Diagnosis for Democracy
Insights into the State of Our Union
A Blog by Rob Tenery, MD


Reparations: Who, if Anyone, Should Pay for American Slavery? by Odell Brown

By Rob Tenery, MD on August 5, 2019

Now that we are living in the ultimate period of “wokeness,” it is time for all who have a grievance to bring them forward and get their due. From those who want to bring up unsubstantiated and unverifiable claims of harassment to those who want to revisit topics that have lived and died and are now being rebirthed, the proponents of “wokeness” believe it is time to make the country pay for the sins of the past.

When it comes to harassment, it is only right if someone has been violently assaulted or molested, there should be no time limit as to when the perpetrator can be held accountable; however, there must be undeniable proof. Without proof, no one should be found guilty for an allegation that is unprovable and on the word of a single individual. If we allow such instances where all it takes is a simple allegation to ruin a person’s reputation and future, it will prove to be a sad day for justice in America.

This article is about a sort of harassment, though not one of a sexual kind. The harassment I am going to address is the never dying cries and harassment of society by those who demand reparation for the sin of American Slavery. 

With the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates vying for the party’s nomination, the undying song of reparations once again has a choir. Some of the candidates have either been silent on the subject and quietly supported it or were once opposed to it, but are now “awoke” on the issue and believe it is a just cause. Just for a quick definition, “reparations is the payment or restitution by an individual or group to another individual or group for a past wrongful deed that stripped the individual or group of something of value.” In the case of slaves, it was their work.

Those who support reparation believe that Americans today should make restitution to the descendants of slaves for both the wealth stolen in terms of their labor and the accumulated wealth that the progeny of the slaves would have accumulated had it not been for the unjust system under which they labored.

When considering such a proposal, the question has been and should continue to be asked, who rightfully deserves reparations and who should pay? First, it will hellishly difficult to determine who should get a payment and for how much. Secondly, who exactly should be held responsible for the payment? There are numerous other questions that should be asked and answered such as, should this money come from all tax payers or from the family of former slave owners? How much should each person get if it is determined there are true descendants? What if the slave owner’s descendants are less fortunate than the person filing the claim, where is that slave descendant’s justice?

There are many more questions that can and should be asked, but those who are suggesting that reparations be paid have given very little though to the implication of such a demand. Why should tax dollars from individuals and families that had nothing to do with slavery contribute to such a payment? If general tax revenue is used, wouldn’t the descendants of slaves be using their current labor to pay on behalf of the former slave owners to pay themselves? Of course they would, which makes no sense.

 If we go down the road of reparations for the identifiable descendants of slaves, from which quarters will the next claim come? With there being so many aggrieved groups in the country, we will be in a perpetual state of trying to figure out who owes whom. A great grandchild of a person killed in a car accident can use the excuse that were in not for the death of his grandfather, he or she could have gone to an elite college and become extremely successful. But because his or her mother lost her father and now had to live of the meager income the mother made, the entire family and grandchildren are now suffering.

God tells us that each person is to pay for his or her own sins. Deuteronomy 24:16 states, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin”. The reason that each person has to pay for his or her own sins is that if society starts to hold subsequent generations accountable for what their forefathers did, there would be an endless movement and stream of court cases that would bring the country to a halt. So, the reparations movement should be stopped and stumped out forever and any politician who supports it should be drummed out of public life for the untold harm they would visit upon the country by supporting such detestable notion of justice.

                        Odell Brown

 





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