Skip to comments.The reparations fraud - 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.
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.
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!
sounds to me like Illinois is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. his comments are like Captain Smith ..."full speed ahead"....
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"?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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."
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Alan, Alan, Alan. You need to think before you speak. Even your opponent hasn't come out in favor of reparations.