Tag: Reparations

Climate Reparations? Nah.


Protesters take part in the Walk for Your Future climate march ahead of COP27 in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 23.

Last month UN members met once again to live the good life for a few days and push for the unlikely elimination of climate change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change convened COP27 in the impressive Egyptian coastal city of Sharm El-Sheik. 100 heads of state and 25,000 attendees (carbon footprint alert!) met to advocate for a “giant leap on climate ambition.”

To win “this battle for our lives,” round tables galore were held, coalitions were formed, roles for youth and even children in the crusade were created. Curiously, no actions were taken that would directly limit greenhouse gas emissions, possibly because the much-ballyhooed Paris Agreement had proved worthless, with almost no nations honoring their commitments.

California’s Reparations Report


A while back, there was a news alert on my phone that the Committee finally decided to release its preliminary report.  As expected, reparations are to be extraordinarily broad and far-reaching, impacting multiple industries rather than just the personal items of descendants of slaves.

No one should be surprised by this.

What I was surprised by is how quickly this alert and topic dropped off of my phone with nary a trace.  I had to do an internet search to find further information (including recent news articles about it) and to see what the actual recommendations are.

California’s Reparations Overreach


With Assembly Bill 3121, passed in 2020, the California state legislature created a task force whose purpose is to “study and develop reparation programs for African-Americans.” On June 1, 2022, that task force issued its lengthy interim report, with an executive summary, which together will divide rather than inform the highly fraught public at large. What is desperately needed today are programs of market liberalization that will raise the welfare of all groups, without seeking to play one off against the other.

But the task force has no such general recommendations. Instead, it chooses to examine complex historical events that took place from the onset of slavery in the United States until the present day. That untidy inquiry should mix together developments of both cruelty and heroism. Had the task force proceeded in a more responsible manner, it would have started with the proposition that many groups—racial and otherwise—have been mistreated and can make, and have made, claims for reparations. And it also should have explicitly acknowledged that at no point in our nation’s history have any such expansive reparations programs been enacted.

Misunderstanding Korematsu

Better Late Than Never: Learning About the Tulsa Race Massacre


I love my home state of Oklahoma. It is home to wonderful people; family, friends, excellent schools, a terrific and diverse culture, and some remarkable history.

Attending public schools during my formative years, from kindergarten in Guymon to college in Chickasha, I took my share of Oklahoma history classes and remember much of it today. In college, my Oklahoma history class taught me about President Andrew Jackson’s forced relocation of Indian tribes from the southeast to Oklahoma Indian Territory — the “Trail of Tears.” Thousands died.

Jeff Charles is a political commentator, podcast host, and freelance writer. He and Bridget discuss a variety of issues including why Republicans seem more interested in making it more difficult to vote than winning over hearts & minds, how even though most conservatives aren’t racist, they fall into a trap that lets the left paint them as racist, why the far left doesn’t really care about black people, and why you’re not that likely to be killed by a black person. They cover hot topics like Dr. Seuss and Gina Carano, along with more nuanced topics like why most black people don’t want to defund the police – they want the police to be held accountable, why Jeff believes conservatives will come around to the idea of black outreach, why Republicans should be advocating for reparations when Democrats will never do it, and wonder how many black farmers there actually are in America. Check out Jeff’s YouTube channel Breaking Conservatarian.

Another Reconstruction?


Yesterday in The Atlantic, an assistant professor at Brooklyn Law School argued that America needs to enact a “Third Reconstruction.” From his perspective, the first two attempts to solve the problem were too short and largely unsuccessful with respect to manufacturing black success and parity. What follows is a partial insight into the framework of this Third Reconstruction:

So what is needed for a successful Third Reconstruction? Perhaps it begins with sweeping criminal-justice and voting reforms that could transform the United States from the world’s leading carceral state into a truly multiracial democracy. It might also entail direct investments in Black communities to guarantee stable housing, universal health care, and high-quality education, necessities for achieving a more inclusive economy and greater wealth parity. But whatever its shape, a Third Reconstruction must rekindle the aspiration of a nation molded in the ideal of perfect equality, understanding that thinking big—and going big, too—is the surest way toward “a more perfect Union.” Success also demands that national leaders heed some lessons.

Black Reparations Parsed


michelmond / Shutterstock.com

In the midst of today’s heightened racial unrest, the calls for black reparations have become more insistent. In their recent book, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, William A. Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen write: “Racism and discrimination have perpetually crippled black economic opportunities.” The offenses cited are slavery, legal segregation under Jim Crow, and more contentiously, “ongoing discrimination and stigmatization.” Their book figured centrally in a recent article in the New York Times Magazine by Nikole Hannah-Jones, who launched the highly controversial 1619 Project. In her piece, “What is Owed,” she makes this claim:

Reparations are not about punishing white Americans, and white Americans are not the ones who would pay for them. It does not matter if your ancestors engaged in slavery or if you just immigrated here two weeks ago. Reparations are a societal obligation in a nation where our Constitution sanctioned slavery, Congress passed laws protecting it and our federal government initiated, condoned and practiced legal racial segregation and discrimination against black Americans until half a century ago. And so it is the federal government that pays.

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Instead of canceling people and institutions on seemingly random and arbitrary bases, I propose a single set of actions to resolve both “canceling” of those responsible for “institutional racism” and providing reparations to its supposed victims. [This is applicable only in the United States.] The most prominent common factor in “institutional racism” in the United […]

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The Hackneyed Demand for Reparations Lives On


The Democrats are at it again. It’s election campaign time, and Kamala Harris, for one, is demanding reparations, 150 years after the Civil War, for black Americans who probably know as little about that war as most other Americans:

I think there has to be some form of reparations. We can discuss what that is, but look, we’re looking at more than 200 years of slavery. We’re looking at almost a hundred years of Jim Crow. We’re looking at legalized segregation and, in fact, segregation on so many levels that exists today, based on race. And there has not been any kind of intervention done understanding the harm and the damage that occurred to correct course, and so we are seeing the effects of all of those years play out still today.

Black Reparations … Again


Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D–Texas) earlier this year introduced H.R. 40 which is intended to address “the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposals for reparations for the institution of slavery.” Since that time, many Democratic presidential hopefuls have endorsed her proposal. Senator Elizabeth Warren has stated that she is in favor of government reparations “to black Americans who were economically affected by slavery.” Senator Warren also urges us to “confront . . . the [nation’s] dark history of government-sanctioned discrimination,” an odd qualification given that national and state policy for over 50 years has vigorously enforced civil rights laws in areas like employment, education, housing, and health. Other presidential candidates such as Senator Cory Booker and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke have added their support to Jackson’s proposal.

A national apology for slavery may well be overdue. But the real battle will be over reparations, which any Congressional Commission is likely endorse. There is presently no formulation in the current legislation indicating the size of the financial burden of this program or how reparations should be distributed. Noticeably absent is any effort to reconcile the policy with other proposed new entitlements, including the Green New Deal, free college tuition, and Medicare for All.

How then to approach this particular claim on public resources? The initial premise of the black reparations movement is one that everyone of all political persuasions should accept: there is no place for slavery in any civilized society. But the issue here is not whether slavery is immoral. It is what should be done about that problem over 150 years after slavery was ended, often with the blood of white abolitionists and soldiers whose descendants are asked to be held account for the wrongs that they bitterly fought against. As I have long argued, one particularly troublesome aspect of the black reparations movement is its strained relationship to generally-accepted theories of individual or collective responsibility.

Quote of the Day: James Freeman on Reparations for Slavery


Last week, in his Wall Street Journal “Best of the Web” newsletter, James Freeman discussed Elizabeth Warren’s call for a “thorough national conversation on Reparations.” Here is what he said:

The basic idea is that the federal government will apportion among the citizens living now the historical guilt for heinous acts committed by people long dead against other people long dead. Then money would flow from people who have not been convicted of any crime to people who have not been found by any court to have been victimized by a crime.

Make Them Own It: Part 2


Make them own it” was a call to hold the Democratic Party and the left fully accountable for its past and present misdeeds. Continuing to honor Woodrow Wilson, through the Woodrow Wilson Center and places named for him, has become incongruous with claims of justice and righting past wrongs. Indeed, controversy over Wilson’s name on a school in the District of Columbia raises an additional issue of past injustice and present claims for social justice.

Celebrated to this day as a founder of modern progressive government, Woodrow Wilson created the environment within which the Klu Klux Klan reemerged with a vengeance.

After seeing the film, an enthusiastic Wilson reportedly remarked: “It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.” African-American audiences openly wept at the film’s malicious portrayal of blacks, while Northern white audiences cheered. The film swept the nation. Riots broke out in major cities (Boston and Philadelphia, among others), and it was denied release in many other places (Chicago, Ohio, Denver, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Minneapolis). Gangs of whites roamed city streets attacking blacks. In Lafayette, Indiana, a white man killed a black teenager after seeing the movie. Thomas Dixon reveled in its triumph. “The real purpose of my film,” he confessed gleefully, “was to revolutionize Northern audiences that would transform every man into a Southern partisan for life.”

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Daughter, Soon you will be heading off to your first year at college, a school which has already given you an assignment for summer reading: the non-fiction, epistolary cri de coeur titled Between The World And Me, by author Ta-Nehisi Coates. I gather that the idea is for you and other incoming freshman to have a common […]

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The Libertarian Podcast: The Reparations Debate


On this week’s installment of the Libertarian podcast, I lead Richard through an in-depth discussion of the reparations debate touched by off Ta-Nehisi Coates’ recent cover story in the Atlantic. Among the questions we discuss: are reparations reconcilable with the principles of classical liberalism? Why is this issue gaining newfound currency now? And what would constitute the single biggest improvement to race relations in modern America? Take a listen below:


The Time for Reparations is Now


shutterstock_135245903There are certain times when windows open, allowing previously marginal ideas to flourish and the unthinkable to become possible. Gay marriage started out in the early ’90s as the pipe dream of a few cranky law professors; soon, it is going to be the law of the land throughout the country. The movement to have the US pay out reparations for slavery is in its early stages; it’s easy enough for us to write it off now, but expect this to be pushed with some urgency over the next 10 to 20 years. The reason is that this is one social movement that comes with a time limit.

The window for reparations is slowly closing because of demographic changes in this country. Any such scheme will depend on rich, white Baby Boomers who are receptive to appeals based on guilt. As those people die off over the next 20 years, they will be replaced by two main groups.

The first is white Gen Xers, who will be a less-than-optimal target for extraction. Productive people about my age (38) will be squeezed for as much tax revenue as possible as we move into our peak earning years — and our peak earning years will not be nearly as productive as our Boomer parents’ were. They came of age when America was still on an upward trajectory.

Are Reparations the Answer?


CoatesIn the newest issue of The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates makes an impassioned case for the need for reparations in response to the horrific treatment suffered by African-Americans throughout much of American history. His piece is valuable in making the scope of that suffering vivid, but it finds itself on far weaker grounds when it comes to the question of reparations as a viable remedy. 

In the first place, he misunderstands the historical economics at work. As I note in my new piece for Defining Ideas at the Hoover Institution:

He is right that slave owners before the Civil War and the champions of Jim Crow afterwards exploited the black persons who lived under these regimes. Coates observes: “In 1860, slaves as an asset were worth more than all of America’s manufacturing, all of the railroads, all the productive capacity of the United States put together.” The tempting conclusion is that African Americans today should recoup the wealth that has, Coates argues, worked its way down to the current generation of Americans.