Retconned America – The 1619 Project

It appears that this week, the New York Times, the so-called paper of record, upon whom the self-directed spotlight of smug superiority ever shines – has now taken that final, irrevocable step from the business of reporting news and current events, matters cultural and artistic to becoming a purveyor of progressive propaganda. Of course, as characters in British procedural mysteries often say, ‘they have form’ when it comes to progressive propaganda; all the way from Walter Duranty’s reporting on famine in the Soviet Union through the drumbeat of ‘worst war-crime evah!’ in coverage when it came to Abu Ghraib, and the current bête noir – or rather ‘bête orange’ man bad. It seems that it has now become necessary for the Times to make the issue of chattel slavery of black Africans the centerpiece, the foundation stone, the sum and total of American history. Everything – absolutely everything in American history and culture now must be filtered through the pitiless lens of slavery.

Never mind that as a human institution, slavery has existed at least as long as war, prostitution, and agriculture itself. Never mind that black slaves from Africa went largely to the middle east, to the Caribbean and to South America, where they labored in such horrible conditions that few survived, let alone reproduced. Never mind that at least as many English, Irish and Scots arrived in those English colonies in North America as indentured servants laboring under the same brutal conditions. Never mind that at least half of the founding fathers had strong objections to chattel slavery, and less than a hundred years into the great experiment in self-rule, sufficient numbers of Northerners felt strongly enough about it to fight a brutal civil war in order to bring it to an end. And never mind that slavery itself kept the South inefficient, relatively poor, largely inhospitable to industrialization and unattractive to poor and working-class immigrants.

No, all must be reframed and ret-conned; the concept of the United States is fatally stained with the new version of original sin; slavery and racism. There must be nothing left of our traditions and culture in which we can take honest and openly expressed pride. Not throwing off the last ragged remnants of feudal rule, and establishing a democratic republic, wherein the common, ordinary citizen could, by voting, exercise political control of his or her own life. Industrial innovation and creativity in everything from weaving cloth to taming the wild atom, setting up trade networks, exploring and settling a continent, reaching out into space, encouraging social mobility in a manner practically unknown to any other nation … no, all of that and more. Everything about America – that part of it occupied by the United States of – is now marred by the stain of slavery, in the eyes of the NY Times. All because better than half of us who live in it and honor those traditions had the temerity to vote for the ‘bête orange’.

The NY Times, the so-called, duly anointed and authoritative ‘paper of record’ has now taken up the heavy job of entirely re-writing American history. Will they have any luck at this, given the death-grip that the establishment media has on current culture? Or are there enough of us still left who actually read history that we can pull pop culture the other way? Discuss as you wish.

33 thoughts on “Retconned America – The 1619 Project”

  1. I’d love for the Dem candidates for president, ESPECIALLY whichever joker gets nominated, to be asked “Was America ever great?”
    It would be very illuminating to hear how they’d try to answer.
    Because their party has been taken over by people who say the answer is NO.

  2. A question I’ve never seen asked: how much better was life in Africa? Are there any data on life expectancy, etc. available?

  3. All because better than half of us who live in it and honor those traditions had the temerity to vote for the ‘bête orange’.

    Nope. I’m sure this was going to, one way or another, be advanced soon enough, no matter who won the elections.

    This is the entire GOAL of PotModern Liberalism — the destruction of the West, of Western Civilization, and its twin underpinnings of
    1 – Judeo-Christian Ethos
    2 – The Inheritance of Greek Thought and Ideal

    Only by undermining ALL those things can PML destroy Western Civ.

    PostModern Liberalism is a literal social cancer.

  4. Also ignored is the fact that 90% of slaves sent to the western hemisphere did NOT go to the future America.

    Also unmentioned is the fact that white criminals and captured Jacobites from the battle of Culloden were sent as slaves to the West Indies.

  5. Forgive a non-American point of view about this but…

    If the NYT is (basically) saying the US is what is due to slavery, then couldn’t one conclude from this that slavery should be brought back? I mean, America is the strongest country in the world, both militarily and economically. And it’s all due to slavery in it’s earlier days! (LOL) ;)


  6. “… to make the issue of chattel slavery of black Africans the centerpiece, the foundation stone, the sum and total of American history”

    Compared to who? Compared to what nations in 1607 or 1776 are we singling out America as uniquely bad? Brazil and the rest of Latin America? Europe? China? India? The Middle East? Africa? We have sometimes been no better than the rest of humanity. Yet I see places where we have been better, and none where we have been worse.

    If you squint hard enough, you can make anything look like anything.

  7. Forgive a non-American point of view about this but…

    No need for forgiveness!

    If the NYT is (basically) saying the US is what is due to slavery, then couldn’t one conclude from this that slavery should be brought back? I mean, America is the strongest country in the world, both militarily and economically. And it’s all due to slavery in its earlier days!.

    There’s an even more invidious inference to be drawn from the NYT’s idiotic assertion, which they obviously have not thought through.

    If blacks in America built the strongest country in the world, but blacks in Africa … didn’t, shall we say.

    Would this be a controlled experiment?

  8. The goal is to destroy the Constitution, which Americans have always revered. They want to make it irredeemably deplorable. Then it can be trashed without any fear of repercussions. It’s hopelessly tainted, after all. We can start anew.
    If they were patient enough they’d get what they want, they’ve done so much damage already and come an unimaginable distance in the last couple of decades. But leftism is just a millenialist heresy, they want their paradise on earth, and they want it now.

  9. As AVI hit on above, the question really shouldn’t be “Is the USA bad”, it is “How is the USA compared to (insert country here)”. The USA is always held up to the standard of perfection, rather than some other, sensible standard. The slavery thing is just more leftist hand-wringing to keep trying to upset the apple cart.

    The NYT is just a leftist talking point sheet, and it’s only use as far as I can tell is for leftists to say “yes” and for others to use it to pick apart leftism, as done here. It is good to see how the others think, I guess.

    I suppose the NTY probably good for sports news and local restaurant reviews. But I don’t live in New York. Therefore, it basically doesn’t exist in my world.

    As far as this whole slavery thing goes, there will never be a “good” debate on the subject because people just want money so it is boiling down to “gimme”. That doesn’t translate well when you speak to folks who have read a lot of history and understand many of the actual statistics on slavery and, oh, by the way, this all ended a f*cking century and a half ago (at least in the USA, I can’t speak for other backwaters on the planet) and I really don’t have anything to apologize for even though I committed the most serious crime of being born white. I have to go to work and carve out a living and I don’t have time for it all. And have a nice day.

  10. Let’s not act as if this is logical, or has anything to do with reality. You can’t reason with these people. This is 100% political.

    There was a picture last week of the US fencer who knelt during a medal ceremony, where the Brazilian team was standing stiffly at attention, some even saluting. And it is objectively a fact that when it comes to racism, gun violence, and economic inequality, Brazil is far, far worse than the USA. Yet no one from Brazil would dream of protesting during their anthem. I’m not aware of anyone from any country other than America who has ever suggested protesting their own flag or anthem. We’ve got a real sickness and no idea how to defeat it, since our establishment is paralyzed and unable to defend our history and culture, with a large portion actually overtly hostile to it.

  11. @Brian – “Let’s not act as if this is logical, or has anything to do with reality. You can’t reason with these people.” Outstanding. A much shorter and much better comment than mine.

  12. The NYT crowd are credentialed ignoramuses. They know so little, and most of what they know is wrong. So bring it on! Let’s have a discussion about slavery!

    Who enslaved the Jews? When did this happen?

    Where does the word “slave” come from? Who enslaved the Slavs? When did Europeans enslave the Slavs? To whom did Europeans sell the Slavs?

    How did European slavery influence the development of Europe?

    Who enslaved the Africans? When did Africans start enslaving each other?

    Which Europeans made the most money transporting the African slaves they bought to the New World?

    How does the English treatment of English convicts transported to Australia compare to the English treatment of African slaves transported to Brazil?

    Which nations fought wars to end slavery?

    Why does slavery continue to this day in Africa? What is the NYT doing to stop today’s slavery?

    So much history to explore!

  13. They are asking for the exploration and revelation that Gavin outlines, but they won’t have to worry much about that because none of that matters to them or the leftist pop culture. It is boring to them, beyond their frame of reference and critical thinking skills. If it contradicts their narrative, it isn’t worth considering to them. This is a cultural, soon to become more kinetic, war based on group identity and shallow ideology. There is a group of powerful icons so full of thermselves and their inch-deep intellect that they believe they can and ought to impose their utopian dreams on everyone else by creating and fanning a reality completely grounded in falsehood and failed ideology. “We believe in truth rather than facts” or words to that effect. And the “potmodern” (I like that variation) are heard to say, “Right on bro, burn them down.”


  14. Yes indeed – much history to explore, although the usual suspects have been ragging on, and on, and on about slavery for at least a decade or longer. The push now is transparently an effort to strangle any kind of national pride among the so-called ‘deplorables’ to label us all as racist white nationalists, and shame us into shutting up about those rights and responsibilities enumerated in the Constitution.
    I’m glad, though – that the NYT has come out of the closet as loud and proud propagandists, however.

  15. Wikipedia:

    Slavery as an institution in Brazil was unrivaled in all of the Americas. The sheer number of African slaves brought to Brazil and moved around South America greatly influenced the entirety of the Americas…Slavery was not legally ended nationwide until 1888…Brazil was the last nation in the Western world to abolish slavery, and by abolition had imported an estimated total of four million slaves from Africa. This was 40% of all slaves shipped to the Americas.

    The numbers of slaves I’ve seen shipped to North America is 400,000; about a tenth of the number shipped to Brazil.

  16. The time is ripe to give America the coup de grâce.

    The Left has corrupted all institutions: the Roman Catholic Church, scouting (girls and boys), academia, media, sports, marriage. Leftists have no respect left for or desire to follow “White Racist Sexist Fascist Homophobic Transphobic” Constitution and laws deriving from its institutions (house, senate, judiciary, president).

    Even the NRA is corrupted.

    The Left has advanced legally as far as it can advance with drastic, extralegal changes: Antifa mobs supported by the government and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

    Leftists have been whipped into a frenzy of hatred denouncing Whites.

    What’s left (snort) but mass violence—except another sigh from the right and a supine surrender?

  17. If the NYT leads the rest of the main line churches —- er, I mean, main stream media —- into race-based conversations, I have a few questions for presidential candidates other than Trump:

    Will you support black families who want experiments with charter schools, voucher programs, parochial schools, on-line classrooms, and other ways of providing parental choices?

    Is the goal of having poor, disadvantaged, students-of-color learn to “act white” directly from example of their middle-class white peers via classroom integration still desirable or sustainable?

    The “Black Lives Matter” movement opposes the concept of “Broken Windows Policing”, in which resources are focused into high-crime areas and even minor violations result in arrest. How should any president seek to revise, extend, or reverse “Broken Window” policies to meet BLM goals?

    Do you support or oppose “Three Strikes” sentencing for violent criminal offenders?

    Black Lives Matter of course has largely succeeded in putting body cams on street level police. State and city law enforcement officials videotape interviews and interrogations with witness and suspects, but federal officials, notably FBI agents, do not. Do you support current policy and if not what would you propose instead?

    Do you believe that Blacks and other P-o-C support “High Speed Rail” public projects in California, Texas, and elsewhere — or is rail travel just a “Stuff White People Like” kind of thing?

  18. Follow up from Brian’s first point regarding asking all the Democrat contestants for the nomination:

    To whom should we return the country? Native Americans or descendants of slaves? What should we do with all the people left? Seek asylum to all points in the world?

  19. @ Jay Guevara – (and I have always admired that handle, BTW) – that is well put. Let us grant arguendo that it is black slavery that made America great. How then, did other nations not become great as well, as they also had black slavery? What added advantage, however slender, happened on our shores?

  20. Lie. Russia in 1991.

    Reasonable people can disagree if Russia is part of the Eastern world or Western world.

  21. To whom should we return the country? Native Americans or descendants of slaves? What should we do with all the people left? Seek asylum to all points in the world?

    We should use DNA analysis to clone the megafauna hunted to extinction by the Asian invaders 60–25,000 years ago then ship everyone back to where they came from, completely eliminating Homo sapiens from North America. Then everything would be natural and wonderful.

  22. AVI … yes, let’s continue that line of questioning. So black slavery made the USA great? Why is not Africa a shining beacon of greatness? And … how come the Congressional Black Caucus is not a wonderful collection of disinterested, incorruptible, and intellectual legislators? And why are cities managed by largely black administrators the dysfunctional urban hellholes that they are?
    Yes. This could be fun, if the establishment media ever deigned to take notice of such questions…

  23. @AVI: thank you for your kind comments. I’ve always enjoyed your handle as well.

    @AVI and Sgt. Mom: these are all very good questions, which I imagine our sinister friends would find … awkward … to answer, and yet the cited observations are beyond dispute. That’s why I asserted that the leftists in general and the NYT in particular have not thought through this position, because it is straightforward to refute out of hand, “across the board” as chess players say re refutations of lines of play not previously studied.

  24. Reasonable people can disagree if Russia is part of the Eastern world or Western world.

    Then let me be unreasonable and disagreeable: Germany, 1945.

  25. Do you support or oppose “Three Strikes” sentencing for violent criminal offenders?

    Oppose. We have plenty of evidence and experience that serial murders, rapists, and thieves never stop, never reform. Three strikes is one too many. Execute them.

  26. I was thumbing through Thomas Sowell’s excellent book Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Among the many good points in the chapter, “The Real History of Slavery”, was this

    This explanation is also consistent with the otherwise inexplicable contrast between the fiery rhetoric about past slavery in the United States used by those who pass over in utter silence the traumas of slavery that still exist in Mauritania, the Sudan, and parts of Nigeria and Benin. Why so much more concern for dead people who are now beyond our help than for living human beings suffering the burdens and humiliations of slavery today? Why does a verbal picture of the abuses of slaves in centuries past arouse far more response than contemporary photographs of present-day slaves in Time magazine, the New York Times or the National Geographic?

    It takes no more research than a trip to almost any public library or college library to show the incredibly lopsided coverage of slavery in the United States or in the Western Hemisphere, as compared to the meager writings on the even larger number of Africans enslaved in the Islamic countries of the Middle East and North Africa, not to mention the vast numbers of Europeans also enslaved in centuries past in the Islamic world and within Europe itself. At least a million Europeans were enslaved by North African pirates alone from 1500 to 1800, and some European slaves were still being sold on the auction block in Egypt, years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed blacks in the United States. Indeed, an Anglo-Egyptian treaty of August 4, 1877 prohibited the continued sale of white slaves after August 3, 1885, as well as prohibiting the import and export of Sudanese and Abyssinian slaves.

    Since that was written we can add Libya to the modern list. There are open slave auctions there since Obama handed the country over to Islamic extremists.

    And I know Sgt. Mom has discussed the Ottoman slave trade here before. It’s about time that it gets some wider exposure.

  27. Yes – I reposted this from my original blog – about the slave raiders from Sale and the Barbary Coast, who ventured as far as Iceland, Ireland and England capturing slaves for sale in North Africal

  28. Perhaps it is a good idea that the NYT will pursue storylines addressing the legacy of slavery over the next year plus in a thinly veiled attempt to conflate support for Trump with white supremacy, virulent racism, and hateful bigotry. I am not certain such an approach will win over undecided voters, especially those who feel that race alone does not divide the world neatly into groups of oppressor and groups of victim. Ya know, it could backfire.

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