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Flag-bearer Kimberly Jones looks off the Walnut Street prior to the event. 100 flag-bearers combined with 55 flags hung from the bridge commemorated 155 years since emancipation form slavery. People gathered during the Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas's 3rd Annual Juneteenth Independence Day Commemoration, "A Bridge Over Troubled Waters," on Friday, June 19, 2020. / Staff Photo by Robin Rudd

The New York Times last year came up with a project to debase America, to say this country is about nothing but slavery, that the institution has determined everything we are, that it instructs us to this day on the maltreatment of Black people. The Revolutionary War was fought to keep it going, and the pretenses of liberty and equality have been just that, pretenses. Slavery even fashioned a capitalism that maintains its evils and built our economy, we learn.

Black Americans are the real purveyors of the ideas of liberty and equality, not racist whites, we are also instructed in the so-called 1619 Project that started with a bunch of essays in The Times Sunday magazine. The name comes from the year the first slaves arrived, said to be our actual founding, which has since determined our real values. The essays already won a Pulitzer Prize, bringing to mind the occasion in 1932 when The Times won a Pulitzer for stories written about the Soviet Union that emphasized its supposed economic achievements without noting its famines.

The really scary thing is The Times has so arranged things that a book of the project's contents will be taught in public high schools. That will help to further dislodge future generations from any understanding of how our values fought slavery instead of bowing to it, that many have understood that slavery and Jim Crow are our vilest faults without saying we have no virtues.

It is certainly important to recognize our faults but also to acknowledge, as Black American pundit Thomas Sowell has pointed out, that Black Americans were making far more progress on their own initiative before some liberal politicians in the 1960s entered in to do misconceived things for votes and guilt atonement. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was certainly needed, however.

Right now, this leftist thesis of slavery is much of what is behind a demand for dramatic change of just about everything, not least capitalism that has been one of the foremost blessings in human history.

All of this happens to be surrounding us at a time when Black Lives Matter is understandably protesting a tragic, evil killing of a Black man by a policeman, though fires are being set at police stations, police are being injured, businesses ruined, merchandise stolen, and statues — even ones of abolitionists — toppled. Oh, this is nothing, say some of the intelligentsia even if others have not yet given up on thought, such as a number of this nation's top historians who have said the 1619 project is factually asunder.

One happens to be Gordon Wood, who just maybe knows as much about the American Revolution as anyone and who says there is not a single quote anywhere to be found of a colonist saying the war could save slavery. The most enthusiasm for the war was in New England, which had already pretty much exiled slavery, he says, and the South had no reason to believe independence would secure the institution. Most of the Founders were against slavery, believing it would not last very long, but the invention of the cotton gin changed things. It is true that cotton sales contributed to the economy but absurd to say they built the economy.

Still, we can all maybe right now join hands on improved race relationships if we remember another point endorsed by such Black thinkers as Sowell, Shelby Steele, Jason Riley and activist Bob Woodson, who is quoted as putting it this way: "Nothing is more lethal than to convey to people that they have an exemption from personal responsibility."

Tribune Content Agency

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