“Slaves came to America to pursue prosperity and happiness”

This is what Ben Carson, the new US Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, said today, calling African slaves “immigrants who worked even harder”.

During the Republican primaries, I referred to Ben Carson as the most stupid candidate, despite the existence of Donald Trump. He hasn’t said anything yet to change my opinion.

But why on earth did nobody in the audience stand up, say something, call out this falsification of history? I don’t mind stupid people or liars that much, we will always have to deal with them. But I am disappointed by a room full of intelligent people who know better, who will shake their heads and go on Twitter afterwards, but don’t have the courage to say a single sentence to the speaker’s face. Which would have been enough to stop this travesty.

If nobody ever speaks up, one day you have a situation in which speaking up won’t be enough.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in History, Human Rights, USA and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to “Slaves came to America to pursue prosperity and happiness”

  1. Arthur says:

    Hi Andreas, might I ask are you a left wing liberal?

    • I don’t know.
      I recommend reading more of my articles, that will give you a good idea about my opinions.

    • Shannon says:

      He is not. Left wing liberal would definitely condemn Israeli military invasion to Palestine. I remembered Andreas is more on Israel side during the military conflict in 2015. Correct me I am wrong.

    • Hello Shannon,

      compliments on your memory!

      But I would take issue with two things:
      (1) I would be reluctant to declare that I am on one side, and indeed I always wonder why people are so quick to say that they are “on the side of Israel” or “on the side of Palestine”, completely neglecting that both countries/entities have people with hundreds of different opinions within them, and indeed quite different opinions over the lifespan of the same people at times. Nobody is putting people in a basket based on what side they are on between Lithuania and Poland or Italy and Austria, either.
      (2) Even if my writing reflects a certain sympathy for Israel, which it might well do, I don’t think it would preclude me from being a liberal (which I definitely am) or left-wing (which I don’t know if I am because there is a different definition in every country and in every decade). Actually, there are quite a lot of left-wing liberals in Israel itself. One could even say that the foundation of the State of Israel was a rather left-wing and liberal project at the time.

  2. David says:

    Andreas, I think you’re not being fair here.

    1. You can say that he doesn’t express what he means properly, and puts his foot in his mouth way too often. But you can’t make a general statement “he isn’t smart” – look at his background.

    2. Specifically re this incident: he didn’t say the headline you attributed to him.


    If you view his words in context, what he was saying is that there were people who arrived in the US in much worse conditions than your average immigrant, but they also had and have dreams and they should be enabled to realize them, without hindrance.

    I agree that his wording is pretty bad, but don’t forget, he’s a doctor, not a lawyer :-)

    There are enough bad things being done without jumping on people whose sin is that they do not speak well.

    • List of X says:

      I read the article, and in the context, he said the same exact thing. If someone grabs you at your house, separates you from your family, puts you in chains, and locks you in the hull of the ship that’s sailing who knows where, all your dreams will probably be about escaping and going back home, not about working hard in that new land where you’re going so you can make life better for some other new children you can have there.

    • I might even add dreams about killing my captors and exercising revenge like in “Django Unchained”.

    • Not speaking well is a reflection of not thinking well.
      Mr Carson was/is a doctor, but he has written books and he ran for the nomination for the presidency. He is now the boss of a government department. He gave a prepared speech on a topic of his choosing. His remarks may well be judged by the standards we would apply to anyone else in such a position and situation.

    • David says:

      No, I disagree. They are different skill sets. I know many highly intelligent people who cannot work out how much VAT is included in a price. That’s a 4th grade math problem!

      My point is – of course, you can disagree with the way he said it. But that doesn’t mean that he’s generally stupid, or a racist for that matter. If he was “lying”, as you imply, what in the world would he be trying to say? It doesn’t make sense.

    • David says:

      I’ll add this: What he was driving at was the same thing a former president was saying, just that the former prez did it much more eloquently.


      I don’t believe in crucifying someone because of that.

    • We may also consider Ben Carson’s previous comments on slavery, which indicate that this is a favorite subject of his, one he thinks about a lot, and one on which he wouldn’t just make an off-hand comment.

  3. djgarcia94 says:

    Hard to believe this guy was once one of the most revered surgeons in the world. Just goes to show that brilliance in one field doesn’t mean even remote competence elsewhere. In that regard he is very different from Trump, who is such a terrible businessman he had to resort to reality TV and shitty books to stay afloat.

    When I saw this recent remark about slavery I thought it must have been an Onion story. Sadly that’s a mistake I’ve been making way too often lately. Carson turned down the chance to be Surgeon General, something within his field, on grounds he had no political experience. An airtight reason, but people were baffled he said that considering he ran for president. Then he accepts Housing and Urban Development, something completely out of his wheelhouse.

    • I have the same problem too, still attributing stories to “The Onion”, so now I double-check before I comment on something.

      I also found the whole thing highly shocking: a former candidate for President saying that he didn’t have political experience. I mean, it was and is true, but I really wish people would stop treating the presidency of the USA as an entry-level job. Well, too late.

    • djgarcia94 says:

      I honestly think there should be a law in place to prevent people who have never held office from running. I’m not sure what the minimum would be or if anywhere else has such a policy. It was one thing for Eisenhower, since being a top General gave him experience working under multiple administrations.

    • I have been thinking about such a requirement as well. I am not aware of that in any other electoral system.

      Ultimately, I am skeptical on practical and on philosophical grounds:
      (a) If someone wanted to run for President, they would then just run for some city council in a small town before. I don’t know about the USA, but even in Germany there are small villages/towns that don’t have enough candidates for city council that any extra candidate would automatically be elected. In some places, there is not even a mayoral candidate. – The only thing one could achieve is a certain waiting time against spontaneous candidates.
      (b) The philosophical problem lies in denying the voters to elect someone whom they prefer despite knowing all the disadvantages, like in the case of Donald Trump. It’s not like he pretended to have experience, quite the opposite. But that’s what people wanted. So who are we to say that experience beats no experience?

      I just hope that after this experience, people will realize that running an inherited business into bankruptcy several times is not a very good qualification to run a large country.

  4. Pingback: Studying history at University of Hagen | The Happy Hermit

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