Monday, March 26, 2007

Common Slaves

'William Wilberforce,' writes Eric Metaxas in Amazing Grace, 'was the happy victim of his own success. He was like someone who against all odds finds the cure for a horrible disease that's ravaging the world, and the cure is so overwhelmingly successful that it vanquishes the disease completely. No one suffers from it again -- and within a generation or two no one remembers it ever existed.'

What did Wilberforce 'cure'? Two centuries ago, on March 25, 1807, one very persistent British backbencher secured the passage by Parliament of an Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade throughout His Majesty's realms and territories. It's not that no one remembers the disease ever existed, but that we recall it as a kind of freak pandemic -- a SARS or bird flu that flares up and whirs round the world and is then eradicated. The American education system teaches it as such -- as a kind of wicked perversion the Atlantic settlers had conjured out of their own ambition. In reality, it was more like the common cold -- a fact of life....

'What Wilberforce vanquished was something even worse than slavery,' says Metaxas, 'something that was much more fundamental and can hardly be seen from where we stand today: he vanquished the very mindset that made slavery acceptable and allowed it to survive and thrive for millennia. He destroyed an entire way of seeing the world, one that had held sway from the beginning of history, and he replaced it with another way of seeing the world....

Isn't societal self-loathing just another justification for lethargy? After all, if the white man is inherently wicked, that pretty much absolves one from having to do anything. And so the same kind of lies we told ourselves about slaves we now tell ourselves about other faraway people, and for the same reason: because big changes are tough and who needs the hassle? The hardest thing in any society is 'the reformation of manners.'[emphasis mine]
The man who 'murdered' slavery by Mark Steyn, Macleans

1 comment:

  1. Not to take anything away from Wilberforce, but slavery isn't exactly dead. More than 1 million people are trafficked every year, most of them women and children sold into some form of sexual slavery.

    The work isn't finished.
    I think it's important we remember that.