April 23, 2024

Montpelier’s Emphasis on Marx Over Madison Spurs Consternation

James Madison is the Father of our Constitution, and the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at Madison’s Montpelier gives instructional programming for academics, regulation enforcement officers, and others.

That appears applicable. After all, not solely did Madison—our nation’s fourth president—assist draft the Constitution, however he additionally served as a key delegate on the Constitutional Convention, authored the Bill of Rights, and urged ratification of the Constitution by means of his sensible and philosophical arguments in The Federalist Papers.

But these accomplishments are, at best, downplayed at his historic home. Montpelier has no exhibits dedicated to Madison and his contributions.

Worse nonetheless, Montpelier is equipping educators to teach Marxist-based theories to elementary, center, and highschool college students. And the packages doing this are, partly, funded by the state of Virginia.

Issues surrounding policing and prosecution may very well be honest recreation for seminars at Montpelier. The Fourth Amendment protects towards “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The Fifth Amendment, amongst different protections, ensures that no particular person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” The Sixth Amendment ensures the “right to a speedy and public trial” by an “impartial jury” and the power to confront these testifying towards you. And the Eighth Amendment protects towards extreme bail, extreme fines, and merciless and weird punishments.

Madison drafted all of these.

Yet subsequent week’s “Educator Seminar: Policing and Public Safety” will as an alternative focus on the “history of policing, civil rights, and Constitutional change in African American contexts for the purpose of providing educators with key strategies and historical tools to teach topics in black history about law enforcement, social justice, and the Constitution.”

It will “help teachers be more inspired to teach hard histories that invite students in their classrooms to imagine equitable possibilities for promoting public safety for all.” And it is going to discover “why community approaches to public safety surfaced to counteract police violence and discrimination within the criminal legal system leading up to today’s age of mass incarceration.”

There’s loads to unpack in these statements, however underlying all of them is the assumption that our felony justice system is systemically racist and that, in consequence, we lock up too many individuals—notably too many younger black males.

But that’s not true. Our felony justice system isn’t systemically racist, and mass incarceration is a myth.

If somebody commits the crime, they need to do the time. And it’s a tragic truth {that a} disproportionate variety of younger black males commit violent crimes within the United States and sometimes victimize different younger black males within the course of.   

But these aren’t the one phrases that stand out. Of explicit observe within the description are the phrases “equitable” and “hard history.” Equity is about equality of outcomes, not alternative. And “teaching hard history” is a mantra of the novel Southern Poverty Law Center, which frequently labels these it disagrees with as “hate groups.”

In truth, the SPLC’s “teaching hard history” curriculum and initiatives usually are not merely about discussing slavery’s function in American historical past. Like “The 1619 Project” and different crucial race principle packages, they place slavery because the central animating pressure in America’s Founding. The preface of the curriculum states that “Some say slavery was our country’s original sin, but it is much more than that. Slavery is our country’s origin.”

This curriculum can be about forming college students into activists. For instance, it notes that those in K-2 should “examine how power is gained” and be capable of “contrast equity and equality, identifying current problems where there is a need to fight for equity.”

This overlap is not any coincidence. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, the host of the SPLC’s “Teaching Hard History” podcast in addition to an creator of the curriculum requirements quoted above, additionally serves because the chairman of the board at Montpelier, which is the historic dwelling’s governing physique. (Currently, no Madison scholars are on the board.)

Jeffries—the brother of House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.—helped develop and seems in a video in Montpelier’s basement that includes encounters with cops and protesters carrying indicators that learn “Stop police brutality,” “I can’t breathe,” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Per the Montpelier website, “[f]rom mass incarceration, to the achievement gap, to housing discrimination, and the vicious cycle of poverty, violence, and lack of opportunity throughout America’s inner cities, the legacies of 200 years of African American bondage are still with us.”

It’s unhappy that Montpelier has chosen to focus on a Marxist-motivated motion fueled by crucial race principle, as an alternative of on the numerous astounding achievements of the house’s former proprietor and the Father of our Constitution, James Madison.

It’s a disservice to the general public, academics, and college students.