The Jefferson canard, yet again
0 comment Saturday, July 26, 2014 |
Over at AmRen, the old Thomas Jefferson smear is discussed once again, although this time the headline of the story posted says that
Thomas Jefferson Did Not Father Sally Hemings's Children, Author Claims in New Book
Contrary to popular belief, President Thomas Jefferson did not father the children of his slave, Sally Hemings, according to William G. Hyland Jr., author of 'In Defense of Thomas Jefferson: The Sally Hemings Sex Scandal.� It was his brother Randolph, "a ne�er-do-well," who had a history of consorting with his brother�s slaves.''
Nevertheless, no matter how many times someone tries to dispute the common assertion that 'Jefferson probably sired his slave's children', people insist on believing it, and this is true even of people on the right, even people on the racialist right, and 'patriotic conservatives.' Can any of you explain the appeal of this idea to so many Americans? I would truly like to understand it, although I will still dispute it.
I understand, I think, why the left/liberals and even the 'mainstream' right likes the story: they like the multiculturalist, 'only one race' ideology. The left and the black activists like it because it perpetuates their claims about how female slaves were exploited, or as they usually assert, 'raped' by lecherous White slaveowners. They like the notion that White men, then as now, were hypocrites and that they were miscegenating behind closed doors. They like the idea that a Founding Father, the pre-eminent Founding Father, was a flawed and probably lustful man, who said one thing and did another in private. Bringing the Founding Fathers down a peg or two is always a favorite pastime of the malcontents on the left.
Jefferson was known to have said some very politically incorrect things on race, things which probably vex the leftists and liberals, who otherwise seem to think Jefferson was one of them. So if they convince themselves that Jefferson was really a believer in 'only one race, the human race', then they might be able to like him better.
And then I will add one more to these motives for believing the story: the 'National Enquirer' mentality of many of today's Americans, of both political parties. Nowadays people avidly follow all sorts of celebrity gossip and scandals, although scandals seem not quite so shocking to today's jaded populace. Still, people love any kind of salacious news about public figures, the latest example being the Sanford story in South Carolina. Several years back there was quite a flurry of stories about the late Senator Strom Thurmond, also of South Carolina, and the revelation that as a young man, he fathered a child by a black woman.
This revelation was relished all the more by those on the left because it further confirms their image of Southron Christian White men, especially those of conservative views on race, who are shown to be 'hypocrites' and lechers.
But most Americans seem fascinated by revelations of scandalous or immoral conduct on the part of the famous and powerful. Somehow there is a sense of Schadenfreude on the part of some, as they revel in the idea that the famous or powerful or even great men may have feet of clay, and may be simply human like everybody else.
Am I saying then that Thomas Jefferson was not human and not flawed? Of course not. Am I saying that I know with certainty that the claims about his fathering a slave's children are absolutely false? No, I can't say that with certainty -- and by the same token, neither can those who press the claims assert the opposite with certainty. As far as I am concerned the onus is on the accuser, always, to prove any allegations, and it appears as though the claims are doubtful or moot.
All the available evidence as to Jefferson's character seem to militate against the claims being true. To believe that he could so completely belie his public words with his private actions is to believe that he was a thoroughgoing liar and dissembler, and there is just no evidence, beyond scurrilous rumors, to support that view of him.
Sometimes people ask me why these allegations bother me so much. The paragraph above sums up my objections rather well. If we accept the rumors, it seems that we are making Jefferson a fraud, and we are certainly making him an adulterer and a libertine.
It's true he was not a fully-believing Christian, although I don't accept Christopher Hitchens' view that he was a closet atheist who gave grudging lip service to Christianity for political reasons only. That view, too, would make him a liar and a dissembler who viewed everything in terms of political expediency. There's just no evidence that he was as calculating and cynical as that.
But again, it seems to be popular nowadays to try to demote the great men of the past and to bring them down to a level of mediocrity, as if to deny that there is such a thing as a great man, who is a man of integrity. These days, many of us, it seems, want to make every great man smaller -- so as not to feel dwarfed by them, I suppose.
Some of the people with whom I've discussed this issue have come right out and admitted that they find the Hemings canard titillating (some have even said it's a 'beautiful story'; Jefferson 'found love' across racial lines). Methinks some Americans have read too many novels like Mandingo. I really don't care to hear about people's lurid fantasies.
And now it appears as though the multiracial mating agenda seems to have become far more openly pursued lately. We've all noticed the interracial family angle being pushed in the media, in movies, TV shows, and commercials.
Have you noticed the 'E-Harmony' TV spots where almost every couple is interracial? It's become so obvious that this is the next step that there's no denying it. And this Jefferson story fits with the propaganda.
I've read the first few comments on the AmRen discussion, and at least one person, so far, has loudly asserted his belief in the veracity of the rumor. And I won't read the rest of the comments because there will doubtless be others to echo that one.
What's at issue here is not just Thomas Jefferson's reputation, but the insistence of some people on forming their opinions based on what they want to believe, rather than on evaluating the available evidence. The other side of this story almost never gets any play in the media. The politically correct storyline demands that the Jefferson slander become accepted as incontrovertible fact, and it seems they have convinced a majority of Americans that it is true. I hear it repeated constantly, and in some very unlikely places.
And accepting these stories as true is just another way of demoralizing us as a people.
No doubt it's a hopeless cause to try to defend Jefferson's name, but I will continue to do it because it's the right thing to do.
For those who want to read more on the question, you can check out the links at the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society.
Here is a rather silly article from the BBC insinuating that Jefferson had 'African' or 'Middle-Eastern' DNA, (further to the idea that we are all one race, the human race, I suppose.)
And last, I've posted a reply to the allegations from a Jefferson Family Historian over at the Forum.