The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Campaign to Rewrite American History

Our many intellectuals who despise private property, free enterprise, limited government, and individual liberty believe that their project of fastening us with omnipotent government won’t work unless they get most Americans to revile our history. They’re probably correct about that.

And thus they have been waging a campaign to make it seem as though that history is one of endless horror. In today’s Martin Center article, Sumantra Maitra reviews a book that turns over the rock on this — The War on History by Jarrett Stepman.

Maitra says:

Stepman writes that the attacks on the Founders typically start with Jefferson and that once Jefferson falls anywhere, there won’t be any stopping. The attacks also have a distinct pattern, ‘with the emphasis now on what the Founders didn’t do (abolish slavery) rather than what they did (build the foundations for the freest country in human history).’ If that seems far-fetched, recall that the majority of these decisions are essentially elite-driven to appease a very vocal minority. The majority opinion is increasingly irrelevant.

Leftist writers find fault in American leaders who used to be hailed as “men of the people” who expanded the role of government, such as Teddy Roosevelt.

Maitra sums up:

The book is light on policy but does a good job in predicting and highlighting what is coming, and what might be one possible future unless this long march to reshape society and history is stopped. How that can be stopped is a contentious idea, with liberals arguing that this still falls under a battle of ideas, while some conservatives are increasingly warming up to economic and legislative measures.

No doubt this is a book worth reading.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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