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Afreeism 101

The Afreeist Case for Reparations

Reparations are not about blame or guilt

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The idea of reparations for slavery has been around for many years, but now it seems to have garnered more attention than ever. With reparations, the government would pay the descendants of slaves some sum of money to at least partially compensate for the damage that slavery did to these descendants through the brutal enslavement of their forebears.

One popular objection to reparations is that none of those paying (generally the taxpayers) owned slaves or were even alive during the time of slavery. Why should the children pay for the sins of the parents?

Of course, there are answers to this. Suppose that you and I had parents each with a million dollars. Before they died, however, your parents broke into my parents’ house and stole all of their money. Soon after this, suppose, both sets of parents died. You inherited $2 million and I inherited nothing. Shortly thereafter the crime was solved and it became clear what happened. Should you not have to give me half your inheritance? This is the story of reparations and it has nothing to do with blame. In general, white Americans have benefited from the stolen inheritance from the crime and brutality of slavery. It is not unfair to be called on to share this inheritance with those who were robbed.

The afreeist takes this one step further. Afreeism is the understanding that the universe is causal and, as a result, there is no free will. Every thought, emotion, idea, and action has been determined before any of us were born. As a result, none of us could ever have done other than what we did. Therefore, no one is ever morally responsible for past actions. (If you would like to learn more about afreeism, please see my other articles or visit afreeism.org.) Because of this, there is never any guilt nor any blame. Not even the parents in the above example are morally responsible for what they did. They could not have done otherwise.

However, even though there is no blame, there is a strong case for reparations. One of the pillars of afreeism is the Equality Principle. This principle states that resources and opportunities should be distributed equally unless there is a reason to do otherwise. Because of the…

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Stephen Marks

Economist, teacher, student, dabbler in philosophy, ideas, music, and sport. Knows nothing for sure or maybe at all.