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May 08, 2006


Robert Schwartz

Appologies are cheap and not very meaningful. Vengance is meaningful, but not cheap. Compensation is less expensive than vengance, but it is rarely final. Change in the offenders behavior is meaningful, but rare.

I would counsel against appologies for things long past, they seldom satisfy the agrieved and just make the offender seem weak.

Randall Robinson is a poverty pimp and race hustler. The effects of slavery cannot explain why people who produced Armstrong, Basie and Ellington abandoned that heritage to embrace hip-hop. If you cannot explain that, you cannot explain the problems of the african americans.


A bit tricky for those who are descended from both slave and master?


A bit tricky for those who are descended from both slave and master?

The rules of the game are that victim genes trump oppressor genes. Always.

Robert Jubb

Not just conservatives, but right-libertarians: historical theories of justice as opposed to patterned ones.

EU Serf

Or would it just entrench a culture of victimhood among some blacks?

Judging by what we know about welfare, I guess that has to be yes.


Enclosure and clearances: why would an unrelated landowner apologise for something done by someone else of the class "landowner"? On that argument British socialists should apologise to the descendants of the kulaks. Mad.

Andrew Duffin

How about if we refuse to apologise and instead trumpet our pride at having produced the Royal Navy which was instrumental in suppressing the slave trade?

How would that play?


1. To interpret Burke in such a simple, rational fashion is somewhat ironic, of course. I'm sure he'd point out that the partnership between the dead, the living, and the unborn is a place for moderation, rather than pure principle. Burke's argument was that we should respect the permanent things as they have come down to us, not live life in a museum - and that applies to negative legacies as much as positive ones. As Andrew Duffin points out, we did more than most countries to resolve the issue (and it's worth pointing out that slavery was hardly an institution unique to Europe - in fact, the supply-side African slave trade was built by non-Europeans.)

2. Any remotely thinking conservative is completely aware of and at peace with his hypocrisy. But most of us don't support a right of inheritance so much as a right to dispose of your possessions as you see fit, and a duty to posterity. In terms of the overall spirit of slave-reparations argument, surely we should really tax all legacies 100% and throw the money into an international redistribution programme.

3. In the UK's case, this argument is rubbish. Almost all black people in the UK came here voluntarily, generations and generations after slavery. The argument might justify us devoting large amounts of aid to (say) Jamaica; although possibly the US, too.

There's also a utilitarian question to consider - if Robinson's argument stands up (and I don't, but that's a whole other discussion), would reparations actually solve the problem? Or would it exacerbate it? If we say that a key problem here is a weakened black culture, then surely throwing lots of money at people living in that culture might not have a good result.

4. What did the Romans ever do for us? etc.

5. Probably.

That conservatives should be quicker to apologise than Leftists, absolutely - but that's generally, not in situations of inherited blood guilt. But the main reason is down to the different views in history. Leftists tend (it's not universal) to believe in history-as-progress; consequently, anything bad that happens can be dismissed as a necessary evil on our collective way to the bright sunlit uplands. People on the Right tend to believe (Oakeshott above all, libertarians typically not) in history-as-chaos, which puts a greater focus on individual agency - hence, conservatives prefer their history to be about counterfactuals and great-men themes.


"The effects of slavery cannot explain why people who produced Armstrong, Basie and Ellington abandoned that heritage to embrace hip-hop."

you clearly don't know a great deal about hip hop or who actually buys the various different kinds available. 50 Cent and their equivalent through the ages are bought by white middle class teenage boys in a vast majority of cases (his black fans are also overwhelmingly male and teenaged). the music taste of actual grown up black people is as varied as anyone elses, with good and bad points like everyone else. If you want to slur the cultural taste of black people then go ahead, but please choose another subject you know something about to do so.


Conservatives are, justly, famous for their kenness to write off the debt incurred by South Africa's apartheid governments.

As a (conservative) friend of mine once said: Burke is cultural relativism for WASPS.

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