Whining the Time Away

I see the usual whiners going on about how Africans suffered more than the Irish. If any of them was capable of rational discourse, I would say:
Slavery under different names and different forms and to different degrees is a constant of human history. All effective civilizations have instrumentalized the labor of the poor, whether they are called slaves, serfs, peons, share-croppers, helots, or auto workers. When a Northern Senator declared in the late 1850s that northern states had eliminated slavery, James Henry Hammond famously replied. "Yes, sir, the name but not the thing." Marxist historians like Fogel and Engerman and Gene Genovese have much to say on this point.
I too get as disgusted with my Irish-American relatives for their whining as I am tired of every other race and ethnicity whining about its problems. I once met a Hungarian pastor who piously told me--this was in Zagreb--that although everyone else in the Balkans had beaten up on some other group, the Hungarians were entirely free of imperialism. He was counting on my ignorance of Balkan history.
Back when Jesse Jackson was still some kind of man, he commented on the holocaust obsession, "Other people have suffered to.." He had a point.
People who actually know more about history than what will ever be published in the New York Times can talk about how the Irish were hired for dangerous and dirty work no one would waste a slave on--the correspondence exists. So what? Black Africans enslaved other Black Africans and sold them to Arabs who sold the to Spaniards who sthem to Anglo-Americans. So what?
Two thoughts to chew on. The first is Zora Neale Hurston's admiration for the American Indians because there was no whine in them. That is mostly true even today, though there are a lot of pretentious part-Indians who have learned to make a living out of the minority complaints racket.
The second is Ezra Pound's observation that anyone who waits for someone to liberate him, is a slave. No one who is not free in his mind can ever be politically free, and those who are enslaved to bogus history and ideological can't will be forever slaves.


A young man from Massachusetts on FB is suggesting as a really bold and bright idea that Southern states adopt new names, repudiate their past, and remedy all their past abuses. There is a reason why so many Southerners like the bumper sticker, "I don't give a damn how you do things up North."

Here's a thought: Why don't Massachusetts Yankees deal with their own problems and quit minding other people's business? They virtually exterminated the Native Americans, got rich on the slave trade, compelled women and children to work in their mines and factories, and looted and raped their way across a good part of the country, causing the deaths of over half a million African Americans. Many if not most of their leaders in the Revolution were slave-owners. It's so much easier, though, to point out the mote in the eye of other people, At first I thought it might be a satire on the smugness and hypocrisy of the Northeast, but no. This ex FB "friend is serious. To think, I almost went to Harvard but they insisted on my finishing high school. That was a narrow escape!

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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

4 Responses

  1. Robert Reavis says:

    Could be interesting in Tulsa Oklahoma this weekend. “
    Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” Trump tweeted Friday. “It will be a much different scene.”
    I doubt Trump really thinks much about the South or the old Indian Territory but his instincts are right about the poor Okies.

  2. Vince Cornell says:

    At work they’ve been holding intolerable “All Hands” sessions to help us all “cope with this very difficult time in our country.” It’s basically an opportunity for the Black employees to bring up any, tiny thing in their past for which they can claim a grievance. “One time somebody called the police because I was loitering in front of their house.” “Once some county deputy was mean to me and implied I was shoplifting at the local mall.” Even if I were to grant that every story was perfectly true and not embellished by memory or agenda, or that the innocent victim in every story truly was cherubic during the encounter and did absolutely nothing to incite any suspicion or negative reaction . . . all I can think of is, “That’s all you’ve got?” Of all the real suffering in the whole world and across all cultures and throughout all time, they’re whining about somebody saying something nasty or giving them a mean look? Heaven help them, they should be on their knees singing praises to God for having such an easy life!
    Naturally, I do not attend any of these meetings as I do not want to be fired and there’s no way I could keep my mouth shut in the face of such rabid stupidity. One of my supervisors, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, and it’s by his account I’m aware of what was discussed. Unfortunately, he foolishly asked if anyone was concerned about the murder of David Dorn, who was killed by looters in the “woke” aftermath. He asked sincerely, unlike myself, who would not have been able to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. It didn’t matter – he was swiftly, thoroughly, and viciously attacked by everyone, including folks who know him personally. “There you white people go again, trying to change the subject!” “You can’t understand what it means to be a black person in America!” “You don’t know what your life would have been like if you grew up with your skin a different color!” Well, based on their complaints, life sounds like it would’ve been a walk in the park!

  3. Dot says:

    I don’t know why the Blacks keep whining about what they don’t have. They have MLK holiday in January, Black history month all of February, Juneteenth day June 19, and 7 days of Kwanza beginning the day after Christmas which to me is an insult to Jesus.

  4. Dot says:

    Dr. Fleming, you just don’t understand those Yankees. You see, if you were ever in Boston you would get lost because “The geographical center of Boston is in Roxbury. Due north of the center is the South End. This is not to be confused with South Boston which lies directly east from the South End. North of the South End is East Boston and southwest of East Boston is the North End.

    Now the Harvard Bridge – the bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge via Massachusetts Avenue is commonly known as the Harvard Bridge. When it was built, the state offered to name the bridge for the Cambridge school that could present the best claim for the honor. Harvard submitted an essay detailing its contributions to education in America, concluding that it deserved the honor of having a bridge leading into Cambridge named for the institution ..MIT did a structural analysis of the bridge and found it so full of defects that they agreed that it should be named for Harvard.

    Bostonians think it is their God-given right to cut off someone in traffic.
    Bostonians think that there are only 25 letters in the alphabet – no Rs, except in idear.
    Bostonians always bang a left as soon as the light turns green”

    from Boston talk!!!!!!