The death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in Minneapolis, gave the Left and the liberal establishment yet another opportunity to malign America and the Western civilization in particular and democracies in general. The guilt-mongering tirade, peddled by the Left, slamming the West is also the one that besmirches India for being caste-ridden, oppressive, iniquitous, etc. Therefore, it is time to discuss the subject of racism, slavery, discrimination, etc., from a conservative libertarian perspective.
If one goes just by what the mainstream media and opinion makers shell out, one would tend to believe that slavery was a quintessentially Western institution that began and ended in America, that whites were the main culprits, and that nobody else had anything to do with this erstwhile evil, that racism and ethnic discrimination exist only in America.
The black conservative author Thomas Sowell has steadfastly attacked this narrative which holds the “legacy of slavery” responsible for race problems. He comes out with facts that would astonish any educated person—for example, Islamic societies enslaved more Africans than Europeans did. Sowell points out that this fact is ignored whereas sole emphasis is laid on European enslavement of Africa. The idea is “to score ideological points against American society or Western civilization, or to induce guilt and thereby extract benefits from the white population today.”
The first chapter of The Thomas Sowell Reader has a few interesting nuggets, “Of all the tragic facts about the history of slavery, the most astonishing to an American today is that, although slavery was a worldwide institution for thousands of years, nowhere in the world was slavery a controversial issue prior to the 18th century. People of every race and color were enslaved—and [they] enslaved others. White people were still being bought and sold as slaves in the Ottoman Empire, decades after American blacks were freed.”
According to him, “Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century—and then it was an issue only in Western civilization.” And it was only in the West, especially after the Enlightenment, that moral and philosophical arguments were made for the abolition of slavery.
The abolitionists were the deeply religious people, Quakers and from other evangelical groups. The movement was widespread primarily in the Anglo-Saxon sphere, gaining potency in the late 18th century. In the United States, slavery ended during 1777-1804 in all states north of Maryland. “But antislavery sentiments had little effect on the centres of slavery themselves: the great plantations of the Deep South, the West Indies, and South America. Turning their attention to these areas, British and American abolitionists began working in the late 18th century to prohibit the importation of African slaves into the British colonies and the United States. Under the leadership of William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson, these forces succeeded in getting the slave trade to the British colonies abolished in 1807. The United States prohibited the importation of slaves that same year, though widespread smuggling continued until about 1862,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Three points need to be made here. First, the war on slavery began in the West and was carried out mainly by the white males (so hated by the politically correct) during and after the Age of Enlightenment. No war against an evil—be it suttee, child marriage, or subjugation of women—can be won without morally and philosophically delegitimizing it. White Westerners did that against slavery.
Second, the British Empire, again hated pathologically by liberals like Shashi Tharoor, played a most critical role in abolishing. Since Great Britain ruled the waves, slave ships had a tough time in the seas, eventually leading to their end—well almost end, for slavery was continued by Arabs, Turks, etc.
And, finally, while everybody babbles about white or Western guilt, do they even think about Arab guilt, Muslim guilt, communist guilt? For Arabs were notorious slavers. In fact, slavery still exists in the Arab world. An October 2019 BBC report showed that (https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50228549).
Similarly, over a hundred million people perished under communist regimes, but nobody asks Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat uncomfortable questions.
These facts get blurred in the miasma of Leftist lies. Unquestioningly accepting these lies as gospel truth, all manner of intellectuals and celebrities keep maligning America, Western civilization, India, Hindu society, et al. As a result, abominations like Black Lives Matter thrive..