Saturday, May 16, 2020

A Loss of Faith in France: Pandemic Shakes France’s Faith in a Cornerstone — Strong Central Government


Local governments are now challenging the primacy of the centralized state, the foundation of French society,
write Norimitsu Onishi and Constant Méheut in the New York Times,
after it allowed supplies of virus-fighting masks and test kits to be depleted.

A couple of baguettes tucked under her arm, Maha Rambousek fiddled with a face mask that kept sliding off her nose. After a local decree made masks mandatory in public, she had quickly stitched it together, but was left confused when the policy was overturned two days later by the central government.



The measure in Sceaux, a well-to-do suburb just south of Paris, was one of an increasing number of exceptional local challenges to the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which has shaken confidence in a cornerstone of French society: the primal authority of the centralized state.

The city of Perpignan lodged contagious patients in a hotel after the central government told people to self-isolate at home. Officials in the city of Marseille carried out widespread testing of both the sick and healthy even as the government ordered that only the seriously ill be tested. The city of Paris tightened a national lockdown by banning daytime jogging.


While France’s vaunted health care system has staved off disaster, France has suffered the world’s fourth-biggest death toll — now at 23,660 official deaths, behind the United States, Italy and Spain — a consequence, critics say, of the central government’s failure to anticipate the onslaught of the contagion.

That failure and a critical shortage of masks and testing kits — also resulting from gaps in state policies — led to the virus’s rapid early spread, prompting France to impose one of the word’s strictest nationwide lockdowns, now in its seventh week.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced a tentative plan on Monday to gradually reopen the country starting on May 11. Schools and businesses would start reopening, though not restaurants or cafes. He urged companies to keep their employees working at home. And he promised that masks and testing would be made sufficiently available.


But it was not clear that those steps would halt what polls show is declining confidence in the government’s handling of the pandemic.

“Trust in the state has been eroding for some time, since the state is no longer able to respond to the need for security,’’ said Phillipe Laurent, the mayor of Sceaux and the secretary general of the Association of Mayors of France.

About a dozen complaints have been lodged by individuals and medical organizations with the French Court of Justice, a special court that hears accusations of government mismanagement. Several officials have been accused of willfully failing to take appropriate measures to combat the virus, endangering people’s lives.


The government’s failure to stem the initial outbreak undermined the important social contract between the state and the people, said Pierre Vermeren, a historian.


“We have some of the highest taxes and biggest public spending in the world, and the French people accept that because, implicitly, their protection was guaranteed by the state,’’ said Mr. Vermeren, who teaches at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Critics blame France’s poor showing, at least in part, on the excessive centralization of the French state, embodied by a president, Emmanuel Macron, who has spoken of his belief in the “top-down’’ exercise of power and has employed martial language in describing the fight against the virus.

 … He is … held responsible for the government’s flip-flopping messages on masks, which many French now perceive as a deception to cover up a blunder by the state, which allowed its stockpiles to decline.

 … challenges, like that from Sceaux, population 20,000, to the authority of the state have been met with a stiff rebuke, regardless of the shifting understanding of the virus.



France’s interior minister quickly condemned Sceaux’s mask ordinance as a threat to “fundamental freedoms,’’ and the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, overturned it. The city of Nice, which was about to make masks mandatory, backed down.


 … As infections and deaths rose exponentially after the start of the lockdown — forcing Mr. Macron to extend it to two months — several regions in France ordered millions of masks, mainly from China. By that time, though, they were engaging in a worldwide competition for supplies that at times pitted them against their own government.

As France prepares to open up starting on May 11, some regions, feeling bitten, are hedging their bets.

Mr. Rottner, the president of the Grand Est, said that he was already ordering millions of test kits. He said he didn’t want to “make the same mistake again.’’

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Entertainment During the Coronavirus Lock-Down: Do You Know the Rules to the Instapundit Game?


Here is a novel pastime for those forced to remain cooped up at home during the coronavirus lock-down.

The entertainment in question is called the Instapundit game, and it should only be played, really, by veteran readers of the Glenn Reynolds blog (which happens to be celebrating its 20th birthday next year). Presently, you will see why.

The goal of the game is to read a post on Instapundit, while keeping the name of its author hidden below the bottom the screen.

(Alternatively, simply use a finger in front of the screen to hide the name…)

You do this by scrolling down slowly — very slowly — through each post.

The appearance of a blank line may indicate you are nearing the bottom of the post.

This is confirmed by the appearance at right of the top of the tail of a blue comic strip balloon (which gives the number of comments that the post has generated…)

Below are two screen shots, a smartphone screenshot and a computer screenshot.

• the iPhone screenshot:
See the cropped comic book balloon at bottom right?

• the computer screen shot:
After a blank line, check out the top of the blue comic strip
balloon (barely) appearing at bottom right; stop scrolling!

That's your cue! Stop! Stop now! Stop scrolling!

The author's name is right below that!
 
What you have to do now is figure out, to the best of your ability, who is the author of the post!

When you're done, scroll a little further, to check your answer and see if you guessed correctly.

There.

That's it.

That's the Instapundit game.

That's all there is to it.

(Hey! Wait a minute! I didn't say it would rival with Dungeons & Dragons! I didn't say it was particularly exhilarating — just… intellectually satisfying…)

So how good am I, you ask? What are my success statistics?

At the risk of sounding sexist, there are three contributors that I almost always identify before I have read more than a line of two of their posts (no matter how long or short they — the posts, not the contributors — turn out to be): they are the blog's three woman authors, Helen Smith (the Amazon lady), and Gail Heriot (her choice of language is unique), and Sarah Hoyt (just because she is Sarah Hoyt!).

But the ladies are not alone. A close contender is Austin Bay.

With the blog's three most prolific male contributors, it's more complicated. As you may tend to get them mixed up from time to time.

With Stephen Green, I would guess that I get the Vodkapundit posts correct about 85% of the time.

With Glenn Reynolds and Ed Driscoll, I would say that I have about a 70% success rate.

(FYI, in the Jerry Stiller example I used above, I bombed — I got the author wrong…)

Oh. And the question that is on every reader's lips:

Is there a way to know when you have become a master at the Instapundit game?

Yes, my son. You will have become a master, my son, when you've become reasonably good at correctly identifying posts by Mark Tapscott, by Robert Shibley, by David Bernstein, by Charles Glasser, and by John Tierney. 

Feel free to try and beat me. I am sure that it can be done…

Just do not expect this to ever become an official contest in the Olympic Games…

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

"Two thirds of the people, white as well as black, who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are indentured servants" notes Dolores Janiewski; "The poor people, black and white, share common interests"


Tom Mackaman is not only journalist at the The World Socialists' Website to interview historians concerned about the 1619 Project; Tom Peters and John Braddock are two of his colleagues to have an interaction with Dolores Janiewski.
Professor Janiewski, who grew up in Florida and whose family participated in the struggle against segregation, now lectures at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand on US history, including the post-Civil War reconstruction, the Civil Rights movement and anti-communist witch hunts. Her many works include Sisterhood Denied: Race, Gender and Class in a New South Community and New Rights New Zealand: Myths, Markets and Moralities (with Paul Morris).
WSWS: What is your overall response to the 1619 Project and particularly the way it leaves out the class struggle in the United States?
DJ: That’s been one of the submerged things in American thinking for a terribly long time. Identity politics in the recent period has buried class under race and gender and so forth. I was an intersectional person before the word got invented, because I was writing about race, gender and class in the 1970s.

I went through the two main articles in the 1619 Project, and what I was immediately struck by from the beginning is it leaves out indigenous people. It starts with slavery in 1619. Hannah-Jones only has one or two paragraphs about the Indians getting removed from Georgia. But in the course I’ve just been teaching, in 1512, the leader of the Taino people in the Caribbean was burned at the stake for leading an indigenous rebellion against the Spanish.

Part of the way capitalism develops in North America is about dispossession. That’s also true in the British Isles, dispossessing the Highlanders, dispossessing the Irish. The first plantations are actually in Ireland. The British take over and deprive the peasants of the land. It’s a much more complicated story than reducing it down to slavery being the engine of capitalism.
WSWS: Slavery is also narrowed down. Hannah-Jones claims that slavery has always existed, but in the US it’s special.
DJ: Yes, it’s an exceptionalist, US original sin story. She ignores slavery in Cuba, Brazil, other places. And if you want to talk about original sin, America has many original sins, one of them is the dispossession of the indigenous people.
WSWS: She uses the expression that slavery is part of America’s DNA.
DJ: It’s somewhat of an ahistorical concept. A lot of the colonising in America was because those people were driven off the land in Europe. They’re indentured servants. Two thirds of the people who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are unfree, some of them are indentured and some of them are slaves.
Edmund Morgan
A really good book by Edmund Morgan called American Freedom, American Slavery, which Hannah-Jones doesn’t seem to look at, is about how, in the first period, they don’t have permanent slavery. So those people coming in 1619 are, in some sense, treated like indentureds. Eventually they can become free along with the indentured white people, and then they become problems. The poor people, black and white, share common interests.

By the late 1600s the wealthy Virginia planters start passing laws to distinguish between black and white, and they create permanent slavery for the African that will be inherited by the children. They make race a privilege: a sign of freedom versus slavery. They change the laws to break up those alliances between poor whites and poor blacks. And they treat women differently: white women are assumed not to have to work in the field as part of that new set of laws, and black women are assumed as laborers.
Sharecroppers’ children
Slavery isn’t a fully developed system from 1619; it evolves. Likewise, Indians were initially seen as whites and then, by the 1850s, they’re seen as “redskins.” So, race is an evolving system developed by people with an economic stake in evolving it.
WSWS: Hannah-Jones says that after the Civil War, “White southerners of all economic classes … experienced substantial improvement in their lives even as they forced black people back into a quasi-slavery.” What do you make of these statements about this period?
DJ: Well, it’s a pretty broad generalisation. If you’re talking about economics, the southern income is half of the national average at 1900. The South doesn’t really recover from the destruction of the Civil War. In the 1930s poverty in the South is one of the major problems for Roosevelt. So, it’s not true that every white person’s life improved. In some sense poverty helped to entrench the racial system over time, because you had one thing that made you better: being white. It wasn’t that you were economically, necessarily, better off. The ideology of white skin privilege was part of the system, but it doesn’t mean in material fact that was actually the case. …
Black and white coal miners in Helen, West Virginia
 … WSWS: So, the employers [after World War II] saw the unity of black and white workers as a real threat?
DJ: Yeah, divide and rule is a common technique. Different industries did it in various ways. The steel industry hired lots of different ethnic groups so they couldn’t speak the same language. That was quite useful. There’s a picture of Uncle Sam, after the great steel strike of 1919, saying “go back to work!” in about 12 languages.

In North Carolina there was an attempt at organizing, under the Farmers Alliance, black and white farmers in the 1890s. They formed a Fusion ticket and they won the state government. It was a Republican-Populist alliance. Blacks and whites were working together but blacks were mostly in the Republican Party and whites were mostly in the Populist Party.

 … So, blacks had some political rights up until 1898. It’s not the full story that after the Civil War everything collapses. But it was pretty systematic from 1890 onwards. In different states there are these ways of driving blacks out of the political system, starting with Mississippi in 1890. But in North Carolina it takes this major upheaval in 1898. Then in 1900 they passed a constitutional amendment that you cannot vote if you’re illiterate unless your grandfather could vote in 1867 [which only white people could do then]. Then you have segregation and all the rest.

There were still people who were critical of it and opposing it. Then in the 1930s the Communists and others in the CIO wanted to prevent workers being divided on racial matters.
WSWS: We are very critical that the Times doesn’t talk about the CIO.
DJ: They're sort of running roughshod over a lot of history in a few paragraphs. It’s not an in-depth analysis.
WSWS: Writing about the beginning of the Civil Rights struggle, Hannah-Jones says, “for the most part black Americans fought back alone.”
DJ: Well, of course that isn’t completely the truth. The tobacco workers’ union was involved in organizing in South Carolina in 1945 and the song that they’re singing as they march on their picket line is “We shall overcome,” which is then taken to a labor history training centre called Highlander, and it becomes the song of the Civil Rights movement. A lot of the labor activists become Civil Rights activists. There is an interaction between them. Bob Korstad has written about how these two movements merged in a book called Civil Rights Unionism.

There were Communists in the 1930s defending the rights of blacks in one way or another, but there were also relatively progressive whites, Christians and people criticising racism. So, it’s not just blacks alone.
Albion W. Tourgée
The NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] was founded by a group of progressive whites and blacks in the North. In North Carolina in the late Reconstruction era, Albion Tourgée, a white progressive from the South, tried to organise poor whites and blacks for the Republican Party in 1868, helped write a non-racial state constitution, then became a judge and had poor whites and blacks as his allies. Then, systematically, the Klan lynched a poor white activist, lynched some of the blacks he knows, and then tried to assassinate Tourgée. Ultimately, he’s forced out of North Carolina in 1878. He then wrote an antilynching column, he tried to challenge segregation in the Supreme Court, then he helped to create the predecessor to the NAACP.

There are probably about 20,000 blacks who are killed and 5,000 whites who are killed in this Reconstruction period by the Klan and those kinds of groups. It’s like death squads in Latin America; you go after activists and organisers using terror. White activists were seen as race traitors.
WSWS: Did any trade unionists who attempted an integrated struggle have any success?
DJ: There was a short period. You can look at Bob Korstad’s book on what happened with his father’s organising in Winston-Salem. That union was fairly progressive. But the other union, the AFL, started raiding, because of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Those unions that don’t sign affidavits and get rid of their communists are no longer protected by the labor law. So, there are times when there are efforts. But the use of race and anti-communism together are very effective.
WSWS: That’s an interesting connection that you make, that the segregationists used anti-communism as a weapon.
A. Philip Randolph (1963)
DJ: Because communists had been progressive on the race question, and anyone who’s interested in racial equality is by definition a subversive. This goes back to the Red Scare of 1919, when you have the first Communist Parties and the Bolsheviks have just had the revolution, and those people like A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen are editing a socialist paper in Harlem. They get targeted. There’s a New York State Senate committee investigating communism in 1919-1920 and they target those people in the North.

 … The NAACP has about 8,000 members before the war. After the war they get 400,000 members and they start the legal battle that leads to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Veterans came home determined to fight against segregation. The war itself and Germany made racism look somewhat suspect, and so you have a period where a lot of Americans are embarrassed that in a big part of their country blacks can’t vote. So, in the 1950s and 60s there are some kinds of changes. Tobacco workers I interviewed who came back from the war were very determined to fight segregation.
There was a big union presence in the 1963 March on Washington, which in some sense was repeating what Randolph threatened to do. King, when he’s killed in Memphis, he’s there to support organizing garbage workers. The UAW, one of the CIO unions, helped to organize the March on Washington in 1963.
WSWS: The 1619 Project jumps over Martin Luther King. He’s just absent.
DJ: There’s a lot of absences in there.
WSWS: To them it is simply blacks versus whites.
King holding image of murdered civil rights workers (1964)
DJ: They’re imposing identity politics all the way back. And in certain times, people don’t even think in terms of categories of white and black. They have to be taught that skin color is significant. Racial identity politics is real in terms of what it does to you, but also unreal because it has no actual scientific basis, although some people keep trying to reinvent it over and over again. Saying racism is in America’s “DNA,” I don’t think Hannah-Jones really meant it, I think that’s just a metaphor. But still, it’s using a genetic explanation for this stuff, which isn’t necessarily true.

 … My sister and I tore down Klan posters in the park, I think when I was 12, around 1960 or thereabouts. It said, “Be a Man, Join the Klan.” There was a post office box address, so I wrote a letter to the Klan to denounce them saying, “you’re not men!” The deputy sheriff was supposed to be head of the Klan, which was very typical in the South. I kept looking out the front door to see if there was a burning cross.
Ku Klux Klan in Gainesville
The Klan threatened to bomb the high school where my mother was working with black teachers. We were doing a literacy project with black children and we were forced to move to the Episcopalian church. Then we were accused of stealing hymn books, so we were forced to move to the black part of town. I took some black children into the local public library and the librarian was not pleased with me. But I thought they deserved to go there.

When I went to Tallahassee to Florida State university, we did Freedom Schools: setting up schools for black children to teach real history. We went to the black university too. That was one of our subversive activities.

It was a pretty repressive regime in much of the south, and violent too. Those three civil rights workers who were killed [James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner]—part of why they were killed was because it was two white guys with a black guy. …
RELATED: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: quite a few contemporary Black problems have very little to do with slavery

NO MAINSTREAM HISTORIAN CONTACTED FOR THE 1619 PROJECT

• "Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared": Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson Confirms that No Mainstream Historian Was Contacted by the NYT for Its 1619 History Project

• Gordon Wood: "The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world" — another Pulitzer-Winning Historian Had No Warning about the NYT's 1619 Project

• A Black Political Scientist "didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out"; "These people are kind of just making it up as they go"

• Clayborne Carson: Another Black Historian Kept in the Dark About 1619

• If historians did not hear of the NYT's history (sic) plan, chances are great that the 1619 Project was being deliberately kept a tight secret

• Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine: 1619 is “a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past”

• World Socialists: "the 1619 Project is a politically motivated falsification of history" by the New York Times, aka "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party"

THE NEW YORK TIMES OR THE NEW "WOKE" TIMES?

• Dan Gainor on 1619 and rewriting history: "To the Left elite like the NY Times, there’s no narrative they want to destroy more than American exceptionalism"

• Utterly preposterous claims: The 1619 project is a cynical political ploy, aimed at piercing the heart of the American understanding of justice

From Washington to Grant, not a single American deserves an iota of gratitude, or even understanding, from Nikole Hannah-Jones; however, modern autocrats, if leftist and foreign, aren't "all bad"

• One of the Main Sources for the NYT's 1619 Project Is a Career Communist Propagandist who Defends Stalinism

• A Pulitzer Prize?! Among the 1619 Defenders Is "a Fringe Academic" with "a Fetish for Authoritarian Terror" and "a Soft Spot" for Mugabe, Castro, and Even Stalin

• Influenced by Farrakhan's Nation of Islam?! 1619 Project's History "Expert" Believes the Aztecs' Pyramids Were Built with Help from Africans Who Crossed the Atlantic Prior to the "Barbaric Devils" of Columbus (Whom She Likens to Hitler)

• 1793, 1776, or 1619: Is the New York Times Distinguishable from Teen Vogue? Is It Living in a Parallel Universe? Or Is It Simply Losing Its Mind in an Industry-Wide Nervous Breakdown?

• No longer America's "newspaper of record," the "New Woke Times" is now but a college campus paper, where kids like 1619 writer Nikole Hannah-Jones run the asylum and determine what news is fit to print

• The Departure of Bari Weiss: "Propagandists", Ethical Collapse, and the "New McCarthyism" — "The radical left are running" the New York Times, "and no dissent is tolerated"

• "Full of left-wing sophomoric drivel": The New York Times — already drowning in a fantasy-land of alternately running pro-Soviet Union apologia and their anti-American founding “1619 Project” series — promises to narrow what they view as acceptable opinion even more

• "Deeply Ashamed" of the… New York Times (!),  An Oblivious Founder of the Error-Ridden 1619 Project Uses Words that Have to Be Seen to Be Believed ("We as a News Organization Should Not Be Running Something That Is Offering Misinformation to the Public, Unchecked")

• Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

• The 1619 Project is an exercise in religious indoctrination: Ignoring, downplaying, or rewriting the history of 1861 to 1865, the Left and the NYT must minimize, downplay, or ignore the deaths of 620,000 Americans

• 1619: It takes an absurdly blind fanaticism to insist that today’s free and prosperous America is rotten and institutionally oppressive

• The MSM newsrooms and their public shaming terror campaigns — the "bullying campus Marxism" is closer to cult religion than politics: Unceasingly searching out thoughtcrime, the American left has lost its mind

Fake But Accurate: The People Behind the NYT's 1619 Project Make a "Small" Clarification, But Only Begrudgingly and Half-Heartedly, Because Said Mistake Actually Undermines The 1619 Project's Entire Premise


THE REVOLUTION OF THE 1770s

• The Collapse of the Fourth Estate by Peter Wood: No one has been able to identify a single leader, soldier, or supporter of the Revolution who wanted to protect his right to hold slaves (A declaration that slavery is the founding institution of America and the center of everything important in our history is a ground-breaking claim, of the same type as claims that America condones rape culture, that 9/11 was an inside job, that vaccinations cause autism, that the Moon landing was a hoax, or that ancient astronauts built the pyramids)

• Mary Beth Norton:  In 1774, a year before Dunmore's proclamation, Americans had already in fact become independent

• Most of the founders, including Thomas Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, writes Rick Atkinson, despite the fact that many of them owned slaves

• Leslie Harris: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies (even the NYT's fact-checker on the 1619 Project disagrees with its "conclusions": "It took 60 more years for the British government to finally end slavery in its Caribbean colonies")

• Sean Wilentz on 1619: the movement in London to abolish the slave trade formed only in 1787, largely inspired by… American (!) antislavery opinion that had arisen in the 1760s and 1770s

• 1619 & Slavery's Fatal Lie: it is more accurate to say that what makes America unique isn't slavery but the effort to abolish it

• 1619 & 1772: Most of the founders, including Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, despite many of them owning slaves; And Britain would remain the world's foremost slave-trading nation into the nineteenth century

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: Slavery was legal in Britain in 1776, and it remained so in all overseas British colonies until 1833

• Not 1619 but 1641: In Fact, the American Revolution of 1776 Sought to Avoid the Excesses of the English Revolution Over a Century Earlier

• James Oakes on 1619: "Slavery made the slaveholders rich; But it made the South poor; And it didn’t make the North rich — So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth"

• One of the steps of defeating truth is to destroy evidence of the truth, says Bob Woodson; Because the North's Civil War statues — as well as American history itself — are evidence of America's redemption from slavery, it's important for the Left to remove evidence of the truth

TEACHING GENERATIONS OF KIDS FALSEHOODS ABOUT THE U.S.

• 1619: No wonder this place is crawling with young socialists and America-haters — the utter failure of the U.S. educational system to teach the history of America’s founding

• 1619: Invariably Taking the Progressive Side — The Ratio of Democratic to Republican Voter Registration in History Departments is More than 33 to 1

• Denying the grandeur of the nation’s founding—Wilfred McClay on 1619: "Most of my students are shocked to learn that that slavery is not uniquely American"

Inciting Hate Already in Kindergarten: 1619 "Education" Is Part of Far-Left Indoctrination by People Who Hate America to Kids in College, in School, and Even in Elementary Classes

• "Distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods": Where does the 1619 project state that Africans themselves were central players in the slave trade? That's right: Nowhere

• John Podhoretz on 1619: the idea of reducing US history to the fact that some people owned slaves is a reductio ad absurdum and the definition of bad faith

• The 1619 Africans in Virginia were not ‘enslaved’, a black historian points out; they were indentured servants — just like the majority of European whites were

"Two thirds of the people, white as well as black, who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are indentured servants" notes Dolores Janiewski; "The poor people, black and white, share common interests"

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

• Victoria Bynum on 1619 and a NYT writer's "ignorance of history": "As dehumanizing and brutal as slavery was, the institution was not a giant concentration camp"

• Dennis Prager: The Left Couldn't Care Less About Blacks

• The Secret About the Black Lives Matter Outfit; In Fact, Its Name Ought to Be BSD or BAD

• The Real Reason Why Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and the Land O'Lakes Maid Must Vanish

• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …

• Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Peter Kirsanow on 1619: "Unless substantial numbers of white Americans had worked to free the slaves, and then ensure that Blacks had civil rights," none of it would have happened


An attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Peter Kirsanow makes some common-sense remarks in the National Review about the 1619 Project:
Never content to leave unwoke history alone, last August the New York Times launched the 1619 Project. The “newspaper of record” states that this “ongoing initiative” “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”

It’s a conscious attempt to make the country’s “real” founding stem from when the first African slaves arrived in Virginia, rather than when the thirteen colonies declared their independence from Great Britain (or, say, 1620, when the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts, or 1607, when Jamestown was settled). Instead of fixing the founding of the country on a constructive event, the New York Times seeks to define the U.S. by its failures.
The 1619 Project deliberately minimizes the contributions and cultures of white Americans and magnifies and romanticizes the contributions and culture of black Americans. Ironically, in this way it’s the inverse of the longtime failure of texts to describe or even acknowledge the historical contributions of blacks.
 … The 1619 Project’s obsession with race, standing alone, is bad enough, but it’s even worse that it’s actually being used in public school curricula. Thus, as with other progressive revisionism, it’s likely to become the accepted Story of America within a generation unless there’s significant pushback.   Fortunately, respected and accomplished historians of American history have publicly addressed the manifold historical inaccuracies of the 1619 Project. And these aren’t historians dedicated to the “Lost Cause.” As part of the National Association of Scholars 1620 Project Lucas Morel, professor at Washington & Lee University and author of the forthcoming Lincoln and the American Founding, writes:
The strangest thing about the essay is the claim that transplanted Africans and their descendants were the key to American greatness. Hannah-Jones cites no African principles of self-government or ideals of humanity when she quotes the famous pronouncements of the Declaration of Independence. . . . Ironically, however, even in this warped retelling, black Americans’ principal means of saving white Americans from their worst selves was not anything African but the quintessentially American ideals of human equality and natural rights.
 … The 1619 Project maintains that “anti- black racism runs in the very DNA of this country.” Ignored is the obvious fact that unless substantial numbers of white Americans had worked to free the slaves, and then ensure that African Americans had civil rights, it wouldn’t have happened. Hannah-Jones criticizes Lincoln for suggesting in 1862 that freed slaves be resettled in Africa because he feared whites and blacks couldn’t coexist. Obviously, blacks weren’t resettled in Africa, and just as obviously it didn’t happen because most whites were willing to coexist — albeit at the time on an unequal basis — with blacks. White Americans had the political power to expel African Americans had they chosen to do so. But they didn’t. The Civil War ended, and — imperfectly, incompletely — African Americans became legal citizens. As Princeton historian James McPherson, responding to Hannah-Jones’s claim that “anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country,” told the World Socialist website:
[T]he idea that racism is a permanent condition, well that’s just not true. And it also doesn’t account for the countervailing tendencies in American history as well. Because opposition to slavery, and opposition to racism, has also been an important theme in American history.
As we remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that’s something we should all remember — and celebrate.
RELATED: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: quite a few contemporary Black problems have very little to do with slavery

NO MAINSTREAM HISTORIAN CONTACTED FOR THE 1619 PROJECT

• "Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared": Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson Confirms that No Mainstream Historian Was Contacted by the NYT for Its 1619 History Project

• Gordon Wood: "The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world" — another Pulitzer-Winning Historian Had No Warning about the NYT's 1619 Project

• A Black Political Scientist "didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out"; "These people are kind of just making it up as they go"

• Clayborne Carson: Another Black Historian Kept in the Dark About 1619

• If historians did not hear of the NYT's history (sic) plan, chances are great that the 1619 Project was being deliberately kept a tight secret

• Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine: 1619 is “a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past”

• World Socialists: "the 1619 Project is a politically motivated falsification of history" by the New York Times, aka "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party"

THE NEW YORK TIMES OR THE NEW "WOKE" TIMES?

• Dan Gainor on 1619 and rewriting history: "To the Left elite like the NY Times, there’s no narrative they want to destroy more than American exceptionalism"

• Utterly preposterous claims: The 1619 project is a cynical political ploy, aimed at piercing the heart of the American understanding of justice

From Washington to Grant, not a single American deserves an iota of gratitude, or even understanding, from Nikole Hannah-Jones; however, modern autocrats, if leftist and foreign, aren't "all bad"

• One of the Main Sources for the NYT's 1619 Project Is a Career Communist Propagandist who Defends Stalinism

• A Pulitzer Prize?! Among the 1619 Defenders Is "a Fringe Academic" with "a Fetish for Authoritarian Terror" and "a Soft Spot" for Mugabe, Castro, and Even Stalin

• Influenced by Farrakhan's Nation of Islam?! 1619 Project's History "Expert" Believes the Aztecs' Pyramids Were Built with Help from Africans Who Crossed the Atlantic Prior to the "Barbaric Devils" of Columbus (Whom She Likens to Hitler)

• 1793, 1776, or 1619: Is the New York Times Distinguishable from Teen Vogue? Is It Living in a Parallel Universe? Or Is It Simply Losing Its Mind in an Industry-Wide Nervous Breakdown?

• No longer America's "newspaper of record," the "New Woke Times" is now but a college campus paper, where kids like 1619 writer Nikole Hannah-Jones run the asylum and determine what news is fit to print

• The Departure of Bari Weiss: "Propagandists", Ethical Collapse, and the "New McCarthyism" — "The radical left are running" the New York Times, "and no dissent is tolerated"

• "Full of left-wing sophomoric drivel": The New York Times — already drowning in a fantasy-land of alternately running pro-Soviet Union apologia and their anti-American founding “1619 Project” series — promises to narrow what they view as acceptable opinion even more

• "Deeply Ashamed" of the… New York Times (!),  An Oblivious Founder of the Error-Ridden 1619 Project Uses Words that Have to Be Seen to Be Believed ("We as a News Organization Should Not Be Running Something That Is Offering Misinformation to the Public, Unchecked")

• Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

• The 1619 Project is an exercise in religious indoctrination: Ignoring, downplaying, or rewriting the history of 1861 to 1865, the Left and the NYT must minimize, downplay, or ignore the deaths of 620,000 Americans

• 1619: It takes an absurdly blind fanaticism to insist that today’s free and prosperous America is rotten and institutionally oppressive

• The MSM newsrooms and their public shaming terror campaigns — the "bullying campus Marxism" is closer to cult religion than politics: Unceasingly searching out thoughtcrime, the American left has lost its mind

Fake But Accurate: The People Behind the NYT's 1619 Project Make a "Small" Clarification, But Only Begrudgingly and Half-Heartedly, Because Said Mistake Actually Undermines The 1619 Project's Entire Premise


THE REVOLUTION OF THE 1770s

• The Collapse of the Fourth Estate by Peter Wood: No one has been able to identify a single leader, soldier, or supporter of the Revolution who wanted to protect his right to hold slaves (A declaration that slavery is the founding institution of America and the center of everything important in our history is a ground-breaking claim, of the same type as claims that America condones rape culture, that 9/11 was an inside job, that vaccinations cause autism, that the Moon landing was a hoax, or that ancient astronauts built the pyramids)

• Mary Beth Norton:  In 1774, a year before Dunmore's proclamation, Americans had already in fact become independent

• Most of the founders, including Thomas Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, writes Rick Atkinson, despite the fact that many of them owned slaves

• Leslie Harris: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies (even the NYT's fact-checker on the 1619 Project disagrees with its "conclusions": "It took 60 more years for the British government to finally end slavery in its Caribbean colonies")

• Sean Wilentz on 1619: the movement in London to abolish the slave trade formed only in 1787, largely inspired by… American (!) antislavery opinion that had arisen in the 1760s and 1770s

• 1619 & Slavery's Fatal Lie: it is more accurate to say that what makes America unique isn't slavery but the effort to abolish it

• 1619 & 1772: Most of the founders, including Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, despite many of them owning slaves; And Britain would remain the world's foremost slave-trading nation into the nineteenth century

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: Slavery was legal in Britain in 1776, and it remained so in all overseas British colonies until 1833

• Not 1619 but 1641: In Fact, the American Revolution of 1776 Sought to Avoid the Excesses of the English Revolution Over a Century Earlier

• James Oakes on 1619: "Slavery made the slaveholders rich; But it made the South poor; And it didn’t make the North rich — So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth"

• One of the steps of defeating truth is to destroy evidence of the truth, says Bob Woodson; Because the North's Civil War statues — as well as American history itself — are evidence of America's redemption from slavery, it's important for the Left to remove evidence of the truth

TEACHING GENERATIONS OF KIDS FALSEHOODS ABOUT THE U.S.

• 1619: No wonder this place is crawling with young socialists and America-haters — the utter failure of the U.S. educational system to teach the history of America’s founding

• 1619: Invariably Taking the Progressive Side — The Ratio of Democratic to Republican Voter Registration in History Departments is More than 33 to 1

• Denying the grandeur of the nation’s founding—Wilfred McClay on 1619: "Most of my students are shocked to learn that that slavery is not uniquely American"

Inciting Hate Already in Kindergarten: 1619 "Education" Is Part of Far-Left Indoctrination by People Who Hate America to Kids in College, in School, and Even in Elementary Classes

• "Distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods": Where does the 1619 project state that Africans themselves were central players in the slave trade? That's right: Nowhere

• John Podhoretz on 1619: the idea of reducing US history to the fact that some people owned slaves is a reductio ad absurdum and the definition of bad faith

• The 1619 Africans in Virginia were not ‘enslaved’, a black historian points out; they were indentured servants — just like the majority of European whites were

"Two thirds of the people, white as well as black, who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are indentured servants" notes Dolores Janiewski; "The poor people, black and white, share common interests"

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

• Victoria Bynum on 1619 and a NYT writer's "ignorance of history": "As dehumanizing and brutal as slavery was, the institution was not a giant concentration camp"

• Dennis Prager: The Left Couldn't Care Less About Blacks

• The Secret About the Black Lives Matter Outfit; In Fact, Its Name Ought to Be BSD or BAD

• The Real Reason Why Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and the Land O'Lakes Maid Must Vanish

• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …

• Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619

Monday, May 11, 2020

Republicans Pounce! Dept.: Staunch Opposition! Newly harsh rhetoric! An avid, a ferocious, and an unapologetic Trumpist!


Check out the language of the Fake News media — The birth of a Trumpist: How Elise Stefanik became one of the president's most ferocious supporters. Avid! Ferocious! Right in the league of "The Right Pounces!" A ferocious tiger! A tiger who pounces! An unapologetic Trumpist! Harsh rhetoric! Routinely frustrating Adam Schiff!

The Yahoo article — written in the midst of the impeachment hearings — comes from Yahoo, which Donald Trump famously said had little credibility, and it goes into how Elise Stefanik used to be "moderate" and cooperative, which makes her change of attitude just the more baffling and bewildering, even freakish. Check out some of the words and expressions (in bold, below) to vilify the right as wicked and monstrous while branding the left as moderate and tolerant.

Only in early November 2019, wrote Alexander Nazaryan later that month, Elise Stefanik, the third-term Republican congresswoman from upstate New York had no problem collaborating as she did "with a progressive like [Antonio] Delgado, who is also from New York. Or with a moderate Democrat like Anthony Brindisi, with whom she worked, also in early November, to secure funding for parts of New York devastated by floods."
When she wasn’t tending to her district, the 35-year-old Albany native was attending closed-door witness depositions in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate political opponents. Those depositions were held in a basement room of the U.S. Capitol.

At first, Stefanik didn’t seem overly invested in the proceedings. … In the eight witness depositions she attended, Stefanik stayed largely silent, asking a total of five questions. Those five came in the depositions of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a former official on the National Security Council, and Laura Cooper, a high-ranking Pentagon deputy. The questions were not especially confrontational, nor the kinds of diatribes members of both parties frequently use to tout their own partisan bona fides.

Most of Stefanik’s questions came during her single substantive exchange with Vindman, whom she questioned about the phone calls between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

And a good portion of that Vindman exchange has Stefanik explaining to Vindman’s attorney, Michael Volkov, that she is a member of Congress, not a congressional staffer.

“I don’t know who you are,” Volkov said.
Intentionally or not, this is an incredible insult. But since it comes from Democrats, you can count on the media types not to notice it…
He probably knows now. Since the impeachment inquiry entered its public phase earlier in November, Stefanik has become one of Trump’s most avid defenders. The only Republican woman on the House Intelligence Committee, she has routinely frustrated the committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, with criticisms of his procedural decisions (in particular, refusal to summon certain witnesses demanded by Republicans). After the hearings last week, she held press conferences with Trump loyalists like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

The days of working with progressives like Delgado seem like an eternity ago. And it may be another eternity yet until anyone left of center works with Stefanik again, given how confused she has left a Democratic establishment.

Stefanik, who had previously kept her distance from Trump, did not previously seem enthusiastic about the prospect of defending the president. Only weeks ago, there had been talk on Capitol Hill that she might be one of two or three Republicans to vote in favor of opening an impeachment inquiry. She didn’t, but even the mere suggestion seems outlandish now.

Trump has certainly noticed. After her first eruption at Schiff on national television, the president declared on Twitter that a “new Republican Star is born.” He made the same point as the witness testimony concluded in the impeachment inquiry and the House Intelligence Committee prepared to file a report of its findings to the House Judiciary Committee. “I’ll tell you what, this young woman from upstate New York, she has become a star,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.”

He had likely seen her primetime interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News the evening before, an appearance during which Stefanik called herself an “outspoken advocate for the facts” who had been maligned by the “Hollywood left.”

Stefanik’s newly harsh rhetoric has left many of her Democratic colleagues stunned. “I was really bummed to see her go the Trump route like this,” says Katie Hill, the former progressive congresswoman from the Los Angeles area. “She was one of the few that often broke with Trump. I was very surprised.”

Like others who spoke to Yahoo News for this article — most of them on the condition of anonymity — Hill praised Stefanik, who graduated from Harvard University in 2006, as exceptionally intelligent. And like most of the Democrats asked to explain Stefanik’s transformation, she could not fully account for the decision to side with Trump.
Uh… How about her conviction about the impeachment proceedings amounting to a witch hunt?
However surprising her evolution into an unapologetic Trumpist has been, Stefanik has been preparing for high-stakes politics for the better part of a decade. Whatever else is at work, sophisticated political calculation is doubtlessly guiding her in this strange political season. That calculation, people say, has been there for decades.

Josh Schwerin was a young political operative in early 2009, working on a House race in upstate New York that would decide who would replace Kirsten Gillibrand, who had just been appointed to the U.S. Senate seat held until then by Hillary Clinton. Schwerin’s candidate was Scott Murphy, a Democrat.

 … Especially flabbergasted by Stefanik’s recent volte-face are Democrats who have worked with her on the House Armed Services Committee and who saw her as above the petty vendettas and cynical alliances that mark so much of the daily business on Capitol Hill. “She always billed herself as a moderate focused on national security,” said an aide to a Democrat on the Armed Services Committee. “Now she’s producing political theater,” he lamented, describing the committee’s Democratic majority as “pretty shook” by Stefanik’s staunch opposition during the impeachment hearings.
Hello? Are you deaf 'n' dumb?! Maybe — could it be?! — the impeachment hearings fit into the production of political theater, and perhaps they show a party that is not — far from it — "above petty vendettas and cynical alliances" in any way.
Exactly why Stefanik has chosen this moment to raise the Trump flag is difficult to say. Some believe she is motivated by an antipathy for Schiff, and in particular because of his handling of the impeachment inquiry. If that were the case, however, she could have expressed her frustration during the inquiry’s private phase. She declined to do so in the eight hearings she attended, remaining fully silent for six of the witness depositions, according to the transcripts that have been publicly released.

 … Katie Hill, the former progressive congresswoman from the Los Angeles area, … responded on Twitter with a pithy message that seemed to encapsulate Democrats’ disappointment, their amazement that a woman as smart as Stefanik would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump.

“Wait, wut,” she wrote.
Update: it turns out that “Republicans rejoice” is just a variation on “Republicans pounce”

An insoluble race problem? Black Political Scientist: "I didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out"; "These people are kind of just making it up as they go"


The World Socialists' Tom Mackaman is back in form as he interviews a black political scientist about the 1619 Project. It turns out, to no one's surprise, that Adolph Reed was no more aware of the New York Times' pet project until its publication than white historians were…
Adolph Reed, Jr., is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous books and articles dealing with race and class in American society and writes regularly for the New Republic.
 … Q. Let me ask a little bit about your initial reaction to the 1619 Project. I have spoken to several historians who concentrated their criticism on Nikole Hannah-Jones’ lead essay, which is meant to frame the whole thing, and also Matthew Desmond's claim that American capitalism is basically the direct descendent of chattel slavery. Maybe you can help us to understand the rest of the magazine, which is being pushed as a curriculum for school children. It seems to me that what the rest of the essays do is focus on a particular social problem—traffic jams in Atlanta, lack of national healthcare, high sugar in the American diet, and so on—and argue by implication that that's all coming out of slavery. The dominant tendency in academia is to attribute all social problems to race, or to other forms of identity, but the 1619 Project goes farther still, saying that they are all rooted in slavery.
A. I didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out, and frankly when I learned about it my reaction was a big sigh. But again, the relation to history has passed to the appropriation of the past in support of what whatever kind of ‘just-so’ stories about the present are desired. This approach has taken root within the Academy. It's like all bets are off.

 … What are the stakes that people imagine to be bound up with demonstrating that capitalism in this country emerged from slavery and racism, which are treated as two different labels for the same pathology? Ultimately, it’s a race reductionist argument. What the Afro-pessimist types or black nationalist types get out of it is an insistence that we can’t ever talk about anything except race. And that's partly because talking about race is the things they have to sell.

If you follow through the logic of disparities discourse, and watch the studies and follow the citations, what you get is a sort of bold announcement of findings, but finding that anybody who has been reading a newspaper over the last 50 or 70 years would assume from the outset: blacks have it worse, and women have it worse, and so on.

It’s in part an expression of a generic pathology of sociology, the most banal expression of academic life. You follow the safe path. You replicate the findings. But it’s not just supposed to be a matter of finding a disparity in and of itself, like differences in the number of days of sunshine in a year. It’s supposed to be a promise that in finding or confirming the disparity in this or that domain that it will bring some kind of mediation of the problem. But the work never calls for that.
 
Q. You make important points about the way social problems are approached. As an example, we have a scourge of police violence in this country. Over 1,000 Americans are killed each year by police. And the common knowledge, so to speak, is that this is a racial problem. The reality is that the largest number of those killed are white, but blacks are disproportionately killed. But if the position is that this is simply a racial problem, there is no real solution on offer. We have a militarized police force operating under conditions of extreme social inequality, with lots of guns on the streets, with soldiers coming back from serving in neocolonial wars abroad becoming police officers. And all of this is excised in the racialist argument, which if taken at face value, boils down to allegations about racial attitudes among police.
A. Cedric Johnson [3] has made good points on this and I’ve spoken with him at considerable length about the criminal justice system. To overdraw the point, a black Yale graduate who works on Wall Street is no doubt several times more likely to be jacked up by the police on the platform of Metro North than his white counterpart, out of mistaken identity. And that mistaken identity is what we might call racism. But it’s a shorthand. He’s still less likely to be jacked up by the police than the broke white guy in northeast Philadelphia or west Baltimore.

 … So that’s kind of natural enough and you don’t need to have a devil theory like the crack epidemic to explain it—all of this pointless back-and-forth about how the cultural and political authorities are responding to the opioid crisis compared to how they responded to the crack epidemic. I mean, it’s all beside the point.
Q. I was remembering your response to Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is your hometown, right?
A. Yes.
Q. Maybe you could say something about that because I think you made a strong critique of identity politics in the context of that disaster.
A. First of all, the narrative that only black people lived in the most flood-prone areas was false. The Lakeview section of the city, which was built on reclaimed marshland on the lakefront when I was too small to remember, in the first decades after World War II, was every bit as much below sea level as the Lower Ninth Ward and flooded as completely.

I guess we owe something to Anderson Cooper and Soledad O'Brien for when they began to recoil from, and then eventually to rebel against, the victim-blaming in the aftermath of the hurricane. But what was unfortunate about that moment was that, even though they were moved by it, the power of the iconography, of the disproportionate representation of poor black people on the overpasses in the Convention Center and the Superdome, fed this idea that “nothing has changed,” that there is this insoluble race problem.

Well the first question is, where do you think that the people who brought you those tropical drinks and turned down your bed in the hotel lived? I mean how do you think they lived? Did it never occur to you to wonder what their wages were or anything like that?

Of course it’s a poor city. But it turns out that, proportionally, blacks weren't displaced at a higher rate than whites. It's just that there are a lot more blacks in the city. And also blacks actually didn't die at a higher rate than whites. But the best predictor, or a better predictor than race, of who was able to evacuate first of all, who was able to survive the period of evacuation under relatively decent circumstances, and who was able to come back to the city afterwards—every step along the way, class was a better predictor than race. Class as in a sociological sense, class as access to resources—both monetary and other resources; your lack of dependence on a job, your access to social networks. But it didn't appear to be that way so there becomes this narrative that the story of Katrina’s displacement proves the continuing significance, or new significance, of race.
Well, it turns out that the concrete version of the story is that it shows the power of class and the impact of neoliberalism. Before Mitch Landrieu was elected mayor in 2010 there hadn't been a white mayor since his father left office in 1977. So you had a black government all the way through. But now even with the coming back to the city, for a year or two afterwards, when you’d drive around the city—and granted this is informal observation, but I did it on every trip there and kept tabs—but following the recovery it's not only that the more affluent neighborhoods recovered without regard to race, but that even within the better-off neighborhoods and more affluent blocks, the bigger houses came back first.

But where it really gets corrosive is this narrative that the city was being depopulated of blacks so that whites could take it back. And the first few weeks after the inundation you could certainly find people saying, “We’ll get rid of the crime. Let it all go to Houston.” But it was also pretty clear after a few weeks that the governing elite didn't really have any interest in altering the political regime. Now post-Katrina, and this is a big irony given the race line of arguing, if anything the ruling class in the city is now more seamlessly interracial and biracial than it had been previously.
Q. I think identity politics makes for some strange bedfellows. There's some agreement between the likes of Hannah-Jones and the far right, for example the neo-Confederates you were mentioning when we sat down, who oppose the concept of equality. But she, in the 1619 Project, also calls the Declaration of Independence a “founding myth.”
A. Every state is going to have its founding myths, if you think of them as ideals. But what is so important about Jim Oakes’ book, Scorpion’s Sting, is that you can see this tension about human equality that was rooted in the founding documents and debates. It’s especially ironic to consider, for instance, the three-fifths compromise to the Constitution, which was an expression of exactly the opposite political value that the people who invoke it as part of an Afro-pessimist discourse claim. These people are kind of just making it up as they go, or reinventing the past to suit the purposes of the present.

Right from the outset. Those first 20 people weren't slaves. There wasn’t chattel slavery yet in British North America. But the 1619 Project assumes, in whatever way, that slavery was the natural condition of Africans. And that’s where the Afro-pessimist types wind up sharing a cup of tea with the likes of James Henry Hammond. [James Henry Hammond was a Democratic Party Senator from South Carolina (1857-1860) and leading proponent of slavery in the lead-up to the Civil War]
Q. Let me ask you about what in academia is called “critical race theory” and how you see it at work in the 1619 Project.
A. It’s another expression of reductionism. On the most pedestrian level it’s an observation that what you see is a function of where you stand. At that level there's nothing in it that wasn't in Marx's early writings, or in Mannheim. But then you get an appropriation of the standpoint theory for identity that says for example, all blacks think the same way. It’s taxonomic, a reification. So the retort to that critique has been “intersectionality.” Yes, there’s a black perspective, but what you do is fragment it, so there are multiple black perspectives, because each potential—or each sacralized—social position becomes discrete. That's what gives you intersectionality.

But listening to how people talk about intersectionality, it just seems like dissociative personality disorder. How do you carve out when your male is talking, and your black is talking, and when your steelworker is talking? It seems like the kind of perspective that can work only at a level of abstraction at which no one ever asks to see something concrete. Herbert Butterfield, in The Whig Interpretation of History, back in 1931, had this great criticism of what he calls concepts that are incapable of concrete visualization. But we have this world of theory where big cultural abstractions kind of cross-pollinate and relieve the theorists of historical work.
Herbert Butterfield
Q. We’ve spoken to a number of leading historians, including James McPherson, James Oakes, Gordon Wood and Victoria Bynum, and Hannah-Jones launched into a Twitter tirade against them, dismissing them as “white historians.” She is not a historian, but she is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” just like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ibram X. Kendi have been in recent years.
A. I have spent most of my adult life trying to avoid the kind of old-fashioned Stalinist conspiracy theory, but it’s getting hard. My dad used to say that in one sense ideology is the mechanism that harmonizes the principles that you want to believe with what advances your material interest.

And so I understand that the people of MacArthur, for instance, think they're doing something quite different. But when they look for voices, the voices that they look for are the voices that say ultimately, “Well it's a tragedy that's hopeless. We have to atone as individuals. Do whatever you can do to confront disparity.”

I've been joking for a number of years that here at Penn the university administration has three core values: Building the endowment, already at $16 billion. Buying up as much on the real estate as they can on both sides of the Schuylkill River. And diversity. And they're genuinely committed to all three of those because they think that part of their mission is to make the ruling class look like the photo of America.

I made a reference once to Coates being an autodidact, and what I meant by that was that he did not know history, that he’s not a historian. Kendi’s book, I don’t know anyone who has actually read it.
Q. Stamped from the Beginning is the title. There couldn’t be a more anti-historical title. In just four words it mixes biblical and genetic metaphors. He’s now on a national speaking tour.
A. It’s a career path. A number of years ago Ken Warren at the University of Chicago and I ran a seminar, and what we noticed is that a lot of students of color were applying to PhD programs saying that they wanted to get a credential to help them become public intellectuals. And it's only gotten more and more normalized. I mean at this point like if you look at faculty home pages, or even graduate student pages, they read like they're prepared by the William Morris Agency, for example assistant professors claiming 15 subfields of expertise. It's like the bios are written for MSNBC.
Q. I think one element of it is that there's this presumption that it's somehow all “left.” But then you look, and well it's funded by the MacArthur Foundation, and the New York Times loves it, and the Ivy League boards of trustees loves it, so how left can it be? How could it possibly be radical?
A. I've seen some students take umbrage to describing slavery as a labor system, that that is somehow demeaning. I don’t know if you remember this, but there was a controversy a few years ago where this textbook made a reference to the transatlantic slave trade, and then, in the context of the transatlantic slave trade, made a statement that Africans were brought to the New World to work, or were brought as workers. There was a big to-do about this. But the simple structure of the paragraph makes clear that whoever wrote this text was not claiming that African workers weren't slaves, since they were brought here through the transatlantic slave trade. My son Touré Reed, who is a historian at Illinois State University, puts it this way, “There is a tendency to think of slavery as a permanent sadistic camp.” And that’s what comes through in the movies, too.
Q. Right. The idea, and I think the 1619 Project very much promotes this, that slavery was created as a form of racial oppression, rather than a form of labor exploitation that ultimately became rationalized ideologically by racism.

Even when slavery existed, its form of exploitation was so conspicuous, and so brutal, that it obscured other forms of exploitation, including wage labor. But now it’s 2019, and you have the New York Times arguing that every social ill that we have today is descended directly from slavery. As if wage labor exploitation hasn’t happened, as if it’s not happening at the Times itself. As if the great majority of African Americans today are not exploited today as wage laborers, alongside whites.
A. Right. I’ve had this argument with the proponents of reparations. And my question for them all along has been, how can you imagine putting together a political alliance that would be broad enough so that you win on this issue? And if you can’t imagine it, then what are you really doing? And their answer is, “Well, don't you think black people deserve something?” Well, a lot of people deserve a lot.
Q. I agree. The people behind the 1619 Project would of course deny they're advocating a race war. But if blacks and white have immutable, intrinsic, and supra-historical differences, that’s the logic of the position.
A. That's also the punchline of Afro-pessimism, that racism is ubiquitous. That everybody hates blacks or embraces anti-blackness. It's everywhere and there’s this global condition of whiteness.
Q. Hannah-Jones writes that anti-black racism is stamped in the national DNA.
A. The only place that can lead, if it’s impermeable, if it’s immutable, is race war.

The “legacy of slavery” construct is also one I’ve hated for as long as I can remember because, in the first place, why would the legacy of slavery be more meaningful than the legacy of sharecropping and Jim Crow and the legacy of the Great Migration? Or even the New Deal and the CIO? But what's ideologically useful about the legacy of the slavery trope is that it can mean two seemingly quite different things. One is that it can be invoked as proof that blacks are inferior, because slavery has forged an indelible mark. Or it can be invoked as a cultural pathology argument. But it's a misunderstanding to assume that there's a sharp contrast between cultural arguments about inequality and biological arguments. They're basically the same. …
 … Q. I have not tried to search out a historical linkage to this before, but it seems to me that going all the way back to the antebellum it has been the Democratic Party that has done the heavy lifting in promoting racial identity. Of course, there’s a division of labor with the Republicans since the late 1960s and Nixon’s so-called “southern strategy.” Not so long ago, people referred to Republican politicians using “dog whistles” for racism. With Trump it’s become a bullhorn. But the Times’ 1619 Project reflects the agenda of the Democratic Party today. They’re trying to cobble together an electoral coalition based on identities.
A. Absolutely. It’s fascinating to watch Hillary Clinton in 2016 because I remember very well 1992, when the cutting edge of Clintonism was showing there was a new Democratic Party that was going to make Wall Street grateful. It wasn’t a party that was going to coddle black and poor people. And Bill Clinton was very clear about that. That’s what the Crime Bill and Welfare Reform were all about. To see the Clintons presenting themselves as the avatars of racial justice against Bernie Sanders in 2016 was really extraordinary.
Q. Thank you for speaking with us. Before we conclude, let me ask you what you are working on now.
A. Well I’ve started doing a column every month in the New Republic, but I'm trying to finish a book that actually started at the beginning of the Obama era. I was approached by Verso to do a book on Obama and I said no, but I would consider doing a book on Obama-mania, by which I mean the phenomenon that people who should have known better got so excited about him.
Q. You had a really prescient essay on Obama way back in 1996, when he was in Illinois state senator. You referred to him as “a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics,” and predicted he was the wave of the future. …
RELATED: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: quite a few contemporary Black problems have very little to do with slavery

NO MAINSTREAM HISTORIAN CONTACTED FOR THE 1619 PROJECT

• "Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared": Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson Confirms that No Mainstream Historian Was Contacted by the NYT for Its 1619 History Project

• Gordon Wood: "The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world" — another Pulitzer-Winning Historian Had No Warning about the NYT's 1619 Project

• A Black Political Scientist "didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out"; "These people are kind of just making it up as they go"

• Clayborne Carson: Another Black Historian Kept in the Dark About 1619

• If historians did not hear of the NYT's history (sic) plan, chances are great that the 1619 Project was being deliberately kept a tight secret

• Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine: 1619 is “a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past”

• World Socialists: "the 1619 Project is a politically motivated falsification of history" by the New York Times, aka "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party"

THE NEW YORK TIMES OR THE NEW "WOKE" TIMES?

• Dan Gainor on 1619 and rewriting history: "To the Left elite like the NY Times, there’s no narrative they want to destroy more than American exceptionalism"

• Utterly preposterous claims: The 1619 project is a cynical political ploy, aimed at piercing the heart of the American understanding of justice

From Washington to Grant, not a single American deserves an iota of gratitude, or even understanding, from Nikole Hannah-Jones; however, modern autocrats, if leftist and foreign, aren't "all bad"

• One of the Main Sources for the NYT's 1619 Project Is a Career Communist Propagandist who Defends Stalinism

• A Pulitzer Prize?! Among the 1619 Defenders Is "a Fringe Academic" with "a Fetish for Authoritarian Terror" and "a Soft Spot" for Mugabe, Castro, and Even Stalin

• Influenced by Farrakhan's Nation of Islam?! 1619 Project's History "Expert" Believes the Aztecs' Pyramids Were Built with Help from Africans Who Crossed the Atlantic Prior to the "Barbaric Devils" of Columbus (Whom She Likens to Hitler)

• 1793, 1776, or 1619: Is the New York Times Distinguishable from Teen Vogue? Is It Living in a Parallel Universe? Or Is It Simply Losing Its Mind in an Industry-Wide Nervous Breakdown?

• No longer America's "newspaper of record," the "New Woke Times" is now but a college campus paper, where kids like 1619 writer Nikole Hannah-Jones run the asylum and determine what news is fit to print

• The Departure of Bari Weiss: "Propagandists", Ethical Collapse, and the "New McCarthyism" — "The radical left are running" the New York Times, "and no dissent is tolerated"

• "Full of left-wing sophomoric drivel": The New York Times — already drowning in a fantasy-land of alternately running pro-Soviet Union apologia and their anti-American founding “1619 Project” series — promises to narrow what they view as acceptable opinion even more

• "Deeply Ashamed" of the… New York Times (!),  An Oblivious Founder of the Error-Ridden 1619 Project Uses Words that Have to Be Seen to Be Believed ("We as a News Organization Should Not Be Running Something That Is Offering Misinformation to the Public, Unchecked")

• Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

• The 1619 Project is an exercise in religious indoctrination: Ignoring, downplaying, or rewriting the history of 1861 to 1865, the Left and the NYT must minimize, downplay, or ignore the deaths of 620,000 Americans

• 1619: It takes an absurdly blind fanaticism to insist that today’s free and prosperous America is rotten and institutionally oppressive

• The MSM newsrooms and their public shaming terror campaigns — the "bullying campus Marxism" is closer to cult religion than politics: Unceasingly searching out thoughtcrime, the American left has lost its mind

Fake But Accurate: The People Behind the NYT's 1619 Project Make a "Small" Clarification, But Only Begrudgingly and Half-Heartedly, Because Said Mistake Actually Undermines The 1619 Project's Entire Premise


THE REVOLUTION OF THE 1770s

• The Collapse of the Fourth Estate by Peter Wood: No one has been able to identify a single leader, soldier, or supporter of the Revolution who wanted to protect his right to hold slaves (A declaration that slavery is the founding institution of America and the center of everything important in our history is a ground-breaking claim, of the same type as claims that America condones rape culture, that 9/11 was an inside job, that vaccinations cause autism, that the Moon landing was a hoax, or that ancient astronauts built the pyramids)

• Mary Beth Norton:  In 1774, a year before Dunmore's proclamation, Americans had already in fact become independent

• Most of the founders, including Thomas Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, writes Rick Atkinson, despite the fact that many of them owned slaves

• Leslie Harris: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies (even the NYT's fact-checker on the 1619 Project disagrees with its "conclusions": "It took 60 more years for the British government to finally end slavery in its Caribbean colonies")

• Sean Wilentz on 1619: the movement in London to abolish the slave trade formed only in 1787, largely inspired by… American (!) antislavery opinion that had arisen in the 1760s and 1770s

• 1619 & Slavery's Fatal Lie: it is more accurate to say that what makes America unique isn't slavery but the effort to abolish it

• 1619 & 1772: Most of the founders, including Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, despite many of them owning slaves; And Britain would remain the world's foremost slave-trading nation into the nineteenth century

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: Slavery was legal in Britain in 1776, and it remained so in all overseas British colonies until 1833

• Not 1619 but 1641: In Fact, the American Revolution of 1776 Sought to Avoid the Excesses of the English Revolution Over a Century Earlier

• James Oakes on 1619: "Slavery made the slaveholders rich; But it made the South poor; And it didn’t make the North rich — So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth"

• One of the steps of defeating truth is to destroy evidence of the truth, says Bob Woodson; Because the North's Civil War statues — as well as American history itself — are evidence of America's redemption from slavery, it's important for the Left to remove evidence of the truth

TEACHING GENERATIONS OF KIDS FALSEHOODS ABOUT THE U.S.

• 1619: No wonder this place is crawling with young socialists and America-haters — the utter failure of the U.S. educational system to teach the history of America’s founding

• 1619: Invariably Taking the Progressive Side — The Ratio of Democratic to Republican Voter Registration in History Departments is More than 33 to 1

• Denying the grandeur of the nation’s founding—Wilfred McClay on 1619: "Most of my students are shocked to learn that that slavery is not uniquely American"

Inciting Hate Already in Kindergarten: 1619 "Education" Is Part of Far-Left Indoctrination by People Who Hate America to Kids in College, in School, and Even in Elementary Classes

• "Distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods": Where does the 1619 project state that Africans themselves were central players in the slave trade? That's right: Nowhere

• John Podhoretz on 1619: the idea of reducing US history to the fact that some people owned slaves is a reductio ad absurdum and the definition of bad faith

• The 1619 Africans in Virginia were not ‘enslaved’, a black historian points out; they were indentured servants — just like the majority of European whites were

"Two thirds of the people, white as well as black, who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are indentured servants" notes Dolores Janiewski; "The poor people, black and white, share common interests"

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

• Victoria Bynum on 1619 and a NYT writer's "ignorance of history": "As dehumanizing and brutal as slavery was, the institution was not a giant concentration camp"

• Dennis Prager: The Left Couldn't Care Less About Blacks

• The Secret About the Black Lives Matter Outfit; In Fact, Its Name Ought to Be BSD or BAD

• The Real Reason Why Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and the Land O'Lakes Maid Must Vanish

• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …

• Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619