26 February 2006

More commentary, commentary... or some such

Now, it is *always* dangerous to ask my opinion! Yes, I probably have one... and if I decide I can give it to you in a rational way, you will get it. If I can't, well, Dumb Looks, Still Free!

So, I was asked to comment at a post at Caucasianally Challenged Christian, the topic being the idea of reparations.

As before, all spelling is unchecked! Unhindered spelling, free to wander where it will...

And so it begins thusly in the comment thread. [and time to reformat from a copy and paste because the line breaks go *poof*]

I have thought this through to a certain degree... but my thoughts have not coalesced completely...

Although slavery through capture and sale *are* an injustice, slavery by punishment is still explicitly allowed by the US Constitution. I believe that was done as a two edged means to point out its injustice: First, it would tempt States into setting a bar so low to it that many would be caught up if economics demanded the need for unpaid labor, but application of non-discrimination would require that all races get equal application under the law, which would kill white supremecy concepts, and, Second, it sets our forebearance as a people very high as even more than death or life imprisonment, it is a denial of the right of a human to be human. It is an absolutist viewpoint that goes with that concept.

That said, freedom is what you make of it. Perhaps the first generation did not truly understand freedom after the end of slavery. They realized continuing injustice, however and put forth their rights as Citizens to be heard. This *changed* society greatly, both black and white and all other colors.

Further, a generation was supported and then pandered to by a faction of the political spectrum, with a 'War on Poverty' and hand-outs, neither of which *built* a social fabric in the black *and* poor communities. The black communities, not having the deep roots of culture as, say, the Appalachian culture (Scots-Irish) had problems keeping a continuity of family and culture under the corrosive pressure of free support *without* responsibility to have earned it.

At this juncture, after pouring billions into anti-poverty programs and seeing poverty becoming *institutionalized*, it was determined that this must end. Society via Federal programs should be the *last* thing anyone ever wants... it has destroyed our schools, black and poor families and eroded the concept of self-sustainment to allow for achievement.

Illegality of drugs have undermined society, and increased criminal activity, just as Prohibition did in the 20's. The portion of black society that remained poor, had its work ethic and family life rent asunder by well-meaning social programs, and the diminishment of respect for parents and society that resulted now faces a problem far worse than reparations. I also fault the media and corporations to cater to and influence this culture in a negative fashion.

The great secret of black culture within the US is that it is slowly, even *with* these negative factors, transforming from poor and urban to middle-class and suburban. This points to the deep resiliency of that culture and its incorporation of ideas of self and place within a larger setting of meritocratic institutions. By starting at *nothing* blacks have had to build a new identity from scratch since the ending of slavery and invent themselves as a people to do so. The strong foundations of religion and *its* view of the specialness of individuals has given this slowly growing culture a strength and capability to overcome all obstacles to achieve ranks of prestige and power *on their own*.

There is *still* racism in America. But it is *not* the racism of the former days in society, where lynchings and casual injustice were ignored. And even subtle racism, because of our tools to look at many decisions over time now get squashed quickly. It may take one more generation to reach its resting place in white culture. In black culture, however, I see that it will take what it takes in scientific circles to allow for change: the previous generation to slowly fade away. While the former leaders who fought hard for equality and support gained power, their influence was positive... but now that it continues to ask for that support once the major vestiges of the racism are gone, it negatively influences the broader black culture. By trying to *institutionalize* that feeling of being 'down trodden' now and forever more, it will only ensure that those who follow will feel that way.

One can *honor* the previous generation by smiling and nodding, and then looking to one's friends and peers and saying: "Well, they were good when things were bad, too bad they have't changed with the times." Exactly what I continue to do with my socialist leaning mother and what few are left from her generation. Good people, but a bit out of tune with the present day and often on another planet completely. Honor and respect past achievements, but let their influence slip as they become less a force for change and more one of keeping you where *they* were.

"If I can see further, it is because I stand on the shoulders of Giants." as Newton cribbed from many before him. We all do.

As to reparations? For whom and for how long? The generation that desperately need them are gone. The generation that followed recognized this and damn well decided to achieve on their own and make life better for their children. The generation or following that continued the good fight by joining and fighting through two World Wars, until the discrimination became stark. The generation following *broke* that discrimination, and helped to *enforce* the Constitution upon *all* peoples in these United States. By pushing for poverty and welfare programs, they did, however, attempt to put a socialist idea to work in a Republic. That said all of them *remained* here to be Citizens.

We honor the work and struggle of all of those who helped us to become the people we are today. Blacks who have stayed since the ending of slavery for other than punishment said: "We want to be FREE." They did *not* get the '40 acres and a mule' promised them, and any descendent wishing to get *that*, well I am sure we can find some land in North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and any State having large amounts of land at a low price to have them settle there and pick up where that promise was left off. I will sign onto *that* in a moment... they just have to give away everything they now own to do so, as the generation that was not given that had barely that. A couple of changes of clothes and that is *it*. Maybe an axe, a spade and a plough.

To me *that* is just. A new beginning as promised, so long as it is truly new. No help from parents or grandparents... no help from corporations... just the people you will be living with and their communities. I welcome *anyone* who wants reparations to pick up the path on the long trail from where it *begins*. Not one step FURTHER.

To ask for them *now* is to deny the achievements of your forefathers and say *they did NOTHING for me, give me the new start that was promised*. I endorse THAT. A BRAND NEW START SANS EVERYTHING.

40 acres, 1 mule, no support, a fresh start. That was the promise. Let us *keep* that promise for all who will sign up to it, so long as they have one ancestor that was denied that new start.

That is America. A fresh start. Some bring baggage with them and support, others do not. Any citizen may start afresh, save for their background, and remake themselves as they wish. Criminality we do not forgive, but who you *are* is up to YOU.


You make yourself.

That is the promise of this country.

Thus endith the first comment of this thread by me.

Dear, me! I sound like an absolutist!

*scratches head*

Why, yes, thank you.

And, no, I did not write something longer than the original post by the site's author...

And so begins my second post, responding to another person.

[To the kind respondant] - Much thanks!

I do recognize injustice, but also see that there must be fairness when justice is missed. Reparations, when they were mentioned in the post-Civil war era were *not* a hand out! They were an *opportunity* to build a life. A true new start for those who had nothing. To ask for *that* today, one must give up all they have and start over. Completely over.

Those asking for reparations *without* pledging to restart their lives from *nothing* want a freebie handout. And they do not recognize how hard a slap this is to the generations before them that worked so hard to make this country live up to its word in ensuring *everyone* was treated equally under the law. And in society.

To do that they must accept that any honor, award, payment, indeed *anything* of value they have today must be given away to start where their ancestors did. New name, new SSN, new place, and a referenced rap sheet for the authorities.

40 acres and a mule, and a few of the bare necessities... perhaps a years worth of MREs so you are not a burden on the community and have a chance to figure out how to farm or start some other new life. Build a home from nothing. And a new life. And you give up the right to bitch and complain about the unfairness society had to your ancestors. You are in *heaven* compared to where they started. And they were a damn strong people to not give up hope on themselves and this country.

You want reparations? Give all that up and prove that you *can* start fresh. Without handouts, save the charity of your neighbors. You can demonstrate your strength by building a new life for yourself as your ancestors did *without* the benefits you now enjoy.

THAT I will sign up for, tomorrow. A few billion and some parcels of federal land from BLM or other places. Or the government can just buy some cheap parcels and hand them out. Lots of places in this country for that. Perhaps Alaska... the Dakotas... Montana... Idaho... Utah... Wyoming... lots of places where there are miles and miles of miles and miles and the horizon surrounds you. A few billion dollars, tops to run that.

And if you take it, you may *never* come back to reclaim the life you left.

Comment two is ended.

Reparations or priceless freedom? To those wanting the former, be prepared to give up your current life and start afresh elsewhere. From zero. Nothing. Your freedom is priceless, and if you value mere money more than that, you have already given up on the greatest gift you have. Freedom has a cost to it, never, ever forget that.

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