More Joy of Slavery

Monday, January 07, 2008 at 07:07 PM

Adele Fergusen, meet Michael Patrick Carroll. The former found the pony in slavery ("The pony hidden in slavery is the fact that it was the ticket to America for black people"), the latter, a Republican Assemblyman in New Jersey, simply thinks that "if slavery was the price that a modern American's ancestors had to pay in order to make one an American, one should get down on one's knees every single day and thank the Lord that such price was paid."

Consider the Carroll statement a sequel to Fergusen's initial insight. Like Vacuum in the Skull II follows Vacuum in the Skull.

The context for Carroll's absurdity is the NJ proposal that the state apologize for slavery. It's not enough for Carroll to oppose that idea on practicality grounds--he has to reach for the sewer. Yes, I imagine there are hordes of descendents of slavery who thank God every single day that their ancestors were enslaved. And what of the millions upon millions of slaves who died, leaving no ancestors in blessed America? And the millions and millions of Africans who had their family members stolen away and shipped off to some place they couldn't imagine, to a life that was unimaginably cruel?

Of course, Carroll knew his statement wouldn't go over well, so tried to defuse the coming indignation. He pointed out that his ancestors came to America because of the Irish potato famine, yet he doesn't hold the famine and its consequences against the British:

Far from holding it against the modern British, I delight in the cruelty of their forebearers. Without same, I might be hanging around in Inisfree.
So he manages to insult slaves and their descendents even further, by comparing slavery to a voluntary emigration to escape starvation, as well as insulting the hell out of those Irish who weren't lucky enough to have had to flee to remain alive. I'd love to see the reception he'd get at Inisfree, or anywhere else in Ireland, for that matter.

He "delight[s] in the cruelty of their forebearers." This guy went to an expensive private school and Johns Hopkins University, you know.

I'm sure that the same theory probably holds for the Holocaust, right? Jewish Americans who came here to escape Nazi Germany should thank their lucky six-pointed stars for Hitler? And the Assyrian-Americans who came here to escape the Turkish massacres? Certainly William Saroyan thanked the Turks every day?

Once the obvious furor arose, brave Mr. Carroll had no intention of backing down. On his blog, he offered up this in response to the intense criticism, specifically from a web site called BlueJersey:

I stand accused of "perversely racist" commentary because I averred that if slavery was the price one’s ancestors needed to pay to make one an American, one should be grateful they paid it. Had they not been dragged here against their wills, with the result that one would not be an American, that would be a personal calamity. Whatever price my ancestors paid – starvation, oppression, privation, discrimination – and, as Irish immigrants in the 1850s, they faced all of that, I’m happy they endured it. Not because it was desirable for them to do so, or that it was in any way justifiable, but because their confronting and overcoming evil gave me the chance to be an American. From my perspective, whatever they needed to endure to make me an American was worth the price they paid.

But, alas, apparently this argument passed over the heads of the BlueJersey folks. Invective represents their typical fare. Unable to meet the substance of an argument, they resort to insult. For the Left, charges of racism represent the first refuge of the scoundrel.

As you might guess, this isn't the first stroke of genius to strike Mr. Carroll, and not the first time he has articulated these strokes of genius for the public record. A few other gems: :
  • Americans do not lack access to health insurance; they simply recoil at the costs. [available on his blog, entry dated 11/26/07]
  • The assertion that one can somehow atone for past racial discrimination by creating an entirely new class of victims [through affirmative action] is self evident nonsense. If my grandfather punched your grandfather, that injury finds no redress in permitting you to punch me....To the forces of "diversity" and "multiculturalism", there is no such thing as the American people. Instead, society is divided among warring and suspicious tribal groups of hyphenated Americans, and that which precedes the hyphen dictates the rights to which one is entitled. [Available on his web site]
  • The law presumes that parties to a marriage will bear children. Hence, the ban on marrying close relatives. Even an infertile man cannot marry his 60 year-old post-menopausal sister, not because society frowns on the relationship per se, but because it presumes that children will result, with dire consequences. [Available on his web site]
Yup, the law presumes that an infertile man and his post-menopausal sister will produce children if they marry. It's so obvious you can't even think of denying it. That would explain the saying "The law is an ass." But not, of course, as big an ass as a certain Republican Assemblyman from New Jersey. I believe his name and photo now rest a.longside most dictionaries' definition of Chauvinistic.

It's time once again to resurrect my old refrain: Where do the Republicans Find These People, and Who Votes for Them?