Restitution for Slavery. Threat or Menace?

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    Ignore the subject line. I admit it’s click bait.

    Let’s talk about both the ethical and the political issues, and whether they come into inevitable conflict.

    Here’s one side:

    Today’s black people suffer dearly for the aftereffects of their ancestors’ subjugation as slaves. When slavery ended, the government (believe it or not) compensated the former slaveholders for the loss of their “property.” No compensation to the slaves beyond the freeing itself. And from there, official slavery often became de facto slavery by still having to work, in many cases, for former slaveholders at highly discriminatory wages. Since then, blacks have had one obstacle after another achieving parity with whites in terms of income, wealth, and respect. Every black person should have some sort of monetary compensation representing the country’s guilt for its original sin of slavery.

    The other side:

    So, they get a check, spend the money, and end up in the same position. Waste of money. Beyond that, administration will surely be nightmarish. Does every black get the same amount? What about blacks, like Barack Obama, with NO slave ancestors. Will they receive a check, too? Will affluent blacks receive the same amount as destitute blacks? However well-intended, can’t you see how divisive this will be even in the black community. And won’t it simply exacerbate the divide between whites and blacks? William White, who is unable to make ends meet, receives no check whereas his African-American neighbor, Bill Black gets a big check. Do you really see the racial divide getting smaller with restitution. If you do, you’re an ass.

    • This topic was modified 7 months ago by  Unseen.


    My concern is that it seems like a good plan to get Trump reelected. The Dems are careful to only endorse a “study” at this time.



    The topic is back in the news here too. Is it possible to imagine America without the legacy of slavery?



    The topic is back in the news here too. Is it possible to imagine America without the legacy of slavery?

    Only if we all, black and white, take Morgan Freeman’s advice and stop talking about it.

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by  Unseen.


    There’s a difference between the right and left. The right wing has only one object of grievance: the left. The problem with the left—and especially the progressive wing—is that almost everybody feels aggrieved, often against other liberals or progressives. It’s virtually impossible to make them cohere. For example, peoople who has been ill-served by corporations by having jobs outsourced to China or Mexico, will resent political correctness or the fact that racial minorities get help their own children can’t get.

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by  Unseen.

    I understand the sentiment of what Morgan Freeman means. (Interesting surname too). He has a valid point. But it is not as simple as that. There was a Civil War fought over it and I have spoken with people who deny this. Could we get Christians to apologize for using their Bible as a means of justifying and condoning slavery?

    Nothing during the American struggle against the slave system did
    more to wean religious and God-fearing men and women from the old
    interpretation of Scripture than the use of it to justify slavery.

    Andrew Dickson White.

    The New Testament follows the Old Testament, and there is nowhere to be found in its contents anything to suggest the elimination of this practice. Jesus did not condemn this practice, but accepted slavery as he accepted most institutions about him, and all superstitions. The teachings of Paul on the question of slavery are clear and explicit. Pope Leo, in his letter of 1888 to the Bishop of Brazil, remarks:

    “When amid the slave multitude whom she has numbered among her children, some led astray by some hope of liberty, have had recourse to violence and sedition, the Church has always condemned these unlawful efforts, and through her ministers has applied the remedy of patience….”

    Dr. D.M. Brooks



    Right or wrong, many of the voters who voted for Trump and that the Dems need, many of them older, have had it with political correctness, triggering, pickiness over terminology (black vs. Afro-American, oriental vs. Asian, indian vs. Native American, heterosexual vs. cisgender, and LGBTWTF, among others).

    Hey, we’re all (most of us) victims of someone or something. Let’s look for what we need in common.



    The left-right spectrum is, as it is for the most part in Europe, the manner in which you sit various parties in the assembly. It ranges from hard core communism/anarchism to fascist white-supremacist. It is an extremely difficult spectrum to apply in some countries because first you have to pick which core value is most important when placing a party from 0 to 10 or most left to most right and in between. Taxes/social-spending or is it greater-rights-protection/status-quo-nationalism or is it libertarian/control. The first two sort of align though really not always. For example the Ciudadanos party in Spain is fiscally on the right but socially on the left. The last one doesn’t align at all with the first two kinds. For example the Separatist party in flanders Belgium is Left fiscally, bits and pieces of both left and right on personal-rights vs. status quo and is quite in the centre re: libertarian/control. In continental Europe I pretty rarely hear left or right as an identity or as an object of scorn, but only as a means to place a party or ideals on a rough vague spectrum. With most countries having between 5-12 parties getting seats, even trying to categories the parties into left/centre/right groups is challenging and no, parties that sit on the left don’t broadly agree with each other throughout various important policy consideration.

    That’s not possible in the U.S because there is no real centre…there are two parties, Red or blue, left or right fiscally, left or right on personal-rights vs. status-quo and both are mixed bag re libertarian/control. The Dems want to control certain modes of thought and strict standards for business while the Republicans want to control social norms and restrict certain social-rights. Both are pretty libertarian in every other way as the U.S. is the ultimate libertarian entity on Earth. I don’t remember left vs. right being a major part of the U.S. political discourse twenty years ago. It seems to have started to catch on about half a dozen years ago and has really gone crazy since trump. Left vs. right has become a label for one’s ideologies in every sense and a label for your political enemy. That polarization is really only possible when there are only two parties. And it has become extremely ugly in the last few years. You’re either a democrat or you are a heartless-biggoted-cash-licker. You are a republican or you are a douchey–free-rider-avoiding-scary-reality. Reading political articles in American news sources that veer heavily to one side and god forbid if you read the comment sections, is a painful experience. Public discourse has become A or B with nothing in between, A is undeniably right…we don’t even need to explain why nor should you question my arguments or fact-check what I say, B believers are monsters and they want to destroy the universe. The U.S. desperately needs political plurality. Diverse parties that break free of the false dichotomy of LEFT or RIGHT. It would cut down on the real nastiness in political campaigning and commentary. Force parties to compromise and work together. Allow middle-path thought and bring a relative equilibrium to national politics veering away from far left or far right policies. It does wonders. I know it wouldn’t be super easy considering the electoral college and the equal power of the house and the senate but really, even adding a third party which gets at least a few seats would absolutely do wonders for US politics.

    Finally, the democrats really aren’t SO left wing. From a Canadian/European/Australian/Japanese perspective much of the democrat policies both fiscally and rights-based are quite right wing. The dems have proposed only a fraction of the social services that are totally normal in Northern Europe and not disputed by any party from left to right. Approaches to prisons, justice, gun-control, drugs, freedom of speech are also quite right wing compared to almost the rest of the free world. The republicans on the other hand really aren’t super right wing either in so many aspects. Religion may find its way into the republican party but the vatican doesn’t dictate its policy, the Republican party as a whole doesn’t come out and say vile racist trash nor promote radical ideas that shock people…as you would find in far-right parties in the rest of the world. The Dems and Republicans are actually VERY close on the political spectrum in many ways and in a bizarre twist, especially considering the deep polarization, if you take away a couple major issues…its pretty hard to distinguish between the two. I wonder if Americans will be brave enough to vote for a third party in large numbers in the coming years.

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by  Davis.


    You’re right, Davis, that in the United States we’ve evolved (DEvolved?) into a two-party, either/or, political system. However, now in the Democratic Party, there is a huge progressive movement moving the party further to the left, away from the “corporate Democrats” (Democrats who take corporate donations for funding) and if not this time, they may be in control of the party next time around when the 2024 election rolls around. Meanwhile, the GOP is moving steadily further to the left, toward a looming demographic cliff, as I like to call it.

    President Obama (American Presidents keep their title even after leaving office) has warned the Dems against forming a “circular firing squad” (in less politically correct days, a “Polish firing squad”), but they aren’t listening, jumping on Joe Biden’s inept, stuck-in-the-past ways of talking and thinking.

    What they aren’t seeing in their rush to be politically correct (and explain how Biden is not), is that Biden’s living in the past may be exactly what brings the voters they lost, which cost them the last election, back into the Dem fold. I count myself as a progressive, but I’m also a realist, and realism isn’t a major trait in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party nowadays.

    If they’d shut up about reparations or say only that “It’s something I’ll look into,” blacks could end up with a universal healthcare plan that will ultimately benefit them far more than a one-time check for $1000 ($1,000,000? dream on).

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by  Unseen.



    Well, if black people should have some monetary compensation, and so should Hispanic people. After all it was the conquistadors that came in and ruined their societies beyond recognition. To this day Hispanic people experience prejudice. While you’re at it, what about Jewish people? After all they went through the holocaust….If we’re going to go that far we have to include the people from Middle Eastern countries. All the horror they faced… especially refugees…They deserve some financial compensation as well. So when does it stop? We should all just sue each other for pain and suffering. That’ll make the world equal!



    Oh and by the way slavery is not dead, it just changed forms


    A chapter on Christianity and Slavery (written 85 years ago) by Dr. D.M. Brooks from “The Necessity of Atheism”.
    Nothing during the American struggle against the slave system did more to wean religious and God-fearing men and women from the old interpretation of Scripture than the use of it to justify slavery.  Andrew Dickson White.

    The Christian Church has had the audacity, in modern times, to proclaim that it had abolished slavery and the slave trade. It is difficult to understand how any “righteous” man could make that contention remembering that it was not until the middle of the nineteenth century that slavery became illegal in Christian countries, with one exception, Abyssinia, (now Ethiopia, Reg) the oldest of the Christian countries, which still maintains slavery. In our own country, a nation had to be embroiled in a civil war before slavery could be abolished. Abolished by Christianity in the nineteenth century, when Christianity has been dominant in most civilized countries since the third century, and when the traffic in human flesh flourished right through those centuries in which Christianity was most powerful!

    A reference to the facts show that this claim is as spurious as many others which the ecclesiastics have boldly affirmed throughout the ages. For not only is this contrary to the truth, but it is an undeniable fact that it was only by the aid and sanction of the theological forces that slavery was able to degrade our civilization as long as it did.

    On referring to that legend which has been the source of most of our suffering and inhumanity, the Bible, a direct sanction for slavery is given in the Old Testament. Leviticus XXV gives explicit instructions as to where and from whom slaves should be bought, and sanctions the repulsive feature of separation of the slave from his family. Leviticus XXVII gives the “price” of human beings.

    The Koran, which the Christians look upon as a ridiculous smattering of utterances of a spurious prophet, sets a superior example to the Christian “Divine Revelations.”

    “God hath ordained that your brothers should be your slaves, therefore, let him whom God hath ordained to be the slave of his brother, his brother must give him of the clothes wherewith he clotheth himself, and not order him to do anything beyond his power…. A man who illtreats his slave will not enter paradise…. Whoever is the cause of separation between mother and child by selling and giving, God will separate him from his friends on the day of resurrection.”

    The New Testament follows the Old Testament, and there is nowhere to be found in its contents anything to suggest the elimination of this practice. Jesus did not condemn this practice, but accepted slavery as he accepted most institutions about him, and all superstitions. The teachings of Paul on the question of slavery are clear and explicit. Pope Leo, in his letter of 1888 to the Bishop of Brazil, remarks:

    “When amid the slave multitude whom she has numbered among her children, some led astray by some hope of liberty, have had recourse to violence and sedition, the Church has always condemned these unlawful efforts, and through her ministers has applied the remedy of patience….”

    St. Peter was addressing himself especially to the slaves when he wrote, “For this is thank-worthy, if for conscience towards God a man endures sorrows, suffering wrongfully.”

    The Church certainly saw nothing wrong with slavery when she preached patience to her slaves. It did not condemn slavery, but condemned the slaves for revolting. This in 1888!

    In the “Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics” is found: “There is no explicit condemnation in the teaching of our Lord…. It remains true that the abolitionist could point to no one text in the Gospels in defense of his position, while those who defended slavery could appeal at any rate to the letter of Scripture.”

    It is true that slavery existed under Pagan civilization, but there it represented a phase of social development, while Christian slavery stood for a deliberate retrogression in social life. It was Seneca who said, “Live gently and kindly with your slave, and admit him to conversation with you, to council with you, and to share in your meals.”

    Think of what would have occurred if one of our philosophers had admonished a slave-holding Christian in the above manner.

    “We are apt to think of the ancient slave as being identical with the miserable and degraded being that disgraced Christian countries less than a century ago. This, however, is far from the truth. The Roman slave did not, of necessity, lack education. Slaves were to be found who were doctors, writers, poets, philosophers, and moralists. Plautus, Phædrus, Terence, Epictetus, were slaves. Slaves were the intimates of men of all stations of life, even the emperor. Certainly, it never dawned on the Roman mind to prohibit education to the slave. That was left for the Christian world, and almost within our own time.” (For a good account of the close association of Christianity with slavery see, “Christianity, Slavery, and Labor,” Chapman Cohen.)

    In Rome, the slave kept his individuality, and outwardly there was no distinction in color and clothing; there was very little sound barrier between the slave and the freeman. The slave attended the same games as the freeman, participated in the affairs of the municipality, and attended the same college. The ancients kept the bodies of their slaves in bondage, but they placed no restraint upon the mind and no check upon his education. It has even been said that the slave class of antiquity really corresponded to our free laboring class. It is also well known that a well-conducted slave, by his own earnings, was able to purchase his freedom in the course of a few years.

    There can be no comparison, therefore, between Pagan and Christian slavery, except to the detriment of the latter. The Christian slave trade represents one of the most frightful and systematic brutalities the world has ever known. The contrast between the Pagan and Christian slavery is even more marked when the dependence of the Christian slave upon the good nature of his master is considered. Compare this with the decrees of the Roman emperors:

    “Masters were prohibited sending their slaves into the arena without a judicial sentence. Claudius punished as a murderer any master who killed his slave. Nero appointed judges to hear the complaints of slaves as to ill-treatment or insufficient feeding. Domitian forbade the mutilation of slaves; Hadrian forbade the selling of slaves to gladiators, destroyed private prisons for them, and ordered that they who were proved to have ill-treated their slaves be forced to sell them. Caracalla forbade the selling of children into slavery.”

    “All that need be added to this is that the later Christian slavery represented a distinct retrogression, deliberately revived from motives of sheer cupidity, and accompanied by more revolting features than the slavery of ancient times.” (Chapman Cohen.)

    In the “History of Ethics within Organized Christianity” is recorded, “The Church, as such, never contemplated doing away with slavery as such, even though Stoicism had denounced it as ‘Contra Mundum.’ Nowhere does the early Church condemn slavery as an institution. Kindness to the slave is frequently recommended, but this was done quite as forcibly, and upon a much broader ground by the pagan writers. It would be indeed nearer the truth to say that the Christians who wrote in favor of the mitigation of the lot of the slave were far more indebted to pagans than to Christian influence.”

    The Church itself owned many slaves, advised its adherents to will their slaves to her, and was the last to liberate the slaves which she owned. Yet, the apologists for the Church would have us believe that she was instrumental in the destruction of slavery, when it is a fact that there is nowhere a clear condemnation of slavery on the part of the Church.

    H. C. Lea in his “Studies of the Church History” says, “The Church held many slaves, and while their treatment was in general sufficiently humane to cause the number to grow by voluntary accretions, yet it had no scruple to assert vigorously their claim to ownership. When the Papal Church granted a slave to a monastery, the dread anathema, involving eternal perdition, was pronounced against anyone daring to interfere with the gift; and those who were appointed to take charge of the lands and farms of the Church, were especially instructed that it was part of their duty to pursue and recapture fugitive bondsmen.”

    It must not be assumed that the Catholic Church was the only ecclesiastical body to condone slavery, or that it was only the traffic in black slaves that flourished a few hundred years ago.

    “In the seventeenth century, thousands of Irish men, women and children, were seized by the order or under the license of the English government, and sold as slaves for use in the West Indies. In the Calendar of State Papers, under various dates, between 1653-1656, the following entries occur: ‘For a license to Sir John Clotworthy to transport to America 500 natural Irishmen.’ A slave dealer, named Schlick, is granted a license to take 400 children from Ireland for New England, and Virginia. Later, 100 Irish girls and a like number of youths are sold to the planters in Jamaica.

    “Had the Church been against slavery it would have branded it as a wrong, and have set the example of liberating its own slaves? It did neither. Nay, the Church not only held slaves itself, not only protected others who held slaves, but it thundered against all who should despoil its property by selling or liberating slaves belonging to the Church. The whole history of the Christian Church shows that it has never felt itself called upon to fight any sound institution, no matter what its character, so long as it favored the Church. Slavery and serfdom, war, piracy, child labor, have all been in turn sanctioned.” (Chapman Cohen: “Christianity, Slavery, and Labor.”)

    In Abyssinia, the influence of Christianity has been dominant for a longer period of time than anywhere else in the world. The population of Abyssinia is at least ten million, and of this population not less than one-fifth, probably more, are slaves. In 1929, Lady Kathleen Simon published her book entitled, “Slavery,” dealing with the slave trade of the world. In this work it is pointed out that slave-owning is an integral part of the religion of the country, and that opposition to the abolition of slavery comes principally from the priesthood which considers itself the guardian of the Mosaic Law, and regards slavery as an institution ordered by Jehovah.

    Slave raids are constant in this country, and are accompanied by the greatest brutality and cruelty. Vast areas are depopulated by these raids and even at this date, gangs of slaves may be seen by travelers, with the dead and dying bodies of those that have fallen strewn along the roadside. “The slave trade in Abyssinia is open, its horrors are well known, and it is supported by the Christian Church of the country. Such is slavery in the most Christian country in the world today, the country which has the longest Christian history of any nation in the world. Its existence helps us to realize the value of the statement that the power of Christianity in the world destroyed the slave trade. Slavery flourishes in the oldest of Christian countries in the world, backed up by the Church, the Old Bible, and the New Testament. It has all the horrors, all the brutalities, all the degradations of the slave trade at its worst. Such is Christian Abyssinia, and such, but for the saving grace of secular civilization, would be the rest of the world.” (Chapman Cohen.)

    The slave system that arose in Christian times, created by and continued by Christians in the most Christian of countries, provides the final and unanswerable indictment of the Christian Church.

    Slavery was unknown to the Africans until it was introduced by the Christian Portuguese. In 1517 the Spaniards began to ship negro slaves to Hispaniola, Cuba, Jamaica, and Porto Rica. John Hawkins was the first Englishman of note to engage in the traffic, and Queen Elizabeth loaned this virtuous and pious gentleman the ship Jesus. English companies were licensed to engage in this trade and during the reign of William and Mary it was thrown open to all.

    Between 1680 and 1700, it has been said that 140,000 Negroes were imported by the English-African Company, and about 160,000 more by private traders. Between 1700 and 1786, as many as 610,000 were transported to Jamaica alone. In the hundred years ending 1776, the English carried into the Spanish, French, and English Colonies three million slaves.

    The cruelty experienced by these human cargoes on their transportation defies description. The chaining, the branding, the mutilation, the close quarters, the deaths by suffocation and disease, are a sterling example of man’s inhumanity to man when his conscience is relieved by finding support of his inhumane actions sanctioned in that most holy of holies, the Bible. Exclusive of the slaves who died before leaving Africa, not more than fifty out of a hundred lived to work on the plantations. Ingram’s “History of Slavery” calculates that although between 1690 and 1820 no less than 800,000 Negroes had been imported to Jamaica, yet, at the latter date, only 340,000 were on the island.

    Slavery in America received the same sanction by the religionists which it received on the continent. George Whitefield, the great Methodist preacher, was an earnest supporter of slavery. When the importation of slaves finally ceased the states began the new industry of breeding slaves; the leading state for this breeding, and the one which contained the largest number of stud farms, was Virginia. Lord Macaulay, in a speech delivered before the House of Commons on February 26, 1845, said: “The slave states of the Union are of two classes, the breeding states, where the human beast of burden increases, and multiplies, and becomes strong for labor; and the sugar and cotton states to which these beasts of burden are sent to be worked to death. Bad enough it is that civilized man should sail to an uncivilized quarter of the world where slavery existed, should buy wretched barbarians, and should carry them away to labor in a distant land; bad enough! But that a civilized man, a baptized man, a man proud of being a citizen of a free state, a man frequenting a Christian Church, should breed slaves for exportation, and if the whole horrible truth must be told, should even beget slaves for exportation, should see children, sometimes his own children, gambolling from infancy, should watch their growth, should become familiar with their faces, and should sell them for $400 or $500 a head, and send them to lead in a remote country a life which is a lingering death, a life about which the best thing that can be said is that it is sure to be short; this does, I own, excite a horror exceeding even the horror excited by that slave trade which is the curse of the African coast. And mark, I am speaking of a trade as regular as the trade in pigs between Dublin and Liverpool, or as the trade in coals between the Tyne and the Thames.”

    It has been estimated that the members and ministers of the Orthodox churches in the South owned no less than 660,000 slaves.

    Thomas Paine, in 1775, when he wrote his article on “Justice and Humanity,” was the first to demand emancipation in a lucid manner. The campaign for liberation of the slaves was therefore inaugurated by a freethinker, and triumphantly closed by another freethinker, Abraham Lincoln. In this manner did the Church abolish slavery? With characteristic disregard for the truth, the religionists have laid claim to Lincoln, which claim has been amply refuted; but we are still awaiting the Church’s claim to Paine as one of her devotees.

    “And, truly, the case against Christianity is plain and damning. Never, during the whole of its history has it spoken in a clear voice against slavery; always, as we have seen, its chief supporters have been pronounced believers. They have cited religious teaching in its defence, they have used all the power of the Church for its maintenance. Naturally, in a world in which the vast majority are professing Christians, believers are to be found on the side of humanity and justice. But to that the reply is plain. Men are human before they are Christians; both history and experience point to the constant lesson of the many cases in which the claims of a developing humanity override those of an inculcated religious teaching.

    “But the damning fact against Christianity is, not that it found slavery here when it arrived, and accepted it as a settled institution, not even that it is plainly taught in its ‘sacred’ books, but, that it deliberately created a new form of slavery, and for hundreds of years invested it with a brutality greater than that which existed centuries before. A religion which could tolerate this slavery, argue for it, and fight for it, cannot by any stretch of reasoning be credited with an influence in forwarding emancipation. Christianity no more abolished slavery than it abolished witchcraft, the belief in demonism, or punishment for heresy. It was the growing moral and social sense of mankind that compelled Christians and Christianity to give up these and other things.” (C. Cohen: “Christianity, Slavery, and Labor.”)




    If anyone deserves compensation…how about women? See where this is headed?



    I’m an old guy. Elderly people suffer incredible abuse and discrimination. I want money. Send me some.



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