False Arguments Often Used to Justify Not Dealing with Today’s Issues.Things were often known to be wrong in the past.
The Argument often heard today when discussing difficult issues of rascism and bigotry goes something like, “Oh well, it’s always been like that” or “That is just how they used to think back then” or some similar version of this thinking.
In some cases this might be true but in many others it certainly is NOT.
A good example is that scourge called “Slavery.” Slavery was not invented by western powers, it is not new and it probably still goes on in some form or other in many parts of the world sadly.
What WAS new and unique to the West however was the “industrialized” upgrade of old slavery into what is called the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. The United States, the United Kingdom and European nations, working with their “partners” in Africa, and essentially converted the old slave trade into an industrial process worth many millions of dollars. Slaves from Africa were shipped to America to be sold to work in the cotton fields there. The empty off loaded slave ships then departed from America full with cotton products that the slaves had created by hand to be sold at good profit to lucrative markets in Europe and Britain.
I saw an article recently in a media outlet article which said that we can’t judge the past moral failings of that leadership class against the modern day standards…after all, the author reasoned, “that is just how they thought back then.”
This particular article was about the slavery and racism against black people. The author opined that moral standards have changed today so we must make allowances for that.
But, have standards really changed?
Did everyone “always think like that?” I don’t think so.
With regards to slavery, here is the leader of the Opposition party in the British Parliament, Lord Palmerston, speaking about slavery back in July, 1844,
“Sir, I wish to make some observations upon the Slave Trade itself… (and to) all the men who have exerted the best energies to put an end to this abominable crime. (These men) have succeeded in rescuing England from the foul stain of Slave Trade. These great results, however, were not accomplished without much labour, and a long lapse of time; the descent to evil is rapid and easy; the return to good is hard and slow; and if there are other nations who are still imitating our downward course, we should look upon their errors with… indulgence…. when we remember what long and painful efforts it cost us, to wean ourselves from these detestable practices.
Many years have now passed away since (we have) laid bare in all their hideous deformity, the disgusting atrocities connected with the prosecution of the Slave Trade… (we have) brought round the minds of men in this country to resolve that England at least, should cease to be polluted with this crime.”
So, there we have it. A very promient English political figure speaking candidly about the foul stain of Slavery. Undoubtedly Lord Palmerson was not alone as his comments suggest.
Commercialized trans Atlantic slavery was considered a wretched crime by elements of society even back in the day of its first blossoming. It was known to be wrong and immoral.
Some people are right about certain things, even way back in 1844.