Sowell: slavery, distorted history, and filtered facts

April 27, 2010

At Real Clear Politics, a curious incident leads Thomas Sowell to think about how the history of slavery is taught, and how its one-sided presentation leads to the wrong lessons:

Just as Europeans enslaved Africans, North Africans enslaved Europeans– more Europeans than there were Africans enslaved in the United States and in the 13 colonies from which it was formed.

The treatment of white galley slaves was even worse than the treatment of black slaves picking cotton. But there are no movies or television dramas about it comparable to “Roots,” and our schools and colleges don’t pound it into the heads of students.

The inhumanity of human beings toward other human beings is not a new story, much less a local story. There is no need to hide it, because there are lessons we can learn from it. But there is also no need to distort it, so that sins of the whole human species around the world are presented as special defects of “our society” or the sins of a particular race.

If American society and Western civilization are different from other societies and civilization, it is that they eventually turned against slavery, and stamped it out, at a time when non-Western societies around the world were still maintaining slavery and resisting Western pressures to end slavery, including in some cases armed resistance.

Only the fact that the West had more firepower than others put an end to slavery in many non-Western societies during the age of Western imperialism. Yet today there are Americans who have gone to Africa to apologize for slavery– on a continent where slavery has still not been completely ended, to this very moment.

Sowell argues that those teaching only one aspect of the story of slavery, how America enslaved Africans, for example, are doing so because they have an agenda: the derogation and slighting of the civilization in which they live. They also miss the real story, that of the dangers inherent in letting one group of people have unconstrained power over another.

And thus they do their students no favors.


Aussie PM comes to his senses, ditches cap-and-trade

April 27, 2010

No, not because he realized anthropogenic global warming is a fraud and a farce. It is, after all, the great moral imperative of our time (said the noted ear-wax eater). Rather, he shelved the bill because he realized he couldn’t forcve the bill through in the face of firm opposition:

AFTER months of avoiding even mentioning an emissions trading scheme Kevin Rudd has formally dumped Labor’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme until at least after the next election, and possibly the one after that.

After months of refusing to defend or promote the answer to the greatest moral and economic challenge “of our time” or to propose an alternative the Prime Minister has simply put it off as an inconvenient political truth and tried to blame the Coalition and the Greens for obstruction in the Senate.

It was an odd coalition: the Liberal-National alliance opposed plan on skeptical grounds, while the Greens thought it didn’t go far enough. Regardless, the effect was to block a scheme on which Canberra had already wasted hundreds of millions and would cripple large portions of the Australian economy if implemented.

No matter how it came about, I call that a win for good policy and common sense. Let’s hope President Obama meets similar success in our own Senate as the Democrats’ cap-and-trade legislation is brought to the floor.

(via WUWT)


Wait. Wasn’t this supposed to be the post-racial presidency?

April 27, 2010

Then why is President Obama appealing to voters by citing their ethnicity? Oh, and their age demographic and gender, too?

I guess Jim Geraghty should add this to his comprehensive list of Obama promises that have expiration dates.

Jennifer Rubin provides this analysis:

Several things are noteworthy. First, so much for the post-racial presidency. We are back to naked pleas for racial solidarity. This comes from a man who told us that there were no Blue States or Red States, and that we should stop carving up the electorate into ethnic and racial groups. It was moving and appropriate and now it’s inoperative.

Second, this also suggests that just about everyone else in the electorate is a lost cause — whites, men, independents, and older voters. The Obama coalition has fractured — a little later than Hillary Clinton predicted, but it has. It seems he is reduced to the core left, not a recipe for successful governance or re-election.

Click though to see why she thinks this means the Democrats may be in big trouble in November.

Of course, appealing to voters on the basis of what we now call “identity groups” is nothing new in our history and, as recently as 2004, John Kerry was nakedly pandering to Catholic voters on the basis of shared identity. But it’s something I’ve always found offensive and self-betraying in a nation founded on political principle (often honored in the breach, but, nonetheless).

And it’s doubly so coming from Barack Obama. He is President of the United States and Chief of State – of the entire State. For him to toss aside all the eloquent words (“Just words.”) he said about getting beyond those things that divide us and to make a blatant appeal for votes based on those same divisions is cynical beyond belief.

It’s also desperate.

(via Fausta)

LINKS: More from Sister Toldjah.


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