The subjects discussed so far range widely, from the political economy of slave plantations, the history of race and medicine, and patterns of urban segregation to the history of minstrelsy and cultural appropriation, but the thread that ties it all together is a core argument: that the United States was literally founded on white supremacy.
The project’s outlook is not one of racial pessimism, however—the sort of fatalism that Ta-Nehisi Coates has sometimes been accused of.
The Founding Fathers, perhaps with an element of divine inspiration, came together to build, in Shapiro’s words, “mankind’s grandest experiment in human liberty and self-governance.” To suggest that those Founders were flawed—or even worse, that the American experiment, whatever its professed ideals, has in practice consistently failed to deliver genuine peace, prosperity, and democracy to the people who live here—is an invitation to anarchy.
National unity can be maintained only through reverence for, and the defense of, America’s founding myths. The alternative to this restrictive conservative vision of national unity can be found in Nikole Hannah-Jones’s essay.
Other conservatives have insisted that the real goal of the project was to shame whites, disrupt American unity, and portray the United States as a uniquely evil force in the world—to undermine both its political and moral legitimacy.