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Why Frederick Douglass is Still Relevant Today

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I did not intend to write a trilogy here. I just wanted to understand the Civil War.

It started when I moved to the South. I wanted to understand why so many Americans would kill each other. And by extension, why so many Americans continue to hate each other.

Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

I’ve mentioned how I’ve been reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, and I realize now that this book has been the centerpiece of my journey. If you haven’t yet read it, I urge you to do so. It is a core piece of American history, taught by a man who lived the horrors of Slavery, escaped, and with a keen eye and steady hand, educated a nation.

The lessons Douglass taught are still relevant today–very much so.

The central narrative that still grips us is NOT racial in nature– it is man’s propensity to dehumanize his fellow man, and thus allow his conscience to sanction the worst brutality against him.

Of course, this phenomenon has been going on since time immemorial. It is not new. It just keeps reoccurring as we never learn the lesson.

It was seen in Frederick Douglass’ time, as slaves were often treated worse than animals. The Bible was used as justification by some, even though “man stealing”–the type of slavery Douglass’ described–is NOT sanctioned in the Bible.

And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 21:16 KJV

This article explains the type of slavery condoned in the Bible. It is crucial to understand the difference, as those who intend to discredit the Bible constantly attempt to blur that difference.

Man’s want to dehumanize his fellow man has been demonstrated in many times and places, from the horrors of Communism (spurred by class hatred), to Hitler’s Holocaust against the Jews (and others), to racial hatred which occurred in America but which was far from unique, and even mild in comparison to some racial strife. For instance, Rwanda’s infamous genocide occurred between two black tribes with different shades of skin color (the Hutu perpetrated a mass slaughter of the Tutsi).

This dehumanization is the “necessary” excuse that has given mankind the “permission” to abuse and kill those who are different in some way. We are nowhere near conquering this disease. In fact, history is repeating itself before our eyes.

In the second part of this trilogy, I wrote of The Slavery–Abortion Connection, and how America never really overcame the root cause of slavery–the dehumanization of other human beings. This is exactly the way we have allowed ourselves to accept the extermination of nearly SIXTY THREE MILLION innocent human beings!

A just God has not–and will not–allow us to go unpunished, just as the Civil War meted out in bloodshed our “original sin” of Slavery. Our punishment for our abortion “holocaust” may be MUCH more severe, as the body count is so massive.

In a somewhat more subtle way, the dehumanization principle is in full force in our politics and culture: conservative, pro-America men and women are routinely harassed in many forms, and even physically attacked, because they dare to think and act differently than today’s “acceptable” (albeit twisted) standard.

But it goes beyond that. It’s not just happening TO conservatives.

Conservatives are also susceptible to falling to the temptation to hate and thereby dehumanize those fellow Americans who disagree with their politics or cultural point of view. Every “tribe” has their blind spot, and considers themselves somehow pure because they “believe the right way.”

Yet having the “right” views does not in itself make us right!

Just as Frederick Douglass aptly pointed out that some of the worst slave masters made the biggest show of Christianity, some of the biggest “Christian” hypocrites today are some of the worst people.

It’s time for every American, and by extension every human being on earth, to acknowledge our break with our Creator, our conscience, and our fellow human beings. If we truly want a better world, we must finally stop dehumanizing our neighbor. I did not say to give up our principles, and sometimes we must fight. But we must learn to fight without hatred, otherwise our cause is corrupted and ineffective–even counter-productive.

If we fail to learn this lesson, history is doomed to repeat.

Patrick Rooney is the Founder of He communicates clearly and fearlessly during perilous times about natural health, success, and freedom. To reach Patrick, email him at [email protected].

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