American Capitalism and Slavery
There are times when an institution has been so hollowed out, so blinded by ideological hatred that it literally becomes idiotic. This is one of those times. There are so many layers of vile stupidity here that it’s difficult to know just where to start.
Slavery Predates Capitalism by at Least 3,300 Years
The Britannica web site’s article on Capitalism dates the start of this economic system to the 16th century A.D. Therefore, once capitalism arrived on the scene in Europe the institution of slavery had already been in existence since at least the 18th century B.C. and surely far earlier than our historical record documents. Therefore, it’s impossible for there to have been a complete separation of slavery and any economic system that started while slavery existed.
And yet, the NYT’s headline attempts to tie this evil institution uniquely to American capitalism. For this attempted linkage to be deemed credible it would have to be shown that capitalism in America was based on slavery and that the more capitalist is a state / colony the more it supported slavery.
The exact opposite is true in both cases.
Slavery was Eradicated in the Capitalist Northern States Long Before the Civil War
Although the 13 British American Colonies (and eventually States) shared a common heritage their dominant economic systems differed between the Northern and Southern regions. Here’s a good summary of the economic situation in the United States just prior to the Civil War.
While factories were built all over the North and South, the vast majority of industrial manufacturing was taking place in the North. The South had almost 25% of the country’s free population, but only 10% of the country’s capital in 1860. The North had five times the number of factories as the South, and over ten times the number of factory workers. In addition, 90% of the nation’s skilled workers were in the North.
Thus it is in the North that capitalism as enabled by the industrial revolution dominated. While there certainly were outposts of industrial revolution capitalism in the South, it was dominated by a more primitive agrarian economy dependent on the plantation system which required slavery for its survival.
These economic differences led to entirely different outcomes with regard to the institution of slavery. While the agrarian South was utterly committed to slavery’s continuance the industrial North progressively eradicated this evil system. This excerpt from the Federalist summarizes this point.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 prohibited slavery in the territory that would become the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. In 1794, Congress barred American ships from engaging in the slave trade. Additional legislation in 1780 banned Americans from employment or investment in the international slave trade. Finally, the U.S. Congress officially banned the importation of slaves beginning on January 1, 1808, the earliest date allowed under the deal made to ratify the Constitution.
Far from the bastion of racism, hate and pro-slavery sentiment that the 1619 Project portrays, much of the United States was ahead of the world in ending the horror of slavery. Shortly after the signing of the Declaration, northern states took the lead. By 1804, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania had passed laws that immediately or gradually abolished slavery.
Clearly it was the far more capitalist dominated Northern states that aggressively opposed and abolished slavery. This historic fact demolishes the NYT’s narrative about “American capitalism.” But there’s so much more.
The Capitalist United States is a Anti-Slavery World Leader
Do you know that slavery is still an ongoing institution in the 21st century? It is. So, since the NYT thinks that capitalism is the most supportive economic system for slavery it stands to reason that it would be most prevalent in “capitalist” countries. And, since the United States is the epicenter of world capitalism it must be the worst here. But, of course, you would be pathetically wrong.
Given these results, the question must be asked: Why is the NYT holding the United States up as a cesspit of slavery when it clearly is a world leader in opposing slavery? The answer is obvious to anyone not blinded by Progressive ideology.
The NYT Hides True Economic Brutality
Finally, it must be noted that the NYT has been an enthusiastic supporter of the most truly brutal ideology in world history, and one that has enslaved and murdered at a level unheard of before its existence — that being Socialism.
The NYT lied to the world about the Ukrainian Famine in the 1930s Soviet Union (and still accepts a Pulitzer Prize for their lies). Walter Duranty was then the NYT’s reporter in the Soviet Union.
In the years 1932 and 1933, a catastrophic famine swept across the Soviet Union. It began in the chaos of collectivization, when millions of peasants were forced off their land and made to join state farms. … At least 5 million people perished of hunger all across the Soviet Union. Among them were nearly 4 million Ukrainians who died not because of neglect or crop failure, but because they had been deliberately deprived of food.
Duranty continued, using an expression that later became notorious: “To put it brutally—you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” He went on to explain that he had made “exhaustive inquiries” and concluded that “conditions are bad, but there is no famine.”
Indignant, Jones wrote a letter to the editor of the Times, patiently listing his sources—a huge range of interviewees, including more than 20 consuls and diplomats—and attacking the Moscow press corps:
Censorship has turned them into masters of euphemism and understatement. Hence they give “famine” the polite name of “food shortage” and “starving to death” is softened down to read as “widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition…
“Russians Hungry But not Starving” became the accepted wisdom.
The NYT has never ceased being a cheerleader of and apologist for Socialism.
The nostalgia for Communism is never far beneath the surface in the Progressive Left, as was recently reemphasized in a New York Times oped (emphasis added). There could be no better confirmation of my recent condemnation of the Progressive Left’s whitewash of Communist genocide (see below figure from this post) than the statements from this oped. Here’s how the lie looks today.
New York Times Oped:
We can get to this Finland Station only with the support of a majority; that’s one reason that socialists are such energetic advocates of democracy and pluralism. But we can’t ignore socialism’s loss of innocence over the past century. We may reject the version of Lenin and the Bolsheviks as crazed demons and choose to see them as well-intentioned people trying to build a better world out of a crisis, but we must work out how to avoid their failures…
The New York Times is the last place one should look for accurate historic information or moral instruction.