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The reparations fraud - Thomas Sowell
Townhall.com ^ | January 4, 2002 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 08/17/2004 6:10:29 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez

Self preservation is said to be the first law of nature, and this applies not only to human beings but also to organizations and movements. The March of Dimes was set up to fight polio but it did not disband when polio was wiped out by vaccines. Nor did civil rights organizations disband after civil rights laws were passed. The fatal mistake made by those who imagine that they can appease movements and organizations with concessions is that concessions are incidental trophies for those who receive them, but unmet grievances are fundamental to their continued viability.

Back in the 1930s, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain thought that he could buy off Hitler with concessions to avoid war. More recently, both Israel and the Clinton administration discovered that offering even the most extraordinary concessions could not buy off Yasser Arafat. For either Hitler or Arafat to have made a lasting peace would have been to say that his grievances had now been met -- and that would have been a devastating blow to the movement which provided his power.

Against this background, it may be easier to understand why a demand can be made and a crusade launched to get something that everyone knows in advance will not be given -- reparations for slavery. No way are millions of white, Asian, and Hispanic Americans going to pay reparations for something that happened before their ancestors ever set foot on American Soil. Even those whites whose ancestors were here before the Civil War know that most of those ancestors -- whether they lived in the North or the South -- owned no slaves.

Seen in this light, the demand for reparations may seem like an exercise in futility. However, seen as a source of a lasting unmet grievance, it is a stroke of genius to keep blacks separated from other Americans and an aggrieved constituency to support black "leaders" in politics, organizations and movements.

This demand also mobilizes a certain amount of support or sympathy among whites, especially those in the media and in academia, where such support or sympathy costs nothing, and allows those who give it to relieve their own sense of guilt, while risking other people's money -- and national cohesion. Some white politicians can also benefit at little or no cost to themselves by expressing sympathy with the reparations cause or even voting for meaningless apologies for what others did centuries ago.

For these various groups, reparations is a win-win issue. For everyone else, including the vast majority of blacks, it is a lose-lose issue.

Blacks have already begun suffering losses from con men who have asked them to sign up for their individual shares of the reparations -- and have then stolen their identity and used it to defraud them. But this is just a down payment on the losses from this futile crusade.

In a democracy, a minority that is no longer even the largest minority cannot afford to alienate, much less embitter, the majority which ultimately holds the political power in the country. Too often, unending demands and grievances from black leaders and spokesmen create the impression that most blacks want something for nothing. In reality, most blacks lifted themselves out of poverty before the civil rights laws or the welfare state programs took effect.

Not only do most whites not know this, neither do most blacks today, for their leaders have taken credit for this progress by depicting it as the fruits of their civil rights movements and political efforts. But the poverty rate among blacks fell by half between 1940 and 1960, before any of the major federal civil rights legislation or the vast expansion of the welfare state under President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs.

Between 1940 and 1960, black males' number of years of schooling doubled. How surprising is it that doubling your education raises your income? In short, most blacks raised themselves out of poverty, but their leaders robbed them of this achievement and the respect it deserved -- in the eyes of blacks and whites alike -- by making it seem like a concession from the government and a product of agitation.

Pointing blacks in a direction from which little can be expected, and away from the enormous opportunities open today in the economy, is a formula for personal frustration, even if it benefits "leaders." But then, that frustration is itself a benefit to "leaders," who need a constituency with a sense of grievance.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: reparations; thomassowell
The conservative viewpoint on reparations
1 posted on 08/17/2004 6:10:30 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez
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To: Howlin; sinkspur; DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet

PING!


2 posted on 08/17/2004 6:11:07 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Sin Patria, pero sin amo)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

maybe someone could send this to Alan Keyes


3 posted on 08/17/2004 6:14:11 PM PDT by Rakkasan1 (Justice of the Piece:Kerry/Edwards...so full of crap they need two Johns.)
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To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; Teacher317; ...
Perhaps a copy should be mailed to Alan Keyes...

Black conservative ping

If you want on (or off) of my black conservative ping list, please let me know via FREEPmail. (And no, you don't have to be black to be on the list!)

Extra warning: this is a high-volume ping list.

4 posted on 08/17/2004 6:14:19 PM PDT by mhking
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To: Luis Gonzalez
In a democracy, a minority that is no longer even the largest minority cannot afford to alienate, much less embitter, the majority which ultimately holds the political power in the country.

Yep. You can bet your butt that, if Keyes were successful in his reparations scheme, every Hispanic in North America would suddenly claim he was a descendant of Santa Ana and should get a tax holiday because he/she suffered irreparable harm at San Jacinto!

5 posted on 08/17/2004 6:16:52 PM PDT by sinkspur ("Is it OK to send watered silk to the dry cleaners"?--Cardinal Fanfani)
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To: Rakkasan1

Even some FReepers seem to feel that most Blacks are mired in poverty---therefore freeing them from paying Federal Income Tax constitutes a no-cost method of reparations.


6 posted on 08/17/2004 6:19:26 PM PDT by John Thornton
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To: mhking

This afternoon, Keyes released the following statement, clarifying his position:



I have consistently opposed the effort to extort monetary damages from the American people. As I have argued in the past, the great sacrifices involved in the Civil War represented the requital in blood and treasure for the terrible injustices involved in slavery. In this form the so called "reparations" movement represents an insult to the historic commitment that many Americans made to the end of slavery, which included the sacrifice of their lives.

I have also consistently maintained that the history of slavery, racial segregation and discrimination did real damage to black Americans, left real and persistent material wounds in need of healing.


In various ways through the generations since the end of slavery, America has tried to address this objective fact, but without real success. This was at least in part the rational for many elements of the Great Society programs of the sixties, and for the original and proper concept of affirmative action developed under Republican leadership during the Nixon years.


Unfortunately, the government-dominated approaches of the Great Society, which purported to heal and repair the legacy of historical damage, actually widened and deepened the wounds. They undermined the moral foundations of the black community and seriously corrupted the family structure and the incentives to work, savings, investment, and business ownership.


The idea I have often put forward to address this challenge involves a traditionally Republican, conservative and market-oriented approach: removing the tax burden from the black community for a generation or two in order to encourage business ownership, create jobs and support the development of strong economic foundations for working families.


This has the advantage of letting people help themselves, rather then pouring money into government bureaucracies that displace and discourage their own efforts. It takes no money from other citizens, while righting the historic imbalance that results from the truth that black slaves toiled for generations at a tax rate that was effectively 100 percent.


I have also made it clear that while I believe that the descendants of slaves would be helped by this period of tax relief, my firm goal and ultimate objective is to replace the income tax, and thereby free all Americans from this insidious form of tax slavery. It is well known that this is one of the key priorities of the Keyes campaign.


7 posted on 08/17/2004 6:19:45 PM PDT by mrsmith ("Oyez, oyez! All rise for the Honorable Chief Justice... Hillary Rodham Clinton ")
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: mrsmith
This afternoon, Keyes released the following statement, clarifying his position:

The statement does nothing to clarify anything -- he's still pandering to the Soul Patrol to get their vote. He has completely reversed his 2002 position, which, mind you is both in print and on his MSNBC television show.

I have lost quite a bit of respect for Keyes today.

9 posted on 08/17/2004 6:25:53 PM PDT by mhking
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To: Baynative

Yes it sure would.


10 posted on 08/17/2004 6:26:25 PM PDT by cyborg
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To: John Thornton
Even some FReepers seem to feel that most Blacks are mired in poverty---therefore freeing them from paying Federal Income Tax constitutes a no-cost method of reparations.

If they're mired in poverty, they don't pay income taxes.

11 posted on 08/17/2004 6:27:00 PM PDT by sinkspur ("Is it OK to send watered silk to the dry cleaners"?--Cardinal Fanfani)
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To: mhking

Right now I'm listening to something infinately more entertaining and that's McGruder and Tavis Smiley getting shutdown by Bill Cosby.


12 posted on 08/17/2004 6:27:35 PM PDT by cyborg
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To: sinkspur; John Thornton
If they're mired in poverty, they don't pay income taxes.

Mind you, I, and a significant number of other blacks in America are not "mired in poverty."

13 posted on 08/17/2004 6:28:32 PM PDT by mhking
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To: cyborg
Right now I'm listening to something infinately more entertaining and that's McGruder and Tavis Smiley getting shutdown by Bill Cosby.

Where is this?

14 posted on 08/17/2004 6:28:59 PM PDT by mhking
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To: Luis Gonzalez

Mr. Keyes.
Never take a knife to a gun fight.
Regards,
Mabelkitty

P.S. - Why doesn't Mr. Sowell run for office?


15 posted on 08/17/2004 6:29:52 PM PDT by mabelkitty (Zealous Troll Hunter - and you know who you are - you've been warned.)
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To: mhking

Laura Ingraham was just playing some clips. Oooooh boy I would have paid millions to be a fly on that greenroom wall.


16 posted on 08/17/2004 6:30:37 PM PDT by cyborg
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To: mhking
Mind you, I, and a significant number of other blacks in America are not "mired in poverty."

I know that. I'm not either.

But I'm damn glad I'm not tax exempt because I'm Polish!

17 posted on 08/17/2004 6:32:12 PM PDT by sinkspur ("Is it OK to send watered silk to the dry cleaners"?--Cardinal Fanfani)
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To: sinkspur
"I'm damn glad I'm not tax exempt because I'm Polish!"

Well, you are...but only after you pay them.

(rimshot)

18 posted on 08/17/2004 6:36:12 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Sin Patria, pero sin amo)
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To: John Thornton

That's insane.
Maybe their only experience with business involves government employment (not meant to be a knock on fellow freepers).
The best organizations hire the best and the brightest. Period.


19 posted on 08/17/2004 6:36:49 PM PDT by mabelkitty (Zealous Troll Hunter - and you know who you are - you've been warned.)
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To: sinkspur
If they're mired in poverty,...

There is no caste system in America. If these people are "mired in poverty" than it is a (semi-)conscience decision they themselves have made, and continue to make. This nation is filled with successful men -- and women-- who have started out with little more than a shoe-string and a dream.

(Sigh) Of course they got there by "actin' white".

20 posted on 08/17/2004 6:37:00 PM PDT by yankeedame ("Born with the gift of laughter & a sense that the world was mad.")
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To: Rakkasan1

Keyes makes no sense. I wish Illinois could have found a competent candidate from within the state to go against Obama.
Admittedly, I don't know much about him, but his stand on reparations just makes no sense to me.


21 posted on 08/17/2004 6:48:41 PM PDT by FormerLefty
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To: mhking
No, he's "pandering to the Soul Patrol to get their" attention.

Gee it's a common rhetorical trick.

If I wasn't in the middle of quitting smoking I know what it's called would come to me LOL!

22 posted on 08/17/2004 6:49:55 PM PDT by mrsmith ("Oyez, oyez! All rise for the Honorable Chief Justice... Hillary Rodham Clinton ")
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To: FormerLefty

sounds to me like Illinois is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. his comments are like Captain Smith ..."full speed ahead"....


23 posted on 08/17/2004 6:52:41 PM PDT by Rakkasan1 (Justice of the Piece:Kerry/Edwards...so full of crap they need two Johns.)
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To: mhking

I can't wait to read the debate on this board over the Japanese filing their reparation claim yesterday against America for damages from agent orange and other toxins. Or will there be a debate? I wonder who's going to say they are "mired in poverty"?


24 posted on 08/17/2004 7:03:26 PM PDT by rave123
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To: mhking
Mind you, I, and a significant number of other blacks in America are not "mired in poverty."

Not all people getting tax breaks are necessarily mired in poverty --- don't people with kids get exemptions others without kids don't get, there's a marriage advantage that gays don't get, blind people get some kind of tax advantage that the seeing people don't get --- even if the blind guy is richer. Those with houses get something that renters don't get, those over 65 get something someone under that age doesn't get. The charitable types get a break that the stingey don't get. The IRS forms are full of breaks and exemptions --- not all based on wealth and not all are fair.

25 posted on 08/17/2004 7:19:01 PM PDT by FITZ
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To: mhking
I have lost quite a bit of respect for Keyes today.

Me too. I hope this doesn't turn out to be when Alan jumps the shark. Don't tax them for one or two generations he says. Come on Alan, the blacks didn't pay any income tax for about 50 years after Lincoln freed them. OK, so nobody else did either, but I bet the per capita black taxes of all types were pretty dang small those first 2 generations. There wasn't much there that could be taxed. I do like the twist of awarding reparations for the Great Society, but only as satire. To take it seriously is undeserved. The blacks were probably the group that had the highest support for the Great Society. You don't award Purple Hearts for self-inflicted wounds and you don't award reparations for self-inflicted policies.

26 posted on 08/17/2004 8:04:48 PM PDT by JohnBovenmyer (I)
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To: Mrs Zip; BOBWADE

ping


27 posted on 08/17/2004 8:08:33 PM PDT by zip (Remember: DimocRat lies told often enough became truth to 42% of americans)
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To: Luis Gonzalez

I've never understood reparations.

My great-great-grandfather, an abolitionist from Rhode Island, joined the Union Army and fought to free the slaves. He never returned from the war.

Am I also entitled to reparations for my great-great-grandfather's sacrifice, or alternatively, am I exempt from having to contribute to reparations?


28 posted on 08/17/2004 8:12:42 PM PDT by kaehurowing
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To: Luis Gonzalez
This demand also mobilizes a certain amount of support or sympathy among whites, especially those in the media and in academia, where such support or sympathy costs nothing, and allows those who give it to relieve their own sense of guilt, while risking other people's money -- and national cohesion.

The Arafats of America unite under this cause to promote division, grow rich, and above all- retain power.

29 posted on 08/17/2004 10:10:44 PM PDT by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: Rockitz
where such support or sympathy costs nothing, and allows those who give it to relieve their own sense of guilt, while risking other people's money -- and national cohesion. The Arafats of America unite under this cause to promote division, grow rich, and above all- retain power.

"To spread the wealth the liberal is willing, he'll take YOUR dollar and keep his shilling." Big Brother exhorts us to repeat mantra-like the piquant "wisdom" of Oliver Wendell Holmes, "I like paying taxes, they purchase civilization." (We'd ALL have to declare bankruptcy and abject poverty before THAT even REMOTELY happens!)

You are right. Let us not fool ourselves. The liberals' objective is not to eradicate poverty once and for all via "reparations" or any other racially polarizing scheme (after all, didn't the Lord Jesus say "The poor you shall always have with you"), but to perpetuate a permanent self-consciously alienated, disenfranchised, unproductive, poverty-stricken and violence-as-a-first-resort underclass that is constantly at war with a free and open society and that will make irrational demands for its insatiable perceived "needs" for many generations to come. In this regard, liberals (or perhaps I should qualify by saying certain types of liberal) have NO guilt or shame. They WANT to solidify the existence of a balkanized "two Americas." After all, they have agendas to keep, and miles to go before they sleep. Your metaphor "Arafats" is right on target.

30 posted on 08/17/2004 11:43:12 PM PDT by albertp (Malice in Blunderland, The Wizard of Odd, Gullible's Troubles! Steal the wealth, spread the poverty.)
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To: All; technochick99; Right_Handed_Writer; EternalVigilance; TheRightGuy; RedWing9; spintreebob; ...
IMPORTANT:

CHICAGO -- Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes has just released a statement clarifying what appeared to be a surprising position he took at a news conference yesterday.
"I think a cogent argument could be made for reparations in principle," Keyes is quoted as saying to reporters yesterday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The response from conservatives was immediate. "Who downstate will now vote for Keyes?" wrote IllinoisLeader.com reader Randall Mead of Springfield today. "I certainly won't."

This afternoon, Keyes released the following statement, clarifying his position:

Keyes ping list, courtesy of FRN-IL. Just let me know if you want on/off this list! Also...

SIGN & FORWARD PETITION to GOP Leaders: Fund & Support Alan Keyes Senate Campaign!
Get up to date with Alan Keyes, his schedule and campaign.

Be an Obama fan! 8-o Encourage our Socialist Rock Star Barack to do those 6 Lincoln/Douglas style debates with that 'right-winger' Alan Keyes!: info@obamaforillinois.com & bobama@aol.com and For Full Events Calendar

31 posted on 08/18/2004 1:27:33 AM PDT by JustPiper (~ It can be good news when there is no terror threat to report ~)
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To: mhking
I have lost quite a bit of respect for Keyes today.

Alan, Alan, Alan. You need to think before you speak. Even your opponent hasn't come out in favor of reparations.

32 posted on 08/18/2004 4:08:13 AM PDT by Mike Bates (Did I mention I'm peddling a book?)
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To: Baynative
Actually, no. There were a significant number of black slaveholders and a relatively smaller number of white slaveholders among the free population of the South. Some (black) people fit into both groups at some time or another. American Indians, particularly in Oklahoma, also owned a large number of black slaves. (I doubt that there were any Asians in the picture.) Hispanics presumably might have fit into both groups. We'd just need to identify all of the people who ever fit ito all of those groups, disinter their bodies, and test the deoxyribonucleic acid of every American today to determine the correct proportion of ex-slave and ex-slaveholder ancestry of every American. We also then could enforce retroactively the Fugitive Slave Act on the descendants of the involved parties.
33 posted on 08/18/2004 4:25:28 AM PDT by dufekin (Genocidal terrorists and tyrants hail John F. Kerry, traitor against these United States of America!)
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