This is a patently spurious assertion! Since slavery was not against the law at the time of slave ownership, the people or companies that owned slaves were not breaking any laws. Reparations are payment for a provable infraction of the law, whether a state or federal offense. If no laws were broken, then who owes whom for what crime? In other words, Mr. Fagan is asserting that companies profited from "illegal activities," but slaveholding became illegal in the as yet undefeated Confederate (seceded) states (or parts thereof) only after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, and became illegal in the rest of the U.S.A. and its territories only after the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on December 6, 1865. If there were people who continued to own slaves in the Confederacy after January 1, 1863. and in the rest of the country after December 6, 1865, how are we to isolate them from the people who discontinued the practice immediately after slavery became illegal in their respective regions of the country? At this remove, sorting out the facts will be almost impossible, but those who are pursuing the slavery reparations lawsuits are not interested in either facts or justice.
Moreover, reparations lawsuits cannot be construed as being good for blacks, since they will be penalized right along with other races. As for those companies that capitulate to reparations blackmail with no contest or trial, they will be doing neither blacks nor anyone else a favor. For example, if everyone in the U.S.A. except black people were levied a tax to make reparations to blacks (even those not the descendants of slaves), then everyone would pay. As Ward Connerly and Edward Blum reported in a Washington Times article on March 28, "In the end every American pays for this capitulation, since companies inevitably pass on their expenses to consumers." If more of this nonsense actually comes to pass, prices will necessarily rise to vover the cost to our industrial base, inflation might even begin again, and the resultant blow to our economy will be one that will be absorbed by all of us, even black people.
To say that slavery was amoral is true. To say that anyone in this era owes anyone anything for mostly non-crimes that occurred almost a century and a half ago is nonsense is equally true. After all, it was the black tribes in Africa who sold their conquered victims to the slavers' ships. How about making their descendants pay the reparations? Or, let's go to the Socialists and Statists over in Europe and make them pay for their ancestors' shipping and owning slaves. They did you know. There is actually too little guilt dispersed among too many people, mostly innocent, for this concept to work. Most Americans are "new" to this country--people whose ancestors weren't even here in the U.S.A. before the Civil War. Slavery reparations is a bad idea proposed by inherently greedy people and their even greedier lawyers.
Neal Boortz, political columnist, wrote on Tuesday, March 2, "This is just another illustration of just why we need a 'loser pays' system. You want to file a lawsuit? Fine! File away! But if you lose, if the judge or jury doesn't think you have a case, you get to pay all the legal fees and expenses of the party you dragged into court. If this gaggle of lawyers faced the possibility of paying the legal fees for the defendants in this slavery reparations lawsuit, it never would have been filed."
I quite agree with Boortz, but I'd like to go a bit further in exploring what might happen if any impending reparations lawsuits are effective. Let us consider the concept that being designated as a "Negro" will necessarily be the "qualifier" for reparations. Just what Gestapo race squads (paid for with our tax dollars) are going to decide who is and who is not black? Have you ever heard of the term, "passing white"? The truth is that many people who are of Negro descent neither look black nor live as blacks. I dare say there are also many Americans who are totally unaware of their own ancestry. Who is to decide what percentage of Negro blood will qualify a person as being Negro? Does that not smack of the Nazis designating people as being candidates for the gas chambers for having any drop of Jewish blood? Are we now, on the flip side of the coin, to designate prople as candidates to receive money they have not earned for having one drop of Negro blood?
No, the current reparations lawsuits are not about payback for past "crimes" that were not even crimes at the time. The lawsuits are about venal lawyers and true racists in America--unscrupulous and opportunistic elements of our society who are always eager to pit good Americans against other good Americans in order to garner fame, political power, and money. It is no coincidence that the first targets are large corporations, rather than the descendants of actual slave owners. Johnny Corcran, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the other shakedown artists merely want to get into Corporate America's pockets.
Yes, there are angry black people in America (just as there are angry white people, angry Latinos, angry Amerindians, etc.), but those who are leading the reparations scam are using black people for the leaders' own malevolent and avaricious purposes. It's too bad that a few Leftwing radical haters and others who are flagrant opportunists are being represented by rapacious lawyers who are pursuing something that will hurt all Americans. The backlash for these false claims is going to be horrific and even more divisive for our country. We do not need this to happen, especially in a time of war.
Why it it always the "kinder, gentler" Leftwing Liberals who promote dividing us, one from another?
Marti Stapp Linder is a columnist for a site for writers under the aegis of AMERICA ON LINE and for another site on the WORLD WIDE WEB. She is also a published poet and short story writer, as well as a guest editor and contributor to various newspapers and writers' publicans in Texas, Nevada, and California.
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