May 26, 2021

I D0N’T THINK IT’S ANY MORE ABOUT FREE SPEECH THAN REFUSING TENURE TO MICHAEL BELLESILES WOULD BE: A Culture of Free Speech Protects Everyone: The journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones appears to be a victim of viewpoint discrimination. Academic freedom needs a vigorous defense—and not just at UNC. “But to an ideologically diverse group of critics, the 1619 Project was marred by multiple factual errors, damning revelations from a fact-checker, and obfuscatory stealth edits that many friendly to its thesis overlooked or waved away by focusing exclusively on the dumbest criticism of the project (most prominently, demagogic attacks by then-President Donald Trump).”

There is viewpoint discrimination in every part of nearly every university today, enormously in favor of leftist views. Hannah-Jones is the beneficiary of viewpoint discrimination in being hired for work of a quality that no right-leaning candidate would be hired for.

Related: Correcting 1619’s Falsehoods About the American Founding.

Slavery “was nothing new to the New World,” Mr. Wood writes. “It was an institution familiar to many native societies in both North and South America. These populations had been enslaving one another, as far as we can tell, from time immemorial.” Local Indians captured and enslaved European would-be conquistadors and traded them from tribe to tribe, Mr. Wood notes. “The year 1492 changed the world, but not by introducing slavery to the Americas. Slavery was already here.”

Mr. Magness’s book examines the 1619 Project’s assertion that slave labor powered the U.S. economy, an argument that rests on “dubious statistical claims and shoddy research practices,” which have been refuted empirically in peer-reviewed journals. “The thrust of these exaggerations is to recast slavery as a distinctly capitalist enterprise, which, in turn, services the 1619 Project’s political message,” Mr. Magness writes. “The worthy historical task of documenting the horrors of American slavery has been cynically repurposed into an ideological attack on free-market capitalism.”

The 1619 Project is not an intellectual exercise in search of truth. It’s a political exercise in search of power. More scholars could and should be calling out this false history, but let’s be grateful to the ones who have risen to the occasion.


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