On reparations (please don’t read this article if you can’t take the truth)

Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer

Warning: if you can’t take the truth, then you should not read this article.

Here’s a hypothetical situation using some real people:

Tom Teacher is a pedophile and chooses to prey on children over the Internet. The police catch him. Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon charges him. A jury convicts him – finds him guilty of sexually assaulting children – after a trial where the lead prosecutor is a lady by the name of Laura Bond, an Internet Crimes Against Children prosecutor, who makes the case for the State of Texas against Mr. Teacher, the defendant. Ms. Bond, the prosecutor, grew up in the United States where schools taught tolerance for moral ambiguity, and, while a young adult, Ms. Bond didn’t stop the schools from teaching moral ambiguity. Therefore, 9th District Judge Phil Grant sternly pronounces Mr. Teacher’s guilt, based upon the jury’s finding, and then proceeds to sentence. “Based upon your guilt, Ms. Bond, I hereby sentence you to twenty (20) years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Institutional Division and I fine you $25,000.00 as well.” Ms. Bond shrieks, “Judge Grant, I’m not the defendant. I didn’t commit the crime.” Judge Grant responds, “But you allowed it to occur,” as the Sheriff’s Deputies lead Laura Bond away in shackles to the stunned surprise of everyone in the courtroom. Judge Grant presses a button and flushes all of Ms. Bond’s savings out of her bank account into the coffers of the government forfeiture fund.

In only the broadest of ways could someone blame Laura Bond in the hypothetical circumstance above. Ms. Bond is one of the good guys. She’s a prosecutor. It would be inconceivable in America to punish by imprisonment or fine Ms. Bond for living in a society which, through its public schools, taught moral ambiguity.

Nevertheless, part of the fundamental structure upon which we base western society is that individuals have moral culpability for their wrongs. That doesn’t mean, however, wrongs broadly conceived. Rather, that means that a person faced a circumstance, had a choice of action, and chose the wrong action.

Brilliant University of Toronto psychologist Jordan Peterson wrote:

“Meaning is the way, the path of life more abundant, the place you live when you are guided by Love and speaking Truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want takes precedence over precisely that.

“Do what is meaningful, not what is expedient.”

There is a commonality of the Scriptures of the New Testament, the critical writings of Dostoevsky, and the post-Holocaust works of objectivist epistemology. That commonality is rather simple and rather close to what Dr. Peterson wrote: one must strive to do right over wrong, which we can recognize objectively, at all times, whether it’s expedient or not.

There is a commonality of the Scriptures of the New Testament, the critical writings of Dostoevsky, and the post-Holocaust works of objectivist epistemology. That commonality is rather simple and rather close to what Dr. Peterson wrote: one must strive to do right over wrong, which we can recognize objectively, at all times, whether it’s expedient or not.

Let’s take a few examples: (1) theft is wrong, (2) lying is wrong, and (3) physically harming someone is wrong. Well, what about not paying a debt obligation you owe to someone? That is (1) and (2) combined. What about enslaving someone? That is (1), (2), and (3) combined. What about defaming someone? Look to (2).

In other words, we must judge our fellow human with a simple test. Does our fellow human follow the way of Love, speak the Truth, and avoid actions (1), (2), and (3) even when it is more expedient to do so? If your answer is, “Well, yes, the answer most definitely is that Charlie does all of those things, because he attends the Cowboy Church on Sunday,” then my response is “How does physically placing Charlie at Cowboy Church once a week tell us that Charlie doesn’t do (1), (2), or (3), follows the way of Love, and speaks the Truth?” There is no connection in either the Scriptures or any philosophy between those two.

Therefore, the question of reparations for slavery is really quite simple. Pandering for votes, Julian Castro did what was expedient rather than what was meaningful. In fact, his comment may be one of the most nonsensical a presidential candidate has ever made (although don’t hold your breath to hear Stephen Colbert or Bill Maher make fun of it). Castro told a crowd at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin yesterday, “If under the Constitution we compensate people because we take their property, why wouldn’t you compensate people who actually were property.”

Therefore, I must ask a question to Mr. Castro (which I don’t expect he’ll answer.) My ancestors didn’t live in the United States prior to the 1940s almost 80 years after the emancipation of slaves. What moral right would you have to take my money in the form of taxes (theft) and blame me for slavery (lying)? Mr. Castro, do you propose to exempt African-Americans from taxation to fund the reparations?

Fundamentally, there is no moral basis whatsoever for paying reparations to African-Americans today for slavery. Slavery was morally wrong. Those who engaged in slavery committed (1), (2), and (3) above.

There is a virtual form of reparations, however, which we must all pay each and every moment of our lives. We must strive to do right over wrong. There’s no ambiguity in the immorality of slavery. There’s no ambiguity in the immorality of discrimination against an individual based upon the color of his or her skin.

The concept of “reparations” for slavery in America has nothing whatsoever to do with restitution. Rather, those who espouse such reparations are pandering for expediency. They have as sound a moral basis as punishing Laura Bond in the hypothetical example at the top of this article.

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