When Propaganda like The 1776 Report Speaks the Truth, it is Hard to Argue Against its Contentions
When governments want to convince their populace of something, they turn to propaganda. The government uses the powers of the state to try and push a certain narrative in order to convince or persuade their populace that what they are doing and what they believe in is right and just. However, not all propaganda is the same. Sometimes a government publishes propaganda that states the truth; both good and bad. The Trump administration just published The 1776 Report. The 1776 Report recognizes both the great aspects of the American founding, as well as the sins of the founding. But it does so in a manner that is level-headed, and–above all else–truthful. In short, the 1776 Report is the anti–1619 Project.
The 1776 Report hits readers with the truth, hard and fast. It takes on almost all the worst parts of America’s history (it does not go into American Indian affairs) and refuses to play fast and loose with the truth. Even when the truth paints America in a bad light, The 1776 Report sticks to the truth. Even when The Report could massage a fact here, or twist a reality there, it disseminates the ugly truths of America.
For those that hate Trump and his “America is great” mentality, The 1776 Report will read like a piece of propaganda. It is exactly that. It is a 20-page (20 pages of Appendix) propaganda report, but a propaganda report that sticks to the truth when convenient and when inconvenient.
This is not something like the 1619 Project where historians will immediately come out of the woodwork to denounce the writing as sloppy or a-historical. In fact, the opposite is true. It is littered with quotations and primary source material from a wide range of subjects, and, therefore, will hold up to analysis specifically because to argue with it is to argue with the best (and sometimes most dangerous) minds in history.
*For the Full Report That Got #MemoryHoled by the Biden White House*
The 1776 Report Lets History Speak for Itself
The best way to write a history is to use as many primary source materials as possible. The 1776 Report is all about primary sources. From the standard quotations of George Washington, The Federalist Papers, and Abraham Lincoln, to the more poignant quotations of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, MLK, and Frederick Douglass, the 1776 Report goes out of its way to include as many voices as possible… both good and bad.
That is where this piece of Trump administration propaganda establishes itself as a wrecking ball against anti-American sentiment. When it comes to things like progressivism, communism, and the evils of identity politics, it uses the words of Woodrow Wilson, Karl Marx, and John C. Calhoun against those institutions. It uses the very words of the founders of these anti-American systems to prove how overtly anti-American they are.
Woodrow Wilson, Karl Marx, and John C. Calhoun Shout Their anti-American Beliefs in the 1776 Report
When it comes to Wilson and his sacrilegious belief in progressivism, “Before he became President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson laid out this new system (progressivism/a “living Constitution”) whereby “the functions of government are in a very real sense independent of legislation, and even constitutions” (Page 13). If you believe in the founding principles, this perspective is rancid horse manure. It is overtly antithetical to our founding principles and the three co-equal branches of government. And yet, the majority of the voting public now believes in this system.
But The 1776 Report goes after every instance of anti-American sentiment and pulls no punches when it comes to the former most dangerous threat; Karl Marx and Communism. However, the beauty of the report is that it lets Marx do the punching:
If you believe in the founding principles of individualism and the idea that man is imbued with inalienable rights, then Communism–by its very nature–is anti-American. People who did not live through the threat of Communism look back at the Cold War as some weird propagandistic battle between good (America) and evil (the U.S.S.R.).
But it really was a battle for America’s soul. If Communism won, then the basic principles that made America America would be tossed asunder. So when America defeated Communism and won the Cold War, it defeated an attempt to subvert the American ideal.
On Identity Politics and Modern Day Racist Policies
But The 1776 Report is at its best when it comes to today’s most dangerous threat to America’s founding principles; identity politics. It shows how the nature of identity politics has its founding in the evil and racist John C. Calhoun.
According to Calhoun, rights are no longer found in the individual, but rather “in groups or races.” The Report then draws a distinct line from Calhoun’s anti-Black identity politics, to the identity politics of today. Those who engage in identity politics in 2021 are merely continuing the work of Calhoun, but doing so to promote their favored race, gender, and immutable characteristics.
The report juxtaposes the notions of equality of opportunity promoted by Martin Luther King Jr. against those who are promoting identity politics today whose goal is equality of outcome. Using the words of both Calhoun and MLK, The Report makes it abundantly clear which side promotes racist policies based on immutable characteristics and which side promotes the ideals of equality and true justice.
Why The Report Sticks to the Moral Argument
For all of the great quotations and references to the best American minds in the nation’s history, The 1776 Report never dives into the statistical case. There are ample opportunities where The Report can bludgeon the reader with the numbers behind why it is correct, but it never does so.
It could make liberal use of the works of Thomas Sowell and go into great detail about the harm of things like affirmative action, but it refuses to do so. The reason is simple; America was founded on the principles of recognizing the morality–both good and bad–of men. In order to make a successful argument, the argument must remain a moral one.
So that is what this piece of Trump administration propaganda does; it sticks to the moral history–both good and bad–of the United States of America. Poetically, the crux of The 1776 Report ends with a block quote from one of the greatest Americans ever, Frederick Douglass.
These are some of the most poignant words ever penned by any American ever. Douglass was born a slave. This man–not surprising considering he was literally born into bondage—initially condemned the U.S. Constitution. However, the more he read and the more he learned about the Constitution and its philosophies, the more he recognized the wisdom of the document.
Douglass saw and understood the moral rectitude of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If this man–who had to suffer in a way no American suffers today–could believe in the righteousness of America, then every man, woman, and child can… and should… “at whatever cost.”