Other commentators have belted the shit out of Medved, but I don't see why I should miss out, so I'm going to take a few of his "points" and get all riled up.
Those who want to discredit the United States and to deny our role as history’s most powerful and pre-eminent force for freedom, goodness and human dignity
Hello, I think he's talking about me.
invariably focus on America’s bloody past as a slave-holding nation.
Well, that and such beacons of human dignity as Gitmo, the School of the Americas, and your judicial system (you, Iran and China all a-murdering your crims together, hey ho); and look at your bringing freedom to Chile ('71), Iran ('53), Iraq (2003), Vietnam (fl. '65) etc etc etfuckingc.
Along with the displacement and mistreatment of Native Americans
And murder, you forgot to mention.
Now, if we had doubts that Medved was a horrible revisionist, his choice of words would dispel them.
European settlers appropriated native American land and murdered the natives in large numbers. They were "displaced" at gunpoint, and "mistreated" by being dispossessed and murdered.
the enslavement of literally millions of Africans counts as one of our two founding crimes
Well, it's not a plus, Mike.
—and an obvious rebuttal to any claims that this Republic truly represents “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
It's not a rebuttal of that so much as a suggestion that the word "free" should be followed by "white men" and "home" preceded by "former".
According to America-bashers at home and abroad, open-minded students of our history ought to feel more guilt than pride
I don't think it's necessarily "America-bashing" to suggest you shouldn't feel proud of slavery, but Medved, as we'll see, disagrees. He's damned proud of it.
and strive for “reparations” or other restitution to overcome the nation’s uniquely cruel, racist and rapacious legacy.
I don't think anyone, America-basher or otherwise, suggests that there's anything "unique" about America's racism or rapaciousness. Although we do admire how much of both you'll indulge.
Unfortunately, the current mania for exaggerating America’s culpability for the horrors of slavery
How can American culpability be "exaggerated"? It wasn't the slaves' fault! What Medved means to say is not that American guilt has been exaggerated, but how much guilt it should feel. In his view, not much.
bears no more connection to reality than the old, discredited tendency to deny that the U.S. bore any blame at all. No, it’s not true that the “peculiar institution” featured kind-hearted, paternalistic masters and happy, dancing field-hands
any more than it’s true that America displayed unparalleled barbarity or enjoyed disproportionate benefit from kidnapping and exploiting innocent Africans.
Erm. "Disproportionate benefit"? Well, who the fuck else benefited? The economy of west Africa was destroyed by slavery, along with its society and culture. So it didn't benefit all that much. So who does Medved think did? The slaves?
An honest and balanced understanding of the position of slavery in the American experience requires
someone other than Michael Medved to write it, of course, but tell me, Mike, what do you think, it requires?
a serious attempt to place the institution in historical context and to clear-away some of the common myths and distortions.
Well, bring it. whic Caps are all Mike's.
1. SLAVERY WAS AN ANCIENT AND UNIVERSAL INSTITUTION, NOT A DISTINCTIVELY AMERICAN INNOVATION.
Change the word "slavery" to "sack" and I think you're getting where Mike has gone astray here.
Everyone else did it is not actually a moral defence. Rightards don't really grasp this. They enjoy a form of moral calculus that permits everything (except homosexuality) so long as someone else did it first.
2. SLAVERY EXISTED ONLY BRIEFLY, AND IN LIMITED LOCALES, IN THE HISTORY OF THE REPUBLIC – INVOLVING ONLY A TINY PERCENTAGE OF THE ANCESTORS OF TODAY’S AMERICANS.
Slavery existed everywhere in the States, in some cases for hundreds of years. Medved tries to be cute by limiting his scope to "the history of the republic" but America's history does not begin with the republic. And, of course, even then slavery was a feature of the republic for close to 90 years of its 220. That's more than a third. Compare with the UK.
Why does Medved mention today's ancestors? Simple. He doesn't want to pay reparations (for the slower among us, that's what this is all about). But as many have pointed out, would Medved take the same view of his nation's achievements? He is probably not an a descendant of any of the Founding Fathers, but he considers it praiseworthy of his nation that they existed. Etc etc.
3. THOUGH BRUTAL, SLAVERY WASN’T GENOCIDAL: LIVE SLAVES WERE VALUABLE BUT DEAD CAPTIVES BROUGHT NO PROFIT.
Well, that's all right then. We threw thousands of Africans into insanitary, crowded conditions, in which we knew that many would die, but we didn't mean to kill them.
I say the same when I drive on the pavement (sidewalk for our American cousins). Yes, people get knocked down, but I'm not trying to kill people, just getting out of the busy road.
I couldn't pass this gem by:
And as with their horses and cows, slave owners took pride and care in breeding as many new slaves as possible.
Medved's argument in favour of slavery boils down to: it wasn't all bad because we didn't purposely murder blacks; we just treated them like cattle, who died completely accidentally as a consequence in huge numbers. Which in his view is a vast improvement.
I ignore point 4, because it's just too stupid even to laugh at. Rightards just shouldn't ever write about economics.
5. WHILE AMERICA DESERVES NO UNIQUE BLAME FOR THE EXISTENCE OF SLAVERY, THE UNITED STATES MERITS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR ITS RAPID ABOLITION.
First of all, Medved denies responsibility for slavery (because someone else invented it), and then he tries to take credit for its abolition elsewhere.
Well, of course, nearly every civilised nation had abolished slavery long before 1861. In the case of my homeland, the UK, we had a spirited debate and abolition came about through peaceful means. In the case of Medved's, abolition came about through a four-year bloody war. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died because half the nation simply refused to give up slaves.
It should be noted that the movement to abolish slavery -- most prominently in the UK -- was well established at the time of the Dec of Ind.
6. THERE IS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT TODAY’S AFRICAN-AMERICANS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF THEIR ANCESTORS HAD REMAINED BEHIND IN AFRICA.
The same cannot, sadly, be said of the ancestors of the African-Americans who didn't get to be born because their ancestors died in a festering hold and were thrown into the Atlantic, nor of the slaves who were ungrateful enough to try to escape from their white masters and were murdered, nor... well, why go on?
In none of this, in not a single word, does Medved face up to the real inconvenient truth of slavery: people like him enslaved people with darker skin because they thought the latter were somewhere just above dogs in the food chain. And I don't see a thing in Medved's writing to suggest that he thinks that that thought is problematic.