Friday, October 3, 2014

Jean Laffite on the Insurrection in Haiti

Add caption Toussaint L'Ouverture from the Wikipedia

What did Jean Laffite think about the insurrection that led to the formation of Haiti? Here is an excerpt from the Journal of Jean Laffite that deals with this issue.

He writes: "Toussaint L'Ouverture annd Henri Christophe were the two educated blacks who directed and agitated the insurrection for the absolute independence of the black negroes of the eastern part of Santo Domingo, choosing an Indian name, 'Haiti' which is the current name of the Republic."

"The two principal black leaders had an excellent education and had without a doubt the right to liberty and independence because France was strangled on all sides by the British dragon and the despotic crown of Spain."

"Mr. Bonaparte thought that these slaves of Santo Domingo had the the right to establish a small autonomous republic, but he resented greatly that a nation, no matter which, would give contraband munitions of war and firearms into the hands of  illiterates for independence in an effort to cause insurrection [reurrections?-sic]."

There is a legitimate cause to criticize this attitude as attributed by Jean Laffite to Napoleon, as there is no reason to assume that only literate men have the right to freedom. However, what Jean Laffite probably meant was that he was in favor of freeing the slaves, but he was against the general carnage that ensued when the literate and civilized leaders lost control of their followers.

Here is an excerpt from Theodosia and the Pirates: The Battle Against Britain that deals with this question:

From "Theodosia and the Pirates: The Battle Against Britain"
It is perhaps in the 19th century when the idea of education as a cure-all was introduced. It is the same idea that is attributed to Robespierre by today's progressives on Facebook memes, But it is not education that is lacking when people turn to general carnage as a way to air their grievances: it is common decency. Indigenous tribes, ordinary people with limited means and many other illiterates have common decency and behave well toward others even when they are unhappy about something. It is slavery that robs people of the experience of bearing arms and knowing how to restrain themselves in their use. Freemen are so accustomed to being armed that the common decency that comes with this responsibility is second nature. One of the dangers that accompanies the loss of second amendment rights in the United States today is that too few people have been trained in gun safety or the moral imperatives of proper firearm use.

The Biblical adage "a servant when he reigneth" is what applies here. Freedom is something you have to grow into. It is dangerous to give it to a whole mass of people all at once, however well-educated they are, when they have not yet learned self-restraint. Neither poverty nor illiteracy is the problem. It just takes time and proper upbringing to master self-control.

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