Walter E. Williams

Few Americans have heard of the National Slave Memorial Act (HR 196) that proposes to erect a National Slave Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Last year, Sen. Trent Lott made this suggestion whilst groveling at the feet of black politicians and civil rights activists after his remarks supporting the 1948 presidency of then-segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond. Since then, a few Republicans have joined with Democrats to co-sponsor the National Slave Memorial Act.

Supporters say the National Slave Memorial Act will begin the racial "reconciliation" and "healing" process. It's amazing how people can say this with straight faces and believe it.

We've heard this claim as justification for one government program or another, most recently being former President Clinton's "Race Initiative." How much healing and reconciliation did it produce? It simply produced a forum for charlatans, demagogues and race hustlers. If a slave memorial is built on the National Mall, it will simply become a media backdrop for the likes of race hustlers like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Black Congressional Caucus to spew their anti-American venom and call for quotas and reparations for slavery.

There's no way the National Slave Memorial Act could become law without the assistance of useful idiots in the Republican Party. You'll recall that "useful idiots" was a term coined by Lenin to describe mindless Western do-gooders who were helpful to communists but nonetheless detested. Republicans can't believe that their support for the National Slave Memorial Act will deliver them more black votes and greater acceptance by the Democrats; that's assuming Republicans have a modicum of good sense. The only other reason why they might support the act is to assuage their feelings of guilt for the injustices of slavery that made a mockery of the values expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Guilt is one of the worse human motivations. It promotes self-serving actions, while ignoring or discounting the effects of those actions on the object of the guilt. I recall my first year as an assistant professor of economics at Temple University in 1973. Black students had demanded that a course in "black economics" be taught. What's worse is that some of my colleagues were giving the demand serious thought.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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