Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
dadmonson

Should Blacks Celebrate Independence Day?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Somebody posted this on a social media site that;

"It baffles me when (People of color) celebrate the 4th. 
What are you even celebrating? lth
On July 4th 1776 white people we're celebrating their "independence" while still owning black slaves. 
On July 4th 2017 muslims are being banned, the LGBTQ community is being dehumanized,black bodies are dropping and their murderers are running free, millions of people are about to be denied healthcare due to "pre-existing conditions". 
There is no liberty, there is no justice, there is no freedom so what are you celebrating?"

Here are my rough (knee jerk) thoughts:

"It was the ideas articulated in the Declaration of Independence that eventually put an end to slavery in the U.S..  What does the writer mean by dehumanized?  I didn't know that gay's rights were being violated... as far as I know that is illegal.   It's also illegal to kill blacks as far as I know of.   Healthcare is not a right. " 

But that is not convincing at all.  I'm interested to see what any of you guys have to say about this post... and how would you respond?

 

Edited by dadmonson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, let's take the LGBT thing, since that seems like an easy one: "the LGBTQ community is being dehumanized"

What do you think the person is saying, in terms of reality... real concrete happenings in the real world?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, dadmonson said:

Somebody posted this on a social media site that;

"It baffles me when (People of color) celebrate the 4th. 
What are you even celebrating? lth
On July 4th 1776 white people we're celebrating their "independence" while still owning black slaves. 
On July 4th 2017 muslims are being banned, the LGBTQ community is being dehumanized,black bodies are dropping and their murderers are running free, millions of people are about to be denied healthcare due to "pre-existing conditions". 
There is no liberty, there is no justice, there is no freedom so what are you celebrating?"

Here are my rough (knee jerk) thoughts:

"It was the ideas articulated in the Declaration of Independence that eventually put an end to slavery in the U.S..  What does the writer mean by dehumanized?  I didn't know that gay's rights were being violated... as far as I know that is illegal.   It's also illegal to kill blacks as far as I know of.   Healthcare is not a right. " 

But that is not convincing at all.  I'm interested to see what any of you guys have to say about this post... and how would you respond?

 

Not a subject I know well, so bare with me... 

From a more leftist point of view the American Colonies and the early United States may have had the greatest level of income equality in the world. it wasn't until the late 19th century that "class" politics really came in, so its a rare instance that you can argue that liberty, equality and early modes of capitalism were aligned. 

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/09/us-income-inequality-its-worse-today-than-it-was-in-1774/262537/

(I haven't read it but) here's the original research paper: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18396.pdf

The attitudes towards women's rights were also comparatively more "progressive" than they were in the late 19th century as they were much more informal and so the boundaries were less strictly regulated. This is not to say they were "equal" but it doesn't fit into crude stereotypes of "sexism" and "patriarchy".

http://americanhistory.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-216

About 9000 blacks fought on the Patriot side of the Revolution, but they also fought on the British-colonial side as well with the desire for liberty being a major factor in them participating.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Americans_in_the_Revolutionary_War

However, for Native Americans it was really bad news because tribes generally favoured British colonial authorities who promises limits to American territorial expansion and so supported the losing side. 

http://www.ushistory.org/us/13f.asp

The absolutism of "the left" is very deceptive and history is often far more complex and nuanced than the weaponisation of liberal guilt for propaganda purposes. This doesn't mean that Slavery isn't a stain on Americans national conscience, but rather that simplistic narratives of imposing present day controversies and stereotypes on the past are dis-ingenious and irrational attempts to legitimate grievances. if people want to deal with present day problems- they should be talking about the present day as that is something you can change. 

Institutional racism by the police and the "Prison-industrial complex" do align with libertarian narratives up to a point in that it represents a violation of equality before the law, and that prison populations have exploded due to the war on drugs against a victim-less crime. Beyond legal equality and equal opportunities, its gets harder for the right to do much. Thomas Sowell (an Ex-marxist turned conservative) may be useful in shining a light academic objections to studies on institutional racism. 

Racism is a intellectually and emotionally difficult subject for the left because, more than likely, the author is a white suburban middle class college educated leftist whose concern with African Americans is driven by ignorance and opportunism, if not hypocrisy and even cynicism if its truly degenerate. the fact that "race" has become a popular issue doesn't mean that people understand it as part of the big picture or have viable solutions for the problem. Even for sincere egalitarians, it is dangerous pushing such narratives if they in fact perpetuates the "white man's burden" of civilising blacks as the white left must "save" blacks rather than fostering ideals of self-emancipation and individual dignity. the line between emancipation and oppression is very thin, and its as thin for the left as for anyone else so its not possible to take a clear "moral high-ground". slavery dirties everyone. 

the rational argument is at a minimum against hysterics but easily for an open, honest and informed discussion of the legacy of slavery and other abuses. we may be products of our own history but we are not prisoners of it. the left has its moments, but extremism is not an end in itself. whether in terms of rhetoric or violence, left-wing extremism can only be a means and it must make a rational and intellectually sound case for its own argument that can stand up to its opponents. if they can't do that- they are betraying their own ideals and revealing the insincerity and destructiveness of altruist and collectivist moralities. In so far as knowledge and truth is the legitimate basis of political power, the lefts failure to realise its own ideals benefits the right if they have better arguments and can come up with the solutions.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, dadmonson said:

On July 4th 1776 white people we're celebrating their "independence" while still owning black slaves.

Most people who say this I think don't know the history of the war for independence, or somehow think the conflict was just about taxes, or it was white slave owners wanted more control. Many of the founders thought at least the best course of action was to let slavery die out naturally as seemed likely. Plenty also didn't own slaves and were not hypocrites, like Hamilton. There was a greater spirit of anti-slavery anyway I'd say than in Britain. But then came the cotton gin and increasing demand for cotton, leading to all sorts of rationalizations to support slavery that had not existed.

As far as the Constitution and the war, there was a legitimate fight that aimed at personal freedom.

Problems came in later, like racist policies of Andrew Jackson, or as late as FDR's internment camps, and appeasement to slaveholders in the Antebellum period. There's a lot more to mention. I attribute these to people abusing the Constitution and perhaps weaknesses in the Constitution - hence amendments.

I see the Fourth as celebrating the ideals and striving for them. It doesn't mean justifying the evil aspects of US History.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, dadmonson said:

But that is not convincing at all.  I'm interested to see what any of you guys have to say about this post... and how would you respond?

 

Some people can't or won't be convinced, and almost certainly not in the moment. The post has a lot of bad ideas, and the particular grouping of ideas, along with the tone, suggests a tight knot that isn't going to be loosened easily. If I saw that on social media, I would unfollow if it's from a source I don't care about - as I don't gain anything from reading summations like that - or I *might* provide a very broad and (hopefully) friendly retort focusing on the most offending idea to me, but only if it was for a source I cared about.

It can also be valuable to respond with no expectations from the source in return, with your main goal being to observe their replies. You can try different argument methods - friendly, direct, vague, sarcastic - and gauge how they respond, keeping their personal profile in mind if possible. Various things can be learned by doing this over time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From that speech:

You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence I will proceed to lay them before you.

Somehow I don't get the impression this was simply an extemporaneous delivery.

Of course, it's not 1852 either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

Somehow I don't get the impression this was simply an extemporaneous delivery.

:) As he half-way admits... lowering audience expectations is an old trick. Shakespeare's eloquent Mark Anthony stirs a mob to violence, but still claims:

Quote

 

I am no orator, as Brutus is,
But, as you know me all, a plain blunt man
... ... 
For I have neither wit nor words nor worth,
Action nor utterance nor the power of speech,
To stir men’s blood. I only speak right on.

 

 

23 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

Of course, it's not 1852 either.

Of course. And yet, I think Douglas makes a point that resonates beyond his time, and beyond his concretes: can we celebrate freedom and individual rights, if we deny these rights to others? 

There are two ways to tackle this question. The first way, perhaps the tempting way, is to warn against making the perfect the enemy of the good. At least with respect to blacks, we are nowhere near Douglas's days (yes, I realize that is a gross understatement). We're even past the Jim Crow days (again, understatement). There are surely those who push a culture of "victim hood forever", with a fervor way more religious to rival preachers of eternal, irredeemable, original sin.

And yet, I think that's an incomplete answer. I would say that there were people in Douglas's day who could celebrate July 4th without hypocrisy. Some of these people were instrumental in placing him before his audience. 

There's an analogy to Rand's answer to the question on who may take government benefits: those who oppose them. Similarly, those who support individual rights, can look at July 4th as an important positive milestone in human history. These people do not have to be Americans to celebrate the day. On the other hand, many Americans are hypocrites -- or downright ignorant -- when they celebrate the day while also cheering the ever-growing use a state power against their fellow citizens, black, white and cis-hetero.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, softwareNerd said:

There's an analogy to Rand's answer to the question on who may take government benefits: those who oppose them. Similarly, those who support individual rights, can look at July 4th as an important positive milestone in human history. These people do not have to be Americans to celebrate the day. On the other hand, many Americans are hypocrites -- or downright ignorant -- when they celebrate the day while also cheering the ever-growing use a state power against their fellow citizens, black, white and cis-hetero.

Touché! I was looking at it primarily in the light of the timing of Douglas' delivery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, dadmonson said:

Somebody posted this on a social media site that;

"It baffles me when (People of color) celebrate the 4th. 
What are you even celebrating? lth
On July 4th 1776 white people we're celebrating their "independence" while still owning black slaves.

 

Who ever originally posted that comment is an ignorant trouble-maker, and not should be engaged with any intelligent response. Most Americans of any background don't care much at all about the historic significance; the Fourth of July is just a great chance for people to take a summertime break, have a cook-out, and watch the fireworks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×