Nkrumahism, The Can Of Worms I Opened – Slavery and Racism (4)

Tue, 25 Aug 2015 Source: Baidoo, Philip Kobina

Capitalism promotes cooperation without anybody saying so. You cannot legislate against the way people think. Thought is the most private of all about an individual. You can feed somebody and, yet he may still think of you as a bastard. That is still his prerogative so long as it stays in his little head. For anybody to argue that capitalism in America promotes racism is ignorant and blessed with the memory of a gypsy moth. He lacks the intellectual rigorousness to analyse and contextualise contemporaneous events. He goes for the easy and cheap option that is commonly available to fifth graders. Perhaps, he is also a dupe of the left who just wish for the demise of capitalism, and supplant it with that evil system of communism, or any of its derivatives. Any cheap hack, any fifth grader can defend socialism. It takes special kind of intelligence to defend capitalism. And Mr Kwarteng has the incredible audacity to call me sentimental. It is only people who approach life with sentimentality that defend socialism, yet end up as the devil’s representative on earth killing people in millions with veritable passion. They wish to create heaven on earth, yet wherever they try it they replicate hell on earth like the Gulag in Russia, the Iron Rice Bowl in China, North Korea, Cambodia, Cuba, Nazi Germany etc. Besides, the whole of Africa was turned into a wasteland per their stupidity. The evil about these people is that they even deny the end product of their malicious designs. Those who have conscience and cannot deny the evil they unleash also counter with the fact that capitalism was also built on slavery so it evens out. Even if that is the case, capitalism had to do penance and moved on sharing the prosperity. What doors has socialism opened for Africans? It is just grinding poverty and stupid people like Mr Kwarteng lead the charge to blame others for our choices. Our leaders steal as if there is no tomorrow; those who don’t misappropriate act to advance the own personal agenda.

Coming back to my preoccupation, it is imperative to note that all the European powers were in the thick of the transatlantic slave trade. The beginners Portugal and Spain have slipped far behind, because they did not apply the superior economic system of capitalism. The poverty of their South American colonies is a glaring testament. It is the superior economic system of capitalism that enabled Britain and America to sour like the eagle. Ask the question why the other European powers who were the pioneers in the Atlantic trade are in atrophic economic stagnation. The reason is they did not apply capitalist economic principles. Capitalism opens the doors of competition, which in the absence of war spurs man to greater achievement.

If slavery is what made America rich, the sensible question anybody should ask is why Brazil is not as rich as America? The fact is Brazil consumed more slaves than America. Some of the records even suggest twice as much. Of course, due the proximity of Brazil to Africa slaves were much cheaper. Let’s conclude that slavery is what enriched America, as the stupidity of Mr Kwarteng has been trumpeting all along. Per his ignorance, it is even logical to conclude that if slavery is what made America rich then Brazil should be twice richer. I don’t have to tell you the answer; anybody who reads this article is smart enough to know. Besides, it wasn’t just Brazil in the Southern American continent that consumed slaves; there are many more – Columbia, Peru Bolivia etc., but can you compare their current state to America?

Even in America, slavery was, for a while, practiced in all the 13 initial colonies. The Northern colonies that abandoned it first surged ahead in scientific and intellectual development and prosperity while the Southern states remained on the whole poor without any contribution to scientific and intellectual advancement until it was ended by the Civil War. Even the most important invention that transformed the South – the cotton gin – was invented by a Northerner, Eli Whitney from Massachusetts. Slavery impoverishes the society as a whole though it makes some individuals rich. Slavery did not make the Arabs rich. It was the discovery of oil in the 20th century that transformed their fortunes. The rest of the Arab states without oil are a testament against the argument that slavery is what made the West rich. These Arab states are as poor as a church mouse. The success of the West especially Britain and United States is based on certain principles that our leaders are not willing to embrace, because it will make them less important in the equation.

The atrocities that were wrought against slaves in Brazil were not any different from what happened in the American Deep South. Some of the statements made by slave owners in Brazil will shock you to the marrow. The fact that there was no Fredrick Douglas – an ex-slave – and Harriet Beecher Stow, a novelist, the pain of the Brazilian slaves were buried under the debris of silent history.

Slavery lasted as long as it did, because of the power of government. No single individual slave owner had the power and resources to maintain slavery. Slave revolts in slave economies like the Caribbean, Brazil and American Deep South were so devastating it became uneconomical to maintain for the individual owners. As usual, the cost was passed on to ordinary tax payers for that evil system to carry on. Without government slavery would have died in the Deep America South a natural death. And that monstrous juggernaut called government is what Mr Kwarteng always advocates to solve all our problems. The cost to America ending slavery was enormous, which Lincoln poignantly alluded in his second inaugural address. When he said, ‘Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword...’ It was the selfish interest of individual slave owners that perpetrated slavery. And it must be noted it was the indignation of people like John Brown and many abolitionist like William Lloyd Garrison who put their life on the line to end slavery at a terrible cost.

I will end this piece by letting people know that there were even blacks who owned slaves in the antebellum South. And some of these people even fought on the side of the Confederate States to protect their economic interest. The Jim Crow laws that came after the end of slavery lasted, because of the power of the government. Capitalists run the gauntlet to evade those ridiculous Jim Crow laws. Mr Kwarteng, don’t try to push government in my face; they are the bane of our problems when they are given too much power. They are bunch of lazy people who lack the skills to be productive, but want to control other people’s resources. Thank you.

Philip Kobina Baidoo Jnr



Columnist: Baidoo, Philip Kobina