The warlocks in the Cult of State whip up all kinds of venerated rituals and institutions that the sheep – or “flock” – are not only not supposed to question, but, like the Emperor’s new clothes, that they are expected to hail as hallowed.
One of the most pernicious has been the slow torture of inflation caused by the state’s claim to control the currency we can use in private contract, a claim that in the US, circa 1913, the Congress unconstitutionally transformed into the institution of the Federal Reserve.
Another is the push to ritualistically sacrifice current and future generations on the altar of “reparations.”
And Joe Biden just proposed bringing them all together, embodied in the form of his Federal Reserve Governor nominee, economics professor at Michigan State University, Lisa Cook.
As Nick Monroe reports for the Post Millennial, Cook told EconTalk host Russ Roberts that she digs the idea of getting the government to DIG into innocent people’s pockets in order to redistribute their cash to those whom she thinks “deserve” it.
’Everybody benefited from slavery. Everybody,’ Michigan State University professor Lisa Cook said in a September 2020 ‘EconTalk’ podcast. ‘So, I think that we absolutely need some sort of reckoning with that. There are many proposals on the table to study the possibility of reparations, many economic proposals being put forward, and I think they should all be taken seriously.’
First… she blithely assumes that Americans who did nothing to the people of earlier generations and have done nothing to harm other people today (she seems to see people as “types”) somehow are guilty of committing the bad actions of other individuals.
But, even if one could prove that some people alive today “benefitted” from something others did long ago (actually an unprovable claim, which we will discuss soon), this is not in any way akin to knowingly, willingly receiving stolen goods, which is kind of how promoters of the “reparations” canard frame it.
In this particular strain of the dishonest ritual of collectivism, power-wielders like Cook can accuse anyone of “benefitting,” despite the so-called recipient never having asked for, or provably received, said benefits at the expense of others.
Karl Marx promoted this kind of poison in his class-envy screed of The Communist Manifesto, and now Cook and others have shifted it into the “guilty-of-racism-if-you-don’t-support-welfare” narrative.
Second… Cook tells us that “everybody benefitted” from slavery. She expands this into a claim that even subsequent generations benefitted from slavery (albeit unwittingly, and without choice). But, even if isolated to the period when the institution was legal and propped-up by government policing, the premise of “everybody benefitting” from slavery is not only unprovable, it’s probabilistically absurd.
Add to that her sub-rationale for reparations, which is that slavery and Jim Crow hampered the ability of black Americans to invent, and one sees a high degree of confusion in Prof Cook’s thesis.
What we see is that when this violence kicks up in the US [United States], African Americans stop inventing: African American inventors stop inventing. And, when it subsides, they start inventing again.
This lack of invention, she claims, hurt everyone.
But she already claimed that slavery “benefitted” everyone.
So... “reparations” are needed because “slavery hurt everybody” directly, through actual enslavement, and indirectly, by retarding invention.
But that statement undermines her position that everyone benefitted.
If “everybody” benefitted, then there was no victim. If “everybody” was hurt, then everybody was a victim.
Did you ever see the Monty Python sketch called “Dennis Moore,” the Georgian-Era highwayman who steals from the rich and gives to the poor? Spoiler, in the end, he stands before his current victims, has them turn out their pockets, and starts trying to figure out who has any tiny bit more than the other. Confused, he turns to the camera, and observes:
This redistribution of wealth thing is trickier than I thought.
Cook also overlooked rather important history that anyone, not just an economist, might want to consider. For example, despite her thesis that slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws hampered the inventiveness of black Americans, she tells Roberts:
But, it remains the case that 1899 is still the peak year for invention per capita for African Americans.
So, what was the trend for other American “racial groups,” if that’s how one wants to split people into collectives? And if 1899 was the peak, then how does that support her argument about black American inventiveness being harmed by the crimes of slavery and Jim Crow?
The period between the end of US slavery to 1899 was rife with segregationist and anti-employment laws -- ranging from race-based licensing edicts, to imbalances in criminal prosecutions -- and it’s unlikely that, from 1900 to 1964, things in the US got worse for minorities…
Unless one looks at the astonishingly detrimental effects of welfarism -- mostly based on skin color, on regional political favoritism, and on “economic status” -- welfarism that collectivists like Cook have promoted for decades.
As Hoover Institution scholar Thomas Sowell has noted, black Americans were not bettered by the “reparations” of post-Jim Crow welfarism.
If we wanted to be serious about evidence, we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state. In other words, we could compare hard evidence on ‘the legacy of slavery’ with hard evidence on the legacy of liberals.
In 2017 well known economist Walter Williams noted the disastrous effects that welfarism had on black American families, he also observed trends in employment before and after the explosion of what often were race-based welfare handouts:
The black family structure is not the only retrogression suffered by blacks in the age of racial enlightenment. In every census from 1890 to 1954, blacks were either just as active as or more so than whites in the labor market. During that earlier period, black teen unemployment was roughly equal to or less than white teen unemployment. As early as 1900, the duration of black unemployment was 15 percent shorter than that of whites; today it’s about 30 percent longer.
In contradistinction to Williams and Sowell, very little in Cook’s thesis makes sense.
She even tells Roberts that the Soviet terror state allowed for “inventiveness”:
They had it during the Czar's period, they had it during the Soviet period…
Heck, the Soviets did have massive starvation, implosion of industry, and an explosion of terror, so perhaps she’s onto some new kind of “inventiveness.”
In fact, her concept is nothing more than Marxist class warfare in new clothes and done through a generational-guilt lens. Like all forms of collectivism, it assumes that everyone is the property of the state, and it collectivizes them, assuming FOR them their motivations, guilt, or innocence, and pitting them against each other.
As the Post Millennial’s Monroe notes, Cook last year advocated in favor of a federal plan for “reparations” called S/HB 40, originally pushed by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).
The idea is not to correct abuses. Those already were perpetrated. The idea is to institutionalize abuses via by the agency of government.
It wasn’t just slave OWNERS who benefitted at the expense of slaves. It was slave DEALERS, and the intermediaries who brought them together.
Rather than promoting greater emancipation of today’s tax-slaves, Cook and Booker promote heavier shackles. Rather than supporting the end of the government plantation, they push greater hardship.
And Biden wants her as one of the controllers of your currency.
It isn’t hard to see who wants to further enslave whom.
Biden tried to attack the Second Amendment with an old talking point that fact-checkers deemed false last year. pic.twitter.com/oWh4pHOtVB— MRCTV (@mrctv) February 3, 2022