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Crimes Against Liberty

Last night it came up in a podcast conversation (on the show of Travis Simmons aka The Big Funny – look him up!) what the real crime of slavery is.

To me there’s no doubt: you can talk about physical strictures like hobbling (where legs were broken and allowed to heal crooked to prevent runaways)  and those doubtless affected mind as well as body, but the worst crimes perpetuated against the enslaved has to be the intellectual hobbling that made them think of themselves as slaves.

Hobbling broke the legs of slaves so they couldn’t run; the greater crime was breaking their minds so they didn’t want to.

Why was it greater? Because Lamarck to the contrary, broken legs don’t perpetuate from generation to generation. Broken minds do. There are young black people today who believe either explicitly or implicitly that they are inferior to white people, and there are white people who believe the obverse.  The former won’t believe in themselves and won’t achieve all they could, and the latter won’t learn what they could from anyone with a supposedly inappropriate skin tone.

It was literally illegal to teach slaves to read at one time. Had those laws been followed perfectly we would never have known the wisdom of Frederick Douglass. Who knows how many other enslaved people with enslaved minds might have freed themselves if they had been allowed to think properly, with the tools of literacy and numeracy?

The same arguments apply to women, to admittedly a lesser degree. (Black women got a double whammy of course.) They were forbidden from higher education by statute. What possible reason could there be for that? The only real reason would seem to be that men didn’t want the competition.

Today there are opportunities for personal education that exceed both in kind and arguably in quality any educational structures in the past. To fail to educate yourself is at least arguably a crime against your society, an abdication of duty tantamount to treason.

If you love freedom, if you care about liberty… Learn. Vote.

The American political system is broken, but at least arguably not beyond repair.

~ by BT Murtagh on August 30, 2014.

Activism, Difference-making, United States

One Response to “Crimes Against Liberty”

  1. For the most part, I agree with your well written and well presented ideas. But one of your statements “To fail to educate yourself is at least arguably a crime against your society, an abdication of duty tantamount to treason.” strikes me as an overstatement. It smacks of hyperbole.

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