Thomas Sowell

Today, whole classes of people get their jollies and puff themselves up by denigrating and denouncing American society. Such people are a major influence in our media, in our educational system and among all sorts of vocal activists. Nothing illustrates their power to distort reality like the way they seize upon slavery to denounce American society.

Slavery was cancerous but does anybody regard cancer in the United States as an evil peculiar to American society? It is a worldwide affliction and so was slavery. Both the enslavers and the enslaved have included people on every inhabited continent -- people of every race, color, and creed. More Europeans were enslaved and taken to North Africa by Barbary Coast pirates alone than there were African slaves taken to the United States and to the colonies from which it was formed.

Yet throughout our educational system, our media, and in politics, slavery is incessantly presented as if it were something peculiar to black and white Americans. What was peculiar about the United States was that it was the first country in which slavery was under attack from the moment the country was created.

What was peculiar about Western civilization was that it was the first civilization to destroy slavery, not only within its own countries but in other countries around the world as well.

Reality has been stood on its head so that a relative handful of people can feel puffed up or gain notoriety and power. Whatever they gain, the rest of us have everything to lose.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate