The 1619 Project and its Challenge to the American Founding: Prof. Lucas Morel
This program is brought to you. By the james wilson institute on natural rights in the american founding. If you'd like to learn more about the james wilson institute please visit james wilson institute dot org. We hope you enjoy the program. Low and welcome to the james wilson. I'm your host garrett's netted her today. We're delighted to be chatting about the sixteen nineteen project with lucas morale. He is the john. K boardman professor of politics at washington and lee university. He is the author of several books. On abraham lincoln most recently lincoln and the american founding professor merrell also teaches in the masters program in american history and government at ashland university. Summer programs for the claremont institute in high school teacher workshops sponsored by the john ash brook center the gilder lehrman institute and the liberty fund in two thousand eight. Two thousand nine. He was the garwood visiting research fellow at the james madison program at princeton professor. Morale is a trustee of the supreme court historical society former president of abraham lincoln institute a consultant on library of congress exhibits on lincoln and the bicentennial and currently serves on the us semi quincentennial commission. Which will plan activities to commemorate the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the united states. Joining us as well on the podcast is yovany trip. Triptych one of our interns at the james wilson institute. Thanks for listening for morale and it's just an absolute joy to have you with us to talk about the sixteen nineteen project and related subjects today to get started off. What do you think is the goal of the sixteen nineteen project and what hurts most significant flaws. The primary goal out. Thank you for inviting me. After all the primary goal of the project as mccall hannah jones has said on many occasions actually is to get reparations. Bill passed in congress. So she said you cannot read the magazine which had many essays about eighteen essays all in some form or fashion directed towards Explaining or demonstrating the impact that slavery still has on black american lives today. Says you can't read this magazine without coming away from it thinking that something is owed. And she's been very specific she says we need reparations. And that means a check that will be cached. Every black american and we need greater investment in black communities of need now my fundamental critique of the project where i believe it went wrong is that she tries to emphasize the contributions of black americans to american history which is valid a but she does it at the expense of white people. She in her project is teaching americans to view history as a zero sum game instead of an integrated a struggle for freedom. Which actually was i mean. That's what the history shows As what set in the modern civil rights movement black and white together. so it's so doing the kohana jones makes the nation's progress. I think more difficult to understand and therefore to discern any lessons that this history would have for us today in addressing questions of race and let me hasten to add as well that her project is not only bad history because it's incomplete and because it's incorrect in important cases but it also undermines trust that americans of all races need to have in order to do politics today in order to a little differences peacefully that is to say politically and thereby help us. Perpetuate our self-governing way of life. So why teach this. In american schools now was there some kind of historical vision to align this with four hundred th anniversary of jamestown or was that more of a convenient rationale for what had building up into a up until this point perhaps as a repudiation of the outward nationalism or patriotism of of the trump administration over the previous guess two and a half years since the sixty nineteen project really was rolled out in two thousand nineteen. Yeah i mean it was convenient that there was that four hundred anniversary of the landing of twenty plus africans at point comfort which was as you point out the english colony of jamestown in sixteen nineteen august sixteen nineteen there were slaves in the united states before that but she wants to link it to some political ancestry of america. Not spain not brands. But it's english england's on america soc that's why she pegged sixteen nineteen But you're also right to point out that this this didn't come out of nowhere It's been in the schools not sixteen thousand nine per se but the critique of seventeen seventy six. The american founding and the general traditional understanding of this country is being a good country because it's institutions are good not systemically racist and because it's ideals its principles are the best principles for not just americans but for all people i mean. That's the claim of the deck wish penance but this dates back to howard fins people's history of the united states it makes to editor of ebony magazine. Lauren bennett his book before the mayflower would she cites on several occasions as being a formative influence of On her in high school essentially giving if you will black perspective on america that does not stay consistent with what we hip traditionally understood as our heritage. So it's been building up. It's been in the schools for for decades. My students at washington and lee university. A good number of them come from prep schools. They already come thinking that the sophisticated understanding of the declaration of independence is that all men are created. Equal was never understood in principle. Right let alone practice. But it was never understood in principle to be a universal principle that we as one people were attempting to apply for ourselves. Presuming we win our war against great britain. Right we're one year into that. There was no game. We're going to succeed so this is something that has been. I would mark it as a culmination of a decades long process by which Folks on the left have been criticizing past as Indelibly marked by capitalist greed and anti black racism. You mentioned a few teams there About where the computers to the sixteen nineteen projects Place their emphasis on what they view as the core of the american founding It does seem though central that. There's an altered prison right that the original sin of slavery. is the is the poison tree which the fruit of individual rights and self government and other lofty ideals springs from is this an actual comprehensive coherent view or is this cherry-picking it's worse than cherry. Picking although she does that throughout her essay it is alternately. I would say incoherent it is a. It's blaming. I mean i when i read this in august of two thousand nineteen. It's hard to believe that it's harvey been over year when the sms. I knew it was gonna make a splash in. I assigned it in Believable with my american government class that fall and then again in my race inequality class in the winter. Spring of twenty twenty signed it. Not because i thought it was good. I assigned it because i knew it was going to be shaping what people thought about our history and therefore it needed to be addressed and so in reading her seventy three hundred word essay and also wrote a four thousand word rebuttal in for the american mind where people are interested in that. That's on the internet. Just google my name or shoring up. The title is america was founded on white supremacy. I tried to make sense of her argument in. It's incoherent in this respect. She wants america to be good. If black americans were the leading contributors to that and so she acknowledges that jefferson the slave holder wrote ideals. Were true when black people thought to make them true but she does not want to admit that they were drew simply in principle. But he got it right. I mean the what looks like the title of her essay. The title in the table of contents of the magazine says the idea of america. But when you turn to. The actual article title is not there what is instead above in the super large funt above the article and text and above. Her name is the following. Two sentences are two sentences. Our democracies founding ideals were false when they were written. Americans have fought to make them truce on the one hand. She wants to admit that. The natural rights philosophy of the declaration is the right philosophy. But she doesn't want to give jefferson credit washington credit madison credit for a fighting to attempt to secure our independence and therefore erect institutions of self-government that lincoln. Another enemy of hers will later fight to defend and preserve for subsequent generations. She wants the ideals without the men who risked putting those into print and then into practice into ultimately. I think her essay works at cross purposes with with itself. It shows progress insecure rights for black americans but wants to make the case that the history of that progress is almost entirely owing two or two black people and not wanting to give credit to both important individual whites like lincoln like jefferson like washington. Madison doesn't even mentioned madison. Amazing she comments on the constitution. And it's it's framing. It doesn't mention madison. She doesn't want credit to these. Leading black figures of our history or the tremendous goodwill of white americans all along that were necessary to win a civil war to pass and ratify the thirteenth fourteenth fifteenth amendments to a unanimous white male supreme court. Nine zero ruled to desegregate public schools in america in one thousand nine hundred eighty four brown v board of education. There were no black judges on the court. No white excuse me no black senators when the civil rights act of nineteen sixty four in the voting rights act of nineteen sixty five where past very in fact tragically too few black representatives so there must have been a whole lot of white politicians representing a whole lot of white a whole lot of white americans who were sympathetic to the cause of black america because it was consistent with the cause of america generally. She gives them no credit. She omits them entirely and just believes that these things just happen. These fatal complete only because black people fought for their rights. So as i say. The history is incorrect in incomplete and ultimately her argument i believe is incoherent because she wants the fruit. If you will of what both white and black americans who produced but only wanted to give credit to to blacks zero sum game in her mind in. That's that's just bad history on. That's actually nice. Segue to a yulon has some questions about the historical method The contributors employees on what academic credentials in the field of history. Do nicole hannah jones and the various contributors to the sixty nineteen project have. She herself is a journalist she. She majored in history at notre dame but she went on to get her master's at unc. i think a fairly reputable journalism school there. She was on fellowship there and eventually won a macarthur award. She's macarthur with a called macarthur genius grant For her journalism especially in terms of issues pertaining to black americans especially in education so her training is in journalism and in recruiting essays almost entirely by black contributors i think only one or two or historians of the actual essays dealing with history. The rest are either journalists or intellectuals an just other contributors who are phd trained historians. I don't have a problem with that. Because of some of her of are so easy to pick out you do not need a phd in history to get your history right. And she either deliberately didn't want to know the full picture or was ignorant abbott in either case to produce this essay which eventually garnered a pulitzer prize into in twenty twenty. Four commentary knocker history that the influence she's having by promoting this very shoddy history is on unfortunate and so the way the new york times is defending. It is by saying well. Her prize is deserved. And we're proud of her because of the impact that she is having even if it's the case that not every every single solitary claims she makes is a completely a factual if you will and i'm speaking in simple terms here and so interestingly enough a northwestern university history professor who was consulted. This was an essay in these essays. I don't expect them to have footnotes but they consulted historians. We don't know who who are because she hasn't been forthcoming about that. But lesley harris at northwestern she was consulted because she is an expert in in colonial in revolutionary america especially new york and leslie harris pointed out to her. Look one of the major cleans in premises of your essay. Is that the declaration of independence representing the the rationale for revolution. One of your major claims that they fought to preserve slavery. And she says. I'm going to tell you i'm sympathetic with your project. But this is factually incorrect. They said thank you. We'll take it from here and they printed it and she didn't know that they printed it until she was you interview and came out and she's like wait hold it. Didn't i saw that in there. So even when it was pointed out to her because it was pivotal to the argument she wanted to make the critique of america as essentially one long march of white supremacy and slavery being the fundamental element of that. She deliberately made an argument that she knew was not true until the short version is that there were almost no. Phd trained historians as part of the sixty nineteen project. Although the claim is consulted with some historians academic historians conservatives and even truck skies socialists rightly rejected in your times attempt to reframe the past. That's a unique against the sixteen nineteen project. What does that tell us about the sixteen nineteen project would it tells us is it is not interested in actually revising history. According to the record people use the phrase revisionist history as a priority. Usually in other words not Replacing a bad history with your own propaganda in other words. Another another version of bad history. She herself has said quote all history. Revisionism and quote. Now i think charitably understood. That could be said as well. You know each year right more. Phd's are produced more dissertations written masters d'etre and so we are uncovering more and more voices from the past. And i think that's all to the good. There was a time in our nation's history where leading historians for example of the civil warming construction period. Were propagandists this was called the dunning school and they were giving version of the civil war and especially reconstruction and the post reconstruction era that deliberately. Subverted what we knew and now definitely know was true in terms of why the civil war was fought what games were made reconstruction. And it's a failures now with all histories revision. What she's trying to basically say is therefore you know the traditional history or what you would call the mythology of america that that's been taught for us for decades if not centuries why can't we quote unquote reframe our past. And so she says. He said explicitly about her project in her essay in her words. She has said it's not history quote unquote she says. It is reframing our passengers may be playing with semantics here but essentially she's basically preaching from the critical race school which says there really is no truth out there to be revealed or uncovered. What's important is power. It's all about power it's and therefore who gets to write the text books who teaches especially at the elite level who trains the teachers of today. And tomorrow these are the people who will be shaping our culture and so what she thinks is. The important thing is not so much that i get all my history right. The important thing is is that i present a different We we never say story today. We say narrative for some reason that's supposed to sound more sophisticated so the important thing is reframing the narrative what is it that the american people remember about their pass. How how do they view it and in her mind. They need to see that. Slavery is a much more profound influence on this nation's of development. And she used to say that the sixty nineteen date is as important of founding. Seventeen seventy six day have walked that back while the new york times and she has walked that back and she says not an. I wasn't saying it was literally the founding. I've just meant it figuratively. Or what have you but the bottom line is. She is attempting to present a history as if it really isn't it doesn't have to be factually correct in every detail. What's important is our sense of who we are identity. And what is shaped that. And she thinks. Slavery needs to be more Palpable in the minds of americans regardless of color And to that extent choose a part of the power structure today right. She got the new york times to give me tire issue of their magazine to this project of her. She was the lead curator. She wrote the lead essay now. She's got a book project Several books in line a graphic novels. She's got a movie tv series with lionsgate. That she's working out with oprah and so she of the culture shaping process right now and it will be interesting to see what her books say given. All of this criticism left right and center. You kind of anticipated eh. our next question. Which is do you think it's fair to say that the contributors to the sixty nine thousand nine project are guided by cultural marxism and the frankfurt school sort of with the modern update as applied to critical race theory. Well yeah i don't. I'm not gonna draw a straight line from the frankfurt school to Each individual contributor to her. I think it is fair to say though that what makes the project cohere what brings it. Altogether is the notion that the effects of slavery where people call a legacy effects of slavery and of segregation which he calls american apartheid that the effects of those still linger today so it is twenty twenty right. Were soon to be in twenty twenty one and everything from traffic patterns to why we consume a sugar and also relevant things like cultural development. I mean this. She was not the first person to explain how much black people had contributed to america's cultural political and economic development. But but it. It's definitely the case that the critique of capitalism for example flows from from that school. And yeah as. I'm repeating myself here but generally speaking what makes the sixteen Nineteen project a project. The oneness of it is this same that our history has been indelibly shaped by anti black racism. She actually Dna can't believe that she says anti black. Racism runs in the very dna of this country. And even my students caught that and they said wait a second. If it's in our dna we can't get rid of it right unless you come up with some kind of political crisper some kind of way that you can transmogrify the national mine and of course the sixty nine hundred project might be an attempt certainly as attempt at that they just thought named after Asked that question a panel that i presented on constitution day. Two years ago at wwl one of my students asked the fellow. Panelists will if it's in our dna what could could we possibly do to get rid of or to to extract this anti black racism from the system. Right in there was no. They didn't do very good answer to that. Now i i would venture to to to ask if it can't be excited from the system. Is it more of a Subspecies of grievance politics. Because if it's not a matter of finding a solution is it a matter of more just chronic management And always sir trying to kind of tease out How a political controversy In the present can be viewed through Another lens in the end. I guess my fall onto that is Well then won't you just have a a kind of a race to the bottom Between different lia either interest groups Kind of grievance politics But through their own versions of sixteen nineteen project obviously The sin of chattel slavery is is indeed The one that has sort of been blessed by a blast bud but but has been ordained by the state or was ordained by the state for For as long as it had been. But i mean there's plenty of groups in america that can claim Unfair treatment throughout the years. And then You know if you set this precedent then we're we're going to draw the line right and yeah certainly. Native americans are going to be the first in line for that which is really sensitive on that topic if you watch what she writes. She's becoming more careful on twitter in fact when she had to start walking things back that were incorrect. She deleted much of her twitter. History that dealt with the sixty nineteen project and thankfully in my own critiques did screenshots of the things that she said Not knowing she was going to delete them. But i've done a curriculum review with regards to the sixty nine hundred project. That will come out. I think in a few weeks and part of that. My footnotes three or four of them have to just say screenshot by lucas around. Because it's no longer haunt witter. She was so you know nervous about what people were seeing the history and so she just got rid of it. Anyway what what you say about grievance management. I think that's charitable i think at minimum. They're doing that but notice. If the system is bad changing laws are going to be effective. What do you have to change. You have to change the regime. I am not saying. Don't quote me as saying that. I think nicole hannah jones is trying to foment rebellion and revolution g. Is making a good of money right now. Giving talks about sixteen nineteen project. I think she would be killing the golden goose if they're in this country however she was encouraged by the riots this summer where people were spray painting sixteen. Nineteen august fourth. She said i should get photo credit for this and when my mentor charles. Kesler wrote in the new york post that we should call these the sixteen nineteen riots. She tweeted that day. Thank you i am. I would be honored. Joe here is someone who thinks if you will that. The revolution can be managed. It can be corralled that somehow you can express this violence against property and people in some cases and not have lasting subversive effects on the rule of law in this country. The rule that she is quite the beneficiary of as i am is we all are When it works. And when we buy. And so i think that the charitable view is it. It's just gonna be you know. Interest group power politics in the lesson. Being may being taught here is. I hope you're in the majority because if you're not you're don't have rights to the majority is necessarily bound to respect at worse. If you teach people again that we are systemically evil racist and then making systemically. Sexist makes us the blank like you say then the the only logical and coherent answer is well. We need a new constitution. We need a new regime not just lost a new regime and our tell you that As i teach this course on race inequality. I have been teaching black power more than i have in the past because black lives matter and this thinking that is in line with nicole hannah jones. This is all out of stokely carmichael. Charles hamilton's nineteen seventy-six book. Black power where they talk about. They actually use the word. Systemic racism the racism. And this is the late sixties when it was written that racism will no longer be a matter individual racist individual acts of racism. No we have to start teaching people that it is a system that is racist. That is the politics it's economic that capitalism it reflects white racism routine people saying that today manner faculties if it doesn't even require argument in his also did the playbook for movement for black lives and black lives matter. Read the first two chapters of of black power. It's all there. We're going to move onto a what is perhaps you are Your most fertile ground Talk about The the civil war era as as as as instructive to on this sub- this discourse what we're trying to understand is Did the of the thirteenth fourteenth and fifteenth amendments view the problem of inequality in the same way that she views inequality or or is there a notable difference. While i mean the fundamental difference would be is We'll look Thirteenth amendment of course was the follow up the coda the in capital letters to lincoln's emancipation proclamation. Which of course. She doesn't want to give him credit for and she did. She would follow her her her muse laurent bennett and saying that lincoln was reluctant emancipated. But we can talk about that later. If you want so the thirteenth amendment abolish slavery but of course simply abolishing slavery doesn't make you a full-fledged citizen of this country the remaining question was now what Are they going to be citizens or not and eighteen. Sixty six the congress again all wipe congress passed the civil rights act but it was being frustrated in in the south and so to give it more teeth. They decided to put into the constitution. By way of what eventually became the fourteenth amendment. But we know as today as you to processed Equal protection under the law. Privileges or immunities. unity's as well as If you're born in this country with some exceptions of course birthright citizenship is controversial but with some exceptions but on the main. If you're born in this country you're a citizen of this country. You're young american citizen. That's what the fourteenth amendment did in the fifteenth amendment. Said that in order to vote that you couldn't use race or previous condition of servitude as a bar so those those the arguments made for those were made by so-called radical republicans. Again all white men who decided that the that the civil war really meant something. It wasn't at the end simply just preserving the union which was important enough and sufficient enough for a war to be fought and that certainly what lincoln argued but ultimately that's civil war also produced the liberation of four million black americans and so they were trying to codify that in the supreme law of the land and so to do that. They made arguments based on the declaration of independence. I mean you just got the the speeches are there. And to that extent took accent that she agrees with that outcome. She agrees with with the the principals without giving credit to the white men who issued those those principles. Her problem is that her arguments are more in line with the white supremacists like Stephen douglas lincoln's nemesis in illinois and roger tawny the author of the eighteen fifty seven hundred scott case where he said in cheap rightly pointing out that they that his claim is that the founders did Did not believe that had any rights that the white men was was bound to respect now. His history is wrong but she affirms his wrong history so that she can reinforce her argument that this country is systemically racist. If we were systemically racists you couldn't amend the constitution along the lines of the systems ideals which are found in the declaration of independence and so I i wouldn't say that. Her approach Falls in line with the authors of the reconstruction amendments even though of course she agrees with the outcome of those amendments. Ethnical glitch on my end but but you'll von tells me that I think you. I think you actually answered. What was my next question about The have a sixteen thousand nine projects. Contributors ignore how The eighteen sixty five through eighteen sixty eight period may have perfected. Seventeen seventy six. So would you be kind to dallas About more general claims of racial injustice in america in america present why has the term equity replaced equality power those firms employed in the discourse around the sixteen nineteen project. Yeah that's a good question In the wake of george floyd Killing a it's almost uniform across my employment in in other words. Higher education universities and colleges in this country if they didn't have them already Categorically are hiring in establishing institutions of what are known as diversity inclusion in equity. So you can't just as far as i know. None of these places are called departments of equality. It's all equity diversity in inclusion and people are making their establishing their their expertise in their their their phd's on developing more in more slices of these particular Ways in which they do not think terms like equality in fairness. Cover everything right. You can be diverse. But you can't but it doesn't guarantee inclusion or vice versa so had an equity come to replace something as fundamental equality dating all the way back in seventeen seventy six. I think it has to do with. James lyndon johnson famously at a speech at howard university i think it was nineteen sixty four sixty four sixty five where he said that it's not enough to provide equality of opportunity after we have to create a situation where the outcomes are equal as wealth. Gay and so the focus on outcomes rather than guaranteeing equal playing field. What do i mean by an equal playing fields but the fourteenth amendment says and what it says about the supreme court on the building equality under the law of the very thing. That frederick douglass said if we need it you wanna do justice for blacks in this country equality under the law do that and you will not have quote unquote the negro problem as it was said back then outcomes. The emphasis on outcomes means equity is more important than equality. It's not enough to say. Well look you know that you need good grades you know. Be a good you know test scores. You know that you need all this extra curricular stuff and if you do that you can get into the elite schools of this country. Nope we measure that. And determined that a certain cohort of this country. Let's measured by race is not sufficiently quote unquote represented in other words that all the racists. Aren't you know. Proportionately represented at the most prestigious schools in this country. Then by definition there is something happening. That is unfair. And in in in inequitable and therefore equality is not enough. We can look to the outcomes to determine if you will whether this country is still racist. What's his name candy. Which mexican how do we. Yeah how how to be. Antiracist it's not enough to say i am not a racist my parents weren't racists. My ancestors. never enslaved anybody. They were irish. They had their own discrimination when they when they came off the boat. If you will. That's not enough. You can't nobody can be neutral either if you are not actively doing something to promote our two or to or to to promote true diversity inclusion and equity in this country you are part of the problem if you're not actively doing something to change the status quo by definition. You're white supremacist. I was called a white supremacist by a tenured professor at middlebury college. In anticipation of a debate that i was going to participate a battle over the sixteen nineteen project. He said that my ideas were the ideas of a white supremacist. Even though perceived a picture of me or know anything about me. I did send from Dominicans from I'm a if you will black dominican. I'm of hispanic heritage but my ideas reflect the ideas of a white supremacist. Because i'm devoted to lincoln and devoted to the principles that jefferson laid out the declaration of independence. That's where we are at right now where it doesn't the that the reason and the argument that you have to offer for four and against These claims about america being racist. I mean these are now made simply as assertions right in kenya again is making a mint Giving these lectures. I don't i don't even know if i don't know how he has time to to teach. He gave a lecture at my university a month or two ago. He's been doing this all over the country by zoom which makes it even easier. Mind that But he's he's making and here's a guy who actually criticizes capitalism is certainly the beneficiary of it and so again. These guys are making arguments that that are at cross purposes with themselves. You know it it does. It does strike me that the shift of focus on On equity rather than inequality is is actually aimed toward a certain kind of a victim porn. I think build off of primarily Who are the you know. The largest Racial demographic in the country it's Whites and in particular. Who are the readers of the new york times primarily white progressives in white liberals Who have a certain amount of guilt that i think on They as as readers of the new york times are probably wealthier than the national median income. So i wanna ask Kind of is this the sixteen nineteen project and it's focused not on equality but equity Sort of the aspirational goal of putting yourself in the position of an a relatively well off white liberal. Is that the goal. Because if you can go to bed at night saying that you've secured legal equality but there's still problems for racial minorities in the country. Maybe what keeps you up at night is equity not equality. that's fair. a number of people have made arguments along these lines in terms of the the white guilt. That us out there that as long as there is there are disparities then therefore you can extensively lake the claim that something is still wrong in this country and you and you obviously cannot blame the victim for this debt. You certainly don't do that. Outland on any college campus Shelby still has written on this. Johnny orders written on this tom. Wolf wrote about this A decades earlier. Novelist tom wolf. Who bump out of the vanities in so a unfortunate thing about this that i that i would just add to it is that it actually reinforces the notion of white supremacy because as long as blacks can play the victim card in this respect in other words the the disparities with we suffer are not our fault but the fault of a system that was each established and currently maintained by people who don't look like us i e white people it really does. Give almost a god-like status to whiten in this country. The very thing that they're trying to get rid of white supremacy they're actually making arguments that reinforce the notion that whites have all that power. Ralph ellison one of my favorite novelist teach in my racing quality class and other classes. He he he he rift on this in one thousand nine hundred eighty two when he talked about He named an electric power company. Monopolized light empower. But then he goes on to show how the narrator who's a black man is actually lighting his apartment with six with thirteen. Hundred and sixteen light bulbs and continuing to add. He's drawing all this power from the so-called monopolized light and power and they don't know where the power is going. They can't them because they don't know where it's going. He's that clever. He's that inventive. And he's black in america white. He's this little hidden. Thomas edison in this this this apartment. You know on the border of of harlem in new york and so robinson was trying to establish her. Show us that. Yeah there we have been in white supremacists country in many respects. But in the meantime blacks haven't just simply been the victims of that power structure they've been able to establish ways of living to survive in some cases thrive until the reason i'm pointing. This out is that we have got to find ways that i believe we can base upon the original understanding of humanity the natural rights of political philosophy of the declaration of independence much of which we get from lock not entirely but much we got from john locke that old fashioned notion of equal individual rights. Not this the this emphasis today on diversity inclusion in equity that seemed to deal with the surface more than. What's actually there. What's actually the things that we actually Share in common in so the move away from nature the move away from god to these sorts of constructs i think are highly problematic and at the end in the end i think our big counter to the fundamental basis of the american regime. Let's start a little bit about what's being done to Push back on the sixteen nineteen project. I perhaps a our listeners are are not familiar with the seventeen. Seventy six commission But what do you think about that effort I don't know a whole lot about it. Beyond that one press conference that they had My former boss. Larry arnn when he was at the claremont institute grad student. He was my boss then and now the head. The president of hillsdale college. I believe moderated that event bill mcclay a professor university of oklahoma. Who wrote a great american history book called land of hope and allen gals. Oh three time. The only three time winner of the lincoln prize You know a great historian of the civil war and of lincoln wagner for lincoln. He was there and then others in. I read president. Trump's speech and i don't think it could be faulted But i haven't had the time to go and listen to all the other stuff so the idea that History as it is being taught it is having ill effects precisely because it it teaches our children that there is that that america's unlovable right if you teach them that were stemming racist will nobody wants to be a descendant of that and that means you're open you're open to other options and alternatives. I think that that has to have to keep in mind here. We have to get our history right. There's nothing wrong an honest about our pass. What we shouldn't blow things out of proportion nor should we omit things that are part of the record so we should be honest about our past. It's but it's not all works There are many good things in the all. We actually know when we've made process of progress precisely by referring to these older notions of equality government by consent individual rights etc and so There's let's let's teach history right. Teach that that an actually more engaging to learn when you learn that america didn't you spring forth hole in perfect form from george washington's head or jefferson that this country is the tropic of debate discussion argument and tragically. We had a war to decide whether we were going to stay on that track or not but for students they should by all means learned that this country was the product of these arguments. Let's read those arguments. Look at those debates. Let's look at what they considered the pros and cons of establishing country faced on human equality. Can people really govern themselves. It had never been done before Not not done for long. that's for sure. And that's why they call it. A nobu orders tacoma new order for the ages right mystery right but let's also not only our students are imbibing a bad or incorrect history and in some cases propagandistic it. I think it will ineluctably. Have civic imp is detrimental civic impact. We are going to be taught not to trust one another and it's going to be based on superficial things right if you read an entire essay where white people are all vice and black people are all burnt you. What does that mean. What of effect does that have on a white kid at a black kid. What are they gonna think about each other. And what are they going to have to do. Especially the white kids went straight to the black kids the white citizens to demonstrate to the black citizen that they're on their side right. You're not gonna be open to many arguments right. You're just going to adopt this new notion of what we call today. Whoa kness in this country. You're going to have to say well if this is what it means to be a good and righteous person. I guess we need to have all of these offices of diversity inclusion inequity. I guess we need to have Continue for example affirmative action. I guess we need to do things. Were color race. Ethnicity take on greater prominence in our public policy rather than lesser. It is it is a bit distressing that it seems like the way out of this through right. We're not gonna be able to ignore these these these kinds of questions because I think that The challenges as you said before Actually at the regime level. But i think it's i think it's healthy to have to try the every every now and then defend You know the principles on which the country was founded and make the kind of a defense of the rightness of the american Form of government but even beyond form of government. Just the argument for why even have american exceptionalism in k through twelve education. It's either been denigrated or art. It's been Ignored altogether on you. See any kind of willingness to sort of grapple with that challenge You know in in secondary schools So that this is not something that can be as you said like fate accompli that the sixteen nineteen project is Just accepted and it's promulgated without challenge. Yeah i do. i'll just give you an anecdote from my own. And i'm just one professor not a. I don't believe this is true for most professors. But i have For for many years been involved With darius outfits like the ash brook center at ashland university gilder lehrman institute in new york liberty fund in indianapolis. We have been putting on workshops for high school teachers History civics social studies teachers middle school through high school. And i tell you. These teachers who participated in workshops are hungry for the latest scholarship. They want to know a note from experts. So the problem is who are the experts right. So i'm doing my this is my widow's mite contribution we're grateful to be targeted one of those experts today. So what i do is i. Don't go in there saying rush. This book read my article. And these are the truths you must know about american history. What i do is precisely what i mentioned earlier. Which is say haha. What about the civil war. What were the causes. This is what lincoln thought this is. What jeff davis thought this is. What al denner stevens thought. This is. what. James henry hammond thought so we actually read primary sources. We don't read textbooks. We don't read secondary or tertiary literature we look at the primary sources and then we look at the debate and we go well. These were the farewell speeches that were given by senators from mississippi florida alabama. Explaining why they weren't gonna show up to work in february or march because they're states has succeeded. What were the arguments that they gave. I'm not gonna tell you. The civil war was about slavery. Let's see what they thought. It was about And what about. What were the abolitionist saying. What was lincoln saying what was seward or chasing so there is a hunger and a desire among high school teachers. They are devoted to their craft. If you ask them they're not. They're not going to say what i'm teaching propaganda. What i'm teaching is. This is the the doctrinaire way of about the past. But not all the high. Not all the workshops are like this some are bringing the hired gun in that that that history professor is going to tell you the truth about our past. Sit there and take notes. That's not my approach. That's not the approaching institutions. That i work with. We look at the primary sources. We look at the debates. We look at the arguments and we let the teachers draw the conclusions as they will and this is part of their continuing education. What's called pd professional development. The teachers have to do this to maintain their credential. And there's of these workshops a lot of times get stipends. They get resources to get book. Sometimes they're flown to places historic places to learn over six straight years. I lead a two and a half week. A program that began in philadelphia went to on bus to get us berg and then we came to washington. Dc thankfully. We didn't have to get on a plane for those three cities. Guess what we did those three cities we looked at the founding looked at the civil war and then we look at the civil rights movement. I brought in an expert to give a speech in the experts at inside books and talk with the teachers one by one. And then i taught at all of those sites so we get a sights and sounds seminar if you will on the founding civil war and the civil rights movement you know for teachers from every state of the union And there are other institutions that do the third one. We actually got a grant from the department of education for six years to do it. So i've got james mcpherson gary gallagher pores of the gettysburg battlefield. I mean it was awesome and so these are the sorts of things. I think that are out there for teachers. But i would say that. Not all of them. Approach it the way. I have been involved with it in so so we'll see but right now sixty nine thousand nine hundred is the vote right. It's all the rage and it's in. It's an all the fifty states. The new york times actually sold out their new york times magazine issue. And they don't intend to republish it. Because i think they've got this new book coming out in so what you have to do is go online to the pdf. But they actually when they sold out. They raised money to to distribute it to school districts across the country and if you go to the pulitzer not the pulitzer prize but the pulitzer center for journalism at that center. They have some lesson. Plans graphic organizers and they're also soliciting ideas of lesson plans and curricula that there's not just in history but in english departments for example at the high school level. What they've already to take the sixteen nineteen project to their students and so It's yes in a way. It's a fate on complete. But i think as more and more criticism comes to lie. The teachers will will will need to to shape their their curriculum accordingly. So that the students don't just hear nicole. Hannah john's version. Yeah we're probably going to be Coming to a finish soon. But we'd be remiss if we didn't inform our listeners about your your new book on and you'll von in particular had had a question That i think ties ties up what we've been discussing nicely with professor morale. You are renounce color of president lincoln and you just recently to publish the book lincoln. The american founding. Would you be tell me how does your new book. Lincoln bears on the subjects. Come this custody. I think In thank you for mentioning at lincoln in the american founding was published in june. It's a short book. Intended to be short. So it's four of the lay person even though it comes from a scholarly perspective. It's about one hundred. Twenty eight hundred twenty five pages. Long and essentially a primer on what linkin learn from the founding to address the crisis of his time. And i think these are lessons. That can still apply today so chapters on george washington. Next chapter is on the declaration of independence. The next chapter is on the constitution than a chapter. A chapter on slavery right. You can't look at the constitution and the declaration that realized whom we made some compromises there and then the final chapter is on original intent. If you can believe that lincoln actually talked about that in speech eighteen sixty in so what what i what i hope the reader learns is that we can look to some good things in our past if you will. Systemic things like the principles of this regime like the institutions of liberty like in the constitution and the bill of rights and civic ways of living like the rule of law. And the fundamentally spent in this age. If there's any lesson to be learned from my book that can be applied. Today is the importance of the rule of law coming off of this summer in this election. We'll see what happens. Under a biden presidency yard have Patrisse cullors one of the three co founders of of black lives matter essentially demanding audience with the new president. Saying look you wouldn't be president but for the black community this country The vast majority of whom voted for you. What are we gonna get out of your presidency in other words. How are you going to make good on what you think. This country owes two blacks. Because you yourself have said right biden says that we're systemically racist he he he's woke and so What what i. I hope our for for the reader is that that they can learn how important something as mundane as following the rules and keeping your hands to yourself and following orderly processes of law and courts in order to redress grievances that this is the way the fundamental american way that we solve our problems. We solve them peacefully not through vandalism not through looting not the rioting and not through intimidating demonstrations. And if you're wondering well what a. What on earth is intimidate dating demonstration. Google or youtube The mayor of minneapolis when he attended a demonstration. What's his name addict fry and asked him if he was going to abolish the police department through his mask he says. No i'm not gonna de-fund the police and the organizer through her bullhorn said than get the blank outta war and he my goodness he walked through that crowd that on my view was becoming increasingly hostile. It could only have taken one or two people to shove him to would have turned into a mob that is not democracy that is not a republican way of ruling ourselves. I'm in favor of a protest and in favor of peaceably assembly peaceably in that necessarily with an order And so. I'm i'm afraid that we've gotten to a point. Where if people are morally indignant or write this indignation that it's enough to be passionate an order to be justin in that that that equation. I don't buy. And i think it's un-american and i think ultimately it would undermine the very rule of law that people want and enjoy for themselves that's rather Hopeful note to end on sometimes when we finished our discussions on darker notes. We have to recall. Woody allen's Line that. I'm sorry i couldn't leave you with Something more positive will you accept two negatives instead But that's a that's a. That's a better. That's a better sentiment to leave us on a professor lucas morale. Thank you so much. For being with us on our podcast. We'll make sure to include on our website and on our podcast page Information on howard listeners can get your Your new book on lincoln and the american founding and we look forward to seeing you in person. The next time we're allowed to venture beyond our homes again but Until then thank you so much. Thank you thank you on. This program has been brought to you. By the james wilson institute on natural rights in the american founding. If you'd like to learn more about the james wilson institute please visit james wilson institute dot org. Thanks for listening.