The 1776 Report
by The President's Advisory 1776 Commission
Accurate Identification of Today's Hate-America Enemy
Identity Politics and Academia Called Out
References to the South Are Incorrect
Lincoln, Who Destroyed the Republic of the Founders, Glorified
Despite Flaws, Report Is Definitely Worth Reading and Following
The Emphasis on Our Magnificent Declaration of Independence
and Constitution Is Excellent
Many Other Excellent Solutions
by Gene Kizer, Jr.
President Trump had the very best of intentions with The President's Advisory 1776 Commission and its 45 page report that came out in January, 2021 and was the first thing removed from the White House website by Joe Biden.
The Democrats don't want anybody thinking America is a great country as in MAGA. The hate that holds the Democrat Party together is not only hate of most of the "deplorable" United States population (which must be diluted by the foreign hordes of new Democrat voters that Biden waved through on day one), but hate of the founding of America, itself, as a place where all men and women are created equal.
After all, academia and the news media have told us that America was founded on slavery and stealing land from the natives (who had been stealing it from other natives from the beginning, but I guess they didn't know that or they would have said it, because academia and the news media never lie).
The New York Times's 1619 Project lays it all out: The Revolutionary War was fought by those bad old white guys because the British were about to abolish slavery.
Nikole Hannah-Jones won a Pulitzer for the 1619 Project, which proves it must be true because the NY Times also won a Pulitzer reporting that Trump colluded with Russia, and that was true too.
Oh, wait! That wasn't true! Mueller proved there was no Trump collusion with Russia! I guess if you get a Pulitzer today it proves your work is a fraud.
The strength of The 1776 Report is its showing, analytically and in depth, how our history has been politicized for decades now, and how horrible that is for America's future. It points out that we are as divided today as the Colonists were with the British in 1776, and the North was with the South in 1860.
The points it makes about America's founding and especially our magnificent Declaration of Independence and Constitution are outstanding.
It exposes the deliberate hate coming from the left and the left's institutions such as academia, the news media and the Democrat Party with its racist identity politics. They have let our country down enormously. Our history should be a source of cohesion and pride for everybody.
Despite what the left says, we are a great nation founded on solid rock and nobody is held down these days. There is opportunity galore for everybody.
The report takes on slavery, head on.
It does vilifies the South, in some places, though that is not the main focus. It does show its Northern bias and cheats readers by leaving out the fact that the North with its slave trading that went on until 1878, brought all the slaves here and made huge fortunes in the process
The report acknowledges that we have fallen short at times, as all nations have, but, by and large, everybody on the planet still wants to come here and will often risk death to get here. Go to a naturalization ceremony and look at the pride and happiness in the faces of new American citizens. That tells you all you need to know.
President Trump's speech last summer at Mount Rushmore was inspirational and this report has a similar voice, but, as stated, it is much more analytical about the forces aligned against America, our defeat of Fascism, Communism, and the dangerous, unjustified hatred of our country being taught today for the political advantage of the left.
It might be good for the left politically but it is terrible for the people who buy into that loser narrative that tells them they are being oppressed when they are not. The only thing holding them back is the Democrat Party and their own minds.
We are a nation and people who worship success like the pioneers who came here for freedom and conquered a continent, building great states all along the way. Any one of our states could stand on its own as a nation on this earth, and many may choose to do so, if we don't correct the massive election fraud that took place in November. That absolutely has to be corrected in the next couple years despite Democrat plans to make it permanent. They will not succeed because nobody wants our country to fall apart.
We want it to be strong, united and happy, with unlimited opportunity for everybody, and we will settle for nothing less.
Below, I have included five sections from the report, in their entirety, because they are eye-opening and important:
Racism and Identity Politics
A Scholarship of Freedom
The American Mind
Conclusion (Part VI)
Appendix III: Created Equal or Identity Politics?
I also have a few short quotes from early on. There is a link to a PDF of the entire report that you can save, at the end of this post.
The 1776 Report begins with a literary flourish: "In the course of human events there have always been those who deny or reject human freedom. . . . ".
They should have written "When in the course of human events" so they'd match up with the Declaration of Independence, but I'm sure they were concerned about being censored by dopy Facebook, which one time listed the Declaration of Independence as "hate speech."
The Introduction states:
The declared purpose of the President's Advisory 1776 Commission is to "enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776 and to strive to form a more perfect Union."
It wisely encourages the study of primary sources:
The principles of the American founding can be learned by studying the abundant documents contained in the record. Read fully and carefully, they show how the American people have ever pursued freedom and justice, which are the political conditions for living well. To learn this history is to become a better person, a better citizen, and a better partner in the American experiment of self-government.
Under III. A Constitution of Principles:
It is one thing to discern and assert the true principles of political legitimacy and justice. It is quite another to establish those principles among an actual people, in an actual government, here on earth. As Winston Churchill put it in a not dissimilar context, even the best of men struggling in the most just of causes cannot guarantee victory; they can only deserve it.
Churchill must have been thinking about the South because there was never in the history of the world a people more deserving of their independence. That's why it took four bloody years and 750,000 deaths for the North with four times the white population, 100 times the arms manufacturing, a navy, and an army of which 25% were foreign born, to, not beat, but wear out the South.
Here's Ronald Reagan famous quote that especially has meaning today because we are seeing what he warned about before our very eyes:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
A Constitution of Principles continues:
Our first freedom, religious liberty, is foremost a moral requirement of the natural freedom of the human mind.
Like religious liberty, freedom of speech and of the press is required by the freedom of the human mind. More plainly, it is a requirement for any government policy. To choose requires public deliberation and debate. A people that cannot publicly express its opinions, exchange ideas, or openly argue about the course of its government is not free.
Finally, the right to keep and bear arms is required by the fundamental natural right to life: no man may justly be denied the means of his own defense. The political significance of this right is hardly less important. An armed people is a people capable of defending their liberty no less than their lives and is the last, desperate check against the worst tyranny.
In Section IV. Challenges to America's Principles, are sections on Slavery, Progressivism, Fascism and Communism. This part, under Communism, nails academia:
Led by the Soviet Union, Communism even threatened, or aspired to threaten, our liberties here at home. What it could not achieve through force of arms, it attempted through subversion. Communism did not succeed in fomenting revolution on America. But Communism's relentless anti-American, anti-Western, and atheistic propaganda did inspire thousands, and perhaps millions, to reject and despise the principles of our founding and our government. While America and its allies eventually won the Cold War, this legacy of anti-Americanism is by no means entirely a memory but still pervades much of academia and the intellectual and cultural spheres. The increasingly accepted economic theory of Socialism, while less violent than Communism, is inspired by the same flawed philosophy and leads down the same dangerous path of allowing the state to seize private property and redistribute wealth as the governing elite see fit.
Here is the entire section, Racism and Identity Politics:
The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, passed after the Civil War, brought an end to legal slavery. Blacks enjoyed a new equality and freedom, voting for and holding elective office in states across the Union. But it did not bring an end to racism, or to the unequal treatment of blacks everywhere.
Despite the determined efforts of the postwar Reconstruction Congress to establish civil equality for freed slaves, the post bellum South ended up devolving into a system that was hardly better than slavery. The system enmeshed freedmen in relationship of extreme dependency, and used poll taxes, literacy tests, and the violence of vigilante groups like the Ku Klux Klan to prevent them from exercising their civil rights, particularly the right to vote. Jim Crow laws enforced the strict segregation of the races, and gave legal standing in some states to a pervasive subordination of blacks.
[Publisher's Note: With all due respect, the postwar Reconstruction Congress was more concerned with its political power than helping the newly freed blacks. They were some of the most despicable people ever to serve in American government, like the hatemonger Thaddeus Stevens. During Reconstruction, former Confederates came home to a devastated country where even feeding themselves and their families was almost impossible. Their families were in constant danger. Radical Republicans, to keep blacks voting Republican, told black that their former masters were going to put them back in slavery. Corrupt Republicans such as the Union League members threatened blacks and made them violent toward their former white masters and friends. A man's barn could be burned in the night and he'd have no recourse or law to help him. Many former Confederate soldiers said Reconstruction was worse than the war. Many lost all hope. As to Jim Crow, it started in the North according to esteemed historian C. Vann Woodward in his book, The Strange Career of Jim Crow. It was up North a long time before moving into the bi-racial, non-segregated South. The Supreme Court that affirmed "separate but equal" in 1895, was composed of all Northerners except for one justice. So to mischaracterize and slander Southerners is low, dishonest, and extremely historically inaccurate.]
Back to Racism and Identity Politics:
It would take a national movement composed of people from different races, ethnicities, nationalities, and religions to bring about an America fully committed to ending legal discrimination.
The Civil Rights Movement culminated in the 1960s with the passage of three major legislative reforms affecting segregation, voting, and housing rights. It presented itself, and was understood by the American people, as consistent with the principles of the founding. "When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every America was to fall heir," Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his "I Have a Dream" Speech. "This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
It seemed, finally, that America's nearly two-century effort to realize fully the principles of the Declaration had reached a culmination. But the heady spirit of the original Civil Rights Movement, whose leaders forcefully quoted the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the rhetoric of the founders and of Lincoln, proved to be short-lived.
The Civil Rights Movement was almost immediately turned to programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the founders. The ideas that drove this change had been growing in America for decades, and they distorted many area of policy in the half century that followed. Among the distortions was the abandonment of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in favor of "group rights" not unlike those advance by Calhoun and his followers. The justification for reversing the promise of color-blind civil rights was that past discrimination requires present effort, or affirmative action in the form of preferential treatment, to overcome long-accrued inequalities. Those forms of preferential treatment built up in our system over time, first in administrative rulings, then executive orders, later in congressionally passed law, and finally were sanctified by the Supreme Court.
Today, far from a regime of equal natural rights of equal citizens, enforced by the equal application of law, we have moved toward a system of explicit group privilege that, in the name of "social justice," demands equal results and explicitly sorts citizens into "protected classes" based on race and other demographic categories.
Eventually this regime of formal inequality would come to be known as "identity politics." The stepchild of earlier rejections of the founding, identity politics (discussed in Appendix III) values people by characteristics like race, sex, and sexual orientation and holds that new times demand new rights to replace the old. This is the opposite of King's hope that his children would "live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," and denies that all are endowed with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Identity politics makes it less likely that racial reconciliation and healing can be attained by pursuing Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream for America and upholding the highest ideals of our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence.
Here is the entire section, A Scholarship of Freedom:
Universities in the United States are often today hotbeds of anti-Americanism, libel, and censorship that combine to generate in students and in the broader culture at the very least disdain and at worst outright hatred for this country.
The founders insisted that universities should be at the core of preserving American republicanism by instructing students and future leaders of its true basis and instilling in them not just an understanding but a reverence for its principles and core documents. Today, our higher education system does almost the precise opposite. Colleges peddle resentment and contempt for American principles and history alike, in the process weakening attachment to our shared heritage.
In order to build up a healthy, united citizenry, scholars, students, and all Americans must reject false and fashionable ideologies that obscure facts, ignore historical context, and tell America's story solely as one of oppression and victimhood rather than one of imperfection but also unprecedented achievement toward freedom, happiness, and fairness for all. Historical revisionism that tramples honest scholarship and historical truth, shames Americans by highlighting only the sins of their ancestors, and teaches claims of systemic racism that can only be eliminated by more discrimination, is an ideology intended to manipulate opinions more than educate minds.
Deliberately destructive scholarship shatters the civic bonds that unite all Americans. It silences the discourse essential to a free society by breeding division, distrust, and hatred among citizens. And it is the intellectual force behind so much of the violence in our cities, suppression of free speech in our universities, and defamation of our treasured national statues and symbols.
To restore our society, academics must return to their vocation of relentlessly pursuing the truth and engaging in honest scholarship that seeks to understand the world and America's place in it.
Here is the entire section, The American Mind:
Americans yearn for timeless stories and noble heroes that inspire them to be good, brave, diligent, daring, generous, honest, and compassionate.
Millions of American devour histories of the American Revolution and the Civil War and thrill to the tales of Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Franklin, Lincoln and Grant, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglas. We still read the tales of Hawthorne and Melville, Twain and Poe, and the poems of Whitman and Dickinson. On Independence Day, we hum John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" and sing along to Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." Americans applaud the loyalty, love, and kindness shared by the March sisters in Little Women, revere the rugged liberty of the cowboys in old westerns, and cheer the adventurous spirit of young Tom Sawyer. These great works have withstood the test of time because they speak to eternal truths and embody the American spirit.
It is up to America's artists, authors, filmmakers, musicians, social media influencers, and other culture leaders to carry on this tradition by once again giving shape and voice to America's self-understanding--to be what Jefferson called "an expression of the American mind."
To them falls the creative task of writing stories, songs, and scripts that help to restore every American's conviction to embrace the good, lead virtuous lives, and act with an attitude of hope toward a better and bolder future for themselves, their families, and the entire nation.
Here is the entire section, VI. Conclusion:
On the 150th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, President Calvin Coolidge raised the immortal banner in his time. "It is often asserted," he said, "that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776 . . . and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning cannot be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions."
[Publisher's Note: Of course, President Coolidge was right but the consent of the governed in the South made no different to Abraham Lincoln when his money and power were threatened. The most widely quoted phrase in the secession debate in the South in the year leading up to states actually seceding, came from the Declaration of Independence:
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.]
Back to VI. Conclusion:
America's founding principles are true not because any generation---including our own---has lived them perfectly, but because they are based upon the eternal truths of the human condition. They are rooted in our capacity for evil and power for good, our longing for truth and striving for justice, our need for order and our love of freedom. Above all else, these principles recognize the worth, equality, potential, dignity, and glory of each and every man, woman, and child created in the image of God.
Throughout our history, our heroes---men and women, young and old, black and white, of many faiths and from all parts of the world---have changed America for the better not by abandoning these truths, but by appealing to them. Upon these universal ideals, they built a great nation, unified a strong people, and formed a beautiful way of life worth defending.
To be an American means something noble and good. It means treasuring freedom and embracing the vitality of self-government. We are shaped by the beauty, bounty, and wildness of our continent. We are united by the glory of our history. And we are distinguished by the American virtues of openness, honesty, optimism, determination, generosity, confidence, kindness, hard work, courage, and hope. Our principles did not create these virtues, but they laid the groundwork for them to grow and spread and forge America into the most just and glorious country in all of human history.
As we approach the 250th anniversary of our independence, we must resolve to teach future generations of American an accurate history of our country so that we all learn and cherish our founding principles once again. We must renew the pride and gratitude we have for this incredible nation that we are blessed to call home.
When we appreciate America for what she truly is, we know that our Declaration is worth preserving, our Constitution worth defending, our fellow citizens worth loving, and our country worth fighting for.
It is our task now to renew this commitment. So we proclaim, in the words our forefathers used two and a half centuries ago, "for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, our sacred Honor."
Here is the entire section, Appendix III, Created Equal or Identity Politics?
Americans are deeply committed to the principle of equality enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, that all are created equal and equally endowed with natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This people everywhere, no matter their race or country of origin. The task of American civic education is to transmit this creed from one generation of Americans to the next.
In recent times, however, a new creed has arisen challenging the original one enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. This new creed, loosely defined as identity politics, has three key features. First, the creed of identity politics defines and divides American in terms of collective social identities. According to this new creed, our racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as individuals equally endowed with fundamental rights.
Second, the creed of identity politics ranks these different racial and social groups in terms of privilege and power, with disproportionate moral worth allotted to each. It divides Americans into two groups: oppressors and victims. The more a group is considered oppressed, the more its members have a moral claim upon the rest of society. As for their supposed oppressors, they must atone and even be punished in perpetuity for their sins and those of their ancestors.
Third, the creed of identity politics teaches that America itself is to blame for oppression. America's "electric cord" is not the creed of liberty and equality that connects citizens today to each other and to every generation of Americans past, present, and future. Rather, America's "electric cord" is a heritage of oppression that the majority racial group inflicts upon minority groups, and identity politics is about assigning and absolving guilt for that oppression.
According to this new creed, Americans are not a people defined by their dedication to human equality, but a people defined by their perpetuation of racial and sexual oppression.
The Historical Precedent for Identity Politics
Whereas the Declaration of Independence founded a nation grounded on human equality and equal rights, identity politics sees a nation defined by oppressive hierarchies. But this vision of America is actually not new. While identity politics may seem novel and ground-breaking, it resurrects prior attempts in American history to deny the meaning of equality enshrined in the Declaration. In portraying America as racist and white supremacist, identity politics advocates follow Lincoln's great rival Stephen A. Douglas, who wrongly claimed that American government "was made on the white basis" "by white men, for the benefit of white men." Indeed, there are uncanny similarities between 21st century activists of identity politics and 19th century apologists for slavery.
John C. Calhoun is perhaps the leading forerunner of identity politics. Rejecting America's common political identity that follows from the Declaration's principles, he argued that the American polity was not an actual community at all but was reducible only to diverse majority and minority groups. Calhoun saw these groups as more or less permanent, slowly evolving products of their race and particular historical circumstances.
Like modern-day proponents of identity politics, Calhoun believed that achieving unity through rational deliberation and political compromise was impossible; majority groups would only use the political process to oppress minority groups. In Calhoun's America, respect for each group demanded that each hold a veto over the actions of the wider community. But Calhoun also argued that some groups must outrank others in the majoritarian decision-making process. In Calhoun's America, one minority group---Southern slaveholders---could veto any attempt by the majority group---Northern States---to restrict or abolish the enslavement of another group. In the context of American history, the original form of identity politics was used to defend slavery. (their emphasis)
[Publisher's Note: Apparently, the 1776 Report writers are referring to Calhoun's doctrine of the concurrent majority. In defense of Mr. Calhoun, here's what Margaret L. Coit, editor, says in John C. Calhoun, Great Lives Observed [Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970, 10-11:
During his last years, when his intellect was at its most incandescent, he wrote the two books upon which his reputation as a political philosopher rests: A Disquisition on Government and A Discourse on the Constitution of the United States. In these books he discussed in full his revolutionary doctrine of the concurrrent majority, of which nullification was but one aspect---his concept of a government, not "of a part over a part," but of "a part made identical with the whole," each division or "interest" armed with either a voice in making the laws, "or a veto on their execution." He recognized that "only a few great and prominent interests could be represented," but even Richard Hofstadter acknowledges that "Calhoun's analysis of American political tensions certainly ranks among the most impressive intellectual achievements of American statesmen." [Richard Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition (New York, 1948), 87-88]. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., on the other hand, while conceding that Calhoun's theory was devised to protect a special group, denies that it was any mere lawyer's brief "to advance the pretensions of slavery, but a brilliant and penetrating study of modern society, whose insights remain vital for any minority." [Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson (Boston and New York, 1945), 405.|
As for slavery, the more Calhoun saw its doom, the more passionately he argued for its preservation. He knew that the North was rapidly outnumbering the South, that simple majority rule was ever more the law of the land. He knew that, whipped on by the abolitionist minority, more and more people were coming to see slavery as a sin and any compromise with slave-holders as treason. The South was at bay, her way of life and her "peculiar institution" doomed.
Yet, for all the power and clarity of his thinking, Calhoun saw no way out of the dilemma. Even had he seriously considered abolition as a possibility---an act which would have ended his public life and fame---there seemed to be no feasible answers. Colonization was impractical; the freedmen did not want to go back to Africa. The life of a freed black could be miserable, as Calhoun discovered for himself when he freed a shoemaker who later came back from the North and begged to be reinslaved. [The incident of the returned slave was observed by the Calhoun family governess, Mary Bates. See Mary Bates, The Private Life of John C. Calhoun (Charleston, 1852), 21]. Even some of the new "free" states denied settlement to freed men. The North had no plans beyond abolition; the South had even less, because the Southerners saw no way out of what, even more than an economic question, was a social one. How, other than by slavery, were the relations between the races to be regulated?]
Back to The Historical Precedent for Identity Politics:
As American history teaches, dividing citizens into identity groups, especially on the basis of race, is a recipe for stoking enmity among all citizens. It took the torrent of blood spilled in the Civil War and decades of subsequent struggles to expunge Calhoun's idea of group hierarchies from American public life. Nevertheless, activists pushing identity politics want to resuscitate a modified version of his ideas, rejecting the Declaration's principle of equality and defining Americans once again in terms of group hierarchies. They aim to make this the defining creed of American public life, and they have been working for decades to bring it about.
Intellectual Original of Identity Politics
The modern revival of identity politics stems from mid-20th century European thinkers who sought the revolutionary overthrow of their political and social systems but were disillusioned by the working class's lack of interest in inciting revolution. The setback forced revolutionaries to reconsider their strategy.
One of the most prominent, the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, argued that the focus should not be on economic revolution as much as taking control of the institutions that shape culture. In Gramsci's language, revolutionaries should focus on countering the "Hegemonic Narrative" of the established culture with a "Counter-Narrative," creating a counter-culture that subverts and seeks to destroy the established culture.
Gramsci was an important influence on the thinkers of the "Frankfurt School" in Germany, who developed a set of revolutionary ideas called Critical Theory. Herbert Marcuse, one member of the Frankfurt School who immigrated to the United States in the 1940s, became the intellectual godfather of American identity politics. With little hope that the white American worker could be coaxed to revolution, Marcuse focused not on instigating class conflict but on instigating cultural conflicts around racial identity. He saw revolutionary potential in "the substratum of the outcasts and outsiders, the exploited and persecuted of other races and other colors."
These ideas led to the development of Critical Race Theory, a variation of critical theory applied to the American context that stresses racial divisions and sees society in terms of minority racial groups oppressed by the white majority. Equally significant to its intellectual content is the role Critical Race Theory plays in promoting fundamental social transformation. Following Gramsci's strategy of taking control of the culture, Marcuse's followers use the approach of Critical Race Theory to impart an oppressor-victim narrative upon generations of American. This work of cultural revolution has been going on for decades, and its first political reverberations can be seen in 1960s America.
The Radicalization of American Politics in the 1960s
Prior to the 1960s, movements in American history that sought to end racial and sexual discrimination, such as abolition, women's suffrage, or the Civil Rights Movement, did so on the ground set by the Declaration of Independence.
In leading the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., was aware that other, more revolutionary groups wanted to fight in terms of group identities. In his "I Have a Dream" speech, King rejected hateful stereotyping based on a racialized group identity. The "marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust all white people," he warned. King refused to define Americans in terms of permanent racialized identities and called on Americans "to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustices to the sold rock of brotherhood" and see ourselves as one nation united by a common political creed and commitment to Christian love.
"When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir," King wrote. "This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
As the 1960s advanced, however, many rejected King's formulation of civil rights and reframed debates about equality in terms of racial and sexual identities. The Civil Rights Movement came to abandon the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity of colorblind civil rights in favor of "group rights" and preferential treatment. A radical women's liberation movement reimagined America as a patriarchal system, asserting that every woman is a victim of oppression by men. The Black Power and black nationalist movements reimagined America as a white supremacist regime. Meanwhile, other activists constructed artificial groupings to further divide Americans by race, creating new categories like "Asian American" and "Hispanic" to teach Americans to think of themselves in terms of group identities and to rouse various groups into politically cohesive bodies.
The Incompatibility of Identity Politics with American Principles
Identity politics divide Americans by placing them perpetually on conflict with each other. This extreme ideology assaults and undermines the American principle of equality in several key ways.
First, identity politics attacks American self-government. Through the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances, American constitutionalism prevents any one group from having complete control of the government. In order to form a majority, the various groups that comprise the nation must resolve their disagreements in light of shared principles and come to a deliberative consensus over how best to govern. In the American system, public policy is decided by prudential compromise among different interest groups for the sake of the common good.
Identity politics, on the other hand, sees politics as the realm of permanent conflict and struggle among racial, gender, and other groups, and no compromise between different groups is possible. Rational deliberation and compromise only preserve the oppressive status quo. Instead, identity politics relies on humiliation, intimidation, and coercion. American self-government, where all citizens are equal before the law, is supplanted by a system where certain people use their group identity to get what they want.
Second, by dividing Americans into oppressed and oppressor groups, activists of identity politics propose to punish some citizens --- many times for wrongs of their ancestors allegedly committed --- while rewarding others. Members of oppressed groups must ascend, and members of oppressor groups must descend. This new system denies that human being are endowed with the same rights, and creates new hierarchies with destructive assumptions and practices.
On the one hand, members of oppressed groups are told to abandon their shared civic identity as Americas and think of themselves in terms of their sexual or racial status. The consequence is that they should no longer see themselves as agents responsible for their own actions but as victims controlled by impersonal forces. In a word, they must reject, not affirm, the Declaration's understanding of self-government according to the consent of the governed. If members of oppressed groups want to become free, they must rely upon a regime of rewards and privileges assigned according to group identity.
On the other hand, members of oppressor groups merit public humiliation at the hands of others. Diversity training programs, for example force members of "oppressor" groups to confess before their co-workers how they contribute to racism. Education programs based on identity politics often use a person's race to degrade or ostracize them.
These degradations of individuals on the basis of race expose the lie that identity politics promotes the equal protection of rights. Advocates of identity politics argue that all hate speech should be banned but then define hate speech as only applying to protected identity groups who are in turn free to say whatever they want about their purported oppressors. This leads to a "cancel culture" that punishes those who violate the terms of identity politics.
Third, identity politics denies the fundamental moral tenet of the Declaration, that human beings are equal by nature. This founding principle provides a permanent and immutable standard for remedying wrongs done to Americans on the basis of race, sex, or any group identity.
Repudiating this universal tenet, activists pushing identity politics rely instead on cultural and historical generalizations about which groups have stronger moral claims than others. They claim this approach offers a superior and more historically sensitive moral standard. But unlike the standard based on a common humanity---what Lincoln called "an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times"---their historical standard is not permanent. Rather, it adjusts to meet the political fashions of a particular moment. By this standard, ethnicities that were once considered "oppressed" can in short order turn into "Oppressors," and a standard that can turn a minority from victim to villain within the course of a few years is no standard at all.
Fourth, identity-politics activists often are radicals whose political program is fundamentally incompatible not only with the principles of the Declaration of independence but also the rule of law embodied by the United States Constitution. Antagonism to the creed expressed in the Declaration seems not an option but a necessary part of their strategy. When activists are discussing seemingly innocuous campaigns to promote "diversity," they are often aiming for fundamental structural change.
Identity politics is fundamentally incompatible with the principle of equality enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.
Proponents of identity politics rearrange Americans by group identities, rank them by how much oppression they have experience at the hands of the majority culture, and then sow division among them. While not as barbaric or dehumanizing, this new creed creates new hierarchies as unjust as the old hierarchies of the antebellum South, making a mockery of equality with an ever-changing scale of special privileges on the basis of racial and sexual identities. The very idea of equality under the law---of one nation sharing King's "solid rock of brotherhood"---is not possible and, according to this argument, probably not even desirable. [Publisher's Note: The "old hierarchies of the antebellum South" were often not fair but neither were the many Northern and Western states that did not even allow free blacks to visit for more than a few days, much less take up residence. In Lincoln's Illinois, a free black staying too long would find his new residence the country jail. Perhaps the writers of this report should have included some knowledgeable Southerners to give the report more accuracy rather than taking cheap shots at the South when nobody is there to refute them.]
All Americans, and especially all educators should understand identity politics for what it is: rejection of the principle of equality proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. As a nation, we should oppose such effort to divide us and reaffirm our common faith in the fundamental equal right of every individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.