Blargh Blog

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Where do you stand?

Jason Kuznicki at Positive Liberty asks:
If you were alive in the 1850s, would you support a plan for gradual emancipation of the slaves? Would you argue, perhaps, that current slaves must remain as slaves, but that all children would be born free after a certain date--to be negotiated, no doubt, by the masters? Would you support compensation for slave property, or a new, limited legal protection for all slaves generally?

I think that these were supposed to be rhetorical questions, but I don't think that the answers are as obvious as Jason considers them to be. I'm curious about what positions people actually think that they'd take.

(See here for more on my position on slavery)


At November 06, 2004 9:26 PM, Blogger Jason Kuznicki said...

These are indeed rhetorical questions, but I'll tell you my position anyway:

I would certainly have demanded an immediate, unconditional abolition. Many very intelligent people did, including Emerson, Thoreau, W. L. Garrison, and Frederick Douglass. Quakers demanded it almost uniformly. This would have been a minority view at the time, and a radical one.

Let me present an analogy: If someone stole money from a bank, you would not demand a gradual repayment. Slavery steals someone's life--why demand a gradual return of something that slips away, day by day, and can't ever be replaced?

In any event, I only asked the question because I believe that in some cases, the radical answer really is the right one. Do we live in such a time as regards the issue of gay marriage? I am inclined to say yes, but then... read the rest of my post. I know perfectly well that not everyone else agrees, and I'm thinking the issue over in the company of people with a wide variety of opinions.

Thanks for the link.


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