Sunday, April 24, 2016

Harriet Tubman to appear on U.S. $20 bill

Harriet Tubman From a Libertarian POV - Hit & Run : - Nick Gillespie:

April 21, 2016 - "Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) is going to be the new face of the $20 bill. Great choice.... Here are four ways that Tubman isn't just a great choice in general but a great choice from a specifically libertarian perspective.
  1. She chose to live free or die and articulated that message for all to understand. 'I had reasoned this out in my mind," she said, recalling the death of her master and the necessity of escape. "There was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive; I should fight for my liberty as long as my strength lasted, and when the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me.'
  2. She exemplified higher-law theory, which holds that laws violating basic human rights are null and void regardless of the repressive superstructures created to legitimate and maintain them, and risked her life freeing about 70 other slaves as the 'Moses' of the Underground Railroad.... At the same time, she didn't advocate violence in the mode of John Brown, whose goal of ending slavery she shared.
  3. She believed in armed self-defense, a radical-enough concept for poor whites, let alone renegade blacks. During her Underground Railroad missions, she carried a pistol both for protection against slave-catchers and, reportedly, to keep ambivalent "passengers" in line. To this day, blacks have a strong and yet routinely overlooked belief in the Second Amendment, leading one historian to argue that 'guns made the Civil Rights movement possible.' The desire of relatively powerless minorities to arm themselves can still be heard in pro-Second Amendment remarks made by rappers such as Ice-T.
  4. She was a suffragette who, after helping slaves escape and working as a spy and scout for the Union in the Civil War, committed herself to women being allowed to vote and have equality under the law. According to Wikipedia, when Tubman was asked whether she believed women deserved the vote, she replied, 'I suffered enough to believe it.'
"A year ago, when Tubman's name was first floated as a possible figure for a new $20 bill, a number of anti-capitalist commenters observed that Tubman of all people shouldn't be on money because, by their reckoning, slavery is the essence of capitalism. As Damon Root noted at the time, this is not just ahistorical in the extreme, it flies in the face of the explicit thought of leading former slaves.... [T]he abolitionists were extremely clear that slavery violated fundamental rights in a liberal order, one that shouldn't countenance slavery for exactly the same reason it should promote free labor. As Frederick Douglass, who corresponded with and thought extremely highly of Tubman, wrote in a scathing letter to his former owner, 'In leaving you, I took nothing but what belonged to me, and in no way lessened your means for obtaining an honest living.'"

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