Reparations would repair nothing
A lot of questions have been asked about the implementation of any scheme to pay descendants of slaves for the enslavement of their ancestors. Last night on Tucker Carlson's show, Carlson spoke with Jason Nichols, who suggested that it was a federal government debt rather than a take-from-the-whites-and-give-to-blacks issue. Carlson asked a question that wasn't answered, about whether the payment of reparations would heal the racial divide. I assert that it would only make that divide worse.
Who were the slaves? The ones brought from Africa were originally enslaved there, by a tribe that had beaten their own tribe in some battle. These survivors of the losing side would have been abused as the property the victors considered them to be. Eventually, they were sold to Europeans, who brought them to the American continent. If plantation-owners here had not bought them, who knows what might have happened to them, but it could have involved being tossed overboard to make room for cargo that was easier to sell. Note that the slaves on the ship preferred life as a slave to death, a choice I probably would have made the same way.
Slavery was legal, and not just in the United States. The laws for treatment of slaves were like those for treatment of livestock and allowed physical abuse and even killing them. There have been many laws we now find appalling, but no crime was committed. Our justice system does not prescribe morality, only legal and illegal actions. We decry the WWII detention of Americans of Japanese descent in camps because they were citizens who were imprisoned in spite of having committed no crime. Owning slaves was not a crime at the time, so why should reparations be paid?
If slavery is a moral wrong and laws don't legislate morality, then I have to ask why anyone thinks forgiveness for this old sin can be bought. Is this our atonement? If the bloodshed by Northern soldiers in the Civil War does not wash away this sin, then nothing will. God may forgive the actual slave-owners, all dead now, though the Bible mentions slavery, and not as a sin. So if slavery is a sin, against whom was it committed, and why is that individual or group being treated as a deity?
Reparations also cheapen the lives of the original slaves. Who among the potential beneficiaries is going to say, no matter how much reparations might be specifically paid to them, "OK, that's enough, it's okay that you abused my ancestors, beat them and raped them, and worked them in inhumane conditions. We're good now." Wouldn't that restore his dead ancestors to being slaves, agreeing that a life can be bought, but the price has to be adequate? If human lives are of infinite value, then reparations have to go on forever. But if that happens, then the citizens providing the tax dollars are turned into slaves. We might hypothetically pay off our $20T-plus national debt, but how do you pay off the history of slavery without bringing slavery back for the payers or the original slaves?
Will the African nations that originally enslaved these ancestors also be sent bills for reparations due? What will be their share of this debt? What about American Indian tribes that essentially did the same thing to each other? Shall they be paying each other reparations as well?
Those who demand reparations are apparently not against slavery, so long as they are the ones benefiting. But no amount of reparations is justifiable.