Very seldom in my research do I stumble across an article as thought-provoking as this one that I found in the New York Review yesterday. It is additionally one of the better written pieces I’ve read lately, and thus doesn’t lend itself to summation and quote snippets. You really need to read the whole thing if you’re looking for a topic that just might shake you to your core as this one did for me.
Trust me, I have enough to ponder, and wasn’t out for it, but there it was telling me that early Universities took advantage of the slave trade in colonial America in order to fund their activities outside of the monarchy in similar fashion of rum running and other contraband peddling – the kind of stuff I didn’t really want to hear.
I suppose in some way I needed to hear it because I haven’t been listening to the complaints of others when they claim that the enlightenment, American Revolution, and US Constitution weren’t intended for them. But it’s even worse than that. Most of these ideas originated with the educated class who funded nearly everything did at the expense of the freedom of others, likely one of the most profound ironies in the history of man. I honestly didn’t really “get it” until I read this article because I didn’t want to “get it.” The part about the even Jesuits funding their higher education activities in similar manner was horrifying and hard to get past.
At this point in time, I’ve been thrust into a philosophical neither world with all of these pieces of history that are impossible to square, and Madison and Jefferson looking like sad, sorry and very little men, well up to their petards beyond doing a little evil to do a lot of good. I think the only comfort there is in all of this is that they did recognize their own hypocrisy as well as their condition of being so far ingrained in it as to be beyond extrication.
It’s really awful. All of it.