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News of Otsego County

Tim Morgan

MORGAN: Slavery Was Most Everywhere
MONEY MATTERS

Slavery Was

Most Everywhere

Tom Morgan, the retired Oneonta investment counselor and national syndicated columnist, resides in Franklin.

Hating America is in fashion these days. As if you did not know.

Fuel for the hatred comes in the form of sins. Sins the early Americans committed. They belittled women. They savaged the natives. And they owned slaves. As early as 1619. That was when an
English shipowner unloaded African slaves into Virginia. Aboard his vessel, flying a Dutch flag.

The haters claim this proves that racism is in this country’s DNA. It is systemic. It courses through the veins and arteries of the nation. Therefore all white people should feel guilt. Because the wealth of the country was built upon the backs of slaves.

The extreme haters reckon the U.S. is illegitimate. Because of these original sins.

Well, there is no denying we had a lot of slavery and a lot of racism in this country.

There is no denying that many white people grew wealthy by using and abusing blacks. (They abused a lot of Irish, Italians, Jews, Chinese and assorted immigrants as well. But that is a separate story.) However, declaring the country is illegitimate because of this? That is not even a stretch. It is a ridiculous concept.

I suggest this for a simple reason: If you are going to declare this country illegitimate you may as well cancel out the rest of the countries on this planet. To hell with the lot of them.

Find me a country that does not have sins in its DNA. All countries were built on foundations that are sinful by today’s standards.

Pick a country. Then read some of its history. You will find combinations of racism, sexism, caste systems, slavery, atrocities against Jews and folks of various religions. These sins are widely distributed among countries. This is because they flourished in the Age of Ignorance. And that Age of Ignorance only began to weaken in recent enlightened times.

Slavery is supposed to be our biggest sin. Let us ask all the people on this earth who live in places that suffered slavery to raise their hands. There are barely any hands that are not raised.

Slavery has been most everywhere! And the U.S. was one of the smaller players in it. (We also beat up ourselves over mistreatment of women. What country, what people did NOT mistreat women –
by today’s standards?)

The Spanish brought slavery to Central America? Hey, the Mayas and Incas beat them to it. English, Dutch and French brought slavery to America? Many Native Americans could have taught them a few things about it. They practiced it for a century or two. The Cherokees were major traders in slaves.

Europeans introduced slavery to the Caribbean? Hardly. Before them, the native Caribs owned slaves.
When the evil British colonized northern Nigeria in the late 1800s they found the locals held well over two million of their fellows as slaves.

Muslim countries in the north of Africa bled the continent of countless millions of slaves. For at least 10 centuries! They exported slaves via the Red Sea, via Swahili ports onto the Indian Ocean. They paraded millions in caravans over trans-Saharan routes.

Royalty of various African countries built their wealth on the slave trade. Brutal hardly describes how they rounded up and shipped slaves to the coasts. Where other Africans grew rich selling them to Europeans.

The rulers of Algiers captured a million and half Christians and Europeans. Whom they forced into slavery. In the 19th century.

Slavery is endemic today in Sudan. And Niger. Countless Nigerians are enslaved this very night. Sexual slavery and forced labor are common in the Democratic Republic of Congo today. Many are enslaved from birth. There is systemic slavery on cacao plantations in West Africa. In Ivory Coast over 100,000 children are enslaved. Al Sharpton take note please.

Wikipedia reckons Indians own 8 million slaves today. Chinese own nearly 4 million.

Japan’s history is blighted by slavery. As are the histories of India, China, Korea, Burma, Thailand, Bhutan, Tibet and all of Southeast Asia. The Philippines were thick with slaves before the Spanish arrived.

And Europe? Well, the Romans were equal opportunity slavers. They enslaved Greeks, Berbers, Germans, Britons, Slavs, Thracians (Let’s hear it for the Thracians!), Gauls – otherwise known as Celts – Jews, Arabs and many more ethnic groups.

The Celtic tribes of Europe owned slaves. The Vikings raided Europe and Britain for slaves. They hauled off English, Irish and Scottish.

Ancient Hawaiians ran rigid caste systems. Those of the lower casts were not only virtual slaves. They were butchered in sacrifice rituals.

Even pure New Zealand cannot escape the sins of slavery. The Maoris, its native people, scorn European settlers for abusing them when they arrived. Yet the native Maoris made slaves out of their defeated enemies.

My point? It is to those who delight in claiming the U.S. is illegitimate because of its history of slavery. If the U.S. is illegitimate, what country is not? What country has no slavery in its DNA?

Tom Morgan, the retired Oneonta investment counselor whose column is national syndicated, lives in Franklin. 

MORGAN: Common Sense Ain’t So Common 

Money Talk

Common Sense

Ain’t So Common

Tom Morgan, the retired Oneonta investment counselor and national syndicated columnist, resides in Franklin.

’Tis early days, but what have we learned from the virus crisis?

One thing is that we don’t know what we don’t know. And we are often not certain about what we think we do know. For instance, we don’t know whether we should tell people to stay home, inside. Or should we encourage them to get out in the fresh air. Some experts say stay inside. Others throw facts at us
that refute this.

They show if you are inside with others you are far more likely to transmit or pick up the virus. They argue that the best place to be is outside. Where transmission is much less likely.

That is a pretty basic thing to disagree about. Especially after four months. Especially after decades of dealing with viruses.

This tops the list of things experts are not sure about. How far should we social-distance? Don’t worry about it, some experts tell us. Six-feet is best, say others. One expert told the world that 27 feet was ideal. I am guessing he lives in the Sahara.

Or in a cave.

Should we wear masks? Some say yes, some no. Some said no, but changed their minds.

Do lockdowns work better when enforced before the virus arrives? Or maybe after it has arrived? Or maybe not at all?

Are our virus death tolls accurate?

Or are they exaggerated? Some states apparently record virus deaths much differently than others.
Why is it that 80 percent of Minnesota virus deaths were in old-age facilities? But in other states the percentages were much lower? That seems odd.

And what is the death rate from the virus? What is the infection rate? Experts still disagree about these. And they change their figures every few weeks. Our Center for Disease Control has been all over the park with its figures.

We are lucky that most of their revisions are downward. That is, these days they think the virus is not as virulent as they thought earlier. The CDC’s latest figure for infection rates is 1 in 1,000 for those under 50 who are not in nursing homes. Their death rates are 1 in nearly 7,000 overall. But almost all of these folks have – or had – other serious health issues.

I hesitate to use the word “latest.” Odds are good that the CDC will change their figures before this is printed. And some experts believe the true figures are higher than the CDC’s. Some think they are lower.

Does the virus spread easily on surfaces? Some experts insist it does. And that we should spray and clean every surface near us every few minutes. Others reckon this is bunk. The CDC has basically said yes and no. Great.

A big lesson we have learned is that the virus is political. It affects Republicans differently than Democrats. Most Democrat-controlled cities and states report much different figures. From the New York Times front page: THE CORONAVIRUS IS DEADLIEST WHERE DEMOCRATS LIVE.
Counties won by President
Trump in 2016 have reported
just 27 percent of the deaths – even though 45 percent of Americans live in these communities.
This may explain why Democrat-controlled states tend toward lockdowns and restrictions. While Republican-run states tend toward measures to open up their states. This gets you into a chicken and egg situation. Maybe the lockdowns have made matters worse?
Of course, New York is wall-to-wall Democrat. And wall-to-wall virus, compared to other states. You probably have seen the comparisons between Florida and New York. The states are similar in many respects. Their governors took opposite courses in handling the crises. The results are opposite. Political folks will argue about this for years.
One lesson we have re-learned is that politicians
are quick to point fingers during a crisis. They instantly
blame leaders in the other party. But they rarely admit their own errors and misjudgements.

In the midst of this confusion, consider “deaths of despair”. That is, deaths by suicide, drug abuse, alcohol, beatings and abuse. I understand these are more numerous lately in areas with severe lockdowns. One expert tells us these “added” deaths are nearly as high as the virus deaths.
In the face of all this you might be tempted to fall back on a few old pearls. I am: The obvious ain’t so obvious. And common sense ain’t so common. We sometimes gallop off in all directions. And too often we don’t know our backside from second base.
Cliches to the rescue.

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