Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reminders of Western Clarity

Multi-culturalists dislike being reminded that Western culture is responsible for many moments of moral clarity not shared by non-Western cultures. A case in point is the movement against the slave trade. While many cultures have been involved in the slave trade (among them Islamic, Asian and Western), only the West has made any effort to end this abominable trade in human souls. To note, Saudi Arabia officially ended slavery only in 1965 (at the behest of its Western allies), and the two Barbary Wars of the early United States were fought against slave-trading Moslem nations of North Africa.

This March marks the 200th anniversary of the success of the abolitionist movement in passing the Slave Trade Act of 1807. This Act of the British Parliament, passed on March 25, 1807, made it illegal for any subject of the British Empire to engage in the slave trade and by classifying slaver ships in the same category as pirates, also allowed British warships to engage in military action against those ships of other nations who were carrying slaves.

This Act marked the beginning of the end for slavery, though the United States would engage in bloody internecine war partially due to the slave question, and other cultures would continue to condone slavery. However, were it not for the moral clarity and steadfastness of men of the West like William Wilberforce, slavery might yet be a blight upon our world. For that, we owe them much.

And for the multi-culturalists, why is it that these other oh-so-equal cultures who engaged in slavery saw no reason to end it? Why only the West? Why was it that the West had to force these other cultures to end it, why couldn't they see the evil of this pernicious trade on their own? I await the answer...

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