From the October Commentary, 1619 and All That: (may be fire walled)
Yes, patriotism was at a high-water mark in August 2016. “America is great,” Hillary Clinton said at that same convention, “because America is good.” Barack Obama himself: “The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous.”
That was then; this is now. The America the liberal elite sees now in 2019 has been a monstrosity from the beginning—from before the beginning, in fact. Wilfred McClay takes up this act of historical revisionism in his cover article this month. The New York Times’ “1619 Project” exploring American history cunningly dates itself not only to the forced arrival on these shores of indentured Africans but to the year before the arrival of the Mayflower. Why is this cunning? Because it begins the American narrative in slavery rather than in the quest for freedom—the pilgrims having set sail in 1620 so that they could practice their faith without persecution.
So the American experiment is not a story about freedom but a story about unfreedom. It is not about a quest for justice but about making excuses for injustice. It is not about good things. It is about bad things. It is not even about the struggle between the good and the bad. It is about original sin without redemption. We were evil before we began.
That’s the highfalutin take. The more prosaic take is that America is not about the story of Barack Obama but about the story of Donald Trump. That is what the 1619 Project is all about; it is an excuse to hate America because you don’t like the political turn it’s taken.
Love of country is something akin to the love for another person Shakespeare diagnosed negatively: “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” You don’t love America only when the election comes out your way. If that’s your view, it only means you didn’t really love America in the first place.
Politics can pollute science, religion and – in this case- history. We are all the sum of our decisions- good and bad. Progress comes from the recognition of both; recognition and correction of our sins, but also the recognition of how we overcame them and the value of our institutions that prevented other evils and promoted the stunning progress we have achieved in spite of our sins. The 1619 Project only wants to recognize our sins and ignore our redemption, virtues, and progress.
This is just another outcome of identity politics that focuses on our divisions for political gain.
There is striking irony in this secular version of original sin and its perpetual guilt that requires submission to a higher order; in this perverted version, the almighty state.