Lib­er­als on ji­had mode against Kanye West and the West

The Sunday Guardian - - & Comment Analysis -

The rap­per Kanye West’s slav­ery re­marks are in­deed in­sen­si­tive. He sug­gested that the blacks in Amer­ica chose to be­come and re­main slaves for cen­turies. He is wrong be­cause in a so­ci­ety that le­git­imises slav­ery, only slavers make choices, and their choices dic­tate the lives of slaves. The in­stant con­tro­versy af­fords the lib­eral estab­lish­ment yet an­other op­por­tu­nity to cas­ti­gate slav­ery in Amer­ica in par­tic­u­lar and the whites and the Western civil­i­sa­tion in gen­eral. But it also gives us an op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss the sub­ject of slav­ery from a con­ser­va­tive lib­er­tar­ian per­spec­tive.

In fact, if one goes just by what par­lour pinks and lib­er­als shell out in aca­demics, the me­dia, and even in pop­u­lar cul­ture, one would tend to be­lieve that slav­ery was a quintessen­tially Western in­sti­tu­tion that be­gan and ended in Amer­ica, that whites were the main cul­prits, and that no­body had any­thing to do with this erst­while bane of mankind.

The black con­ser­va­tive au­thor Thomas Sow­ell has stead­fastly at­tacked this nar­ra­tive which holds the “legacy of slav­ery” re­spon­si­ble for race prob­lems. He comes out with facts that would as­ton­ish any ed­u­cated per­son—for ex­am­ple, Is­lamic so­ci­eties en­slaved more Africans than Euro­peans did. Sow­ell points out that this fact is ig­nored, whereas sole em­pha­sis is laid on Euro­pean en­slave­ment of Africa. The idea is “to score ide­o­log­i­cal points against Amer­i­can so­ci­ety or Western civ­i­liza­tion, or to in­duce guilt and thereby ex­tract ben­e­fits from the white pop­u­la­tion to­day.”

The first chap­ter of The Thomas Sow­ell Reader has a few in­ter­est­ing nuggets: “Of all the tragic facts about the his­tory of slav­ery, the most as­ton­ish­ing to an Amer­i­can to­day is that, al­though slav­ery was a world­wide in­sti­tu­tion for thou­sands of years, nowhere in the world was slav­ery a con­tro­ver­sial is­sue prior to the 18th cen­tury. Peo­ple of ev­ery race and color were en­slaved—and [they] en­slaved oth­ers. White peo­ple were still be­ing bought and sold as slaves in the Ot­toman Em­pire, decades af­ter Amer­i­can blacks were freed.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, “Slav­ery was just not an is­sue, not even among in­tel­lec­tu­als, much less among po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, un­til the 18th cen­tury—and then it was an is­sue only in Western civ­i­liza­tion.” And it was only in the West, es­pe­cially af­ter the En­light­en­ment, that moral and philo­soph­i­cal ar­gu­ments were made for the abo­li­tion of slav­ery.

The abo­li­tion­ists were the deeply re­li­gious peo­ple, Quak­ers and from other evan­gel­i­cal groups. The move­ment was wide­spread pri­mar­ily in the Anglo-Saxon sphere, gain­ing po­tency in the late 18th cen­tury. In the United States, slav­ery ended dur­ing 1777-1804 in all states north of Mary­land. “But an­ti­slav­ery sen­ti­ments had lit­tle ef­fect on the cen­tres of slav­ery them­selves: the great plan­ta­tions of the Deep South, the West Indies, and South Amer­ica. Turn­ing their at­ten­tion to these ar­eas, British and Amer­i­can abo­li­tion­ists be­gan work­ing in the late 18th cen­tury to pro­hibit the im­por­ta­tion of African slaves into the British colonies and the United States. Un­der the lead­er­ship of Wil­liam Wil­ber­force and Thomas Clark­son, these forces suc­ceeded in get­ting the slave trade to the British colonies abol­ished in 1807. The United States pro­hib­ited the im­por­ta­tion of slaves that same year, though wide­spread smug­gling con­tin­ued un­til about 1862,” ac­cord­ing to En­cy­clopae­dia Bri­tan­nica.

Four points need to be made here. First, the war on slav­ery be­gan in the West and was car­ried out mainly by white males (so hated by the po­lit­i­cally cor­rect) dur­ing and af­ter the Age of En­light­en­ment. No war against an evil—be it sati, child mar­riage, or sub­ju­ga­tion of women—can be won with­out morally and philo­soph­i­cally dele­git­imis­ing it. White Western­ers did that against slav­ery.

Sec­ond, the British Em­pire, again hated patho­log­i­cally by lib­er­als like Shashi Tha­roor, played a most crit­i­cal role in abol­ish­ing it. Since Bri­tan­nica rules the waves, slave ships had a tough time in the seas, even­tu­ally lead­ing to their end—well al­most end, for slav­ery was con­tin­ued by Arabs, Turks, etc.

Third, the is­sue of slav­ery can­not be log­i­cally used to be­smirch Amer­ica; its end in­stead is ac­tu­ally em­blem­atic of the ev­er­last­ing glory of the world’s most pow­er­ful na­tion. Come to think of it, in which other coun­try hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple laid down their lives for the eman­ci­pa­tion of its most op­pressed lot? Did the Ra­jputs, Brah­mins, Ya­davs, etc., ever fight with each other for the rights of the Shu­dras or Dal­its, and that too a war of such mag­ni­tude as the Amer­i­can Civil War? Did the Turks ever slaughter each for the eman­ci­pa­tion of op­pressed Chris­tians in Europe or even their own co­re­li­gion­ists in Ara­bia?

And, fi­nally, while ev­ery­body pon­tif­i­cates about the white or Western guilt, do they even think about Arab guilt, Mus­lim guilt, com­mu­nist guilt? For Arabs were the most no­to­ri­ous slavers in en­tire his­tory, helped by the fact that slav­ery is re­li­giously sanc­tioned in Is­lam. Over a hun­dred mil­lion peo­ple per­ished un­der com­mu­nist regimes, but no­body asks Si­taram Yechury and Prakash Karat un­com­fort­able ques­tions (whereas Naren­dra Modi is still sup­posed to an­swer for the death of a thou­sand peo­ple in Gu­jarat in 2002, de­spite a hos­tile regime not be­ing able to prove his cul­pa­bil­ity in the court of law for a decade).

It seems that lib­er­als just look for a pre­text to talk ad nau­seam about Amer­i­can slav­ery; they found one in the in­tem­per­ate re­mark of an ig­no­rant rap star, who is a univer­sity dropout. Ta-Ne­hisi Coates, a black au­thor, came up with a ram­bling rant ti­tled “I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye” run­ning into al­most 4,900 words—and it has been hailed as a great achieve­ment. It has such lit­er­ary flour­ishes as “f**k you any­way, b**ch.” The guy is so racist that he even talks about “white free­dom” and “black free­dom”, as if peo­ple of dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties are dif­fer­ent species. To be sure, Ku Klux Klan couldn’t agree more with Coates. And he is the Left’s icon.

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