Comments Of The Day: “Open Forum…Again!” (Reparations Thread)

This week’s Open Forum was epic. All four major topics raised—children allowed to attempt dangerous challenges, Southern Democrats, Artificial Intelligence, and reparations for slavery, led to excellent, varied and provocative debates. I feel a bit guilty for co-opting the child exploitation thread with a full post; several of the comments in that thread were COTD quality, especially A.M. Golden’s at 8:12 am on the 20th.

The A.I. thread was one of the very best on any topic in the history of the blog. I started out  trying to choose a Comment of the Day from that discussion, and after realizing that there was one  great comment after another, considered re-publishing the whole sequence, but it is too long. I urge anyone who hasn’t done so already to read it all. The participants were adimagejim (who gets credit for opening  the topic), Michael R, Steve Witherspoon, Alex, johnburger2013, and Bad Bob.

I chose the reparations thread to highlight the comments because the topic was recently the subject of a hearing on the Hill, and because I think the “debate” is and has always been intellectually dishonest on the part of “reparations” advocates, who, I suspect, know exactly how impossible their demands and proposals are. Nonetheless the news media treats the arguments with reverence, and are happy to assist when naysayers are accused of insensitivity and bigotry. The Comments of the Day that follow  effectively show just how absurd—and unethical—the reparations case is.

Steve Witherspoon:

Reparations for Slavery.

This is becoming a popular proposal in this Presidential campaign season. In my opinion it is not ethical or moral to financially, or otherwise, punish any person for a crime against humanity that they had absolutely no part of.

What happened to Africans that were kidnapped, sold into slavery and then were forced for many followup generations to remain in slavery was a crime against humanity and a black spot in the history of the United States of America. All of those slave owners have been dead for a long time. To my knowledge, none of my direct ancestors owned any slaves; however, I do know that there is one piece of evidence that a distant ancestor down a different branch of the Witherspoon family tree did own two slaves.

I have never owned a slave and I never will. I will not pay the price for the immoral actions of people that have been dead for over a hundred years. I think that reparations would be unconstitutional punishment for crimes that were not committed by the people being punished and if the government of the United States of America tries to force me to pay reparations for slavery I’ll refuse and take it to the Supreme Court of the United States if I have to.

Questions:

1. In your opinion is it ethical for the United States to force its citizens to pay reparations to decedents of slaves.

2. If you answered yes to question 1, what should be the minimum percentage of ancestor genealogy that requires reparation payment?

Tim LeVier:

See – I think this is actually a fun exercise because the politicians on the left that are trying to make the case that reparations *should* occur haven’t said anything about *how* we should determine the equity of it.

I think it’s fun because I stipulate “fine, let’s have reparations, now what?”…..and they come across as The Joker from The Dark Knight: “I’m like a dog chasing cars, I wouldn’t know what to do if I caught one, you know, I just do…things.”

So what makes sense for reparations? Are we providing reparations for descendants of slaves, descendants of POCs who had to endure the 1st 100 years of bigotry until the Civil Rights Act was passed, or anyone who has never felt “white privilege”?

Let’s stipulate that we should only concern ourselves with those who can positively trace lineage to a documented slave; as a lighter standard would be rife with abuse and fraud. Black immigrants from Africa after slavery ended, and especially after the CRA passed, simply did not have the same tortured experience as that of a slave. Additionally, the lineage should not extend to ancestors who gained freedom prior to our current form of government in 1789. For reference, Pennsylvania passed the first state Abolition Act in 1780 and by 1790 2/3rds of the black population were listed as “free” in the 1790 census.

So, the first question is: how many people can trace lineage to at least 1 ancestor who was enslaved in the U.S. between 1789 and 1865?

Second, how many unique individuals were slaves during that time period?

Third, is reparation based on the number slaves or the number of verified descendants?
If the former, does the reparation amount divide equally among the existing descendants today or does it flow from the ancestral slave based on traditional inheritance rules? Let’s take my ancestry as an example and take my youngest ancestor during the time period J.M. (1838-1900). J.M. would have been a slave from 1838-1865 (26 years). He had 12 offspring, including E.L. (1868-1925) who had 8 offspring including L.R. (1893-1968) who had 5 offspring, including L.E. (1929-1951) who had 1 offspring Dad (1949) still living who had 3… but we don’t matter. Does that mean my dad gets 1 share of 1/5th of 1/8th of 1/12th of a reparation payment? (0.20% of a reparation payment, assuming J.M. was my only enslaved ancestor.)

If the latter, do you balance a descendant’s total ancestry and provide greater reparation to someone whose ancestry is…

100% U.S. Slaves vs 1/16 U.S. Slave; 12/16 free black citizens; 3/16 recent black immigrant vs 1/16 U.S. Slave; 3/16 free black citizens; 8/16 white slave owners; 4/16 recent white immigrants vs 1/1024 U.S. Slave; 1023/1024 Massachusetts White High Society

Fourth, do you reduce a reparation payment based on public welfare payments that have already been distributed to an eligible recipient?

Fifth, how big of a reparation payment per slave is appropriate, and if that amount is not meaningful enough to the end recipient, will there be a call for additional reparations again and again?

Steve Witherspoon:

Unless the rule is any claimed percentage (claim must be submitted by end of year 20_ _), and it doesn’t have to be proven with documentation (their oppressed black victims that’s good enough) will receive an flat dollar figure (outcome equality) then the entire thing goes into a endless black hole of government red tape muck to get a claim approved. Even if it’s as simple as making a claim without proof, it will become never ending; why, because children born after the end of year 20__ make the same claim, after all they too are descendants aren’t they equally deserving? What’s to stop people claiming to be slave descendants from having a many more slave descendant children just to claim the endless dollars – talk about winning the lottery for having a child, this would probably stop abortions in the black community dead in it’s tracks.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the one time reparation payment for any individual descendant will be fixed at $100,000 in today’s dollars, which would have been roughly $6650, a nice nest egg in 1865 to start a new life. With just the roughly 37 million African American people in the USA, that would add up to 3.7 trillion dollars.

The whole thing is an endless money sucking block hole and that doesn’t even touch on the Constitutionality of the whole thing.

I know that I’ve got some Native American blood in me, who’s to say that I don’t also have some slave blood in me too; some might call it a sordid family tree but I’m fine with it. Is it time for me to start writing up my claim for my share.

P.S. Anyone want to guess what would happen to the United States economy if 37 million people were handed $100,000 over night?

A.M. Golden:

And, again, I have to add that giving a big payout to people who don’t know how to handle money is just putting it in front of an open window with a fan behind it.

Those who do not avail themselves of educational opportunities, stay consistently employed or save money instead of spending profligately will not benefit from a wad of cash being handed to them. They might buy a new car or fancy electronic equipment, go on vacation or quit their minimum-wage job for a year. At best, some may pay off bills or set the money aside for college tuition for their kids.

But you cannot change the lives of people for the better by handing them money if they are not willing to do what it takes to learn how to treat money as a tool and not the endgame itself.

JimHodgeson:

My own take on reparations: They have already been paid. Here’s the Cliff Notes version: Since we ALL know the American Civil War was all about slavery, the costs of that war are fairly balanced against any call for additional reparations, to wit:

Monetary Costs: The Union – at least 6 billion dollars (over $70 billion in today’s money) This doesn’t count veterans pensions which continued well into the 20th century. The Confederacy – roughly 3 billion dollars in direct wartime costs. The various southern states also dealt with the veterans pension issue, with hardly any money left to pay for it.

Cultural / Economic costs: Much of the South had been physically devastated by the war. Most of the conflict had been fought in the southern states. Cities (Nashville, Atlanta,, Richmond and Columbia, for example) were reduced to ruins and ashes. Industry and railroad infrastructure were destroyed, bridges and roads ruined or neglected. Homes and farms had been burned and/or pillaged of anything of value, including livestock. Crops had been taken by the Federals or destroyed to deny them to the Confederacy. Large portions of the countryside were nearly lifeless. It would be decades before the South even came close to restoring its pre-war economy.

Human costs – over 1 million lives lost.

Union casualties – over 110,100 KIA / mortally wounded, and another 224,580 to disease.

Confederate casualties – app 94,000 KIA / mortally wounded and another 164,000 to disease.

This does not account for those permanently maimed or disfigured by their wounds.
In short, America, the only western nation that resorted to war to achieve abolition, paid an extremely high price (and many of us would say it continues to pay a high price) for the sin of slavery, that makes any talk of reparations seem foolish.

As a side note, my neighbor, who is as white can be, recently discovered through DNA testing that he has African American ancestry, almost certainly through a female slave owned by one of his “great-great-greats” in the early 1800s. Does he get a reparations check, or should he just write one to himself?

Mrs. Q:

Your 2nd question is important. I used to be a believer in reparations until I read more & attended several forums regarding the issue.

The question regarding the financial amount of reparations distributed, based on percentage of African ancestry, coupled with proof those ancestors were subjected to slavery, is daunting at best. First off the answer regarding percentage depends on who you ask. I’ve heard comments saying you have to be at least 50% or 25% or other numbers. This means if the percentage is higher, more descendant of slaves will be left out, potentially leading to further grievance & division within African American networks. If the percentage is low (like 1/16 African) then whatever monies available may quickly become exhausted. Then there is proving your family was enslaved, which is difficult as documentation was sometimes lacking back then. If you can’t prove slavery existed in your family, you may not get anything, which again could lead to more grievances.

Then we have to consider how the government and it’s inefficient bureaucracy will acquire genetic data in order to efficiently distribute funds to many people. Will it be voluntary? Will the data be sold to the likes of Google & other tech giants who are quickly & deeply harvesting such information for their own medical inventions? What happens if there’s data breaches, leading to slave descendants being harmed once again by our government and now hackers? Can there be a guarantee this data won’t be used in any kind of future eugenic protocol, since there is a history of blacks being subjected to such “progressive” dictates?

Another question is, who pays? Do we track the families who had slaves and make them pay? How do we attain that information? How do we make them pay? How much do they pay? What do we do about the small percentages of other blacks who owned slaves? Do we make the (small amount) of Native Americans who had slaves pay too? Do the Natives who had their slaves with them on the Trail of Tears have to pay? If we don’t target such families, then does every citizen have to pay, even if their families, regardless of race, never had slaves?

Even if DNA isn’t collected and “guilty” families don’t have to pay, at some point we have to determine when the price has finally been paid for these sins. Who decides that? If payments aren’t handed out, who decides what is a sufficient reparation and will all descendents approve of it? And at what point do those blacks asking for reparations, take control of repairing and helping their own people, especially regarding the legacies of fatherlessness, drugs, and allowing themselves to continue to be ghettoized by democrats, wokesters, and race pimps?

There is no way to make the complicated questions surrounding this issue render clean & easy answers. It’s high time reparation advocates admit this.

 

29 thoughts on “Comments Of The Day: “Open Forum…Again!” (Reparations Thread)

  1. Everyone is ignoring even more troublesome points to bring up in reparations.

    What about the Indian tribes? The Cherokee and others had a lot of black slaves. The rest of the tribal community is to a large extent…white. How many members of tribes in the US are more than 1/4 native blood? How much of that is due to declaring everyone in the tribe ‘100%’ in the late 1890’s?

    What if you can prove one of your family members was killed in the Civil War fighting for the Union?

    What about the black population of the US. Most of them are a good percentage white. What if someone is 25% slave descendant, 25% slave owner descendant? Do they have to pay reparations…to themselves?

    What about Hispanics? The Spanish in the Americas owned a lot of black slaves. For example, the Spanish did not free the slaves in Puerto Rico until 1873. Shouldn’t they have to pay as well?

    Shouldn’t Muslims have to pay extra? I mean, they played a large part in selling the African slaves to slave traders. Aren’t the people who enslaved and sold the slaves at least a culpable as the people who bought them (a drug cartel and dealer/ drug user analogy is apt here)? Slavery of non-Muslims is still allowed in Islam and still occurs around the globe, including the US it appears. Mohammed considered black Africans less than human, considered African slaves worth only 1/2 of an Arab slaves, and called Africans derisive names like ‘rasin head’ (his epithet for Ethiopians).
    https://www.meforum.org/4795/muslims-sexually-enslaving-children-a-global

  2. You’re just starting to scratch the surface of a very slippery slope. Because that is exactly what this fiasco is headed. What about those Japanese Americans wrongfully imprisoned during WW2? Don’t they and their ancestors deserve reparations? What about the people who have already received reparations? Do they? Do their ancestors?

    What about the obvious abuse that is going to come from those systems. The Democrats seem to require such a small burden of proof for requiring to know who you are. Can’t I just say I am black or have black ancestors?

    Wait a second!

    Perhaps I do deserve to be in on this action. My ancestors came from Poland. My grandma came here before WW2 and my grandpa came after. Neither owned slaves. However, my grandpa was in a Polish concentration camp. He almost died. What did the US do? They harbored a lot of those Nazis. The US OWES me for allowing those terrible Nazis into the country after what they did.

    Are the Jews who were turned away from the US going to be owed reparations? What about all these illegal immigrants who have been kicked out. When the borders are finally opened up, will they be owned reparations for our “mistreatment” of them?

    But before anyone of these questions (or those above) should be answered, the first one that needs to be asked is this: will it ever be enough?

    As this excellent thread has demonstrated, there are 10000s of questions that will need to be answered, answered, seriously (not for political gain), before we can even come close to making a decision. However, it seems that the more questions that are asked, the more obvious the answer becomes and the more absurd the rationalizations are to answer those questions to justify a pro response.

    As it is, I can only see the following people giving a pro response (please prove me wrong):

    Those looking for political points
    Those suffering from guilt
    Those who haven’t actually put any thought into the issue
    Those who will benefit greatly, but don’t care about the consequences because “It’s their right”

    Our racial relations have a very troubled past. But time has proved that things do get better. Sure there are spots where those relations seem to flare out, but exposure and time are the best ways to heal those wounds. It will take individuals to change hearts, not a government mandate. No long term gain can be won if the government tries to intervene like this.

    • It appears some of my ancestors fled the Trail of Tears. They spent 60+ years on the run. They weren’t American citizens, they weren’t even considered property like slaves. They were literally nothing under the law. They couldn’t even be enrolled in a tribe under the Dawes Act because they had ‘escaped’. At that instant, they became ‘white’. Either that or my family will always be Cherokee in rebellion against the US government (They were in rebellion because they didn’t report to the reservation. If they are never allowed to report to the reservation, how is the rebellion to end?). Is my very existence a rebellion against the US government? I kinda like that.

    • Oh, I forgot. Between 3 and 10% of ‘white’ Americans have African DNA. Are they black for reparations purposes? Remember, most of us are mongrel Americans.

    • Those who haven’t actually put any thought into the issue

      That’s the explanation for the bulk of supporters for so many policies, from open borders and Medicare for all to “sensible gun control” and radical climate change measures.

  3. The underlying issue is of course claimed victimhood whether or not your family were discriminated against in some manner, be they Black, Hispanic, Asian, White or Native American. This claim of victimhood keeps people very small and mired in resentment. The appalling and cynical politicians that push this agenda should be seen for the disgusting corrupt morally bankrupt fools that they are.

    • Right, Wayne. It’s not that complicated. Reparations is intended to make up for ongoing discrimination against people of color. To make a claim, all you’ll need to do is walk into an office in lok kinds, sorta black and say you’ve been dealt a bad hand, and away you’ll go, check in hand. It’s intended to fix net worth inequality. Take from wealthy taxpayers and give the money to poor people. Presto chango, no net worth inequality. These pols don’t give a moment’s thoughts to any of the niceties outlined above. It’s redistribution dressed up in a multi-syllabic word. Plus, the money will doubtless be deemed taxable income rather than damages so the government will get at least part of it back in a few months, or the checks will be net of taxes, FICA, FUTA, etc.

  4. Thanks for the shared Comment of the Day. It’s an honor to share with so many fellow commenters.

    Reparations really are greased slippery slope requiring a long list of unethical rationalizations to support them and they all slide directly into an abyss of an unconstitutional and immoral monetary punishment of people that have done absolutely nothing wrong and would become an endless black hole of wealth redistribution forced upon innocent citizens.

    If Democrats really want the population to vote AGAINST something in 2020, continuing to proposals of reparations will certainly inspire anti-Democratic Party sentiments from critically thinking people. This is an ignorant hill for the Democratic Party to play king of the mountain on.

    • Wonderful comments, and, if no one has complimented you before, wonderful teeth you have!

      [Baudrillard: “Americans Have No Identity, But They Do Have Wonderful Teeth”] 🙂

    • Reparations really are greased slippery slope requiring a long list of unethical rationalizations to support them and they all slide directly into an abyss of an unconstitutional and immoral monetary punishment of people that have done absolutely nothing wrong and would become an endless black hole of wealth redistribution forced upon innocent citizens.

      This is ‘surface’. But it seems typical that you prefer to remain in ‘surface’. It is certainly safer!

      It will never happen that reparations are given if only because there still remain enough fine and upstanding persons like you who would instigate a rebellion if such were enacted.

      Therefore, it remains to be seen that this is part of political and social rehearsal.

      But underneath the *surface* the real motive can be located, and it is just another manifestation of the present *game* in the present to undermine white identity. Every tool will be used and no tool is off the table. The point of this elaborate game is to ‘wield guilt’ and to attack white America at its most basic point: somatic self.

      As long as people — you, me, anyone — remain susceptible to these guilt-slinging attacks, they will be used by the brown masses in their cultural putsch-of-sorts.

      When the day comes that people are capable of dispensing with the guilt, it will be in conjunction with reclaiming identity, power and determination in this present.

      To discover how this has come about and why minorities have been given so much power in the present, that is a complex task.

      I’m here to help! 🙂

    • I’d be pleased to purchase two painted placards please! 🙂

      1.

      Reparations Is An Abyss,
      A Black Whole To Wealth,
      An Unconstitutional Punishment
      That Won’t Help Me Pay My Rent

      2.

      Be Nice to Alizia

  5. Query: If reparations are paid, what happens to the War on Poverty? A peace treaty is entered into? Welfare, food stamps, public housing, medicaid, Pell grants, affirmative action admissions, preferential government contracting, etc., etc., all cease? We’re even? We’re good? Everything’s cool? Might be a good deal. If you capitalize the cost of all these hapless programs into eternity, a few trillion paid right now might be a heck of a deal.

    “I have a structured settlement, but I need cash now. Call A.G. Wentworth. 877 CASH NOW!”

    • And what’s the fair market value of being able to live in the United States as opposed to someplace in West Africa? Shouldn’t there be some sort of offset for that? And can we get a contribution for the descendants of the Brits who ran the slave trade and the West African tribes who captured and sold the slaves to the traders? Maybe Harry and Meghan could pitch in some part of their royal wealth?

  6. OB
    You left out a nondisclosure clause. But the JG Wentworth theme is spot on.

    Many have made great comments on why reparations are impractical relating to how they would be administered, who would be eligible, and so on.

    I would like to suggest that reparations cannot be given to most living persons due to their own failure to mitigate damages. If we use 1964 as the benchmark year and compare economic welfare/condition of the affected group then to the same measures today we will find that despite hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars spent to improve those metrics that group has actually regressed since then. The old adage is apt you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink. Financial reparations for those who had opportunities but did not avail themselves to improve their own ability to be financially independent is legally unsupportable. Should we dole out fat paychecks to people that never sought out training for in-demand skills? Will we need to give reparations to college graduates who study subjects that have no market value? Somebody conned them in to taking those classes so will that be the fault of people that make the classes available?

    Black homeownership is lower today than in 1964. Real per pupil spending in public schools in all districts has risen but the number of PhD’s awarded to blacks has fallen. Children born into poverty has risen due to the destruction of the nuclear family. More than twice the number of black babies are born to single mothers today. Compare incarceration rates of black males today versus 1964. You cannot blame Jim Crow laws for today’s rates of convictions of black men. You can indict the people and politicians who teach them the false lesson that they have no other options and that jail should be an expectation because the system is slanted against them.

    Black economic progress will rise when we begin making the same demands on them as we do for everyone else. Helping people avoid personal responsibility is a sure way to create permanent dependence. Ultimately, the decisions regarding what they will do to improve their futures is theirs to make not ours.

    • Agreed, Chris. The very idea of reparations is preposterous. Getting caught in the weeds of administering them is a fools errand the race grievance industry is hoping to send everyone on. Once we talk about the details, the case is hopeless. We’re looking at trees rather than the massive elephant like forest in the room, to mix some metaphors.

      Great comment. Thanks and Cheers.

    • That permanent dependency you mention Chris I’ve seen up close on the reservation. Obviously this isn’t everyone but so many Native Americans there basically don’t want to work and are fine with living off handouts & subsidies. When I ask why, the response eventually leads back to the idea that their owed such monies, and that’s that. That kind of defeatism is mental slavery in my opinion.

      I may post a little later snippets from an email exchange with a gal I worked w/ once on the reparations issue. The unethical rationalizations were fascinating.

      Thanks Jack!

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.