Cabot Phillips: ‘Cancel culture’ distorts history to portray US as evil nation that must be transformed

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This has been the year of “cancel culture,” with celebrities, politicians, and anyone who’s ever held an opinion that is mildly divergent from the politically correct left coming under attack.

Amidst all the public apologies, disavowals, and firings that this political correctness crusade has wrought, the biggest victim of all has been American history. And now the assault is poised to get worse.

A concerted effort to revise history to fit the modern social justice narrative and insert works of fiction in our education system — from kindergarten through higher education — is well underway.


The 1619 Project, which describes itself as “an ongoing initiative of The New York Times Magazine,” is the clearest evidence that this indoctrination has become institutionalized in the American education system — but certainly not the only evidence.

Despite being labeled “so wrong in so many ways” by a group of Pulitzer Prize-winning historians, the 1619 Project is set to hit K-12 classrooms this fall. Soon, 6-year-olds will be learning a reframed version of America’s founding, shaped to fit today’s standards and train the next generation of social justice warriors.

According to the project’s makeover of U.S. history, 1619 — not 1776, when American colonists declared independence from Britain — is actually “our nation’s birth year.” That’s because 1619 was the year the first enslaved Africans arrived in the colonies.

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“Their arrival inaugurated a barbaric system of chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years,” said an article in the New York Times Magazine published in December 2019. “This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the country’s very origin.”

The magazine goes on to state: “Out of slavery — and the anti-black racism it required — grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional: its economic might, its industrial power, its electoral system, its diet and popular music, the inequities of its public health and education, its astonishing penchant for violence, its income inequality, the example it sets for the world as a land of freedom and equality, its slang, its legal system and the endemic racial fears and hatreds that continue to plague it to this day. The seeds of all that were planted long before our official birth date, in 1776, when the men known as our founders formally declared independence from Britain.”

The pace at which our educational system has removed or revised history has been staggering.

In other words, the Founding Fathers were a bunch of evil white supremacists and the most important thing they did was to institute and perpetuate slavery. Obviously, slavery was horrific and wrong. But it shouldn’t erase all the accomplishments of America’s founders and the good things about our nation — like our Constitution, representative democracy, Bill of Rights guaranteeing our freedoms, economic prosperity and so much more.

The pace at which our educational system has removed or revised history has been staggering. On many college campuses, American history courses have been replaced with mandatory “white privilege” courses or “diversity and inclusion workshops.”

The history courses that are taught often seek to indoctrinate students with the idea that America’s lasting legacy is one of genocide and oppression, not freedom and liberty for all.

History courses have been politicized with the clear objective of convincing the next generation that their nation is not one to be proud of, but a place they should be ashamed of.

This narrative of an evil America lays the foundation for the embrace of far-left ideology that would upend our entire social and economic order with endless protests and other actions — even violent ones— to transform our “evil” country into an imagined utopian society.

The repercussions of this massacre of our nation’s history are real and significant — look no further than the images of young Americans tearing down statues and destroying vehicles of “oppression” like businesses that support capitalism and courthouses that carry out justice.


People aren’t going to protect what they don’t understand. The reason we see so many young Americans behave this way is that so many of them don’t understand our history.

Pride in America only happens when people know what they’re proud of. When a poll came out this year showing patriotism levels among young Americans at a record low, the response from many was shock and dismay. But it shouldn’t have been. Why would someone take pride in a country when they’ve been taught is evil?

We must not stand idly by while our education system is hijacked, and our children misled and brainwashed to hate our nation instead of loving it.

Last month, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., proposed a bill that would prevent federal funds from being used to teach the 1619 Project in public schools. Bold steps like this must be taken, and Americans must demand a say in what’s being taught in our schools.


Without action, our education system will continue to indoctrinate students with anti-American propaganda, and future generations will think our culture and way of life is nothing worth preserving.

If that happens, we won’t need to teach American Exceptionalism in schools, because America will no longer be exceptional.


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