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Reparations: Wouldn't It Be Worth It?

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Admission: I didn’t read The Case For Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which appeared in The Atlantic on May 21, 2014, and has since been liked and shared in my Facebook news feed by nearly every progressive or black person I know. I recognize the “reparations” argument as little more than socio-political trolling at this point, which doesn’t warrant serious intellectual attention. Furthermore, breathing life into these ancient racial issues over and over again ad nauseum does incredible damage to what little social fabric and trust we have remaining in American society, which is exactly the sort of social-identity fodder progressives need to fuel their national political machine.

 

But the subject matter did get me thinking this time around – wouldn’t it be worth it? Just imagine: one lump sum payment and we’re done with the slavery and white-privilege issues – forever.

 

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How much would you pay to never have to see or listen to social-identity troll LZ Granderson ever again?

 

Like most litigation, the vast majority of discrimination lawsuits in this country are settled out of court. Most of them are predictably bogus on the merits and amount to little more than a disgruntled employee striking back at an employer out of spite with whatever weapons are legally available to them – race, sex, age, and disability being the most difficult to disprove and therefore most likely to survive the summary judgement phase of litigation. Employers settle nearly all of these lawsuits in the low five figures because 1) it’s cheaper than proceeding to trial, 2) it avoids any further bad publicity, and 3) there is typically a non-disclosure agreement which bars the litigant from ever suing or discussing the matter again under penalty of voiding the settlement. Think of it as the simple cost of doing business in America because that’s what it has become for employers.

 

Wouldn’t it be *glorious* to structure a one-time nation-wide settlement in this manner with every black individual who signed on – say, in the $10,000 – $20,000 range (roughly 3% the cost of the Iraq War) – and never have to listen to “slavery reparations,” “institutionalized racism,” or “white privilege” rehashed ever again under penalty of settlement forfeiture and repayment?

 

No more affirmative action. No more Title VII litigation. No more MSNBC race panels or LZ Granderson CNN op-eds. Done. Forever.

 

How much would that be worth to you?

 

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Source: The New Versailles http://wp.me/p4yevN-78

Edited by Robert Baratheon
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The idea is that after reparations had been paid, anyone part of the settlement class would be barred from discussing the issue anymore. If they appeared in another MSNBC "race panel," they would owe the U.S. government back the settlement amount and possibly other penalties.

I still think changing the channel would be the better idea.
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You can't change the channel when it's being shoved in your face in schools, businesses, movies, magazines, books, newspapers, ads, shows, political campaigns, legislation, lawsuits, online social media, and innumerable other social situations taking place across America. MSNBC is nonstop victimology, but it's only part of a larger social trend that pervades American culture.

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It might be instructive to assess Mr. Coates approach, and the effects it has on the minds of his audience in contrast or comparison to Jesse Jackson's and Al Sharpton's.

 

The larger social trend that pervades American culture today is the consequence of the acceptance of ideas that give it plausibility. To alter that course, is to change what individuals accept as true.

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You can't change the channel when it's being shoved in your face in schools, businesses, movies, magazines, books, newspapers, ads, shows, political campaigns, legislation, lawsuits, online social media, and innumerable other social situations taking place across America.

No, but you can change the channel off MSNBC. And your original post was very clear on you having a problem with something on MSNBC.

So I should get credit for at least partially solving your problem. Maybe $100 out of that $20,000 you're willing to pay for the full solution? :D

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But the subject matter did get me thinking this time around – wouldn’t it be worth it? Just imagine: one lump sum payment and we’re done with the slavery and white-privilege issues – forever.

 

One lump theft is still theft.  In my entire life I have never lynched or enslaved a single person. 

 

I will not volunteer so much as a penny for that guilt which has never been mine.

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One lump theft is still theft.  In my entire life I have never lynched or enslaved a single person. 

 

Neither have I, and nor has anyone in my family since my great grandfather came to this country in 1912 fleeing from antisemitism in Europe (before that I have no idea).

 

I will not volunteer so much as a penny for that guilt which has never been mine.

 

It wouldn't actually be restitution. You have no reason to feel guilty, as you said. It would be a calculated one-time settlement to buy off (relatively cheaply) people who will otherwise continue hijacking your political system for anti-liberty goals and tearing apart the important trust left in your culture. The companies who settle discrimination lawsuits haven't done anything wrong either, but they realized long ago the system is stacked against them and it's best to buy off plaintiffs rather than fight them.

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It would be a calculated one-time settlement to buy off (relatively cheaply) people who will otherwise continue hijacking your political system for anti-liberty goals and tearing apart the important trust left in your culture.

So it's a trade.  Trading is moral, certainly, but I am not sure if this one makes business sense.  I would 'buy off' people who can give me value, as any employer does, and in such a trade I would pay them according to the values they could give me.

 

I cannot imagine the value of such Statist thugs.  What would I get for my money?  Could they give me a better computer or a work of artistic genius?  What value am I getting here?

 

And if they have no values to give then what man would pay for such a nothing?

---

 

The primary problem here is that you believe that irrational, evil and malicious things- essentially non things- stand a chance against reality, or those who live in it.  I do not.

They cannot win.  They cannot even hurt us, except to the extent that we allow them to.

 

Let them bring their guns; I've got my brain. 

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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Let's flesh out the underlying problem with a hypothetical based on the example I provided:

 

You are a small business owner with $300,000 cash on hand. You hire Person A, who happens to be black, female, disabled, gay, (or whatever). Person A shows up late, does shoddy work, and gets into personality conflicts with other workers. You ask Person A to improve performance, at which point Person A becomes extremely upset and accuses you of singling him or her out unfairly. Person A stops showing up to work after that, so you lay him or her off. Three months later, you receive notice of a discrimination lawsuit from Person A, alleging your company has a hostile work environment toward blacks, females, disabled persons, gays, (or whatever), instigated and tolerated by you, the owner. Person A alleges you said all sorts of things you never actually said, but you can't prove you never said. You go to court asking for dismissal, the judge rules there is a genuine question of fact (your word versus Person A's), and sets a trial date two years in the future. Your attorney advises you that proceeding to trial will likely cost $200,000 in trial-related costs and attorney fees if you are successful. If you are not successful, you will have to pay compensatory and punitive damages on top of this amount, most likely bankrupting your company. Based on your attorney's experience, he estimates the case will cost $30,000 to make go away via settlement with a standard nondisclosure agreement.

 

So what do you do? Stand firm on principle and sink your entire company's reserve fund into defending the frivolous charges, or pay Person A what amounts to extortion money to go away?

 

This is the decision faced by thousands of businesses (and government agencies) every day in the United States. You can see why 95%+ decide to settle these cases.

Edited by Robert Baratheon
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Paying extortion money may seem to be cheaper than letting the "culture war" turn into the civil war it will have to turn into, but the fact that it's reached the point where (ostensibly) serious people are talking about something as absurd as reparations should suggest to you that even if you pay off, they won't give up.  They'll just come up with an even more bizarre reason why stealing from you needs to happen.

 

“You who’re depraved enough to believe that you could adjust yourself to a mystic’s dictatorship and could please him by obeying his orders-there is no way to please him; when you obey, he will reverse his orders; he seeks obedience for the sake of obedience and destruction for the sake of destruction. You who are craven enough to believe that you can make terms with a mystic by giving in to his extortions-there is no way to buy him off, the bribe he wants is your life, as slowly or as fast as you are willing to give it.." - John Galt

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So what do you do? Stand firm on principle and sink your entire company's reserve fund into defending the frivolous charges, or pay Person A what amounts to extortion money to go away?

I would take it to court, and if I won then I would file a countersuit for whatever trouble it caused me.  If I lost then I would not pay.  I would file appeals, I would miss payments, I would make clerical errors on the checks; I would make them earn that money.

 

If they attempted to simply seize my property then I burn it to the ground.  Above all else, I would never allow them to forget the nature of their own actions; whatever moments they spent harassing me would be spent hearing the truth over and over and over again.  And in the end I may still lose and I may be punished more severely for my actions.

But I would make it painful to wrench every last penny from my fist; painful enough to remember.

 

Do not underestimate the lengths which they will go to, in order to escape their own knowledge of the truth.  This is an immeasurably useful fact.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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I would take it to court, and if I won then I would file a countersuit for whatever trouble it caused me.  If I lost then I would not pay.  I would file appeals, I would miss payments, I would make clerical errors on the checks; I would make them earn that money.

Well, you might not be paying the extortion directly, but consider the time and money (whether or not you retain legal counsel), spent pursuing the latter course.

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Sorry, reparations for 200 year old behaviour is a fools errand. First the "damage done" is a work in progress, so you cannot "buy off" ill will without addressing ongoing serious issues of justice. The problem is no consistent standard of justice protects ANY of us, so when the endemic injustice is deliberately or by default tilted toward any given previously victimized class of victim, the "problem" is compounded. Forget promoting "reparations" and work on meaningful improvements to justice systems, both formal and social.

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The problem with Reparations, like any other variant of Original Sin, is the belief people are born guilty of a crime they didn't commit.  This is an argument that might have been valid 150 years ago when there were actual victims and perpetrators but today it's another way the term "Social Justice" is used to erode the real virtue of Justice. 

Edited by Spiral Architect
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I would take it to court, and if I won then I would file a countersuit for whatever trouble it caused me.  If I lost then I would not pay.  I would file appeals, I would miss payments, I would make clerical errors on the checks; I would make them earn that money.

 

If they attempted to simply seize my property then I burn it to the ground.  Above all else, I would never allow them to forget the nature of their own actions; whatever moments they spent harassing me would be spent hearing the truth over and over and over again.  And in the end I may still lose and I may be punished more severely for my actions.

But I would make it painful to wrench every last penny from my fist; painful enough to remember.

 

Do not underestimate the lengths which they will go to, in order to escape their own knowledge of the truth.  This is an immeasurably useful fact.

 

I have a hard time believing you'd literally burn your house and business to the ground rather than pay out a discrimination claim. But maybe you are that crazy - I have no way of knowing.

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Well, you might not be paying the extortion directly, but consider the time and money (whether or not you retain legal counsel), spent pursuing the latter course.

Oh, yes.  It would be quite a setback.  However, I would not consider such expenditures a waste if I live amongst the people described in the OP.  I see it as analogous to a vaccination.

 

The problems here are not the laws involved, but the people who write and enforce those laws; if you mitigate those people then you remove the problem.  The people who enable the looting, in any given area, are a relatively small number of miscellaneous officials.

So if the officials in your area set their sights on you then you should make their task a miserable, mind-numbingly tedious affair; if you make it horrible enough then regardless of the final outcome, they will be less inclined to deal with you again.

It's the same principle as training any animal.  You are teaching the looters what it costs to get in your way.

 

I think of it as a vaccination because a vaccine infects you once, to permanently immunize you.

 

I have a hard time believing you'd literally burn your house and business to the ground rather than pay out a discrimination claim. But maybe you are that crazy - I have no way of knowing.

 

What is the difference between giving your money to these people and simply throwing it down a well?

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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Harrison, your wholehearted embrace of not fearing the evil, i.e.,  of the rat scurrying off at the sound of the first sound of a human footstep - is duly noted. Discerning between fighting for principle and not throwing oneself in front of the juggernaut, does come to mind in this illustration.  

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That would imply going out of your way to confront them; I'm not advocating that. If I were then I would condemn paying your taxes. I mean that when the juggernaut has already singled you out, it might be rational to poke it in the eye.

Or would that not produce the results I believe it would?

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