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Misplaced blame

Using 1619 for propaganda in 2020

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Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has also been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books: His latest is Abortion at the Crossroads. Marvin resides with his wife, Susan, in Austin, Texas.



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Just Me 999

One of your best articles Marvin.

We need to have an understanding of capitalism, an appreciation for it and perhaps a little horror of it as well.

Capitalism is simply the ability for the individual to have self expression based on their ability to develop commerce - kind of a natural consequence of the American emphasis on individual liberty and self expression. We should appreciate the fact that it is not based on pedigree, title or any other factor but simply on the individuals ability to develop commerce and rewards them for it. This is the way that it is superior to other forms of economies such as communism or solcialism.

However, we also need to understand that capitalism has also been very twisted at times in our own history - exploitation of many ethnic groups, yes including the African Americans but MANY other groups including the Chinese railroad workers, the slave ships that brought indentured "enslaved" servants from Ireland/Scotland, the Italians, Polish, Mexican farms laborers, etc. We need to have a broad and balanced view of capitalism - that like many of man's other systems has its merits and failures.

One thing that this country needs to get better at is its understanding of itself. One-half and two-thirds of white immigrants to the American colonies between the 1630s and late 1700s came under indentures. Indentured servants could not marry without the permission of their master, were sometimes subject to brutal physical punishment and did not receive legal status from the courts. As the demand for cheap labor grew the colonies realized the problems of indentured servitude and landowners turned to African slaves as a more profitable and ever-renewable source of labor and the shift from indentured servants to racial slavery began. Recent research has shown that most enslaved persons in the Americas before 1700 were Indians.The push for cheap labor has extracted a large toll on American society. Just ask the Chinese railroad "workers".