by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Reparations are an ethical disaster. Proceeding from a doctrine of collective guilt, they are the penalty for sins of which hardly anyone living stands accused. An offense against common sense as well as morality, reparations would take from Bubba and give to Barack, never mind if the former is an insolvent methamphetamine addict or the latter a dweller in near-pharaonic splendor. That reparations are a hopeless cause, supported by only a quarter of Americans, makes them more of an affront to reason rather than less, for it illustrates the enthusiasm with which Democratic politicians will bang their heads against the wall in an attempt to purchase votes.
Even in pragmatic terms, reparations fail. As Michael Tanner argued on NRO last month, the real-world difficulties that would attend such payments “are obvious enough to suggest that the sudden support for reparations amounts to little more than pandering.” …
… These are powerful objections, and the case against reparations could easily prevail on their strength alone. Yet they are not the only flaws in the reparations scheme and are, in fact, subordinate to a more fundamental blemish. Even if the practical defects of the project could be overcome, reparations simply wouldn’t work. They would not make atonement. They would neither settle nor soothe. In short, they would fulfill none of the promises explicit in the language of their proponents.