Reparations, Moral Crimes, and Real Justice
June 2, 2002
by Bruce Walker
The recently announced reparation lawsuits on behalf of long dead slaves against organizations whose long dead officers used legally allowed slave labor produces an instinctive repulsion by conservatives, who understand that guilt and innocence are personal and not collective and who understand that justice ex post facto is inherently unjust.
Slavery is a moral crime, a truth first proclaimed by European Christians more than one thousand years ago, but what is the proper response to that moral crime? The proper response is the same as for any other moral crime: confession, remorse, and redemption.
John Newton, the author of the beautiful hymn Amazing Grace, was a slave trader who trusted in God and acted upon that trust. This leap of faith transformed his life, and through him and the lives of others.
Reparations lawsuits would force the descendants of John Newton to pay the descendants of tribal leaders who had willingly participated in the slave trade, and then wound up transported slaves themselves, for the collective wrong of Europeans and Americans. These were the very people who ended slavery around the world, including enslavement of Europeans by Africans and of Africans by other Africans. This is not justice, in any real sense of the word, but vile and narrow tribalism.
The court of justice for moral crimes is divine, not human. Consider all the pitfalls of applying our notions of collective moral justice even for moral crimes as ghastly as the Holocaust. Germany paid reparations to Israel after the Second World War, but did taking money from Germans and giving it to Jews do justice?
Did it punish wicked Germans? Not really. The war itself wreaked much greater agony on the German people than any law court could inflict, and reparation payments were not assessed against those who ran the death camps and killing squad, but against all Germans. Many of these Germans opposed the Nazis when that opposition was very dangerous. How are they guilty?
The reparation payments made to Israel were not paid by all Germans in the Third Reich, but only those who happened to be law-abiding citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany. Germans in the Third Reich who lived in lands that became East Germany, Austria, or those parts Poland, Czechoslovakia or Russia paid no reparations to Israel.
Widening the net does not help. Dwight Eisenhower came from German stock, and he was largely responsible for ending the Holocaust and defeating Hitler. Albert Schweitzer, a German citizen, was the clearest moral advocate of "Reverence for Life" - the ethical antithesis of what Nazis believed - and Schweitzer, the great humanitarian, was actually interned simply because he was German. Forcing "Germans" to pay for the Holocaust punishes those who were the intellectual and practical champions of Jewish rights to live as Gods creatures.
Attempts to impose moral judgment through general litigation also requires an arbitrary beginning. Before the Holocaust, the Soviet Union had exterminated ten million Ukrainians, occupied the independent Baltic states and most of Poland, sending more than one million Christians men, women, and children to slow, sure, horrific death in the Gulag. This happened in 1940.
After Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, but before the Final Solution to the Jewish Question was formalized at the Wannsee Conference in 1942, the Soviet Union exterminated another million or more Volga Germans in equally inhuman ways.
The founders of the Soviet Union were largely secular Jews - vile men and women, who had no more in common with the virtue and nobility of Judaism than did the vile men and women of Nazi Germany did with Christianity - and Communist Jews from other nations, like Bela Kun from Hungary, organized the systematic genocide of millions of goyim.
Did these vast and murderous Marxist pogroms against innocent Christians justify the equally terrible slaughter by the goyim of Germany, Lithuania, and Ukraine against innocent Jews? These actions and counteractions against whole groups of humanity create excuses for monsters like Hitler, Mao and Stalin. Genuine concern about human suffering and serious interest in real justice are best served by the pursuit of personal accountability.
Lawsuits to recover damages for slave labor are not based in law, but transcendent moral cause. Humans, however, are poorly equipped to pass these judgments. Instead the Holocaust lawsuits (these are no "Gulag lawsuits") are brought to profit lawyers and people who have not suffered at all because of the moral crimes long since past. The Holocaust benefited those Jews whose lives came later. Israel owes its existence almost entirely to the Holocaust, and the sickness of anti-Semitism was largely cured by the horror of the Holocaust.
The same is true of African slavery in America. Those brought to American suffered abominable indignities and deprivations, but the descendants received unmerited rewards. America is the land of hope and happiness for blacks all over the world, and those whose great-grandparents were once slaves in America are today the luckiest black people on Earth.
These phenomena are not unique to certain races or religions. Australia was built by the poor wretches transported around the world to live under draconian rule by petty tyrants in the Botany Bay Colony. Their descendants are the happy, prosperous and free "Aussies." The misfortune of their ancestors was their great blessing.
If litigation is allowed by the descendants of slaves against the descendants of slave owners, then why stop with America and why stop with African slaves in America? Slavery has been ubiquitous throughout human history, and its horror was much less in the United States than in other nations of the world. The glory of Greece and the monuments of Rome were built on the backs of slaves. The empires of Islam were strongly dependent upon slavery. African kingdoms and tribes practiced slavery long before Europeans showed up, and it continued long after Europeans tried to eradicate slavery.
What then is to be done? Tens of millions of black Americans worked as slaves. Millions of Jews, Gypsies and other unfortunates were worked in worse conditions in the Third Reich. And the greatest slave labor nightmares in human history were in the Gulag and the other little hells of Communism. If lawsuits based upon collective guilt is not the answer, what can we do?
We could hold our own Nuremberg Trials. Germans who voluntarily chose to be enthusiastic Nazis were tried and punished. Although Nazi moral crimes were legal under German law, we did not accept this. At Nuremberg, witnesses were produced, verdicts were reached, policies were formed based upon the results of these trials. If we want justice, this is what America must do, and just as the Third Reich had clear, distinct evil - the National Socialist German Workers Party - the United States had a similar organization firmly rooted in slavery: the Democrat Party.
As soon as slavery became the subject for serious national debate, the Democrats sided firmly in favor of slavery. History books written by liberal Democrats gloss over the role of the Democrat Party at the national level before and after the Civil War, preferring instead to treat the southerners in the Democrat Party as out of step with other Democrats, but northern Democrats supported slavery and Stephen Douglass, the northern Democrat presidential nominee in 1860, owned slaves in Mississippi.
Democrat presidential nominees after the Civil War were no better. Samuel Tilden of New York, the Democrat nominee in 1876, did not believe in allowing blacks to vote anywhere. William Jennings Bryan, three time Democrat nominee from Nebraska, was overtly racist.
But is this not just a case of "everybody did it?" No. The Republican Party was specifically founded on opposition to slavery, and it never once strayed from that position. Republican presidential candidates in the decades after the Civil War were consistent in supporting the rights of blacks, standing up against the Ku Klux Klan by name, opposing lynching, and threatening to use federal troops to insure that blacks were allowed to vote.
In the Twentieth Century, while Democrats held national conventions which did not allow blacks to participate in cities that had recently lynched blacks, Republican conventions had black delegates with full voting rights, and even black Republican congressmen. There is plenty of unearned toil and pain owed by Democrats to black Americans, but Republicans should not be compelled to pay any of that, because they have also been the victims of Democrat totalitarianism.
Blacks were not the only victims of Klan violence. White Republicans were a special target of Ku Klux Klan violence, and white Republicans were whipped, assassinated. In 1870, the Ku Klux Klan attacked Republican Party headquarters in Alabama and South Carolina.
Blacks who left the Republican Party and became Democrats (joining a party that did not allow them to vote in their own party primary or participate in their own party caucus), were called "Uncle Tom" and the process of re-enslaving themselves by submitting to Democrat rule was called "crossing the Jordan."
Why would blacks do that? Because the Klan flogged to death the young girls of Republican blacks (but not Democrat blacks) and because the Klan made clear that leaving the Party of Lincoln greatly improved the safety of black men and their families in the South. Re-enslaved blacks were forced to become Democrats as a final token of their loss of freedom.
If the trauma of slavery, Jim Crow, and all the other crimes committed against blacks is still unremedied, then the solution is to hold trials for crimes against humanity committed by past and present leaders of the Democrat Party. The KKK (Ku Klux Klan) was the mirror image in America or the SS (Schutzstaffel) in Nazi Germany - both were armed, organized groups systematically used to support a single political party and to destroy all opposition to that party.
Do we really want historical justice? Convict of crimes against humanity Woodrow Wilson, who his whole life referred to blacks as an "ignorant and inferior race," of crimes against humanity. Wilson believed that slavery was a great benefit to blacks, and as President he took steps to segregate, demote, and exclude blacks in the federal government. His attitude towards blacks was almost identical to Hitlerís attitude towards Poles.
Convict as well Franklin Roosevelt, who incredibly has a reputation as the friend of black Americans. Was he? Not at all. Here is a brief, incomplete list of the offenses of Franklin Roosevelt toward black Americans:
(1) FDR was nominated as Democrat candidate for Vice President at the 1928 at the Democrat Convention in Houston; a city in which a black man had been recently lynched and in which blacks were banned from the Convention floor; (2) FDR won nomination at the 1932 Democrat Convention with the overwhelming support of the racist Democrat parties delegations from the South; (3) He appointed Hugo Black, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, to the United States Supreme Court; (4) Roosevelt also appointed the racist Tom Clark as Attorney General, which Paul Robeson called "a gratuitous and outrageous insult to my people." (5) FDR also selected as his running mate in 1944 Harry Truman, the only American president who has been a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
History text books, written by liberals and taught by liberals, seldom point out that every Republican presidential candidate - including the four different Republicans who ran against FDR in his four presidential campaigns - won the black vote. The examples of FDRs conduct and Woodrow Wilsons vile bigotry are not exceptional for Democrats, but very typical.
Did Republicans act better? Yes! As early as 1871, Republicans passed the Ku Klux Klan Act, to outlaw that criminal organization. Every Republican presidential candidate and every party platform supported equal rights for blacks, protection of black voting rights. Republican voters elected blacks to Congress and state government offices, and Republican presidents appointed blacks to important federal offices.
This was recognized by black voters right up through the two terms of Dwight Eisenhower, and with good reason. Dwight Eisenhower, as Army Chief of Staff, had ordered all the "Colored" signs to be painted over and, as President, Ike desegregated the District of Columbia, appointed the first Civil Rights Adviser, and sent federal troops in to desegregate Little Rock schools.
Democrats did not show the slightest concern for equal justice, toleration, or even the safety of blacks until blacks began to become politically important. At that point, Democrats did not maintain the unchanging attitude of fairness and humanity that Republicans displayed toward blacks (Republican positions on blacks from 1880 sound very modern and reasonable) but rather moved from outright hostility to big smiles and blatant pandering, implementing policies that encouraged illegitimacy, illiteracy, isolation, crime, and resentment - all calculated to keep black people utterly dependent upon the largess of these new white Democrat overlords.
The Democrats cynical indifference to the genuine progress of blacks in the last forty years has been as destructive as its policies in the prior one hundred years. The syrupy solicitude which liberal Democrats show toward black America is like the Nazi "Madagascar Plan" for world Jewry or Mussolinis proud description of himself as "Defender of Islam." The Democrat Party has made its business the impoverishment, enslavement, misery, and ignorance of black Americans - in which Democrat leaders have a strong vested interest.
What should be the sanction for these crimes against humanity perpetrated by a clearly identifiable political party? Assess a special tax on Democrats, and yet Republicans had the proceeds for public education and "de-Democratization" just as Germany had "de-Nazification." The National Socialist German Workers Party was once a legal political party in the Weimar Republic, but if forfeited that right. The Democrat Party, through malfeasance that reaches right up to the boorish anti-Americanism of Rodham and a calculated attempted to steal a presidential election, has done the same.
Do we want real historical justice? Do we want to go back and make the descendants of the guilty pay the innocent? Do we want to purge our American equivalent of the Nazi Party with its SS and the Communist Party with its KGB? Then let us put the whole Democrat Party on trial. The evidence room overflows with damning proof of its guilt.
Bruce Walker has been a dyed in the wool conservative since, as a sixth grader, he campaigned door to door for Barry Goldwater. Bruce has had almost two hundred published articles have appeared in the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Law & Order, Legal Secretary Today, The Single Parent, Enter Stage Right, Citizen's View, The American Partisan, Port of Call, and several other professional and political periodicals.
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