Serious Democratic presidential contender Robert Francis Domnall Blathmac Tigernmas “Beta” O’Rourke told a crowd of supporters on Wednesday, “The larger problem of which our criminal justice system is just a part, is the very racist foundation of this country, the fact that the wealth of the USA…was built literally on the backs of those kidnapped in their home countries, transported in the middle passage.”
There’s video, courtesy of The Hill, if you can bear to watch it.
Let’s talk some sense. Please.
Progressives have been building this meme for years, that the U.S. was built on slave labor — and therefore suffers a kind of geopolitical “original sin” that makes us worse than all other countries, or at least no better. And, of course, that our salvation lies in adopting progressive policies which, if we’re being frank, actually would make us no better than any other shithole oppressed country.
But the whole concept is malarky, a lie woven from lying cloth that lies.
The South, until fairly recently, was an economic basket case. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in 1831 of his journey down the Ohio River:
That which follows the numerous windings of the Ohio upon the left is called Kentucky, that upon the right bears the name of the river. These two States only differ in a single respect; Kentucky has admitted slavery, but the State of Ohio has prohibited the existence of slaves within its borders.
Thus the traveller who floats down the current of the Ohio to the spot where that river falls into the Mississippi, may be said to sail between liberty and servitude; and a transient inspection of the surrounding objects will convince him as to which of the two is most favorable to mankind. Upon the left bank of the stream the population is rare; from time to time one descries a troop of slaves loitering in the half-desert fields; the primaeval forest recurs at every turn; society seems to be asleep, man to be idle, and nature alone offers a scene of activity and of life. From the right bank, on the contrary, a confused hum is heard which proclaims the presence of industry; the fields are covered with abundant harvests, the elegance of the dwellings announces the taste and activity of the laborer, and man appears to be in the enjoyment of that wealth and contentment which is the reward of labor.
The State of Kentucky was founded in 1775, the State of Ohio only twelve years later; but twelve years are more in America than half a century in Europe, and, at the present day, the population of Ohio exceeds that of Kentucky by two hundred and fifty thousand souls. These opposite consequences of slavery and freedom may readily be understood, and they suffice to explain many of the differences which we remark between the civilization of antiquity and that of our own time.
On the right bank, a bustling economy. On the left… not so much. At the national level, the differences were more striking. The North enjoyed an 11-to-1 advantage in the number of factory workers, despite having a population only 2.3 times larger. The North had nearly as many factories as the South had factory workers, and they were enormously more productive, too. And while slaves were treated like, well, slaves, factory employees were paid wages which would have seemed like a fortune to the enslaved. About the only items of importance the South had to offer economically was slave-produced cotton, rice, and tobacco. Meanwhile, the North was busy creating the first continental-sized modern industrial juggernaut.
Even after the Civil War, the South’s economy didn’t become the powerhouse it is now until after the Democrats’ Jim Crow laws were cast into the dustbin of history. Free labor — not slavery, not segregation — is a necessary element to a massively wealth-generating economy.
ASIDE: It’s one of the ironies of modern history that in recent decades, the Southern states have hewed far more closely to the free-market model pioneered in this country by the Northern states. The student has become the master.
So, no, it is not a “fact” that “the wealth of the USA…was built literally on the backs of those kidnapped in their home countries.” It is, in fact, a filthy lie, told by someone who is either too stupid to be president, or too hateful of his own country to be trusted with any public office. And given that “Beta” seems smart enough to know better, I’m going with “hateful.”