Rich Lowry, who as far as we can tell is known for having an extremely awkward ejaculation while watching Sarah Palin on TV in 2008, and not much else, has thoughts on slavery. And why? Oh, why does any white Republican ever have thoughts about slavery, besides to "put it in perspective" and tell you how it wasn't as bad as the liberals always say. But it's also residual spittle from the conservative outrage over the New York Times's 1619 Project about slavery in America on the 400th anniversary if its beginning.

If you were raised around Every White Republican, you have heard Rich Lowry's arguments. Conservatives such as he -- and maybe your mom and dad and grandma and racist Uncle Roy -- have a burning need to find ways to say, "Sure, slavery was bad, but it wasn't BAD bad. Some slave-owners even threw birthday parties for the human beings they owned!" It's pathological.

In that way, nothing Rich Lowry wrote here is original. All he did was a little Googling, because it's literally every single "whatabout" you ever heard if you were raised by Republicans in the South, and probably elsewhere. And oh boy, the "whatabouts"! It is a Starburst explosion of WHATABOUTS!

Here is how Lowry's National Review, a very serious publication, headlined this piece:

"THEY" don't tell you these things. As if there's ever been in an instance in recorded history where a conservative white man really told you something you didn't know, something that made you say, "Huh! Never heard it put that way by an old white racist with an inferiority complex!" We hate to spoiler it, but you know these things about slavery if you ever took a history class. And we don't even mean a good history class. Even the crap southern high school history classes in Tennessee where, curriculum be damned, antebellum-minded teachers tell you the Civil War was about "states' rights" (to preserve slavery), teach these things.

BUT JUST IN CASE YOU DIDN'T KNOW, Rich Lowry has five totally new things to tell you about slavery. Why, his presentation is so succinct, we bet it'd fit on the back of a "Heritage Not Hate" bumper sticker, or maybe in the inside pockets Klan Moms sew into the insides of their kids' Klan suits.

It didn't begin or end in the United States.

The FUCK? And here we were thinking it began and ended in the United States. We are mindfuckingly ignorant like that, but to be fair, "they" didn't tell us. (NARRATOR: They told us.)

The same people most obsessed with slavery seem to have little interest in the full scope of its history.

You know, the "full scope," including the parts that make white folks look awesome.

There has been an effort for decades now — although with new momentum lately, as exemplified by the New York Times' 1619 project — to identify the United States and its founding with slavery.

To the extent that this campaign excavates uncomfortable truths about our history and underlines the central role of African Americans in our nation, it is welcome. But it is often intended to undermine the legitimacy of America itself by effacing what makes it distinctive and good.

Conservatives are such racists simpletons. In their estimation, if you are honest about our country's dark history, then you obviously seek to undermine and delegitimize America. Never does it cross their dumbass minds that by confronting history and seeking ways to heal the scars that still exist, that we might be loving America more than they do, in a more meaningful way than white racists who wish to whitewash it while they masturbate into American flags. (And sometimes also rebel flags, the flags of the short-lived traitor nation. They are weird like that.)

Yes, slavery and racial prejudice were our great original sins.

"Yadda yadda jerk off motion," you can almost see Rich Lowry saying at his desk. But it is not the kind of jerk off motion that gives him Starbursts.

It would have been better if we had, like the British, been leaders against the slave trade and for abolition (the representation of slaveholders in Congress and the rise of King Cotton forestalled this). But we didn't invent slavery, even in its race-based form.

Get to the goddamned point, Rich. Tell us the five things "they" won't tell us, because they are "politically inconvenient." Is it time yet?

Let's dwell, then, on a few things they don't tell us about slavery. None of these are secrets or are hard to find, but they are usually left out or minimized, since they don't involve self-criticism and, worse, they entail a critical look at societies or cultures that the Left tends to favor vis-à-vis the West.

Got it, "they" don't tell us any of this, because these are the things "they" don't want us to know.

Fuckin' "they," man.

None of what follows is meant to excuse the practice of slavery in the United States, or its longevity.

Oh heavens no! It's more just to distract you from the actuality of slavery, and to make you think things like "Yeah! What about the BLACKS, though?"

1. Through much of human history, slavery was ubiquitous and unquestioned

No shit, the fuck you say? Well, if EVERYBODY did it, then it must not be that bad! We think that is what Rich Lowry is saying. Man, we wish "they" had told us that slavery has existed throughout history, and even existed in ancient Bible times. "They" are such dicks for hiding that information from literally everyone but Rich Lowry.

2. The East African slave trade lasted into the 20th century

Oh, this is a special section! Did you know that, as wise Rich Lowry teaches us, even after America got rid of slavery (and replaced it with Jim Crow), the slave trade continued? And do you know who bought a lot of those slaves, DO YOU? DO YOU KNOW? DO YOU KNOW WHO BOUGHT A LOT OF THOSE SLAVES?

[Stewart] Gordon discusses the East African slave trade, also called the Arab slave trade: "Throughout the vast Indian Ocean region," he writes, "slave trade and ownership were considered completely moral and legal, regardless of the religion of the slaver or the buyer."

More than a million slaves were taken from East Africa in the 1800s. Despite British attempts at suppressing it, this trade continued into the 20th century. According to Gordon, "Perhaps the last large-scale movement of East African slaves to the Middle East was in the 1920s."

Relatedly, the Muslim world was a vast empire of slavery and enslaved countless black Africans.

MUSLIMS BOUGHT THE SLAVES WHAT ABOUT THE MUSLIMS WHAT ABOUT THE MUSLIMS DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MUSLIMS? asked Rich Lowry. DID YOU KNOW MUSLIMS DID IT? Even when angelic white men on both sides of the Atlantic decided to stand athwart the institution of slavery and say, "We just decided five minutes ago that maybe this is kind of bad, we guess," THE MUSLIMS DID IT SOME MORE.


Maybe instead of doing a 1619 Project, Rich Lowry would like it better if the Times would do a "10 History Times The Muslims Really Sucked" project. You know, since "they" neglected to tell us all about that.

3. Islam was a great conveyor belt of slavery

What's one section about Muslims when you can have two? That is what Rich Lowry probably asked himself when he chose to continue writing about how much he hates Muslims.

One would think that there would be more attention paid to the Muslim world's contribution to race-based slavery, but since it doesn't offer any opportunity for Western self-reproach, it's mostly ignored.

One would think! Or maybe it's just not the point of examinations of the history of slavery IN AMERICA, since the Muslims didn't have a whole lotta fuckall to do with the history of slavery IN AMERICA.

Sidenote: Lowry would probably be mad that we are not block-quoting all the very important #HistoryFacts he shares in his column -- don't want him to think we are a "they" who refuses to tell you the things! -- and far be it from us to disrespect the two hours on Wikipedia it took him to Wingnut-By-Numbers this column into existence. So, in case you are interested, this is Wonkette telling you Rich Lowry includes lots of history facts in his column, and giving you permission to read them.

4. The Atlantic slave trade would have been impossible without African cooperation


Real talk here, but every single time we ever heard a Republican in the South defend slavery, or pretend to condemn slavery while really pretty much defending it, like Lowry is doing, they have always barfed out some version of "Yeah well if THE BLACKS hadn't sold THEIR OWN PEOPLE, then the innocent and good-hearted white man wouldn't have even had slaves to buy!" It is ... well, it's a thing they say!

5. Brazil took the lion's share of slaves from the Atlantic slave trade

Well shit, this is where we're ending up? We've done WHAT ABOUT THE MUSLIMS (twice) and WHAT ABOUT THE BLACKS, so it follows that we must find a way to say WHAT ABOUT THE BROWN MEXICAN BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESES? You know, in case Rich Lowry hasn't given you enough things to distract you from thinking about the legacy of American slavery. If you think America is so bad, WHAT ABOUT BRAZIL?

Any historical accounting of the Atlantic slave trade has to judge Brazil harshly.

OK fine, fuck Brazil!

Lowry explains how the Brazilian slave trade was evil and terrible and perhaps even worse than in the United States, which proves ... well to be honest, we don't know what he thinks it proves. Maybe one of Brazil's newspapers should do its own version of the 1619 Project? Maybe Brazilians should face history and themselves some more? Dunno how it has jackshit to do with what our response to our own American sins should be.

In summary and in conclusion:

To repeat, none of this justifies American cruelty and hypocrisy across the centuries.

Sure, you bet.

It does suggest, however, that an appropriate perspective should take full account of all that sets us apart, which emphatically wasn't chattel slavery.

We still don't know exactly what his goddamned point is.

Oh, this is his point:

None of the other societies tainted by slavery produced the Declaration of Independence, a Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton, the U.S. Constitution, or a tradition of liberty that inspired people around the world for centuries.

OK, gotcha. America is the special-est and the wonderful-est, and if you tell the truth about slavery, you are taking a Trump Sharpie and crossing out the Declaration of Independence (for white men) and Washington and Jefferson (slaveowners) and Hamilton (slave seller) and the Constitution (which had to be amended very many times to give black folks what passes for equality in the present day).

But boy oh boy, we sure did learn some interesting facts from Rich Lowry! We will be sure to keep them in mind while ... still condemning slavery and its continuing legacy, as we try to strive for justice and form a more perfect union.

Guess we just fuckin' hate America like that.

[National Review]

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Evan Hurst

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