Author Topic: The 1619 Project  (Read 793 times)

Offline David in MN

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The 1619 Project
« on: September 07, 2019, 11:49:48 AM »
The New York Times has embarked on it's "1619 Project" chronicling the 400th anniversary of the first imported African slaves to America.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_1619_Project

I'm a little taken aback by the journalism. For one thing to claim slavery built America is specious. I'll be real clear here. My home state of Wisconsin nullified the Fugitive Slave Act and my hometown was a stop on the Underground Railroad. We were anti-slavery before it was cool.

But what angers me more is the idea that slavery can build wealth. If you allow this flawed idea into your head it forgives all manner of human sins. We didn't circumnavigate the globe with Roman galley slaves; it required a professional sailor class who could tack the wind rather than whipping the slaves harder. Slavery has never produced wealth. We picked grain by slaves for millenia until we ended the practice and invented combine harvesters. The ending of slavery is the beginning of wealth.

I feel horrible that slavery has been a common practice to man since the dawn of time. But to give such an evil idea the power that it literally created modern society is beyond me. We're not wealthy because of slavery; we are wealthy because we ended slavery and sought to let every man, woman, and child empower themselves and through their wisdom enrich us all.

I do not think it's a coincidence that we ended the practice of slavery and all of the sudden within 50 years got cars and airplanes. Blues and Jazz became Rock and Roll and America became the cultural center of the world. Slavery might pick cotton the way it did for thousands of years but it can't give you a pair of Levi's that just fit right behind the wheel of your Cadillac. Chattle slavery didn't build wealth; it prevented human innovation and the flourishing of of the better angels of our character.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2019, 05:43:03 PM »
It's always been frustrating to me that people try to make us believe that slavery is strictly Europeans keeping African people as slaves.  I know it doesn't fit the narrative, but slavery is as old as the human race. 

Offline The Professor

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2019, 06:14:17 PM »
It's always been frustrating to me that people try to make us believe that slavery is strictly Europeans keeping African people as slaves.  I know it doesn't fit the narrative, but slavery is as old as the human race.

And it's still going on. . .yet. . .not a word about busting the Modern Slave Trade that goes on outside our borders.

Typical.

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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2019, 08:42:18 PM »
And it's still going on. . .yet. . .not a word about busting the Modern Slave Trade that goes on outside our borders.

Typical.

The Professor

or INSIDE our borders

Offline David in MN

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2019, 08:15:25 AM »
It is odd that we never cite Brazil, the last western country to ban slavery in 1888. But I find the assumption that slavery can build an economy far worse. A slave owner doesn't invent a lawn mower because he already has a slave and scissors. One need only look to the slave economies of old to see the Egyptians and Greeks were phased out because their slave culture could not imagine anything beyond manual labor. Or look to the calcified European serfdom that ensured generation after generation of backbreaking labor.

For the Times to make a definitional statement that the birth of this country was built on the back of slavery feels wrong-headed. It actually is quite the opposite. Our slave states were totally eclipsed by the free states. It's not some mystical accident that we were industrialized by Ford in Detroit, John Deere in Wisconsin, The Minneapolis Moline, managed futures contracts in NYC and Chicago, and had a couple of bicycle mechanics from Dayton discover flight. Slavery held back the slave owners.

I have always felt this way and if I'm frank had the Egyptians taken my tack I think I'd be living on Jupiter by now. It's fairly simple to see our corn and wheat businesses radically modernized while cotton plantations languished. Free people do better work.

I don't know why I feel so alone. It's self evident that a slave economy will in 1000 years still have slaves pulling rickshaws and in my free society I hire Jason Statham to drive my BMW 5 series. The idea that slavery generates wealth is perhaps the darkest idea to have crept into our hearts. It's demonstrably false and we would have been better to abandon it earlier. Shame on the Times.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2019, 12:31:15 PM »
I don't know why I feel so alone.
Simple.  Thinking this way doesn't further the current narrative.  If the country wasn't built on the back of slaves, then how can this be used to steal from the "rich."  And it doesn't allow the "victims" of the slave trade to be anything more than a victim.

Offline The Professor

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2019, 07:24:43 PM »
Simple.  Thinking this way doesn't further the current narrative.  If the country wasn't built on the back of slaves, then how can this be used to steal from the "rich."  And it doesn't allow the "victims" of the slave trade to be anything more than a victim.

Exactly.  It teaches and encourages certain populations to accept their fate as caused by someone else.  They are Victims and that is a status that has been carefully crafted over these past 70+ years as desirable and covetable.

If they were to look at their current status as not being someone else's fault, that might mean their future is also not someone else's fault and, presumably, not immutable.

Then, that would mean their future is in their own hands based upon how they apply themselves.

But, if they feel the obstacle was placed before them hundreds of years ago and is insurmountable. . . why even try?

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Offline David in MN

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2019, 06:39:23 AM »
I still have a hard time believing that malnourished illiterate people in tattered clothes created what I enjoy. It was a travesty and a crime against society for sure but slave labor just never produces a Shelby Cobra Mustang or puts a man on the moon. There's a reason American slavery looks an awful lot like Roman slavery. Thousands of years with no innovation.

And why not call out the victories of ending the practice? Within 100 years of the end of American slavery in a cruel war we get the benefit of freed men and women working as inventors and artists. The Harlem Renaissance alone has produced some of the finest American literature (and some of my favorites). But I'm to be told that the motive power of this land was more influenced by an unknown slave in 1619 than by Ralph Ellison? And maybe the really scary belief is that I believe that slavery and serfdom through the eons stifled millions of Ralph Ellisons. Far from creating modern life it held us back. Slave culture never gets beyond hand tools.

Offline Carver

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2019, 07:48:54 PM »
The problem that the 1619 project created for itself is that in an attempt to credit slavery for making American great is that it is in effect promoting slavery.
Another problem for them is that it is a common perception amongst our unlearned that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson created slavery, and now they are broadcasting that it came upon our shores way long before. On the other hand there are many that do not know anything about the revolutionary war or when this country originated so are likely to believe that George and Thomas stood on the shore welcoming the slaves abroad in 1619. Those of us who are knowledgeable of basic historical facts are living in denial that there are so very many that have little knowledge of any history previous to their 12th birthday.

Offline David in MN

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 08:33:48 AM »
Would it change the story of Jefferson if he inherited all his slaves and was too poor to free them under Virginia law? How about if the slave he had a sexual relationship with was his late wife's half sister and they fell in love in France where slavery had been abolished?

I have no issue calling the act of slavery a moral abomination but the story we've been told is rather poppycock. The task of convincing me is impossible: Would I rather an army of slaves or a Chevy pickup and a Kaboda front end loader? I guess I could use a fleet of slaves to make all my food but I'd still prefer a 42mm Buhler twinscrew extruder.

And the hilarious part is that the experiment has been run. For the bulk of American history the military could compel young men to show up and do whatever they wished. And even with that power they found that labor saving machines like trucks and rail were worth the effort. They could have shackled every 19 year old to an oar but found gasoline just worked better.

Even our storied legends fell short. The hardest backs and broadest shoulders of Paul Bunyon and John Henry were bested by machines. I'm a pretty big strong dude but if the choice is to enslave me with my scythe or buy a John Deere I'm not up to the task.

In fact the true story is 180 degrees in the other direction. Our free states gave us automobiles, tractors, flight, amusement parks. If the Times want to claim slavery generates wealth I'm really happy to be on team free people who gave us the internal combustion engine, light bulb, vacuum, electric motor, airplane, Playboy, and damn near everything that makes life better. 

And maybbe there is a very hard question the Times won't answer. Would I be better served having Einstein, Tesla, Jobs, and Wozniak as chattle? I think not. That doesn't feel like the path to wealth and happiness. I do not see in any of my reading of history where slavery made a man wealthy or serfdom benefitted the lord of the land.

Offline Carver

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2019, 09:08:22 AM »
Would it change the story of Jefferson if he inherited all his slaves and was too poor to free them under Virginia law?
Historical fact is that slavery was the only skilled labor system that existed, there were no labor unions.

Offline DDJ

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2019, 10:53:26 AM »
We should not forget the number of Europeans that were shipped to this "new land" as indentured servants, slightly above slaves but NOT free, or as prisoners, in those days there was not a lot of difference between prisoners and slaves.  Both of those forms ended with the birth of the US.

The whole narrative is to find a way to split the people of the great melting pot into as many small groups that hate each other as possible.  I am not sure which tin foil hat I am wearing here "Media drumming up hate so people do stupid things" or "divided we can not rise against THEM".  Either way it appears that someone some where wants we the people to be splintered.  If it were about history they would be doing it differently. 

Like everyone else I condemn the practice as a bad time and a black eye on the nation, but we are 2 to 3 generations from the last living slave owner.  I should say legal slave owner.

We as a people of these United states need to find the ability to pull people together and support differences of others to form one strong nation.   (sorry I will get off the soap box and take off the tin foul hat now)

Offline bigbear

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2019, 12:58:56 PM »
Sure slavery generates wealth.  That's why it exists.  But it generates a limited wealth at the cost of innovation and creativity that eventually generates much more wealth.  It's similar to companies shaving expenses instead of developing something new about their product.