Fundamental Critique of the 1619 Project

 

On NRO right now is a piece by Allen C. Guelzo, Senior Research Scholar in the Humanities Council at Princeton University. He takes the 1619 Project’s foundational premises apart and exposes the absurdity. This piece isn’t that long and well worth your time to read. This is the response of a real historian to this malignant Marxist wishful thinking contrivance called the 1619 Project.

1619 and the Narrative of Despair

On August 14, 2019, the New York Times Magazine dropped something of a historical bombshell on its readers. It was not some new conspiracy theory about the Kennedy assassination or some breathtaking revelation of the secret life of Millard Fillmore. It was much more dramatic. It was called “The 1619 Project,” and it consumed an entire special 100-page issue of the magazine. It also aimed at nothing less than a complete overhaul of how we understand American history. It did not, however, meet with entire agreement by American historians: At least two very diverse groups of American historians and political scientists, one headed by myself (and including eleven others) and another by my Princeton colleague Sean Wilentz, wrote letters to Jake Silverstein, the editor of the New York Times Magazine, to question a host of gaffes and misstatements in The 1619 Project. All of these were summarily waved away, and last week, The 1619 Project’s lead essay sailed merrily to a Pulitzer Prize for commentary — although if “sailed” is the right metaphor, the ship in question resembles the Bounty more than the Cutty Sark.

Mr. Guelzo point by point lays bare the corrupt nature of this pseudo-history. He also makes clear the size of the threat it poses.

… Already, 3,500 classrooms and five major urban school systems (including Buffalo, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.) have adopted The 1619 Project for their history curricula. As they do this, the results will be that we teach schoolchildren that:

  • capitalism is a form of totalitarianism . . . so that we may then think kindly of socialism.
  • we should pay reparations for slavery (and Hannah-Jones has stated frankly that “the project is an argument for reparations”), as though, to reverse Lincoln’s formula in his Second Inaugural Address, every drop of blood drawn by the lash had not been paid for by one drawn by the sword.
  • history is nothing more than a web of narratives and interpretations, so that any connection of history to historical fact can be ignored. As one enthusiastic backer of The 1619 Project confessed, “often reading straight history doesn’t get us deep into emotion and perspective and feeling,” and as we all surely believe, “emotion and perspective and feeling” are infinitely more important than truth.
  • the America that Lincoln described as the world’s “last, best hope” becomes a swamp of guilt, resentment, accusation, and lethal mistrust.

The 1619 Project is false, sick, and evaluated by its real intentions just plain evil. The Goofy Woke New New Left is very very dangerous and needs to be stopped.

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  1. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    We’ve been discussing elsewhere here how the virus experience might cause the whole bloated, indoctrination-focused higher education structure in America to collapse, because they can’t survive economically.  Ditto the overloaded influence Hollywood and its products have in our lives, for the same reason.

    Possibly it might also cause the end of K-12 “education” as we have known it, as we opt for something less centralized?  So brainwashing schemes like this – along with Howard Zinn’s contributions – won’t really have a chance?

    I have a dream . . . .

    • #1
  2. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    We’ve been discussing elsewhere here how the virus experience might cause the whole bloated, indoctrination-focused higher education structure in America to collapse, because they can’t survive economically. Ditto the overloaded influence Hollywood and its products have in our lives, for the same reason.

    Possibly it might also cause the end of K-12 “education” as we have known it, as we opt for something less centralized? So brainwashing schemes like this – along with Howard Zinn’s contributions – won’t really have a chance?

    I have a dream . . . .

    Bruce,

    I hope you are right. I have actually suggested an anti-trust suit to break the accreditation lock that the major universities have. If a startup online university can show that its standards are high enough, why must we allow this conspiracy in restraint of trade? You remember, competition! Put some heat under these guys. They think they’ve got everybody over a barrel. Mom & Dad are desperate to get their child into the really big schools because that’s the only way to go. Meanwhile, the university system gets more and more bloated = expensive and what they are teaching becomes more and more ridiculous.

    May your dream come true.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
  3. Al French of Damascus Moderator
    Al French of Damascus
    @AlFrench

    Guelzo also wrote on the topic for Saturday’s WSJ (behind paywalls).

    • #3
  4. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    This is also a problem of having anti-religious bigots rewriting history to remove the religion as the basis for founding of the USA.  Our country would not exist if not for the unprecedented cooperation of the various religious factions and will of God.

    • #4
  5. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):
    Guelzo

    Al,

    Thanks. I haven’t really had time to get all of Guelzo. However, I stumbled on this on YouTube (no paywall). I’ve just started listening but he is so good I can’t stop. How wonderful it would be if we could show every school child in America professor Guelzo’s lecture on the Gettysburg Address and throw the entire 1619 Project curriculum in the nearest dumpster.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
  6. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):
    Guelzo

    Al,

    Thanks. I haven’t really had time to get all of Guelzo. However, I stumbled on this on YouTube (no paywall). I’ve just started listening but he is so good I can’t stop. How wonderful it would be if we could show every school child in America professor Guelzo’s lecture on the Gettysburg Address and throw the entire 1619 Project curriculum in the nearest dumpster.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I’ve been to Gettysburg 4 times in the last 3 years. I can see why Clarence Thomas takes his clerks there. 

    • #6
  7. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    I hope you are right. I have actually suggested an anti-trust suit to break the accreditation lock that the major universities have.

    My old dissertation advisor once said that he wished universities hired faculty the way they hire football coaches. Different lengths of contracts, no tenure. I think the first state university system that does this will catch hell, but all the others would quickly follow. 

    • #7
  8. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    I hope you are right. I have actually suggested an anti-trust suit to break the accreditation lock that the major universities have.

    My old dissertation advisor once said that he wished universities hired faculty the way they hire football coaches. Different lengths of contracts, no tenure. I think the first state university system that does this will catch hell, but all the others would quickly follow.

    Wrangler,

    The tenure system was supposed to ensure academic freedom. Now the new woke wonderland of grievance identity politics is able to harass even tenured professors into silence. If tenure now guarantees nothing but a bloated system of mandarin bureaucrats all bleating the same woke drivel, then to hell with that too.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

     

     

    • #8
  9. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    @cliffordbrown and President Trump were on this last September … Jamestown 1619: A Tale of Two Tales

    The New York Times Is Exposed and admits biased and flawed objective:

    NYT Chief outlines coverage shift: From Trump-Russia to Trump racist      

    The NYT goes all in on flawed 1619 Project

    • #9
  10. JamesSalerno Inactive
    JamesSalerno
    @JamesSalerno

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    We’ve been discussing elsewhere here how the virus experience might cause the whole bloated, indoctrination-focused higher education structure in America to collapse, because they can’t survive economically. Ditto the overloaded influence Hollywood and its products have in our lives, for the same reason.

    Possibly it might also cause the end of K-12 “education” as we have known it, as we opt for something less centralized? So brainwashing schemes like this – along with Howard Zinn’s contributions – won’t really have a chance?

    I have a dream . . . .

    I would love it if this were the case but I’m afraid the solution will just be “feed it more money.”

    • #10
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    I hope you are right. I have actually suggested an anti-trust suit to break the accreditation lock that the major universities have.

    My old dissertation advisor once said that he wished universities hired faculty the way they hire football coaches. Different lengths of contracts, no tenure. I think the first state university system that does this will catch hell, but all the others would quickly follow.

    Wrangler,

    The tenure system was supposed to ensure academic freedom. Now the new woke wonderland of grievance identity politics is able to harass even tenured professors into silence. If tenure now guarantees nothing but a bloated system of mandarin bureaucrats all bleating the same woke drivel, then to hell with that too.

    Regards,

    Jim

    The tenured faculty is the problem.  Tenure allows them to adopt the most crazed, irrational, radical, and anti-American positions conceivable, secure that they will be able to keep their jobs.

    The potential for abuse in the tenure system is obvious, and should have been obvious for a long time.  Gee, let’s let the professors be completely unaccountable.  What could go wrong?

    • #11
  12. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    I hope you are right. I have actually suggested an anti-trust suit to break the accreditation lock that the major universities have.

    My old dissertation advisor once said that he wished universities hired faculty the way they hire football coaches. Different lengths of contracts, no tenure. I think the first state university system that does this will catch hell, but all the others would quickly follow.

    Wrangler,

    The tenure system was supposed to ensure academic freedom. Now the new woke wonderland of grievance identity politics is able to harass even tenured professors into silence. If tenure now guarantees nothing but a bloated system of mandarin bureaucrats all bleating the same woke drivel, then to hell with that too.

    Regards,

    Jim

    The tenured faculty is the problem. Tenure allows them to adopt the most crazed, irrational, radical, and anti-American positions conceivable, secure that they will be able to keep their jobs.

    The potential for abuse in the tenure system is obvious, and should have been obvious for a long time. Gee, let’s let the professors be completely unaccountable. What could go wrong?

    Wrangler,

    They were accountable to peer review. Fake your sources and you won’t be around for long. Now nothing makes any difference. Don’t play the game by the woketard rules and we’ll get you. There used to be a good 25% of the faculty that was conservative. They had Nobel prizes etc. I have no idea what’s there now. With DeVos at the top maybe now there is a chance. If the Univ tries anything the prof should sue them for defamation etc. immediately!

    The lefty wackos are all using phony sources. The normal system would blow them out of the water. That’s if the normal system is allowed to exist.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
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