Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Lie That America Bears Unique Guilt for Slavery

When Michael Medved wrote his column, Six inconvenient truths about the U.S. and slavery a year ago, lefties went nuts, mischaracterizing him as defending slavery, and Keith Olbermann distinguished him with the much coveted "Worst Person in the World" award.

Love his challenge to the caller Jamal, in this radio interview from November 30th, regarding if Jamal takes offense to having a "slave" last name (Phillips), why on earth would he adopt a "slave" first name (Jamal), given that if any group should bear unique guilt and responsibility for perpetuating the institution of slavery in its history, it's the Islamic world (they don't bear unique guilt, as slavery was institutionalized in so many cultures all over the globe). Not only was the slave trade alive and thriving long before America was ever a country, but it existed in the Islamic world a century after it was ended in the West, and was responsible for as many as twenty times the number of African slaves that were ever brought over to Britain and North America.

Pg 55-6 from the book:

Saudi Arabia outlawed slave owning only in 1962. The Islamic Republic of Mauritania finally moved toward abolition in 1981, but the practice continued unabated, even after a 2003 law that made slave ownership punishable with jail or a fine. As recently as December 2004, the BBC cited Boubakar Messaoud of Mauritania's SOS Slaves Organization: "A Mauritanian slave, whose parents and grandparents before him were slaves, doesn't need chains. He has been brought up as a domesticated animal."

The organization Christian Solidarity International continues to purchase Sudanese slaves in order to free them, recently paying $100 (or two cows) for an adult captive. A press release revealed that in March 2007 alone the group bought ninety-six male slaves, who had been seized as part of the Muslim northern government's "jihad" on the nation's Christian and animist south. Six of the young men had been raped by their Islamic masters, and 99 percent had received frequent and sadistic beatings.

The long, savage history of Muslim slavers and their depredations in every corner of Africa makes a mockery of the trendy sentimental attachment of many African Americans to an alien Islamic culture that not only abused their ancestors but still afflicts their cousins. The fascination with Arab names (Jamal or Ayesha, not to mention Muhammad Ali or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), even among non-Muslims in the black community, and the glamorization of Arab civilization as somehow authentically African grow in spite of incontrovertible evidence of more than a millennium of brutal Islamic enslavement.

I picked up my copy of his new book, yesterday.

Big Lies That Poison Thanksgiving And Subvert Our Sense Of Honor

By MICHAEL MEDVED | Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 4:20 PM PT

For some of Barack Obama's most ardent supporters, his resounding victory represented the first sign of redemption for a wretched, guilty nation with a 400-year history of oppression.

Filmmaker Michael Moore, for instance, considered election night "a stunning, whopping landslide of hope in a time of deep despair. In a nation that was founded on genocide and then built on the backs of slaves, it was an unexpected moment, shocking in its simplicity."

Actually, Mr. Moore's summary of America's origins is a wholly expected distortion, shocking in its mendacity.

Like so many other revered figures in the worlds of entertainment and academia, the portly provocateur thoughtlessly recycles the darkest assumptions about the generous nation that provides his privileged, prosperous life.

My new book, "The 10 Big Lies About America," represents an aggressive effort to correct the ugly smears that play an increasingly prominent (and often unchallenged) role in our public discourse.

Big Lie No. 1, for instance, concerns the ubiquitous notion that the nation's founders and builders followed a policy of "genocide" toward Native Americans.

In truth, disease caused 95% of the deaths that ravaged native populations of North America following European contact. Despite lurid (but historically baseless) claims of massive infection brought about by "smallpox blankets," even the deadliest germs displayed no consciously hostile agenda.

In fact, intermarriage (including frequent intermarriage with African-Americans, slaves and free) and assimilation caused more Indian "losses" than all occasional massacres by governmental and irregular forces — incidents invariably condemned by federal authorities, never sponsored by them.

My book's Lie No. 2 precisely anticipates Moore's claim that America was "built on the backs of slaves," suggesting that our wealth and prosperity came chiefly through the stolen labor of kidnapped Africans.

While slavery represented an undeniable horror in our nation's early history, the slave population never exceeded 20% of the national total (amounting to 12% at the time of the Civil War). This means that at least 80% of the work force remained free laborers.

The claim that our forefathers built America "on the backs of slaves" rests on the idiotic idea that involuntary servitude proved vastly more productive than free labor. In fact, the states dominated by the slave economy counted as the poorest, least developed in the union — providing the North with crushing economic superiority that brought victory in the War Between the States.

Of more than 20 million Africans taken from their homes in chains, at most 3% ever made their way to the territory of the United States (or the British colonies preceding our nation). Americans played no part in establishing the once-universal institution of slavery but played a leading, outsize role in bringing about its abolition.

Other lies about America's past badly distort current debates over public policy. It's not true, for instance, that governmental activism provides a necessary remedy for periodic economic downturns (Big Lie No. 6).

In fact, leaders who courageously resisted the temptation of major federal initiatives at times of crisis presided over shorter, less painful recessions, while the ambitious innovations of Hoover and FDR worsened and prolonged the Great Depression. (Even liberal historians admit that the New Deal never worked as "a recovery program.")

Meanwhile, the popular assumption that our founders determined to create a secular, not a Christian, nation (Big Lie No. 3) has produced widespread hysteria over the program of "the Christian right."

In fact, the constitutional framers insisted on a combination of a secular government and a deeply Christian society. Even Jefferson, an unconventional religious thinker, believed that fervent faith represented a necessary element in the security and growth of the republic; he personally attended and authorized weekly Christian services in the Capitol building itself.

Secular militants, not Christian conservatives, currently strive to transform America in a way our founders would neither recognize nor approve.

Unfortunately, some of the same religious conservatives who get it right about the place of organized faith in the American fabric get it terribly wrong by signing on to Big Lie No. 10: that the United States has entered into a steep — and irreversible — moral decline.

In fact, a wealth of statistics concerning marriage, teenage sexuality, drug addiction, crime, alcohol abuse and other signs of social breakdown show a recent, decisive turnaround that may represent one of the nation's periodic "awakenings." Moralists have proclaimed permanent ethical collapse ever since 1645, yet no one could claim that our path has been straight downhill for 350 years.

The big lies about America all work to undermine the sense of honor and gratitude that ought to inspire every citizen, particularly in this Thanksgiving season. They also destroy the essential sense of perspective required in significant debates as a new government comes to power in Washington, D.C.

While Sen. Obama's supporters rightly rejoice at his election to the nation's highest office, they will disorient his presidency and damage society if they embrace destructive distortions about our past, and view his elevation as a rare (or exclusive) basis for pride.

Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

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Blogger shoprat said...

I once saw Al Sharpton asked about the blacks still being enslaved in Sudan and he accused his questioner of "changing the subject>" America's hands are not clean by any means but virtually ethnic group on earth has practiced slavery at some time or another.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 3:20:00 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

I think the way women are subjugated in the Middle East, one could make the argument that slavery is still thriving there. As far as the American slave trade, shall we talk about who sold the slaves to us in Africa? America's hands are certainly bloody from our history but name me another country who has done more in the last 100 years to eliminate slavery around the world?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 8:52:00 PM  
Blogger Average American said...

I will bet that if the government were to offer to repatriate anyone who wanted to "return" to Africa with free transportation and oh say $10,000, they would have ZERO takers. Some people are just not happy unless they are bitching about something!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 9:04:00 PM  
Blogger Tapline said...

Word, Outstanding post and right on target.....Although, much has been written about the Blacks in America. Indians, or Native Americans were not treated very nicely by the Europeans either. I can remember as a youngster hearing more than once the phrase of "Dirty Indian" and my mother's inlaws were not the most accepting individuals either. In fact it was years before they said anything good about her or her family. Not that we needed it, because we were a family. I was not aware of the animosity they had until I was in my early twenties.....Looking back, it was not a happy time for my mother, who loved everyone....stay well....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Terrific post. I'm looking forward to purchasing the book and putting it on my to-read stack! I listened to his radio show a bit yesterday and heard some about the book. I really enjoy listening to him and thank you for encouraging me to do so.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 6:23:00 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Damn that Medved for going against the common Hate America dogma! Damn that Medved and you for DARING to actually refer to FACTS!


Thursday, November 20, 2008 7:58:00 AM  
Blogger Indigo Red said...

The slave period in American history is the most misunderstood period ... except for the rest of our hitory.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 8:23:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I'm stopping back by to tell you that tomorrow morning I am ordering 2 tickets for Michael Medved's Houston appearance. Splurging on the VIP tickets - before talk reception w/him, signed book and refreshments. I'm a happy woman.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 9:38:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

That's terrific, karen! I hope you do a blogpost on your experience.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger BB-Idaho said...

Gee, no slavery, no indian extermination...the Medved sure knows his stuff.,,

Sunday, November 23, 2008 7:03:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


*sigh*...I don't understand why it is so hard for so many on "your side" of the fence to grasp Medved's point and argument. He doesn't deny the horrible evils of slavery here in the U.S., nor what happened to Native Americans. Medved's addressing a specific issue within this topic.

Please, please try and understand. As his friend Prager would say, "I prefer clarity over agreement."

Go to my FA cross-post for more in the comments section.

Sunday, November 23, 2008 7:17:00 PM  
Blogger knowitall said...

Just wondering if the left-wing illuminati will bring up racism again in 2012? I sure hope not, because this should table it.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 1:58:00 PM  

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