I was just watching part of a Congressional presentation on C-Span honouring the slaves who built the u.s. capitol not by making restitution to their heirs, of course, but by setting up some sort of plaque. What especially bugged me was the speakers continual references to expressing thanks and gratitude for the slaves sacrifices and contributions. If I take your wallet at gunpoint, it would be rather a euphemism to call your handing it over a sacrifice, and what I owe you is not gratitude. (Of course the language of sacrifice and gratitude is also used in connection with conscript soldiers shipped off to die in lands theyve never heard of.)
9 Responses to Seeing Like a State
Rad Geek People's Daily 2010-07-05 – Monday Lazy Linking -
August 26, 2019
[…] Seeing Like a State. Roderick, Austro-Athenian Empire (2010-07-03). I was just watching part of a Congressional presentation on C-Span honouring the slaves who built the u.s. capitol – not by making restitution to their heirs, of course, but by setting up some sort of plaque. What especially bugged me was the speakers’ continual references to expressing “thanks” and… (Linked Sunday 2010-07-04.) […]
You have to wonder at times if politicians really believe the things they say, or if they don’t and are just cynically lying for their own purposes, like that one senator who said we have a “Voluntary tax code” without understanding the obvious absurdity of it.
Criminals like to salve their conciences like everyone else and thanking their victims fits right in with that theme. It is well they keep the focus on the slaves of the past in order to blind the slaves of the present.
I am delighted that at least that old canard about ‘restitution’ did not raise it’s ugly head.
Then again… come to think of it… as a descendent of people occupied and no doubt enslaved by the Romans, I demand restitution from the Italian taxpayer!
The Roman Empire isn’t around any more to pay restitution, but the u.s. govt. still is. Plus it would be easier to trace the descendants of the capitol builders, as we still know some of their names. What’s wrong with restitution? I’d love to see the capitol returned to its rightful owners. (The alternative of paying restitution in money isn’t feasible, as the government has no money.)
I am not sure I understand. When people ask for ‘restitution’ that usually means money, i.e. they want to have the state take yet more tax money from modern Americans, who I am guessing have never owned any slaves themselves and whose antecedents likely as not did not own any either… and who may well be descended from people who did not even arrive in the USA until after slavery was abolished… and give it to people who were never themselves slaves?
How about just turning the Capitol into an up-market shopping mall, adding a whole new meaning to that word, where they sell pretty frocks and over priced but achingly cool gadgets rather than selling looting right to take the wealth of others via the means of collective means of coercion? 😀
Well, what you’re talking about is the statist version of restitution (“reparations” is the more usual term). But there’s also the libertarian version, e.g. here, here, here, and here. (And in cases where the proper owners can’t be traced, there’s this, this, and this.)
“How about just turning the Capitol into an up-market shopping mall”
Who would own it, and based on what justification?
Who would own it? Easy, get some magic guy to stick a sword into a rock, and whoever can pull said sword from said rock owns the shopping mall. That wasn’t so hard.