Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

by
Rick Moran

Bio

May 25, 2014 - 10:01 am

You’ve no doubt seen Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 15,000 word article in The Altantic, making the case for slavery reparations. I’ve always enjoyed reading Coates — a brilliant writer, and not one to march in lock step with anyone.

But Mr. Coates has gone off the rails with his advocacy for reparations. He has added to the burden of white man’s sins by including, “Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy.”

Coates presents evidence to buttress his case. Many compelling, maddening anecdotes. Charts, graphs, pictures — a scholarly effort to be sure.

But Bill Jacobson points out the flaws in his argument with devastating ease:

Coates never gives the answer as to who gets what and how.

And that’s ultimately the problem with reparations arguments that are not based upon the people causing the harm paying the people directly harmed by specific conduct soon after the conduct is remedied.

If you can’t answer the question of why a Vietnamese boat person has to pay reparations for the conduct of white plantation owners more than a century earlier, then you can’t make the argument.

If you can’t answer the question of why two successful black doctors living in a fashionable suburb should get reparations paid for by the white children of Appalachia, then you can’t make the argument.

If you can’t answer the question of why the adult black recent immigrant from Paris should be pay or be paid reparations based on the color of his skin for crimes committed in a land he did not grow up in, then you can’t make the argument.

And what about the increasing number of children of mixed race?

That’s the bottom line. Any reparations plan is totally, finally unworkable as a practical political matter. You can’t get there from here and making the attempt will only breed resentment by whites and dashed hopes for blacks.

It is morally repugnant to assign blame to the blameless, and then penalize them for something not their fault. My family never held slaves, we did not participate in Jim Crow, and we did not redline anyone to prevent them from getting a mortgage. How can you justify trying to address injustice by creating more injustice? Madness.

One of the promises of America is that the sons are not held responsible for the sins of their fathers. We don’t always live up to that promise — like we don’t always achieve equal justice under the law. But what makes America exceptional is that we are constantly striving to realize those promises. Not the absolute certainty of guaranteed outcomes, but simply the promise that we can do better. That’s all one can practically expect from human beings.

Coates thinks that without reparations, the U.S. will never be “whole.” Any reparations scheme will tear this country apart — end to end, coast to coast. There may be a case for reparations, but saying it will unite the country is the most ridiculous of all.

Racism, sexism, homophobia — these things will die a natural death. Each successive generation of all colors becomes more tolerant of those who are different. Barack Obama could not have been elected 50 years ago, or 25 years ago — perhaps not even a decade ago. Racial progress is not something that can be quantified by dollars or cents, or how many minorities are lawyers, doctors, and successful businessmen. Progress is measured in the hearts and minds of each individual. Reparations won’t do anything to speed the evolutionary process of achieving a colorblind society and, in fact, would set the cause back 50 years.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Fifty years of forced busing, affirmative action, Welfare, food stamps,
Public housing, school lunch programs, AFDC, SSI, Medicare, etc...
I'd say reparations were pretty well paid in full.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The loathsome and privileged Mr. Coates needs to march his useless self to Gettysburg, face the monuments, and demand reparations from them.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Coates is not a brilliant writer: he survives by demonizing whites. Without whites, he would have little to write about. If that's not true, there's little evidence of it. Let him boycott race for 5 years and let's see what happens when he's thrown onto his own talents. Brilliant writers don't have logic holes you could drive a truck through and subsequently need to have one of the most heavily and carefully monitored and enforced comments sections of any in America.

You can tell who and what Coates is by the fact the unprincipled identity-freaks known as the PC so often link to his one-sided arguments. In what world do tens of thousands of words always mysteriously have whites coming up short? Is that the same world Jews and blacks come up short at Stormfront?

The problem with Coates "scholarly" efforts is that his history is one in which Arab, Aztec, Incan, Mughal, and African Empires mysteriously disappear. So does the Northwest Ordinance and Tuskegee Airman who grew up in Iowa and never knew Jim Crow and discrimination til he headed South. Coates has no interest in those stories and for obvious reasons. He's a cherry-picker, and a racial one.

Coates wouldn't know a no-dog-in-the-hunt principle if you tattooed it backwards on his head and put him in a hall of mirrors.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (42)
All Comments   (42)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
The Africans should provide these reparations because they were the people who captured the slaves and sold them into slavery.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Racism will never end because politicians like Tyrant Obama the Liar benefit from it. For example consider the speech he made as a Senator in New Orleans just after Katrina. He told his largely black audience that they weren't going to get the same wavier of the Stafford act that was given to NY and FL after their disasters because they were black. This was a lie and Tyrant Obama the Liar knew it was a lie because the bill to grant it had passed the Senate 2 weeks earlier despite his vote against this bill. Tyrant Obama the Liar lied to these people to create hatred and racism that would cause them to support his candidacy for President in 2008.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
for the country to heal will reparations work? Rev Wright said God should condemn America. I say God forgave America, the only way for any healing to take place is for the descendants of slaves to forgive rather than hold on to hatred. It is that hate that drives the race divide today. Being constantly berated and called raciest for any supposed slight does not heal and bring acceptance. In my small world friendships with people of different races is the norm. Pres.Obama could have done more for race relations by asking the black community to forgive rather than demand more from whites
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Restoration would make amends more appropriately than reparation. If someone could establish that were it not for slavery, he would be living in the country of origin rather than in America under a probable living standard and requested to be restored to that life, consideration might be given.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
no one is owed anything.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would be absurd to think anybody would believe this could be settled by nothing more than another commission. Taurine scatology. Camel's nose.
Do some numbers: Each dead Union soldier--figure 400,000--and each Union soldier crippled into economic uselessness--figure 400,000. Pick more numbers. Each, on average would have generated--you pick--$10,000 of economic growth except for having been killed or crippled freeing the slaves. Each would have left--pick a number--an estate of $10,000 if they'd lived normal lives and not been killed or crippled freeing the slaves. Compound that from, pick a date, 1900 when they would, on average, have died except for being earlier killed and crippled freeing slaves. Use your pick of interest rate for the compounding.
Since, as Coates tells us, the whites get all the money, that's what we whites, today, are short in terms of money because of all those guys killed and crippled freeing slaves. So let's net that against the "reparations".
Now, as I said on another post on the subject, if you don't like the numbers, don't start with the numbers. Somebody might do them better than you.
As to the horror that was slavery, there are no slaves alive today who were enslaved in America except for some personal servants of Saudis living here.
But post-Civil War? Post-slavery? Can't do anything for the dead, and for the living, we have those inconvenient numbers.
Can anyone make the case that a Vietnamese refugee should pay say, Kanye West reparations?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Reparations are only about greed, and the payment of such will be at the cost of the souls of those standing in line to collect. What it says is that you are not a fully formed adult, but a child, a ward of the State as it were who cannot be held to the same standards as other adults.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
It doesn't look like many commenting here people read the article. Coates doesn't advocate for any actionable policy other than for we as a nation to commit to facing and understanding what the kidnapping, forced bondage, racism and marginalization of Africans and African-Americans in our nation has wrought in the present, and will produce in the future. He does lay clear for all of us that the harm to African-Americans didn't end with slavery, but continued through exclusion from New Deal programs like social security and the enforcement of the GI bill later. Housing policy plays a big role in his article as well, and the fruit of those policies are clearly visible today, even if we choose not to acknowledge the tree or its roots.

Can anyone truly have a problem with forming a commission to study this issue?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is no point in forming a commission and it would end up causing a lot of harm.

There is nothing that can be done about slavery or jim crow. They only thing that can be done is to give up the hatred and racism and start fresh.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm totally in favor of a massive push for reparations, amnesty, and total government-provided health care.

If that doesn't wake up the majority who make the country run then nothing can.

Get it all on the table now. The slow crawl to serfdom has worked all too well. Another 10 years of slow crawl and the descent to serfdom will be complete.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wasn't "collective guilt" what Europeans used to justify their treatment of Jews for centuries?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 Next View All

One Trackback to “Reparations and the Moral Repugnance of Collective Guilt”