A Modest Proposal
I suggest that whenever a murderer is executed in the United States, that his or her offspring (whether juvenile or adult) be put to death as well.
Some may think this is a drastic proposal, but it is certainly in keeping with mainstream liberal thought. Robert Jensen writes today
:One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.
Why does Professor Jenkins feel this way?But in the United States, this reluctance to acknowledge our original sin -- the genocide of indigenous people -- is of special importance today. It's now routine -- even among conservative commentators -- to describe the United States as an empire, so long as everyone understands we are an inherently benevolent one. Because all our history contradicts that claim, history must be twisted and tortured to serve the purposes of the powerful.
One vehicle for taming history is various patriotic holidays, with Thanksgiving at the heart of U.S. myth-building. From an early age, we Americans hear a story about the hearty Pilgrims, whose search for freedom took them from England to Massachusetts. There, aided by the friendly Wampanoag Indians, they survived in a new and harsh environment, leading to a harvest feast in 1621 following the Pilgrims first winter.
Some aspects of the conventional story are true enough. But it's also true that by 1637 Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop was proclaiming a thanksgiving for the successful massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, part of the long and bloody process of opening up additional land to the English invaders. The pattern would repeat itself across the continent until between 95 and 99 percent of American Indians had been exterminated and the rest were left to assimilate into white society or die off on reservations, out of the view of polite society.
Clearly Professor Jenkins believes in the concept of guilt for the sins of our ancestors, if he thinks that we should all atone for them. Never mind that my ancestors didn't do anything to the Indians, as they were all still in Europe until the 1890s at the earliest. None of my grandparents were born in the United States, they were all immigrants.
But leaving that problem out of it, this misconception about guilt handed down from generation to generation underlies a lot of the foolishness among the Left--from reparations for slavery to the Aztlan nonsense to support for the Palestinians to Affirmative Action. But if liberals want to take this concept to its logical extreme, then they should support capital punishment for the children of murderers. Or, at least, life imprisonment.