“If anyone sins and commits a breach of faith against the Lord by deceiving his neighbor in a matter of deposit or security, or through robbery, or if he has oppressed his neighbor or has found something lost and lied about it, swearing falsely–in any of all the things that people do and sin thereby if he has sinned and has realized his guilt and will restore what he took by robbery or what he got by oppression or the deposit that was committed to him or the lost thing that he found or anything about which he has sworn falsely, he shall restore it in full and shall add a fifth to it, and give it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt.” Leviticus 6:2-5. “…if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die.” Ezekiel 33:15. “And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham’.” Luke 19:8.
Those passages are a few Biblical admonitions and examples about restitution, or restoring what has been taken via deception, theft and extortion. A few observations are in order before introducing the perversion of this concept. 1. All of the passages assume, take for granted, that individuals own property. After all, how can something be stolen if it is not owned by someone. There are many other passages that also consider a person’s labor to be in the same category as property, and withholding wages unjustly to be a form of theft. 2. Taking of property by deception, lying (both by commission and omission), extortion or oppression is all treated the same way. 3. The prescription is restoring what was taken, plus a fifth more. A prescription to restore presupposes an authority to enforce it, either the individual’s own conscience or an external authority. The Old Testament passages are commanding restitution, the New Testament is showing voluntary restitution, over and above the OT standard, as an evidence of salvation. 4. The person who actually took is restoring to the person they took from. If the thief has died before restoring, there are other passages that show that his surviving spouse should restore, or if there is no spouse his estate may restore.
This concept is very simple: Person 1 took property or labor from person 2 without proper recompense; person 1 or his or her spouse or his or her estate must restore person 2 (or by direct implication, his spouse or survivors) to wholeness, plus extra. I think the justice of this formula is evident. The concept of reparations as it is suggested or demanded today is NOT restitution, it is theft. Slavery and plundering is obviously theft of an individual’s labor or property, so conditions 1 and 2 of the principle of restitution are there. Those conditions define the crime or the sin. Present day demands for reparations lack conditions 3 and 4, which are the corrections for the crime or sin. The most prominent current example of reparations is slavery and defrauding of Americans of African descent. Ta-Nehisi Coates, I will use his initials TNC for a shorthand, is probably the foremost American proponent for reparations today. I have written previously, in some detail, about his arguments. They are great when defining the crime, much less so when proposing solutions.
Predictably, whenever the demands for justice include dividing the spoils of the supposed “ill gotten gains”—in the case of reparations, the wealth of white Americans living today—the claims will spread, the victims of past injustices will multiply like a bacterium, and the connection between the past injustices and the present potential gravy train will become increasingly tenuous. As if to prove my hypothesis, into the fray leaps Suketu Mehta, NYU journalism professor and author of This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto, which argues that immigration is the most effective form of reparations! To underscore my case, with an emphasis on the word tenuous, he tells this story to justify his thesis: ” An Englishman in London asks my grandfather why he is in his country, and my grandfather, who came from a business family, said, because we are the creditors, because you came to my country. You took all my gold and my diamonds. You prevented our industry from growing, so we have come here to collect. We are here because you were there.”
Steve Sailer, over at Takimag, clarifies: He’s (Mehta) been living in the United States of America since his Gujarati diamond-merchant family arrived in Queens in 1977. As he sums up his manifesto: “I claim the right to the United States, for myself and my children and my uncles and cousins, by manifest destiny…. It’s our country now.“
Of course, exactly why Americans merit vengeance for the sins, real and imaginary, of the British Raj isn’t fully explained in This Land Is Our Land. But that’s not the point; the point is that you white people have money, which means you are guilty, and therefore you must pay.” But it isn’t just about wealth. Mehta has a giant chip on his shoulder against whites. He feels humiliated that Europe was once able to colonize India, rather than vice versa: “It is every migrant’s dream to see the tables turned, to see long lines of Americans and Britons in front of the Bangladeshi or Mexican or Nigerian Embassy, begging for a residence visa.“
TNC might eventually start to wonder if the white man’s reparation pie is really big enough to accommodate not just American blacks but also, potentially, every nonwhite grifter on the planet.