Slavery

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No one is going to defend Slavery: it was a vile institution. But the issue is far more complex than many let on. And if you really care about the topic, you care enough to learn the truth about it, not the myths, or the leftist version of the truth -- but what really happened.


Issue Lie Truth
Slavery White privilege is because whites held the black man down for so long, that we need to end racism by blaming everyone who is not-black and forcing them to pay everyone who is black, to make up for past wrongs that had nothing to do with them. We also have to have a censor symbols and history that we don't like, like the Confederate Flag. More whites were enslaved than blacks. American whites died fighting a war to end the slavery that Europe had given to us (and the country inherited before it was created, but ended). Their sacrifice deserves reparations. Slavery couldn't have existed without the many blacks colluding with it, and is certainly not the fault of the majority of whites, asians and latinos who never had slaves or supported it, or came to America generations later. And while doctoring history is popular among the left, how can we learn from the past, if we criminalize discussing parts of it, or doctor the record?

Examples

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⅗ths clause -
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You often hear about the 3/5ths claus; "Blacks were only 3/5ths of a human being". But think this through. What happened is we were negotiating how to get rid of slavery and create a system where Congressional votes were based on population. If the South's population included slaves (5/5ths), they'd have much more influence, and it would be harder to eliminate slavery -- so the North got a compromise that slaves only counted as 3/5ths of a person (for purposes of congressional representation) in order to reduce the influence of the South/Southern States would had in congress.

Many that use 3/5ths claus in the Constitution to claim we are founded on slavery. They are getting it backwards: we inherited that from the British Empire and Spaniards and French before us -- what the 3/5th claus shows is that we were trying to grow out of it, from our very founding, and how the founding fathers tried to diminished the influence of slavery on population based representation. They were putting it on a track towards extinction and trying to wait it out. If the Constitution didn't compromise to weaken it, the South would have created their own country and Slavery would have been strengthened. Context matters.


Slavery is about racism - Slavery is about racism, but not in the way most people think. It is about attacking America, "whites" and Christians for things they didn't do, and there's a good chance their forefathers didn't do, while ignoring what latino's, blacks, Muslims and others did in wider numbers. In fact, America is the only country in the world to fight a war to free a people that looked different than themselves. A few things to remember, in America, Free blacks owned slaves in higher percentages than free whites. Some of that was because the tax burdens were lower on slaves, so they bought out family members and kept them listed as slaves for tax benefits, but if we accept that as acceptable then we must admit that not all slaves were abused and that's a slippery slope to common sense and understanding the issue for the left. You can tell it's about hate/racism by asking about these other complexities, and watching their knee-jerk reaction accusing you of whataboutism. No one is denying that slavery existed and was bad, but to understand it, you need to understand it in context. Those that can't admit context aren't up for an adult conversation on the topic, and are more about their political agendas, which isn't about getting to the whole truth.
Slavery and the New Deal -
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Slavery and the civil war fascinated me. Again, this isn't to rationalize it, but the "Roots" narrative, as told by abolitionists, make no sense. If you were beaten and tortured and so on, then why wouldn't these folks fight or run? You have nothing to lose, right? Well, from many first hand reports, it wasn't that bad for most. This isn't to diminish the abuses, or deny the exceptions, it's to understand the truth. A burried piece of history was during the New Deal, FDR commissioned interviews with around 2,300 ex-slaves and found things like:
  • 86% refer to their masters as "good" or "kind."
  • Many didn't allow whipping at all
  • planters developed a wide-ranging system of rewards like overtime, slaves that saved this were quite wealthy after the war
  • the economic condition of the average free northern Negro may have been worse than that of the average free Negro in the South

And so on.


Civil War and Slavery -
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As the Jewish Marxist Walter Benjamin said, "History is written by the victor", which is another way of saying, "don't believe what you've been told".

When I hear people talk about the civil war and slavery, it reminds me of a movie, "Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter", because I often feel that's as based on reality as their perceptions are (they were believing what they'd been told). A few facts that escape their version of the telling:

  • The first shots in the civil war were fired over taxes and tariffs (Morrill Tariff), not slavery
  • The Corwin Constitutional Amendment (passed by Congress) offered the South to keep slaves forever, the South declined
  • The South offered to give up slaves if the North let them go, the North declined
  • The 3/5th clause was more limiting slavery than condoning it
  • Lincoln was a racist, not an abolitionist
  • Lincoln violated the Constitution more than any other President
  • Lincoln fought for pride and conquest, the South for freedom and self government: slavery was a catalyst, not the cause
  • And so on.

History is rich and complex, not this shallow flat "good vs. bad" or the North was righteous and the South was evil bullshit. Since I care about the uncomfortable truths, more than the comforting fictions, I often discuss these things. Not to diminish what happened, or deny the points of either side, but by remembering the truth of what really happened (from both sides). Of course, since my family came to America, long after this, I have no dog in the fight, and can look at it more objectively than many. But if we care about learning from history, we first have to give up our comforting fictions (caricatures) and learn what really happened.