"The widespread revulsion which the hideous institution
of slavery inspires today was largely confined to Western
civilisation a century ago, and a century before that
was largely confined to a portion of British society.
No one seems interested in the epic story of how this
curse that covered the globe and endured for thousands
of years was finally gotten rid of by the West - not only
in Western societies but in other societies conquered,
controlled, or pressured by the West.
The resistance put up by Africans,
Asians and Arabs was monumental in defense of slavery,
and lasted for more than a century. Only the overwhelming
military power of the West enabled it to prevail on this
issue, and only the moral outrage of Western peoples kept
their government's feet to the fire politically to maintain
the pressure against slavery around the world.
Of course, this is not the kind of story that appeals
to the multiculturalists. If it had been the other way
around - if Asian or African imperialists had stamped
out slavery in Europe - it would still be celebrated,
in story and song, on campuses across America."
- Thomas Sowell, "Multicultural instruction"
"Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong
impulse to see it tried on him personally."
- Abraham Lincoln
"In Africa down to the 1930's, the various tribes continued
to raid one another to capture slaves both for domestic
use and to sell to outsiders. Moreover, in spite of the
picture presented in Alex Haley's Roots, white slave traders
almost never entered the interior in pursuit of prey but
rather purchased their cargo from Africans at the ocean
front; coastal Africans would not allow Europeans either
into or through their own countries... ....some scholars
claimed that slavery in Africa was a response to the international
slave trade, but it is now obvious that (Black) slavery
was an old domestic institution that was adapted for supplying
the international market when it developed."
- Richard Hellie, "Slavery in Russia 1450-1725"
"Among the Tuareg of the southern Sahara, during the 19th
century 70-90% of the population were probably slaves. In
the Sahel and the savannah, half the population might be
slaves, while in the forests the figure could be as low
as 10 to 20 percent. Professor Oliver in "The African Experience"
argues that the European and American demand for slaves
may not have increased the supply. White slave traders almost
never ventured into the interior and were dependent on a
varying supply over which they had no control. They followed
the flow of captives rather than create it, shifting their
bases up and down the coast according to where tribal wars
were producing the most slaves. Africa clung to slavery
long after it was abolished elsewhere. Between the world
wars, Liberia, founded by freed American slaves, was censured
by the League of Nations for practising slavery."
- Thomas Jackson, 1992, American Renaissance 3, x.
Thomas Sowell in "Race and Culture" notes that, historically
speaking, it was not only blacks who bore the burden of
slavery. Millions of people - Europeans, Africans and Asians
- have suffered the indignity of involuntary servitude.
The very word "slave", he notes, is a close etymological
relative of the word "Slav", and came to be used because
the Slavic peoples were once a favorite prey of slave traders.
To contend, therefore, that some of the uglier social difficulties
commonplace within the black community are a "legacy of
slavery" is unequivocal rubbish, in Sowell's view.
As he points out, before 1950, and going back over 100 years
to the era of slavery, most black children were reared in
two-parent homes. Black social problems are a legacy of
the welfare state, Sowell asserts, not of events in past
centuries and certainly not of "racism".
- James Thornton, 1995, New American 11, i.
Was slavery a racist institution? No. Slavery was practised
for thousands of years in virtually all societies: in China,
India, Europe, the Arab world, sub-Saharan Africa, and the
Americas. In the United States, slave-holding was not confined
to whites: American Indians and free blacks owned thousands
of slaves. Thus slavery is neither distinctively Western
nor racist. What is uniquely Western is the abolition of
- Dinesh D'Souza, "The End of Racism"
Slavery was an ugly, dirty business but people of virtually
every race, color, and creed engaged in it on every inhabited
continent. And the people they enslaved were also of virtually
every race, color, and creed... a million Europeans were
enslaved by North Africans between 1500 and 1800. Europeans
enslaved other Europeans for centuries before the drying
up of that supply led them to turn to Africa as a source
of slaves for the Western Hemisphere.
- Thomas Sowell
On the issue of slavery, it was essentially Western civilization
against the world. What was peculiar about the West was
not that it participated in the worldwide evil of slavery,
but that it later abolished that evil... it was essentially
European imperialism which ended slavery.
- Thomas Sowell,
"Black Rednecks and White Liberals"
African kings were glad to provide a steady flow of men,
women and children, who they said were criminals or prisoners
of war doomed for execution. Many were not, but this did
not prevent partisans of the trade from posing as philanthropists
who were rescuing the Africans from death and offering
them a better and, of course, more productive life. An
African chief, dismayed by the news that the slave trade
was on the verge of abolition, insisted that his "oracle
and priests" had told him that their god wholeheartedly
approved of it. The Christian and Muslim gods agreed,
or so their clerics proclaimed.
- Lawrence James, reviewing Hugh Thomas' "The Slave Trade"
The vogue of repudiating black family names that supposedly
were given by slaveowners in times past is another reflection
of the widespread ignorance of history among Americans in
general, as a result of our dumbed-down education. Slaves
were not only not given family names, they were forbidden
to have family names.
Slaveowners in the American antebellum South were especially
opposed to slaves having family names because such names
emphasized family ties - and the only legally recognized
tie of a slave was to his owner, who could sell him miles
away from his kin. The slaves themselves, however, used
family names to create a sense of family, though they were
careful not to use these names around whites.
- Thomas Sowell,
It was Al Gore who, in an election campaign attack on
Bush's alleged judicial preferences, repeated the libel
claiming that the framers of the Constitution regarded
a black person as 'three-fifths of a human being'. This
is one of the most widely believed myths in black America
today. In fact, it was not 'blacks' as such, who were
so designated but slaves, there were thousands of free
blacks, and it was the anti-slavery Framers who insisted
on the three-fifths figure in order to diminish the electoral
power of the slave South.
- David Horowitz,
"Bush's Political Lynching", Salon.Com
"If great improvements are seldom to be expected from
great proprietors, they are least of all to be expected
when they employ slaves for their workmen. The experience
of all ages and nations, I believe, demonstrates that
the work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only
their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. A
person who can acquire no property, can have no other
interest but to eat as much, and to labour as little as
possible. Whatever work he does beyond what is sufficient
to purchase his own maintenance can be squeezed out of
him by violence only... the pride of man makes him love
to domineer, and nothing mortifies him so much as to be
obliged to condescend to persuade his inferiors. Wherever
the law allows it, and the nature of the work can afford
it, therefore, he will generally prefer the service of
slaves to that of freemen."
- Adam Smith,
"The Wealth of Nations" (1776)
The anti-slavery movement was spearheaded by people who
would today be called "the religious right" and its organization
was created by conservative businessmen. Moreover, what
destroyed slavery in the non-Western world was Western
imperialism. Nothing could be more jolting and discordant
with the vision of today's intellectuals than the fact
that it was businessmen, devout religious leaders and
Western imperialists who together destroyed slavery around
the world. And if it doesn't fit their vision, it is the
same to them as if it never happened.
- Thomas Sowell
Since the 1960s, it has been fashionable in some quarters
to take cheap shots at Lincoln, asking such questions
as "Why didn't he free all the slaves?" "Why did he wait
so long?" "How come the Emancipation Proclamation didn't
just come right out and say that slavery was wrong?"
People who indulge themselves in this kind of self-righteous
carping act as if Lincoln was someone who could do whatever
he damn well pleased, without regard to the law, the Congress,
or the Supreme Court. Just one fact should give pause
to Lincoln's critics today: When Lincoln sat down to write
the Emancipation Proclamation, the Supreme Court was still
headed by Chief Justice Roger Taney, who had issued the
infamous Dred Scott decision, saying a black man had no
rights which a white man needed to respect. This was a
Supreme Court that would not have hesitated to declare
the freeing of slaves unconstitutional — and Lincoln knew
it. There would have been no point in issuing an Emancipation
Proclamation that didn't actually emancipate anybody.
Ringing rhetoric about the wrongness of slavery would
not have gotten the Emancipation Proclamation past Taney
and his Supreme Court. Since Lincoln's purpose was to
free millions of human beings, not leave some rhetoric
to be preserved in the anthologies, he wrote the Emancipation
Proclamation in dry legalistic terms that disappointed
thoughtless critics in his time and ours, but got it past
the Supreme Court. Nothing in the Constitution gave a
President the authority to free slaves. The only thing
Lincoln could use to make his actions legal was his authority
as commander-in-chief in wartime. But that meant that
he could only free the slaves in territory controlled
by enemy forces. Lincoln was out on a limb, both politically
and legally. He could have been impeached. At a minimum,
he expected to lose the next election and was surprised
when he didn't. But today we see the spectacle of pygmies
sniping at this giant. As for the other slaves not covered
by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln worked behind
the scenes to try to get slave-holding border states to
emancipate them by state actions that would be beyond
the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Thomas Sowell,
"Trashing Our History: Lincoln"
Lincoln image by Chip Bok.
# WHITE SLAVERY
Julius Caesar enslaved as many as one million Whites
from Gaul. From the eighth to the eleventh century France
was a major transfer point for White slaves to the Muslim
world, with Rouen being the center for the selling of
Irish and Flemish slaves. At the same time Venetians were
selling slaves and timber across the Mediterranean. The
slaves were usually Slavs brought across the Alps. From
1609 until the early 1800's, between one half and two
thirds of all the White colonists who came to the New
World came as slaves. Of the passengers on the Mayflower,
twelve were White slaves. White slaves cleared the forests,
drained the swamps, built the roads. They worked and died
in greater numbers than anyone else.
In Barbados by the 1640's there were an estimated 25,000
slaves, of whom 21,700 were White. Cromwell's conquest
of Ireland in the middle of the seventeenth century made
slaves as well as subjects of the Irish people. Over a
hundred thousand men, women and children were seized by
the English troops and shipped to the West Indies, where
they were sold into slavery. In the British West Indies
the torture visited upon White slaves by their masters
was routine. Masters hung White slaves by their hands
and set their hands afire as a means of punishment.
To end this barbarity, Colonel William Brayne wrote to
English authorities in 1656 urging the importation of
negro slaves on the grounds that, "as the planters would
have to pay much for them, they would have an interest
in preserving their lives, which was wanting in the case
of whites.", many of whom, he charged, were killed by
overwork and cruel treatment. Ten thousand Whites were
kidnapped from England in the year 1670 alone.
- M.A. Hoffman, "They Were White and They Were Slaves"
"Hope, the best comfort of our imperfect condition, was
not denied to the Roman slave; and if he had any opportunity
of rendering himself either useful or agreeable, he might
very naturally expect that the diligence and fidelity of
a few years would be rewarded with the inestimable gift
- Edward Gibbon,
"The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", 1776.
An apology for slavery on behalf of the American nation
presumes that whites today, who predominantly oppose racism,
and never owned slaves, and who bear no personal responsibility
for slavery, still bear a collective responsibility-a
guilt they bear simply by belonging to the same race as
the slave-holders of the Old South. Such an apology promotes
the very idea at the root of slavery: racial collectivism.
Those who owned slaves were certainly guilty of a grave
injustice. But by what standards can other whites (many
of whom are not even descendants of the slave-holders)
be held responsible for their ideas and actions? The only
justification for such an approach is the idea that each
member of the race can be blamed for the actions of every
other member, that we are all just interchangeable cells
of the racial collective.
The ultimate result of this approach is not racial harmony
or a color-blind society, but racial warfare. Under the
premise of racial collectivism, an injustice committed
against any member of your racial group entitles you to
retaliate against any member of the perpetrator's racial
The only alternative to this kind of racial balkanization
is to reject the notion of racial collectivism altogether
and embrace the opposite principle: individualism. People
should be judged based on their choices, ideas, and actions
as individuals, not as "representatives" of a racial group.
They should be rewarded based on their own merits-and
they must not be forced to pay, or to apologize, for crimes
committed by others, merely because those others have
the same skin color. Americans, both black and white,
should reject the notion of a collective guilt for slavery.
They should uphold the ideal of a color-blind society,
based on individualism, as the real answer to racism.
- Robert W. Tracinski, "Apology for Slavery Will Perpetuate
What no one in their delegations (to the Durban Racism Conference"
will say is this - that the West has nothing to apologize
or pay for, least of all Britain. London abolished slavery
in the British Isles in 1772 and within the Empire in 1833,
in the teeth of fierce opposition from Arab and West African
traders. If one had to single out one institution that did
more to end the trade in human beings than any other, it
would be the Royal Navy, whose ships enforced the ban at
great risk to themselves. Yet the reflexive shame in their
inheritance is such that no British, or Canadian, delegate
in Durban would dream of standing up for the historical
- Mark Steyn, "The World Conference
"Think about it: we went into slavery pagans; we came
out Christians. We went into slavery pieces of property;
we came out American citizens. We went into slavery with
chains clanking about our wrists; we came out with the
American ballot in our hands. Notwithstanding the cruelty
and moral wrong of slavery, we are in a stronger and more
hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally
and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black
people in any other portion of the globe."
- Booker T. Washington, "Selected Speeches" (1932)
"My ancestors who lived and died in slavery are dead. The
white men who profited by their labor and lives are dead
also. I have no personal memory of those times and no responsibility
for them. Neither has the grandson of the man who held my
folks… I have no intention of wasting my time beating on
old graves. I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negroes
who hold that nature somehow has given them a low down dirty
deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it… Slavery is
the price I paid for civilization, and that is worth all
that I have paid through my ancestors for it.
- Zora Neale
In the nineteenth century, when France and Britain outlawed
slavery in their territories, African chiefs who had grown
fat on the slave trade sent protest delegations to Paris
and London. As Dinesh D'Souza in "The End of Racism" explains,
Africans never developed a principled opposition to slavery;
they denounced it when they were slaves but practised
it happily when they could. Slavery can still be found
in Africa. In America too, by 1830, some 3,500 free blacks
in the South owned approximately 10,000 slaves.
D'Souza finds that in North America "slaves were, in material
terms of diet, health and shelter, slightly better off
than northern industrial workers, and far better off than
workers in much of Europe." As he points out, "no free
workers enjoyed a comparable social security system from
birth until death." Moreover, life expectancy for slaves
was only slightly lower than that of their owners. When
slave owners had really dangerous work to do, they hired
Irish navvies rather than risk their valuable property."
On balance, says Mr D'Souza, whites owe blacks nothing
on account of slavery.
- Thomas Jackson, 1995, American Renaissance, xi.
"In Brazil slavery was never as widespread as in the United
States, and race relations are consistently described as
better than they are in the US, yet the disparity between
black and white incomes is greater in Brazil than in the
US. Cuba also has a mixed population and is famous for its
aggressive, socialist egalitarianism. Though Cuban officials
are embarrassed by this and try to keep it a secret, blacks
are invariably at the bottom of society.
The Caribbean nation of Haiti presents an interesting parallel
to the failures of black Africans. Its six million inhabitants
are all black, the descendants of slaves. Haiti has essentially
been governed by blacks ever since the slave insurrection
of 1791, in which nearly all whites were killed. Thus it
has a history of independence and black rule that is much
longer than that of African nations. Despite such different
histories, Haiti is practically indistinguishable from Africa
in terms of GNP per caput, infant mortality rates, average
educational level, and all the other indices of modernization.
Its governments have been the corrupt shambles that is typical
of Africa. If Haiti were dragged across the Atlantic Ocean
and attached to the coast of Africa, it would seem perfectly
- Samuel Taylor, 1992, American Renaissance 3, xi.