These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began — so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.
Abraham Lincoln, August 17, 1858
The New York Times, not content with lying about current events, is now lying about history with their The 1619 Project, an attempt to whip up race hated to benefit the Democrats in the 2020 elections. I was going to write about this insult to the muse of history Clio, but my friend Jay Anderson has beat me to it:
This week, our country will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first slaves brought to British North America. It is not only appropriate, but long overdue, that we take note of this significant and tragic milestone in our history. I will write more about those historical events later this week. .
But what I want to address here — as I did in my post last week about how historical sites talk about slavery — is more about historiography, or how we talk about history. By now, you may have heard of an effort by the editors of The New York Times called “The 1619 Project.” It’s been all over social media, touted by historians, journalists, politicians, and others as the gold standard by which we should be discussing the matter of the 400th anniversary of slavery in America.
HOGWASH! I want to take this opportunity to warn people not to be taken in by The New York Times’ Howard-Zinn-like attempt to reshape America’s story in an ideologically motivated fashion that denigrates the American Founding — seeks to make it illegitimate — and emphasizes our Nation’s very existence as a tale of woe. The Times admits they’re doing as much in their own description of the project:
“The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to REFRAME THE COUNTRY’S HISTORY, UNDERSTANDING 1619 AS OUR TRUE FOUNDING, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
I will share just a few of the headlines about America and slavery from the “Newspaper of Record” that — to this very day — somehow can’t say a negative word about, and indeed continues to act as an outspoken apologist for, Soviet communism and its acolytes worldwide:
* American Capitalism is Brutal. You Can Trace That to the Plantation.
* America holds onto an undemocratic assumption from its founding: that some people deserve more power than others.
* Slavery gave America a fear of black people and a taste for violent punishment. Both still define our prison system.
* What the Reactionary Politics of 2019 Owes to the Politics of Slavery.
* The sugar that saturates the American diet has a barbaric history as the ‘white gold’ that fueled slavery.
* Is Slavery’s Legacy in the Power Dynamic of Sports?
* Why doesn’t the United States have universal health care? The answer begins with policies enacted after the Civil War.
And many more, just as ahistorical and just as politically calculated.
Today, the media is talking about the so-called “right-wing backlash” against the 1619 project. Horseshit. My objections aren’t about political ideology, but about history that isn’t laden with politicized tropes. And I know liberals who are equally as appalled by this ahistorical approach to telling the story as I am. All you have to do is look at how the so-called “mainstream media” are covering the pushback against the 2019 Project to understand that this was part of the plan — The New York Times INTENDED to politicize this.
Don’t be fooled. Don’t be sucked in. Push back against it. Reject it for what it is. What The New York Times is doing with the 1619 Project is NOT history. It’s propaganda.
Go here to read the comments. For a useful corrective to the politicized bunk being peddled by The New York Times, I turn to Stephen Vincent Benet in his immortal The Devil and Daniel Webster:
And he began with the simple things that everybody’s known and felt–the freshness of a fine morning when you’re young, and the taste of food when you’re hungry, and the new day that’s every day when you’re a child. He took them up and he turned them in his hands. They were good things for any man. But without freedom, they sickened. And when he talked of those enslaved, and the sorrows of slavery, his voice got like a big bell. He talked of the early days of America and the men who had made those days. It wasn’t a spread-eagle speech, but he made you see it. He admitted all the wrong that had ever been done. But he showed how, out of the wrong and the right, the suffering and the starvations, something new had come. And everybody had played a part in it, even the traitors.