• Wallows
    Upon moving back to the US, I quickly restarted my education at a community college. One of my first courses was about Society and Philosophy. I remember being told by my teacher that egalitarianism is the highest good that can possibly be instilled into practice.

    Yet, the history of America is mired with a profound contempt (and outright hypocrisy by the very author of the Declaration of Independence) for this philosophical position that was made explicit by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. The part of which I speak about is:

    We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….” — Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

    With the above in mind, and given my neglect of the history of African-American disenfranchisement, why is it that we needed people like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and many others, which I am blissfully unaware of; but, shouldn't be, had to demand change?
  • Brett

    I think that in some ways, even though the south had been defeated many years ago in terms of slavery, and as a separate part of the country, as a country in the 60’s the USA had still not fully evolved, it was still divided, not just geographically but philosophically and emotionally. Martin Luther King and others were a continuing part of that development.

    However, that’s a view from afar.
  • tim wood
    The film 1776 is taken from a well-respected book about the writing of the Declaration. One can watch it and come away with a decent understanding of some of the issues of the time, as well as seeing a mighty fine film. Bottom line is that nothing is easy, nothing simple - and I'll add that it is very easy for an American to forget that. The better of our politicians remind us of the need to be vigilant and be prepared to fight for our rights and freedoms against those who would take them. And they are correct - anyone who questions that need look no further than 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in this year 2019. And at people - my skin crawls to apply that term to this person - like Mitch McConnell.
  • alcontali
    With the above in mind, and given my neglect of the history of African-American disenfranchisement, why is it that we needed people like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and many others, which I am blissfully unaware of; but, shouldn't be, had to demand change?Wallows

    Dum Diversas (English: Until different) is a papal bull issued on 18 June 1452 by Pope Nicholas V. It authorized Afonso V of Portugal to conquer Saracens and pagans and consign them to "perpetual servitude".

    The Atlantic coast of Africa being pagan, the Holy See authorized the consignment of these populations to perpetual servitude.

    This is obviously a grave jurisprudential error.

    In other religions, it works differently. After conversion, the parents may remains slaves, but the children will be born free.

    This mishandling of slavery had ugly consequences. For example, it forced American president Thomas Jefferson to make great struggles to avoid consigning his children by Sally Hemmings to slavery. That is a depravity. You can obviously not enslave your own children, but that is an inevitable consequence of the Papal ruling.

    There are gigantic jurisprudential issues in Christian morality which eventually culminated in the notorious exchange between Martin Luther and the Papacy at the Landstag in Worms, Germany, in April 1521.

    Luther: If you can show me through scripture and reason that I would be wrong, I will retract what I have said.

    Papacy: The Bible itself is the arsenal whence each evil heretic has drawn his deceptive arguments.

    Later on, it turned out almost impossible to enfranchise people of African descent, as they had been consigned to perpetual servitude by the Papal bull, Dum Diversas.

    Still, since the meek tend to inherit the earth, as exemplified during the Haitian revolution, the abolitionists urgently sought a way to avoid the otherwise inevitable from happening in the southern United States. Slave imports had to be stopped and slaves had to be freed, but it took a spectacular civil war to knock that understanding into the dumb skulls of the southern ruling elite.

    Freeing the slaves was not a matter of sanctimonious virtue signalling, even though it was advocated in those terms, but one of long-term self-interest.

    Christianity totally mishandled the issue of slavery, and has actually not been viable as a moral system for centuries now. The completely flawed Christian take on slavery is indeed an ugly exponent of this general problem.

    Judaism has a Law (Hallakha) as its moral system, Islam too (Sharia), but Christianity has instead, its corrupt Church, i.e. the notorious Babylonian whore on whose forehead is written "mystery".
  • Brett
    There seems to be a hell of a lot of good old bible bashing going on here and other posts. What’s up?
  • Bitter Crank
    The steps from 1620 [Mayflower at Plymouth Rock] to 1776 [the DOC] to 1861 [Civil War] to 1954 [Brown vs. Board of Education] to the present have been dogged by moral contradictions all the way. The United States is not unique in this way. Morally contradictory behavior is endemic to the species. We can write and celebrate the Declaration of Independence while contradicting it in our personal life, as Thomas Jefferson, and all of the slave-holding Founding Fathers did, and generations of ordinary Americans have since right up to July 4, 2019.

    The Civil War was not a black and white conflict, so to speak. There were pro- and anti-slavery people in the north and the south alike. Abolitionists were against slavery -- and many of them did not intend to grant equality to freed slaves. The Great Emancipator, Abe. Lincoln, did not envisage black and white people living together on equal footing. Part of the Southern Cause was states rights, part of it was slavery. Jim Crow laws were the norm in the south after the Civil War; in the north a different system of segregation was practiced. The power centers of the United States were determined to prevent significant black advancement and equality, backed by the force of law, up until the 1960s, when court rulings and civil rights legislation struck down old laws.

    Reform in the 1960s - 1970s was lukewarm to begin with, and was too little too late. By the time segregationist rules, lending practices, and so forth had been broken down, it was too late for most blacks. They were not able in 1980 to duplicate the enormous wealth accumulation that occurred for white people from the 1930s forward, and which they were legislated out of.

    The long term post Civil War policy towards former slaves and their descendants was officially exclusion and suppression. It worked. It was successful. By and large blacks have have been excluded, impoverished, and. suppressed. There was, of course, resistance. A host of excellent leaders from

    Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) ...
    Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
    Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)
    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

    confronted corporate, municipal, state, and federal officials with demands for civil rights equality backed up by strikes and marches. They achieved some, certainly not complete, success.

    We are still contradicting ourselves. Many may talk about complete racial equality, color blindness, and so forth, but opportunity is still hoarded by those who already have substantially greater resources and advantages, and not just the famous 1%.

    It seems like progress has been made all along, but it has been achieved through very small increments. Some gains have been lost, others have been capitalized upon. But progress in achieving full, racially transparent integration has been very, very, limited.
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