California was never a slave state, and New York outlawed slavery in 1827, but the absurdities of these proposals don’t end there. Slavery was an atrocity, but all the slaves and all the slaveholders are long gone. Furthermore, the vast majority of whites living in the antebellum period, even in the South, never owned slaves. Most white Americans alive today are descendants of people who came to the U.S. after the Civil War. Proponents of reparations want people who aren’t even descendants of slaveowners in the U.S. to compensate black people who were never slaves.
Progressives insist that there is a direct link between the past mistreatment of blacks and black outcomes today, but that claim is undermined by the experience of other groups. Chinese- and Japanese-Americans were also mistreated in the U.S. They were lynched, placed in internment camps, forced to attend segregated schools and denied property rights. Yet today both Asian groups outperform white Americans academically and economically and have done so for decades. Conversely, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, median black weekly earnings are slightly higher than those of Hispanics, yet no one would argue that Hispanics have experienced more discrimination in the U.S. than blacks.
Those who want to blame the legacy of slavery for outcomes today are overlooking the legacy of the welfare state, which grew dramatically beginning in the late 1960s. The Great Society programs implemented under President Lyndon B. Johnson subsidized counterproductive behavior that took a huge toll on the black family. Subsequently, many of the positive trends among blacks in the first two-thirds of the 20th century—from declining crime rates to educational and economic gains that were narrowing the gap with whites—either stalled or reversed course.
Telegraph columnist Madeline Grant argues that Britain’s covid inquiry “must be willing to challenge such orthodoxies and question why sceptical voices were so often excluded from the debate.” A slice:
As such, many burning questions may not even be asked. Questions such as why the UK’s previous pandemic planning, emphasising advice rather than coercive measures, was so quickly jettisoned in 2020. What of the lack of examination of the likely collateral costs of lockdown, and the manner in which Parliament was quickly shut down, and for months barely performed a rubber stamp role? What was the purpose of the UK’s lockdown strategy after the initial flattening of the curve? For much of 2020, many policy-makers knew that outdoor mixing wasn’t driving transmission. Why did they ban it?
Will any attention be given to the media – especially the broadcast media – and their complicity in pushing for the suspension of liberties and creating a wider climate of sensationalism?