Is Slavery America’s “Original Sin”–or Is It the World’s?

Family of slaves at the Gaines’ house. African American slave family posed in front of a wooden house, Washington, D.C. or Hampton, Virginia. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images)

The answer is “no, it’s not America’s original sin.  Not by long shot.”  It’s not even the world’s original sin for that matter.   

That would be genocide.   Slavery was a gigantic step up from that.

I for one am tired of this specious argument, not simply because it’s a lie but because the mediocrities who are peddling it are idiotic.  No, scratch that; that would be an insult to idiots.  The people who peddle this nonsense live at the intersection where evil meets stupidity.  

They are morons, imbeciles; at best they are grifters who have never done an honest day’s work in their live.  They think that by majoring in some basket-weaving study program at Enormous State University, they can hoodwink or guilt us into giving them a cushy job.  They literally don’t know what they’re talking about.  I can’t stress this enough.  And the fact that they have high-paying gigs at major colleges angers me to no end.

An example of this is Hannah Something Jones, who pioneered something called the 1620 Project in which she tries to pull the wool over our eyes.  Her thesis is that America is the “project” which was made possible by slavery.  Therefore not only do we owe reparations to the descendants of slaves but we need to take her seriously.

We don’t.  Why?  Because she literally doesn’t know what she’s talking about.  She’s engaging in the type of historical illiteracy that brought down the Soviet Union. 

Anyway, I am going to present to you this excellent essay/video lecture by Jared Taylor.  Mr Taylor is what we used to call “an American gentleman”, a man of letters in the vein of the late Tom Wolfe.  An erudite man without an agenda or a hateful bone in his body, he lays bare the universality –and brutality–of slavery as it was practiced in every time and corner of our planet.  (You will be surprised to learn how many African Americans owned slaves themselves and how great African empires were funded by the slave trade.)

Please take the time to watch it.  It will demolish all of the present anti-white, anti-Western, and anti-Christian propaganda that we have been subjected to.  (Warning:  this is not for the feint of heart.  You will be shocked at the cruelty and relish with which other races and religions have engaged in this practice.)

And watching it, you will have acquired a breadth of historical knowledge that the overwhelming number of humanities students will never know.  


  1. Facts About Slavery They Don’t Teach in School

  2. Slavery is no one’s sin. The greatest boast of the Apostles was that they were the slaves of the Lord Jesus. Moses conveyed God’s law which provided for different types of slavery as normative.

    God does not approve sin.

    The problem with slavery is lack of love within the master-slave relationship. It is like any other relation of human beings with each other or even a human being’s relation with himself. If it lacks love, it is destructive.

    The history of the evils of slavery is simply the history of fallen man seen through the narrow prism of one possible relation. It is easier for free men to defend themselves and avoid the sinful mistreatment of others. But absence of slavery does not mean absence of sinful mistreatment. It just eliminates a class of relations within which such sinful mistreatment is possible. The sin can still live on in parent-child relations or husband-wife relations, or employer-employee relations.

    The type of relationship is not the issue. The issue is the lack of love.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Even as an avid student of history, I was shocked at how the Moslems were the world’s sweepstakes winners when it came to slavery. Not only in quantity but in ferocity and outright glee, especially when it came to whites (Europeans).

      Ironically, this had a eugenic effect on many Middle Eastern cultures.

    • Ok. So now Orthodoxy approves of slavery in principle? Simply gobsmacked.

      One of the great moral triumphs of Orthodoxy was its total repudiation of slavery. Point of fact Gregory of Nyssa was likely the first writer in human history to advance this position.

      Seeing an “Orthodox” commenter regress this far is astounding. But then again it’s on a page engaging with racial nationalism, which is never far from a slavery apologia…

      • George Michalopulos says

        Greg, I agree with you about St Gregory of Nyssa. He was correct to be all hellfire-and-brimstone about slavery.

        Curious though: why are you and others on the Left so gung-ho about importing more slaves/helots/serfs into America? Is it because it’s impossible to have a civilized society without a permanent underclass to do the stoop labor? (Serious question. I expect an honest answer.)

        One of the things that both Lincoln and many abolitionists (in the South especially) agreed upon was the economic impact of black chattel slavery. It depressed the wages of the white working class. That was immediately obvious to de Toqueville in his grand tour of America. He looked at Indiana in comparison to Kentucky, two neighboring states and saw the stark contrast between them.

      • “But then again it’s on a page engaging with racial nationalism, which is never far from a slavery apologia…”

        Point us to some examples of non-racial nationalism, or even better, where non-racial nationalism is taking place in a non-white country and it isn’t considered to be colonialism at best, genocide at worst.

      • Greg,

        One Father doth not a catholic consensus make. St. Gregory of Nyssa was odd man out regarding slavery. St. John Chrysostom not only approved of it but asserted that it benefited both master and slave. The rest of the Fathers either approved or accepted it. The Bible is full of slavery from cover to cover without a single word in opposition to the institution.

        There is absolutely no case to be made for an Orthodox doctrinal opposition to slavery. None could be made in any case because God in the Old Testament included a system of slavery for Hebrews and foreigners in the Law of Moses. God does not order sin.

        The entire Christian anti-slavery meme is contrived and repugnant to Scripture and Tradition. In doing so, one condemns the witness of the Old Testament Prophets, the Apostles, the Church Fathers and God Himself.

        • I should add the following however, lest someone take me the wrong way:

          I have no stomach for slavery. I do not support its restoration and in places that it persists, I would prefer that it be discontinued as gracefully as possible. In the modern world of industrial production, technology and services, it is much more merciful and efficient to establish a wage system for employees/servants than have ownership and support concentrated in a master class. I do not suggest that all people take good advantage of their freedom, but the present system suits me better than one bottomed on involuntary servitude.

          However, I am honest enough to acknowledge that that has everything to do with the culture in which I was raised and practically nothing to do with the Orthodox Faith, other than our general preference for choosing the more loving, merciful way.

        • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

          Misha, you’re attempting a parody here–right?

        • If there is The Law and there is The Gospel,
          I expect Slavery would be classed with The Law.

  3. During slavery, African-Americans were gainfully employed in meaningful work and never had to worry about food, clothing, shelter or any other need. Sadly that’s no longer the case, and today many of them live in abject poverty.

  4. Just a dad says

    I tried to watch it while I was multitasking on a boring work call, my firm has blocked the site. Says “You have attempted to reach a website on the internet to which access has been blocked. Access to websites of this nature violates the firm’s standards of appropriate internet usage. Pursuant to firm policy, the firm has reserved the right to monitor and record activity on its systems, including attempts to access internet sites that have been blocked.”

    So not only can I not watch the video, I am now logged and recorded as a naughty user.

    Welcome to the new normal. Sigh…..

    • George Michalopulos says

      We should all be so glad that we live in a free country where we are able to engage in the free exchange of ideas. You know, the marketplace of ideas… I guess that’s one reason I’m so glad we sent our legions to the Sandbox so they could “die for our freedoms”.

      Things like that.

  5. Antiochene Son says

    Jared Taylor is a national treasure.

    • George Michalopulos says

      He is indeed.

    • Well he’s a racial nationalist who fights for a white only ethnostate and considers all non whites his “racial enemies”. Long collaborator with various nazi lovers.

      I wonder how you square this enthusiasm for an actual open racist with Christianity? I certainly cannot.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Greg, clearly you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        First of all, all nations are extended kinship groups. The word “nation” comes from the Latin word natus which means “of birth”. Homogeneity is implicit in this word. That’s why I hesitate to use the word nation to describe these United States. In essence, we are fifty sovereign states, each in which one ethnicity/religion is more dominant than the others, almost to the point of exclusivity.

        The northern tier of states from Washington State to New Hampshire are overwhelmingly white. Minnesota is heavily Teutonic, Utah is mostly Yankee stock and Mormon, Vermont and New Hampshire Yankee stock. The Southern states a mixture of Scots-Irish or Anglo-Celtic; New Mexico mostly Iberian, etc.

        Some of the greatest black intellectuals were ethno-nationalists. Marcus Garvey for example. Others were separatists: Frederick Douglass, Booker T Washington, and of course the Black Panther Party.

        The Church is not nationalist at its core, as the Pentecost was the reversal of the curse that befell mankind at the Tower of Babel. That doesn’t mean that the Church condemns nationalism per se. The Orthodox Church for example recognizes the absolute sovereignty of the “local” (i.e. national) Churches. In Her wisdom, She even recognized –nay, demanded–that every nation in which She was planted, would worship her Bridegroom in native fashion.

        That means in ethnically and racially disparate ways. I’ve seen African Orthodox do the Great Entrance in a decidedly more choreagraphed version than do Europeans. We Greeks have organs (unfortunately), they bang drums. There’s nothing wrong with that.

        Anyway, rather than condemn Jared Taylor because he has the exact same views as our Founding Fathers did about nativism, why don’t you pick apart his arguments?

        Of course you won’t. Because you can’t.

        I’ll make it easy for you: watch Taylor’s video and/or read his transcript. Find just one statement or assertion he made and disprove it.

        • I can assure you I know a bit about what I am talking about. I knew Sam reasonably well (Jared’s real name) when he was a part of more mainstream conservatism- he is an atheist and a racialist. I am sure he is capable of making coherent arguments, but come on – open racialism is not the answer for the US and surely Christianity precludes the kind of explicit racism that is routine among the amren hangers on.

          As a side note, it doesn’t take too long in those quarters to discover a hostility to Greeks, Armenians, Georgians and other “non assimilable indo-european” minorities, a hostility that is only superceded by hostility to blacks and, of course, jews (see for example Wilmot Robertson’s seminal work of contemporary American white racialism, The Dispossessed Majority). Those are all Orthodox “non assimilable minorities” they would like to eject.

        • I can assure you I know a bit about what I am talking about. I knew Sam reasonably well (Jared’s real name) when he was a part of more mainstream conservatism- he is an atheist and a racialist. I am sure he is capable of making coherent arguments, but come on – open racialism is not the answer for the US and surely Christianity precludes the kind of explicit racism that is routine among the amren hangers on.

          As a side note, it doesn’t take too long in those quarters to discover a hostility to Greeks, Armenians, Georgians and other “non assimilable indo-european” minorities, a hostility that is only superceded by hostility to blacks and, of course, jews (see for example Wilmot Robertson’s seminal work of contemporary American white racialism, The Dispossessed Majority). Those are all Orthodox “non assimilable minorities” they would like to eject.

  6. George Michalopulos says

    A very good perspective from Nick Stamatakis over at Helleniscope:

  7. Well, I am not “on the Left” nor do I support mass immigration, so it would be difficult for me to answer the question.

    I am an Orthodox Christian humanist. I try to follow the teachings of the Fathers and if I had to select a “political” figure I most closely identify with it would be Dostoevsky, with a soft spot for Catholic social teaching and Distributionists. None of that lends itself to slavery apologias.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      You’re right. There is an incompatibility of terms here; an oxymoron, if you will. Someone with a soft spot for Catholic social teaching and distributionism, would not be open to discussing the history of slavery, even if it were the truth, let alone apologia.

      However, the same incompatibility exists between humanism and Orthodox Christianity. . . You’re more on the Unitarian Universalism track which is going to put you at odds with virtually everyone who comments here.

      Not meant to be a criticism. Just an observation.

      • Gail I think you are confusing Christian humanism (of which I consider Dostoevsky, to be an excellent exemplar, but certainly I would include much of the patristic tradition, the Philokaliac tradition, western Christians like Erasmus, etc to all be contributors) and secular “humanism”. The latter really bears no relationship with the former.

        Fr John Behr’s work, both Becoming Human and the Mystery of Christ in particular, might give a good view of Orthodox anthropology or authentic humanism. If Christ doesn’t show us what it means to be fully human, I am not sure where we begin to think about social issues as Christians. I certainly doubt it provides the basis for modern scientific racialism to govern our thinking.

        What any of this might have to with Unitarianism, of which I really don’t know much at all, I can’t say.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          Orthodox Christianity is diametrically opposed to humanism. Humanists believe that human experience/rational thinking is the sole source of knowledge and a moral code to live by. They reject the idea of knowledge ‘revealed’ to human beings by God, the Holy Scriptures, and patristic texts through the Church.

          • Indeed. Opposition to slavery as an institution
            first manifested itself in the works of St Gregory of Nyssa;
            and his arguments rested on firmly Scriptural grounds.

          • I guess we are talking past each other at this point, as that is clearly not what Dostoevsky, Erasmus, or whomever believed. I will say however that the Optina fathers clearly had reservations about Karamazov, so there has been some tension in Orthodoxy in Russia between religious philosphers and monastic ascetics at times. That surely relates to the exploration of this topic.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Actually, it doesn’t. The Church is not about “what Dostoevsky, Erasmus, or whomever” believed.

              It’s about God’s revelation through the Holy Scriptures, the teachings of the Apostles, Holy Tradition, and the canons.

              When it comes to the patriarchates, (not sure why you singled out Russia) they argue about the canons. But there is a process to resolve these disagreements.

              The Holy Fathers don’t always agree. They never have. But as long as they don’t preach heresy, they’re fine.

              • I mentioned the Russian patriarchate because that is what I know and love best, having come from a Russian Orthodox family. The Church always articulates its understanding of the Gospel in time and culture. Its not some static set of rules or formulas. The canons are largely reactions to specific problems in time, how we receive them is complicated, and they certainly don’t answer all questions directly. Like for example the moral status of slavery in the light of Christ.

                But yes the Fathers are all over the place in many ways. Which is a reflection of that creative engagement in part. But also a part of the genius of Orthodoxy, or, I would argue, evidence if its truth.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Actually, it seems the canons are not tied to specific problems in time. If they were, there would be nothing to argue about. Right now Constantinople is arguing with the rest of the Church about Canon 28 and whether or not it permits him “special powers.”

                  Morality and ethics aren’t really a part of the Church. The Church does not aspire to moral relativism. God’s position, and therefore the Church’s position, is timeless. It isn’t influenced by the culture. For example, if the Holy Scriptures say “marriage is between a man and a woman,” it remains true whether or not the law permits same-sex marriages.

                  The Church has survived many cultures.

    • You sound like a good guy. I see where you’re coming from with your nuanced take on humanism. People like Saint Gennadius Scholarius and Saint Maximus the Greek are considered to be humanists too.

      • Well thank you. I assume everyone here is a good guy or gal, despite whatever differences there may be. Also agree with your comment.

  8. cynthia curran says

    Well, no one here wanted to be Spartacus who was around when Julius Caesar was a young man around 70 BC. On the other hand, educated house slaves in Roman Times could become freeman a lot.

    • At the risk of patting my ancestors on the back vis-a-vis the Romans, the ancient Greeks tended to be more merciful to their slaves. One reason is because the degree of homogeneity that existed in the scores of Greek city-states. The Greeks believed that they were either autochthonos (arising from the land itself) or a group of Dorian invaders from the north (who were likewise homogeneous).

      The ethnogenesis of the Romans was far messier. The people who became the Romans were a heterogeneous, polyglot group of Sabines, Samnites, Trojans, Latins, and Etruscans, having little or no relation to each other.

      What this meant was that slave-masters had to be kind in the case of the Greeks, mainly because they were probably distantly related to their slaves. This wasn’t the case with the Romans.

      The exception of course is the Spartans, Dorian invaders who subjugated the Messenians, an ethnic group that they were not related to.

      • The Spartans were not kind to themselves,
        never mind to anyone else…

        • George Michalopulos says

          Brendan, I never implied that they were. As far as the Greeks were concerned, they were the exception to almost everything.

  9. Can someone . . . explain to me what is wrong with distributism? I am willing to accept that it isn’t an Orthodox teaching if I have an explanation, but based on a quick Wikipedia glance, it seems to be something I would support.

    • Short answer is “nothing, really.”

      Distributism is one of those options that lie between the excesses of capitalism and communism. I think it could have saved the West.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        It would be like asking does the Church like chocolate or vanilla. I don’t know. Either, both? Irrelevant.

        • Not really. Political and economic systems are not ice cream flavors. They have a direct affect on peoples’ lives and society as a whole, and should therefore be guided by ethical and philosophical presuppositions. The Church has a say in this and can influence things.

          Therefore, it is important to know which political systems the Church favors, because then we’ll know which are built on Christian presuppositions and which are not.

          Very relevant.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            I never said political and economics are “ice cream” flavors.

            Which political system does the Church currently favor?

            We know it doesn’t favor abortion.
            We know that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman.
            We know that sex outside of marriage is a sin.
            We know that taking the life of another is a sin.

            So which political system would be more in line with Christian presuppositions like the ones above? Sharia Law, maybe? Certainly not the one we have in place in the U.S.

            Political systems are shaped by all sorts of things.

            • Well, you did say that Austin’s question about whether or not the Church approved distributism or not was like asking if they Church liked chocolate or vanilla. That puts ice cream flavors and political theory on the same level, basically. The Church has nothing to say about ice cream flavors (apart from not eating them during fasts) but a whole lot to say about how society should be run. You can’t compare the two.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                When you say, the Church has “a whole lot to say about how society should be run”, where exactly would I find this information? In the Holy Scriptures, in Her teachings, in Her Traditions?

                And if this is true, how can the Church remain the same, around the world, in places governed by different people with different interests, during different time periods?

                RE: “You can’t compare the two.”

                My point exactly. Just like politics, flavors of ice cream are irrelevant to the Church.

                • Of course – Scriptures, Tradition, the canons, the writings of the Fathers. The Fathers had a lot to say about social issues, like poverty and financial power, for instance.

                  The Church’s eternal truths and political principles are manifest in different ways in different times, but are nonetheless unchanging. Whether or not we find ourselves in a theocracy, a monarchy, a democracy, or a communist state, our principles of governance remain the same and we should advocate for systems which follow Orthodox Christian principles.

                  Politics are not irrelevant to the Church. Separation of Church and state is a modern abomination. The Church has an opinion of society, politics, economics, etc. because Christ was incarnate, taking upon Himself the entirety of human nature and, by extension, participating in all human activities. Human society and all its constituent elements are an integral whole and cannot be isolated from one another. There is nothing and nowhere that the light of Christ has not illuminated.

                  To deny this is to reject Chalcedon and the entire worldview that has grown out of the reality of the Lord’s two natures. To deny this is monophysitism. To deny this is a form of gnosticism.

                  The Church has plenty to say; just go back and look at Misha’s plethora of posts over the years extolling Christian monarchy and the patristic support thereof. Go and read Dvornik’s excellent book ‘Early Christian and Byzantine Political Philosophy’ and tell me that the Church has got nothing to say on politics.

                  To say that politics is irrelevant to the Church is like saying medical science is irrelevant to the Church and we should have no say in that either, so should just obey the CDC and get our abortion jabs.

                  This is a strange discussion to be having on a blog that specializes in Orthodoxy and politics.

                  • Gail Sheppard says

                    It appears as if you have conflated everything I said into something else. Oh, and you forgot the teachings of the Church.

                    The Church is the Holy Scriptures, Tradition, the teachings of the Holy Apostles, and the canons. I should add that it is also economeia. In short, economia is a discretionary deviation from the letter of the law in order to adhere to the spirit of the law and charity.

                    The Holy Fathers have a lot to say but their opinions on financial or social matters are just that: opinions about the degree to which different things line up with the Church’s teachings or don’t.

                    – The Church does not have eternal political principles, per se. We have specific teachings that deal with things like abortion, as an example. Abortion is politicalized outside the Church. Within the Church, however, abortion is always wrong.

                    – Christ did not participate in “all human activities”. He was not a fisherman, he was not a husband, etc.

                    – The Church does not speak to principles of governance outside the Church. She only concerns Herself with governance within the Church (the hierarchy, the relationship between God and the Church, the relationship between man and the Church, the man/woman relationship, and relationships within the family).

                    – Those things in creation which Christ has illuminated do not overshadow free will. God did not illuminate many of the things we find in the world today, especially politics.

                    – I never said the Church “had nothing to say” about the world.

                    I, too find this a strange discussion. I feel like this is Orthodoxy 101.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Myself, I’m rather fascinated by it as well. Sad to say, I don’t know much about it or its workability.