Roper: Should Vermonters pay reparations for slavery?

By Rob Roper

In addition to doubling your taxes on home heating fuels ($14 million), forcing you to pay a new payroll tax (over $100 million), covering increased costs brought about by a $15 minimum wage, presumably paying some new tax to cover lake clean up ($50 million?), and picking up host of new fee increases, there’s something else our legislators want you to dig deep into your wallets for: paying reparations for slavery.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Yup. The bill is H.478, and it’s stated purpose is the following: “Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans. … This bill proposes to establish a task force to: (1) study and consider a State apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery; and (2) make recommendations to the General Assembly on appropriate remedies.”

Really? Is this what you elected your state representatives to travel to Montpelier along our crumbling roads each day to do on your behalf?

First of all, it would be impossible to ever truly compensate for the inhumanity of slavery. And how could you ever find a just and fair way to do so today when nobody involved in the transaction has ever owned a slave or ever been a slave?

But, as long as the issue of what to do about this awful part of our history is up for discussion, perhaps Frederick Douglass, a former slave who escaped to become an international figure in the abolitionist movement, had the answer way back in 1865.

Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, ‘What shall we do with the Negro?’ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner-table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot-box, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone,—your interference is doing him a positive injury. (What the Black Man Wants, 1865)

Well-meaning politicians in the modern era have presided over the destruction of the African-American family, too many African-American children trapped in failing public schools, and disproportionate unemployment and incarceration rates. These results are not the product of inactive, uncaring government, but rather incompetent government “here to help.” These are the results of affirmative action programs, welfare, the public school system, minimum wage laws, etc. What Douglass said over 150 years ago is just as true today: Your interference is doing a positive injury. So, stop interfering.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

22 thoughts on “Roper: Should Vermonters pay reparations for slavery?

  1. I saw a Negro here in Vermont last week, & think I might have seen one a week or two before that. Neither one seemed particularly debilitated due to the treatment of their great great great great great grandfather.

    • Go to Brattleboro, many there, being close to MA, merely just noticing. I’ve been around Blacks a lot, nice people.

      When in High School in Spfld VT, 1957 there was a Black, Ozzie Sweet that played for BFA in St Alban’s basketball. He was quite a player. The only one I knew.

      When I went into the Air Force in 1959, to Texas, it was total separation of the races. Black and White this and that (rest rooms, drinking fountains, et al). It surprised me, was a VT virgin to all that south stuff. Drive thru Arkansas, definite different housing areas. Picking cotton was the harvesting means. The AF certainly integrated us.

      Times have changed. Am in AL this winter, in the south and you can imagine. They have nice food.

  2. I just can’t believe our legislature. Where do these people come up with all these stupid ideas. It’s unbelievable on what is coming out of Montpelier. Now they want us to pay retribution for slavery. Are they insane?
    These people need to go and fast. I hope 2020 offers some hope in the insanity.

    • They are DNC lemmings. If you follow what is said in Washington, the next day Leahy, Welch and Sanders spew the same thing, nobody questions them they get free press releases run as news.

      Vermont having pretty much complete “press” control is great for feeding the masses “news” which really amounts to garbage and propaganda.

      Our legislature is completely controlled by the DNC, they do everything requested, they are very, very good foot soldiers. Not sure what happened to the Kennedy democrats, they seem to be going extinct in our state, we only have “progressives” now.

  3. This has nothing to do with justice. I am not guilty of my fathers crime, nor is my father guilty of my crime. You can not penalize somebody for something they did not do, nor is it just to reward somebody for something they did not experience. This is solely a DNC mission to buy votes and divide our country yet again, something they are extremely good at. The Progessives in Montpelier are totally owned by lobbyists and the DNC, can they even think for themselves?

  4. If I’m not mistaken, Vermont was one of the key players in the underground rail road. That should count for something.

  5. Our elected leaders have lost their senses, just what in H are they thinking? They truly need to be run out of Montpelier.

  6. Such efforts create resentment, and rub salt gratuitously in race relations. A handful of 21st century carpetbaggers think they’ve found a meal ticket in naive, white bread Vermont, where people are too PC to talk truth. Mr. Roper merits credit for taking on the issue while Legislators freeze in the race-card headlights.

  7. Before you start the Obama type apology tour and throw OUR tax dollars at it, see if you can stop the slavery in other parts of the world first. If you think that we have an immigration emergency now, wait until the African Americans in other countries sneak into OUR country to collect those reparation payments.

  8. Vermont had absolutely no control over the states that allowed slavery and Vermont abolished slavery as soon as it became a state.
    Does Vermont have so much money it just thinks of ways to spend it?
    Reparations for Native Americans would make a lot more sense- at least they occupied all of what was to become Vermont.

    A couple suggestions to raise this money- 1) pledge all excess money in the teacher retirement fund for reparations; 2) have this House committee start a Go Fund Me page

  9. From my cold dead hands.
    Vt was part of the Underground railroad to help the escaping slaves. But that doesn’t count. To me this crapology just inflames racial rhetoric and H478 is an example and the sponsors of that crap are promoting strife. This is not “Feel Good Legislation” a complete waste of time. These sponsors need to go and shovel snow or s—t to do something worthwhile. They got paid salary and per diem for this? The sponsors, note Cina has his fingers in a lot of crap legislation:

    House Committee on Government Operations
    Rep. Brian Cina
    Rep. Kevin Christie
    Rep. Selene Colburn
    Rep. Harold “Hal” Colston
    Rep. Mari Cordes
    Rep. Diana Gonzalez

    As others said and alluded to , if a resident of VT, YOU ARE A SLAVE! This is a short list of your Masters,

    • We are truly indentured servants, the legislative body has “contracted” us to work for the teachers union, they have enslaved future generations of Vermonters to pay for a retirement plan we currently can not afford, and will only get worse in the future. We the people did not sign any contract….they can’t enslave us.

      This working for the lobbyist has to stop.

    • Thanks for the list of names. I will be e-mailing them about this ridiculous proposal. You are absolutely right about the promotion of racial rhetoric and strife that this type of legislation promotes. Dangerous stuff. ( Where is the Black population in Vermont anyway? I just moved here from Maryland, am I missing something?)

  10. I was a slave for 4 years in the military. What is the reparation they want to give me? Not to mention the slavery we are in now with taxes for the liberals to take and spend for votes.

    • Edward, I was a “slave” also in the AF 1959-1962. Hated the officers like crazy (which most were) but looking back now and my still existing buddies agree, it formed the mental being for values and survival. I experienced stuff with KC-135 & B-52’s that is a rare wondrous time that very few experience. We protected the country, and now VT and the VA is pissing on us. I have many stories, articles and experiences.

  11. Vermont already did at Lee’s mills, Petersburg, Gettysburg, The Wilderness in lives and failed farms with the men gone of the Vermonters that didn’t come back.

  12. So do we go after the relatives of the 3000 blacks that WERE slave owners to the tune of 30000 plus? how bout the relatives of the three Indian tribes that owned slaves?

  13. Leftarded fascist want to pay reparations then they can pony up. Myself and the sane left in this state have seen 20 plus trillion pizzed away by national leftards in the name of the “Great Society” that’s all the reparations they are gonna get.
    Any black or leftard who feels reparation is need can move to Liberia which was
    the reparation afforded the newly freed slaves, who were freed on the blood
    of WHITE VERMONTERS… these bastards want to steal my heat (carbon taxation without representation) and then make me pay for ingrates who don’t appreciate living in the USA’s getting time for a shooting revolution . there’s no blacks alive that were slaves no reparations needed.

  14. I agree with your article. Reparations for slavery, make no sense and would be impossible to implement. If we listen to, and ponder, Douglass’s words, “your interference is doing us a positive injury”, we can see how the passing of H478 would be yet, another detriment, in the governments attempt to “fix things”. I agree with Douglass, Just leave people alone! Protect our rights that’s all we ask of the government. ( What knuckle-head down there at the State House proposed this bill anyway? ) Wish we could get Fredrick Douglas’s take on this. He’s reply would most likely be filled with wisdom (and humor). Thanks for including the link, it was great fun reading Douglas’s speech “What the Black Man Wants”.

  15. Bill H.478, and it’s stated purpose is the following: “Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans ” ………….. Where do we get these legislators !!

    My God, with all the issues within the State ” Debt, Taxes, Drugs, Jobs this is what they find time
    to write…… Give me a break.

    Were Blacks treated bad years ago, yes? If you want to feel good about yourself, how about ‘Reparation ” for the ” Native Americans ” in case you forgot, this is there Land !!!!!

    Legislators that write these bills ” Flatlanders ” with nothing better to do…. what a shame !!

    • Vermont and California have turned into the armpits of America.
      As a Vermonter, I am ashamed for the bad rap and association with Bernie Sanders.

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