Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The case for reparations for slavery has been revived
lately by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a writer for whom I once
had a fair degree of respect. Fortunately, Walter Williams has made
mincemeat of that evil idea on many levels, starting with the moral:
... I also agree that slave owners and slave traders should make reparations to those whom they enslaved. The problem, of course, is that slaves, slave owners and slave traders are all dead. Thus, punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is out of the hands of the living.But Williams is not done, yet. Many advocates of "reparations" like to claim a superior knowledge of history, as if this bolsters their case for committing wrongs against the innocent. Williams goes on demonstrate that such claims, as judged by the proposed remedies, are just about as ridiculous as the white guilt he lampooned ages ago through his "Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon Granted to All Persons of European Descent". It is clear from this piece that advocates of reparations must be ignorant or evasive of almost everything but the facts that slavery once existed in this country, the slaves had African heritage, and persons of European heritage owned slaves.
Punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is not what reparations advocates want. They want government to compensate today's blacks for the bondage suffered by our ancestors. But there's a problem. Government has no resources of its very own. The only way for government to give one American a dollar is to first -- through intimidation, threats and coercion -- confiscate that dollar from some other American. Therefore, if anybody cares, a moral question arises. What moral principle justifies punishing a white of today to compensate a black of today for what a white of yesterday did to a black of yesterday? [bold added]
This is a piece well worth reading in full and keeping in mind, in the event one realizes that an otherwise intelligent and thoughtful adult is falling for the kind of nonsense that Coates has decided push.