Skip to comments.A New Kind Of Slavery
Posted on 01/02/2002 4:22:27 AM PST by yoe
Just as for centuries slavery was an acceptable form of property in our nation, a new definition of 'property' is eating away at our country's moral underpinnings. This new definition has thrown us into a war that is silently stripping away the very fabric of our nation's soul.
It is a war much like the Great War between the States, and yet it crawls among us now in a new form while festering itself in a guise that beguiles discussion. Once again its precept hides itself under the Constitution and under the declaration of our Supreme Court to give it national validity. It, too, has been made a law of the land.
It is important that we remember that 150 years ago and before, under the protection of our Constitution and its Supreme Court, our entire nation was one gigantic prison from which fugitive slaves could not escape. This explains why the so-called 'underground' railroad ended up in Canada. Lincoln said in his first inaugural address that he would enforce the fugitive slave laws. The War Between the States never had its origins in slavery. Just as the Gulf War was justified for economic reasons, so was the War Between the States.
In early March of 1861, just before Lincoln took office, Congress passed the Morrill Tariff, the highest tariff in American history. The average tariff rate was about 47%. It was not a revenue tariff but was realistically a prohibitive tariff. On March 11 the Confederate Constitution was adopted, and a low tariff in Charleston was put into effect immediately, essentially creating a free trade zone in the South. Northern newspapers soon grasped the significance of these two tariffs. On March 18, 1861, the Philadelphia Press called for war saying: "Blockade Southern Ports. If not, a series of customs houses will be required on the vast inland border from the Atlantic to West Texas. Worse still, with no protective tariff, European goods will under-price northern goods in Southern markets. Cotton for Northern mills will be charged an export tax. This will cripple the clothing industries and make British mills prosper." Previously the Press had argued for a peaceful resolve to the secession crisis.
The economic editor of the New York Times reversed his conciliatory mood and declared on March 22, 1861, with a vengeance: "At once shut down every Southern port, destroy its commerce and bring utter ruin to the Confederate States." The Chicago Daily Times, on December 10, 1860, saw the pending disaster the free ports in the South would bring to northern commerce: "In one single blow our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one-half what it now is. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One-half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all of its immense profits. Our manufactories would be in utter ruins. Let the South adopt the free-trade system, or that of a tariff for revenue, and these results would likely follow."
Then quite a startling development occurred in New York and Boston in late March, 1861 when over a hundred leading commercial importers informed the collector of customs that they would not pay duties on imported goods unless the same duties were also collected at ports in the South. This threat forced Lincoln and his administration to abandon his initial plan of turning over Fort Sumter to the Confederates. Only a month before these merchants had favored giving up the forts.
However, Lincoln had to protect northern commerce. Lincoln's concern over secession was most obvious when he declared, "What then will become of my tariff?" A low Southern tariff and a free port were a highly dangerous serious threat to all northern commerce. Yet they were essential for Southern survival. And the North was facing an economic horror story that it would not accept. A free and independent South was an economic dagger ready to plunge into the heart of the North.
The issue plainly was taxes and tariffs, taxes and tariffs. To add some perspective, it should be noted that in the mid to late 1850's, the South was funding probably 75 to 80% of all taxes. Because the South was an agricultural area, which grew and exported cotton and crops and then had to purchase finished goods, high tariffs were a real hardship on its economy. In 1860 total exports from the Southern states totaled $213 million and from the North approximately $47 million. The percentage of taxes paid by the South were approximately 87% of the total, and a majority of that was spent on northern economic interests. In addition the North held a monopoly on shipping from Southern ports, with the South paying the Northern shipping companies some $36 million in 1860. In effect the South was paying tribute to the North. Southern anger was growing.
Lincoln and the north were more than willing to let the South maintain its way of life as well as its institution of slavery as long as the South would continue to pay the tariffs and taxes. Lincoln had even gone so far as to support and sign the 'original' 13th Amendment that would have protected slavery forever, and which was unanimously approved as a resolution by Congress on July 23, 1861. This is the only proposed Constitutional amendment that was signed by a sitting President. To be exact, it said: "No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give Congress the power to abolish or interfere within any state with the domestic institutions thereof, including that a person's held to labor or service by laws of said state."
Abraham Lincoln was saying to the people of the South that if they would accept this proposed 13th Amendment, and pay the tariffs and taxes, they could keep their slaves forever. The South had absolutely no reason to secede over the issue of slavery. Slavery for the South was secure as long as the South stayed with the North. The real problem was that the South wanted to control its own destiny and economic future, and not be forced to hand over millions in revenues to the North.
Slavery simply was not the cause of the War's inception. It is only the sanitation brigade of the politically correct and the historical revisionists of the victors that have tried to make it appear that way. Moral justification for the deaths of some 600,000 men took precedence over the truth. It still does.
Besides, slavery was on its way out. Slavery had been around for thousands of years, going back to the Romans, Greeks, and the Persians and before. No one color or race had a monopoly on slavery. But by the 1860's, in a majority of the western world, slavery had been abolished. Had the South been able to go its own way, there is little doubt that slavery there would not have lasted very much longer there as well. It was no longer acceptable anywhere.
Slavery had always had its roots in property rights. The idea that another person could own another person was not one that shocked or offended people as it has come to do today. The concept did not have to do with race or color; it was a right of ownership and property, generally held by those in power. Even among the some 175,000 free blacks in America in 1830, approximately 4,000 of them owned some 12,600 other blacks. Over time and as democratic and republican forms of government expanded, the idea of slavery slowly became abhorrent to most nations, and they took steps to outlaw it. Basically, nations and people took steps to declare that no person could be considered to be "property," as each one had an equal "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." In brief, "property" was redefined to meet rising political pressures that conformed to a new sharing of God's moral principals.
In the past few decades, however, a new form of 'property' definition has once again begun to eat its way into the moral fiber of our country. The United States Supreme Court handed down a major decision known as Roe vs. Wade in January 1973, under the law of the US Constitution. That decision declared that a baby that was alive in its mother's womb but was as of yet unborn, and which was referred to as a 'fetus,' was simply a piece of property. It was a piece of property just as the Supreme Court had once declared the slave to be a piece of property. In effect this as yet to be born person was in status equal to or less than the status that a slave had held. Generally speaking, owners of slaves felt some sort of moral obligation for them, and certainly did not treat them as human rubbish or as things that could be killed at will.
The Supreme Court ruled that the mother of the unborn baby had the 'free-choice' to either bring the baby to birth or to kill it, because this unborn baby was simply a piece of property that belonged to the mother.
Those who feel this is a correct position call themselves 'pro-choice.' They basically hold the same views as those who were 'pro-slavery' in the way that they define human existence. Human life is a "piece of property." It can be bought and sold. That definition, and particularly that definition confirmed by the Supreme Court, made everything proper.
But make no mistake. Pro-slavery or pro-choice - both take the same view of human life. It is a view that has once more set the stage for decades of anguish and human degradation. It too has its roots in economics. And, once again another barbarian prison has been judiciously erected, the escape from which will require massive leaps of moral fortitude.
I am NOT a Feminist, however I find some of the pro-life Feminist arguments persuasive.
Ill just cut a paste a few things she said, because I cant sum it up as well as she can. ***Disclaimer: Opinions posted by SpookBrat do not necessarily represent the opinions of SpookBrat.*** (In other words, I like men and dont blame them for all problems women encounter)
In calling for abortion rights as the ultimate guarantee that women can control their own bodies, abortion advocates are viewing a woman's body as a kind of territory to be subdued, interfered with, dominated. This is not a feminist perspective, regardless of how many people maintain that it is.
In the male-dominated world we have all inhabited for the past 2500 years, unfortunately power (thus, "control") has been accorded only to those strong enough to seize it, or at least demand it. Furthermore, it has historically been those in power who have set the standard for who gets to "count" as persons. For far too many of those 2500 years, it has been men who have been in power and women who have not "counted." It is, therefore, particularly chilling to read arguments such as those of theologian Marjorie Reilly MaGuire, who says that in order for a fetus to count as valuable, the pregnant woman must confer value upon it; as she puts it: "The personhood (of the fetus) begins when the bearer of life, the mother, makes a covenant of love with the developing life within her to bring it to birth.... The moment when personhood begins, then, is the moment when the mother accepts the pregnancy."
The fetus, according to such argumentation, is a person if and only if the pregnant woman decides to invest it with value. How, we ask, does this differ from the long entrenched patriarchal ideal that it is the powerful who determine the value of other human life?
The notions of control and power at work in the abortion ethic, then, are the ones that surely ought to give any feminist pause. It is indeed unconsciable that women have, for so many thousands of years, been dominated and victimized by men, whose hold on power was reinforced by the patriarchal structure of society. Thus, it is especially disorienting to hear the argument that the only road away from such victimization is to victimize, in turn, another group of human beings--their completely powerless and voiceless offspring. Their very powerlessness makes them the ideal victims: the question which all women must ask themselves is whether the path away from victimization really lies in joining the victimizers, whether the road to freedom must really be littered with the dead bodies of their unborn children.
Those who acquiesce to the conviction that pregnancy is a form of enslavement and child-bearing a burden, are adding weight to, not destroying, the yoke of patriarchy. They are letting men be the arbiters of what is valuable, and fighting hard for the "right" to have their own bodies invaded and their children destroyed so that they can get it.
What feminists, all feminists, should be doing is working to achieve a world in which the power to bear children is viewed as a gift to be protected rather than a burden to be relieved.
In a world with thousands of abused, starving, homeless and unwanted children, a truly civilized society would not condone babies born into such an abyss of deprivation. My question is always, "why are they here in the first place?" Population no longer being a necessity, then responsibility should be. With responsibility comes choice and therein, lays a huge argument.
I would hope that FFL will come to a point where they clearly and without exception impugn only pro-abort men, without referring to men (in general) like we were all one undifferentiated group.
I would also hope that, while rightfully celebrating pro-life women, the FFL would hold pro-abort women 100% accountable for the path that they have chosen.
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Posted on 12/28/01 8:26 PM Pacific by DNA Rules
The question of "life" is The Question of the 20th century. Race and poverty are dimensions of the life question, but discussions about abortion have brought the issue into focus in a much sharper way. How we will respect and understand the nature of life itself is the over-riding moral issue, not of the Black race, but of the human race.
The question of abortion confronts me in several different ways. First, although I do not profess to be a biologist, I have studied biology and know something about life from the point of view of the natural sciences. Second, I am a minister of the Gospel and therefore, feel that abortion has a religious and moral dimension that I must consider.
Third, I was born out of wedlock (and against the advice that my mother received from her doctor) and therefore abortion is a personal issue for me. From my perspective, human life is the highest good, the summum bonum . Human life itself is the highest human good and God is the supreme good because He is the giver of life. That is my philosophy. Everything I do proceeds from that religious and philosophical premise.
Life is the highest good and therefore you fight for life, using means consistent with that end. Ufe is the highest human good not on its own naturalistic merits, but because life is supernatural, a gift from God. Therefore, life is the highest human good because life is sacred. Biologically speaking, thousands of male sperms are ejaculated into the female reproductive tract during sexual intercourse, but only once in a while do the egg and sperm bring about fertilization. Some call that connection accidental, but I choose to call it providential. It takes three to make a baby: a man, a woman and the Holy Spirit.
I believe in family planning. I do not believe that families ought to have children, as some people did where I was growing up, by the dozens. I believe in methods of contraception -- prophylactics, pills, rhythm, etc. I believe in sex education. We ought to teach' it in the home, the school, the church, and on the television. I think that if people are properly educated sexually they will appreciate the act and know its ultimate function, purpose and significance.
Human beings cannot give or create life by themselves, it is really a gift from God. Therefore, one does not have the right to take away (through abortion) that which he does not have the ability to give.
Some argue, suppose the woman does not. want to have the baby. They say the very fact that she does not want the baby means that the psychological damage to the child is reason enough to abort the baby'. I disagree. The solution to that problem is not to kill the innocent baby, but to deal with her values and her attitude toward life \emdash that which has allowed her not to want the baby. Deal with the attitude that would allow her to take away that which she cannot give.
Some women argue that the man does not have the baby and will not be responsible for the baby after it is born, therefore it is all right to kill the baby. Again the logic is off. The premise is that the man is irresponsible.
If that is the problem, then deal with making him responsible. Deal with what you are dealing with, not with the weak, innocent and unprotected baby. The essence of Jesus' message dealt with this very problem -- the problem of the inner attitude and motivation of a person. "If in your heart . . ." was his central message. The actual abortion (effect) is merely the logical conclusion of a prior attitude (cause) that one has toward life itself. Deal with the cause not merely the effect when abortion is the issue.
Often people who analyze and operate In the public sphere (some sociologists, doctors, politicians, etc.) are especially prone to argue in these ways. Sociologists argue for - population control on the basis of a shortage of housing, food, space, etc. I raise two issues at this point: (1) It is strange that they choose to start talking about population control at the same time that Black people in America and people of color around the world are demanding their rightful place as human citizens and their rightful share of the material wealth in the world. (2) People of color are for the most part powerless with regard to decisions made about population control. Given the history of people of color in the modern world we have no reason to assume that whites are going to look out for our best interests.
Politicians argue for abortion largely because they do not want to spend the necessary money to feed, clothe and educate more people. Here arguments for in-convenience and economic savings take precedence over arguments for human value and human life. I read recently where a politician from New York was justifying abortion because they had prevented 10,000 welfare babies from being born and saved the state $15 million. In my mind serious moral questions arise when politicians are willing to pay welfare mothers between $300 to $1000 to have an abortion, but will not pay $30 for a hot school lunch program to the already born children of these same mothers.
I think the economic objections are not valid today because we are confronted with a whole new economic problem. The basic and historic economic problem has been the inability to feed everyone in the world even If the will were there to do so. They could not produce enough to do the job even if they wanted to. An agrarian and disconnected world did not possess the ability to solve the basic economic problem. That was tragic, but hardly morally reprehensible. Today. however, we do not have the same economic problem. Our world is basically urban, industrial, interconnected, and technological so that we now, generally speaking, have the ability to feed the peoples of the world but lack the political and economic will to do so. That would require basic shifts of economic and political power in the world and. we are not willing to pay that price -- the price of justice. The problem now is not the ability to produce but the ability to distribute justly.
Psychiatrists, social workers and doctors often argue for abortion on the basis that the child will grow up mentally and emotionally scared. But who of us is complete? If incompleteness were the criteria for taking life we would all be dead. If you can justify abortion on the basis of emotional incompleteness then your logic could also lead you to killing for other forms of incompleteness -- blindness, crippleness, old age.
Another area that concerns me greatly, namely because I know how it has been used with regard to race, is the psycholinguistics involved in this whole issue of abortion. If something can be dehumanized through the rhetoric used to describe it, then the major battle has been won. So when American soldiers can drop bombs on Vietnam and melt the faces and hands of children into a hunk of rolling protoplasm and in their minds say they have not maimed or killed a fellow human being something terribly wrong and sick has gone on in that mind. That is why the Constitution called us three-fifths human and then whites further dehumanized us by calling us "niggers." It was part of the dehumanizing process. The first step was to distort the image of us as human beings in. order to justify that which they wanted to do and not even feel like they had done anything wrong. Those advocates of taking. life prior to birth do not call it killing or murder; they call it abortion. They further never talk about aborting a baby because that would imply something human. Rather they talk about aborting the fetus. Fetus sounds less than human and therefore can be justified.
In conclusion, even if one does take life by aborting the baby, as a minister of Jesus Christ I must also inform and-or remind you that there is a doctrine of forgiveness. The God I serve is a forgiving God. The men who killed President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. can be forgiven. Everyone can come to the mercy seat and find forgiveness and acceptance. But, and this may be the essence of my argument, suppose one is so hard-hearted and so in-different to life until he assumes that there is nothing for which to be forgiven. What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? What kind of a person, and what kind of a society will we have 20 years hence if life can be taken so casually?
It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system, and our mind-set with regard to the nature and worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind. Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth.