JAY AMBROSE: No to reparationsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
JAY AMBROSE: No to reparations
Scripps Howard News Service Copyright © 2002 Nando Media Copyright © 2002 Star Tribune
(August 19, 10:51 a.m. CDT) - It's an ugly, racist notion to think that people who were not slaves should be paid money by people who were not slave owners and that the determination of who gets the benefits should be skin color.
This proposal comes our way from the reparations crowd, which conducted a rally at the Capitol this past weekend and who maintain that because most American blacks are the descendants of slaves, some special recompense is due them. By the same logic, special recompense is due just about everybody, for virtually all of us are descended from people who suffered persecution at one point or another in the world's history.
There's a huge philosophical problem with the idea, as others have pointed out. It is that the reparations would be based on group identity and that this sort of politics is not just something in addition to the politics of individual rights and liberties; it is the crushing of rights, the antithesis of liberty. It says that your civil rights and responsibilities do not inhere in you as an individual citizen, but are derived instead from the group you were born into.
There are also all kinds of practical issues. Not everyone footing the bill would be a descendant of slave owners, for instance, and many would be in more dire circumstances that some of those on the receiving end.
And if this thing is pushed, the consequence is likely to be increased racial bitterness, not the final coming of sweetness and light.
As translated by Edward Fitzgerald, Omar Khayyam tells us in "The Rubaiyat," that:
The Moving Finger writes; and having writ, Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it."
We can't, in other words, do anything to change the past, but here is what wise heads tell us we can address: the present. It's today's injustices that we need to rectify, and the wrong way to go about it is to add a new one to the list.
Jay Ambrose is director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard Newspapers.
-- Anonymous, August 19, 2002
give em a lollipop and a pat on the head.
Then point out the nearest airport with international flights.
-- Anonymous, August 20, 2002