Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

What Are Your Thoughts on the Issue of Reparations for Slavery?

             Now that Democrats hold control of the White House, Senate, and House of Representatives, they are determined to fulfill all the items on their wish lists. One of those items is the issue of reparations to black Americans for the many years that their ancestors legally slaves.

History shows that there were more white slaves than black slaves in America. It also shows that slavery was common worldwide for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years before the first black slave was brought to America. These facts do not faze those who are determined to put discrimination back on the table and keep the races divided.

H.R. 40 would establish a commission to determine how African Americans could be compensated for their ancestors being slaves. The compensation could include payments of trillions of dollars to individuals. The House Judiciary Committee held hearings for setting up the commission on H.R. 40 recently.

The purpose of the commission is to examine any governmental role in supporting the institution of slavery. This would include “discrimination in the public and private sectors against freed African slaves and their descendants” and “lingering negative effects of the institution of slavery … on living African Americans and on society.”

Star Parker is a columnist for The Daily Signal, and she recently wrote an article on H.R. 40 and the commission on reparations. 

My ancestors were slaves. And my life as a young woman was a mess.

Was my life a mess because my ancestors were slaves? I don’t think so.

My life was a mess because I lived a wanton, irresponsible existence, defined by promiscuity, petty crimes, and scamming the nation’s well-meaning but totally confused welfare system to the greatest extent of my ability.

Did I need reparations to turn things around for me? Certainly not. I needed a wake-up call, which, to my great gratitude, I got from a few church-going black Christians who told me the way I was living was unacceptable.

I went to church, took back responsibility for my life, and turned my circumstances around.

            Parker explained a few problems with the issue of reparation. Her first point was that the “idea of reparations” takes attention from personal responsibility and directs it at society as a whole. The idea of reparations says that all people living in America are responsible for the institution of slavery more than 150 years ago. In the first place, the ancestors of millions of today’s Americans were not in America during the years of slavery. In addition, the ancestors of millions of other Americans did not own slaves or have anything to do with the institution.

Continuing her argument against reparations, Parkers wrote about the basic legal principle of compensation for damages.

It’s about personal responsibility. Individual A sues individual B for damages caused. Exactly what the damages were and exactly how B injured A must be shown in a court of law. Today, only a small fraction of our population has ancestors who were around before 1865 when slavery was legal. The idea of collective guilt, with no specific individual identified as causing the damage and no specific individual showing how he or she was damaged, doesn’t fly.

            Parker continued her article by discussing freedom, the word used most “frequently in political discussions.” She noted that whenever “freedom” is discussed, the discussion should also include the “understanding that individuals have free choice – the power and responsibility to choose how to live.” The understanding that good and evil exist gives meaning to free choice. “It means individuals have the power and responsibility to choose how to live – that their individual choices matter.”

Driving the push for reparations are policies on race that obliterate this key idea that every individual, regardless of circumstances and history, is unique and has free choice. The political idea of freedom becomes irrelevant because free choice becomes irrelevant.

So-called critical race theory says everything is about culture. Because, per their claim, the USA is about what they define as white culture, the cultural script to be rewritten to make things fair for those who are not white. Put politicians in charge of making things fair. No, I am sorry; I always though the problem with racism is it denies the uniqueness, dignity, and personal responsibility of each individual.

If the ideal we seek is a free country with free citizens, then commissions such as that proposed in H.R. 40, which pretend to be about justice but are really about a left-wing agenda to put government in charge of our lives, are not the way to go.

            If today’s Americans are guilty of racism and discrimination against African Americans and if African Americans are discriminated against, how do we account for the many successful Black Americans? Star Parker? Walter Williams? Thomas Sowell? Michael Jordan? Barack Obama? Condoleezza Rice? There are hundreds, thousands, even millions of other successful Black Americans. They have taken personal responsibility for their choices, and they have succeeded where other continue to fail.

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