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Bagging 2 Birds With 1 Stone

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

WASHINGTON -- I have long held that when the left gains control of an entity -- whether it be a city, a university or even a simple educational project -- it loses all awareness of what the initial purpose of that entity might have been. It brings the city or the university or the simple educational project to foozle, that is, to ruin.


Consider almost any major city in this country. As soon as it falls under the control of the left, rather than devoting itself to filling potholes or to lowering taxes or to policing, it goes off the rails. It becomes a repository for lavish welfare for the poor or a "sanctuary city" for illegal aliens or otherwise indigent people.

Consider the universities. They began years ago teaching their students things that they should know. Such as the history of our country, how to think, how to eat with a knife and fork -- the bare essentials. Now the universities of the land have courses in anger management, Black Studies, Latino Studies, Green Studies, proper bathroom etiquette.

Or consider the simple educational project. One simple educational project that I have in mind has transformed itself from a simple educational project to an ax-grinder's orgy in which the ax-grinder is free to portray anyone who disagrees with him as a racist, a misogynist and various other disagreeable humanoids. That is the way a leftist deals with disagreement, and in the meantime, his project has changed as he completely loses his focus. The project I am thinking of is the "1619 Project" being promoted by The New York Times.

It claims to have discovered that America was not founded in 1776 by people who are known to history as the Founding Fathers but by people who arrived in the New World more than 150 years earlier and brought a group of enslaved Africans along with them. It is not recorded that they tried to form a government, and it took these settlers years to legalize involuntary servitude.


For that matter, what about the Vikings who came even earlier than the 1619 crowd? Undoubtedly the Vikings brought enslaved people with them to work the oars, and my guess is the luckless oarsmen would have preferred to be back in sunny Scandinavia or Brittany or even Greenland than to be sitting on a wooden bench in God knows where. Such decisions were left to the chief Viking on board. Had he played his cards better, he would be our George Washington.

According to the conjurors of the "1619 Project," the "institutional racism" and the white supremacy that goes with it began in 1619. It persists to this very day. Though Black people fare even worse in much of Africa. There you will find a whole continent of them, though the conjurors of the "1619 Project" are not interested in the Black Africans' fate. There are not many of today's Black Americans lining up to go back to the old continent. Let me tell you why.

As explained here: "Hulu's series 'The 1619 Project' blames economic inequality between blacks and whites on 'racial capitalism.' But almost every example presented is the result of government policies that, in purpose or effect, discriminated against African-Americans. 'The 1619 Project' makes an unintentional case or capitalism." So write David R. Henderson and Phillip W. Magness last week in The Wall Street Journal, and they deposit examples for the skeptical reader.


"The series," they write, "gives many examples of government interventions that undercut free markets and property rights. Eminent domain, racial red lining of mortgages, and government support and enforcement of union monopolies figure prominently."

Henderson and Magness aim their fire at the enemies of free markets, but they bag two birds with one stone in their essay's title, "'The 1619 Project' Vindicates Capitalism." In their essay, they bag the conjurors of the "1619 Project." Then they bag the opponents of capitalism. Congratulations, gentlemen.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author most recently of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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