Monday, June 13, 2005

In Case You Missed Them...

The latest column by VDH:
"As nations come to know the Chinese, and as a ripe Europe increasingly cannot or will not defend itself, the old maligned United States will begin to look pretty good again. More important, America will not be the world’s easily caricatured sole power, but more likely the sole democratic superpower that factors in morality in addition to national interest in its treatment of others. China is strong without morality; Europe is impotent in its ethical smugness. The buffer United States, in contrast, believes morality is not mere good intentions but the willingness and ability to translate easy idealism into hard and messy practice."

Atoning for the sins of others: an interesting piece by Peter Wood at NRO.

"Wachovia was responding to pressure from the City of Chicago, which required it to “disclose any historic ties to slavery,” in order to continue its involvement in an affordable housing project. The executives of Wachovia, it seems, are making a public confession. Between 1836 and 1842, the Georgia Railroad Company 'owned or authorized to be purchased' 162 slaves. "

"...The current executives of Wachovia have responded to these findings with touching humility. Here is Stan Kelly, president of Wachovia Wealth Management, in a message to his colleagues: 'As a white man, I’m working to get personally connected to this chapter in our company’s and our country’s history…' It sounds to me like poor Stan has been to one too many diversity-training workshops. Let me help, Stan. First, don’t try to respond to this “as a white man.” See if you can respond just as a serious person. In that light, neither you nor the company you work for bear any particular responsibility for antebellum slavery. You didn’t trade railroad stock for an enslaved blacksmith. You didn’t take slaves as collateral for loans. You have not traded in human souls. Nor has your company. Offering, as you do, 'heartfelt apologies on behalf of Wachovia' is, at best, an empty formality. You cannot apologize for that for which you bear no responsibility. Doing so “on behalf of Wachovia” demeans your colleagues who are guiltless of holding anyone in bondage."

And here Wood cuts to the core of the matter - these "apologies" are pointless and meaningless, because they are made by men and corporations who bear no direct resposibility for the actions that caused the harm. In this case, the apologies are being made to the decendents of survivors - for acts that occurred 180 years ago.

I realize these apologies give a few warm fuzzies - but they mean nothing and do even less. So why insist upon them? If we mean what we say when we try to claim the past is behind us. then let's do so. Stop fighting the Civil War, and realize the abolitionists won.

And as far as reparations go - that price was paid in blood. If you continue to insist on money - go to the Wilderness and tell those men buried there that their lives were not enough.


At 11:38 AM, Blogger Nathan said...

Amen. I think that one of the biggest reasons such "apologies" are still demanded is to lift the esteem of certain ethnic groups. After all, it's all the white man's fault! They oppressed a certain group 180 years ago, and now that group is somehow entitled to live off the government forever.

Time to get over it.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Maine Man said...

Long live Malcolm X!


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