Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn, writing in Hillsdale’s publication Imprimis, does a masterful job in describing the underlying fraud that permeates everything the progressive left is doing to transform American culture. Essentially, they are very insidiously re-writing our history. The project is much like Orwell’s description of “doublespeak”, a way of thinking that defies the law of contradiction, which is the basis of all reasoning, of making sense of the world. Among other things this law means that we can’t change the past, and he notes that Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas went so far as to say that changing the past–making what has been not to have been–is denied even to God.
Well, the progressives are making a major attempt to do just that, and their magnum opus for this purpose is The New York Times’s 1619 Project, published in 2019: a collection of eighteen articles, artistic contributions, a book, and classroom presentation materials, in order to make the case that slavery and racial discrimination are at the heart of America’s founding and self-understanding. The immediate response was dramatic and has since intensified in scholarly circles as renowned historians and organizations from across the ideological spectrum have decried the lack of factual accuracy in the Project’s accounts of this “history” and the battle continues to rage. And of course what is of most importance here is the battle for what story is told in our textbooks and classrooms.
Thankfully, President Donald Trump stepped into this fray and appointed a 16-member panel organized by the White House to identify what has gone wrong in the teaching of American history and to draft a plan for recovering the truth. President Trump was there and spoke to the attendees. He also appointed by executive order this group to his 1776 Commission, with Larry Arnn as its Chairman, to restore this truth and serve as a direct counter to the 1619 Project, which promotes the teaching that slavery, not freedom, is the defining fact of American history.
The report of the 1776 Commission was released on January 18 of this year and I highly recommend it to every American. To quote Chairman Arnn from his cover memo, “it calls for a return to the unifying principles stated in the Declaration of Independence; it quotes the greatest Americans, black and white, men and women, in devotion to these principles; it acknowledges the many ways we have fallen short of them even as it celebrates, following Abraham Lincoln, the influence for good that they exercised to the benefit of all; it acknowledges the way we fall short of them today and argues that it is only by returning to them that our current evils can be corrected; it calls for a civics education that fosters reverence for these principles, beginning with an accurate and honest teaching of American history; and it is not a partisan document.”
To the surprise of no one, The New York Times, the Washington Post and other mainstream media outlets condemned the report. Two days later, on January 20, the 1776 Commission was abolished by President Biden in one of his first executive orders. His order also revokes “President Trump’s damaging executive order limiting the ability of federal government agencies, contractors, and even some grantees from implementing important and needed diversity and inclusion training”.
This should tell you all you need to know about the state of the American culture war and the stakes that are involved.