Statues Away: Who Really Cares About Slavery?
If those on the Left really cared about slavery, they wouldn’t be obsessed with tearing down the statues of long-dead slave-owners. They wouldn’t spend their time impugning George Washington and other Founders for something that, until relatively recently, was the norm most anywhere and everywhere and was defended by most anyone and everyone.
What they might do is combat the slavery still occurring in non-Western countries.
A good example is Mauritania, an Islamic African nation currently in the news because it receives United States trade benefits despite having one of the world’s highest rates of modern-day slavery. As The Guardian wrote Friday, Mauritania “is currently on a list of countries that benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). The act, designed to promote the economic development of countries that can show they uphold human rights and meet labour standards, enables African countries to export goods duty-free to U.S. markets.”
A union of U.S. labor organizations has protested this state of affairs. As The Guardian also informs, “‘The government of Mauritania routinely fails to conduct investigations into cases of slavery, rarely pursues prosecutions for those responsible for the practice and fails to ensure access to remedy or otherwise support victims, ” the union wrote in a petition, adding that the state harasses and imprisons anti-slavery activists and will not publicly acknowledge the continued existence of slavery. “‘This represents a total failure to take any meaningful steps to establish freedom from forced labour, ” said the petition.
While Mauritania didn’t abolish slavery until 1981, making it the last nation to do so (must have been the influence of all those Confederate statues), and didn’t criminalize the practice until 2007, it’s not alone in tolerating slavery. Forty-six million people worldwide live as modern-day slaves, and the Clever provides a list of 15 countries that are the worst offenders; it includes usual suspects such as North Korea, India, China, Nigeria, the Congo, and Pakistan. Notable is that not one Western — or as some say, “white supremacist” — nation is among them.
This brings us to the true white privilege: that enjoyed by anyone residing in a “white” Western country. It means you live in not only the most prosperous civilization in history, but also the most morally victorious. You live in a civilization that
• likely wasn’t the first to practice slavery but was the first to end it.
• didn’t birth human-rights abuses, but did birth our whole modern concept of human rights to begin with.
• provides both enough freedom and free time so that self-flagellation can become a fashion
There are people and organizations that combat this extant Third World slavery — it’s just that our statue-hating leftists aren’t among them. In fairness, there are some legitimate reasons for this. People naturally focus more on their own country than on others, where it’s more difficult to effect change, anyway (especially since protesting in Mauritania could earn you a cracked skull).
In reality, though, few slavery-obsessed leftists actually care about slavery. Rather, it’s a convenient vehicle through which to advance today’s anti-American cultural revolution. You can’t change American culture, after all, by directing your energies toward Mauritanian culture.
As an SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) extremist once wrote, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” This partially explains why leftists could be against segregation in the ’60s but for it today; aghast at pedophilia when the matter is the Catholic Church scandal, but then work toward its legitimization elsewhere; preach tolerance one week and stifle opposing views the next; rail against inequality and then enforce double standards; and condemn President Trump for sexual assault (which he never committed) but then turn a blind eye toward Bill Clinton and director Roman Polanski.
There is a reason for this consistent inconsistency: Like far too many today, leftists are moral relativists — meaning, they don’t believe in Truth (absolute by definition). Of course, without Truth there can be no moral absolutes, and without moral absolutes there can be no principles, only preferences.
Not having Truth as a yardstick for behavior is why leftists rely on emotion instead; it’s why they popularized the credo “If it feels good, do it.”
And without principles, leftists are reduced to personal governance by their baser instincts, such as sexual urges; anger; the desire for vengeance; and, as infamous atheist/moral relativist Friedrich Nietzsche put it, the “will to power.”
So, ironically, if leftists really cared about freedom, they might first seek to emancipate themselves from their enslavement to their own passions.