Harvard Study Claims There Is 'Historic Precedent' for Paying Slavery Reparations

AP Photo/Steve Karnowski

No good radical-left public policy proposal can gain any traction with radical-left lawmakers without a radical-left academic study to back it up.

Harvard professors Linda J. Bilmes and Cornell William Brooks have published a study in the "Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences" titled "Normalizing Reparations: U.S. Precedent, Norms, and Models for Compensating Harms and Implications for Reparations to Black Americans." That the radical-left professors say it is necessary to "normalize" reparations suggests that reparations are not "normal" and shouldn't be attempted. This is especially true when you consider that the very word "normal" doesn't exist in the usual academic lexicon.

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They must be pretty desperate. 

The point of the paper is to twist logic and facts to show that the federal government does things like paying reparations all the time.

“Categories of those harmed who have been compensated include coal miners; farmers whose crops have failed; workers whose companies have gone bankrupt; victims of terrorism and natural disasters; people exposed to nuclear radiation; military veterans; individuals wrongfully convicted in the legal system; people denied earnings on tribal lands; fishermen facing depleted fish stocks; individuals harmed by pesticides, toxins, vaccines, or medical devices; workers and businesses affected by U.S. trade agreements; depositors in banks; and numerous other categories,” according to the study.

Many of us would argue that some of those compensatory arrangements should never have happened. But even if you accept all those arrangements as legitimate, nowhere in all those examples is compensation for collective guilt.

“The existence of these programs shows not only the creativity of the federal government in devising methods of compensation, but also the government’s ability to structure and administer programs, to define eligibility standards, and to provide oversight on the distribution of benefits,” according to the study.

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Try as they might, the two authors cannot square a circle. Just because the government has been able to "define eligibility standards" for fishermen who have denuded a fishing ground of fish or people injured by pesticides doesn't mean the government can decide how much "slave blood" a black person needs to have to be compensated. 

Should a black person who arrived from Africa in the last decade be eligible? What about slaves who emigrated to the U.S. from Haiti or other Caribbean islands? Those were different countries that enslaved those people.

Washington Examiner:

Throughout their study, the two professors claim the inaction of slavery reparations could be solved through already established measures and argue that black citizens are one of the few groups who have not received compensation from the government.

“The numerosity and diversity of reparatory compensation programs makes clear that reparations for nonracial harms is regular and routine,” they claim. “Juxtaposing the audit of reparatory compensation programs with the taxonomy of reparation-less racial harms makes clear that America provides reparations to nearly everyone but Black Americans, even for comparably severe harms.”

Perhaps part of the reparations bill will be that all white people have to wear sackcloth and ashes on Independence Day and fast on Thanksgiving. 

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The advocates for reparations know they're in a generational battle. They have the patience to wait until the time is right. That they will succeed saddens me because I know when they do, the United States, as it has been constituted and understood for three hundred years, will be no more.

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