Though it’s not likely to go very far, I’d like to toss another potato into the fire and point out that slavery was well-established in North America at least one hundred years before the alleged “beginning” of the American slavery story. Complete with the myriad complexities, contradictions and paradoxes of real life, the Spanish Americas (including much of what is today the United States) were awash in slavery. Slavery between Indians. Enslavement of Indians by Spaniards. Enslavement of Spaniards by Indians. And yes, tragically, enslavement of blacks, ladinos, Moors, and every distinction between. It was messy, it was endemic, and it was very real—but it was certainly not confined exclusively to Blacks, nor to early Americans in Virginia. Perhaps this deeper, more complex history might be called the 1519 Project.
The 1619 Project’s film trailer claims that the “very first enslaved Africans were brought here over four hundred years ago.” This is not only inaccurate (it was well over five hundred years at least), but it promotes the very sort of historical amnesia it professes to redress by entirely ignoring the much-earlier history of slavery in America.
“Since then,” it goes on, “no part of America’s story has been untouched by the legacy of slavery.” This is true in the narrowest sense, but it studiously misses the larger point: no part of the history of the entire world has been untouched by the legacy of slavery. The 1619 Project makes only glancing reference to sixteenth-century American slavery, and instead seeks to make a special case of colonial English slavery, with a specific political aim to impugn “capitalism” and the “hypocrisy” of revolutionary founding ideals. By carefully ignoring the larger context of slavery in the Americas, it engages in weaponized, cherry-picked history that supports its own motivated ends, amongst which are special race-based preferences and “$13 trillion in reparations.”
Phil Magness and others have already done yeoman’s work in documenting the numerous historical inaccuracies and outright fabrications of the The 1619 Project (and, charitably, what the project gets right), so I won’t rehash except to say that, as a historical product the Project is, shall we say, questionable. But setting that aside, the biggest tragedy of all is that The 1619 Project’s tunnel-vision ignores so much rich history: remarkable people, troubling facts, and brutal truths that cut across all manner of ethnic and geographical boundaries.
These so-called deception claims sometimes allege that the companies downplayed the impacts of climate change despite that there is no affirmative duty to share everything you know, especially when consumers in the market have access to the same information.
Other times the greenwashing claims allege that the companies should not have been allowed to advertise about efforts they are making toward developing cleaner energy because these efforts were not as robust as the plaintiffs would have liked. Indeed, in several cases, the plaintiffs have essentially stated that these companies should not have been allowed to speak about their environmental successes because the only clean fossil fuel is no fossil fuel.
These consumer deception lawsuits are direct attacks on rights to speak and the corollary rights to not be compelled to speak. But there should be no climate change exception to free speech.
In a recent blog post my colleague Scott Lincicome and I critiqued a Niskanen Center essay that called for addressing the Jones Act’s many shortcomings through heavy‐handed industrial policy rather than repealing the century‐old law. While the proposals offered were misguided, there is nothing objectionable about advocating for the law’s update and modernization rather than outright repeal. Indeed, the approach offers a more politically feasible path forward. Although scrapping the Jones Act and meeting U.S. national security needs through more targeted and purposeful measures represents the ideal policy outcome, it’s a near‐term political long shot.
We find that single‐parent‐family poverty, after accounting for taxes and nonmedical in‐kind transfers, declined by 62 percent between 1995 and 2016 using the CID [Comprehensive Income Dataset]. In contrast, it fell by only 45 percent using survey data alone. Moreover, while survey‐reported deep poverty among single‐parent families increased over this time period, linked survey and administrative data reveal that this misleading result is due to declining survey quality. Linked CID data show that deep poverty decreased between 1995 and 2016.
“Government cracks down on spread of false coronavirus information online,” announced a UK Government press release on March 30, 2020. “Specialist units” are tackling dangerous misinformation, disinformation, criminal fraudsters, and “false and misleading narratives”, we were told.
But, as Big Brother Watch revealed on Sunday, the activities of these units went far beyond refuting claims such as “gargling warm water cures Covid”. The Counter Disinformation Unit, first used in 2019 to monitor potential interference in elections, was intended to combat deliberately misleading online content. In March 2020, however, its scope was extended to include misinformation and to work even more closely with social media platforms. This may not be an official censorship regime — departments have a hotline to these platforms to ask that material is removed — but it is a very easy way for the Government to reduce the spread of posts it disapproves of.
The UK is not the only country to invoke the spectre of disinformation to seek to control public conversations. Greece passed a law against spreading false information in 2021, with a penalty of five years in prison, while Malaysia used emergency powers to pass a “fake news” law imposing jail terms for anyone spreading “wholly or partly false” information about either the pandemic or the state of emergency itself. Elsewhere, Turkey passed a law in October last year which threatens those who spread misleading news with prison, and social media platforms with fines for failure to remove content or disclose a user’s identity. Arrests have already been made.
There’s no reason to wait until the public health emergency expires in May to eliminate the vax requirement for intl travelers. We thank the sponsors of H.R. 185 for their efforts to remove this outdated policy and normalize inbound travel operations.