Do I feel guilty? Well, do ya punk?

I'm really pissed off.

I just came back from a "Diversity Forum" at Georgia Tech on the topic of Affirmative Action and the recent Michigan Supreme Court rulings. I found out about this event too late to participate as a libertarian panelist alongside representatives from the College Democrats and College Republicans. Instead, I had to sit quietly in the audience, repressing my frustration at the frequent misstatements of fact, extreme ideological bias, and shameful insults directed at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Surprisingly, the student representatives were relatively mild mannered: the Republican representative quoted Ayn Rand and stressed the importance of recognizing the sanctity of the individual and the injustice of lowering standards in order to benefit one race over another. The Democratic representative also took a moderate position, decrying the assumptions about racial groups implied by using race as a factor in college admissions, and instead (rightly) criticizing the inequities and poor standards present in today's primary and secondary public schools.

If the panel was made up solely of these students, the event would have been an enjoyable exchange of ideas. Instead, the focus was placed not on the student speakers, but on three adult speakers: one representing the admissions board, one representing the office of legal affairs, and one black professor of electrical engineering representing the most backward, racist, group-think mentality one could possibly imagine. Needless to say, this third speaker took up the bulk of the speaking time.

I knew something was amiss when he came to the event with a copy of Michael Moore's Stupid White Men and placed it in full view of the audience on his lectern. Think about it. Who comes to an event intended to promote the benefits of racial diversity and multicultural acceptance with such an incendiary title on open display? How do you think he would have felt if someone else came with a book titled, "Stupid Black Men?"

In order to vent my pent-up frustration, I sat there as the professor spoke and jotted down every single logical fallacy he committed, of which there were many. He noted that Tech's rankings have improved over the past few decades while at the same time diversity has increased. Well, by golly! If we can just get rid of all non-black, non-female, and non-Hispanic applicants Tech is sure to reach number one.

But none of this compares to the most offensive thing said at this event. After the professor went on a long tirade about how blacks have suffered for over 400 years, and that it will take at least another 400 years to repair the damage done, the moderator, who is white, said something along the lines of "we need to recognize the importance of forgiveness."

"Forgiveness?!?", I exploded. "How dare you talk about forgiveness! Do you know what this implies? It implies that the current generation of whites is responsible for the crimes committed by [some] of our ancestors. This concept of generational guilt is disgusting."

Sure, I'm pissed at blacks who use this kind of victim-mentality to aggregate benefits for themselves at the expense of everyone else. But that's simply self interest and is expected. I'm more pissed at people like this white moderator who beg for forgiveness, rather than calling a spade a spade and pointing out the inherent injustice of racial discrimination.

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interesting... so I can

interesting...
so I can recieve inheritance and enhanced social position from wealth made from slavery, yet I can't inherit any obligation. Isn't that convenient.

You might recognize Aff. Action as the attempt to reconcile the "History of proerty" problems that even Nozick recognizes. The objection to that (as we've been over) is "how can we show who benefited from such illegitimate acts" seems a fair one. Rather than just say "we probably can't, so fuck 'em," we might then instead choose to distribute the costs of such a reconciliation accross a society that almost certainly enjoys the relative wealth and power they do because of the illigitimate occurences in question.

Matt: "...we might then

Matt: "...we might then instead choose to distribute the costs of such a reconciliation accross a society that almost certainly enjoys the relative wealth and power they do because of the illigitimate occurences in question."

If you're insisting that Americans in general are wealthier because of slavery, you are saying that the slaves were more economically productive as slaves than they would have been as free men. That's quite a low opinion to hold of them.

sorry, andy, but that's a

sorry, andy, but that's a low opinion to hold of humans in general. Think about it- your point presupposes that a humans sole worth is to be measured by productive output. That's the only way you could conclude that I was devaluing slaves.

Your argument is actually the difficult one, because let's suppose that I can demonstrate that the average african american's productivity decreased when they were released from slavery. Your logic would then conclude that freeing the slaves was a bad thing!

Nice try. You're the one

Nice try. You're the one who said that society "enjoys the relative wealth and power they do because of the illigitimate occurences in question." I make no judgement, just point out that you are suggesting that without slavery society (whoever that is) would be less wealthy--meaning that the slaves created more wealth as slaves than they could have if free.

My position (not that you asked) is that this is incorrect, but even if it were correct, chattel slavery is morally wrong and the slaves should indeed have been freed (well, preferably they should never have been enslaved.)

so I can recieve inheritance

so I can recieve inheritance and enhanced social position from wealth made from slavery, yet I can't inherit any obligation.

This is just silly matt, and you know it. If I don't want the inheritance or other benefits left to me by my predecessors, I can easily get rid of it. How exactly does one get rid of generational guilt?

Let me ask you this matt: do you feel guilty for having enslaved black people? What have you done to achieve forgiveness?

And your economic arguments are hogwash unworthy of a response. John Stuart Mill already debunked these claims a century ago, which is why Carlyle, an explicit racist, dubbed economics the dismal science. Carlyle, like yourself, rejected the notion that the value of a person is what they produce. He had to reject this in order to justify the expropriation of slave labor.

How exactly does one get rid

How exactly does one get rid of generational guilt?
by addressing it, I suppose. But I don't buy the generational "guilt" argument. Just the "generational harms and benefits" argument. You wrote an article on this about "the passion," saying that Jews should feel no guilt about the death of Jesus. Of course they shouldn't. And anyone who thikns otherwise better watch out:
http://www2.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/Movies/10/24/gibson.passion/

Let me ask you this matt: do you feel guilty for having enslaved black people? What have you done to achieve forgiveness?
no I don't. That's not my argument.

John Stuart Mill already debunked these claims a century ago, which is why Carlyle, an explicit racist, dubbed economics the dismal science. Carlyle, like yourself, rejected the notion that the value of a person is what they produce. He had to reject this in order to justify the expropriation of slave labor.
already debunked what? How? It's simply a statement of fact.

Andy:
you said "that's quite a low opinion to hold of them." Implying that I devalued black people. That's what I responded to, so nice try to you. I don't have to argue that society would be less wealthy- that's completely silly. If I said "a stray bullet killed person x." You wouldn't say "person x was gonna die anyway." What the hell does that even mean?

matt, do you think that

matt, do you think that Americans are wealthier due to the institution of slavery than they would be had it never happened? That is what I thought you were implying.

I have no idea what you're talking about with the stray bullet analogy.

already debunked what? How?

already debunked what? How? It's simply a statement of fact.

He debunked the claims that slavery is more efficient than freedom. Partly, the argument is that when measuring efficiency, one must take into the social benefits accrued to all actors, and slavery pretty clearly ignores a large portion of those actors.

My argument doesn't at all

My argument doesn't at all depend on the idea that slvery was more efficient. That's completely inane. Suppose I stole 1000 dollars from you and when confronted responded "You have to prove that I wouldn't have made the 1000 dollars anyway." That doesn't even make any sense. My point is that the economic development in our country was, in part, borne off the forced labor of Blacks- not that it couldn't of happened any other way.

My point is that the

My point is that the economic development in our country was, in part, borne off the forced labor of Blacks

And our point is that US economic development suffered precisely because of the enslavement of blacks. In other words, slavery was a net cost to the US, and we would be wealthier had slavery ended earlier or had it never been implemented in the first place.

Further, American blacks are wealthier than nearly every other group of blacks in the world. So does that imply that American blacks are owed a debt, or owe American whites a debt?

And our point is that US

And our point is that US economic development suffered precisely because of the enslavement of blacks. In other words, slavery was a net cost to the US, and we would be wealthier had slavery ended earlier or had it never been implemented in the first place.
a. you aren't really "arguing" that, you are assuming it. One of the failures of the "freemarket" argument is precisely that it confronts every counterexample with an abstract argument. We became an economic powerhouse under tariffs, slavery, and war. But let's just Descartes the whole thing and ignore how it happened, instead focusing on how it might've.

Further, American blacks are wealthier than nearly every other group of blacks in the world. So does that imply that American blacks are owed a debt, or owe American whites a debt?
Question Begging. If econ. development was a result of slavery, why would they owe whites a debt?

Oh, I forgot the "b". b. Can

Oh, I forgot the "b".
b. Can I buy someone and force them to clean my house for 20 years, but then when they are done claim that I could've done a better job as a legitimate defense? It's so absurd I don't know why you're bothering to use. I'm afraid that your fundamentalist libertarianism has got you neccesarily equating "economically efficient" with "morally good" and vice versa.

you aren't really "arguing"

you aren't really "arguing" that, you are assuming it

Matt, you are going in circles. You claimed previously that your "argument doesn't at all depend on the idea that slvery was more efficient" Now you are claiming that it does. Which is it? Do you believe that slavery is efficient or inefficient compared to freedom?

We became an economic powerhouse under tariffs, slavery, and war.

Actually, we became an economic powerhouse after WWII, but lets not get facts in the way of your theory.

But let's just Descartes the whole thing and ignore how it happened, instead focusing on how it might've.

Perhaps it might have something to do with the fact that nearly every other country in the world was less economically free than the US and yet we succeeded far beyond they did. Attributing our success to those factors that everyone else had more of doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

If econ. development was a result of slavery, why would they owe whites a debt?

Because, according to your logic, they are better off now because their ancestors were enslaved.

Can I buy someone and force them to clean my house for 20 years, but then when they are done claim that I could've done a better job as a legitimate defense?

What does this have to do with the present question? How many people who were enslaved are currently alive today? This is exactly why I am criticizing this concept of inheritable guilt - the current generation of blacks is not entitled to any compensation and the current generation of whites is not responsible for any compensation.

I'm afraid that your fundamentalist libertarianism has got you neccesarily equating "economically efficient" with "morally good" and vice versa.

No, my "fundamentalist libertarianism" has nothing to do with this. You seemed to be claiming previously that slavery was beneficial to the US and was the cause of our wealth. That is simply not true.

Matt, you are going in

Matt, you are going in circles. You claimed previously that your "argument doesn't at all depend on the idea that slvery was more efficient" Now you are claiming that it does. Which is it? Do you believe that slavery is efficient or inefficient compared to freedom?
I'm not claiming it does at all. You and andy are trying to ignore slavery via the dubious logic of "it was an economic inefficiency." More specifically your trying to argue with the statement "this countries economy thrived off the backs of slaves" by claiming that maybe it would have thrived even more otherwise. For one thing, who the hell knows? But more importantly, that just doesn't have anything to do with my statement, as I have repeatedly demostrated.

Actually, we became an economic powerhouse after WWII, but lets not get facts in the way of your theory.
we became unilaterally dominant after world war 2. Don't puff your chest up talking about "facts" when we're discussing ambigious terms like "powerhouse."

Perhaps it might have something to do with the fact that nearly every other country in the world was less economically free than the US and yet we succeeded far beyond they did. Attributing our success to those factors that everyone else had more of doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
you always assert this and I have no reason to believe that it's true, beyond a slight degree. For one thing, if you look at our whole economic history, you can't even get started. The slavery period obviously can't be counted as free. The Tariff period can't be counted as free. That takes us up to the devil himself, FDR. The post ww2 world was dominated by keynesian instutions and economics up until the early 70's(domestically, we're still using military keynesianism.)

I bet there is a correlation between the biggest economies and the most free, though. The reason is because "free trade" is something used to club your opponents over the head with. Look how "free" British Steel was in the 19th century compared to US steel. The big econ. countries don't have some sort of idealogical aversion to protectionism; they use it when they need it. They just don't need it that much.

Because, according to your logic, they are better off now because their ancestors were enslaved.
That's not according to my logic. My logic states that renumerance doesn't have to be/ shouldn't be monetary, so there's no reason to assume that the measurements of harms should be monetary either. Beyond that, it's difficult and rather unfruitful to compare things like "discrimination" across nations.

This is exactly why I am criticizing this concept of inheritable guilt - the current generation of blacks is not entitled to any compensation and the current generation of whites is not responsible for any compensation.
that statement was related to your "slavery was economically inefficient" argument.