We’ve been hearing a lot of talk recently about reparations, the idea that certain demographic groups in Western countries (but especially the USA) “owe” other demographic groups because of past injustices, whether real or imagined. Typically this talk is cast in racial tones – whites owe racial minorities for oppression, despite whites taking the historically unprecedented steps of abolishing formal slavery, granting minorities “civil rights,” and allowing minorities the opportunity to participate fully in their societies – something that virtually no other group of people in history have done. There has been a low level of background noise along this line for decades in academia. However, other groups in the intersectionality alliance are also trying to get in on the action as well. Gays demand that they be given redress for past intolerance of their perversions. Immigrants demand that western societies atone for the past “sins” of colonisation, in many cases where this colonisation was extremely beneficial to them, and even in cases where this colonisation never actually occurred. Pretty much everybody with a perceived axe to grind is trying to hop on board this gravy train.
Now, some internet wags might presume that decades of crime, welfare abuse, and massive amounts of immigrant labour undercutting Americans workers would be enough “reparation” to last us for centuries. However, this argument, even if made in jest, rather misses the actual point of what reparations are really all about. The fundamental assumption here is that reparations are about money, and that if enough money was transferred (this one last time!) from straight, white Americans to the various malcontents, then the issues would be resolved and everyone could quiet down about the whole thing. But that’s not what is at issue at all.
Actually, reparations are about the acquisition and use of power – more specifically, power to be exercised by Blue Cathedral against Red Cathedral. When understood in this sense reparations, far from being nonsensical, are actually quite explicable within the framework of demographic-structural theory because we can understand them as a form of intraelite competition that occurs within secular cycles as complex societies begin the downward portion of a cycle.