Post by Michael OConnor
I'm not a McConnell fan either, but I am less a fan of reparations. There are a great number of people in this country who had zero ancestors who were actually residing in the United States during the slavery era, much less owned slaves, yet they are all on the hook for this. Also responsible for paying reparations are the descendants of all the 600,000 or more Union soldiers who died during the Civil War. Slavery was a terrible chapter in this nation's history, but it's been over 150 years since it ended and in my humble opinion it's about time to stop punishing the children for the sins of the great, great, great grand-fathers.
And then there's the whole problem of rewarding people who are only
distant descendants of actual slaves for suffering they never experienced.
It's all just silly. It reminds me of a segment I saw once about
Europeans travelling around the Middle East a few years ago and asking
individuals that they met if their ancestors had participated in the
Crusades; if they were told yes, they apologized profusely for things
that their ancestors had done HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO. And apparently
expected no similar apology from the Middle Easterners for any horrors
perpetrated by THEIR ancestors. In any case, I'm not convinced that
anyone could reliably trace their ancestry back that far and be certain
that their ancestor had participated in the Crusades.
And then there is the ENORMOUS can of worms that "reparations" creates.
It would appear to create a precedent and expectation that OTHER
injustices be handled with reparations. I've got news for anyone that
isn't knowledgeable about history: history is FULL of injustices.
Countless wars have killed many millions of people, shifted previous
borders, and resulted in transfer of ownership of resources from the
loser to the winner. How are we to pay reparations for all of THOSE as
well? How far back in time do we go? Right back to Ugh the Caveman
konking his neighbour Glorf on the head so that he can steal Glorf's
pig? Or woman? Cavemen didn't keep detailed records so it's going to be
damn near impossible to find any record of Ugh or Glorf or their crimes,
let alone determine who is descended from each so that Glorf's
descendants can be paid by Ugh's descendants.
Or do we stop at the boundaries of recorded history? That would still
take us back a few thousand years. Are descendants of the participants
of the Trojan Wars supposed to compensate one another, assuming we can
even figure out who actually is a descendant and who was a victim, who
was a perpetrator and who was an innocent bystander? And I submit that
you won't easily prove who the descendants were, let alone the
perpetrators, victims, and bystanders.
Will we try to track down all the Goths, Visigoths, etc. who overthrew
the Roman Empire and compensate the descendants of the Romans? What
about the descendants of the Pharoahs who enslaved almost everyone
Will we adjust borders back to some point in the past to redress
injustices? For example, the map of Europe changed a LOT in the
aftermath of WWI and WWII - and considerably in the wake of other
previous wars. Do we move borders back to where they were before those
wars? If we do, do countries that are now independent go back to being
parts of the many empires that existed before the big wars? For
instance, Poland had been entirely extinguished (except in the hearts of
its people) from the Napoleonic Wars through to the end of WW I. If we
"undid" the border changes at the end of WW I, Poland would be split
between the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Prussia.
Czechoslovakia only came into existence at the end of WW I; previously
it had been three provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Would it be
re-added to the Austro-Hungarian Empire (which would have to be
re-created with someone being chosen to be the new Emperor).
If we DON'T compensate anyone but descendants of slaves, I think a lot
of people are going to be very upset at not being able to benefit from
the gravy train. Or simply because their ancestors' suffering was at
least as important to them as the suffering of the descendants of slaves.
As far as I'm concerned, the whole idea of reparations is an attempt to
undo history. That simply can't be done. It would be ENORMOUSLY
disruptive, even if you could figure out exactly who was compensating
who and you could properly calculate the correct payments - and collect
them. (What happens to people who are told they owe such-and-such in
reparations who simply don't have the money?)
No, my friends, the ONLY thing that makes sense is to LEARN FROM HISTORY
and try not to make the same mistakes again. You simply can't UNDO
history the way you can undo changes in a word processor.