Stunning Mic Drop of the Week

What was peculiar about the West was not that it participated in the worldwide evil of slavery, but that it later abolished that evil, not only in Western societies but also in other societies subject to Western control or influence. This was possible only because the anti-slavery movement coincided with an era in which Western power and hegemony were at their zenith, so that it was essentially European imperialism which ended slavery. This idea might seem shocking, not because it does not fit the facts, but because it does not fit the prevailing vision of our time.

Thomas Sowell, in the essay “The Real History of Slavery,” in the book Black Rednecks and White Liberals, pp. 134 – 135

8 thoughts on “Stunning Mic Drop of the Week

  1. I don’t really think this is a mic drop. European imperialism was a huge cause of slavery, among other terrible evils. So those in power used their power and influence to do something good. That happens sometimes; big systems of power sometimes (either purposely or accidentally) do things that are a moral good. I’m generally a fan of Sowell, but this isn’t much of a mic drop imo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. -Your third sentence is basically a restatement of what he said.
      -Slavery was happening in East and West Africa for millennia before the Europeans arrived. When they showed up, the slave traders expanded their market. This is not European imperialism causing slavery. It’s them entering a system where it was already happening, and participating in it, and yes expanding it for a few centuries before stopping it.
      -It was also happening in the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Americas before the Europeans got there. In some of these places, it continues to this day.

      So I guess it’s just a mic drop if you start out assuming that slavery has been exclusively practiced by Europeans on non-Europeans. If you already know that’s an outright lie, then no, it’s not a mic drop.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yup. Robert Hughes pointed this out long ago. Americans are only credited for inventing slavery, even though they didn’t, and are given no credit for ending it. Most people, in recent decades, including me, were either educated or programmed by the media to believe a one-sided, anti-American, anti-Western, anti-male, anti-white narrative. It’s basically a devil’s advocate argument against a prior pro-America, etc., narrative that we might associate with the 50’s. For example, I may have been 50 years old before I understood that all dictators and authoritarians weren’t on the right. Rather, many of the worst of the 20 century were on the far left, including Pol Pot and Mao Zedong. People who don’t realize you can go too far on the left are still brainwashed by the left.

    The problem is that unless one was per-programmed with the 50’s variety of narrative, the overstatement of the case against America… does not serve to correct the prior dominant narrative, but merely becomes its replacement. And the issue is that the replacement taken only on its own, and not as a counterargument, is much narrower than the perspective it was designed to oppose. So, for example, finding faults with the founding fathers can give us a broader, modern perspective, but dismissing them as dead white male slave owners gives us an extremely narrow understanding.

    It’s the same issue with Postmodernism. As a postscript to modernism it’s useful. As a replacement, it’s toxic. It only contains criticisms. Instead of treating an author as if they were some kind of inspired genius speaking truths beyond science, the author is considered dead, authenticity a fraud, and originality impossible.

    Sowell is the conservative counterargument to the devil’s advocate of the radicalized left. That makes him an extremely important voice right now, because the devil’s advocate has become the dominant narrative. And so a reasonable defense of traditional American values is now a shocking insurgent weapon against accepted belief.

    However, if we just listen to Sowell and his ilk, we also only get the other side of the coin. It’s just like a debate where you are tasked with winning an argument on a given issue, and so you only present evidence and argument for that side. So, much as I thoroughly enjoy Sowell’s deflating of the extremest left narrative, I do take it with a grain of salt, though not the ladle of salt I need for the jargon of the new, extremist, ideology-bound left comrades.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I was born in the 70s, so my entire education consisted of people who grew up in the 50s saying, “We are always told that X, but actually Y.” I had to find out X remedially, later. Y was my default.

      There’s a similar problem with people thinking that the sexual ethics of Christendom were horribly restrictive and sexist, not realizing that they were a correction to the far more horrifying and exploitive sexual ethic that prevailed throughout the entire ancient world and all the way through the Roman Empire.

      Anyway, I didn’t start studying history in order to find out that I’d been lied to. I just like ancient history. The dismaying discovery that most of us don’t know squat about history was just a side benefit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right. One of the problems we see today is the denigration of history as inherently “deplorable”, in which case we learn nothing from it. A loopy, radical and extremist revolutionary agenda has now become the dominant narrative and the norm.

        Liked by 1 person

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