William A. Donohue
We live in strange times. Never before in American history have there been fewer victims of oppression, yet never before have more Americans laid claim to victim status. This is especially true of young people—the snowflake generation for whom every slight is seen as an unbearable affront—and those of my generation who are still living in the 1960s. Their latest grievance is the erection of monuments on public property.
The furor over the monuments is as contrived as it is baseless. With few exceptions, up until recently, no one felt put upon by these public tributes to prominent Americans. Why were they not seen as symbols of oppression until about a week ago yesterday?
It is not as though there was some new revelation about those honored in the public square. For example, everyone knew that many of the Founders owned slaves. What changed is our reaction.
This is a game, and it is a dishonest one. Most of those demanding that we take down the monuments are not driven by some noble sentiment—they are driven by hate.
Take a good look at Antifa and the other anarchists leading this fight. They hate America, and everything about it. They hate Western civilization, and, by necessity, they hate our Judeo-Christian heritage. These are the same people for whom the sight of a nativity scene on public property is seen as an obscenity, for whom the Pledge of Allegiance is an abomination.
The haters are not upset about slavery—many of the older radicals have long supported the slavery that marked the Soviet Union and Mao’s China—they are upset that their goal of subverting America hasn’t materialized. So they play their slavery card as a way to bring shame to our nation.
There is not a place on the globe that has not known slavery. The ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans not only tolerated slavery, they saw nothing wrong about it. Neither did the Chinese and Japanese. Slavery was outlawed in the U.S. in the 1860s, but was not made illegal in Africa until the 1980s (it still exists there today).
It was Western civilization that first put an end to slavery. It could not have done so without the leadership shown by the Catholic Church, though this will never be acknowledged by the snowflakes and their Sixties’ mentors. Indeed, St. Patrick was the first public person in history to condemn slavery.
Yes, Washington owned slaves, but he also freed every one of them. Many blacks in the U.S. who were not slaves also owned slaves. In fact, it was Africans who sold their slaves to Europeans—they were not captured in the middle of the night—thus opening the New World to slavery.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the Constitution did not legalize slavery. The truth is that nowhere in the Constitution is slavery mentioned. The words “slave,” “slavery,” “race,” “white,” “black,” and “color” are never cited.
There is, however, a clause in Article 1, Section 9 that, without explicitly mentioning slavery, made it clear that the Atlantic slave trade was set to end in 1808. True to form, the slave trade ended in 1808: Jefferson signed the statute, at the earliest constitutionally allowable date. This took courage: When Jefferson proposed the abolition of slavery, 40 percent of the nation was enslaved.
Another lie told to students is that the Constitution says that blacks are three-fifths human. In point of fact, the three-fifths reference had nothing to do with the humanity of blacks—it was a statement about apportionment.
Article 1, Section 2 speaks to this issue. To determine the number of representatives each state should have, the total was to be determined by “adding to the whole number of free persons, including to those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons.”
The Northern delegates did not want to count the slaves at all, and the Southern states wanted them to be counted as equals to free persons. According to the twisted logic of the perpetually aggrieved, this would suggest that the North was more pro-slavery than the South. This is nonsense.
If blacks weren’t counted at all, it would weaken the Southern base: the slave states would have only 41 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives. If they were counted as equal to whites, the slave states would have 50 percent of the House seats. The compromise—counting the slaves as three-fifths—meant that the slave states wound up with 47 percent of the seats.
The important point is that this controversy never had anything to do with passing judgment on the inherent human worth of blacks—the three-fifths discussion was over apportionment, and nothing else.
Those who hate this country don’t want any of this known. Why? They have a vested ideological interest in putting the worst possible face on America. Their anti-monument madness is only their latest foray into disabling the nation. They need to be exposed, resisted, and defeated.