Why reparations now?
The absurdity of the concept of reparations for slavery, an institution that ended several generations ago, is beyond mind-boggling. But there's a blatantly cynical reason for the sudden lurch in that direction: formerly reliable Black voters are now slipping away from the Democrats. This also explains Biden's recently expressed profuse generosity toward the nations of sub-Saharan Africa.
What is also painfully obvious is the lame, demagogic pandering that is the Democrats' knee-jerk response, especially to a defecting constituency: just throw money at them, and that'll keep 'em on the reservation. Never mind the exposure to ridicule attached to redistributing money from people who never owned slaves to people who never were slaves, since the despicable practice was abolished over 150 years ago. "Oh, the wealth and education gap that plagues the inner cities is the enduring legacy of slavery." Even if this were true, just throwing money at the problem is of particularly dubious benefit.
The dystopic nature of our inner cities cannot be traced back to slavery. Modern-day political machines are the culprits. Paying women to have fatherless children; running schools that avoid imparting basic math and literacy skills while lowering the standards for achievement; suppressing police responses to avoid bad optics and litigation...all add up to imposed squalor. And none of this can be traced back to slavery or any of its aftereffects.
You may call it the "Trump Effect" or whatever — "working-class" voters have been shifting to the Republican Party. This includes Black folks and other "minorities." Nowadays, progressive Democrats are mostly appealing to trust-fund-baby treehuggers and other guilty, virtue-signaling middle-class liberals. This is what's happening. And Trump didn't even start it. Some years ago, Pat Caddell, political adviser to Bill Clinton, bemoaned his perception that the Democrat party had been taken over by an "elite gentry." Trump did, however, accelerate the process of blue-collar defection by allowing the economy to fiercely expand and thus embrace many of those stuck on its bottom rungs.
Another disquieting aspect of the reparations movement is its complete reliance on skin color. Much like affirmative action, reparations promises to further institutionalize racism — as did Jim Crow laws in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This despite the suppressed reality that not all slave owners were white. Just ask Kamala Harris's Jamaican father, who freely admitted that his Black ancestors owned Black slaves. This was further corroborated by my late former neighbor. Though having been a Tuskegee airman, he admitted that his Haitian ancestors owned slaves. Ironically, one of the founders of modern environmentalism, John James Audubon, was also Haitian — though of French descent.
It also so happens that not all slaves were black Africans. Originally, the British colonists brought in Scots and Irish slaves to fill the labor deficit created by the vastness of America. These were not indentured slaves, who only needed to work off the cost of their passage to achieve their freedom. They were true chattel: property that was bought and paid for. However, these northern Europeans were way too susceptible to malaria and proved to not be of much economic value. A further irony lies in the particular common genetic trait of tropical African natives that allows them to be significantly more resistant to malaria than Europeans — it is also the cause of sickle cell anemia.
So, should Americans with Scottish and Irish surnames also be entitled to reparations for slavery? Is there any limit to the absurdity to which craven political hacks will stoop to cling to the reins of power? After all, they cooked up affirmative action ostensibly to nullify whatever lingering damage that was done by previous racism...but instead, they enshrined privilege based on pigmentation.
To cap it all off, California has a reparations task force that is supposed to figure everything out by next July 1. This includes eligibility, amount(s) of payment, etc. The question of what actual fiscal impact such a splurge will have on a state with a rapidly evaporating tax base simply does not come up. That's entirely within character for the nincompoops who run states like California. The folks who are having the money thrown at them have no reason to complain and the folks whose money it used to be have little, if any, voice left to complain. What a country!
Image: Public Domain.