August 25, 2014

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Black slavery in America takes on a totally different hue when you research white indentured servitude or the global ubiquity of slavery from antiquity until this very day. The European slave trade of Africans to the New World shape-shifts significantly once the Arab slave trade of black Africans enters the picture. The American South’s guilt for slavery doesn’t seem quite so monolithic once you read up on New England’s giant role in the slave trade.

It seems that on any given day, you can’t urinate twice without hearing of the Holocaust. But I can’t ever remember my schoolbooks or the TV mentioning the fact that 38-55 million European civilians died in WWII in addition to 22-25 million dead soldiers. A panoramic perspective would undermine a moral narrative in which many have placed tremendous emotional and financial investment. You hear so much about alleged “Holocaust denial,” but by failing to mention the tens of millions of other dead bodies, those who harp on the Holocaust are denying the other atrocities by omission.

The telling of history is not about truth but about myth-making, the construction of saints and devils. By and large, history is an exercise in guilt-projection by the victors. It appears that winning isn’t ever good enough for them”€”they have to justify their naked power and superior killing skills by smearing the losers as pure evil.

You may have noticed that estimated death tolls in any settled conflict vary absurdly depending on whether the winner or loser is tallying them. The victors cherry-pick facts to prop up their own moral narrative, because for most people, that’s more important than the truth. But when you pull back and get the merest whiff of perspective, you realize that there are no good guys and bad guys, only competing animals locked in an evolutionary struggle. Peeling away the moralistic shellac is the only way that history makes sense.

Sadly, most human beings are immune to sense. This is why they pick only certain cherries and leave the others to rot.


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