MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Michelle Obama: Coronavirus an Opportunity to Change ‘How Wealth Is Distributed’

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

Obama Bypasses Congress, Using Regulations to Redistribute Wealth

Another way of saying they want to steal your hard earned money and give it to someone else.

Half the population pays no taxes and/or gets free money as it is. Obamas aren’t talking about redistributing their money.

https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2020/08/06/michelle-obama-coronavirus-opportunity-to-explore-how-wealth-is-distributed/

by Pam Key

Wednesday on her new podcast, former first lady Michelle Obama called coronavirus an opportunity to think about “how wealth is distributed” to lower-income essential workers.

Obama noted the “power” that would enable what “we” could do to allow such actions.

Journalist Michele Norris said, “There’s kind of a new COVID vocabulary, isn’t it. There are also words that have always had some meaning, but that take on different meaning now, the word hero, the word essential.”

She continued, “I think we will forever think about the word ‘essential’ in a different way. And, when we were told to stay home, they got up, got dressed, and went out into the world, risking their lives, to drive garbage trucks, to work in warehouses, to work in grocery stores, to work in hospitals. Often doing invisible, but yes, essential work, and I struggle with it because I’m not sure that we treat them like they’re essential.”

Obama replied, “And that’s something that we need to, that’s a part of that reflection, that we need to do, you know. With ourselves, and, and as a community. And we have to think about that, in terms of how wealth is distributed. You know, how, how these essential people are supported. And what does that mean? A lot of these people are broke. They don’t have health insurance. That it, if they were to get sick, as essential as they are, we have not, as a society, deemed it essential to make sure that they can go to the doctor and get the care that they need. And even if they can get COVID care, even if they can get tested, to keep working and doing our stuff, after the effects of the virus have worn off, and they are dealing with some lung issue, or some breathing issue, or asthma, that they don’t have to wait, in a, an emergency room, for hours on end, and then worry, that they can even, afford the prescription medication that they need to survive, I mean we have to think about this. We have to think about the people who are not from this country, who are essential workers. A lot of those folks are still out in the fields picking our corn, and making sure that that food is in our grocery stores, and working in these meatpacking plants, to ensure that the, that the cow that was slaughtered, gets into our bellies.”

Later in the podcast, Obama said, “It’s not enough to just acknowledge that the pain exists, to acknowledge the struggle, we actually have power we can, we can change so much of what we do, we can sacrifice a little more, we can, we can shift priorities, uh, and not just in our own lives, cause it’s not enough, to just do it in your own life if you’re not willing to do it in our broader policy. You know, if that, if that, if those conversations aren’t going to happen, then we’re just giving lip service to it. You know.

She added, “We’ve seen these times in our history before, not just like this, but, but, but when things are good, it’s easy to forget about that. To take it for granted. To start thinking, yeah, how much, do I really want my taxes going to that, and school lunches? Eh. You know, that’s a lot of money. What does it matter — let’s cut this, let’s chop that. But, all of that came, all the things that we look to cut were put in place in response to some crisis. That revealed to us that hey there are a lot of hungry kids, at home, because their parents are poor, so what’s the best way to feed them, we’re going to provide them with nutrition, at school. So, we, we have it, in our country’s DNA to step up.”

She concluded, “Always with great opposition, because you’re asking people to sacrifice, to give up, things that, that they think they deserve, that they’re entitled to for the sake of the greater good.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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Sad! Cuomo Begs The Rich To Return To State He Ruined!

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is desperately begging rich people to return to the state and to New York City. He’s killed off the old people by sending Covid patients into nursing homes and he’s killed off the economy by shutting down, but he’s offered to cook a meal for any rich person who returns to the burned out shell of the former great city. Any takers? Plus in today’s Report: LA Mayor: “Want to party? Try it without any electricity or water!” Houston begs people to get Covid tested after new “cases” continue to fall. And Sweden has advice on how to open schools. Should we listen to success?

 

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Dr. Jordan Peterson | Is Neo-Marxism on the rise?

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

One gets the impression the answer is YES!

 

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The Importance of Resistance to Government Ordered Mask-Wearing

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

The mask-wearing edicts are a relatively minor burden for those of us who aren’t required to wear masks all day, but we don’t know what is coming down the road in terms of future tyranny. It is very important to learn now how to deal with different situations for the future when the stakes might be much higher.

The resistance to masks is a dry run for us.

Masks are also a trial run for those that want to control you, your family and every aspect of life.

https://www.targetliberty.com/2020/08/the-importance-of-resistance-to.html

The United States was once thought of as the country with rugged individuals.

You left such individuals alone and they left you alone. The country was filled with such men and women.

They appear to be mostly gone from America now.

Stunningly few think or act for themselves.

Governments in many parts of the land have ordered mask-wearing to “battle” a virus that is about as deadly to the average American under 80 as hay fever.

The mask-wearing order has resulted in near 100% compliance in such areas as California.

It is a sign of cowering submission to the state. With an added bonus of neighbors, and other busybodies, backing up the state orders with rants and rages for the few of us who do not wear masks.

We are the Resistance. There does not appear to be many of us but it is important that, when we can, we signal to the world our defiance of this tyranny. The ember for freedom must not be allowed to die out. Let the state rest uneasy knowing there are at least a few of us and that we will agitate and they don’t know when that agitation could blow up into thousands, maybe more.

Given the level of oppression, it is obvious we can’t go into full resistance mode everywhere we go but we should resist to the degree we can unless it gets us into serious trouble.

But if it only causes trouble for them (some agent of the state or self-appointed agent of the state), then go for it. I am currently agitating a retail chain where the company, headquartered in Dallas, has admitted that their approach by local employees to me about a mask was “less than optimal” and that the chain will launch new training for all employees. Agitation success! (I am still in the agitation process with this chain so I will reveal more later).

But aside from these agitations which are unlikely to mean a lot given that we are way outnumbered, there is another very important reason to resist and agitate.

The mask-wearing edicts are a relatively minor burden for those of us who aren’t required to wear masks all day, but we don’t know what is coming down the road in terms of future tyranny. It is very important to learn now how to deal with different situations for the future when the stakes might be much higher.

The resistance to masks is a dry run for us.

We are learning who reacts to us and how easy or difficult it is to get what we want.

For some, it is only a couple of words that back them away, “I have a medical condition.”

For others, they will go into a near panic attack if we rebuff their demand to put on a mask and some will just be obnoxiously difficult because they have a tiny bit of power.

I have held for a very long-time the view that in sales there is a response for every objection.

The same should apply to the mask edicts.

At times, I have thought for a very long-time about the right approach to different situations. Usually, something eventually comes to me. (I could tell you stories).

Right now, I am thinking about responses that can work against raving lunatics, difficult employees in stores, etc. I have some thoughts and will try them out and report back.

But these resistance exercises are not so much for the current mask order but what might come next. We will all need to be ready, but few will be.

A couple of observations: As I test and probe what happens in different situations, I have noticed this. While riding in my office elevator, I have occasionally been on with lawyers who are heavily masked. I don’t know them personally, but they are dressed like lawyers and get off on floors which house law offices. Anyway, they sometimes do seem agitated that I don’t have a mask on, judging by the way they stand, body language and such. But the lawyers never challenge me, I am not sure why exactly, because plenty of others do, but I suspect they know the legal consequences of challenging someone.

This is just an observation. It may never come in handy but then again someday it may come in very handy.

Here’s another observation. This Sunday, I had brunch in the North Beach section of San Francisco.

Most of the restaurants are open for outside dining so I didn’t come close to wearing a mask.

After the meal, the waiter brought over the check, and I gave him my debit card to pay with. He then came back to me and said that I had to go inside to enter my pin in the machine.

I knew this was going to be fun.

Toward the back of the restaurant was either the owner (or maybe manager), he told me I couldn’t come in the restaurant without a mask. I told him I didn’t have one.

This confused him for a minute and then he said, “I need your pin for the card. What is your pin?”

My response, “I am not going to give you my pin.”

His response: “There is no risk. I can’t use the pin without your card.”

My response: “You think there is no risk for me from giving out my pin, I don’t think there is any risk of me catching COVID from coming into an empty restaurant.”

He tried a couple more times, but I had the upper hand. He let me in without the mask to enter the pin.

Lesson learned: It is the age-old law. Always try to position so you get what you want done first and then you can negotiate everything else on your terms.

If you wonder how bad things can get, listen to this excellent Jordan Peterson clip:

Practice resistance, practice dealing with mini-agents of the state as they try to oppress. Some day what you learn could be very valuable for a decent life or even your survival.

RW

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A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

French philosopher Bertrand de Jouvenel

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Think The Covid Vaccine Will End Lockdowns? Think Again!

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

The authoritarians who have locked this country down ostensibly to fight the outbreak of a coronavirus are not going to let up once a vaccine is ready. Already we are seeing additional qualifiers and contingencies being made that will only serve to prolong their rule-by-decree. A vaccine is not going to end it. Also today: More Americans are saying “no” to any vaccine; CDC Director admits a financial incentive to list deaths as “Covid”; Gov. Whitmer cracks down harder…but why? And more…

Look for the internal passport (chip implant, digital tattoo) next.

 

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Corona Power Grab: Local Govts Given Power to Demolish ‘Contaminated’ Buildings

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

…and the sheeple will line up for decontamination.

The advice paper was unearthed this week by The Telegraph, which pointed out that the powers could result in the destruction of care homes, offices, factories, and even private homes if deemed necessary. Public transport vehicles such as buses and trains, privately-owned cars and even aeroplanes could be subject to government destruction, as well.

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2020/08/06/uk-local-councils-given-power-to-destroy-contaminated-buildings/

by Kurt Zindulka

In a stunning power grab by the British government, local councils are set to be empowered with the authority to demolish buildings that are deemed to be epicentres of Chinese coronavirus outbreaks throughout the country.

Published last month — with little fanfare — the Department of Health and Social Care’s “COVID-19 Contain Framework” laid out a series of laws, including the Coronavirus Act 2020, that local governments will be able to utilise in order to contain flare-ups of the Wuhan virus.

The document informed councils that under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, they can apply to a magistrate “to impose restrictions or requirements to close contaminated premises; close public spaces in the area of the local authority; detain a conveyance or movable structure; disinfect or decontaminate premises; or order that a building, conveyance or structure be destroyed”.

The advice paper was unearthed this week by The Telegraph, which pointed out that the powers could result in the destruction of care homes, offices, factories, and even private homes if deemed necessary. Public transport vehicles such as buses and trains, privately-owned cars and even aeroplanes could be subject to government destruction, as well.

The advice also empowers councils to “close certain businesses and venues (for example shops, cafes, gyms, recreation centres, offices, labs, warehouses); close outdoor public areas (for example parks, playgrounds, beaches, esplanades, outdoor swimming pools) and order deep-cleans of buildings or vehicles linked to outbreaks”.

Local councils will be given the leeway to introduce local lockdown measures as well, which Boris Johnson’s government sees as preferable to the introduction of a second lockdown.

The local lockdown powers will include the ability to close or limit the activities of schools, and to set the age range for students allowed to attend classes. The councils will also be able to shut down or limit public events and gatherings, as well as being able to shut down businesses.

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sheep walking | Sheep following each other er.. Sheepishly ...

 

 

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ATOMIC BOMBINGS AT 75: The Decision to Drop the Bomb on Japan and the Genesis of the Cold War – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

According to Szilard, Byrnes was very concerned about the role of the Soviet Union in the postwar era. The Soviets’ massive armies had already steamrolled into Eastern Europe, and America was faced with the difficult task of figuring out how to get them out of these nations after Hitler was defeated. Byrnes told Szilard “that Russia might be more manageable if impressed by American military might, and that a demonstration of the bomb might impress Russia.”

Unlike Stimson, however, the navy secretary believed that the United States should exhaust all alternatives to dropping the atomic bomb in order to get Japan to surrender. Forrestal’s views were shaped more by his strong anticommunist position than they were out of any moral qualms about using the atomic bomb. He firmly believed that if a face-saving mechanism could be found to entice Japan into surrender, the geopolitical situation in the Pacific could be stabilized before the Soviet Union could shift its resources away from Europe.

…Stalin and the Russians during the Second World War, the fact is that the Soviets were all too aware of what was transpiring inside the secret weapons plants in the United States and Britain.

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/05/atomic-bombings-at-75-the-decision-to-drop-the-bomb-on-japan-and-the-genesis-of-the-cold-war/

By Scott Ritter

Even by the heightened standards of a nation’s capital during wartime, the gathering of generals, admirals, and high government officials in the White House Cabinet Room on the afternoon of Monday, June 18, 1945, was impressive. Only one, however, could claim resident status—the newly sworn in president of the United States, Harry S. Truman.

A veteran of the First World War and a long-serving Democratic senator from the state of Missouri, Truman was an unlikely candidate for the job he now held. A compromise candidate for the office of vice president in 1944, Truman was no close confidant of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Indeed, he had little insight into Roosevelt’s thinking about postwar relations with the Soviet Union and no knowledge of the existence of a major program—the Manhattan Project—to produce an atomic bomb.

In a series of meetings conducted shortly after being sworn in as president, Truman overcame this deficit, maintaining a pledge to adhere as closely as possible to the policy directions set forth by President Roosevelt. But some decisions would have to be taken by the new president, which is why he had convened the Cabinet Room meeting. [Minutes]

Joining Truman was General George Catlett Marshall, the distinguished 64-year-old chief of staff of the U.S. Army. In addition to managing the problems associated with waging global war, General Marshall was also a member of a high-level committee (the “Top Policy Group,” formed in October 1941) overseeing the effort by the United States to construct an atomic bomb.

Marshall had left most day-to-day decisions about the atomic bomb program in the hands of Major General Leslie Groves and had limited his own role to that of making sure Congress continued to underwrite the project financially and to a lesser extent of policymaking about the use of an atomic weapon.

As recently as May 31, 1945, Marshall had told a gathering of atomic bomb scientists, administrators, and policymakers that he felt the United States would be in a stronger position in any postwar environment if it avoided using an atomic bomb against the Japanese. He also recommended that the United States invite the Soviet Union to attend tests of the atomic bomb.

The majority attending that meeting ruled against Marshall, including soon-to-be Secretary of State James Byrnes, who feared the United States would lose its lead over the Soviets in nuclear weapons if the Russians became a de facto partner through such cooperation. In any event, Marshall viewed any decision to use or not use an atomic bomb, given the horrific ramifications, to be a purely political question, outside the purview of the military.

‘Barbaric’

Joining Marshall were two senior naval officers, Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King—the commander of the U.S. Fleet and chief of naval operations (the only person ever to hold such a joint command)—and Admiral William Leahy, the 70-year-old chief of staff to the commander in chief, U.S. Army and Navy. Admiral King was an abrasive, hard-drinking man who openly disdained any use of American resources for purposes other than the total destruction of the Japanese.

Unlike King, Admiral Leahy was a proponent of avoiding a bloodbath fighting the Japanese and was sympathetic toward the idea of reaching a negotiated surrender brought on by the combined pressure of an economic blockade of the Japanese islands and conventional aerial bombardment. Leahy was against any use of the atomic bomb against civilian targets, a concept he viewed as “barbaric.”

The Army Air Force was represented by Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker. General Eaker had almost single-handedly made strategic bombing an accepted practice when as the commander of the 8th Air Force in Europe, he convinced British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to continue the controversial strategy, noting that “round the clock bombing” would “soften the Hun for land invasion and the kill.”

Ira Eaker was standing in for the flamboyant Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Air Force, General Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold. Sidelined by health issues, General Arnold was an unabashed proponent of strategic bombing and had, through sheer force of will, positioned the Army Air Force to carry out massive aerial bombardment campaigns against both Germany and Japan.

Like Arnold, General Eaker carried the secret that it was the 20th Air Force, flying the B-29 “Superfortress” bomber, which would deliver the atomic bomb to a Japanese target should the president decide on its use.

Rounding out the meeting’s attendees was a trio of civilians. At 78 years of age, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson was by far the senior man present. Like General Marshall, Stimson was a member of the Top Policy Group overseeing the atomic bomb project. Stimson was the first official to brief President Truman about the existence of the atomic bomb, on April 25, 1945.

At that meeting Stimson warned Truman that “with reference to this weapon, the question of sharing it with other nations and, if so shared, upon what terms, becomes a primary question of our foreign relations. Also, our leadership in the war and in the development of this weapon has placed a certain moral responsibility upon us which we cannot shirk without very serious responsibility for any disaster to civilization which it would further.”

From that meeting, Secretary Stimson, at the request of Truman, formed the “Interim Committee,” the purpose of which was to advise the president on the utility of using the atomic bomb. The Interim Committee’s report, delivered on June 1, 1945, strongly advocated for the use of the atomic bomb against the Japanese. Unlike General Marshall, who also attended the Interim Committee’s meetings, Stimson supported this decision.

Navy Secretary James Forrestal was also a member of the Interim Committee. Unlike Stimson, however, the navy secretary believed that the United States should exhaust all alternatives to dropping the atomic bomb in order to get Japan to surrender. Forrestal’s views were shaped more by his strong anticommunist position than they were out of any moral qualms about using the atomic bomb. He firmly believed that if a face-saving mechanism could be found to entice Japan into surrender, the geopolitical situation in the Pacific could be stabilized before the Soviet Union could shift its resources away from Europe.

McCloy’s Suggestion

Accompanying Stimson and Forrestal was the junior civilian present, Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy. McCloy was a complex individual. A veteran of the First World War, McCloy served as a legal counsel for the German chemical company I. G. Farben. His links to Germany led him to be somewhat sympathetic to the rise of Adolf Hitler, whom McCloy was photographed sitting with at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. However, his status as a lawyer and manager led to his appointment in 1941 as the assistant secretary of war.

For the bulk of the meeting, President Truman and his military chiefs wrestled with the decision to invade Japan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spying on Journalists – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

For starters, it is far easier to spy unlawfully than it is to obtain a search warrant. As well, the feds have established a vast network of domestic spies — the 60,000-person strong National Security Agency. It captures all electronic data, voice and text, communicated within the United States — without warrants and with few complaints.

All this directly assaults the right to privacy, but the feds do it anyway. The spying is so normal that a deputy DHS secretary ordered it in Portland without seeking approval up his chain of command.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/08/andrew-p-napolitano/spying-on-journalists/

By

Last week, this column argued that the only constitutional role for armed federal forces in Portland, Oregon, was to assist U.S. marshals in protecting federal property and personnel there — in this case, the federal courthouse and those who come to it. The column also argued that under the U.S. Constitution, the feds have no lawful role in policing streets unless requested to do so by the governor or legislature of any state.

In Portland’s case, the governor of Oregon and the mayor of Portland both asked acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to bring his forces home. He agreed to do so when Oregon’s governor offered to beef up security at the federal courthouse.

Yet, the federal forces were doing more than just protecting federal property. They were agitating the peaceful demonstrators in Portland’s streets by firing an internationally banned variant of tear gas repeatedly and indiscriminately into crowds for hours at a time every night. The feds were also spying on journalists who were in the crowds of protestors reporting on what they observed.

Here is the backstory.

The Supreme Court has held, for many generations, that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects the “right to be let alone.” Today, we call this privacy.

Those who wrote the Constitution were acutely aware of the proclivities of government to monitor the communications and behavior of folks it hates and fears. King George III sent British troops and government agents into the homes of colonists under various pretexts, the most notorious of which was to examine letters, papers and pamphlets to ascertain if the king’s tax on them had been paid.

This Stamp Act tax cost more to enforce than it generated in revenue. Was the king dumb or dumb like a fox? Probably the latter; the true purpose of the tax was not to raise money but to remind the colonists that the king could cross the thresholds of their homes — a right he did not have in Great Britain — through the use of his soldiers and agents. And, while inside the home, his agents could discover who was agitating for secession.

With memories of these royal abuses fresh in their minds, the members of the first Congress — led by James Madison — approved and passed the Fourth Amendment. The states ratified it as part of the Bill of Rights. Madison also drafted the Ninth Amendment, which reflects the existence in all people of natural human rights — knowable by the exercise of reason and insulated from government intrusion. Among those rights is privacy.

May the government lawfully invade the right to privacy? Under the Fourth Amendment, it may do so only pursuant to search warrants issued by a judge, and the judge may only issue a search warrant after taking testimony under oath demonstrating that it is more likely than not that the place to be searched will yield evidence of criminal behavior. Plus, the warrant must specify the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

The language and requirements in the Fourth Amendment are the most specific in the Constitution. Madison insisted upon this so it would be both an obstacle to the new American government doing to its citizens what the king and his agents had done to the colonists, and an inducement to the government to focus law enforcement on probable causes of crime rather than spying on political enemies.

Now, back to the feds in Portland.

We know from their admissions that the feds compiled dossiers on numerous journalists covering their activities in Portland. We also know that some data in those dossiers came from public sources and some did not. The governmental acquisition of data from nonpublic, nongovernment sources without search warrants constitutes spying.

The government spies routinely on Americans today — so much so that the revelation of it ceases to shock.

Why would the feds do this?

For starters, it is far easier to spy unlawfully than it is to obtain a search warrant. As well, the feds have established a vast network of domestic spies — the 60,000-person strong National Security Agency. It captures all electronic data, voice and text, communicated within the United States — without warrants and with few complaints.

All this directly assaults the right to privacy, but the feds do it anyway. The spying is so normal that a deputy DHS secretary ordered it in Portland without seeking approval up his chain of command.

The government also spies to intimidate — and this brings us back to Portland. When the government discovers personal information that it has no right to acquire without a warrant — information devoid of criminal evidence, information that the Fourth Amendment bars the government from obtaining without a warrant — and then tells you it has this information, it chills your freedom.

Chilling can make you pause before exposing or criticizing the government. The Supreme Court has characterized this as a violation of both the Fourth Amendment and the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.

To Wolf’s credit, he either fired or transferred (it is unclear which) the deputy secretary who ordered DHS agents to spy on journalists in Portland. Yet, when ordered, they readily complied with the order. That’s how commonplace federal spying has become — and how easy.

The folks who did this should all lose their jobs. Why? Because it is unlawful to obey an unlawful order.

Or have our constitutional rights been so emasculated that the government doesn’t know the difference?

Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

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The humiliation of Western history – spiked

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

From this distorted vantage point, the American Revolution is presented not so much as a War of Independence, but as a selfish attempt to preserve the exploitative and oppressive legacy of 1619. The famous founding assertion that ‘all men are created equal’, and are entitled to ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’, is denigrated as mere cover for the practices of a group of unprincipled and dishonest slave-owners.

Clearly for Hannah-Jones, the objective of the project is to alter America’s historical memory in order to gain control of the national narrative.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/08/05/the-humiliation-of-western-history/

From the NYT to British schools, powerful institutions are waging war on the past.

Frank Furedi

The most important issue at stake in the culture war is who controls the narrative through which society understands itself. At present, those controlling the narrative appear to be committed to reorganising society’s historical memory, and disputing and delegitimising its ideals, from liberty to equality. Take Netflix, for example. It is dominated by programmes, like Dear White People and Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap, that recast the Western way of life and Western history as irredeemably malevolent.

The humiliation and demonisation of the past and its ideals is now enacted at every important cultural event. Prize-giving ceremonies, be they the Oscars, the Tonys or the Pulitzers, invariably include speeches boasting of the bravery of the recipient for daring to ‘speak truth to power’. Ironically, this supposedly rebellious rhetoric is espoused by those who actually wield cultural power. These cultural elites see it as their raison d’être to denounce the culture into which they were born. Moreover, they do so for the public’s benefit, in order to ‘raise awareness’.

Back in the 1960s, raising awareness was a form of consciousness-raising. It was something one did to change one’s own outlook on the world. But in recent years, especially on social media, it has become a means to raise the awareness of others. As such, many use ‘awareness-raising’ as a way to distinguish themselves from those, who, to use the smug language of the day, ‘don’t get it’.

One powerful proponent of the dogma of awareness-raising is The New York Times, the most influential newspaper in the US. In August 2019, it decided ‘to speak truth to power’ by launching the 1619 Project, an ongoing initiative, featuring essays and other contributions, which maintains that the year 1619, and not 1776, is the true origin of the US. This, the project argues, is because the US was founded for the purpose of entrenching slavery, and 1619 was the year African slaves first arrived in Jamestown. All subsequent US history is therefore shaped by this founding, enslaving moment.

From this distorted vantage point, the American Revolution is presented not so much as a War of Independence, but as a selfish attempt to preserve the exploitative and oppressive legacy of 1619. The famous founding assertion that ‘all men are created equal’, and are entitled to ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’, is denigrated as mere cover for the practices of a group of unprincipled and dishonest slave-owners.

 

Unlike previous initiatives designed to encourage people to look critically at uncomfortable truths about their past, the 1619 Project offers a ‘take it or leave it’ version of history. Its aim is not to criticise existing historical narratives about the US. It is to negate and even morally annihilate the very foundation on which the US was built. As the NYT put it: ‘Our founding ideals of liberty and equality were false when they were written. Black Americans fought to make them true. Without this struggle, America would have no democracy at all.’

In rejecting the founding ideals of liberty and equality as false, the 1619 Project strips America’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, of every shred of moral authority. It also erases the profound contribution the American Revolution made to the development of the Western ideal of freedom.

The 1619 Project does not offer any new insights into the past. Rather, it seeks to contaminate the past and render it toxic. Indeed, one of the main contributors to the project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, admits that its principal objective is not to shed light on the past, but to undermine the moral authority of the present. ‘I’ve always said that the 1619 Project is not history’, she writes. ‘It is a work of journalism that explicitly seeks to challenge the national narrative and therefore national memory. The project has always been as much about the present as it is about the past.’

Clearly for Hannah-Jones, the objective of the project is to alter America’s historical memory in order to gain control of the national narrative.

 

‘The protests were whiter than the police department’

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‘The protests were whiter than the police department’

Tom Slater

Through this control over the national narrative, the NYT, like most other leading educational and cultural institutions in the US, is attempting to reinforce its cultural hegemony. The NYT’s webpage on the project even declares that ‘a re-education is necessary’. It is a chilling exhortation, more like something you would hear in a prison camp rather than a news organisation.

Not that influential public- and private-sector supporters of the project are too concerned by the grim totalitarian spectre invoked by the idea of ‘re-education’. On the contrary, they seem to be all for it. For example, to demonstrate its support for the project, the Pulitzer Center awarded Hannah-Jones one of its prestigious prizes, and launched a 1619 Project curriculum to promote its narrative in schools. Several US school districts have now adopted the NYT’s re-education project, presumably in order to teach children to regard the founders of their nation with shame.

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