Should Vermonters Pay Reparations for Slavery?

March 26, 2019

by Rob Roper

In addition to doubling your taxes on home heating fuels ($14 million), forcing you to pay a new payroll tax (over $100 million) and to cover  the increased costs brought about by a $15 minimum wage, as well as presumably pay some new tax to cover lake clean up ($50 million?) and pick up host of new fee increases, there’s something else our legislators want you to dig deep into your wallets for: paying reparations for slavery.

Frederick Douglass

Yup. The bill is H.478, and it’s stated purpose is to, “Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans… This bill proposes to establish a task force to: (1) study and consider a State apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery; and (2) make recommendations to the General Assembly on appropriate remedies.” Really? Is this what you elected your state representatives to travel to Montpelier along our crumbling roads each day to do on your behalf?

First of all, it would be impossible to ever truly compensate for the inhumanity of slavery. And how could you ever find a just and fair way to do so today when nobody involved in the transaction has ever owned a slave or ever been a slave? But, as long as the issue of what to do about this awful part of our history is up for discussion, perhaps Frederick Douglass, a former slave who escaped to become an international figure in the abolitionist movement, had the answer way back in 1865.

Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, “What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner-table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot-box, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone,—your interference is doing him a positive injury.” (What the Black Man Wants, 1865)

Well-meaning politicians in the modern era have presided over the destruction of the African-American family, too many African-American children trapped in failing public schools, disproportionate unemployment and incarceration rates…. These results are not the product of inactive, uncaring government, but rather incompetent government “here to help.” These are the results of affirmative action programs, welfare, the public school system, minimum wage laws, etc. What Douglass said over 150 years ago is just as true today: your interference is doing a positive injury. So, stop interfering.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

John Paro March 26, 2019 at 1:32 pm

NO this is a total waste of my/our tax dollars. Not one former slave would ever benefit. Why do this when we really could use our tax dollars to fix our roads and bridges. Stupid idea!


LauraLee A.Bushey March 26, 2019 at 10:00 pm

ARE they off their everloving toadstool smoking minds !?!
HOW many “reparation” DOLLARs is anyone backing this idea willing to count towards loss of income reparation funds to (publicly known) white abolitionist families for what they lost in trade profits not earned for their support of the abolitionist activity .. OR … Loss of LIFE of white family burned to death in their home(s) for aiding the “negroes” = used as a term of the era.

Any of the buffoons proposing this capable of INSTANTLY naming 5 OR MORE “railroad safehouse locations enroute to Canada. This SHIT should FLY.. UNLSS AGAINST A FAN. Kiss MY BLOOMERZ !!!


LauraLee A. Bushey March 26, 2019 at 11:05 pm

S H A M E on THE WHOLE BUNCH of you for stirring No-Good trouble that can only be healed … NOT bought off


Thomas Rood March 26, 2019 at 11:15 pm

This is proof that legislators have waaaay too much time on their hands in Montpelier. What in hell is wrong with those elected officials?

What is wrong with those who elected them???


Robert March 27, 2019 at 1:18 am

For the far-left Legislature, its virtue-signaling is worth every dollar it takes from the middle class.


Gary March 27, 2019 at 12:23 pm

1st off, since it’s begining, It has been against Vermont Law to OWN a Slave, therefore, We (Vermont) Never had slaves thus what do we Owe for?

P.S. I think I should be paid for the suffering my Great… Great…. (ect) Grandpa went thru after getting shot while fighting to free the slaves.


Mike King March 27, 2019 at 8:46 pm

Are they clueless about Vermont History? We outlawed slavery in 1777 for adults.
Slavery was not a wide spread problem here, in fact African Americans could own land, vote, and hold public office before the civil war here in Vermont. We didn’t even support the Fugitive Slave Act of 1777.


Guido March 29, 2019 at 10:26 pm

NOT all the NUT CASES are in the Funny Farm, A LOT of them are Trying to run the State into Bankruptcy . Our Politicians in MontPECULIAR Have S–T for Brains.


Guido March 29, 2019 at 10:29 pm

The IDIOTS in MONTPECULIAR are trying to Bankrupt our State. Will the Last one to LEAVE, leave a light on


William Hays March 30, 2019 at 3:03 pm

If the IDIOTS in Montpeculiar leave the state, do make sure they leave the lights on. The lights might be dim, with the closing of Vermont Yankee, but I hope they will take all their silly wind generators and solar panels with them. We an, no longer, afford to subsidize these abominations, no matter how good they make the Green Weenies feel. BTW, is it possible to reserect VTY as a ‘Gen-4’ nuclear power plant?


Carol DeFreitas March 31, 2019 at 5:53 pm

They don’t call it ‘Mont Peculiar’ for nothing. Maybe Vermont should be asking reparation for all the Vermonters who fought and died during the Civil War. Would certainly help Vermont coffers more than the proposed bill for reparation.


Jeanne C Vittorioso March 30, 2019 at 12:44 pm

No. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. Are lawmakers so bored they spend time trying to think things up for pilfering more money out of the state’s residents? Give it a rest and just concentrate on the necessary issues beneficial for the people. Please!


Jeanne C Vittorioso March 30, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Also, funny thing is, all the “no” comments about the issues presented in this site seem to make no difference. The minimum wage is increased anyway; the carbon tax is going through anyway. Regardless of what any of us say. But, we have to try, right? We just keep paying more “taxes” that go who knows where.


mike March 30, 2019 at 5:33 pm

If memory serves me correctly, Vermont was a major player in the Underground Railroad and doesn’t owe anybody anything.


Diana Mara Henry March 31, 2019 at 2:04 am

What a great quote! Thank you for the history!


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