|Montréal, 3 février 2001 / No 76||
by Ralph Maddocks
The full verse from Tobias, Chapter 3, verse 3, reads
Today's politically correct movement seems to have chosen to ignore the wisdom underlying this ancient plea. Unlike God, who sent the angel Raphael to relieve Tobias, the Politically Correct movement chooses not to forgive anyone's past sins. One of its more recent manifestations is what has been termed the
Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Our southern neighbour, where anything new and trendy is adopted with the speed of summer lightning, was quick to jump on this particular bandwagon and in 1993 hosted a conference to initiate a
Perhaps the most outlandish expression of this phenomenon occurred in Australia's New South Wales in 1998 when their left-wing labour government organised a
Child separation in Australia began in the 1880s, at a time when Aboriginal people were still being driven off the best agricultural and grazing land, often violently, through various means such as massacres, poisonings and the introduction of diseases. Those actions expressed a critical requirement to establish a system of private land ownership. The land had to be cleared, and all communal claims over it had to be extinguished. Later, according to the report, under the supposedly more humane banner of
One can understand apologising or even compensating the living but how all this serves the interests of those long departed people they are championing is not at all clear. What is behind this nonsensical practice of obliging the present generation to apologise for the real, or worse, the imagined misdeeds of our forefathers? One may be genuinely sorry in a general sense for whatever happened in the past, but it is difficult to see how those who actually suffered will benefit from that sadness. Political correctness seems to demand, first, the labelling of a group of disadvantaged or aggrieved people as
Who wants to be a victim?
Today's governments tend to respond to pressure from all groups able to make the most noise. It does not matter whether those noises are emanating loudly from a group like the anti-gun or smoking lobby, or are simply quiet whispers in the ear of a cabinet minister by the executives of a company seeking government assistance. The media, which is often left-wing in its sympathies, is then enlisted to bring the matter repeatedly to the attention of the voters who will in turn direct their political representatives to do something about it. Once the group of
Create enough noise and the government can begin the process of deciding how much of the taxpayer's money should be given away. Out there, waiting quietly for the next group of
In the ever litigious USA, the latest manifestations of this cult of
One Randall Robinson, executive director of TransAfrica, and author of a book, The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks is of the opinion that his nation's racial problems cannot be solved unless the United States compensates blacks for the massive crime of slavery. Robinson noted that the US government requested 100 slaves to construct the Capitol in Washington, a powerful symbol of freedom and democracy. Those masters who agreed to lend their slaves to the government received $5 per month per slave. Subsequently, forced labour helped to clear the land for the rest of the District of Columbia.
Others advocate the need for reparations not only for past injustices but also for the inequalities, which they claim are the legacy of slavery. They observe that in 1996, 39.5 percent of black children lived in poverty, compared to 15.5 percent of white children. In 1996 the infant-mortality rate for African Americans was more than twice as high as for whites, a proportional gap larger than a quarter of a century earlier. African Americans are said to make up 13-15 percent of all drug users, yet they account for 36 percent of all arrests for drug possession and, again in 1996, the incarceration rate for black men was eight times that of white men.
Major repair works
Following the end of the Civil War in 1865, the US Congress passed a bill calling for the seizure of Confederate property and the allocation of 40 acres of land and a mule to each former slave. A bill subsequently vetoed by President Andrew Johnson. The Michigan Representative, John Conyers, who is, unsurprisingly, a Democrat, has introduced a bill into Congress for the last dozen years. His bill seeks to establish a commission to examine slavery and its lingering effects on African Americans and the country as a whole. The commission would then make recommendations to Congress regarding such appropriate remedies as might be implemented.
Others, less patient, or more understanding of the ways of Congress perhaps, wish to bring lawsuits and one of them, the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, based in Washington, DC, plans to sue the US government. While few would disagree about the suffering of many slaves in the Americas from the 16th to the late 19th centuries, a quick reading of history might show that there are also other possible defendants they could sue. The Portuguese began the exploitation of slaves to the Americas but it was the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which closed the War of Spanish Succession, that granted to England the sole right to supply black slaves to the Spanish colonies. In fact, England went to war with Spain when the latter tried to revoke that agreement. This demand for slaves for agricultural or plantation work quickly moved from the West Indies to North America where it soon increased until its abolition after the Civil War.
It was in the 2nd century AD that the Roman lawyer Florentinus said:
Whether these lawsuits will be successful cannot be determined at this time, but the amounts of money likely to be involved may well begin to make the recent tobacco lawsuits look like the winnings at a regular Friday night poker game. The larger question is whether they should be brought at all and whether or not this defending of the
The PC movement will have a lot to answer for one of these days.
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