Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Fact or Fiction of History

 The New York Times will be publishing a book entitled the 1619 Project and the Racialist Falsification of History spearheaded by Nicole Hanna-Jones, a journalist of the same. The book is the result of her initiative, and is based on essays published on the World Socialist website. Globally, it reinterprets American history to be inextricably entwined with slavery.

History has often been rewritten and reinterpreted, but too often by a person, a dictator, or a group, to support their own self-interest, and idea of what they want to believe; and want others to believe. Often, it is politically based, as in the case of the Chinese communists rewriting history to make the current leader more important.

History, as we live it, is interpreted from the point of view of the person observing or living it. While I believe that there are deeper truths, it is difficult to prove that there is a deepest truth. Change your perspective, and the truth changes. I believe this, all of it.

If we accept the belief that the United States is founded on slavery, and its roots are defined by it, what does that mean? Historically speaking, as far as I know, there is no great, successful, society that didn’t have slavery, not to mention war. 

Slavery is fundamentally cheap labor. I think that some people being paid are fundamentally slaves. The history of slaughter houses in the mid west, miners in the East, and immigrants working for low wages and being forced to buy from a company store is, to my way of thinking, a form of slavery. Many religions brainwash their followers into becoming slaves to their beliefs, binding their lives with rules that often make the believers little more than slaves.That includes both the privileged members, and the underprivileged members, who believe that their God has consigned them to their fate. Their God being an interpretation of God that filters down from the Heavens to some privileged human being whom God speaks to.

But, what are the facts? What is real? If we accept the belief that slavery of Afro Americans is the foundation of the United States, where does the Civil War come in? How should that be interpreted? Do we go back to the African chieftains who traded their fellow tribesmen and women to Arab traders who sold them to European and American whites? Who is to blame for slavery? 

Does the interpretation erase all other history from the books? Do we rewrite history to ‘prove’ that slavery is at the basis of a democratic society? How do we explain the battle to free Afro Americans that has been fought by people who are not Afro American? How do we deal with the history of American Indians in our vision of the slave state that is the United States? Or, oriental culture. How do we explain the changing of laws to eliminate segregation? How do we explain how the underpinnings of our beliefs, that underlies a free, democratic, society, allows for the new slave interpretation of our history to exist? If we were Fascists, we would simply crush any attempt to redefine our country. Is that just an accident? Or, is it a manifestation, not of slavery, but of a nation’s belief that ‘all men are created equal’? And nowadays, our desire to interpret ‘all men’ to include women, and all races.

Honestly, how women are treated is the clearest measure of a society, not race. And, I think we should all think a little more about what we believe before we open our mouths. Because, when we do say what we believe, we are often confronted with the reality that Americans believe that freedom is my right to defend my ignorance to the death.

I do not mean to ignore the problem. I think its important for Afro Americans to claim their place in the world. I believe that racism is a problem in any society I am at all familiar with. It is a terrible problem. I wish that there was a race on Earth that didn’t have racism. And, I understand, though I don’t pretend to know what racism feels like to those upon whom it is practiced. I understand the pain, the anger, the desire for revenge that can exist in someone. But, I haven’t experienced what Afro Americans have, and do, experience. I think it’s wonderful that they are manifesting. I hope it reaches all Afro Americans, because there are a lot of them who seem indifferent or unable of taking responsibility for their lives. 

I understand the desire to live in a world and be judged simply on the basis of who one is, without the caveats of race, color, sex. But, that’s a world that doesn’t exist. And, that I doubt will ever exist. We may be born with equal opportunity, at best. But equal doesn’t exist. It never will. We are not all the same. Nature is not equal. And, while we must all strive to live with what we are born with, many people are incapable, or ruled by their fear of life.

Rewriting history isn’t going to solve the problem.

I am listening. I am thinking. I’d like to hear more clear thinking, be it from the right, the left, or some other, more rational place. 

And, what do these people want the majority of us slavers to believe, and do? Is the hope of the reinterpretation of history an effort to change the world? Often, the idea of a better world, an ideal world that doesn’t exist hides the anger, and desire to destroy the world we have, for one that doesn’t exist.  

I’d rather try to discover the truth. It is a lot better than rewriting history to prove and support anger, dissatisfaction, and unhappiness. Freedom is hard. Most people don't really want to be free. Others confuse freedom with license. Socialsim promises to take care of you, in exchange for you giving up some of your freedom. I've never seen it work. Communism wants to destroy the world for a better one in which we are all equal. It was, and is, a fantasy, a means of destroying what is. Period. It doesn't work. It maintains itself by brutality, often through brainwashing. And, if that doesn't work, fear and brutality. Fascism of the Right or the Left.

I don't want any of it. In exchange, I have my freedom. But, life is hard. Still, if one believes in being free, one knows that freedom only exists as long as each individual accepts responsibility for his or her, or its, life. And one knows that life is hard. On the other hand, if one lives, and works, and loves, life isn’t hard. Its just life.