Slavery and Reparations and Concentration Camps, Oh My

The problem with our lefty friends is that they don't really want to have what they call a "conversation." Their idea of conversation is for highly trained activists to ram their morality down our throats and then demand we say thank-you.

Right now they are sticking it to us over the question of reparations and concentration camps.

So when Democrats rile up their black base with demands for reparations -- that’s loot and plunder to ordinary deplorables -- and when Mean Girl of the Month AOC talks idly about “concentration camps,” well, all they are doing is trolling for votes.

Let's take slavery and reparations. First, slavery. It was ubiquitous in human society up until the day before yesterday. Here are a few words from The Year 1000 by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger.

Welleas, or Welshman, was one of the Old English words for slave -- which showed where the Anglo Saxons got their slaves... Bristol was a slave port, trading with the Viking slave merchants based in Ireland. According to contemporary chronicles, eleventh-century Dublin operated the largest slave market in western Europe.

But here’s the kicker:

People also surrendered themselves into bondage at times of famine and distress... [I]n the year 1000 the starving man had no other resort but to kneel before his lord or lady and place his head in their hands... It was a basic transaction -- heads for food.

In later times, starving young men “went for a soldier” and took the King’s shilling in order to get fed.

The great scandal of plantation slavery started right after the Crusades after Christian Europeans had learned about sugar cane from their Muslim enemies. The first slave sugar plantations were established on Cyprus, financed by Venetian merchants, and used local serfs and Muslim slaves as labor. I have a whole chapter about this in my American Manifesto.

I should say capitalistic slave sugar plantations. Plantations were big business that spread westward to the Islas Canarias and then to South America. The Brits got involved in 1640 when they learned the business from the Dutch and set up slave plantations in Barbados.

Those amazing Dutch! First they taught the Brits slave plantations and then, in 1692, central banking.

Sometime in the 18th century, slave plantations started to become a scandal. Why? My take is: partly the populist moralism of the Great Awakening, and partly upper-class resentment of the new slave barons -- think the Bertrams of Mansfield Park -- that were building obscene climate-changing mansions and buying their way into the Brit Parliament. There’s a lovely scene where Good Little Girl Fanny Price had asked Sir Thomas Bertram about the slave trade:

“[B]ut there was such a dead silence” from the others, Fanny admitted, that she hardly dared to continue her topic.

Also, I suspect, there is this. Slaves have to be guarded and disciplined with the cowhide whip -- and fed, and housed, and kept subservient. But free labor just has to be paid: much less bother. And, lefty politicians emerged to take the workers off the hands of the ca-pittle-ists and make them into neo-serfs and neo-slaves in the liberal plantation -- or concentration camp -- of the welfare state. And then the biggest reason of all: With free labor the capitalists make more money than with slave labor. Who knew?

What about reparations? Old as the hills: making the defeated nation pay an “indemnity” as a penalty for daring to oppose our glorious warriors. That is the point of the current rage for reparations: to remind the white supremacists and working-class deplorables that they are a defeated race, with no future.

Let’s admit that slavery and concentration camps and piles of skulls are as human as apple pie, and socialists, of both the international and the national variety, were all for them. Until they weren’t. The astonishing thing is that we moderns, for all our follies and faults, have come to think of slavery and concentration camps and Trails of Tears as scandalous.

But not yet reparations.

I do not think our modern ideas indicate a more advanced morality. Not at all. I just think that we are stumbling towards a realization that loot and plunder and slaves and camps and reparations and big government are brutally inefficient ways for a modern ruling class to get rich off the labor of its deplorable subjects. They do not pay. Much better to let creative minds loose in the market economy and turn responsible wage-earners to their jobs. And just tax 'em at the rate approved by Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Art Laffer according to his eponymous curve.

But I do not think the gorgeous AOC has the chops to understand all this, for all her elite education at the prestigious Boston University and her invaluable experience dispensing practical philosophy as a bartender. It’s a problem.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

The problem with our lefty friends is that they don't really want to have what they call a "conversation." Their idea of conversation is for highly trained activists to ram their morality down our throats and then demand we say thank-you.

Right now they are sticking it to us over the question of reparations and concentration camps.

So when Democrats rile up their black base with demands for reparations -- that’s loot and plunder to ordinary deplorables -- and when Mean Girl of the Month AOC talks idly about “concentration camps,” well, all they are doing is trolling for votes.

Let's take slavery and reparations. First, slavery. It was ubiquitous in human society up until the day before yesterday. Here are a few words from The Year 1000 by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger.

Welleas, or Welshman, was one of the Old English words for slave -- which showed where the Anglo Saxons got their slaves... Bristol was a slave port, trading with the Viking slave merchants based in Ireland. According to contemporary chronicles, eleventh-century Dublin operated the largest slave market in western Europe.

But here’s the kicker:

People also surrendered themselves into bondage at times of famine and distress... [I]n the year 1000 the starving man had no other resort but to kneel before his lord or lady and place his head in their hands... It was a basic transaction -- heads for food.

In later times, starving young men “went for a soldier” and took the King’s shilling in order to get fed.

The great scandal of plantation slavery started right after the Crusades after Christian Europeans had learned about sugar cane from their Muslim enemies. The first slave sugar plantations were established on Cyprus, financed by Venetian merchants, and used local serfs and Muslim slaves as labor. I have a whole chapter about this in my American Manifesto.

I should say capitalistic slave sugar plantations. Plantations were big business that spread westward to the Islas Canarias and then to South America. The Brits got involved in 1640 when they learned the business from the Dutch and set up slave plantations in Barbados.

Those amazing Dutch! First they taught the Brits slave plantations and then, in 1692, central banking.

Sometime in the 18th century, slave plantations started to become a scandal. Why? My take is: partly the populist moralism of the Great Awakening, and partly upper-class resentment of the new slave barons -- think the Bertrams of Mansfield Park -- that were building obscene climate-changing mansions and buying their way into the Brit Parliament. There’s a lovely scene where Good Little Girl Fanny Price had asked Sir Thomas Bertram about the slave trade:

“[B]ut there was such a dead silence” from the others, Fanny admitted, that she hardly dared to continue her topic.

Also, I suspect, there is this. Slaves have to be guarded and disciplined with the cowhide whip -- and fed, and housed, and kept subservient. But free labor just has to be paid: much less bother. And, lefty politicians emerged to take the workers off the hands of the ca-pittle-ists and make them into neo-serfs and neo-slaves in the liberal plantation -- or concentration camp -- of the welfare state. And then the biggest reason of all: With free labor the capitalists make more money than with slave labor. Who knew?

What about reparations? Old as the hills: making the defeated nation pay an “indemnity” as a penalty for daring to oppose our glorious warriors. That is the point of the current rage for reparations: to remind the white supremacists and working-class deplorables that they are a defeated race, with no future.

Let’s admit that slavery and concentration camps and piles of skulls are as human as apple pie, and socialists, of both the international and the national variety, were all for them. Until they weren’t. The astonishing thing is that we moderns, for all our follies and faults, have come to think of slavery and concentration camps and Trails of Tears as scandalous.

But not yet reparations.

I do not think our modern ideas indicate a more advanced morality. Not at all. I just think that we are stumbling towards a realization that loot and plunder and slaves and camps and reparations and big government are brutally inefficient ways for a modern ruling class to get rich off the labor of its deplorable subjects. They do not pay. Much better to let creative minds loose in the market economy and turn responsible wage-earners to their jobs. And just tax 'em at the rate approved by Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Art Laffer according to his eponymous curve.

But I do not think the gorgeous AOC has the chops to understand all this, for all her elite education at the prestigious Boston University and her invaluable experience dispensing practical philosophy as a bartender. It’s a problem.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.