Slavery a Blessing in Disguise

Representative Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro, AK has managed to expose what far too many white people, especially in the extreme southern United States think about slavery. He has released a self-published book claiming that “the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise.”.

He claims that they were better off being shipped off to the United States than they would have had they been left in Africa. This statement has so many worrying undercurrents that it is difficult to know where to start. The implication is that in Africa the slaves would have starved, been fodder for various wars, lived under oppressive regimes, died from disease, and who knows what else.

Many of the free people that were hauled across the oceans died on the voyage. They were packed in unspeakable conditions, below decks, barely able to breath. Their feces fell on their fellows, and collected in the bilge where it was left to decompose and emit noxious gases. They were underfed, with food often being thrown at them for fear of sailors lives. Water was a scarce commodity. They were chained to each other and to the ship, unable to move, often dying where they lay. They died by the scores of starvation,  dysentery, dehydration and tropical diseases brought along on the voyage.

Once in the United States, they were separated from their families, sent to plantations where they lived in squalid, freezing or steaming conditions, open to the elements. They were forced to perform backbreaking work, up to to eighteen hours a day. They were whipped periodically for the slightest infraction, or none at all. Many were raped, forced to bear their masters children, and beaten for no reason. If they attempted to escape, they were hunted down, dragged back and charged with criminal offenses, whipped, and often intentionally crippled to prevent further escapes. They were forbidden from marrying, learning to read or write, or from worshiping other than what the master told them to. Does this sound as though they were better off?

People have also pointed out the internecine wars fought in Africa, the grinding poverty in many African nations today. We forget the internecine wars of the white man. Europe was continually at war, city to city, nation to nation, empire to empire, for five hundred years of Western Civilization. Muslim to Christian, Catholic to Protestant, Europe brutalized its way across history, slaughtering millions. The two world wars, between European Christian nations, destroyed tens of millions of lives, making African wars seem tribal in comparison.

What people like this say reflect their halo-colored view of society. They believe that they are there to dispense supercilious rectitude on those that plainly cannot care for themselves, that despite their ruthless intolerance, they are doing favors, acting with Christian mercy and piety, only dispensing moral certitude on the unconverted. It is typical of the paternalistic condescension that so typifies conservative society.

Statements of this sort are commonplace among conservatives. They have little compassion for others, regardless of who those others might be. They thump the bible with one hand and condemn all around them on the other, all in Jesus name, while claiming that Jesus was love and mercy and charity and forgiveness. Perhaps he was, but in that case conservatives make miserable followers.

Conservatives will condemn statements like this for a day, then go around and pat him on the back for having the temerity to say what they cannot. They follow the Janus god, two faced, hypocritical. Why people that say these outrageous things are not exiled, and expelled from the conservative tribe, I cannot say. Perhaps it is because it is what they believe, it is just that society has moved on and is no longer interested in this extremist garbage.

I will bet that Hubbard will win his House race against Democrat Harold Copenhaver. We must ask why the voters in Arkansas will allow this man to represent them in Congress unless they agree with his stance. Ultimately it is only when the voters and the people say we do not need extremists like this representing us that things will change. I am not sanguine about this prospect.

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