Sins of the (Social Justice) Father

2 Jul

I meant to write this earlier, but I got occupied with Full Circle.

There’s a joke about a Scottish woman who paid £1000 to have someone research her family tree … and about how she had to pay another £1000 afterwards to cover it up.

It isn’t very funny, is it? I don’t think Ben Affleck finds it very funny either. He’s the actor who pressured an academic into covering up part of his family tree, including the fact that two of his ancestors were slave-owners.

I confess, the first time I heard of this particular incident, my inclination was to shake my head. I don’t know much about Ben Affleck, beyond the fact he’s an actor who campaigns for the Democratic Party and claims to be a mild liberal, but this made me roll my eyes. How exactly is this Affleck’s fault?

According to Wikipedia, Affleck was born in 1972. How exactly is he responsible for the sins of his ancestors? I’m pretty sure that there aren’t ‘many’ people out there who don’t have something embarrassing, disquieting or just plain weird in their family trees, if someone looks back far enough. Our ancestors accepted a great many things as normal that we now see as repulsive. Is there anyone willing to take the chance that their ancestors were without modern-day sin? Or to start throwing stones when said stones could easily be thrown at them?

So, why exactly should Affleck want to cover this up?

Call me a cynic, but I think it may have something to do with social justice.

The overall curse of ‘social justice’ is that you cannot escape either your society or your past. Social Justice Warriors blame the white man for every little injustice, past and present, in the world – not individual monsters, not people who didn’t know any better, but white men who are alive and well today. There is no logic whatsoever in attacking Affleck because a couple of his relatives traded in slaves, but would someone care to lay odds on it not happening? SJWs turn on their own at the drop of a hat.

This is absurd, of course. Affleck is not responsible for the crimes of his ancestors, any more than I am responsible for mine. It spits in the face of justice to suggest otherwise. But SJWs aren’t about justice, but revenge. Punishing the descendents of slavers – or people who merely share a gender and skin colour – only makes sense if you assume that ancestors are inseparable from their descendents.

And really, what sort of sense does that make?

If I’m being forced to be honest, I don’t really have much respect for Affleck. I don’t really approve of celebrities involving themselves in political matters. No matter how good an actor someone is, that doesn’t automatically qualify them to offer political advice. Nor do I approve of pre-emptively trying to duck the blame for daring to have unfortunate ancestors. But blaming Affleck for his ancestors is just pointless. So was trying to hide them.

Affleck is not responsible for their crimes. And if anyone claimed otherwise, he could have challenged them and demanded to know why it was his fault. Because such arguments simply don’t hold water when exposed to the cold light of day.

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9 Responses to “Sins of the (Social Justice) Father”

  1. R Godfrey July 2, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    I don’t approve of corporate interest getting involved in politics, getting both groups out would be good I believe. He also has nothing to be ashamed of, however not liking your ancestors is a natural reaction for finding out some of them where scum.

  2. Anarchymedes July 2, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

    All these Social Justice Warriors try to achieve is distance themselves from what they’ve been told is evil. Many of those who rant about white people’s guilt and responsibility are themselves white, but would like to be considered ‘good’ white people (by whom?)
    Plus, I’ve known quite a few who maintain the belief that everything (and I mean, everything!) a person is comes from his/her genes. Hell, every time my mum saw me with a new girl her first question was, ‘who are her parents?’ (And in 90% of cases I had no idea because I wasn’t interested in the parents 🙂 ). On the other hand, if we were to take the idea of the descendants and the ancestors being entirely different, how does it fit with the very concept of aristocracy? Hint: personally, I’ve never taken this Noble Birth business seriously; as far as I’m concerned, if there is such a thing as nobility, it’s in the heart and mind, and never in the blood (or any other bodily fund 🙂 ).
    And finally, if I had £2000 to burn, I’d rather spend them, say, on travel, or getting myself a fancier computer. A costly obsession, the family tree and it’s dark secrets.

  3. Lodrik July 3, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    sorry to spoil the mod but i am german so my perspective tends to differ…
    first of all: people judge. Its a spimple fact. They are stupid and have no idea what they are talking about but it makes them feel superior.
    the idiots hear something and take it as a fact. Namibia was a german colony and they have a Adolf Hitler street and believe germany sees him as a hero. Thats not a joke, my sister had a student exchange and spend a year over there (of course not everyone is that stupid but the 14 year old son in the family believed it)
    you hear bad talk about germanys past pritty much wherever you go from youngsters

    i dont blame them. Many people try to hide this but my grandmas generation was rasistic. They are now ~80 years old and had the early years under the Nazi regime, so they dislike handicapped persons, jews, (sinti and) romanies, gay people, the list goes on…
    Its not like they tried to teach us that, i believe they understood the reasons behind that hate but everyone lost something in the war and the regime told them what to hate so they did. But they didnt let it consume them for my grandma was a doctor and didnt turn anyone away.

    in the end its a matter of responsibility. Germany did that, many people went to prison and we paid so survivors had the chance to start anew (we still pay nowdays).

    I rather regret the dark parts country and people try to hide, for thats what i’m ashamed of: to hide the mistakes we made for the victims deserve an apology!

    • Dennis the Menace July 8, 2015 at 12:17 am #

      Germany and Germans will be blamed for the next thousand years for the Holocaust and the Third Reich. It isn’t rational, but it is human nature.

  4. Joe Thornton July 3, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

    It seems to be an issue of entitlement. Sort of your great great etc forefathers were bad to mine so you you owe me an apology. You are right it has nothing to do with justice. My great grandfather fought in the US civil war on the side of the Union. I had others that fought in the Revolutionary war. I’m sure if I look hard enough, I can find ancestors that fought or did bad things. That does not make it my fault. We need to get beyond this, because all it does is keep racism stirred up.

    • Lodrik July 5, 2015 at 12:42 am #

      i dont owe you the apology, the victims deserve it.

      We need to remember the mistakes we made and lets just reffer to the African-American Civil Rights Movement. We are not simply talking about the past for most problems from your ancestors fights and bad deeds helped to create this world…

  5. Duncan Cairncross July 7, 2015 at 9:36 am #

    There are two parts

    (1) Somebody was treated badly (enslaved, stolen from….)
    And they are long dead – nothing can be done either to or for the victim or villain

    (2) Somebody NOW is suffering because of how their ancestors were treated

    The ancient Romans introduced the idea of a “Statute of Limitations”
    Because trying to fix (2) by repairing (1) just causes more problems

    (1) is dead – bury it!

    (2) Needs to be fixed – but it’s no good looking for descendants of the victims
    You should instead look for people who are suffering – and fix that

    The US example
    The USA owes a huge amount to the people it enslaved – but they are all dead
    Instead it should spend a similar amount (Trillions??) on its poor
    All of them black and white

    • Dennis the Menace July 8, 2015 at 12:19 am #

      “The USA owes a huge amount to the people it enslaved – but they are all dead”

      Awwwww…that is rather generous of you, Duncan. Based upon many of your prior writings on here, I would have pegged you for a “Hate America 24/7 — Always!” type, instead.

  6. Dennis the Menace July 8, 2015 at 12:14 am #

    “But blaming Affleck for his ancestors is just pointless. So was trying to hide them.”

    Not the the Left, who Affleck feels he can not afford to offend. So, he is only being rational.

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