As this thread indicates, the real scandal here is how the Times & especially @nhannahjones herself, responded to criticisms—evasions, lies, false accusations of racism, &c.
The “true founding” thing is important in another dimension, though. The project’s defenders are taking shelter in saying that they meant the phrase “metaphorically” and “of course” they know the United States’ LEGAL founding was in 1776. But that’s a straw man, because
the subject was never the LEGAL founding. It was always abt the NATION’s founding, and a NATION’s founding is always “metaphorical.”

A state (such as the USA)’s legal founding date is not the same as a NATION’s founding. A nation is an imaginary or hypothetical institution. The
Jewish “nation,” for instance, was founded in its covenant with Yahweh.

Asking when the American NATION founded is the same as asking when Americans became a “people.” And that is of course always spoken of in metaphor, symbolism (or what is the same thing) poetry—because it’s a
fictive & imaginative act based on VALUES. We are a nation because of a commitment—because of an agreed-upon set of principles. That’s what we mean when we say our nation was founded in 1776, even though you could point to different dates for the LEGAL founding of the GOVT (1787,
or 1868, or whatever.)

When the Times spoke of the “true founding,” and of displacing 1776, they were engaged in EXACTLY the same metaphorical enterprise we engage in when we say that America was “conceived in liberty” in 1776. That is to say, we are engaged in political

The 1619 authors were saying from the start that our NATION was “conceived” not in 1776–not “in liberty”—but in 1619 and in slavery.

This was always about metaphors. For the Times to now say “oh, it was all just a metaphor, don’t be so literal” is a deception,
one that trades upon the false “realism” whereby the significance of metaphor—which is to say, the significance of moral values—is downplayed.

(This is literally the same move people take when they say something morally outrageous & then when you call them on it, say “I’m just
asking questions!”)

The founding of the American nation lies in its covenant—in 1776–and in its “new covenant” (to again use the biblical metaphor) in 1865-68 with the Reconstruction Amendments. To “reimagine” the NATION—to portray it as conceived in slavery—was always the goal
of the 1619ers, and while there are some valid & valuable insights to considering things that way, it should not be ignored that this was always an exercise in political philosophy—and a deeply cynical and misguided one, in important ways.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Timothy Sandefur

Timothy Sandefur Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @TimothySandefur

15 Oct
Remember when Republicans used to get this?
The idea that you can’t start a competing version of Twitter would be so much more interesting if a bunch of people HADN’T JUST STARTED A COMPETING VERSION OF TWITTER:
Read 5 tweets
15 Oct
The “Statutes at Large” are the published laws of the USA. In fact, they take precedence over the United States Code in the event of conflict.…

So, quick question, all you twitter con law geniuses: what appears on page 1 of volume 1 of Statutes at Large?
As Abraham Lincoln said, when debating Stephen Douglas, “
If the Declaration is not the truth, let us get the statute book in which we find it and tear it out. Who is so bold as to do it?”
Read 20 tweets
14 Oct
It's astonishing that major figures in public life think things like this are somehow insightful or clever or interesting, let alone that they somehow refute Originalism.
Two generations of con law scholars: “The enacted text shd be interpreted in light of its public understanding at adoption, bc we’re normatively bound by Original meaning & bc as a semantic matter, words mean what they’re understood to mean at the time they are uttered”

Read 4 tweets
14 Oct
Neither do the following:

-The right to read books by Dickens
-The right to sleep in on Saturday
-The right to tie your left shoe
-The right to educate your kids
-The right to run barefoot through sprinklers on a summer day
-The right to sing a song
-The right not to sing a song
-The right to wear purple
-The right to shift your car into neutral
-The right to work for a living
-The right to ride on a plane
-The right to know what is & isn’t legal
-The right to watch reruns of Friends
-The right not to watch reruns of Friends
-The right to tweet
-The right to drink peach iced tea
-The right to take medicine prescribed by your doctor
-The right to think
-The right to spray your friend with a hose in a playful fashion while washing the car
-The right to paint your bedroom
-The right to remain silent
Read 4 tweets
5 Oct
The argumt for freedom is not & never has been, that people are all good & smart & make the right choices & stuff. The argumt for freedom is & always has been that OTHERS are not presumptively better, smarter, or more capable of making the right choices for MY life.
Note the word "presumptively." The argument for freedom acknowledges that there are special circumstances where others ARE better able to make the right choices for my life. For example, when I was six, my parents were certainly better able to make the right choices for me.
But the argument for freedom says: We do not always remain children. We have an obligation to be responsible--which logically means we must be FREE to discharge that obligation--which means, to enjoy the rewards of doing so well, & suffer the costs of doing so badly.
Read 6 tweets
5 Oct
From @MattWelch's excellent new article (…):

"During [Obama's] 2 terms of office—which included a major fed'l response to an economic crisis—annual spending went up by ~ $900 billion.

Trump matched that increase in just 1 term, before his own crisis hit.
"Fiscal 2017 featured spending of $3.98 tril, w most of the $140 bil increase over the previous yr coming under Trump's sharpie. Then things really took off—$4.11 tril in 2018, $4.45 tril in 2019 & a whopping $4.79 tril destination at the halfway point of fiscal 2020. & then came
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!