By L.K. Samuels
The Democratic Party has of late been spewing out a narrative that everybody except themselves are infected with racism and white supremacy. These holier-than-thou provocateurs should be careful not to throw stones at the windows of their political opponents. Why? Because the leadership of Democratic Party still live in flimsy glass houses with closets full of white-hooded skeletons that symbolize a racist past.
Of course, today’s modern statist Left and the Democratic Party has been diligent to hide their ancestors’ advocacy of slavery and its sidekick, coercive socialism. Only recently has it been established that the forefathers of collectivism had merged the system of chattel slavery with hard-core socialist principles. Moreover, not only did they espouse socioeconomic and institutionalized slavery, but they opposed the type of free capitalistic society that would usher in the age of Enlightenment and later, the American Revolution.
Obviously, this background of authoritarian socialism and slavocratic plantation life had to be concealed for self-surviving reasons. If the ugly institution of slavery were ever to be publicly associated with socialism and communism, the modern Left’s house of cards would tumble into the garbage pail of history. The public would quickly realize that Progressive political leaders are determine to employ legislation and bureaucratic excesses to compel people to strictly obey the government, and in doing so, become dependent upon the largesse of these powerful slave masters. In the statist Left’s reactionary crusade against liberal polity, the peddlers of involuntary servitude have promoted agendas where they seek power over people, not power from people.
This kinship to socialism and slavery dates back to the era of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, both of whom regularly twisted the meaning of liberty, democracy, and equality to amplify their authoritarian socioeconomic agenda. For instance, Marx supported black slavery in America, writing in 1846 that: “Without slavery there would be no cotton, without cotton there would be no modern industry. It is slavery which has given value to the colonies,… Slavery is therefore an economic category of paramount importance.”
Under Fascist-Marxist socialism, the state apparatus has the authority to control, and coerce the populace, because individual rights to property, life, and self-ownership need to be abrogated. These socialist intellectuals revered dictatorship of the group (groupthink) and expected the socialist overseers to usher in classless equality and a bounty of free welfare benefits: shelter, food, clothes, and medical care. And yet, this socioeconomic structure matches the horrors of slavery that were instituted in the antebellum Old South, where the slaves were equally poor, subservient and dependent. They were free of material want but incapable of moving around without permission from a master.
One of the most astute articles to reveal the collectivistic ancestry of slavery, socialism, racism, and other detestation is Jarrett Stepman’s essay, “‘The Very Best Form of Socialism’: The Pro-Slavery Roots of the Modern Left.” Stepman introduces three major contentions that provide evidence to expose this long-standing political shell game.
First, the antebellum proslavery school attempted to quash the individual-liberty premises of the Founders and the free-Left roots of classical liberalism. They dismissed the Founders’ embracement of John Locke’s social contract and natural rights where governing entities “grow organically out of community.” These slavery apologists claimed that the state, not the untrustworthy “people”, should be the holder and grantor of all rights.
Second, the American revolutionaries in both in the North and the South viewed slavery as a wrong, a fading wickedness, perhaps necessary in the short term, but a moral and political evil to eventually abolish. But latter-day slavers of the 1830s and beyond considered this antislavery attitude outdated. They contended that chattel slavery was a positive good, under the theory that superior people should rule (supremacism), and that it was the duty of the state to care and manage the lives of the unfit and inferior (paternalism). So, to make their case and protect the institution, the pro-slavers defended the ideological integrity of institutionalized thralldom. They defended bondage as a panacea, wherein not only would society altruistically provide for the welfare of its less fortunate and unfit members, but would place them into protective custody. The proponents of the South’s slavocracy rationalized such treatment as humane—righteously taking a stand to faithfully fulfill society’s obligation to protect and aid those unable to provide for themselves.
This theory allowed early Democrats and mostly southern plantation owners to forge a distinct division between the privileged superior and the less-privileged inferior, between the indolent and the industrious. They saw this division as a recipe for a great civilization. One man who popularized the righteousness of slavery was U.S. Senator John C. Calhoun. He believed that the superior man brought order; the inferior man instigated chaos. In fact, the proslavery doctrinaires emphasized order as being far more important than freedom, and that individual rights were not something bestowed by God or nature.
Last and most important, the guardians of slavery and early proto-socialism opposed the concept of equality framed in the Declaration of Independence. Instead of equality of opportunity or equality under the law, proslavery apostles argued that society was based on the principle of human inequality in accordance to the “new scientific” knowledge about human nature and the organization of government. In other words, political officials in government should assume the role of arbitrators in determining who or what would be free and equal. The ideals of free choice and self-ownership did not fit well with those who wanted to micromanage the personal and economic behavior of society. They viewed rights as something granted by a wise and benevolent government, who had the omniscience to care for the public good. For instance, Calhoun did not consider humans as autonomous individuals, but that “instead of being born free and equal, [people] are born subject, not only to parental authority, but to the laws and institutions of the country…” As for “political rights,” Calhoun took the position that they “derive from the collective will of the people and are not natural.”
Once this proslavery linkage to socialism had been detected, scholars could now piece together the modern Left’s nefarious past. As it turns out, historically, the roots of the slavocratic-based statist Left are traceable to the forbears of the Democratic Party, whose proponents actively supported enslavement, lynching, segregation, racism, welfarism, proto-socialism, and white supremacy before and after the American Civil War.
In fact, some refer to the Democratic Party’s long-time support of slavery and supremacy as the epitome of a “thievery society,” where the societal collectives own and control everything, even people. Such a thievery polity would bestow on governing bodies the authority to steal anything with immunity, for whatever noble or ignoble purpose. Perhaps this is why William Lloyd Garrison, the most prominent abolitionist in the United States, denounced slavery as an institution of “man-stealing,” writing: “Every slave is a stolen man; every slaveholder is a man stealer.” The concept of self-ownership, which dates from John Locke, opposes slavery, socialism, and authoritarianism, because they would inhibit or prohibit individuals from pursuing ownership of property. In this way, any Borg-like collective would have the authority, often over the wishes of individual citizens, to bar people from running their own lives as they see fit—literally making slaves of the populace.
Furthermore, it was these early Democrats who set in motion a movement to discredit the classical liberalism of the founders, abolitionists and those engaged in commercial trade. Lo and behold, the first notable public figure discovered to have heavily influenced the dissemination of proslavery ideology was John C. Calhoun, who, as a political theorist and Southern protagonist, tried to redefine “republicanism” as a species favorable to a positive view of slavery. A war hawk who agitated in Congress to declare war on Great Britain (War of 1812), Calhoun and his disciples rejected the Lockean view of the natural rights of all men, a free and open press, and free-market capitalism.
Such muddled thinking should not be surprising. Calhoun was one of the earliest Democrats, and he served under the first Democratic president, Andrew Jackson, who owned as many as 300 slaves during his lifetime. Not only did Jackson instruct the U.S. Postmaster General to obstruct antislavery literature from being delivered, but he introduced the corruptive “spoils system” to American politics. Jackson also spearheaded the Indian Removal Act of 1830 that forcibly relocated many tribes to the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), which resulted in more than 10,000 deaths. In What Hath God Wrought, historian Daniel Walker Howe wrote: “The Jacksonian movement in politics, although it took the name of the Democratic Party, fought so hard in favor of slavery and white supremacy, and opposed the inclusion of non-whites and women within the American civil polity so resolutely, that it makes the term ‘Jacksonian Democracy’ all the more inappropriate as a characterization of the years between 1815 and 1848.”
President Jackson’s influence upon the modern, statist Left is now recognized as substantial. According to Andrew Jackson’s biographer Robert V. Remini, “Jacksonian Democracy…inspired much of the dynamic and dramatic events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in American history—Populism, Progressivism, the New and Fair Deals, and the programs of the New Frontier and Great Society.” This is what historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., discovered in research for his 1945 classic, The Age of Jackson: modern liberalism’s pedigree dates back to Jackson, a main branch in the family tree of FDR’s New Deal.
But it was Calhoun who was the leading protagonist for the institution of slavery. Growing up in a household of slaves in South Carolina, Calhoun believed that slavery improved society by diminishing the potential for private gain and by nurturing civic-mindedness. In other words, Calhoun proposed that government should be the mediator in decisions over who gets rights and privileges, and who gets to wear leg irons. Under Calhoun’s political theories, the Lockean principle of the “consent of the governed” was readily dismissed, as only certain people were deemed worthy of representative self-governance. Equality could exist and be exercised, but only for those deemed worthy of being equal. It was as though inequality was the new equality, mirroring George Orwell’s allegory in Animal Farm, which, in sharp criticism of communism’s distorted claims of equality, highlights a small, elite drove of pigs who proclaim: “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This perspective illustrates the hypocrisy of governmentalists who juxtapose the inequality of the lesser citizens with the equality of the more privileged.
To the dominant slaveholders, liberty was seen as a “reward of the races or individuals properly qualified for its possession.” Under this slavery–socialism axis, individual rights did not reside within every individual. Instead, rights were reserved only for those who were regarded as “intelligent, the patriotic, the virtuous and deserving,” as claimed by Calhoun. This interpretation voided the essence of the Declaration of Independence, where the Founders affirmed that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights….”
Because Calhoun treated the conferring of individual rights as a power reserved for officials of the state, anybody could be legally downgraded to unworthiness and be subjected to governmental or private bondage and dependency. Like most proslavery adherents, Calhoun’s two main pillars with which to promote slavery were white supremacy and paternalism.
In fact, under Calhoun’s vision of governance, an individual of any race or group could be designated a slave—even unfit whites. Again, this argument was alien to the Founders, who saw slavery as a short-term necessary evil that was destined to be extinguished. Calhoun regarded the institution of slavery as not only good for the slave owner, but also for the slave. In his famous “Slavery a Positive Good” speech of 1837, Calhoun declared that slavery is “instead of an evil, a good—a positive good.” Calhoun envisioned slavery as a time-honored tradition that made society prosper and civilizations progress. In essence, if it was good enough for the Greek and Roman civilizations, it had to be a worthy institution for America.
After the Confederate States of America lost the Civil War in 1865, it was the Democratic Party who became center stage in opposing any civil rights protections for blacks. They opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which the Republican congress passed, over President Andrew Johnson’s veto. The law was simple and pertinent; it was “designed to provide blacks with the right to own private property, sign contracts, sue and serve as witnesses in a legal proceeding.”
Worse still, it was the Democratic Party which founded the Ku Klux Klan in order to keep blacks suppressed and to keep them from owning guns. According to Eric Foner, professor of history at Columbia University: “In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party, the planter class, and all those who desired the restoration of white supremacy. It aimed to destroy the Republican Party’s infrastructure, undermine the Reconstruction state, reestablish control of the black labor force, and restore racial subordination in every aspect of Southern life.”
Likewise, Allen W. Trelease, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina, documented the same offensive history, writing that during this period, “the Klan became in effect a terrorist arm of the Democratic party.”
But it was the influential George Fitzhugh who crafted the most infamous arguments to bolster slavery—proclaiming in 1854 that “Slavery is a form, and the very best form, of socialism,” and that “socialism is the new fashionable name of slavery.” Fitzhugh attempted to recast plantation life into an “agricultural collective and slavery into a benign condition” of government dependence, which prompted many Southern whites to support him.
Some of Fitzhugh’s harshest criticism was reserved for the evils of a free society. He considered free societies of open capitalism and economic mobility recipes for failure. To Fitzhugh, the capitalist, free-labor society was “diseased” in that it exploited workers.
He argued in his books and pamphlets that society required socialism and slavery so that man’s greedy human nature would be destroyed. In justifying slavery, Fitzhugh wrote: “free society is a failure. We slaveholders say you must recur to domestic slavery, the best and most common form of Socialism. The new schools of Socialism promise something better, but admit, to obtain that something, they must first destroy and eradicate man’s human nature.” In an era devoid of political correctness, Fitzhugh felt perfectly justified in affirming that slaves were better off than the free laborers in the North. He wrote: “The slaves are all well fed, well clad, have plenty of fuel, and are happy. They have no dread of the future—no fear of want.” This proud Democrat even referred to his slavery-socialist movement as communistic—writing in his second book that “Slavery is a form of communism.” Fitzhugh was also noted for fervently opposing private property.
Not only did Fitzhugh dub free society “a monstrous abortion,” but he criticized the Declaration of Independence as “exuberantly false and arborescently fallacious.” He opposed letting people handle their own affairs, and believed that people should be unequal before the law. He asserted that “the bestowing upon men equality of rights, is but giving license to the strong to oppress the weak.” Alongside his socialistic and “communist” disposition, Fitzhugh took the position that liberty and free competition encourage the “strong to master the weak” and therefore secure their success.
Not surprisingly, Abraham Lincoln abhorred Fitzhugh’s proslavery stance. And yet Fitzhugh’s first book greatly influenced Lincoln’s commitment against the institution of slavery. He found Fitzhugh’s slavery-based sociological theories horrifying in that they seemed to justify slavery in every possible way. According to Lincoln’s law partner, William Henry Herndon, Fitzhugh’s writings “aroused the ire of Lincoln more than most pro-slavery books.”
Southerners like Fitzhugh pushed the Democratic Party towards a socialist-slavery plantation society that would impose a dependency on government largesse under the shadow of paternalistic racism. His was a popular voice in justifying slavery, finding support among many politicians, slaveholders and newspapers, including the influential Richmond Enquirer.
The intellectual attack upon liberty, free-markets, and equality by Fitzhugh and the slavery proponents signaled the beginning of the Democratic Party’s anti-Founders movement to invalidate the original intent of the creators of liberalism.
In 2017 a movement emerged to demand the removal of all Confederate statues and monuments across the South, which many contend symbolize the evils of slavery, racism, and white supremacy. Good enough, but something was forgotten. Ironically, where was the outcry to sweep away the Confederate perpetrators who established, financed and fought to preserve those iron shackles of slavery? Where was the demand to depose the political party that has been synonymous with such racist, antiquated views for so long—the Democratic Party? Why aren’t the Democrats included in this noble campaign to consign race-based subjugation to the dustbin of history? This is the real atrocity: toppling the statues of racists, but not those who built them.
Historically, the Democratic Party was culpable in institutionalizing slavery, racism, white supremacy, Ku Klux Klan, segregation and Jim Crow laws. But this is not ancient history. In 2010, Hillary Clinton lavished praise on her old comrade Senator Robert C. Byrd, a recruiter for the KKK who led a filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She referred to Byrd as “my friend and mentor.”
And then there is the anti-Semite and racist bigot Louis Farrakhan, who threw his support behind the political campaigns of Barack Obama. Recently, Louis Farrakhan revealed that he and his Nation of Islam funded Barack Obama’s rise to political power. As a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobia, who once praised Adolf Hitler as a “very great man”, Farrakhan disclosed in 2016 that he supported Obama “when he was a community organizer… We backed him with money and with the help of the [Fruit of Islam] to get him elected.” Repeatedly, Democrat politicians, tainted by the legacy of slavery, racial supremacy, segregation, Jim Crow laws and involvement with the KKK, have been financed by campaign surrogates who harkened back to the old Dixie Democrat party. Imagine what would happen to any politician who took campaign money from the white supremacist, Holocaust denier and anti-Semite David Duke? Many Democrats, Progressives and Women’s March leaders in 2018 have refused or hesitated to rebuke Farrakhan’s reactionary views. The hypocrisy of Democrats who allegedly promote a no-tolerance view of bigotry is deafening. Apparently, the democrat apple does not fall far from the racial-prejudice tree.
But there is more to Farrakhan. He does not reserve his wrath only for Jews, but also takes potshots at other races. In a Reuters Television interview on October 4, 1994, Farrakhan stated: “Many of the Jews who owned the homes, the apartments in the black community, we considered them bloodsuckers… And when the Jews left, the Palestinian Arabs came, Koreans came, Vietnamese and other ethnic and racial groups came. And so this is a type, and we call them bloodsuckers.”
What all of this historical evidence confirms is that the Democratic Party has the ugliest history of any American political party. Isn’t it time to expose and take down the political party responsible for establishing the Confederacy, slavocracy, dependence, and a racist legacy, instead of just removing a few bronze statues?
Much of the material is excerpted from L.K. Samuels’ new book, Killing History: The False Left-Right Political Spectrum, which has over 1,500 footnotes. https://www.amazon.com/Killing-History-Left-Right-Political-Spectrum-ebook/dp/B07T3G3X25