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The Judicial Case Against Reparations to Blacks

Written by Gary North on August 2, 2014

This debate will not go away. There is a reason for this. First, there is a lot of money on the line. Second, the welfare state ideology is widespread.

The case for reparations is the case for the welfare state.

The case for reparations to blacks in general from society in general rests on a concept of collective victimization and collective guilt. It says that Americans in general are guilty. In this case, the reparations argument claims that all Americans are collectively responsible today for what specific slave owners in the American South did to specific blacks prior to the summer of 1865.

I reject the argument.  That is because I reject the idea of the welfare state.

The welfare state is messianic. Its defenders claim it can heal.  They believe it can bring salvation — a word linked to the root word for “salve” — a healing ointment.

The state cannot heal. That is because it cannot bring positive sanctions without imposing negative sanctions. The case for reparations is a case for net positive state sanctions, based on social justice. This case is deeply flawed — morally and judicially.


First and foremost, the state is not a legitimate agency of positive sanctions. This is the most fundamental principle of civil government that is being widely violated today. The welfare state rests upon the philosophical and religious premise that God has created the state, or voters have created the state, as a means of extracting wealth from certain groups and transferring this wealth to other groups.

The state can never create wealth. This is the fundamental point.  The state extracts wealth through taxation, and is therefore an agency of wealth consumption. It takes money to run the state. There is no profit-and-loss system to enable us to turn the state into a profit-making institution.  The state demands monopoly of coercion. There is no open entry, unlike the free market. The state is not governed by a system of consumer authority.

The economic defense of democracy is that those who are being victimized by special-interest voters have a right to organize and veto programs of corporate wealth extraction. The voters are also in a position to veto anything else the state is going to do to them.

The problem comes when certain special-interest groups figure out that they can use their ability to mobilize other voters to extract wealth from victims who do not have enough votes. Here is the principle of welfare state transfers: “Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.” Of course, it is not really majority vote. It is the ability to game the system, usually in a way invisible to most voters.

Whenever some people learn to vote for a living, the result is the welfare state. Whenever people learn that they can use the state, not merely as a way to veto state coercion against them, but to impose state coercion on others, and thereby benefit from this coercion, we see the birth of the welfare state.

Whenever the state is empowered to extract wealth from one group and transfer it to another group, based on the voting capacity of the two groups, we have created a means of massive theft.

The judicial goal of the state should be to transfer wealth from perpetrators of crimes to their victims. The state is an agency of wealth transfer, but not wealth transfer in general. It is specific wealth transfer: from perpetrators of crimes who have been convicted by a jury, to their victims. This is the biblical system of justice. This is also what Bastiat proclaimed. This is what the early libertarian movement, founded by Leonard E. Reed, also proclaimed in the early years. This is the doctrine of limited government. It should be called the doctrine of limited civil government. Civil government is limited, so that individual self-government, family government, and church government can flourish. It is never a question of government versus no government. It is always a question of which government.

In order to reduce the level of violence in a society, and to create greater predictability with respect to violence, the West has set up a jury system. When someone believes he is the victim of fraud or coercion, he challenges that person in a court of law. A jury of their peers is then to try the case. The jury decides innocence and guilt. The jury decides what should be done in terms of restitution in specific cases.


The problem comes whenever voters accept a system of civil government that says that specific criminals owe something to society in general. This is redefined to mean that the criminals must suffer penalties imposed by the state, and the state will extract wealth from voters in general in order to be able to impose the penalties.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

Continue Reading on www.garynorth.com

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34 thoughts on “The Judicial Case Against Reparations to Blacks

  1. 2warabnvet says:

    Soon to come – reparations to Mexicans for the War of 1847.

  2. Mike Borland says:

    If reparations were to take place for black slavers first you have to identify who was a slave. Not all blacks in the USA before the civil War were slaves. Next you have to identify who were the slave owners. Not all slave owners were in the South. Third, most free Americans were not slave owners and they should never be held responsible for reparations. A lot of us had families that immigrated to the USA and had members of that family who died fighting on the union side against slavery. Finally, reparations can only justly be for the slaves actual labor. If the pay rate for labor before the Civil war was $1.00 a month in gold coin, then reparations should be 1/10 of an ounce in gold or comparable in paper dollars less the value a slave owner spent in providing a home and food for the slave during the period of slavery. After all even indentured slaves received some benefits from the owner.
    Each descendent of a slave should be offered a one way ticket back to Africa and if that person was given government handouts they should be paid back. No future welfare should be offered to blacks because of their race, which includes no Affirmative Action which is racist and white who were hurt by being denied a place in a college due to Affirmative Action should receive reparations for that despicable racist act. Future job application can not ask your race. The answer from now on will be "Homo sapien." No face to face job interviews will be allowed. Interviews will take place in a booth by telephone using a voice synthesizer to hide the race of all job candidates.

  3. Reparations ????
    There is not an heir living today that has been wronged by anyone living today that should justify paying anyone, anything for the rights and wrongs neither caused or benefited by.
    The black's welfare of today should provide reparation for their wrong they have and are perpetrating on the taxpayers of today.
    Anything to buy votes with money from another. Those communists, liberal, Democrats and RINOs will never dig into their own savings for any benevolent cause.
    Prove me wrong!!!

  4. The first 162 years of slavery on this continent from 1619 to 1781, the US did not exist so any reparations should not be counted for those years. Reparations should be paid only to those who suffered slavery and paid for by slave traders and slave owners. What the majority of blacks have received in welfare benefits for 50 years have more than amply paid back what can be called reparations in addition to black crime over the same period and the destruction of whole cities. Why should today's lazy, obnoxious, nasty, savage, dangerous ghetto blacks enjoy any compensation that their 5 times great grandparents suffered? And what do you think they would buy with their reparations, a college education? To be fair, there were blacks that lost land and businesses through trickery and outright theft in the Jim Crow South. Their descendants should be compensated by the individual states and counties where these offenses occurred.

  5. It is a common saying, that if you were to take all the money in the world and distribute equally among everyone, that sooner or later you will have the same inequality that you have now! Remember there's no law against charity and the finger always points the other way.

  6. The race baiters promoting reparations remind me of Samuel Beckett. He is the author of that fine play, "Waiting For Godot". Beckett left his characters wasting their lives waiting for someone who never arrives. I believe everyone can see the parallel. See my blog at http://cranky-conservative.blogspot.com

  7. David in MA says:

    forty acres and two mules, this was presented at the time and many refused, others took the offer and a lot chose Liberia.


  8. Liberia doesn't want them and most of the rest of those Nations would kill them or sell them but never put up with the bullshit American has!

  9. Out of the 32 SPARSELY POPULATED states, 15 had slavery. Of those 15 only the RICH could afford to buy & maintain slaves, just like today.

    How about reparations for the SIX MILLION JEWS SLAUGHTERED in WW2, they were actually PRODUCTIVE people who had EVERYTHING STOLEN from them, the ones who survived that is. How about reparations for indentured servants? How about reparations for the light skinned people targeted by RACIST blacks, the VICTIMS of their savagery & violence? Do our ghetto babies want to pony up the cash for the robberies, damaged property, hospital bills & funerals?

    I got their reparations hanging, want to come get them?

  10. Holy Shirt says:

    Among those who propose ever more Reparations to 21st-century Blacks, for 18th- and 19th-century Black Slavery, how much support is there for making the entire Middle East the Jewish State of Israel? http://youtu.be/uIEeiDjdUuU

  11. Phillip the Bruce says:

    I know this is not PC, but I have a question. Are there ANY descendants of slaves who truly believe their lives today would be better if their ancestors had not been brought to these shores in chains? I am not defending slavery, it was a monstrous immorality, but think about it. If the African tribes who captured and originally sold the slaves had not had the "European" market, what would they have done with their captives? Many would have been slaughtered.

  12. After seeing how easy it's been to rip off the system via Pigford vs. Glickman ALL the "brothuhs and sistahs think they can continue the scam via reparations. After all, look how successful Jesse Jackson Jr. is.

  13. insp klouseau says:

    Today's blacks do not have standing…..

  14. David in MA says:

    All you have to do is look at Africa today and the question is answered…NO, they would not! And, yes they would have been……..put in the cooking pot, that is.

  15. Earn your own way in this world! No more handouts, and no more caving to the Guilt Mongers seeking cash! This country was founded in wanting a better way of life, not under a king or dictator. Slavery exists in many forms, here and around the world. In Africa it is used to pay for crimes, debts, and those who can't afford to live on their own become indentured so they can at least eat. It still exists there today and has been, LONG AGO, legislatively abolished in America. Where is the cry for reparations to those who are slaves NOW by those who are controlling them in Africa? Not a peep? In other countries and here in America, there are women and children kidnapped and sold off to Middle Easterners or others who force their ill-gotten gains into prostitution or other form of servitude or slavery. In America, we have rampant thievery of the fruits of citizens' labor by uncontrolled expansion of government and unlimited spending, increasing our collective debt to the world to uncontrollable amounts. We have lost thousands in individual earning power as they constantly seek more tax hikes and controls via our pocketbook/wallet by controlling more and more aspects of our daily existence, including our health. The more of your paycheck they control, the more a slave you become. Where is the cry for reparations of all citizens under the control of the Lib-Progressive Leftists here in America? Still not a peep? Instead we have those whose African ancestors were sold BY their fellow Africans to British and others of British descent who came to America, before it was even America. Those who came here, A FEW CENTURIES AGO, finally freed their charges, who then, as freed citizens (and lots of civil rights struggles which takes time for change), had non-slave children, who had more non-slave (spell that, FREE) children, up to now. So as a result of which was, and still deemed an acceptable practice OF AFRICANS who started this practice, which spread to others, and is many, many years later, still happening in Africa TODAY! There is no cry for reparations from the perpetuators there, but in America, where is was ABOLISHED a few hundred years ago, we have the whiny ones, Many Generations Freed, but here as a result of the practice of slavery by those possessing the same genetic racial aspects (hard to put it to a clinical terms), wanting cash from people who in no way, participated in this practice. In other words, they are trying to throw egg on our collective faces, to impose guilt ON US, for the sins of those LONG DEAD. This is the Land of Opportunity, or at least it was before Obama declared himself King, restarting this entire cycle over again. My family predecessors came off the boat 2 generations ago with little to no change to rub together, and had to build their life here from scratch to at least a livable level, not rich (like many of your favorite Democrat politicians who sit smugly with their riches, while decrying the wealth of other not like them), and at least 1 in each generation served in the U.S. military, including this one. Get your reparations from Him who is the liar (from his own personal stash) and thief, but leave the rest of us alone!

  16. Their is not a black alive that was a slave. Hell their all slaves to the Democratic Party they the yes’m to the Democratic Party

  17. 1_Eddie_1 says:

    Let's just say I bite on the subject of reparations. I then have one word to say that will sum it up very nicely. Paid. Reason: Welfare payments, a fortune has been paid out.

  18. 1_Eddie_1 says:

    It is a well documented fact that it was the Muslims that captured the Africans and sold them into slavery.

  19. peleus212 says:

    If anything they should be giving up the welfare because that is the main reason they cannot better themselves, have just got to complacent and lost the will/ ability to get that better job and lift themselves from this self imposed 'slavery'………. folks quit doing it to yourselves and improve yourselves that is what this country was founded on! Equal oppurtunity for everyone.

  20. peleus212 says:

    This is basically BS so the the 'race baiters' keep their income coming in and live the life denyed their peers.

  21. ccfonten says:

    How about they demand their "reparations" from the tribal leaders who captured them and sold them in the first place? Slavery is alive and well in the middle east and Asia today. If their ingrained hatred for all those white people were washed away, maybe, just maybe they would look at how it all started in the first place!!

  22. Give me something–the black mantra. Blacks deserve only one thing: equal opportunity. We've carried them on our backs, white people, for over fifty years now. I don't owe a single black person anything. If blacks are owed reparation, then I am almost certainly owed the same since my ancestors were almost certainly enslaved by someone–the Norse, Barbarians, Romans, The Ottomans–someone.

  23. When you account for the white dead from the northern states in the Civil War, the proliferation of welfare/entitlement programs that removed the incentive to excel from many and the white fueled election of a faux black man to the highest office in the land, that account has been satisfied in full.

  24. So, let anyone who wants to seek reparations agree to the following: 1st, that the amount be only payable to ONE descendent of a family that can DIRECTLY trace their ancestry to a specific proof of such bondage. 2nd, AFTER agreeing to a SET amount (for all honored claims), an agreement is made that there can be no further (residual) claims made by ANY of the descendents of such 'repaired' family. 3rd, immediately upon payment related family members give up their, and any future descendents current or potential US Citizenship PERMANENTLY, with no "right of return". 4th, ALL family members are returned to their country of origin to resume their lives, with reparation made, never to be permitted entrance to the US, then and, for their descendents, forever.
    Shouldn't take more than ONE generation of those permanently deported to save the US taxpayers what they paid in "reparations". Especially since the vast majority of the money would be replacing the costs incurred through incarceration, food stamps, aid to dependent children, housing, heating assistance, medical care, etc, etc, etc.
    The savings from the "Social Assistance" programs would be huge AFTER their repatriation to countries of origin.
    Problem is, it'll NEVER happen since Democrats would refuse to agree to any of it.
    They'd be permanently losing a HUGE part of their voting base forever.

  25. Writer Gary North contributes to the problem with his ignorance. He writes that the demand for reparations is based on "slave [ownership] in the American South…prior to the summer of 1865," as if the "American North" was always innocently slave-free.

    New Jersey, for example, abolished slavery in 1804, but it was a gradual emancipation, not an immediate one, with the consequence that there were still black slaves in New Jersey as late as 1865!

    By buying into the liberal demonization of the South, writer Gary North is legitimizing the blacks' outrageous demands.

  26. bobmann101 says:

    Reparations should be paid by the original people who were responsible first then go down the line. The US would be close to the bottom.
    In fact America's first slave owner was a black man. Anthony Johnson a Negro from modern-day Angola. By 1830 there were 3,775 black families living in the South who owned black slaves. By 1860 there were about 3,000 slaves owned by black households in the city of New Orleans alone.


    The blacks who are wanting Reparations are the poor and uneducated looking for more handouts. The rich and educated are too busy managing and enjoying their success due to the opportunities offered to them of which they took advantage. There are many successful black who were born and in dire situations. They had the mindset to get out of their situation and be successful and they did!
    I believe being brought to America was the best thing for the blacks and other ethnic slaves. If Al Sharpton were in Africa he might have been held in a cage waiting to be sold or the dinner of an animal.

  27. My family ancestors weren't even in the U.S. during slavery. And when my great-grandfather DID emigrate here, he was a virtual slave working 12 – 14 hours a day in the mines. He had to pay the mining company for his housing and for his food…and had nothing left afterwards. Picking cotton would have been an improvement!

    Regardless, we've already paid billions and billions of dollars in reparations. It's called "welfare."

  28. If we did give Blacks "reparations" for those who received no wages for their toil, does that make slavery a moot point as those wages for that toil are now paid to their ancestors? If those back wages are paid, do the slaves become employees?

    Does anyone really think that the "four-hundred years of slavery" mantra will actually evaporate if reparations are given to those who use that mantra today as a cudgel against anyone who is not Black?

    Am I kidding? No!, No!, and No! are the answers to the above questions.

    The Jesse Jacksons, Al Sharptons, and Louis Farrakhans of the Black race baiting movement will do everything they can to continue racial strife. They will do everything they can to get their hands on as much of that reparations money as they can bilk from their willing, mind numbed followers.

  29. Dempsey Coleman says:

    They have been trying this ever since Obumer walked into Our White House. So far they have Ripped America Off with the Pigford Redistribution case. This was a Scam as well but they got away with IT.

  30. Art Hock says:

    Give them $100 and load their butts on the boat to Africa. Bye, Bye.

  31. Public assistence and affirmative action are reparations by another name. Put an end to both immediately; and, if Obama continues to devide us let's demand he be fair about it. Make black tax payers pay for assistence to blacks and white tax payers pay for assistence going to whites. Oh, and we might check to see if there are some reparations in order for the imbalance in the current system.

  32. Phillip the Bruce says:

    Documented where? Yes, the Muslims may have been involved. But many of the slaves were prisoners of inter-tribal warfare.

  33. Jimmy Carter should give every penny his family has to the descendants of slaves his family owned… lol phuckin liberal…

  34. Art Hock…that is the exact solution. $100 will feed them for over a month, just enough time for them to settle in and get acquainted with their surroundings.