Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

My Thoughts

How Woke History Promotes Racism

I think the rising tide of Woke History is partially responsible for the bothersome resurgence of intellectual racism in America.

Obviously, wokeness is not responsible for the resurgence of popular racism in America. However, I think some woke concepts, in particular, Woke History, provide an intellectual justification for racism.

For example, The New York Times’ infamous 1619 Project. The idea behind the Project was commendable; to commemorate the first slaves in Virginia. Moreover, the 1619 Project was claiming to destroy the fantasy history inflicted on generations of Americans, and replace it with a more accurate narrative.

The Battles over 1619

Being of Virginian heritage, I support any historical narrative that recognizes the obvious fact the Pilgrims did not found America at Plymouth colony. Instead, America began at Jamestown in 1607. Indeed, the Jamestown colonists had an elected legislature in 1619, a year before the Mayflower set sail.

It is easy to see why generations of textbooks and storytellers ignored Jamestown. They founded the Virginia colony as a real estate development and imported the first slaves. The Pilgrims’ voyage in search of religious freedom is far more noble. Additionally, the only nonwhite people at Plymouth were Native Americans.

Plymouth has none of the complex and messy moral issues Jamestown raises about America. IE; slavery, racism, corporate greed.

Unfortunately, the 1619 Project soon abandoned historical accuracy for the fever swamps of Wokeness. For example, the Project’s leader Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote “one of the primary reasons the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery” in the Project’s introductory essay.

Hannah-Jones’ argument is false, simplistic, and easily refuted by the laziest armchair historian. Yet, it appears to be a key belief of those behind the Project. Moreover, her statement has nothing to do with the Project’s primary goal: to spotlight the first slaves in Virginia in 1619.

Instead, Hannah-Jones’ is promoting her belief that America began as a white supremacist slaveocracy. Worse, the Project is an attempt to replace historical facts with ideology.

Disturbingly, Times editors ignored a group of historians who criticized the Project on factual grounds. Instead, they ran with the Project, which was an attempt to make Woke History America’s official narrative.

I cannot tell whether The Times’ editors believe in Woke History or view the 1619 Project as clickbait to attract eyeballs, subscriptions, and advertising dollars. However, the spectacle of the America’s paper of record politicizing history is frightening.

How the 1619 Project Promotes Racism

Frighteningly, rejecting facts is least of Woke History’s sins. Disgustingly, Woke History promotes the evil the 1619 Project is trying to fight: racism.

To explain, Hannah-Jones’ thesis is that America is a racist nation founded by racists for racists. Hence, Hannah-Jones is reviving the disgusting old notion that patriotic Americans need to be racist.

Worse, this argument makes racism attractive. To elaborate, most Americans think America is good. If America is racist, then by using that logic, racism is good.

Moreover, Hannah-Jones gives racists a powerful argument. The racists can argue that racism and White Supremacy are the basis of America’s greatness.

Moreover, Hannah-Jones gives racists a powerful argument. The racists can argue that racism and White Supremacy are the basis of America’s greatness.

Obviously, such thinking is not Hannah-Jones’ intent. Yet Woke Racism is the logical conclusion of such Woke History.

Notably, we have seen a bothersome upsurge in racist history in recent years. In particular, the childish version of American History promoted by the Fox News crowd. For example, the cartoonish narrative of smart, brave, white men building America with their bare hands.

The 1619 Project makes an implicit argument that is even scarier. The argument is that black people are America’s enemies because they are not white and not part of the country.

This was one of the principal arguments used to justify Jim Crow, and self-styled antiracists are reviving it. To elaborate, under Jim Crow, politicians imposed segregation to protect white people from blacks. For example, barring blacks from many professions and mandating separate facilities for blacks and whites.

Thus, The 1619 Project revives and legitimizes the simplistic and naïve racist history its creators want to counteract. Frighteningly, that racism is now part of the Republican Party’s agenda as the idiotic crusade against Critical Race Theory. For example, Florida Republicans are promoting a law that shields white people from discomfort about American history, CNN claims.

Reviving Civil War Ideas in the 21st Century

Horrifically, racism is not the worst evil that Woke History is reviving. Historian Sean Wilentz notes some of the 1619 Project’s claims mirror arguments made by pro-Slavery Southerners before the Civil War.

For example, Wilentz likens Hannah-Jones’ introductory essay to statements by US Senator John C. Calhoun (D-South Carolina), the intellectual godfather of the Confederacy. Wilentz notes Calhoun asserted “there is not a word of truth” in the Declaration of Independence’s famous phrase that “all men are created equal.”

Like Hannah-Jones, Calhoun believed the Founding Fathers created a slaveocracy and a white supremacist nation. Ironically, some of the 1619 Project writers share Calhoun’s beliefs.

Those beliefs inspired Southern Secessionists and the Confederacy. Such ideas inspired the Confederate Armies in the Civil War, leading to 620,000 to 750,000 deaths. Yet the 1619 Project promotes them.

Is the 1619 Project Driving us to Civil War?

Calhoun’s are not the only bad Civil War era ideas the 1619 Project popularizes. By arguing that the Founding Fathers fought for slavery, Hannah-Jones echoes the arguments of abolitionist publisher William Lloyd Garrison.

In the decades before the Civil War, Garrison popularized the idea that the Constitution was a slave document. For example, Garrison branded the US Constitution a “covenant with death,” and “an agreement with hell.” Garrison refused to acknowledge “the pro-slavery, war sanctioning Constitution of the United States.”

Many of Garrison’s contemporaries rejected these arguments. For example, both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass believed the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence provided a framework for abolition.

However, one of Garrison’s biggest fans, John Brown, took the publisher’s ideas to their logical conclusion. Brown wrote his own Constitution banning slavery and tried to launch a Second American Revolution in 1859.

Historians consider Brown’s seizure of the Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, one of the primary triggers of the Civil War. Brown failed, but the violent passions he unleashed led straight to Civil War. Garrison, who hypocritically called himself a pacifist, disavowed violence, but the damage was done.

Brown was not alone. Another architect of the Civil War, US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, wrote Calhoun’s version of history into law with his loathsome Dred Scott Decision.

In Dred Scott, Taney wrote that the Constitution did not cover blacks because they were not white. Taney thought the Constitution was for whites only. Additionally, Taney wrote that the US government had no power to ban or restrict slavery, because holding slaves was a right implicitly guaranteed by the Constitution. Like John Brown’s raid, historians consider the Dred Scott Decision a primary cause of the Civil War.

By reviving and popularizing the sick logic behind John Brown and Dred Scott, the 1619 Project could fan the flames of a Second Civil American War.

White America Nostalgia

Obviously, America’s racist resurgence has many causes. Those causes include growing income inequality, diminished economic opportunities, rising poverty, technological unemployment, increasing frustration with an unresponsive government, and the failure of democracy.

I think many white people have given up on America’s multiracial experiment because multiracial America does nothing for them. For example, working-class whites who have seen the disappearance of good jobs, economic opportunity, and growth from their communities. A white man who makes less money than his grandfather will be susceptible to the racist conspiracy theory that the multiracial elite is trying to destroy him.

Such people are the most responsive to Donald J. Trump Sr. (R-Florida) and his Make America Great Again fantasy. Trump, and his Democratic counterpart Joe Biden (D-Delaware), succeed by promoting nostalgia about the good old days of white America. When modern America offers ordinary people nothing, White America Nostalgia will have a powerful appeal.

Worse, the Left is incapable of responding to such nonsense because it binds itself in the intellectual straightjacket of Woke Anti-Racism and Woke History. Instead, of appealing to the best instincts of American ideology. Woke Anti-Racism promotes the worst anti-American bigotry as history. For example, Hannah-Jones’ description of the American Revolution.

Betraying Martin Luther King Jr.

Instead, leftists drive ordinary people away with their America is Awful meme. Unlike Martin Luther King Junior, who appealed to America’s best instincts with idealistic rhetoric. King emphasized the possibilities of America and the truth of the Nation’s basic ideals.

Today’s Left appeals to America’s worst instincts with a cynical narrative about a racist America. Worse, the Woke Left promotes Calhoun’s old lie that America’s basic ideals are cynical propaganda.

King’s rhetoric inspired an enormous Civil Rights Movement that dismantled Jim Crow. The Modern Left’s hate-America rhetoric is inspiring a revival of racism that could become a New Jim Crow.

Woke History promoters did not create the New Racism, however they are making it far worse by giving the New Racism an intellectual basis. Moreover, the Wokesters make it impossible to counter the New Racism by trying to destroy any rival narrative.

In the worst-case scenario, the Left’s Woke History could become a self-fulfilling prophecy as it inspires a Racist Revival and a Second Civil War.