by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The New York Times’ 1619 Project is an ambitious attempt to rewrite American history as defined by slavery and racism. Yet it cherry-picks historic events and offers questionable interpretations. It also offers a deeply parochial view that holds American history as the measure of all things.
Yes, slavery is a dark stain on American history, but our ideals always stood in direct contradiction to it. Slavery existed everywhere in the world at the time of our country’s founding, and once the institution was grandfathered into the American South, getting rid of it was not an easy undertaking.
To understand what real “founded on slavery” is like, look at the Soviet Union. If America was created for capitalism and liberty, the USSR’s founding idea was state control, of which slavery—or serfdom, as it is known in Russian context—was the inevitable result. …
… Socialism is defined by state ownership of the means of production. Lenin’s plan to liquidate the kulaks as a class to prevent development of capitalism was fully realized by Joseph Stalin.
In November 1929, in conjunction with his first five-year plan, Stalin published “The Year of Great Break,” an article signaling the turn towards consolidation of property into government possession. Small, private farms had to be turned into government-run collective farms, work equipment and livestock surrendered.
Officially billed as dekulakization, or liquidation of the kulak class, and cloaked in Marxist rhetoric, the policy’s enemy was vaguely defined. Because defining who was a kulak was left up to the local officials who had to fill the quotas, middle-income farmers were also frequently targeted. This strategy allowed Stalin to then claim that his executioners were “dizzy with success,” and tell them to cool it.