Wednesday, April 28, 2010
False history of slavery preached by the Left
By Thomas Sowell
The history of slavery across the centuries and in many countries around the world is a painful history to read-- not only in terms of how slaves have been treated, but because of what that says about the whole human species-- because slaves and enslavers alike have been of every race, religion and nationality.
If the history of slavery ought to teach us anything, it is that human beings cannot be trusted with unbridled power over other human beings-- no matter what color or creed any of them are. The history of ancient despotism and modern totalitarianism practically shouts that same message from the blood-stained pages of history.
But that is not the message that is being taught in our schools and colleges, or dramatized on television and in the movies. The message that is pounded home again and again is that white people enslaved black people.
It is true but it is also false in its implications. Just as Europeans enslaved Africans, North Africans enslaved Europeans-- more Europeans than there were Africans enslaved in the United States and in the 13 colonies from which it was formed.
The treatment of white galley slaves was even worse than the treatment of black slaves picking cotton. But there are no movies or television dramas about it comparable to "Roots," and our schools and colleges don't pound it into the heads of students.
The inhumanity of human beings toward other human beings is not a new story, much less a local story. There is no need to hide it, because there are lessons we can learn from it. But there is also no need to distort it, so that sins of the whole human species around the world are presented as special defects of "our society" or the sins of a particular race.
If American society and Western civilization are different from other societies and civilization, it is that they eventually turned against slavery, and stamped it out, at a time when non-Western societies around the world were still maintaining slavery and resisting Western pressures to end slavery, including in some cases armed resistance.
Only the fact that the West had more firepower than others put an end to slavery in many non-Western societies during the age of Western imperialism. Yet today there are Americans who have gone to Africa to apologize for slavery-- on a continent where slavery has still not been completely ended, to this very moment.
It is not just the history of slavery that gets distorted beyond recognition by the selective filtering of facts. Those who go back to mine history, in order to find everything they can to undermine American society or Western civilization, have very little interest in the Bataan death march, the atrocities of the Ottoman Empire or similar atrocities in other times and places.
Those who mine history for sins are not searching for truth but for opportunities to denigrate their own society, or for grievances that can be cashed in today, at the expense of people who were not even born when the sins of the past were committed.
An ancient adage says: "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." But apparently that is not sufficient for many among our educators, the intelligentsia or the media. They are busy poisoning the present by the way they present the past.
Behind the Obama policy towards Israel
No, the Obamaites are not motivated by anti-Semitism. Their sentiments are actually more dangerous. President Obama believes that he understands Israel's best interests better than Israel's American supporters, and better than Israelis themselves do.
Speaking at Cairo University in June 2009, the president explained that looking at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict "from only one side or the other" would "blind one to the truth." That truth, he continued, was that the only possible solution was "two states where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security." Obama could see, even if the benighted parties could not, "that (a two-state solution) is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest." He said the same thing upon welcoming Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Oval Office. Earlier this month, the president told The New York Times that while "we can't want (peace) more than (the parties do)," we are "setting out very clearly to both sides our belief that not only is it in the interests of each party to resolve these conflicts, but it's also in the interest of the United States."
To Israelis, who daily read of thwarted terrorist attacks, who gave up land for peace in Gaza and were rewarded with thousands of missiles fired at Israeli civilians, who can watch Palestinian TV teach Palestinian children that "their" country stretches from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, who see public squares on the West Bank named in honor of mass murderers of Israeli civilians, who see Syria attempting to build a nuclear reactor, Iran closing in on a bomb, and a festering civil war between Hamas and Fatah, the road to a two-state solution may not appear so obvious. Perhaps they lack Obama's clairvoyance.
In addition to the conceit that Obama understands Israel's interests better than Israelis do, the administration has also repeatedly stressed in recent weeks that a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian dispute is vital to American interests, and to saving American "blood and treasure." Settling the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, the Obamaites believe, is more important for America's long-term interests than preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. In fact, multiple emissaries have warned Israel against taking military action against Iran.
The administration's strong-arming of Israel didn't stop with the infamous 40-minute scolding Secretary of State Clinton delivered to Prime Minister Netanyahu when Israel had the temerity to build homes in its own capital. Mrs. Clinton intensified the pressure last week, complaining that Israel's recent steps to ease movement on the West Bank were "not sufficient to prove to the Palestinians that this embrace is sincere." The Palestinians scarcely need a representative since the administration is negotiating for them.
This is of a piece with the Obama administration's invertebrate approach to the rest of the Middle East. President Obama bows low to the Saudi King, has sent multiple emissaries to Syria's Bashar Assad, and has proclaimed a new dawn with Iran. In that same spirit, the State Department issued a plaintive request last week for the release of three American hikers Iran has been holding in prison for nine months. Failing that, our diplomats pleaded that the hikers' families be permitted to visit them.
The Obama administration is at least consistent. The foreign policy of self-abasement, weakness, and dithering that it thinks best for the United States is the one it is attempting to impose upon Israel.
Useless British police again
Motorist walks into police station to report vandalism ... but is told to PHONE call centre. They are only interested in political crimes
When vandals damaged Andy Bevan's car, he thought he was doing the sensible thing by visiting his local police station to report the attack. But to his astonishment, he was told he could not register the crime in person - and had to make a telephone call instead.
A community support officer handed Mr Bevan, 57, a card and asked him to ring the number on it. Mr Bevan, a retired industrial chemist, described the attitude of Humberside Police as 'ridiculous'. He said he visited Peeler House station in Hessle, near Hull, after his tyres were damaged because he wanted the culprits caught and wasn't concerned about getting a crime number for an insurance claim.
However, he was told only the command centre could deal with the incident - and not the officers at the station. He said: 'I told the PCSO at the counter my car was vandalised last night. He said words to the effect "have you rung?" 'I said I'd just popped in to report it, and he said, "you can't just pop in, you have to ring".
'I said it was absolutely outrageous and if I saw bank robbers going into a bank I couldn't come in and tell them that it was happening? They said that was different as it was a crime in progress. 'He said you have to ring in and gave me a card and that was it.
'He wasn't being officious - in fact I'd give him ten out of ten for bedside manner. But I just think it's ridiculous that you can't report a crime in a police station - end of story.' Mr Bevan was then told he could use the telephone inside the police station to report the crime
Mr Bevan, who has not made an insurance claim for the damage caused by the vandals, added: 'I actually wanted someone to be caught and punished but I don't think it's the police's remit any more.'
Humberside Police yesterday failed to clarify whether a mistake had been made, but insisted crimes could be reported in person or by telephone. Chief Superintendent Paul Davidson said: 'If a person wants to speak to an officer within a police station instead of the command centre or arrange a suitable time in which to take a statement, we can provide that facility. 'If this gentleman was not satisfied with the service he received, I would like to apologise to him and invite him to discuss the matter with me personally so we can reach a satisfactory outcome.'
The incident comes just weeks after a shopkeeper stopped another Humberside Police officer to ask for help in catching teenage thieves and was told to 'call the police'. Graham Taylor, 50, was chasing two teenagers who had stolen spirits from his newsagents, also in Hessle, East Yorkshire. He stopped an officer in a marked patrol car who told him 'you had better call the police' instead of giving chase.
Mr Taylor then rang 999 himself. However, the officers assigned to deal with the crime missed the radio call because they were celebrating at a colleague's retirement party.
Parents who spank their children should be prosecuted, says Europe human rights body
Parents who smack their children should be prosecuted for assault, a European human rights group said last night. The Council of Europe is calling for a complete ban on smacking across the continent, saying even the smallest slap can leave psychological damage. One official even compared parents who smack to men who violently beat their wives.
The Council says that Britain lags behind other countries who have initiated a ban.
It claims that one of the reasons that the UK has not put in place a ban is because of the 'traditional parent-child relationship' here which they claim is one of authority.
But the call from Europe to outlaw smacking provoked fury from parents' rights groups, who said it was wrong for Governments to try to dictate what parents could do in their own homes.
Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust said: 'The Council of Europe is failing to recognise that parents are authority figures in their children's lives. 'It is parents, and not national governments, who bear the responsibility of caring for children, nurturing them, and correcting them where necessary.
'As with any other authority figure, parents need to have sanctions at their disposal when their children misbehave, and they must be free to exercise their discretion and judgment with respect to their use. 'In a free society it is vital that parents should be allowed to bring up their children in a reasonable way, in line with their convictions.
'Generations of parents have proved the benefit of moderate smacking to correct their children's behaviour, and research continues to show its positive effects when used in the context of a loving home where children are respected and cherished. 'It has become a contentious issue only because of a vocal minority who are determined to undermine the authority of parents.'
European judges ruled a decade ago that smacking could breach children's rights and in the last three years some 20 countries have implemented a ban. Britain is among a handful of European states, including France and Poland, who are holding out against the pressure for a ban.
Corporal punishment is banned in British schools but parents have a defence against assault charges on the grounds of 'reasonable chastisement'.
Council of Europe deputy secretary general Maud de Boer-Buquicchio said even smacks which did not leave a mark could cause serious psychological harm. She said: 'Children are not mini-human beings with mini-human rights. 'Even if there are no visible scars on the children there can be other scars because of the humiliating effect.
'When we talk about violence against women everyone agrees with that and the same should be true for children. Human rights do not stop at the front door of people's homes. 'It is in my view important to remove the defence of smacking from the criminal law.'
She pointed to Sweden, where smacking was banned 30 years ago, and claimed its children were not more 'wild or indisciplined' as a result.
Academic research released earlier this year found children who are smacked by their parents grow up to be happier and more successful than those who are never physically disciplined.
It revealed children who are smacked before the age of six perform better at school once they reach their teenage years, are more likely to do voluntary work and go to university. But those who are smacked after six were more likely to misbehave and become involved in fights at school.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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