The Church of Kharma Futures

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What is Freedom Worth? To You?

Posted by revkharma on February 14, 2009

I have had several conversations recently with Paladin. He has a solid grasp of reality, and a depth of experience.  Here is his reflection on some of the challenges we face:

What is Freedom Worth?  To you?

By Paladin

 

I was asked to write “something” to let others know my thoughts on what is taking place in our country.  Last night the Congress passed a bill consisting of almost 1100 pages which, as far as we can determine, nobody has read but Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Obama Whitehouse.  This bill was rushed through and rammed down the throat of the approximately half of Americans that do not support Obama and friends.

 

What’s in this bill?  What onerous provisions are in there which may threaten the liberty of Americans?  Or, deliver more power to usurp our rights and liberty?  Personally, I would have liked to have known answers to those questions BEFORE this legislation was passed and forced upon us.  Well, we’ll be finding out in the coming days and weeks.  My guess is it is change we can all agree will plunge this nation into chaos – economically, ideologically, politically and culturally.  We are NOW in a Cultural War whether Americans want to acknowledge it or not.

 

There are at least three bills that have been introduced into Congress recently that concern me greatly.  The first is HR 45.  The Blair Holt Firearms Registration to Confiscation bill (my title).  The second, HJ RES 5, to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution thereby eliminating term limits on the office of President;  And, last but not least, HR 40, establishing a Commission to determine reparations for Black Americans in compensation for slavery (which few, if any, living Black Americans have ever suffered!).

 

Another recent action by the Obama Administration, combined with the above bills, gives cause for GREAT concern.  That is the hijacking of the US Census from the Department of Commerce by the President and his Chief of Staff.  This action is most likely unconstitutional but, unfortunately for the American people, they can no longer trust the judiciary to uphold the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land. That, however, is a subject for another opinion piece.

 

Now consider this, via repeal of the 22nd Amendment and through the manipulation of the Census the Obama administration can redraw congressional districts to ensure they have a majority in each district AND then funnel appropriations into those districts to ensure the democrats and Obama can remain in power indefinitely.   This will all be done in coordination with ACORN and other like-minded leftist groups who swoon with allegiance to Obama.  (Unless it has changed since I last heard, there is at least $4 BILLION of TAXPAYER money [NOT Government money – the Government doesn’t have any money except what it extorts from the people]  ‘earmarked’ for ACORN in the “Stimulus Bill”.)

 

Then via the Blair Firearms Registration to Confiscation bill (my title), they can begin to catalogue all firearms and owners for future use in confiscation operations.  Leaving them with the full and unopposed power to do ANYTHING they like.

 

Folks, these actions form the foundation of how Adolf Hitler came to power!  Denying it won’t change the facts!  The masses swayed in undulation to Hitler much like is happening these days with Obama.  Look at the history of Castro’s rise to power also!

 

So, what do we do?  Grab our weapons and run around shooting all politicians and illegitimate government agents (they’re all illegitimate now as far as I’m concerned – unless they defy their orders – because they ALL have violated their oaths of office to uphold, support and defend the Constitution).  As a matter of fact, the federal agencies especially, actively and knowingly, work to subvert the Constitutional protections which they’re sworn to uphold!

 

NO, it’s NOT time to grab our weapons – except to clean and ensure they’re ready for use (throw in a little practice time too!).  What it is time for is for ALL concerned patriots to begin organizing street protests.  We must seek all manners of peaceful resolution of this conflict before we can justify, to those Americans who aren’t as astute, our last resort need for use of force.

 

What else should we do?  We should, solely for the purpose of defense, begin to organize our local communities of fellow patriots who think and believe as we do.  We need to establish leadership, create a way to communicate — as we can fully expect the illegitimate Federal or State agents to cut off telephone communications, landline and cellular/satellite, and internet connections.  I’m sure they’ll also be able to jam signals from the two-way radios many of us use for hunting and other recreational purposes.  So, how are we going to communicate?  That’s a good question.  Anyone have any suggestions?


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23 Responses to “What is Freedom Worth? To You?”

  1. James said

    Why should H.R. 40, establishing a commission to determine how to address the nation’s legacy of slavery and racial discrimination, bother anyone?

    Those historical events have benefited all Americans, while leaving many black families at a severe disadvantage. Why would it be wrong to have the nation take stock of this impact, and weigh what, if anything, might be appropriately done to finally address this awful history?

  2. Ted said

    Obama’s stealing the census from Congress has suddenly awakened and enraged the Republicans. Maybe this will arouse them as well to challenge Obama for stealing the Presidency itself. They surely know he is not an Article 2 “natural born citizen” (which is more than merely being a 14th Amendment “citizen”) by virtue of either Obama’s birth to a dad of Kenyan/British citizenship or birth in Kenya itself — as manifested by his unwillingness to supply his long form birth certificate now under seal.

  3. deaconkharmafuture1 said

    James:
    The fact that it is just that… HISTORY. Constantly reviving it is not leaving it in the past where it belongs. And there will never be FINALLY addressing this history if this continues. It will be one long string of I’m sorry’s. Do you have this sin to be forgiven for? Feel free to accomodate as you please. If reparations are owed, who pays them? Is it along racial lines? What of the American indians? No one alive is responsible nor a victim. Should Israel be compensated by Egypt next?? What about by Germany?
    Curious, by the way, if you ask for forgiveness does the Lord grant it? Or do you have to continually address the same sin for the rest of your life and that of your posterity?

  4. James said

    This is history, that’s true. But the impact of that history is very much alive today, and has never been addressed. Why, then, should we agree to leave it in the past?

    You seem to be saying that the country is being asked to repeatedly apologize for its sins. I hope I’m misunderstanding you, because surely you know that the U.S. has never apologized for its history of slavery or racial discrimination. Nor were black families ever compensated for what was taken from them, to the benefit of all other Americans. That loss reverberates to this day.

  5. Deaconkharmafuture1 said

    This is history, that’s true. But the impact of that history is very much alive today, (perpetuated by those who seek to claim a mantle of victimization never rested upon them) and has never been addressed. Why then, should we agree to leave it in the past?
    You seem to be saying that the country is being asked to repeatedly apologize for its sins. I hope I’m misunderstanding you, because surely you know that the U.S. has never apologized for its history of slavery or racial discrimination. (You do not misunderstand, See Clinton in Nigeria) Nor were black families ever compensated (compensated… what is a life worth, what inflation adjustment should we use, who is righteous enough to judge this, and who pays if those committing this atrocity are not alive, and who receives this payment? Do we then seek out the Dutch, or even the Africans that sold them into slavery from their own country and ask for them to partake in a compensation they themselves had no part in?) for what was taken from them, to the benefit (650,000 dead Americans would disagree with the term “benefit”) of all other Americans. That loss reverberates to this day. (What reverberates to this day is, those who profess that forgiveness should be bestowed on those that ask for it, forgiveness never comes or we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Did Jesus forgive those that killed him since “they knew not what they did”, did they ask for it? Nor should those alive today committing no such acts ask for forgiveness of said act)

  6. James said

    perpetuated by those who seek to claim a mantle of victimization never rested upon them

    How can you honestly say that this history is only alive today because of those people who claim victimization? I’m talking about objective, material factors which have nothing to do with people’s attitudes, right or wrong.

    Surely you’re aware that because of slavery and discrimination, there are dramatic differences between blacks and whites in this country, in terms of average income, wealth, education, homeownership, and on and on, all of which have existed (with only modest improvement) since slavery ended?

    You do not misunderstand, See Clinton in Nigeria

    A president of the U.S. once personally, sort-of, apologized for slavery, that’s true. Specifically, he said about the slave trade that “we were wrong.” And the U.S. has never apologized for slavery.

    The U.S. House of Representatives finally issued an apology last summer, which means we’re slowly getting there.

    compensated… what is a life worth….

    Excellent questions. There are many possible answers; most reparations advocates focus on looking at the harm still lingering today, rather than seeking compensation for all the harm done then.

    But the point is that there has never been any such compensation.

    650,000 dead Americans would disagree with the term “benefit”

    Well, they did lose their lives in large part because of slavery, yes.

    But we don’t tell victims of injustice not to seek compensation, because those who committed the crimes (or innocent bystanders, for that matter) paid a price when their wrongdoing backfired.

    Moreover, those alive today did not pay that price. Instead, Americans benefit substantially from what slavery and discrimination made possible in this country.

    Nor should those alive today committing no such acts ask for forgiveness of said act

    It’s interesting to me that you responded to a comment about material loss with an answer about forgiveness. I don’t hear anyone saying that those alive today should be asking for forgiveness.

  7. Deaconkharmafuture1 said

    what then is an apology if not a request for forgiveness?
    “U.S. has never apologized for its history of slavery or racial discrimination”

  8. James said

    Nations and other institutions can, and often do, apologize for their actions. This is true of both very recent actions and distant historical events. It’s an expression of regret, an acknowledgment that what happened was wrong, and presumably a public commitment to undertake not to do such a thing again.

    I’ve never heard, though, of any institution asking for forgiveness. Instead, institutions simply apologize, or they offer compensation. I would have thought that only individuals could ask (or receive) forgiveness.

  9. Deaconkharmafuture1 said

    I also find it interesting for you to bring up physical compensation as a man concerened with the soul. (If this is the James I think it is) The reason I make these points is to bring into question something I cannot understand coming from someone who promotes forgiveness. I only sought to find some way to reconcile that which you believe with that which you speak.
    “Moreover, those alive today did not pay that price.” we agree, no one alive today paid that price so how then can we compensate them for it? I will take that one step further, that those alive today do not owe a price not paid by those alive today.

    “harm still lingering today” could you list those or is this a normative statement?

    my point with the forgiveness thing again is that you, of all people, should see the deadly wages of holding contempt, for someone. One should forgive to free one’s own soul, whether it is asked for or not. The forgiveness has not come. The asking should not come, save those who were guilty of that sin. But then again ALL are guilty of sin and as such who shall cast this first stone or sit in judgement of this? Luke 6:37 (NIV) “…Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Do they in fact forgive if they still seek reparation? Should they be forgiven of sins then?

    Reparations, by this argument that you put forth, are owed to just about everyone at some point or another. ALL of us have ancestors that were enslaved at some point or another. Should recent memory or a certain statute of limitations be the defining factor on reparations then? Do you feel personally responsible, or do you feel you personally benefit from a sin that you have perpetuated on someone? Have YOU asked forgiveness? Have YOU offered reparation? Why then do you feel that it is the government that should bestow said reparation and does the government not take from me for payment though I am guiltless of this sin?

  10. Deaconkharmafuture1 said

    the government never perpetrated this though, it was individuals… however, instead of immediately correcting this it did a few things to do away with it at its inception Life liberty and PROPERTY was changed to PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS specifically to not include the rights to property then including slaves because they sought even then to abolish it. The national “government” sought to abolish it even then. Anyway, that is some of that “history” that seems more inconvenient to the argument for some. In order to form a protective and cohesive union they had to make some deals for the “union”.However, there is a level of complicity, in doing this but it was not that the government SOUGHT slaves. Funny, the government commissioned the Saratoga and other vessels to eliminate slave trade on the seas. For a lot longer than most people are taught or admit, the “government has sought to do more than apologize, it sought to eliminate.
    But anyway you kept saying government, apologies etc though so I put forward this thought..The government seeking this “forgiveness” will be on the backs of the un-convicted.

  11. Deaconkharmafuture1 said

    EDIT TO ADD:
    The government seeking this “forgiveness” (OR REIMBURSEMENT) will be on the backs of the un-convicted.

  12. James said

    I don’t believe I’m the person you’re thinking of, but is there any reason why someone who promotes forgiveness wouldn’t bring up the subject of material compensation for wrongdoing?

    If, for instance, a criminal still has what he’s stolen from the victim, would we encourage the criminal to ask forgiveness? Or would we urge him to return what he has taken, as part of the act of seeking forgiveness?

    we agree, no one alive today paid that price so how then can we compensate them for it?

    No, I was talking about the price you said was already paid by those who benefited from slavery.

    Millions of Americans alive today suffer harm caused by slavery and discrimination, just as all Americans benefit from those events. Do you somehow doubt this?

    “harm still lingering today” could you list those or is this a normative statement?

    How about the fact that black families, after slavery, were left with almost nothing, having been stripped of material goods, as well as culture, religion, values, family, education and skills.

    For the next century, black families were systematically and by law kept from all but the most meager education and all but the most menial jobs, while the federal government built the white middle class with massive programs to assist in higher education, jobs, homeownership, and small businesses.

    This is why, today, black families are on average so far behind white families in measures such as these. The disadvantage can be traced from the end of slavery to today, with only slight changes year-by-year.

    One should forgive to free one’s own soul, whether it is asked for or not.

    Surely this is true. But does this mean that the victim of a crime should not only forgive, but turn down the opportunity to receive compensation (perhaps the victim’s own property) back, in the name of forgiveness?

    Do they in fact forgive if they still seek reparation?

    Even if you believe that victims must forgive and not seek compensation, just whom do you think “they” should be forgiving?

    Should black Americans forgive white Americans? If so, for what? Have white Americans alive today done anything wrong (excepting those, of course, who have participated in racism)?

    Reparations, by this argument that you put forth, are owed to just about everyone at some point or another.

    Not at all. Most historic injustices no longer admit of reparations. Few groups can point to clearly identifiable harm from historic events, and even fewer can point to a society or institution which still benefits from the events which caused the harm to them.

    Why then do you feel that it is the government that should bestow said reparation and does the government not take from me for payment though I am guiltless of this sin?

    Taxation for the purpose of justice is not a comment that you are guilty of sin. It would merely be a reflection of the fact that you, and other taxpayers, enjoy the wages of that sin.

    Now, as for whether you are free of sin when you choose to sit in enjoyment of the wages of past sin, wages which are clearly owed to another people … that is for you, and you alone, to judge.

  13. James said

    the government never perpetrated this though, it was individuals…

    What history books have you read? The U.S. government authorized and encouraged slavery and the slave trade, and did the same with segregation and Jim Crow laws in the century following slavery.

    I will grant you that as a government, the U.S. is only responsible for these events after 1789, and only under its jurisdiction (that is, within the U.S. and as carried out abroad by its citizens).

    The national “government” sought to abolish it even then.

    How so? Or do you mean in 1865, when Congress decided to abolish slavery?

    However, there is a level of complicity, in doing this but it was not that the government SOUGHT slaves.

    Actually, the government DID seek slaves. The government bought and sold slaves, it hired slaves to build the U.S. Capitol, and so forth.

    Funny, the government commissioned the Saratoga and other vessels to eliminate slave trade on the seas.

    I’m familiar with the Saratoga; a member of my family commanded it. However, the U.S. put little effort into stopping its citizens from engaging in the slave trade, as evidenced by the meager resources it deployed, compared to Britain; the rising trade during the years after abolition; and the open slave markets in the U.S. where many of those slaves were sold.

    Even if, as you argue, the U.S. did more to try to stop the slave trade than many people realize, how does it come to black families with clean hands? The U.S. perpetrated slavery until 1865, and then implemented dreadful Jim Crow laws for another century.

    The government seeking this “forgiveness” (OR REIMBURSEMENT) will be on the backs of the un-convicted.

    I’m not sure I follow you here. You mean to say that it’s all right if the white population today keeps the fruits of slavery, while blacks suffer the harm, because those whites are “un-convicted”? Surely those are ill-gotten gains?

  14. revkharma said

    Retribution is not justice. Imposing sentence on descendants for a crime committed in the past is not in any way just. There is absolutely no practical way to impose sanctions on only those who participated in something a century ago. There simply is not a way to sort that out. In addition, if we were t speak merely in economic terms, the vast transfer of wealth since the “Great Society” programs of LBJ more than equal the amount many suggest as reparations. Financial compensation cannot, absolutely cannot provide reparations for a moral grievance. The issue of cash reparations is a straw man argument. The actual issue is one of the integrity of the US and the Republic. I would submit, that while certainly not perfect, the movement towards reconciliation is far greater in the USA than in virtually any other society. Simply put, we no longer need to, nor ought to consider race in any way as a matter of policy.
    The Rev

  15. James said

    No one’s talking about retribution. If you’re given the loot from a bank robbery committed by your parent, it isn’t retribution when the state comes to take it back to give to the insurance company.

    No one’s talking about sentencing anyone for crimes, either. Just about returning what’s been stolen.

    There is absolutely no practical way to impose sanctions on only those who participated in something a century ago.

    Of course that’s true. But no one’s imposing any sanctions, and we do know who has the benefits today.

    the vast transfer of wealth since the “Great Society” programs of LBJ more than equal the amount many suggest as reparations.

    Even if that were true, so what? It wasn’t a vast transfer of wealth to the descendants of slaves. Most of the benefits from those programs went to whites.

    Financial compensation cannot, absolutely cannot provide reparations for a moral grievance.

    Then call it a financial grievance.

    The actual issue is one of the integrity of the US and the Republic.

    How so? So you mean keeping the Republic intact, or maintaining its moral integrity?

    Simply put, we no longer need to, nor ought to consider race in any way as a matter of policy.

    That’s a lovely idea. But it would be immoral to stop considering race without even attempting to do justice on the basis of how people were treated according to race in the past. Otherwise, we’re simply talking about doing evil and then asking no one to ever talk about the consequences again.

  16. revkharma said

    Ok, some additional thoughts.
    A significant number of Americans have immigrated to the US in the years AFTER the war, and AFTER the abolition of slavery.
    A good example would be the Chinese immigrants on the west coast who were used to construct much of the western branch of the railroads which cross the continent. They, clearly have had no ‘benefit’ nor enriched themselves from the previous legacy of slavery of Africans. But any reparations would be taken from them. The Irish, also came, mostly post slavery, and similarly contributed greatly, providing most of the labor for construction of the Erie canal, and the eastern rail roads. Additionally, many of the Irish were sold as ‘indentured servants” or often outright as slaves by the British to land holders in the Caribbean. Are we to work some sort of formula whereby they( among MANY others) will have reductions in their tax bill to exempt them from paying reparations? This gets more and more absurd. Look to Colin Powell, for example. His family came from that same Caribbean basin. They were not slaves, and simply migrated. However, if we look to the past, his family was African. Should people such as him be paid reparations, or should they PAY as they “benefited from the legacy” of slavery.
    No, I think that at this time, any such idea is far more a force for revenge than compensation for actual losses. Revenge is wrong. It only engenders anger, hate and reinvigorates the animosity that many seem to wish to eliminate.
    No debate, slavery was evil. It did NOT originate with the USA, and certainly did not cease to exist after t’s elimination in America. Africans still capture and enslave other Africans. Evil pre-existed the Constitution, and will thrive past the time that document fades from view. It is not something that can be repaired, nor compensated through forced payments from one group to another. Man cannot exact retribution for evil. See for example Romans 12:19.
    The Rev

  17. James said

    They, clearly have had no ‘benefit’ nor enriched themselves from the previous legacy of slavery of Africans.

    I respect what you’re trying to say, but that’s just not the case.

    You mentioned how many Americans immigrated after slavery. Those immigrants brought with them many things which freed slaves found themselves without, such as culture, religion, values, and family structures. Basic education and a tiny bit of savings. Those immigrants were drawn here by jobs created by the booming American economy, and that was a direct result of slavery. They walked off the ships to find that with hard work, they had opportunities that free blacks wouldn’t have for another century.

    Even those poor Chinese laborers, their descendants today benefit from the high U.S. standard of living. Why do you think we have a standard of living so many times higher than those of developing nations that virtually all Americans are better off than most people in those countries? The American economy was built on slave labor. Slavery drove much of the colonial economy, north and south, and is what enriched both north and south in the decades prior to the Civil War. By then the deed was done: the U.S. had industrialized, and its later success would not have been possible without its slave-dependent growth through 1860.

    Look to Colin Powell, for example. His family came from that same Caribbean basin. They were not slaves, and simply migrated.

    True, and no decent reparations scheme would give Colin Powell anything at this point, given his success. But his family has had to endure part of the American legacy of slavery and discrimination, which is that even now, those who appear black are often treated differently. Studies consistently show a noticeable amount of discrimination in admissions, hiring, promotions, housing, and so on.

    I think that at this time, any such idea is far more a force for revenge than compensation for actual losses.

    Doesn’t that conclusion depend entirely on what is proposed? Whether it’s an honest calculation of actual losses, or a higher, punitive figure?

    Man cannot exact retribution for evil.

    No, but shouldn’t individuals and societies atone for their deeds, and return what is not theirs, whenever possible?

  18. Deaconkharmafuture1 said

    “What history books have you read? The U.S. government authorized and encouraged slavery and the slave trade, and did the same with segregation and Jim Crow laws in the century following slavery.”
    -During the great constitutional debates in the late 1780s over what the new nation would look like in the future, it was commonly assumed that slavery would gradually end soon in the next century. The signs suggested that slavery was a terminal institution in the nation at the time of the ratification of the U. S. Constitution in 1789. A number of northern states, had abolished slavery by 1800, and the federal Congress banned slavery from the vast region of unorganized territory north of the Ohio River with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
    “If you’re given the loot from a bank robbery committed by your parent, it isn’t retribution when the state comes to take it back to give to the insurance company.”
    -“According to the 1860 U.S. census, nearly 4 million slaves were held in a total population of just over 12 million in the 15 states in which slavery was still legal. Of all 1,515,605 families in the 15 slave states, 393,967 held slaves (roughly one in four), amounting to 8% of all American families.”
    So you need to get that loot back from that 8% of the population not all of us.

    “Just about returning what’s been stolen.”
    – Stolen from whom? Can you point them out to me? Return it to whom? Can you point them out to me?
    In 1830, 80 percent of blacks who owned ten or more slaves lived in Louisiana or South Carolina. 214 such owners nationwide out of 320,000 free blacks. The country’s leading African American historian, Duke University professor John Hope Franklin, records that “in New Orleans over 3,000 free Negroes owned slaves, or 28 percent of the free Negroes in that city.” Yikes, looks like maybe blacks owe themselves some money?

    “it hired slaves to build the U.S. Capitol, and so forth”
    -The D.C. commissioners, charged by Congress with building the new city under the direction of the president, initially planned to import workers from Europe to meet their labor needs. By and large, the 50 to 100 slaves hired each year by the government commissioners in charge of the project, roughly half the work force, were relegated to the less skilled tasks such as cutting trees, squaring and sawing lumber, hauling stone and bricks and helping skilled white masons and carpenters. There were a handful of slave carpenters, some slave quarriers, perhaps a few stone cutters, and at least one slave bricklayer who were hired by the commissioners. They valued slaves because they thought they were a check on the wage demands of free laborers. The slaves’ masters were paid $60 to $70 a year, and unskilled white laborers were paid the same. The commissioners fed, housed and provided medical care for the hired slaves and white laborers who were hired on the same terms. There was no organized effort to teach skills to slaves, but some were soon recognized for their skills, and there is no doubt of their essential service, especially as sawyers, helping to free bottlenecks in the supply of materials, for which they, not their masters, were paid extra wages, usually a shilling a day, roughly 13 cents.
    Rev wrote: “the vast transfer of wealth since the “Great Society” programs of LBJ more than equal the amount many suggest as reparations.”

    To which you answered:
    “Even if that were true, so what? It wasn’t a vast transfer of wealth to the descendants of slaves. Most of the benefits from those programs went to whites.”
    -The preceding statement is called a “normative statement”, please support the “mainly white beneficiary” statement with facts.

    We can argue all day long and I can cite history for you until this drags on into the morning.
    The main problem is that you have this view that somehow there are these invisible benefits that are currently being bestowed upon a group of people, by a people who have long since expired.
    “Of course that’s true. But no one’s imposing any sanctions, and we do know who has the benefits today.”
    -Again, where are these benefits of which you speak? Further, somehow this is victimizing the black folk of today, though you have yet to say exactly how, instead only using normative statements.
    “Otherwise, we’re simply talking about doing evil and then asking no one to ever talk about the consequences again.”
    -You’re using the present tense as if it is occurring this very minute. We do not argue slavery is immoral, but what is further immoral is to expect that all must pay for sins of a much lower percentage.
    So again I ask, since you never answered, who pays? Is it possible to be confined to those who can be shown to be the specific indirect beneficiaries of slavery, or more likely would it simply be indiscriminately borne by taxpayers? What about descendants of white abolitionists and soldiers in the Union Army that might be taxed to fund reparations regardless of the sacrifices their ancestors already made to end slavery? African merchants determined how and which of the traded goods accepted in exchange for slaves, many historians argue for African shared responsibility for the slave trade. What about reparations from them and who were they and their descendants? What about Europeans, since as the main indirect beneficiaries of American slavery they benefited from the labor in the form of reduced pricing of American agricultural exports? The current US government inherited slavery as an existing COLONIAL institution as well, if you’d like to chase a legal standpoint. Figuring out who was enslaved, by whom, in order to fairly apply reparations from the U.S. Government only to those who were enslaved under U.S. laws would be an impossible task.

    “Then call it a financial grievance.”
    -Then take it to court, where financial grievances are taken up.

    In “Up From Slavery,” former slave Booker T. Washington wrote,
    “I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction… Having once got its tentacles fastened on to the economic and social life of the Republic, it was no easy matter for the country to relieve itself of the institution. Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. …This I say, not to justify slavery — on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive — but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose. When persons ask me in these days how, in the midst of what sometimes seem hopelessly discouraging conditions, I can have such faith in the future of my race in this country, I remind them of the wilderness through which and out of which, a good Providence has already led us.”

    While I respect your point of slavery and its ills, I cannot support a burden borne on any portion of the population for that they do not benefit from. Nor does anyone else currently suffer except in their own conjurations.

  19. Deaconkharmafuture1 said

    Side note:
    By the way James, sorry for confusing you with another James I know, that has corresponded with me in the past. If I had sought out your info before responding… Well anyway. Your posts are indeed thought provoking even if I may disagree, the conversation is worth having.

  20. James said

    By the way James, sorry for confusing you with another James I know

    No problem at all! You’re entitled to respond to comments without researching everyone. And what did that New Yorker cartoon say? “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”

    Your posts are indeed thought provoking even if I may disagree, the conversation is worth having.

    Likewise. This is an illuminating conversation, and I very much appreciate the respectful and thoughtful tone here. I do hope my firm conviction doesn’t result in a tone that ever suggests otherwise.

    The signs suggested that slavery was a terminal institution in the nation at the time of the ratification of the U. S. Constitution in 1789.

    That’s right, it seemed at that moment as if slavery might die out. Of course, the cotton gin and the textile mill were invented, and by 1860, cotton and cotton-related businesses dominated the U.S. economy.

    A number of northern states, had abolished slavery by 1800

    Well, a few of them had passed laws for the gradual emancipation of their slaves in the future, yes. As far as I know, only one state seems to have actually gotten rid of slavery by 1800.

    So you need to get that loot back from that 8% of the population not all of us.

    Not at all. First of all, 1860 is an arbitrary date. That statistic omits the fact that slavery was far more widespread among American families in earlier years. For instance, more families probably owned slaves in the North than in the South in colonial days. Slavery only became concentrated on large cotton plantations later on.

    Second, and more important, the other 92% of American families mostly earned their livings, directly or indirectly, from slavery. That’s the critical issue, not which families directly owned slaves. After all, we’re not talking about assigning blame or legal responsibility to individuals today, or to long-dead persons, either.

    Stolen from whom? Can you point them out to me? Return it to whom? Can you point them out to me?

    Well, “stolen from whom” is easy, of course. We’re talking about American slaves here, not other forms of wrongdoing, and all of those slaves were harmed in the ways I mentioned.

    “Return it to whom” depends on what you’d want to do. I’m not making an argument here for any form of reparations. But the harm clearly resides in the vast majority of black families, since the average black family is still far behind the average white family. I imagine most of us could agree that the relatively few black families which have, in fact, overcome substantial obstacles to get ahead aren’t entitled to assistance. Nor would most people suggest paying anything to individual black families, which means individuals deserving compensation need not be identified.

    Yikes, looks like maybe blacks owe themselves some money?

    Yes, a tiny percentage of free blacks did own slaves. That’s hardly the most complicating factor here.

    Just consider the fact that I’ve said all Americans today benefit from slavery, because slavery was essential to our current status as the number one economy in the world, and to our present high standard of living. This includes black Americans, of course. They share in these benefits; they simply share, on average, to a lesser degree.

    The preceding statement is called a “normative statement”, please support the “mainly white beneficiary” statement with facts.

    You mention “normative statements” a couple of times. A “normative” claim is one which is based on subjective views about right and wrong, or what ought to be done. That statement, right or wrong, was a factual claim; the fact that you may not believe it, and want sources, doesn’t make it a normative statement.

    Do you really, seriously, need sources for the fact that far more whites are on welfare than blacks, or on Medicare, or taking advantage of other Great Society programs? I can’t go through every Great Society program, but I’ll provide that information if you insist.

    The main problem is that you have this view that somehow there are these invisible benefits that are currently being bestowed upon a group of people, by a people who have long since expired.

    Can you explain what about that you disagree with? Except perhaps for the idea that the benefits are being bestowed by long-dead people, instead of through the operation of the nation’s economy and through intergenerational transfer.

    Again, where are these benefits of which you speak?

    I hope I’ve outlined that sufficiently in this comment, but if not, please let me know what isn’t clear, and I’ll elaborate.

    So again I ask, since you never answered, who pays?

    I must have missed that question. Under most proposals, the taxpayer would pay. Since all Americans enjoy a standard of living highly dependent on our history of slavery (there are those benefits again), that seems as fair as any other solution.

    Is it possible to be confined to those who can be shown to be the specific indirect beneficiaries of slavery, or more likely would it simply be indiscriminately borne by taxpayers?

    The problem here is that you seem to believe that some, but only some, citizens have benefited indirectly from slavery. This simply isn’t true, and I’ve tried to explain why. Please let me know if there’s anything about my explanation that you aren’t sure about, and I can elaborate.

    What about descendants of white abolitionists and soldiers in the Union Army ….

    Soldiers in the Union army enlisted (or were drafted) in order to preserve the Union, fight for their homes, and so on. The U.S. didn’t even decide that ending slavery would be a war aim until very late in the war, so few, if any, Union soldiers would have been fighting in the hope that maybe they’d be contributing to the end of slavery. In any case, abolition was a deeply controversial topic among northerners, so it’s not as if most people were eager to see it happen, much less to risk their lives for it.

    many historians argue for African shared responsibility for the slave trade

    I would hope that they all argue this. I can tell you that in my experience, people along the African coast are quick to acknowledge that their ancestors participated willingly in the trade with European and American traders.

    If you’re asking me whether African societies owe reparations for their part in this, that’s a different matter. After all, we’re simply not talking about punishing societies for the sins of the past. This case highlights the difference: because of colonialism, those African societies don’t enjoy benefits today from the slave trade. So what is there to give up as reparations?

    Then take it to court, where financial grievances are taken up.

    Not always, as I’m sure you know. For instance, President Reagan signed legislation giving $1.6 billion in reparations to the victims of U.S. concentration camps in WWII; this claim wouldn’t have succeeded in the courts, but Reagan and Congress agreed that it was right and proper to use taxpayer money for this purpose.

    I cannot support a burden borne on any portion of the population for that they do not benefit from.

    It sounds like we may be in total agreement, then, with the exception that you’re not familiar with the economic repercussions of slavery today, and want more information to be convinced that this is, in fact, true?

  21. revkharma said

    Ok, well, THAT was fun. A rather long back and forth meditating upon a side bar in what was, I think, originally a discussion on individual liberty, versus the encroachment of said liberty by an increasingly destructive and controlling DC government. While the reparations issue is part of this, it is merely one more issue where the DC estblishment works to side track and detour any examination of their role in removing liberty from Americans. As long as we can continue to fight over an issue from a century ago we will not notice the fact that the federal highway is in fact a newly paved road to serfdom.
    So, let’s consider again: Just how much IS your freedom worth? And are you content to sit and do nothing as we are all gradually reduced to ‘wards of the State”?

  22. deaconkharmafuture1 said

    While I would continue this discussion, perhaps James and I should take the sidebar and go email or other media, we have hijacked somewhat. MEA CULPA.
    James, I do wish to continue on the weekends when time permits… School coupled with work and kids gives me usually Sundays to do all the “heavy lifting” on things like what we have here. Throw a post out on continuation and media preference and I’ll catch up with you.

  23. James said

    That sounds like a good idea, Deaconkharmafuture1. When you have a chance, you can find me on my blog (linked from my name) and if you’d like to take this to e-mail, you can initiate that using the contact form there. In the meantime, it’s been good talking with you!

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