating. We live in a country which has taken excuses to an unbelievable level. Andrea Yates was nearly let off for murdering her children because of being depressed; smokers are reimbursed in class action lawsuits for choosing to smoke when they know full well — as we all have for decades now — that smoking will likely cause lung cancer; killer O.J. Simpson was let free not because of a lack of evidence to convict, but because it was felt too many black people were being prosecuted in America.

Individual responsibility is out the window, so far as our political and moral leaders are concerned. Yet if your great-great grandfather did something wrong, like owning slaves — now that’s another matter.

Reparations proposals represent America’s new slavery. In the past, the black man was enslaved. Today, anyone who isn’t black will now be enslaved to work for the black slave’s descendents. What do you think this does to the moral stature of everyone involved — their independence, their sense of justice, their goodwill towards people of different races?

Unless the 80 percent who oppose this new form of slavery start to speak up against it — without fear of being called “racist” — you can better believe we’re all going to pay in one form or another.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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