The Biggest Mistake We Made With Slavery
Could 'righting the wrongs of the past' mean something completely different to what the woke, Black Lives Matter, and others think it does?
Slavery - what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear this loaded word? I’ll bet for most of you it’s black people in America. That’s a problem, because slavery has existed in all times and places throughout history, but is today seen by many through a very narrow American lens - as if human history began a few hundred years ago in America and nothing else exists outside this. Viewed from this horribly limited perspective, white people are of course evil oppressors and black people are noble victims. But when you zoom out - both geographically and time-wise - you realise maybe things are not what they seem, and maybe white people today need to reevaluate their guilt, and black people their continued victimhood.
This is particularly important as today, slavery, and it’s supposed legacy, is being weaponised to sow disunity and to excuse terrible behaviours and attitudes on the part of black people. From the corrupt Black Lives Matter Organisation and its phony catchphrase, to affirmative action and diversity quotas, to increasingly double standards when it comes to addressing black crime and thuggery, and to the promotion of gangsta culture in music and entertainment, this is all we are told, supposed to help right the wrongs of the past.
But could this be a case of be careful what you wish for? Because maybe righting the wrongs doesn’t mean what the woke, Black Lives Matter, and others think it does. Maybe when we look under the hood - righting the wrongs does make sense, but in a completely different way to which they imagined.
In this piece we’re going to explore this key premise - and we’re going to get there in 4 steps, as the context is important here:
First, to set the scene, we will look at the prevalence of slavery across all civilisations through history, including across all races and creeds.
Second, we will look at how the West lead the way in ending slavery in its part of the world - at great cost to itself.
Third, we will take a quick look at the problems black people in America face today, and a solution to this I have proposed in one of my previous pieces.
Lastly, we will arrive at the premise of this piece, and question whether slavery really was the biggest mistake America made or if it was something else - that could turn the whole situation on its head.
1- Every Time & Place
Slavery has existed for almost the entire span of human civilisation. Most people educated to even a basic level should know this; the woke intelligentsia 100% know this, but it hasn’t stopped them or today’s self-appointed victims from acting as if it was invented in America in the modern era just like the aeroplane, light bulb, and atomic bomb were.
Perspective is everything here, and when we look at the whole picture we realise there is nothing unique about America having had slavery - and it would have in fact been odd if it hadn’t had it. The Americas, as far as the European powers were concerned, held immense economic potential and to realise this they needed lots of cheap labour to work on, for example, sugar, tobacco, cotton, and coffee plantations, as well as to work in mines, and perform general skilled and unskilled manual labour. Slavery was purely driven by economics.
Moreover, of the millions of slaves that were transported from West and Central Africa over the centuries to the Americas (that being the entire mass of land stretching from North America down to South America), only around 3-4% went to what is today called the United States. The remaining 96-97% went to South America and the Caribbean.
As for the percentage of Americans who owned slaves, as per the 1860 census, it was around 1% of individuals. Of course those individuals had families, so perhaps one could say 5-6% of households had slaves, therefore the majority of Americans were not slave owners. (It should also be said those slave owners were all concentrated in the South in the 15 states where slavery was legal.)
Of course when slaves had children, they too became slaves, so naturally slave numbers increased through time. It’s easy for us today to look back and condemn this practice of enslaving other humans and treating them and their children like your property - I’m certainly no fan of it - but it was the way of the world back then, and had been for many millennia. It would have been a foolish empire or nation that didn’t make use of a practice that gave them an advantage over their competitors (or at least prevented them from losing out to their competitors) and moreover that had been proven to work over thousands of years.
Indeed, if we want to go back through history, then it’s likely that slavery began after the first agricultural revolution (also known as the Neolithic revolution) around 10,000 BC (or 12,000 years ago). This was when we transitioned from a hunter gatherer way of life to a settled life with agriculture.
Also, just before I go on I want to make clear that everything I am mentioning regarding slavery can be easily verified using any publicly available Encyclopaedia, for example, Encyclopaedia Britannica or Wikipedia. Nothing is embellished - these are publicly available facts - and you don’t need to search through some obscure book to verify them. (See references at end of this piece.)
So of the notable civilisations and peoples that came after the agricultural revolution, the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, Persians, Babylonians, Hittites, Chinese, Egyptians, Israelites, Greeks, Romans, Indians, Crimeans, Mongols, Aztecs, Mayans, Thais, Japanese, Koreans, Afghans, Pakistanis, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Ottomans, Vikings, Europeans, British, Russians, many African kingdoms and nations, even supposed wholesome natives such as the Indigenous People of Canada, America, and New Zealand, all practiced slavery. And I haven’t even mentioned half of them.
It seems that all these peoples, who spoke different languages, subscribed to different faiths, had different histories and traditions, were of different ethnicities and races, and who were geographically spread out all over the world, all arrived at the same conclusion that slavery was a good idea. I guess that’s humans for you.
To reiterate, every race, religion, and culture was represented as both slave and slave owner. It was the rule and norm, and the exception was not having slavery.
In addition to slavery, there was also serfdom, which again existed for thousands of years on different continents and amongst many different peoples. Indeed the majority of Europeans for many hundreds of years were serfs, and most European states and empires legally ended serfdom only in the 18th and 19th centuries, though it had began to decline earlier in Western Europe due to amongst other things the Black Death wiping out much of the labour force.
Serfs, in case you’re not familiar with the term, were bound to a plot of land owned by a Lord. They farmed the land for no pay, they couldn’t leave or marry without their Lord’s permission, and if the land was sold by the Lord, they were sold along with it to their new master. Their children were also born into serfdom. Though it must be said there were variances between the rights of serfs depending on the time and place, and some had it better than others, for e.g. some were able to till their own plot of land on the side and pay the Lord taxes from what they produced.
Either way, whether it’s slaves or serfs, it should be clear that there is nothing particularly unique about slavery in America. In addition to receiving a tiny percentage of the overall slaves transported to the Americas, it was just one instance in the long and extensive history of slavery across all times and places on planet earth.
As for why West and Central Africans were chosen in this instance, well, it would have been hard at the time for say the British to enslave the Spanish, or the Portuguese to enslave the Dutch, as they had armies who would protect their people. In Africa however they found willing sellers: that’s right, the transatlantic slave trade was possible because Africans willingly and enthusiastically captured and sold Africans as slaves. The descendants of Africans in America today therefore are there because black people sold their country men and women, and their neighbours, into slavery. Other factors, like it being a direct journey by ship across the Atlantic, and Africans being physically strong, also made them a good choice.
There’s not much more to say about the widespread use of slavery, so let’s now look at how America and particularly Britain took the lead in ending slavery in the modern era.
2- Ending Slavery
In 1807 the Slave Trade Act was passed by the British parliament making the trading of slaves illegal in the British Empire. Slavery itself was abolished throughout the empire in 1833 with the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act.
As for America, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the executive order known as the Emancipation Proclamation which ended slavery and granted all slaves their freedom.
These are the headlines on ending slavery. But what is more important is what the cost was to the British and the Americans of ending it.
In the case of the British, it began with the Royal Navy establishing a presence off Africa called the West Africa Squadron. The purpose of this squadron was to enforce the ban on slave trading. Around 2,000 British sailors from this squadron died in this mission.
Britain also used diplomatic means - putting pressure on other major European powers including Portugal, France, and Spain to abolish their slave trades, and they were largely successful in this. When their diplomatic pressure failed however to stop Brazil from continuing their trade (Brazil was one of the largest slave trading nations), the Royal Navy established a blockade on Brazilian waters that ended the slave trade there permanently within 1-2 years.
Additionally, what also stands out is the cost of passing the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833, which was approximately 40% of the British government’s total annual expenditure. This money was payment to the slave owners in exchange for freeing their slaves.
The American story is more well known. The cost was a bloody civil war lasting 4 years, in which anywhere between 600,000 to possibly 1 million people died directly or indirectly as a result of the conflict. The percentage death toll converted to today’s US population size would mean anywhere between 7-10 million people dying. It also cost the man who led the Civil War and freed the slaves his life. That was of course President Lincoln.
So a high cost was borne by Britain and America to end both the Transatlantic slave trade, and slavery itself within the Americas and the West.
By contrast, it took a lot longer for Arab and Muslim, Asian, and African countries to abolish slavery, with many doing so only in the 20th century, mainly due to pressure from Western countries. In the case of Africa, even if they weren’t able to export slaves to the Americas anymore, they still engaged in the practice within Africa and continued their exports to the Muslim world.
And unfortunately, whilst slavery is outlawed in every country today, it still persists illegally, mainly in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, where governments turn a blind eye to it. Perhaps more efforts to deal with present slavery are more warranted than focusing on American slavery that exists only in history books.
Let’s now take a brief look at the current status of the descendants of slaves in America.
3- Black People in America Today
In my piece ‘Racist White People or Criminal Black People?’ I explored the problems that black people in America perpetuate, including committing a disproportionate amount of crime. For example, while they make up roughly 12.5% of the US population, according to the latest FBI data on arrests nationwide, they were 51% of those arrested for murder and intentional manslaughter, 53% of those arrested for robbery, and 33% of those arrested for aggravated assault.
Additionally, on any given year, around 89% of black murder victims die at the hands of black people, and only 8% are killed by white people - whereas black people account for 16% of the murders of whites.
Another area they fail badly in is family unity. 59% of black children grow up in a household with just one or no parents.
Then there is their academic performance. For example, figures from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that nationwide on average, black students in 8th grade are far below proficient in Reading and Maths. And if we look at the arrest rate of school age kids (ages 10 to 17), black kids are arrested 6.5 times more than white kids for murder and intentional manslaughter, 8.7 times more for robbery, and 3.4 times more for aggravated assault. This is despite making up just one third the number of white kids.
These and many other facts about black people in America like welfare dependency, unemployment rates, low incomes, and more, explicitly show there is a serious problem here. As I cover in my video, this is all self-inflicted and arises mainly due to their victim mentality and gangsta culture, as well as general circumstance.
In my follow up piece: ‘The Biggest Mistake Black People Make Today,’ I propose a solution that would help black people to change course. It is composed of 3 key steps: Divide & Prosper, Lead by Example, and Break The Cycle. To summarise this briefly - it would mean decent, law abiding black people breaking free of skin colour based solidarity and identity, and instead embracing a values and culture based identity. They would do this by publicly and loudly declaring their independence from monolithic identity blocks like ‘the black community,’ ‘black people,’ ‘African Americans,’ etc, and instead demanding to be grouped in with non-colour based blocks like ‘Americans,’ or ‘Westerners,’ or ‘people of faith,’ etc.
If enough decent black people do this, a clear line of distinction will be drawn between them and those black people who are slaves to a perpetual victim mindset and gangsta culture. Decent black people will no longer be lumped in with people who live destructive and degenerate lives, who happen to have the same skin colour as theirs. This will save them from undue damage to their reputation, but also mean they can no longer be used as cover for the bad behaviours of black people who can’t get their act together, because they’ll no longer be part of the same group. Instead they can focus on setting an example, for if others can see people with the same skin colour as theirs publicly rejecting the victim narrative, disowning gangsta culture, and prospering, then it will give them hope they can do it too. The reality of black success without baggage will undermine the theory of black victimhood, and in time lead to breaking the cycle if not for all, at least for many.
That’s a short summary of it with some missing details and nuance, so it probably doesn’t do it justice, but you get the gist.
Now whilst I think this is the best shot they have within the current system, the challenge with this solution is it relies on black people to get their act together and execute it, and particularly on courageous black leaders arising to lead those who are willing - to independence.
From the perspective of non-black Americans, all they can do is wait and hope, because it can’t be imposed from the outside, it must come from within the black community. Schemes imposed from the outside - like affirmative action or diversity quotas - are not the solution. They embed the completely wrong message in the minds of black people, namely that they’re not being chosen for their skills, aptitude, or work ethic, but because they are black, i.e. they don’t have what it takes on merit, but their skin colour gives them special privileges because black people today are victims. And you can’t have a black victim without, you guessed it, an evil white oppressor. So this whole system stirs division, keeps the victim myth alive, removes personal responsibility from the equation, and furthers the stereotype of black people being too dumb or incapable to do it on their own. In the long run this sham system can only collapse in on itself.
So, we’ve now set the context that a) there was nothing unique about slavery (and it would have been odd if America hadn’t had it), b) that the West led the way in ending slavery, whilst other nations and civilisations kept it up, and c) that many black people in America still can’t get their act together, and solutions coming from the establishment aren’t working.
Let’s now proceed to the key question.
4- The Biggest Mistake We Made?
The answer to the question that follows, if it is correct (and it may not be), will lead us to an uncomfortable truth. Will we dare go there? Yes, we will. It’s no good skirting around an issue, or complaining about it constantly but then burying our heads in the sand for fear of where the truth leads us. So here goes:
What if the biggest mistake the Americans of yesteryear made when it came to slavery wasn’t that they had slaves (for as we’ve explored already, slavery was the global and historical norm), but was instead that they enslaved the wrong people?
Think about it, if you’re watching this you likely agree with me that the mass, indiscriminate flow of immigrants coming into western nations today - whether legal or illegal - is a terrible idea. But it was just as bad an idea hundreds of years ago as it is today. Just because the immigrants back then came to America unwillingly doesn’t change the fact that they came. The result is that today, America - a nation born of Europeans - has roughly 42 million descendants of Africans living within its borders.
If it wouldn’t make sense to say open the doors and let in 42 million Africans today, because of all the societal problems it would cause (whilst providing little or no upside), then what difference does the passage of time make when those who have lived in America all their lives still think and act like Africans? Whether all 42 million arrived in the space of 1 year or expanded over multiple generations, it would make no difference. It’d still be a bad idea.
I appreciate this runs somewhat contrary to the solution I propose in ‘The Biggest Mistake Black People Make Today’, where I assume the majority are capable of getting past their problems and integrating. But that’s the point of this. With so much at stake, we can’t afford to just be hopeful (as indeed that piece was), we must consider alternative explanations too even if they make us feel uncomfortable or won’t be accepted today by the unthinking mainstream.
Maybe it helps to picture this in a setting outside America. If China decided to open its doors to the equivalent percentage of Africans relative to its population size, it would mean inviting in 175 million Africans. Who besides those who are completely lacking in common sense or sanity, would think that would be a great idea for China? That they would be culturally and economically enriched by it? That they would live side by side in peace and celebrate their differences? We all know it would be a disaster: causing a giant clash of cultures and massive societal problems. Heck, even if it was 175 million white Americans it would pose major issues for the Chinese and their way of life (for different reasons of course); our cultures and peoples are just so different.
The situation in America often feels like an inadvertent social experiment or artificially constructed society gone wrong, and it shows. Decent and law abiding citizens try to make the best of it, but the differences between the descendants of Europeans and the descendants of Africans are often glaring. So could the problems African Americans continue to perpetuate - with no end in sight - be better explained by them being a fish out of water? By European descended Americans expecting them to be what they’re not? By them trying to adapt to a culture and way of life that isn’t their own and maybe never can be?
It’s tempting of course, maybe even logical, for them to think that since they have so many problems, since they’re at the bottom of the totem pole, it must be because they were slaves or victims of discrimination. Well, that argument is old and doesn’t hold water. They were just one group of slaves amongst many through history - and if there’s anything unique about them it’s that they haven’t got over it yet; that they continue to use this as an excuse for bad behaviour today. Most other peoples whose descendants were slaves, or serfs, or were killed en masse, have moved on from it. They haven’t let that stop them from living productive lives in the here and now.
I mentioned earlier that Americans had enslaved the wrong people. Imagine if they’d enslaved Europeans instead. It would have been just as bad for those slaves, but once set free they would have moved on with life. Their descendants would be indistinguishable from the descendants of slave owners. No one today would care whose great great grandfather did what to whom. Do you think for example that the descendants of Europe’s serfs or Russia’s serfs care their ancestors were serfs? Do you think they even know if they were or not?
If you can’t get over something as universal as this - when it never even happened to you personally - then there’s something wrong with you, not everyone else. Particularly if you use it to cover up your destructive behaviours and attitudes in the present.
So as I see it, whether this theory is true or not, there are four paths America can take from here:
1- The wait and hope approach. That is waiting for decent black people to step up, throw their support publicly and en masse behind black leaders who shun the victim narrative and gangsta culture, and then declaring their independence from the monolithic black identity block - thereby freeing them to set an example that can help other black people break out of the cycle of victimhood and violence. This pathway presupposes that black people are capable of being just like white Americans and it’s just a case of getting rid of bad software, and replacing it with good software.
If that fails - either because it never happens, or they try it but fall short, or because it was a fantasy to believe it was a viable solution because the problem was something deeper (as we’ve just explored), then you’re faced with paths 2 and 3.
Path 2 is a semi-peaceful path. It means continuing down the road of affirmative action and diversity quotas, continuing to blame white people for black people’s problems, increasingly turning a blind eye to black crime where possible, continuing to promote black culture and power, no longer using SAT scores in University admissions processes, and more, and this when mixed with demographic trends probably means the overall dumbing down of America. You may have seen the comedy film Idiocracy. It depicts a future where people have evolved to become idiots. This is what happens when you adapt your entire culture and values to accommodate the lowest common denominator - through time, you arrive at Idiocracy. Whilst the movie is amusing, the reality would not be. It would just be sad. The great American nation which lead the West and the world: economically, scientifically, culturally, and militarily - would be over. It’s death would be more of a whimper than a bang.
Path 3 is civil conflict and war. It’s basically a repeat of every other ethnic or civil conflict through time, particularly those prevalent in Africa and the Middle East today. It means violence, killings, destruction. It means the break up of America into multiple countries. It potentially means genocide.
So in summary, path 1 is a gamble, but it’s good to be optimistic. Path 2 and 3 are both terrible, and would amount to Americans willingly throwing their nation under a bus.
Then there’s path 4. This one is going to sound outlandish, and probably impossible within the current political system, but for what it’s worth I think the current system’s days are numbered. So here is what I call the Africa Plan.
If it’s true that the never ending problems black people face in America are because, to put it simply, they are Africans living in a society they can’t adapt to. And if America is being asked to right the wrongs of the past, even though no other nation has ever done so, then if that wrong was bringing Africans to America in the first place, it’s pretty clear what the solution should be.
The Africa Plan would involve setting up a new nation within the continent of Africa, and resettling Africans from America within that nation.
This could also happen alongside existing African nations taking in their diaspora.
I would liken this to the Jewish people getting their own homeland in 1948, only in this case it would be handled better and in collaboration with the relevant African countries. America could also fund key infrastructure if needed, and help their former citizens set up the institutions and administration needed to run their country. This might all sound costly, but the cost of them staying in America as we’ve outlined, would be monumentally higher in the long run. In fact, the cost savings could be felt immediately - in the form of not having to maintain such a vast prison and courts system, in shrinking the welfare state, in reducing the massive direct and indirect costs of crime in society, in removing a burden on the education system, in freeing America from unnecessary fear and division, in being better able to rebuild a robust and confident culture, and much more.
What do they get out of it? They get the wrong righted. If their ancestors had never been sold to the Western powers, then they would have never been born in America. It’s possible their ancestors would still have been slaves anyway - perhaps sent off to some Muslim country or enslaved domestically - but that is neither here nor there. It’s today that counts and the benefit of the Africa Plan is they get their own nation, they get set up nicely with what they need, and they’re off and away. Since they believe all their woes stem from the white man, they’d be free from that, so can prove that without him they can be a productive and successful people. If they fail, then it was right to send them there - because it’s better they fail there, then in America, where they would slowly bring the nation down with them. And if they succeed, then it was right to send them there too - because they improved measurably on what they had in America. Win win.
Would they be forced to move there? Some would, others would go through choice. The total might be in the tens of millions.
Could decent, law abiding, culturally integrated black people stay in America? Sure. There are exceptions to every rule and these people are not the problem. They’re the solution in path number 1, remember.
So that’s path 4, which considering the alternatives could in time come to be seen as the wisest and most humane option - one that both parties’ descendants thank the present generation for.
We’ve gone to a place in this piece that perhaps you did not expect to go. Maybe you’re offended or outraged, maybe you think it’s stupid or crazy, maybe you think it’s something worth exploring further, or maybe you outright agree, either way, I believe there is too much at stake to hold our tongues. If things aren’t working, and are in fact getting worse, then we have to be honest about it. We have to understand why.
We live in a profoundly dishonest age where no one says what they mean, where language is highly manipulated, where left is right, up is down, 2 + 2 = 5. If we keep going down this path we risk throwing away our civilisation: America, Britain, the West, as we’ve known them, will be written about in history books, but will be no more.
Does this mean human civilization will end? Of course not. The mantle of leadership will pass to the Chinese, the Indians, to some other yet to arise power. That would be a shame in my view. I think despite its faults, the West has stood head and shoulders above the rest and shone the way forward in so many areas: from science, to technology, to art, to religion, to values, and in every other area of human endeavour you can think of. We owe it to our descendants to make sure they don’t inherit the mess we’ve inherited, and to make sure we don’t add to that mess through a lack of will, courage, and faith in who we are and what our civilization stands for.
Often in this world we’re faced only with hard decisions and pathways. Putting our heads in the sand in response to this isn’t the way to deal with it. The issues with black people in America have been going on for a long while now. These issues have been exported to every Western country - who all now face similar issues with integrating peoples who maybe don’t want to or can’t be integrated.
Whilst I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, even if my words sound harsh sometimes, it is legitimate to ask if this awkward marriage between the descendants of Europeans and the descendants of Africans can work in the long run. Because there are serious and destructive consequences if it cannot. America and the West need to find the answer to this question.
Until we do, for however long our current political and economic system has to run, some of us will go back to putting our heads deep in the sand, and others will be waiting and hoping. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always the Africa Plan.
Written by Arcadius Strauss.
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Slavery in the United States (1776 onwards): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_United_States
Slavery in the colonial history of the United States (1526-1776): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_colonial_history_of_the_United_States
Slavery in Ancient World: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_antiquity
Slavery in Asia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Asia
Slavery in Africa: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Africa
Slavery in Muslim World: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery_in_the_Muslim_world
Atlantic Slave Trade: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade
History of Slavery: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery
Abolition of Slavery Timeline: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_abolition_of_slavery_and_serfdom
Blockade of Africa: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockade_of_Africa
Slavery Abolition Act 1833 Cost: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/680456/FOI2018-00186_-_Slavery_Abolition_Act_1833_-_pdf_for_disclosure_log__003_.pdf
American Civil War: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War