On February 9, the US Justice Department announced that US President Joe Biden, as in so many other areas, intends to serve Donald Trump’s second term when it comes to persecuting heroes guilty of exposing US war crimes and embarrassing American politicians.
After “Don’t blame the victim,” the second-most obvious maxim for blame is, “Only blame the perpetrators.” Precisely who, though, are the “perpetrators”? Another deep criticism of my approach is that I blame too narrowly. Instead of concentrating blame on specific wrong-doers, we should blame large swaths of society – or even whole countries.
This episode features a lecture by historian Jim Powell from 2011. For thousands of years, slavery went unchallenged in principle. Then in a single century, slavery was abolished and more than seven million slaves were freed throughout the Western hemisphere. The scope and speed of this transformation make it one of the most amazing feats in modern history. Powell concisely illuminates the beginnings of the abolitionist movement, then proceeds through the processes, the battles, the final victory of emancipation, and the incredible impact of its aftermath. Ultimately, Powell argues, the more violence was involved in the emancipation process, the worse the outcomes were, making a provocative case for peaceful antislavery struggles.