Category Archives: Civil War

The Impeachment & The Russia Probe

The Barr/Durham Russia probe is now a criminal investigation.  The NYT reports that the investigation is without basis and that pushing for Ukrainian assistance is part of the justification for the House Impeachment investigation.

It was apparent from Nancy Pelosi’s “fact sheet” released the other day (and blogged here) that the House is looking to assert that any investigation into the criminal origins of the Russian Hoax is an impeachable abuse of power by the President.  That was confirmed by an article in the NYT today (reprinted at SFGate) discussing that “Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William Barr to a criminal inquiry.”  Bookworm has already fisked the article in the post below this.  I’m writing to add emphasis to one portion of the article.  As the NYT reports:

The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Trump fired James Comey, the FBI director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.

Trump has made clear that he sees the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. That view factors into the impeachment investigation against him, as does his long obsession with the origins of the Russia inquiry. House Democrats are examining in part whether his pressure on Ukraine to open investigations into theories about the 2016 election constituted an abuse of power. . . .

Do read Bookworm’s fisk of the above article.

Progressives believe themselves above the law and will rip this country apart to keep it that way.  A recent poll found that two-thirds of people surveyed believe we are near a civil war in this country.  If the House succeeds in impeaching Trump over investigations into the Russia Hoax, I have no doubts that number will go much higher.

Oh . . . and . . .

NEW: @CBSNews has obtained a letter sent to the hill today from DOJ IG Horowitz updating committee leaders on the status of the highly anticipated FISA Report. He says, “I anticipate that the final report will be released publicly with few redactions.” pic.twitter.com/DFCh7txrrO

— Clare (@ClareHymes22) October 24, 2019

(H/T AOS)

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On Constitution Day, Leftists assault the Constitution

For most of America, September 17 was “Constitution Day.”  For progressives, it was a day to launch a multi-pronged assault on the Constitution.

On September, 17, 1787, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention signed their finished product, the Constitution, and released it to the states to consider for ratification. It would be a year before eleven states ratified the Constitution, passing it into law, and three years before all thirteen states ratified the Constitution. It would be four years before the states ratified ten of the first twelve proposed Amendments to the Constitution, creating the Bill of Rights.  Regardless, it is the 17th of September that we commemorate as “Constitution Day.”

But not the progressive left.  To the extent they spent any time at all referencing the Constitution this past week, it was to attack it.  Call it “Un-Constitutional Day,” if you will. The most direct attack was an attack on originalism — the truism that the Constitution must be interpreted as closely as possible to its commonly understood meaning on the day it was signed in 1787.  Next, the Left, through its house organ, the New York Times, launched an attack on due process, with Democratic candidates for President calling for  Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh’s head.  And the last attack, without doubt the most dangerous in the near term, was a renewed call in the New York Times to pack the Supreme Court with progressive ideologues.

An Attack on Originalism.

At The Hill, a progressive lawyer, Kim Wehle, argues that “Justice Gorsuch is wrong — ‘originalist’ judges make stuff up too.”  What is she talking about?

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch recently authored a book, the title of which, A Republic, if you can keep it, is from a famous Ben Franklin quote.  At the end of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Franklin, who was justly famous for his wit and brevity, was asked what type of government the men at the Convention had created.  Franklin replied “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

What Franklin meant was that, in the words of Prof. Richard Beeman, “democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health.”  Not surprisingly, Gorsuch’s book deals with his judicial philosophy of originalism as the Foundation of our Republic and the threat that progressives’ “living Constitution” obscenity poses to our Republican form of government.

Two paragraphs from Wiki (citations and links omitted) do a good job of summing up the issue and presaging Gorsuch’s recent book:

In a 2016 speech at Case Western Reserve University, Gorsuch said that judges should strive to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be—not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.

In a 2005 article published by National Review, Gorsuch argued that “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda” and that they are “failing to reach out and persuade the public”. Gorsuch wrote that, in doing so, American liberals are circumventing the democratic process on issues like gay marriage, school vouchers, and assisted suicide, and this has led to a compromised judiciary, which is no longer independent. Gorsuch wrote that American liberals’ “overweening addiction” to using the courts for social debate is “bad for the nation and bad for the judiciary”.

It’s not clear whether Kim Wehle deliberately or from lack of acumen fails to understand this principle. What is clear is that, on Constitution Day, she claimed that the living Constitution philosophy is no worse than Gorsuch’s originialism because originalist judges also “make stuff up” as they go along — just as, she fully admits, progressive judges do.  That is a calumny.  Writes Wehle:

Accordingly, Gorsuch reportedly tells his law clerks: “‘Rule No. 1: Don’t make stuff up,’” and “‘when people beg, and say, ‘Oh, the consequences are so important,’ and when they say, ‘You’re a terrible, terrible, terrible person if you don’t,’ just refer back to Rule No. 1. And we’ll be fine.’”

Here’s the problem: The implicit suggestion that the law and the Constitution are black and white — and that all that honorable judges need to do is apply its plain language and move on — is a myth.

That is a horse manure statement of the issue.  No one, not least of all an originalist, claims that the law is black and white.  Teasing out the most likely meaning of a clause, a sentence, or a paragraph as the Founders drafted it and as the people who voted upon it understood it is not easy and, by the nature of the evidence relied upon, subject to a range of interpretations.

It helps the originalists that the Founders left us a fair number of clues about what they thought and intended. In addition to focusing on the words themselves, as those words were understood at the time and as were voted upon at the Convention and then as finalized by the Committee of Style, jurists can look to a few contemporaneous sources who describe the debates at the Constitutional Convention.  They can also read what people wrote after the Convention but before ratification, such as the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers, which argue about the provisions and their meanings.   There were debates in the state conventions. And lastly, there is the entire sum of historical events that were known to the Drafters and the people of the era and that we can assume had an impact on the way in which they drafted the Constitution, whether they mention these events or not.

The key to this “range of interpretations,” though, is that every one of them is anchored firmly in the history and soil of the American colonies in 1787.  This history ensures that an originalist change has a limited range of permissible interpretations beyond which he may not go. Even within those parameters, the judge is further limited by the mandate that he choose which interpretation is most accurate, not which his conscience finds most desirable. That is not, as Ms. Wehle claims, “making stuff up.”  And indeed, it often means that originalist judges will in good conscience disagree.  As Ilya Shapiro recently opined at the USA Today, “Liberal Supreme Court justices vote in lockstep, not the conservative justices.”

The example Ms. Wehle uses to portray originalism’s alleged bankruptcy is bizarre, for it stands for the opposite proposition.  Wehle focuses on Scalia’s opinion in a case almost two decades old. In that case, Scalia wrote that the Fourth Amendment requires that police show probable cause and obtain a warrant before using a thermal imaging device to observe a home for the excessive heat that home-grown marijuana generates. As Wehle points out, thermal imaging did not exist in 1787. Through that statement, she apparently thinks she’s proving that Scalia was of necessity “making stuff up.”  Horse manure.

What the Supreme Court Justices are being paid to do is tease out the bedrock principles of the Founders and apply those to new situations, including new technology, which is precisely what Scalia did.  The Fourth Amendment requires probable cause to search a private home.  Whether they conduct that search physically, by breaking down a door, or without physical intrusion, using new technology, the core principal behind the 4th Amendment still applies.  It is still a search requiring that police act with probable cause.

What Ms. Wehle is arguing for is policy-based jurisprudence with unelected, life-term Supreme Court Justices acting as a politburo, imposing their own policy choices as Constitutional law..  She wants judges to ” put their policy goals on the table for the rest of us to see and evaluate.”  This is an outright assault on the Constitution.  Justices on the Supreme Court have one power under the Constitution.  Per Article III, Section I, they hold “the judicial power.”   The power of imposing “policy goals” on this nation has nothing to do with the judicial power.  Imposing policy goals is solely the province of the Congress which, under Article I, Section I of the Constitution has “all legislative power.”  At least unless Ms. Wehle and other progressives win their slow motion coup to permanently bend the Judiciary, and with it the very Constitution, to their will.

The Attack On Due Process

The Democrats turned the Kavanaugh Hearings, the goal of which was to determine his fitness for the Supreme Court, into an utter travesty when, at the twelfth hour, they made public unfounded charges that Kavanaugh had engaged in sexual batteries in high school and college.  It was, as to Kavanaugh, the same as the Russian collusion charges were to Trump — false allegations made at the last minute to forestall due process and to drum up a public outcry that would keep these two out of power or to weaken and delegitimize them so they could not fairly exercise power.

While due process of law is a foundation of our nation, its antecedents predate our Constitution by a millennium at least.  The Magna Carta of 1215 famously makes references to due process, although even did not invent “due process” but, instead, acknowledged its pervasive existence at law in England and stated that King John could not suspend it. The words “due process” are shorthand for all of those systems and processes we have developed over a millennium — from probable cause to search and arrest to jury trials to appeals to actions of habeus corpus — to ensure that, whenever the state uses its police power, it will do so with reliable fairness.

Due process is an answer to the ancient question, quis custodiet ipsos custodes – “who watches the watcher?”  Our Constitution answered that question in the political realm with checks and balances and in the legal realm with “due process.”   The latter is our way of making sure that multiple people — and, to the maximum extent possible, these people should have no bias as to the particular case — have to examine facts to determine a person’s guilt before the state can take that person’s life, liberty or property.

Due process of law is so fundamental to a republican form of government that a republic cannot exist without it.  If a government is free to exercise its power without the check of due process, then, by definition, you have a tyranny, even if it has not reached the tyrannical extremes of, say, North Korea.  Our English forebears recognized a tyranny when they saw one and waded through a river of blood, in multiple rebellions and civil wars, from the First Baron’s War in 1215 to the Glorious Revolution of 1688, to ensconce the right to due process of law as one of their rights against government.  Today, we call a government operating without due process of law a police state, a fascist state, a dictatorship, or a socialist utopia.

What the above means is that it should be a disqualifying event if someone seeking power in our government comes out in favor of punishment without due process of law. And yet here we are, during the weekend before Constitution Day 2019, with the NYT yet again raising unproven allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, hiding highly relevant information bearing on his innocence, and Democratic candidates for President reflexively calling for Kavanaugh to be removed from the bench.

Kavanaugh’s true crime is that he is an originalist, and the left does not need due process to establish that.  As to actual crimes, no need for due process when false allegations and a howling mob will do the job of limiting Kavanaugh’s right to life, liberty and property.  The Constitution be damned.

Packing the Court

If the Constitution limits the Supreme Court to exercising judicial power then — as was the case until the middle of the 20th century — then its makeup should not cause major controversy.  As progressives seized power in America, that changed, because they understood that they could expand their legislative reach by shaping a judiciary that intruded in the legislative sphere and, even better, exercised without check the People’s Article V power to amend the Constitution. Thanks to progressive policies, the Supreme Court became, not the least dangerous branch of government, as forecast by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers No. 78, but the most dangerous branch, which progressives routinely used to circumvent and subvert the ballot box and the Constitution itself.  This is why the Court’s composition went from non-controversial to the most important political question in America.  The progressives even gave us a new verb for this activism — “borking,” which describes progressive politicians assassinating originalist judges. Notably, in this lead-up to Election 2020, when Joe Biden is still considered the Democrat favorite, it was Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy who originated borking when they killed Judge Robert Bork’s nomination.

For the last century, a left-leaning Supreme Court has systematically and methodically changed our nation’s fundamental nature. They have removed Christianity from the public square, found a hidden right to abortion, expanded the regulatory state, approved disparate impact theory, authorized gay marriage, and given us a whole host of other decisions that, in ways both large and small, have gone beyond jurisprudence and, instead, fashioned new laws and amended the Constitution — acts beyond the Court’s powers, both statutory and Constitutional.  Indeed, for the past century, the Supreme Court has been the single most important tool that progressives have wielded.  In part, that was because Democrats regularly appointed hard left progressives to the bench whenever the opportunity arose.  In part it was because, all too often, Republican-appointed jurists often took a hard left turn once on the bench.

Regarding that last point about Republican-appointed judges, there’s even a name for it: the Greenhouse effect. Thomas Sowell posited this effect have noting the way in which squishy conservative jurists, all of whom came from a social milieu in which the New York Times was tantamount to the word of God, seemed to shape their opinions to please Linda Greenhouse, the NYT reporter assigned to the Supreme Court beat.

Thankfully, Republicans have finally learned that appointing any ostensible “conservative” to the bench, if that person lacks solid originalist credentials (e.g., John Paul Stevens or Anthony “Gay Rights” Kennedy), will almost certainly lead to disaster.  These people people inevitably begin to use their power to ensconce the New York Times‘ preferred policies rather than to interpret the Constitution.  No one knows that better than conservatives in 2019.

Through the Supreme Court’s century-long shift to hard Left activism, conservatives kept playing by the rules. Now, though, the real possibility exists that five originalists may end up on the Supreme Court. This means that the Court will interpret the Constitution as written, ending the era of progressive “judicial legislation.”  Rather than copying conservatives, who meekly acquiesced to the bastardization of the Constitution, progressives, faced with a return to Constitutional values, have announced that we need to change those rules.

More than a few progressives have floated a plan to pack the Supreme Court with progressive judges if the Supreme Court ever becomes staffed with five originalists.  This is a raw play for permanent political ascendancy.  The latest on Constitution Day came from professional race hustler and New York Times opinion columnist (but I repeat myself) Jamelle Bouie, who writes “Mad About Kavanaugh and Gorsuch? The Best Way to Get Even Is to Pack the Court.”

Kevin Williamson responds at NRO:

Bouie is a habitually sloppy thinker and writer, and here falls into two of the most common modes of partisan hackery. The first is the argument that his party must “play hardball” . . . lest the bad guys on the other team write their partisan “ideological preferences into the constitutional order.” . . . Bouie here is engaged in the New York Times version of shrieking “But they started it!” as a justification for playground misbehavior. Republicans don’t think they started it — not where judges are concerned, anyway. They think Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy started it in October 1987 with the smearing of Robert Bork, which permanently changed the character of Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Bouie foreswears an intention of trying to “make the courts a vehicle for progressive policy,” and, of course, he does this as he writes of the ways and reasons for making the courts a vehicle for progressive policy. And here is the second common mode of partisan hackery: The belief that one’s own ideological preferences are not ideological preferences at all but self-evident moral truths. This belief can be held either insincerely (and cynically) or sincerely (and stupidly). For Bouie, it seems to be a bit of both.

The point of packing the courts, he writes, is “to make sure elected majorities can govern,” and he cites Supreme Court checks on the grander ambitions of Franklin Roosevelt and Progressive Era as examples of the Court frustrating the those “elected majorities.” He goes on to celebrate Roosevelt’s bullying the Court into submission like some tinpot caudillo. Roosevelt was unable to follow through with packing the Court, but the gambit, Bouie writes, “had the desired effect,” i.e. terrorizing the Court into giving the Roosevelt administration a freer hand. . . .

Do read the entire article.  It is an excellent fisking of Bouie’s ramblings, though to be fair to Bouie, he is not innovating in idiocy.  He is merely parroting run-of-the-mill progressive thinking, which is thoroughly ignorant of the Constitutional design on one hand and totalitarian on the other.

Williamson goes on to point out that the Constitution is in fact designed to thwart what he calls majoritarian rule — i.e., democracy.  Our Founders feared and detested democracy as the worst of governing models.  James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, was a man who was steeped in world history. With this background, he wrote of democracy in Federalist No. 10:

A pure Democracy, . . . can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of Government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is, that such Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths. . . .

What the progressives propose is dangerous stuff.  Attempting to pack the Supreme Court to establish permanent progressive dominance in our nation would be an invitation to a second civil war.  That’s a Hell of a way to celebrate Constitution Day 2019, eh?

But in truth, this all didn’t just start in the past week.  The Progressive Left has engaged in sustained attack against the Constitution since President Woodrow Wilson obscenely declared the Constitution unworkable and inapplicable to the modern world.  Wilson believed that experts, working without any constraints, should rule America. In other words, he envisioned our modern regulatory bureaucracy.  The problem for progressives is that, in the early 20th century and today, far fewer than the two-thirds of Americans needed to amend the Constitution agree with them.  Wilson and the progressives therefore invented “the living Constitution” — the theory holding that the Constitution can be reinterpreted to mean anything that five justices, carefully selected for their progressive ideological purity, want it to mean.  With this background, modern progressives’s reaction to Constitution Day 2019 was just par for the course.

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Andrew Johnson, Democrat, set the stage for today’s racial strife

Democrat Andrew Johnson was one of America’s worst presidents, for he set the stage for the racial strife that today’s Democrats encourage and exploit.

Yesterday afternoon, I joined a friend for a dog walking expedition. As we were walking along, we talked about the racial divisions the Left has stoked in America.

“This is all Andrew Johnson’s fault,” I said.

“Wah?” asked my companion.

“Yeah, Andrew Johnson. The moment that Johnson, a Democrat, was sworn in as president after Lincoln’s assassination, he set about undoing the racial component of Reconstruction. The military hung onto its strength in the South, which is why there are so many military bases still operating there. Politically, though, Johnson and his administration backed away from every effort to reform Southern culture. This meant that the losers in the war got to continue their previous behavior of denying blacks all civil rights. In other words, Johnson enabled the defeated Southerners to reduce blacks to a perfect simulacrum of slavery, only this was arguably even worse than actual slavery, for it denied blacks the food and shelter (no matter how meager) that slave owners once provided, while adding in chronic racial terrorism.

“When it came to Germany and Japan after WWII, we did something completely different: We defeated them utterly and completely, and then spent 70 years making sure they renounced the racist, totalitarian cultures that led them to unspeakable brutality in their insane drives for world domination. Had he lived, Lincoln, a Republican, would almost certainly have understood that the Union had to control the south for decades to rework its racist slave culture. I bet that the Democrat Andrew Johnson understood the same, which is why he pulled the feds out of the South as fast as he possibly good.

“Today, the South is probably the best integrated part of the whole United States –”

“– maybe because of the strong military presence,” quickly interjected my friend when I paused for a breath.

“That sounds reasonable,” I said, snatching back the conversational baton. “But it’s also because the South is no longer a Democrat bastion. It’s Republican now.”

“I bet that’s because of all the military bases, too,” my friend mumbled under his breath. I silently agreed, but I really had to take control of my monologue again.

“Whatever. The important point I’m making is that, even though today’s Republican South is way better integrated, sane, and decent than Democrat-controlled Blue bastions across America, the fact that Andrew Johnson’s Democrat policies enabled 100 years of Jim Crow after the Civil War meant that America took way too long to recover from and refute entirely the stain of slavery on a nation that was ‘conceived in liberty.’ And of course, it means today’s Lefties can ignore the fact that America wa the only country in the world that spilled blood to fight slavery.”

And yes, that is the kind of thing my friends and I talk about when we’re not talking dogs and chocolate (my other favorite subjects).

Anyway, I thought it was an excellent conversation (as is my wont when I hold forth). Certainly, the Fates seemed to agree, for this morning I opened my email and found a Prager U video about . . . Reconstruction! It says with incredible elegance the point I was trying to make — that Andrew Johnson (Democrat) allowed the South to win the peace.

If I had to list this nation’s worst presidents, Andrew Johnson would readily have a place in the top five, right up there with Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, James Buchanan, and Woodrow Wilson. It’s no coincidence, either that all five of the worst presidents in America — the most racist, least effective, or most damaging to constitutional governance, were Democrats.

If I were to expand the list to number six, there’s room for another racist, nation-damaging Democrat: Franklin Roosevelt. Scratch a scar on the American body politic and watch Democrat pus ooze out….

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On this Juneteenth, looking at reparations America already paid

As more Leftist voices join the reparations choir, I’d like to remind people that Americans paid a very precious form of reparations a long time ago.

On this Juneteenth, I’m not going to defend either slavery or Jim Crow, because the former, while still a worldwide norm, was a betrayal of the American Revolution and the latter is entirely indefensible. I will point out, though, that both were Democrat institutions enforced by Big Government — so maybe blacks would be better off without either Democrats or Big Government.

The purpose of this post, given the rising demands for reparation, is to point out that, unlike all other nations, America has already paid some of the most precious reparations ever, those paid with blood:

Civil War reparations

 

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Reparations: The Holy Grail of Identity Politics (Part III)

Reparations for the unpaid labor of blacks held in slavery in America are speculative at best and cannot be fairly distributed or imposed.

[Note:  The picture to the left, which shows Democrat Robert Byrd in a KKK outfit. is a Photoshop, but I use it because, to use the phrase coined by the New York Times, it is “fake but accurate. “]

2020 Democrat presidential candidates immersed in race-obsessed identity politics (as a substitute for the class-based politics of pure Marxism) are pushing for the Holy Grail of victimhood: Reparations for slavery.  They are undeterred by the fact that reparations are wholly impractical, utterly immoral, and counterproductive in that they do not address the problems plaguing the lower socio-economic half of the black community.

This will be the third of several posts dealing with the issue of reparations:

Part I – Constitutional Considerations: Bills of Attainder, Corruption of Blood, & Ex Post Facto Laws.

Part II – History of Slavery & Equities

Part III – Practical Impediments to Reparations

Part IV – Need for Reparations?

Part V – Marxism versus Melting Pots

Part III – Practical Impediments to Reparations

The New York Times, in a recent article, observed that “2020 Democrats Embrace Race-Conscious Policies, Including Reparations.”  Leaving aside the legal, historical, ethical, and equitable considerations of slandering all white Americans with the “original sin” of slavery and establishing at law that black Americans in the present day are permanent victims of evil whites, there are a host of practical problems with the concept of reparations for slavery (only) in America (and only as to American slaves).  Those practical problems include calculating the amount of reparations, identifying who should be eligible for the reparations and in what degree, and determining who should be liable for funding the reparations.  Do note that none of the race hustlers mentioned in the Times article linked above address any of these questions.

So, first off, let’s define “reparations.”  According to Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., perhaps our nation’s most well-known victim studies professor, writing in the NYT in 2010, reparations are “the idea that the descendants of American slaves should receive compensation for their ancestors’ unpaid labor and bondage.”  But that is certainly not all.  As Gates states, there is more to this than just compensation in monetary terms.  The push for reparations primarily has a moral purpose:

There are many thorny issues to resolve before we can arrive at a judicious (if symbolic) gesture to match such a sustained, heinous crime. Perhaps the most vexing is how to parcel out blame to those directly involved in the capture and sale of human beings for immense economic gain. [Emphasis added]

So the moral dimension is that all American whites and those slavers in Africa are to be tarred with the sin of slavery, though not a one alive today has ever committed slavery.  And every black alive today is to be given unearned status as a victim, though not a one of them has ever been a slave.  Again, you will never find the people who push for reparations mentioning either the Christian abolition movement or our Civil War.  It is as if they never happened.  But let’s leave the moral question aside.  For the purpose of this post, let’s assume, arguendo, that all reparations for slavery should be paid.

Newsweek published an article in 2015 , using research from Prof. Thomas Craemer, that attempted to value reparations for American slavery:

Craemer . . . has come up with what he says is the most economically sound estimate to date of what reparations could cost: between $5.9 trillion and $14.2 trillion.

Craemer came up with those figures by tabulating how many hours all slaves—men, women and children—worked in the United States from when the country was officially established in 1776 until 1865, when slavery was officially abolished. He multiplied the amount of time they worked by average wage prices at the time, and then a compounding interest rate of 3 percent per year (more than making up for inflation). There is a range because the amount of time worked isn’t a hard figure.

Previous estimates of reparations have ranged from around $36 billion to $10 trillion (in 2009 dollars), Craemer says. Those calculations mostly looked at wealth created by slaves as opposed to services provided, resulting in underestimates. Craemer believes that “the economic assumptions underlying [his method] are more sound” than those used in previous papers.

So, in other words, any attempt at putting a number to reparations — a spread of $36 billion to almost a year’s worth of the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. at $14.2 trillion — is going to be an incredibly speculative guess from the outset.

Determining Reparations:  Offsets by the costs of life

The numbers that the race hustlers typically throw around do not include any offsets.  The initial round of offsets would include the costs of living during the slave’s lifetime.  Owning a slave meant that the owner was responsible for day-to-day feeding, clothing, housing, and medical care for the slave throughout his lifetime, during the slave’s productive and non-productive years.

Those costs could be significant, and indeed, by the late 1700’s, prohibitory.  George Washington’s life is instructive.

Washington found slavery economically inefficient. In the last decades of his life, the profits from his farmland did not cover the cost of feeding and clothing the estate’s enslaved people. By the 1770s, Washington began to realize that slavery was not an efficient labor system for Mount Vernon. After switching his plantation’s focus from tobacco to less labor-intensive grains, Washington had far more enslaved workers than he needed. He was losing money. By 1799, he lamented, “I have more working Negros by a full moiety [half], than can be employed to any advantage in the farming System.”

If you wonder why Washington did not simply sell his slaves at that point, it was because he refused to break up enslaved families.  In the end, when he died, Washington did not merely free all of the 123 slaves that he owned outright, but also provided a trust to educate the slaves and to house and care for those of his slaves that were too old or infirm to make a living in free society.

Determining Reparations:  Offsets by the economic and human costs of the Civil War

Slaves in America are unique in world history.  They are the only group of people for whom a nation engaged in a Civil War to determine their fate as free men or slaves.  That was the costliest and most brutal war in American history.  If the question is how much economic benefit the nation received from the institution of slavery, then would it not be only fair to deduct the economic costs to the nation from ending the institution of slavery?  And if we are going to put an economic value on enslaved blacks during their lifetime, should we not offset that against the economic value of the hundreds of thousands of non-black, non-Confederate lives snuffed out during a Civil War to free the slaves?  “Based on 1860 census figures, 8 percent of all white men aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6 percent in the North . . .”  The race hustlers never mention those issues.

I don’t think anyone has ever attempted to valuate the long-term economic costs of both the Civil War itself and the non-black lives lost during the war.  We can get a sense of the scope, though, because we have a lot of numbers available. Thus, we know the numbers for the war itself (numbers below not inflated to current value).

In dollars and cents, the U.S. government estimated Jan. 1863 that the war was costing $2.5 million daily. A final official estimate in 1879 totaled $6,190,000,000. The Confederacy spent perhaps $2,099,808,707. By 1906 another $3.3 billion already had been spent by the U.S. government on Northerners’ pensions and other veterans’ benefits for former Federal soldiers. Southern states and private philanthropy provided benefits to the Confederate veterans. The amount spent on benefits eventually well exceeded the war’s original cost.

Inflation affected both Northern and Southern assets but hit those of the Confederacy harder. Northern currency fluctuated in value, and at its lowest point $2.59 in Federal paper money equaled $1 in gold. The Confederate currency so declined in purchasing power that eventually $60-$70 equaled a gold dollar.

The physical devastation, almost all of it in the South, was enormous: burned or plundered homes, pillaged countryside, untold losses in crops and farm animals, ruined buildings and bridges, devastated college campuses, and neglected roads all left the South in ruin

We also know what happened to the South’s wealth:

The wealth amassed in slaves and slavery for the Confederacy’s 3.5 million blacks effectively ended when Union armies arrived; they were nearly all freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Slaves in the border states and those located in some former Confederate territory occupied before the Emancipation Proclamation were freed by state action or (on December 6, 1865) by the Thirteenth Amendment.

The war destroyed much of the wealth that had existed in the South. All accumulated investment Confederate bonds was forfeit; most banks and railroads were bankrupt. Income per person in the South dropped to less than 40 percent of that of the North, a condition that lasted until well into the 20th century.

When it comes to the human costs,  approximately 828,000+ people associated with the Union Army or civilians in Union states lost their lives or were seriously wounded during the conflict. (Indeed, one in thirteen of the survivors were amputees). Moreover, of those Union soldiers who survived the war, our nation had to pay pension costs well into the 20th century, with these costs actually exceeding the cost of the war itself.

All of the above led Prof. Thomas Sowell, America’s greatest living economist, to eyeball the numbers and then write:

Sometimes it is claimed that slavery made a great contribution to the development of the American economy, from which other Americans benefitted, so that reparations would be like back pay. Although slaveowners benefitted from slavery, it is by no means obvious that there were net benefits to the economy as a whole, especially when you subtract the staggering costs of the Civil War.

So if in fact, the value of freedom provided to blacks by the Civil War exceeds the cost of reparations . . . can we get a check from Rev. Al and the Congressional Black Caucus?

To whom should reparations be paid?

As of 2016, there were 40 million people in America who self-identified as black (including, apparently, Talculm X and Rachel Dolezal).  This raises an interesting question: Are all people who merely self-identify as black entitled to reparations, regardless whether they can trace their origins in America back to a slave — or can even trace their origins back to Africa? (Or at least, back to black Africa from the 17th to the beginning of the 19th centuries, for modern anthropology tells us that all of us trace our origins back to Africa.)

Of the 40 million self-identified black people living in the U.S. in 2016, 4.2 million were first generation immigrants to America and clearly had no history of slavery in the American colonies or states.  Barack Obama was himself the son of a black man from Kenya.  Many more of the 40 million have ancestors who came to the U.S. after slavery ended in 1865.  So, are these people entitled to reparations regardless?

If a person’s DNA is not full African, is that person limited to only a portion of reparations in equal proportion? Or does the one-drop rule now apply?

For people who can trace their her origins back to the 18th century, what about if their black ancestors were free people, not slaves?  By 1810, at least 13% of Africans in just in the upper South were free people.  Many more were likely free in the north.

Or how about this scenario: What if a person’s ancestor was black but owned black slavesAfter all, “in 1830 there were 3,775 free black people who owned 12,740 black slaves” in America.  And does it matter that it was a black slave owner in mid-17th century Virginia, Anthony Johnson, who, in a law suit against his black servant John Casor, established the concept of chattel slavery for life in America?

Lastly, what percentage of reparations should be charged against the Africans and Arab Muslims who captured slaves in Africa and sold them into American slavery?

Who should pay reparations?

The simple fact is that, even at the height of slavery in 1860, only 8% of Americans (white and black) owned slaves overall.  Even in the Southern states, that number never rose above 33%.   Moreover, probably half of all Americans (“swag” — scientific wild ass guess) are descended from people who were not even in the U.S. before 1865.  So why should Ms. BWR be responsible for paying reparations to blacks today for slavery during the period 1776 to 1865 when her family did not even come to this country until 1954?   That would amount to requiring people to fund reparations to blacks simply because of their white skin color.  And that would be, dare I say it, racist beyond measure.

If we are to look to history for the wrong, let us look to history for the culprits as well.  As Deroy Murdock writes in the National Review today, slavery and its associated ills are identifiable with a particular group — Democrats:

. . .  As Black History Month draws to a close, it is vital to remember that slavery spread agony across the South under the watchful eyes of Democrats, such as President Andrew Jackson, from the party’s 1828 launch. It was not until 1860’s election of Republican Abraham Lincoln that the final, decisive push toward abolition began. The GOP-led Union Army crushed the Democrat-led Confederacy in 1865. That’s when Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation came into full force, as Republicans freed the slaves.

The Republicans’ Radical Reconstruction empowered newly liberated blacks. Overriding the presidential vetoes of Democrat Andrew Johnson, congressional Republicans pressured southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing blacks equal protection under law. . . .

After detailing the many sins of Democrats as regards blacks, Murdock concludes:

. . . if Democrats want reparations to atone for their nearly 200 years of anti-black sins, they should finance them. From Barbra Streisand to George Clooney to Tom Steyer to George Soros, the Democratic 1 percenters should shove their billions into a huge pile and then show us the money.

I could live with that.

The post Reparations: The Holy Grail of Identity Politics (Part III) appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Reparations: The Holy Grail Of Identity Politics (Part II)

Reparations that economically penalize modern Americans for ancient acts to benefit other modern Americans are not justified by any fair reading of history.

2020 Democrat presidential candidates immersed in race-obsessed identity politics (as a substitute for the class-based politics of pure Marxism) are pushing the for the Holy Grail of victimhood: Reparations for slavery.  They are undeterred by the fact that reparations are wholly impractical, utterly immoral, and counterproductive in that they do not address the problems plaguing the lower socio-economic half of the black community.

This will be the second of several posts dealing with the issue of reparations:

Part I – Constitutional Considerations: Bills of Attainder, Corruption of Blood, & Ex Post Facto Laws.

Part II – History of Slavery & Equities

Part III – Practical Impediments to Reparations

Part IV – Need for Reparations?

Part V – Marxism versus Melting Pots

Part II – History of Slavery & Equities

The end game for those pushing reparations for slavery (who now include the top Democratic presidential candidates among their number) is to paint people with black skin as separate, permanent victims in a modern day America that is itself a hotbed of racism.  That hotbed, they claim, is responsible for all of the problems of blacks.  This is all part and parcel of the effort to destroy Western Civilization, starting with America, then to remake it into a socialist paradise. A necessary step in this endeavor is to delegitimize the Founders of this country, the Constitution, and the Judaeo-Christian religions.

Significantly, those who push for reparations for slavery in America almost invariably paint slavery as a sin unique to white Americans.  No one ever seriously mentions the world-wide history of slavery, the American Civil War, or the unique role that white Americans and Brits — Christians, Jews and capitalists — played in ending slavery as both an American and a world-wide institution. Sadly (and dangerously) very little, if any, of that history comes to the attention of students in America today:

For 11 years, Professor Duke Pesta gave quizzes to his students at the beginning of the school year to test their knowledge on basic facts about American history and Western culture.

The most surprising result from his 11-year experiment? Students’ overwhelming belief that slavery began in the United States and was almost exclusively an American phenomenon, he said.

“Most of my students could not tell me anything meaningful about slavery outside of America,” Pesta told The College Fix. “They are convinced that slavery was an American problem that more or less ended with the Civil War, and they are very fuzzy about the history of slavery prior to the Colonial era. Their entire education about slavery was confined to America.” . . .

The world history of slavery and its equities.

Slavery didn’t begin in America nor did it begin with the African slave trade. To the contrary, slavery as an accepted practice in the world ended with the African slave trade. Slavery began with the dawn of civilization and it has involved virtually every race (very much including blacks in both Africa and America) at one time or another, alternately as slavers and enslaved. Indeed, slave-based agrarian economies have been the norm throughout much of the world’s history (hyperlinks omitted):

Evidence of slavery predates written records, and has existed in many cultures. . . . The earliest records of slavery can be traced to the Code of Hammurabi . . . and the Bible refers to it as an established institution. Slavery was known to occur in civilizations as old as Sumer, as well as almost every other ancient civilization, including Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, the Akkadian Empire, Assyria, Ancient India, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the Islamic Caliphate, and the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas. . . . Records of slavery in Ancient Greece go as far back as Mycenaean Greece. Two-fifths (some authorities say four-fifths) of the population of Classical Athens were slaves.

Slavery is also still practiced across vast swaths of Africa and the Middle East. It also crops up periodically in the West when those who currently practice slavery import it to their new countries.

The record of historic and current day slavery means that, if slavery is an original sin for which all races once slavers are to be held liable for their sins, and all races once slaves are to receive reparations, than the world has a lot of accounting and atoning to do, none of which will advance humanity in the slightest.  Even our most vociferous race-baiters would find it unpalatable.  Nevertheless, if they want to go that route — that is, alternately charging and compensating current generations for slavery hundreds or thousands of years old on the basis that slavery is an original sin that involves the collective responsibility of entire races of people, then who owes what to whom — and on a related note, do the people that ended slavery get a pass on reparations?

The word “slave” itself gives a clue to that institutions non-African foundations. The word “slave” is a derivation of “Slav” — as in the Slavic people who were enslaved in such number by European warlords towards the end of the Dark Ages and for the better half of the following millennium that their very name came to be identified with “slavery.”  So can anyone with some Slavic blood get in on this reparations deal? Do they get to reach into the pockets of the Germans, Italians and Celts?

The Romans regularly took slaves as they marched across Europe and into the Middle East. If Europeans, Britons, and North Africans could trace their lineage back two millennia, probably everyone of European ancestry could find an ancestor enslaved by the Romans. Then there were the Mongols and Tartars who enslaved an estimated 3,000,000 people from Poland, Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Mongols have the economy today to grant large scale reparations. Maybe the Poles and Russians can hit them up for some free yurts?

What of the Jews? The Old Testament makes clear that they owned slaves and made slaves of other tribes in the Middle East. But the Jews may have an out. The Jews themselves were enslaved, during various times, by the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, and the Romans. So can the Jews just tell whomever they owe to pick up the IOU’s in Cairo, Baghdad, Athens, and Rome, and then call it even?

Now how about this for a question?  If reparations are to be based on race or skin color, what do blacks owe to people of British, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish or Italian ancestry.  Many were enslaved by African and Arab Islamic pirates who for centuries made raids to capture white Europeans as slaves. The Africans would also enslave the crews of any ships they captured — including American ships (and thus two of our earliest wars as a young nation, The First and Second Barbary Wars):

Reports of Barbary raids and kidnappings of those in Italy, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, Scotland as far north as Iceland exist from between the 16th to the 19th centuries. It is estimated that between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by pirates and sold as slaves during this time period. Famous accounts of Barbary slave raids include a mention in the Diary of Samuel Pepys and a raid on the coastal village of Baltimore, Ireland, during which pirates left with the entire populace of the settlement.

One and a quarter million Western Europeans enslaved by Africans during the time frame slavery in America was also in practice? To put this into perspective, note that only an estimated 645,000 Africans were sold by fellow Africans into slavery, then imported into the United States, and that includes during the colonial era. That means that Africans enslaved nearly two times as many whites as did whites in America import Africans as slaves.

Moreover, those European whites enslaved by the Africans never had the benefit of Africans rising up in a civil war to end their slavery.  Indeed, most of the male European slaves were worked to death and had no opportunity to pass on their genetic lineage to people alive today.  Regardless, does this mean that all people of African origin are morally culpable for enslaving whites? Can people of white European stock get two times the reparations from people of African origin today? Taking the reasoning of those pushing reparations for blacks to its logical conclusion, the answer to both questions should be “Yes.”

When our nation was founded in 1776, slavery was a normal institution throughout the world.  It involved people of every race.  As to North America, a distinct minority of people on the continent owned black slaves, but that distinct minority included not merely white Europeans, but a significant number of free Blacks and American Indians as well.  Moreover, as to the supply side of the African slave trade, the people capturing and selling blacks into slavery were rarely, if ever, white Europeans. Instead, the hunters and traders were almost invariably African blacks and Arab Muslims.

Abolition, America’s Founding and the “sin” of owning slaves

Before 1776, wherever slavery was extinguished, it fell due to changed economic or geopolitical circumstance, not because of morality.  The Romans did not stop enslaving people of other cultures because they recognized that slavery was immoral, but rather because, after 476 A.D., they no longer had the power to conquer other nations. The Vikings did not stop enslaving Northern Europeans because they recognized that slavery was immoral, but because, by circa 1060 A.D., they stopped having the advantage in strength and tactics to conduct seaborne raids against lightly protected coastal European kingdoms.  The Arab Muslims did not stop enslaving African blacks or European whites because of morality, but because . . . well, they have never stopped.

The very first notable moral challenge to slavery came about in 1381 A.D. during the Peasant’s Revolt in England. The Black Death — which landed in England in 1348 and killed roughly a third to a half of the population — had vastly changed England’s economic conditions. With few workers available for a a surfeit of empty, arable land, feudalism no longer made economic sense. The serfs, who were effectively slaves under feudalism, supported by a surprising number of nobles and clerics, rebelled to end their bondage.

The ideological leader of the rebellion was Father John Ball, a priest who preached that slavery was an abomination to Christianity and that all humans, as descendants alike of Adam and Eve, should be treated equally. The revolt, like all of history’s other slave revolts (but for the Haitian Revolution of 1804), was brutally suppressed, though the changed economic conditions in England led to serfdom’s natural extinguishment by 1500 A.D.

It took another three centuries after King Richard II had Father Ball hanged, drawn, and quartered before the world’s first sustained, and ultimately successful, moral challenge to slavery appeared — and it arose out of Christianity during the Enlightenment.  The first person of note making the argument was the physician and philosopher, John Locke.  In his 1689 book Two Treatises of Government, Locke set forth a Judaeo-Christian based philosophy of government that was adopted as the foundation of our Constitutional government.  Locke, in Chapter IV of his 2nd Treatise, applied  his arguments to slavery and concluded that chattel slavery was unsupportable.  All men, after all, are created equal by God, with the same rights to life, liberty and property.  He therefore concluded that no one can take legitimately and permanently take away those rights.

The Mennonites and Quakers in Pennsylvania next picked up the Judaeo-Christian moral argument against slavery. These were the first stirrings of the abolition movement, but the Mennonites and Quakers always a small fraction of the colonists.  The abolition movement picked up steam among other religions in America and Britain with the First Great Awakening, a Protestant religious revival movement of the mid-18th century — though even there, it was only at the end of that movement that the leaders began fully and forcefully to come out against chattel slavery.  George Whitefield, the preacher who began the Great Awakening in the 1730’s, was himself a slave owner.   It remained for Rev. John Wesley, the final great name associated with the First Great Awakening, to unconditionally condemn chattel slavery in his 1774 pamphlet, Thoughts Upon Slavery.

The bottom line is that, at the time of the Revolutionary War, the movement to abolish slavery as immoral was based in the Judaeo-Christian religions, it was nascent and disorganized and, outside of the failed Peasant’s Revolt, it was unprecedented in world history.  Still, by the time the Revolution ended, it had wrought a profound change on some of the people most associated with the Revolution: Ben Franklin had became President of the nation’s first abolitionist organization; George Washington was privately calling for abolition of slavery, though he saw it as a state responsibility; and Thomas Jefferson calls for abolition were legendary, although he never had the courage to undermine his own economic situation which was predicated on an institution he understood was immoral.

Many of the other Founders also agreed that there were severe problems with chattel slavery and that it needed to be gradually abolished in America.  The reason for “gradual” abolition (as found in, for example, legislation Pennsylvania passed in 1780) was to create a window of time within which to educate slaves and their children and to teach them skills and professions that would enable formerly slaves to integrate smoothly into American civil society:

An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery . . . prescribed an end for slavery in Pennsylvania. It was the first act abolishing slavery in the course of human history to be adopted by a democracy. The Act prohibited further importation of slaves into the state, required Pennsylvania slaveholders to annually register their slaves (with forfeiture for noncompliance, and manumission for the enslaved), and established that all children born in Pennsylvania were free persons regardless of the condition or race of their parents. . . .  Pennsylvania’s “gradual abolition” . . . became a model for freeing slaves in other Northern states.

So it was that, a few years later, in 1787, when our Founders gathered together in Philadelphia to craft our Constitution, what they crafted was a document that did two things.  For all free Americans, they crafted a limited government of checks and balances that would best serve their needs, allowing for the people (not the Courts or the President by fiat) to make changes to the Constitution as need arose.

As to slavery, the Founders crafted a document that set the seeds for its gradual abolition.  Those who supported slavery wanted to see the institution protected against government intervention.  To that end, they wanted to count all slaves in each census to maximize the slave state’s representatives in the House.  They did not get their wishes.

Those Founders opposing slavery limited those items in the Constitution.  They allowed for the federal government to outlaw importation of slaves after a period of twenty years (Art. 1, Sec. 9) and, as to apportionment to the House of Representatives, they limited the power of the slave states by providing that each slave only be counted as 3/5 of a person (Art. 1, Sec. 2).  Moreover, many of the same people involved crafting the Constitution in 1787, including George Washington, also passed the 1787 Northwest Ordinance, then reaffirmed it under the new Congress of the United States in 1789:

[The Ordinance] created the Northwest Territory, the first organized territory of the United States, from lands beyond the Appalachian Mountains, between British North America and the Great Lakes to the north and the Ohio River to the south. The upper Mississippi River formed the territory’s western boundary. . . . [The ordinance prohibited slavery and indentured servitude in the territory, thus having the practical effect of] establishing the Ohio River as the geographic divide between slave states and free states from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River (an extension of the Mason–Dixon line). It also helped set the stage for later political conflicts over slavery at the federal level in the 19th century until the Civil War.

Among those opposed to slavery before 1794, several years after the Constitution came into being, the general belief was that, just as slavery ended in other parts of the world due to changing economic conditions (see the discussions about Roman and feudal slavery, above), so too would it end in the new American states.  The most famous of those holding such a belief was George Washington, who found that the cost of maintaining slaves was becoming prohibitive by the latter half of the 18th century.  What they could not foresee was that Eli Whitney would invent the cotton gin in 1794, making slavery profitable again in the South.

Fast forward to today and you have the Left relentlessly portraying our Founding Fathers as uniquely sinful for having practiced slavery, even though they were no more sinful in that respect than anyone else in the history of the world, including blacks themselves.  Moreover, you have people who wish to destroy our society relentlessly trashing America and the Constitution on the grounds that these white slave owners wrote the Constitution.

It requires incredible historic ignorance to condemn our Founding Fathers for owning slaves in the 18th century.  To the contrary, while by today’s standards we see their ownership of slaves as an atrocity, those are today’s standards and not applicable to other historical periods — unless you are a neomarxist proggie who wants to claim faux victimhood status.  The truth is that it was the colonists alive at our Founding who, for the first time in all of human history, began to battle successfully against the institution of slavery as immoral and incompatible with the Jewish and Christian religions.

Post-1800 history of slavery and modern perceptions of the institution

The abolition movement that grew during the 19th century in the American colonies was, in many ways, part and parcel of the abolitionist movement then growing “across the pond” in the era’s great superpower, Britain.  By 1810, both Britain and America had declared it unlawful to import slaves and began policing the high seas to end the international slave trade.  Britain did the lion’s share in forcing both African nations and nations within Britain’s trading ambit that employed slave labor to end their practices while the U.S. fought two wars to end the scourge of Muslim piracy on the high seas.

Although modern Britons like to take the high ground about the lack of slavery in Britain as compared to America (forgetting that they brought it to America), it wasn’t until 1833 that Britain finally and fully ended slavery within its existing colonies — a decision again made easy, not just because of the changed moral climate in the Western world, but also by the fact that, in non-cotton growing regions, slavery was no longer an economically viable system. Only thirty-two years later, America decided against slavery by the bloodiest and costliest combat ever seen in this country. That war destroyed the wealth of the slave-owning South for over 100 years and was so costly to the North that, as economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out:

Sometimes it is claimed that slavery made a great contribution to the development of the American economy, from which other Americans benefitted, so that reparations would be like back pay. Although slaveowners benefitted from slavery, it is by no means obvious that there were net benefits to the economy as a whole, especially when you subtract the staggering costs of the Civil War.

A few final comments on the history of slavery and the people — white Europeans of Britain and America — who decided that it must end once and for all and then put that decision into effect. If one listens to the race hustlers pushing for reparations today, it is as if the end of slavery, African or other, came about by magic and at no cost.  No credit is given those who ended slavery, nor is any mention made of the “staggering costs” they incurred in both blood and gold.  To the contrary, in many cases, members of our modern progressive left do their utmost to downplay any credit due white Europeans of Britain and America for their role in ending African slavery. Moreover, having coopted for the Democrats the “civil rights” moniker, although the Democrats fought civil rights tooth-and-nail, they’ve successfully muddled history to the point that many believe that “Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat fighting slave-owning Republicans in the South.”

Critically, the progressive left has successfully written out of history Christianity’s and Judaeo-Christian theology’s utterly central role in creating and driving the abolitionist movement that ended slavery in the West. The only Christian voices that today’s progressives cite continuously are those in the pre-civil war Deep South who tried to raise competing theological arguments to counter the Christian-based abolition movement.  For instance, last year, when then Attorney General cited Romans 13 for the proposition that the Trump administration was dutifully executing its responsibilities in enforcing immigration law, WaPo found some progressive donkey’s ass to point out that Romans 13 was one of the Biblical passages people in the pre-Civil War South used to defend slavery.  That statement, standing alone and without all of the applicable context, is so false and defamatory as to be beyond obscene.  It not only ignores Christianity’s role in creating and driving the abolitionist movement, it gives the impression that the Christian religion uniquely supported African slavery.  Truly, screw these people.

So successful has the left been in its all-encompassing slander against Christianity that many associate the Christian religion with the institution of slavery itself rather than with the first and only moral rejection of slavery in world history.  Thus, for the past fifty years, we’ve seen American blacks increasingly reject Christianity in favor of either secularism or Islam.  Both are galling, but it is the latter that is galling beyond measure.

Why, you might ask?

Well, the Islamic faith explicitly embraces slavery as an approved practice.  Mohammed was a slave owner and the Koran permits enslaving any and all non-MuslimsNo race of people suffered more enslavement than black Africans at the hands of Arab Muslims.  And while white Europeans and Americans ended slavery in their lands well over a century ago, instances of Muslim enslavement of non-Muslims still occur in the modern day, from the sex slaves of ISIS to the slave markets of Libya to the al Qaeda controlled territories in Mali.

Summary

The people pushing for reparations for slavery focus solely on African slaves in the West. By doing so, they take slavery wholly out of context for both American and world history.  They further ignore the fact that white Americans of European ancestry fought and died in the bloodiest and costliest war (both in terms of lives and money) in our nation’s history in order to free blacks on American soil. I, personally, having never enslaved anyone — and being aware of history — feel no guilt for the slavery that occurred in America, nor do I look upon blacks in America today as victims because some of them have progenitors who were slaves in this country at some point in the distant past, well beyond living memory.

The post Reparations: The Holy Grail Of Identity Politics (Part II) appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Wonderful Headlines! But Alas it is the Wrong Sanders!

I have to admit;  These are wonderful headlines:

Sanders Gains Ground in Iowa and New Hampshire

and:

Poll Finds One State Where Sanders Could Beat Clinton In A Primary

I would like to report that sanity is returning to the Democratic Party but alas it is the Other Sanders:  Senator Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s independent socialist.  But I would not laugh at Sanders:  He’s the real deal and that authenticity and integrity is a refreshing thing in most elections.  He could win.  (I am quick to say I thoroughly disagree with him!)

The Democrat that SHOULD win but almost certainly won’t is former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.  The chattering class is mad at Webb for supporting the Confederate Flag.  Here’s the FB post in its entirety:

This is an emotional time and we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War. The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.

But we should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slave holders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and that many non-slave holders fought for the South. It was in recognition of the character of soldiers on both sides that the federal government authorized the construction of the Confederate Memorial 100 years ago, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

This is a time for us to come together, and to recognize once more that our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of mutual respect.

That seems quite reasonable to me.  Webb is not endorsing the flag (I would never fly it out of respect to my African-American brethern and sistern but I would defend the right to fly the flag) but is saying there are deeper issues involved in the discussion of the Civil War.

It would be neat to see Webb win the nomination just for MSNBC to choke on the idea:  The Dems just nominated a guy who WORKED for Ronald Reagan and said Ronulus Magnus was his hero when he ran in the primary for Senate.


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders