The Mob Comes For Madison

Article subtitle: 
On the woke hijacking of James Madison’s Montpelier.
Article publisher: 
New Criterion
Article date: 
28 December 2022
Article category: 
Our American Future
Article Body: 

If chattel slavery hadn't existed in the United States, the Left would have had to invent it. What we mean is that the idea of slavery has become so dear to the disciples of identity politics that without its moral sanction they would be lost. Absent the original sin of slavery, the entire racialist racket that holds our society hostage would sputter to an inglorious halt. The race hustlers promoting "affirmative action" (i.e., race- or sex-based discrimination) would be out of business, as would the real-estate magnates and firebugs of Black Lives Matter. Ditto the angry historical fantasists behind The 1619 Project. Forget that most societies practiced slavery throughout history. Is anyone asking for "reparations" because their ancestors may have been enslaved by the Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks, or the Romans? Forget that slavery ended in the United States more than one hundred and fifty years ago because Abraham Lincoln prosecuted a brutal civil war to keep the country together and end the "peculiar institution," which was not peculiar at all. (When, by the way, will slavery end in Islamic society, or India, or China?) The world has had numerous long-distance trades in slaves of different phenotypes. Most of the West African slaves who made their way to America were sold into servitude by black African slavers.

Those impolitic facts are what the Bolsheviks of old called "counterrevolutionary." That is, they are politically "false" even if empirically true. The wardens of wokeness tell us that they hate slavery and its legacy. Doubtless in one sense they do. But they are divided in their minds. They also cherish the historical fact of slavery. For one thing, they understand that it is their irrevocable meal ticket. They also perceive that it is an imperishable source of emotional power. Because it is a wound that can never heal, it is also a sin that white society can never expiate—which is why they tell the world that the legacy of slavery is ubiquitous and ineradicable. But if that were true, why should anyone have ever bothered to campaign against it? It would be like campaigning against the onset of night.

We understand that to ask such questions is to be guilty of "racism," the cardinal tort of our age whose almost aphrodisiac power is ultimately guaranteed by the inexhaustible well of victimhood that slavery, or the exploitation of the idea of slavery, has dug. Martin Luther King Jr. famously dreamed that people would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. That is now regarded as a reactionary, indeed a racist sentiment. After all, to judge people by their character, by what they actually do, would upset the entire racialist concession. From now on, race is everything, character a dispensable epiphenomenon. And the ultimate power source, the inexhaustible kernel of animus that fuels the racialist requisition, is the historical accident of chattel slavery in the United States.


A few factual points about slavery, as supplement to what Kimball wrote:

  1. Slavery in Britain's North American colonies and subsequent U.S. states has been tagged as especially heinous and cruel. But in those areas, slaves survived to have families, and their population grew partly from natural increase. In contrast, slaves among the Approximately 20-times-greater fraction of the trans-Atlantic slave trade that went to Caribbean sugar plantations and to Brazil were generally worked to death (hence the much greater influx - for replacement).
  2. More whites were taken as slaves to Muslim North Africa than blacks taken to British North America. ;The Muslim corsairs "harvested" slaves from the north shore of the Mediterranean but also from as far afield as Ireland and Iceland (!!!). The lives of many of them were hellish: white skin subjected to the broiling Mediterranean sun as galley slaves.
  3. More black Africans were sold into the slave trade that went to the Muslim Middle East than into the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and their death-toll percentage in just reaching their enslavement destinations was very high.
  4. Beyond all that, slavery was nearly universal among human societies, as Candace Owens laid out in this five-minute PragerU video: A Short History of Slavery. Toward the end, she's saying things like in that Kimball quote above about slavery as the irreplaceable fount of grievance for the Left.

WaPo: Stephen Miller Alleges, "Whites Have Civil Rights, Too... For Black Farmers And Civil Rights Groups, That's A Proposition That Defies Reality", by Steve Sailer, VDare, 18 July 2021:

... The point is that there is no amount of money that whites can ever pay that will settle their debts to blacks....

Do whites have civil rights? That seems to be an extremely important question that is up in the air in 2021.

Wokeism is the advancement of American Marxism on all fronts.