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‘The 1619 Project’ Tells a False Story About Capitalism, Too

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The 1619 Project distorts history, especially the history of capitalism. Allen Guelzo writes:

The 1619 Project imagines Southern slaveholders were practicing “capitalism” simply because they made money. But slavery had been around since antiquity—long before anything resembling capitalism existed. And what the South saw in its plantations wasn’t capitalism but the opposite. Writing in 1854, the pro-slavery propagandist George Fitzhugh described slavery as “a beautiful example of communism, where each one receives not according to his labor, but according to his wants.”

“Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written,” reads the headline of Ms. Jones’s prize-winning essay. “Black Americans have fought to make them true.” The latter part is true, but the former isn’t, and attempting to replace the nation’s ideals with a false and destructive story is no way to do history. The 1619 Project can wave its Pulitzer as credibility insurance, but credibility isn’t the same as truth. Pulitzers have been handed out before—to the Times’s Walter Duranty and the Washington Post’s Janet Cooke—only to collapse under the weight of falsehood.

[Allen Guelzo, “‘The 1619 Project’ Tells a False Story About Capitalism, Too,” The Wall Street Journal, May 8]

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Slavery paid people in accordance to their wants? No, it didn’t. If it paid people according to their wants, people would be demanding to bring back slavery, since their own professional careers don’t even provide for their wants. And “according to their wants” is not something communists say in the first place. What communist want is “from each according to his ability to each according to his need.” If you’re going to bash communism, at least learn what they believe in.
    It was big money interests that wanted slavery. Many communists in those times fought to abolish slavery. Even white conservative non-slave owners in colonial times were wary of bringing in too many slaves for fear of violent uprisings, which they were proven correct on. But greedy commodity traders wanted their cheap labor. In modern times, the chamber of commerce type Republicans tell us it doesn’t matter how much of our supply chain is out of the country or how many legal or illegal immigrants we have. They never talk about the downside of these policies, they only emphasize that we get cheap things “according to their wants.”
    It’s one thing to say slavery isn’t representative of laissez faire capitalism, but it’s not communism either and that Wall Street Journal piece you linked to never even tried to argue that. That was such a forced and silly thing to add to an otherwise okay article.

  2. Disregard part of the last comment. I keyword searched for “socialism” instead of communism and couldn’t find it.
    So comparing slavery to communism was the author’s point which was silly.

  3. Cheap, foreign made goods at the cost of American jobs is a bad bargain.
    What benefit is “cheap goods” if Americans can’t earn the money to buy them?
    As Abe Lincoln said in regard to building railroads:
    “If we buy rails from England, we get the rails, and England gets the money, but if WE make the rails, we get the rails, and we KEEP the money.”