Republicans attack Matt Walsh for telling the truth about slavery
One of the most pernicious things that has happened recently in America is the 1619 Project, an error-riddled "history" of the United States that presents our nation as one predicated solely on the evils of African slavery, beginning when Europeans first set foot on North American soil. This original sin, says the 1619 Project, tainted everything that followed. Therefore, only racists can love America. Obviously, Democrats embraced this history, but, when commentator Matt Walsh discussed the larger history of world slavery, he learned that some Republicans don't want the truth to be put out there, either.
In 2019, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who knows nothing about history but a great deal about propaganda, working with the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine, developed the 1619 Project. The project essentially says that America's original, and entirely unique, sin of slavery is so deeply embedded in the warp and woof of this nation that America itself is irredeemably corrupt. The purpose is to drive an immovable wedge between Blacks and Whites in America, preventing the national unity that gives a nation strength.
Sean Wilentz is a very progressive Princeton professor but is also someone whose passion for American history means he cannot lie about it, so he has attacked the 1619 Project on factual grounds (see here and here). His critiques make for illuminating reading. The short version is that The 1619 Project is factually wrong from top to bottom and front to back. (You can see my friend Wolf Howling's summary of Wilentz's arguments here.)
Image: A Constantinople slave market with both White and Black slaves, by William Allan, 1838.
Fast-forward from 2019, when the 1619 Project broke, to July 30, 2022, just three days ago. Commentator Matt Walsh had just finished reading Dean King's Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival, about an American ship that wrecked on Africa's shores in 1815. The survivors were sold into absolutely brutal slavery, and a few were finally ransomed. The memoirs that Captain James Riley wrote about the experience, Sufferings in Africa, became a massive bestseller in early 19th-century America. (I've long owned the book but never had the stomach to read it.)
Inspired by the book, Walsh put out a series of tweets pointing out that slavery in America was the end of the line for slavery. This was because the combination of the Judeo-Christian tradition and the Enlightenment caused Westerners to recognize that a universal practice (humans have held slaves at all times and in all places) was a moral evil:
Of course white people were enslaved in other parts of Africa too, and across the world for centuries. Including in North America where white “servants” were shipped to the colonies by the thousands.— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) July 30, 2022
Slavery persisted in non-western countries long after it had been abolished in the west. Slavery was an accepted institution in Africa and Asia for millennia, and it seems to have never occurred to any of these societies that there might be something wrong with the practice.— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) July 30, 2022
And of course the African slave trade was mostly furnished by Africans capturing other Africans and selling them into bondage. The African slave trade was abolished by the west, not by Africa. Slavery remained legal in parts of Africa well into the 20th century.— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) July 30, 2022
Because he is a provocateur by nature, Walsh was unsurprised when he got pushback from leftists refusing to accept that American slavery was not unique. What did surprise him was that he also got pushback from Republicans, who castigated him for damaging the conservative movement's ability to welcome Blacks into the fold. I've included below the video of Walsh discussing the whole issue, from Dean King's book to the universality of slavery, to America's masochistic pretense that it's the only nation that had slavery, to the terrible reality of indentured servitude, to his rebuttal to those Republicans who don't want to touch the anti-American slave narrative.
Regarding slavery as a general matter, the only thing I think Walsh forgot to include was that the reason the West moved away from slavery was that the Old Testament represents the first, and for millennia the only, religion in the world that challenged slavery. It did so in two ways: first, Exodus celebrates a slave revolt. Second, Exodus also mandates that Jews must free Hebrew slaves after six years. Both of these freedom stories, although limited to Jews, began the concept of liberty as a moral precept.
And regarding those angry Republicans, I also have a point to make: they're dead wrong that it's a mistake to bring actual history to the fore. The entire purpose behind the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory is to make Black Americans hate White Americans. The initiatives do that by falsely claiming that America was uniquely horrible when it came to slaves. From that, as noted above, Democrats say that anybody who values America (e.g., Republicans and conservatives) is a slave-loving racist.
The only way to push back against this foul narrative is with the truth. Until Black Americans know the entire truth, they will continue to hate America and hate Whites. Only when they appreciate that their ancestors were an unfortunate part of a universal historical story — and that America marked the end of that story — can they reconcile to America and break with the racially toxic Democrat party.