The High Cost Of Progressive Indulgences
You saw that the Church of England (that's Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, above) is now planning a big reparations payout over its supposed involvement with the slave trade?
Sebastian Milbank read the fine print in the C of E report, and explains that the links to the slave trade are rather minor:
Even the authors of the report are forced to admit that “the research shows that Queen Anne’s Bounty did not benefit from any capital appreciation on the South Sea Company Annuities over the period it held these investments” (no kidding), but the report insists on claiming that “This income [the dividends from the South Sea investment] helped Queen Anne’s Bounty fulfil its purpose of supplementing the income of poorer clergy, and was likely reinvested, contributing to the overall accumulation of Queen Anne’s Bounty’s wealth”.
This is an economically illiterate argument — if capital does not increase in value, then you have not profited from its dividends; you have merely robbed Peter in order to pay Paul less. It only makes sense if the argument is not actually about material gain from the slave trade, but instead about an idea of moral contamination. This serves to explain the mournful (and hopelessly vague) claim that follows: “Many of the individual benefactors were, or may have been, linked to transatlantic chattel slavery (for example, Edward Colston was a benefactor) and so to some extent their benefactions may have been derived from the profits of transatlantic slavery or the plantation economy
Because three hundred years ago money was invested on the Church’s behalf in a sinful enterprise, or because three hundred years ago wicked men with dirty money gave it as charitable donations to the Church, today modern, progressively-minded Anglican clergy and administrators feel themselves to be sullied. They quite welcome this realisation, one suspects, because it gives them an opportunity to lavishly involve themselves in a very fashionable cause célèbre — America’s “racial reckoning” following the killing of George Floyd by the police.
The Rev. Daniel French, an Anglican parish priest, has pointed out that this is not going to go over well with the shrinking number of laity in the church, who are seeing parishes closed for lack of funds. Father French is not the only one who noticed:
The Revd Marcus Walker and others have already pointed out the irresponsibility and cruelty of spending this much money — money carefully entrusted for the purpose of maintaining Christian worship in this country — when parishes are being shut down, losing priests, and Christianity in Britain is itself under threat.
Of course this is entirely about the progressive leadership class in the failing Church of England trying to virtue-signal and claim its own role in the great drama of "racial reckoning." Nobody outside those posh and coddled circles is fooled.
Meanwhile, the agonizingly progressive city of San Francisco is now considering a plan to award longtime black residents $5 million each in reparations, even though California was not a slave state. It's the chic progressive thing to do. If only 10,000 San Franciscans qualify and apply for the plan, it will cost the city $50 billion. More:
To be eligible for the program, the applicant must be 18 years old and have identified as Black or African American on public documents for at least 10 years. They must also prove at least two of eight additional criteria, choosing from a list that includes, "Born in San Francisco between 1940 and 1996 and has proof of residency in San Francisco for at least 13 years," and/or, "Personally, or the direct descendant of someone, incarcerated by the failed War on Drugs."
The plan also calls on the city to supplement lower-income recipients’ income to reflect the Area Median Income (AMI), about $97,000, annually for at least 250 years.
"Racial disparities across all metrics have led to a significant racial wealth gap in the City of San Francisco," it argues. "By elevating income to match AMI, Black people can better afford housing and achieve a better quality of life."
The plan also seeks to establish "a comprehensive debt forgiveness program" that clears each eligible person’s student and housing loans, credit card debt, etc.
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Well. Thirty-five percent of the San Francisco population are Asian. Fifteen percent of the San Francisco population are Latino. That means half of the city had no conceivable link to white supremacy. You think those taxpayers are going to be excited about this massive transfer of wealth to black residents who were not enslaved, and whose claim to the fortune could lie in the fact that they or their parent or grandparent were once jailed on drug charges?
The city's entire budget for last year was $14 billion. Think about that. San Francisco is a city that cannot get a handle on its grotesque homeless problem, or its spiraling crime problem, or its debilitating affordable housing crisis. But it is considering this plan, which the head of the city's governing body says he hopes passes.
What a shakedown! Progressives trying to buy indulgences for the supposed sins of their ancestors. Good luck trying to convince those Asians and Latinos (to say nothing of poor and working class whites) that they need to pay higher taxes and/or do with worse city services for the sake of funding progressive virtue.