Abolition and its cultured despisers

Joseph Loconte, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is the editor of The End of Illusions: Religious Leaders Confront Hitler’s Gathering Storm.

There were fearful looks as a lone protestor disrupted the otherwise solemn service at Westminster Abbey marking the 200th anniversary of the Parliamentary act to abolish the slave trade. “This is an insult to us,” shouted Toyin Agbetu, leader of an organization pushing African-British identity, before he was led away by security guards. “You are a disgrace to our ancestors.” Attendees—including the Queen, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams—seemed stunned and anguished by the unscripted spasm of rage.

It was, in fact, an entirely predictable episode. The clamoring for apologies and reparations for slavery over recent weeks—stoked by steady coverage from the BBC—made Tuesday’s Westminster debacle almost inevitable. The greater sadness, though, is that the bitter recriminations deprecate the decency and valor of what Britain accomplished by ending its part in human trafficking.

Last week, for example, London Mayor Ken Livingstone dismissed the contribution of parliamentarian William Wilberforce in defeating the slave trade and demanded national contrition. Livingstone called on all Londoners to repent of their “squalid” evasion of guilt. In an op-ed for The Guardian, the mayor summoned all residents to join him in “formally apologizing for London’s role in this monstrous crime.”

As wags here put it, Mayor Livingstone has much to apologize for (see this excellent 18 Doughty Street video) —his broken promises on taxes, embrace of communist thugs Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, and alliance with Islamic militants—but slavery isn’t on the list. Nevertheless, at a moment of national remembrance, he inspired a new round of BBC programs devoted to the question of apologies and reparations.

Anglican leader John Sentamu used the BBC One Sunday program (evidently he was not in church) to call on the government to apologize. The second most senior cleric in the Church of England told his interviewer that Britain “should have the sense of saying we are very sorry and we have to put the record straight.” (Several months ago, in fact, Tony Blair called Britain’s role in the slave trade “profoundly shameful,” and earlier this month expressed “deep sorrow” for its support of the institution.)

Meanwhile, activist groups and politicians ratcheted up demands that government payments be made to the descendants of slaves. After debating a reparations advocate on BBC 24, Baroness Caroline Cox warned the House of Lords: “I hope that we will not allow the celebration of the year of [Wilberforce’s] achievement to be a condemnation of our failures.”

That hope appears to be fading. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking to BBC’s Radio 4, seemed inclined toward a scheme of faith-based compensation. “I haven’t got a quick solution to that,” said Rowan Williams. “I think we need to be asking the question and working at it.” In his address at Westminster Abbey, the archbishop stressed the economic debt that modern-day Britain incurred from its exploitation of African slaves. “We, who are heirs of the slave-owning and slave-trading nations of the past, have to face the fact that our historic prosperity was built in large part on this atrocity.”

This argument, mouthed endlessly on BBC outlets, contains a certain emotional appeal. Yet it is deeply misleading. It elides the fact that Britain’s stability and prosperity are rooted in its long-standing commitment to democracy, human rights, and economic freedom. Equally important, this attitude neglects the moral leadership—and costly resolution—of an earlier generation of statesmen and religious figures.

Thankfully, the explicitly Christian dimension to the story—the efforts of Wilberforce and his Clapham Sect—is getting renewed attention. Films such as Amazing Grace, which opened last weekend in London, and new Wilberforce biographies by Eric Metaxas (a New York buddy of mine) and Conservative MP William Hague make the Christian inspiration for abolition compellingly clear. And, to be fair, the BBC Online also takes note of Wilberforce’s evangelical faith.

Yet lost amid the din of apology talk are some provocative historical facts. Britain not only was the first major European country to criminalize the slave trade after 1807. In the words of William Hague, the British government “lobbied, bullied, and bribed other nations” to get in line with the new policy. Between 1810 and 1850, the British Navy freed nearly 120,000 slaves—an effort that proved hazardous to the officers and seamen involved. “It was the Royal Navy who bravely enforced the abolition,” Hague told members of Parliament in a little-noticed speech last week. “And so the moral case, once made and enshrined in the law, was upheld over the coming decades through a commitment to international diplomacy and the application of British force.”

There’s a lesson for politicians and clerics alike: Great social evils are not defeated by mere talk. In the case of abolition, new laws demanded not only diplomacy but the threat—and the use—of military power. Without it, the proclamations and legislative victories might have come to nothing.

To this observer, many Britons seem to harbor a deep and nagging guilt—even self-loathing—for their days of empire and the brutalities that sustained it. Americans could probably benefit, at least on occasion, from a stronger sense of shame. But, facing the post-9/11 threat of Islamic fascism, Britain (and America) cannot afford to indulge in self-flagellation. There are too many cheerless voices eager to demean British identity for their own craven reasons.

This danger is not new; Great Britain faced similar criticisms during another season of national testing. In the darkest hours of 1941—as the British people stood alone against the Nazi juggernaut—a fresh generation of cynics and appeasers condemned the nation for its historical sins. American observer Lynn Harold Hough, a gifted preacher and theologian, took umbrage at them. Hough’s critique, published in April of 1941, is worth quoting at length:

“He [the cynic] reminds us of every evil thing he can find in the history of England since the Norman Conquest…After his best efforts, Britain remains a dull grey against the bitter black of Hitler’s Germany. The history of parliamentary democracy is ignored. The broadening liberties of the British Empire are forgotten. The word imperial is used in such a fashion as to black out intelligence and to set every fact in a false perspective. Nobody—least of all the British—would deny the dark spots in British history. But they do not represent the defining matters in the British tradition.”

Great Britain’s audacious decision to forcibly end the slave trade is part of the uplifting narrative of that tradition. This American, at least, is grateful for that supremely moral act and the freedoms it promoted, on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.

Advertisements

42 Responses to Abolition and its cultured despisers

  1. Michael McGowan says:

    Never underestimate the Stockholm Syndrome which has long-afflicted the UK’s opinion-forming classes.

  2. Peter Hatchet says:

    Very well said Joseph.

    The BBC have acted disgracefully, as usual.

    They are completely obsessed with multicuturalism, particularly race politics and seem to have an inate hostility towards conservative attitudes towards such issues. They seem to think attacking anything historically British is the way to endere ethnic minorities towards modern Britain. Robin Aitken confirms as much in his book.

    Clearly they thought the best way to address the 200th anniversary of the Slave Trade was to focus on the evils, inhumanity and culpability of Britain for the trade itself – rather than the positives of what came out of it. They are STILL posting headline articles on reparations/apologies/guilt etc. on their website today.

    The only decent BBC programme to address the issue was “Moral Maze” on Radio 4 last week (presented by Michael Buerk) where the excellent Melannie Phillips totally obliterated the other panel members arguments for apologies and reparations. She gave a very good defence of the positive role Britain paid in defeating Slavery after the 1807 act had passed.

  3. Denise says:

    This is utterly ludicrous. No one alive in Britain or the US today is guilty of slave trade and no one alive today living in Britain or the US is a victim of slave trade unless they have recently migrated from a third world country that still practices slavery in which they were either a slave or slave trader. How come no one is demanding apologies or reparations from those countries? Slavery has been long gone in Western society for many years now and it’s high time the self loathing and self pity ended. Dwelling on something that happened hundreds of years ago at the hands of people who are long dead and gone accomplishes nothing. We are responsible for our own actions. We, today, are not guilty; therefore, we owe nothing. It’s also important to note that Africans are not the only people on the planet to have ever endured slavery. It’s happened to people of many different races, including white people, throughout ancient history. Bottom line is it’s time to get over it and move on.

  4. Gildas says:

    The Royal Navy’s use in the Wars Against the Slave Trade would be considered illegal under International Law today.

    Which is just one of the reasons that I consider International Law illegitimate and not worthy of any respect whatsoever.

  5. Peter Hatchet says:

    Denise: “No one alive in Britain or the US today is guilty of slave trade and no one alive today living in Britain or the US is a victim of slave trade unless they have recently migrated from a third world country that still practices slavery in which they were either a slave or slave trader. How come no one is demanding apologies or reparations from those countries?”

    Because they want some money.

    We’re rich, they’re poor – hence the lack of interest.

  6. Peter says:

    The Archbishop of York has quite rightly asked those people criticizing Great Britain for the slave trade to address their ire to the African chiefs who sold their kith & kin for trinkets. These same Africans had been selling slaves to the Arabs for centuries, and it still goes on in Africa.
    A few points to bear in mind:

    1) The slaves sold to us in Africa were often captured tribal enemies who faced death unless they could be sold into slavery. Had they not been sold to us, they would probably have been killed or sold to the Arabs. Generally speaking, negro slaves in the Middle East were castrated – ours were not. On balance, therefore, we were doing the slaves a favour by buying them.
    Thus our slaves have plenty of descendants in the Americas. However, in the Middle East, where more were sold over the last three thousand years, there are very few descendants .

    2) There is nothing in the bible about slavery. Christ knew about it because slavery was part of the social system in the ancient world. He didn’t apparently condemn it, which he would have done if it was so offensive to God.

    3) George Washington owned 3000 slaves. Most slaves were well looked after by their owners because they were assets, and performed valuable tasks to keep the owner in business.
    It was not in the owners’ interests to treat his slaves badly.

    4) The notion of human rights has been invented by man and they are of recent origin. Slavery is/was a political and economic condition, and arguably many slaves were better off as slaves than killed or left to starve. When our notions of “human rights” started to develop in the 17th century, it is remarkable that in just over a 100 years, Great Britain abolished the trade and enforced it through naval supremacy. The descendants of slaves should be praising this country and William Wilberforce. In so many ways, in so many countries, the Empire was a force for justice and liberty. We outlawed heathen practices where we could ( including thuggee and suttee in India), and at independence bequeathed all our colonies a civilised order of parliamentary government, an independent judiciary, an incorrupt civil service, an efficient local administration, a healthy economy, and peace through the rule of law. Never in the history of man has an Empire been so benign and paternalistic, and yet so misrepresented.

    It is a tragedy that independence, particularly in Africa, has resulted in most of our colonies there reverting to the pre-imperial savage world of war, starvation and slavery – this is what the chattering classes and anti-slavery nutters should be focussing on.

    Are these “inconvenient truths”? I believe they are.

  7. Peter says:

    Ref mine above – there is a typo – George Washington had 300 slaves not 3000 slaves

  8. Jawn says:

    Slavery under Jewish law was generally for a maximum of seven years. Also it was for payment, used by many to pay their way out of debt. The Bible doesn’t discuss slavery in the way we’re talking about it. Jesus certainly wasn’t condoning it.

  9. Jawn says:

    Slavery was a political reality, as is assassination. I’d rather die a poor free man than be fattened as a slave, because slavery is not life, it’s something else. To say otherwise is to go against what every human instinctively knows, that they’re meant to have control of their own lives: if this were not so, then prison would not be considered a punishment.

  10. Peter says:

    Ref Jawn’s comment above. Jewish law may have been more enlightened than others , but slavery underpinned Ancient Greece, Persia and the Roman world generally ,and in all peripheral civilizations and their successors ( Ottoman empire etc). In most of these civilizations, the 7 year concept did not apply.
    What I am saying is that slavery is older than recorded history in nearly every culture. If slavery was really inimical to the Christian message, then it would have featured as such somewhere in the New Testament, and it does not.

  11. rich says:

    One small country also took steps against slavery and the slave trade in that era. The country, which was not a world power, was located on the east coast of North America.

    In 1787 Its national legislature passed the Northwest Ordinance which banned slavery in new Midwest territories that would become the states of Ohio, Michigan,Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. This was in addition to the prohibition of slavery in Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine by their state constitutions and court interpretations of them, notably the Quock Walker case in Massachusetts ( which echoed the earlier case concerning slavery in the British Isles, In Re Somerset.)

    In 1789, the national constitution of that small nation made a compromise on the issue of the slave trade. The compromise was that the slave trade could not be abolished before 1808.

    After 1808 that small nation joined the UK in prohibiting the slave trade, but did not have the naval power to do what the UK did.

    In both the UK and the small nation on the east coast of North America religious beliefs were the primary motivation of he persons advocating the abolition of slavery and the slave trade.

  12. Knemon says:

    “There is nothing in the bible about slavery.”

    There’s actually a lot in the bible about slavery.

  13. Jawn says:

    This isn’t an article about the Bible. That aside, Jesus as far as I understand was talking to the Jews, speaking inside a Jewish culture. He was not addressing ‘Gentile’ traditions, as they were all seen to be blasphemous by the ruling elite anyway. Notice he also doesn’t condemn the Roman occupation, nor political violence. He’s addressing Jewish issues of righteousness.

  14. Dan says:

    Had it not been for Britain, and later with assistance from America slavery would still be around so the idea that the West should recieve the total condemnation for a horrid institution that it outlawed is as stupid as it is ignorant.

  15. Peter says:

    If Knemon can produce any sayings by Jesus in the New Testament against slavery , then I would be very grateful.

  16. Dennis says:

    I find it hilarious and all too predictable that all the esteemed persons who have contributed to this discussion have voiced opinions against the need for an apology for slavery. The attempt to use intellectual arguments on the issue of slavery in jewish law, slavery in the bible, the notion of human rights in european society, African collusion with slave traders is truly pathetic when the issue at hand is primarily an issue of human morality/immorality and remorse.
    I would like to point out that it is generally not expected that any person involved in a criminal act to admit the offence and display remorse unless coerced by the threat of the application of negative sanctions.
    With this in mind I can understand the difficulties a nation and it’s people involved in and profiting greatly from genocidal agression commited over a period of centuries may suffer to acknowledge and show remorse for their actions.
    As the continent of Africa currently lacks any credible sanctions it could use to coerce the Great Britons into a formal apology or God forbid the payment of reparations, it leaves the African diaspora only one option, the passage of time and the memories that are passed down the generations.
    I can also appreciate the futility of apologising for slavery when the gesture will have to be repeated on the anniversary of each act of murderous aggresion perpetrated by persons originating from this small windy island.
    Where would the apologies stop? Colonialism, Apartheid, genocide of the Aborigines, genocide of the Native Americans..in 100years or so when the history of this period in time is being discussed we may even have to apologise to the Iraqi people for the destruction being wrought on their peoples with our military support.
    I would also like to add that had the aggression aginst the African continent and its peoples ended with slavery it may have been easier over time to consign it to history, however the agression and exploitation of the people and natural resources continued with the colonisation of vast swathes of the continent, followed by the sale of arms for profit to and collusion with corrupt post-independence governments, the economic exploitation of Africa is a subject in itself.
    I think when the issues are viewed from that perspective the demand for an apology for slavery seems quite restricted.
    In closing i would like to remind all who read this that the world changes over time and peoples change over time, nations develop and nations decay. Empires come and empires go, Britain once owned vast swathes of the mighty America now we are a nation desperate to carry favour in the ‘special relationship’with America by sheepishly following whenever Uncle Sam decrees that someone has opposed their national interests. China was historically controlled from Europe yet now the world looks at the economic and military build up of the chinese state with the question. Is It peaceful? If we have any apologies to make regarding the boxer rebelion, i suggest we get them in a timely manner.
    So it will come to pass that the equlibrium of power in the world will shift. Ask yourself the question If the balance of power at a later date shifts to the populous continent of Africa and it’s diaspora, Will it be too late for our decendants to apologise?

  17. Dennis says:

    My sincerest apologies for the spelling errors in my reply posted above..it was written in haste with the content above the composition and grammar. I shall endeavour not to repeat this mistake as it maybe used to colour the validity of my opinion.

  18. JF says:

    Dennis, I categorically reject the premises of your argument. Slavery ended 150 years ago in the US. My great grandparents immigrated to the US and had nothing to do with the slave trade, so I have no personal responsibility for it. Yet society has taken upon itself the burden of affirmative action and preferences for minority-owned businesses in an attempt to make up for these ancient transgressions. So be it, but keep in mind that no living African-American has suffered from slavery, either.

    As for Africa, despite its wealth of oil and diamonds, it has failed to develop economically. So the West has poured tens of billions of dollars of aid down the toilet in a selfless attempt to help Africa, to no effect. No, it’s Africa’s fault that Africa isn’t developed. Why are all the former European colonies in Asia doing so well even after enduring the same resource stripping?

    No reparations.

  19. Craig says:

    Rich –

    Don’t forget that the one small country to which you refer fought a bitter war over slavery which took 600,000 lives. 600,000 lives to free 4 million slaves.

    Don’t tell Brits or Americans we haven’t paid our “debt.” It’s been paid, with usurious interest.

  20. Craig says:

    Had it not been for Britain, and later with assistance from America slavery would still be around so the idea that the West should recieve the total condemnation for a horrid institution that it outlawed is as stupid as it is ignorant.

    Folks, it’s all about hatred. That’s all and everything. These people – the people who blame Britain and America for everything – are simply just filled with hate and rage. We can never do anything right. Show them they’re wrong – hold the evidence right up to their faces – and they’ll still deny it; still spit venom and bile for all they’re worth.

    Who’s filled with hate? Look at the countries filled with crime; where democracy scarcely exists; where people leave all behind and jump on rickety boats and risk their lives to escape. THEY come to OUR countries fleeing such circumstances, and then call US bigots.

    What they hate most is the fact that we do it right, and they don’t.

  21. Dennis says:

    Hi Craig
    I would agree with you, if we were not supplying the weapons that the people in rickety boats are running from.
    I would agree with you if our multinationals were not clamouring to finance & suppport their dictators in the hope of exploiting their natural resources.

    You may do it right(whatever it means) but record number of people are leaving this country for a new life abroad, they may leave on a comfortable BA jet but they are leaving because it isn’t quite as right as you would like to believe.
    Have you visited Hull, Sheffield, Glasgow….Half the population of these depressed places would love the opportunity to hop on a rickety boat and make a new life somewhere else.
    Are you daring to suggest that crime does not exist in this country?
    Democracy, thats laughable..because you have an apparently free vote you think you have democracy.
    I would refer you to review the application of Orders In Council in relation to the Islanders of Diego Garcia and what the High Court had to say.

  22. Dennis says:

    Craig, I may have erred in presuming you are from the British Isles. If i did I apologise and retract any Geo-specific contention.

  23. Dennis says:

    RF
    There you go again with the flawed superiority complex so endemic in even descendants of the simplest of European peasants.. Who or what invested you with the right to deem the complaints of the African diaspora as ancient transgressions?

    How about the effect of the JIm Crow laws? 1876-1965.
    They were a direct legacy of slavery and several generations who suffered the effects are still alive today. Underfunded education leading to low economic advancement, underfunded healthcare leading to low life expectancy, discrimination in the criminal justice system leading to diproportionate sentencing..the list could go on and on.

    When they arrived, did they partake in the cleansing of the native Americans? or had the dirty work been done by the time they arrived to enjoy the fruits of the ‘new world’?

  24. JF says:

    Dennis, if I believed the culture of the US to be inferior, I would leave. I would expect you to do the same with the UK–after all, actions speak louder than words.

    Who invested me with the right to dismiss the complaints of the “African diaspora”? My tax dollars did. If the African diaspora expects me to pay reparations, they can expect me to oppose them. Who gave them the right to criticize me for transgressions that neither I nor my ancestors were responsible for?

    The legacy of Jim Crow has long been addressed by the Civil Rights laws enacted in the 1960s. I think it’s rather racist of you to assume that since someone’s father or grandfather suffered discrimination, that this person cannot achieve anything in life without government help. African-Americans head some of the largest and most successful companies in the US, have served as Secretary of State, and indeed, have run for President of the United States. You and the other supporters of reparations are the racists.

    Regarding the cleansing of native Americans: I did not participate, nor did my own ancestors participate.

    By the way, I acknowledge your condescension towards my “simple European peasant” ancestors. They and their kind are what made the United States the superpower it is today, while your elitist and self-loathing views are dragging Europe towards oblivion.

  25. Dan says:

    Dennis I have a few words for your elitist Europe hating agenda such as the following

    Tiamen Square
    No Free Speech in Russia

    Naturally enough since such facts contradict your self hating (or just bigoted since I don’t know what your ethnicity is) you chose to conveniently forget. Africa is the way it is because of native African misrule, and the Europeans were not the first or last to engage in slave trading in Africa which actually continues to this day despite massive efforts by Britain and the United States to end it.

    Yes I am a descendent of Peasants, or am I? How do you know I don’t have a Knight or a Bishop in my family tree? Afterall knighthoods where not uncommon in Medieval Europe, but what do you care calling people peasants makes you feel big now doesn’t it?

  26. Dennis says:

    RF
    I never once indicated that I personally advocate the payment of reparations and I reject your assertion that I am a racist. I am proud to be a British citizen and proud of the British people regardless of race.I will however not attempt to suggest that my country has no flaws created through historical injustices.

    As you assert that African-Americans head some of the largest and most successful companies in the US, I would dare to suppose that they also pay tax dollars and as such have a right to express their opinions on the subject of slavery

    With regard to the achievements of the civil rights legislation, I can only point you to the inequity of your current criminal justice system and it’s effect on the descendants of slavery.
    ‘Census data for 2000,which included a count of the number and race of all individuals incarcerated in the United States, reveals the dramatic racial disproportion of the incarcerated population in each state: the proportion of blacks in prison populations exceeds the proportion among state residents in every single state. In twenty states, the percent of blacks incarcerated is at least five times greater than their share of resident population. (Incarcerated America,Human Rights Watch, April 2003)

    With these figures in mind i suppose the best thing for you to say is that criminality is part of black society and it is the job of white dominated justice institutions to punish their genetic pre-disposition.

    I think the civil rights movement and the laws enacted were a poor substitute for real change. It was a noble but misguided cause, the movement had no real visionaries. Dr.King was a media creation with his ‘I have a dream’ speech. His true views in the later stages of his life advocated a significantly more radical view.
    He was demonstrating a frustration with the inability of mainstream US society to understand that their whole society was founded on the destruction and oppresion of their fellow men.

    I leave you with this quote from his later life

    “Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the 16th century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population.”

  27. Dennis says:

    Dan
    Have you seen any recent footage of any demonstration against the British or US governments which has required a police response. The truncheons and shields and helmets are just as oppressive as Russian or Chinese ones
    Communist sates were particularly defined by their pervasive,intrusive surveillance. The UK & USA are targeting their citizens on a scale unseen even in communist countries. RE: DNA databases
    I also hear they now regularly deliver ‘National Security Letters’ to compel US citizens to reveal private information and places a ‘gag’ on them revealing the nature of the letter issued against them.

    My etnicity should be of no consequence to you, my opinion is what you need to consider.

    As you seem to have taken umbrage to my comment about peasants, i would like to point out that I was merely stating a well known fact that the educated,landowning or business classes were the minority of the migrants to America or Australia.
    The majority of persons who left the British Isles and Europe were PEASANTS attempting to escape their lives of servitude, with the hope of owning land and prospering.
    I would suggest that you undertake a search of you geneology or accept and celebrate the vision of your peasant ancestors.

    I have had the courtesy to provide you with a reply..I would kindly request that we discuss the issues without the recourse to insults

  28. JF says:

    Dennis,

    Dr. King was certainly a flawed individual, and he was rather ignorant of world history, so his statements in that regard can be dismissed. He apparently wasn’t aware of the Yamato/Ainu issue in Japan or the Seljuks/Byzantine Greeks issue in the Ottoman Empire, to cite two of the most obvious examples of his ignorance. Let’s not dismiss the Arab genocide campaign in Africa, which you could blame for much of the continent’s troubles, but clearly choose not to. And the Arab slave trade was the most aggressive in history, but you prefer to focus on the West’s involvement. Nice.

    As for criminal statistics among African-Americans, I suspect that has more to do with socioeconomic status than race (i.e. all races in the lower strata are affected), but I will need to find the statistics for that. I don’t see evidence of racism in the jail statistics, however.

  29. Craig says:

    I would agree with you, if we were not supplying the weapons that the people in rickety boats are running from.
    I would agree with you if our multinationals were not clamouring to finance & suppport their dictators in the hope of exploiting their natural resources. – Dennis

    Dennis,

    What guns are they running from, precisely? No American company that I know of manufactures Kalashnikovs or anything similar. The Russians make the original, the Chinese make a version called the SKS. These are the weapons allegedly supplied by Americans. It is 70s & 80s Communist infiltration, and later Islamic militants, who have supplied the vast majority of weaponry to Africa. Western support was only to counter the revolutionaries.

    As for multinationals “financing their dictators” – these multinationals are providing investment, which provides something called “jobs,” which, more than anything, is what Africa needs. Shut down the copper industry, for example, and Zambia would starve. Zimbabwe has rotted internally not from corrupt Europeans but because the leader has decided to drive the white farmers out of business, placing millions on the brink of starvation.

    Corruption is the real problem, and that is of native origin. Zambia won’t let its own citizens adopt orphans because too many sexually abuse them or use them as slaves. Foreigners can’t adopt children from Cameroon because too many officials demand bribes to approve the paperwork.

    Todays Africans are poorer than their great-grandparents who “suffered” under colonialism. It is perhaps the only place in the world where the economy is contracting, not expanding.

    And drop the “legacy of Jim Crow and slavery” nonsense. The illegitimacy rate in America’s black community is north of 70%. BEFORE the end of Jim Crow it was less than 20%.

    As for the Indians? 95% of them perished from diseases from which they had no natural immunity. 12,000 years of isolation from the bulk of humanity tends to do that (40,000, in the case of Australian aborigines). When the Pilgrims arrived in Provincetown Harbor, for example, the entire area had been depopulated due not to “genocide” but from diseases left behind by English fishermen.

    If genocide was the plan, then why didn’t it work in India or Africa or China? Why did it – COINCIDENTALLY – only work in places where the natives had been isolated from the main flow humanity for millenia?

  30. Craig says:

    Most of the Africans criticizing the slave trade are not descendants of its victims. They are descendants of its perpetrators. Who gathered up the slaves for sale to the white traders? Not white Europeans, but Africans.

    Dennis – who’s running the British & American states? The same multiculturalist boneheads who have given us uncontrolled immigration, that’s who. Multiculturalism – the large-scale importation of peoples who don’t like their host societies, and who would do everything to undermine them – has led to the surveillance state.

    Don’t blame me. I didn’t want Muslims in Britain. I didn;t want them in America. You want to find who to blame? Look in the mirror.

  31. Craig says:

    The majority of persons who left the British Isles and Europe were PEASANTS attempting to escape their lives of servitude, with the hope of owning land and prospering. – Dennis

    The fact is that the Europeans who emigrated to the US were remarkably average as people. Peasants? Some were, many weren’t. There certainly wasn’t a lot of nobility, which is one reason America never accepted such titles (their Constitution explicitly forbids them). But not being noble isn’t the same as being a peasant. The only nobility that existed in any numbers were, ironically, French, many were Huguenots who fled after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

    You can’t read of the success of the Plymouth Pilgrims or Massachusetts Bay Puritans without appreciating how remarkably intelligent and educated they were. Between diplomacy and aggression, they managed to deftly outmaneuver the natives and survive as a minority in an unfamilar land.

    What emigrants did not have in Europe, regardless of status, was opportunity or freedom – the two things that drove such emigration.

  32. Kevin Sampson says:

    Dennis-

    “Who or what invested you with the right to deem the complaints of the African diaspora as ancient transgressions?”

    The fact that I’m being asked to apologize for it, that’s what. Which I have no intention of doing, by the way.

    “When they arrived, did they partake in the cleansing of the native Americans? or had the dirty work been done by the time they arrived to enjoy the fruits of the ‘new world’?”

    As a matter of fact, they did. See Wikipedia on Buffalo Soldiers.

  33. mamapajamas says:

    Dennis… re: “‘Census data for 2000,which included a count of the number and race of all individuals incarcerated in the United States, reveals the dramatic racial disproportion of the incarcerated population in each state: the proportion of blacks in prison populations exceeds the proportion among state residents in every single state.”

    It has already been pointed out that criminal behavior is more an artifact of poverty than race, and that among many of the black communities in the US, doing well in academics is berated as “acting white”.

    But there is one more angle that you are NOT considering when you point to a statistic and use it as a basis to smear an entire nation…

    The thing you aren’t considering is that to NOT arrest and incarcerate black criminals would leave them to plague their BLACK communities. Criminals almost always act against their own race. That is a fact. It is VERY well known that the FBI uses that very fact in their profiling work on serial killers. This is the reason a “hate crime” is regarded as an unusual situation that requires special handling… criminals acting against their own race is the norm.

    So I would be highly motivated to call YOU a bigot if you think that it’s OK to leave black criminals out victimizing black communities.

    Do you have NO compassion for the black crime victim?

  34. Dennis says:

    Mamapajamas
    – doing well in academics is berated as “acting white”.

    I do not live and have never studied in America, however I will suppose that the curriculum is primarily Eurocentric with a view of history and the world constructed from a Eurocentric perspective.
    In that respect I think the black people in America would benefit over time from developing their own mainstream schools, that could provide them with an Afrocentric view of history and the world.
    I have to add that this discourse can only make sense if we are forced to succumb to a view of society based on the assumption that the races of the world are in perpetual conflict. I do not subscribe to that view, but with that contention in mind. I ask
    What can be more destructive to a collective conciousness of a social group than relying on an education system that is constucted by an opposing social group institutionally racist?
    The primary function for education in the eurocentric world is not learning, but the provision of qualified persons who can contribute to the economy.
    For American education to help in the advance of Afro American social advancement it has to reflect an balanced understanding of their history guided by Afrocentric paradigms of thought.

    -(It is VERY well known that the FBI uses that very fact in their profiling work)

    I agree with you, regarding your contention that black people are the main victims of black crime.
    I however assert that the effect of the law enforcement agencies and justice departments being primarily and disproportionately staffed by white people allows racism to pervade. Profiling based on race is a source of negative policing trends and a significant factor in marginalising communities.
    In my humble opinion, the African diaspora spread around the world have proved to be a resiliant people who seem to cope with horrendous social problems and/or despotic oppresion on every continent they exist on. Visit any city in the world(with exceptions) and they shall invariably occupy the lowest ranks of the social strata.
    Left to their own devices they shall construct social groupings that reflect their rich and intellectual ancestry. I would ask you take the time to read about the University of Sankore at Timbuktu.

  35. Steevo says:

    “The primary function for education in the Eurocentric world is not learning, but the provision of qualified persons who can contribute to the economy.” Boy is that cynical if you’re referring to the US. Its not how I was taught. Not how everyone I’ve known – white, black, yellow and red have been taught. Personally it was reading, writing, arithmetic, some history, and a bunch of social study baloney.

    I don’t know what Eurocentric curriculum today in the US even means. Maybe when I was a kid but that’s too long ago with respect to the ongoing changes in our education establishment and definitely not how you’ve described. I’m under the impression now every significant historical black contribution is included and every significant white guy bad deed is included. Historical record for meaningful related events cannot be driven by race, Dennis.

    As for “perpetual conflict,” that’s not the reality in the US. Your media may want to paint the most bleak picture as no doubt they may with any and every problem in this country and/or you simply want to believe it, but the state of reality you seem to postulate does not exist. That doesn’t mean there aren’t problems but considering how many races and beliefs there are here no place in this world compares and, has done better with laws, civility and opportunity. There may always be problems and we will always work on them, period.

    “I however assert that the effect of the law enforcement agencies and justice departments being primarily and disproportionately staffed by white people allows racism to pervade. Profiling based on race is a source of negative policing trends and a significant factor in marginalising communities.” A significant factor? Again one heck of an assumption on your part, to a much more complicated problem. There may be the occasional example of an upset “community” which is more like a neighborhood or two, along with charlatan civic leaders exploiting the race card over an officer shooting a black suspect, but this is very much the exception than norm. Black communities want the police presence, white officers and black. With all that I watch and read skin color doesn’t make a hill of beans worth of difference. Good folks just wanna raise their families in an ordered environment free from the fear of crime.

    As far as profiling goes, if done properly its useful and necessary. Like so many things if abused its bad. You make a blanket assumption its bad because whitey is doing it. The typical realities: most gang-related crime is from people of color. Most but certainly not all. So you cruise through a neighborhood predominately black known for such activity and what do you do? You look for the typical… you look for the most likely. If you are in an area where Asian gang-related activity is known, again you look for the typical and most likely. Same in a predominantly white area of crime. And don’t you know black police officers, Asian police officers, Hispanic police officers ALL do the same? They’re not mulitcultural fools. They’re on the streets preventing crime by putting their hides on the line stopping the bad guys. They’d laugh at you.

    You are race driven in your perceptions of humanity Dennnis. And in your “humble” opinions, quite presumptive. I don’t mean to demean but I would suggest before you give your take on the big solutions to America’s big cultural problems, you spend your humble energies solving the basketcase in your own back yard. No problem if you wanna state opinions on what happens here, but you need some, humbling.

  36. Craig says:

    In that respect I think the black people in America would benefit over time from developing their own mainstream schools, that could provide them with an Afrocentric view of history and the world…What can be more destructive to a collective conciousness of a social group than relying on an education system that is constucted by an opposing social group institutionally racist? – Dennis

    As a Canadian temporarily living in the US, I can tell you that there are MANY such schools with “Afrocentric” curricula, and they do poorly. So do traditional school districts with large black student populations that are run by black administrators. Detroit, Memphis, Washington, D.C. and countless other cities have such systems.

    IF denial of a “collective group consciousness” does such harm, then why do Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese & Korean kids do so well compared to their white counterparts? Asian history isn’t taught in US schools much more than African history, but their self-esteem doesn’t seem to suffer much.

    Education has many purposes, but one is to teach people how to live in their own society. In the US & Canada, that society was almost entirely shaped by European values – political, cultural, scientific, and religious. That’s why the “Eurocentric” bias in education. It’s not that Ghana isn’t important in its own right, but historical developments in Ghana didn’t influence the US at all.

    So what’s your counterargument? That the US and Canada and Europe therefore have to completely reshape ourselves to include African or Asian values? Sorry, but no. I couldn’t go to China or Ghana and say that. Those immigrants choose to live here, and they’re doing much better here than they were in their home countries, and if they don’t like it they can go back.

    Left to their own devices they shall construct social groupings that reflect their rich and intellectual ancestry.

    Left to their own devices they seem to have high tolerance for crime and corruption. What country – not university – in Africa would you point to as such a model?

    I have to add that this discourse can only make sense if we are forced to succumb to a view of society based on the assumption that the races of the world are in perpetual conflict. I do not subscribe to that view, but with that contention in mind.

    Well, many races are in perpetual conflict. Inequality seems to always produce such conflict, and inequality seems to go hand in hand with race.

    Aside from the financial disparities, the fact is that the various races spent tens of thousands of years in relative isolation from each other. This means that different genes were often selected in different environments. As sure as skin color varies, behavioural preferences can vary dramatically from group to group. When groups have different social expectations – social expectations encoded in our DNA – that can lead to high levels of conflict.

    This is not to say that complete segregation is necessary, by any means. But it is to say that the multicultist ideal, where a society is 20% black, 20% Asian, 20% white, etc., all holding hands and singing in perfect harmony, is probably – no, certainly – all but impossible. It is preferrable that one group remain dominant, or the invariable result will be high levels of conflict.

    Psychology and sociobiology have proven that selective pressures are as influential on behavioural characteristics as they are on physical ones. Most species of owls and bats are nocturnal, for example. If you see a bat flying around in the day it is probably rabid. Preferences for daytime or nighttime are behavioural AND genetic.

  37. mamapajamas says:

    Dennis… re: “I do not live and have never studied in America, however I will suppose that the curriculum is primarily Eurocentric with a view of history and the world constructed from a Eurocentric perspective.”

    Yes, it is VERY clear that you do not live in and have never studied in America. Nor do you understand what I was saying.

    I was NOT talking about subjects such as history or anthropology which most definitely ARE Eurocentric… for good reason, I might add… and that is another problem which I will address after my second quote from you.

    I’m talking about maths and sciences being the subjects the blacks in the ghettos complain about “acting white”. It is not “black enough” to be interested in maths or sciences. That is a problem in the ghetto and in the hip-hop culture more specifically.

    Dennis… re: “In that respect I think the black people in America would benefit over time from developing their own mainstream schools, that could provide them with an Afrocentric view of history and the world.”

    There is no such thing as an “Afrocentric view of history” until you get into absolutely modern times.

    The reason there isn’t is because history is not a string of events, it is the RECORDS of the events. The sinking of the Titanic was an event, not history. It is the hearing testimonies, the newspaper accounts, the passenger manifests, the bills of lading… those RECORDS are the history.

    Only places that have an ongoing habit of keeping RECORDS have “history”… because it is the records that ARE the history.

    Everyone else has “anthropology”.

    Now, I know this because I did my degree work in anthropology/prehistoric civilizations, with emphasis on MesoAmerican civilizations. It was, to say the least, vitally important for me to know the line between “historic” and “prehistoric” from the academic viewpoint. The pre-Columbians are “prehistoric”, despite the fact that they were discovered well into the 1500s, because they did not become “historic” until the Spaniards landed and started keeping records on what they found. The pre-Columbians did not keep everyday records. They noted important events in their pictograms, but not everday life.

    But I’ll give you an example from Egypt, a culture everyone is more familiar with. We know that Queen Hatshepsut personally led the Egyptian army into battle against the Hittites early in her reign. That much is in her tomb.

    But what are the tomb paintings? They are PR, telling the gods what a great guy the deceased was. And, other than the tomb paintings, we have no records of that battle Hatshepsut led.

    And we have absolutely NO clue why it mattered. Were the Hittites so awful that it was imperative that the Queen herself risk her life to run them out of Egyptian territory? Or was that a prehistoric “photo op” to get her an “in” with the Egyptian army? And why did it matter to the Egyptian Joe Six-pack?

    We don’t know. We can only guess.

    THAT is the difference between history and anthropology.

    Please note that, for all we know about the ancient Egyptians, in every university in the world that has an Egyptology section, that Egyptology section comes under the School of Anthropology, not the School of History.

    Africa does not HAVE history until Africans started keeping everyday records in modern times. They have anthropology, which is generally reserved to university-level studies, because it is infinitely more complex to reconstruct a civilization from pottery shards than by following everyday records.

    You might run to a dictionary and find all sorts of definitions of “history”, but the fact is that to the people who write the text books, the definition I demonstrated here is the ONLY one that matters.

    The Greek historian Herodotus was the man who invented the concept of reconstructing events through the process of record- keeping of everyday events. The Greeks invented the science of “history” and have squatter’s rights on the definition. This is the reason we know more about ancient Athens than anyone every wanted to know! We even know precisely how the Parthenon was built. It isn’t a mystery like the pyramids because the Greeks left records of how every stone was cut and laid out.

    Only those societies that were affected directly by the Greek definition of history have “history”.

    That is why history is “Eurocentric”… Europe was the area most directly impacted by the Greek scholars. All other societies that have since developed history did so AFTER contact with Europeans.

    History is “Eurocentric” by default.

  38. Dan says:

    I have an idea for Dennis.

    Dennis should

    1. Go to New York, it a place everybody can see you even a slum or better then that infront of many Police Officers and call Bush, Satan and see what happens.

    2. He should go to Zimbabwe and call Mugabe some equivalent insult infront of his police and see what happens.

  39. Craig says:

    The reason there isn’t is because history is not a string of events, it is the RECORDS of the events. The sinking of the Titanic was an event, not history. It is the hearing testimonies, the newspaper accounts, the passenger manifests, the bills of lading… those RECORDS are the history. – mamapajamas

    Brilliant summation. I was going to mention that, but you surpassed any explanation I could’ve given.

  40. Craig says:

    Go to New York, it a place everybody can see you even a slum or better then that infront of many Police Officers and call Bush, Satan and see what happens. – Dan

    He will be hoisted on everyone’s shoulders, carried down to Gracie Mansion, and given the key to the city. If he says it in a restaurant, I’m certain the maitre d’ will offer to pick up the tab. If he says it on Broadway, he will be offered free tickets to any show he wants, for the rest of his life – and I’m sure the cast will invite him backstage.

  41. mamapajamas says:

    Craig… thanks :). I was a bit worried that I went into “lecture mode” and maybe went too far. Prehistoric civs are my love, especially the MesoAmericans, and it irks me when I encounter people who have no clue that “history” is not the events but the act of sifting through records for supporting (or opposing) documents. 😉

    It’s a quirk of mine. 😉

  42. mamapajamas says:

    Dennis, “Have you seen any recent footage of any demonstration against the British or US governments which has required a police response.”

    Have you seen ANY recent footage of a demonstration in the US where police response has been violent? I’ve seen violent responses from UK and EU police (usually warranted, I might add!), but not in the US.

    In fact, at a peace rally in Washington in January, demonstrators sprayed slogans all over the steps of the US Capitol building. They were arrested, of course… for defacing public property and were fined and released. The police in demostrations here are woefully UNreactive.

    So when another peace rally was scheduled for Washington in March, “A Gathering of Eagles” was called and put together within two weeks. 30,000 people from across the country gathered around our public monuments in Washington to protect them from the demonstrators… particularly the Vietnam Memorial, which was a rumored target for defacement.

    According to Washington police, the Eagles outnumbered the demonstrators by 3 to 1… estimated 30,000 Eagles to 10,000 protestors.

    While the protesters were widely covered in the news, the few times the Eagles were mentioned, they were either grossly lied about (“a couple of hundred”) or it was just barely mentioned at all that there was a counter-demonstration, nothing of interest there, move along. They outnumbered the protesters 3 to 1, and were just barely mentioned by some, and not at all by most alleged “news” organizations!

    What I’m telling you here is “if it bleeds, it leads”. Protesters are “news”. Defenders are NOT “news”, even though it’s unheard of that so many came with only two weeks notice.

    So do NOT believe everything you see or read in the news. BAD news is going to be pushed to the front, and GOOD news is going to be pushed to the back, by default.

    Everything you’re seeing or reading in the news is oriented toward pessimism. That’s the way the “news” operates.

    So take it ALL with a grain of salt.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: