Days before Independence Day, left-wing Vox published an article entitled, “3 Reasons The American Revolution Was A Mistake."
See the headline below.
Vox’s Dylan Matthews, the article’s author, advises his readers that Americans should mourn on the anniversary of America's declaration of independence from the British Empire. The article's lede lays out its thesis.
“This July 4, let's not mince words: American independence in 1776 was a monumental mistake. We should be mourning the fact that we left the United Kingdom, not cheering it.”
Despite large swathes of agrarian production in the south being predicated to slave labor in the 18th century, Matthews argues that slavery would have been abolished sooner had the colonists not torn away from the British Empire. The south's lessened economic influence over the British Empire relative to the colonies, he continues, would have been an insufficient bulwark against supposedly inevitable moves from London towards slavery's abolition. A central driver of the American Civil War less than a century later, he seems to contend it would not have aroused southern rebellion against the British Empire in the absence of 1776's revolution.
Describing the Trail of Tears as a “genocide,” Matthews asserts that the American Revolution facilitated worse “crimes” against tribal peoples than would have been the case had the colonies maintained their belonging to the Commonwealth. He argues that Canada's record with tribal societies, while "horrible" and "indefensible," is better than America's as a function of the Great White North's continuous belonging to the British Empire.
Most importantly, Matthews laments the drafting and adoption of the Constitution. The founding documents' obstruction of the flow of governmental power towards greater concentration is anathema to him. Without such articulated limits on state power, he continues, the passing of a “carbon tax” in order to “save the planet” would be easier. Masterminds and technocrats have their grand designs impeded by the Constitution, he laments, hampering "policymaking."
No consideration is offered by Matthews to the value of the separation of powers in preserving individual freedom and personal responsibility. The historical role of the fragmentation of concentrated political power across time and space - hearkening back thousands of years and stretching across the Middle East, Europe and the Americas - as a driver of human freedom's expansion is ignored. The values of the Enlightenment in informing the philosophical groundwork of American independence are unmentioned.
"But I'm reasonably confident a world in which the revolution never happened would be better than the one we live in now, for three main reasons: Slavery would've been abolished earlier, American Indians would've faced rampant persecution but not the outright ethnic cleansing Andrew Jackson and other American leaders perpetrated, and America would have a parliamentary system of government that makes policymaking easier and lessens the risk of democratic collapse."
Black slaves and tribal peoples of the Americans generally opposed the American Revolution, writes Matthews, which he claims bolsters his position.
"When a cause is opposed by the two most vulnerable groups in a society, it's probably a bad idea. So it is with the cause of American independence."
Although on the further end of the left-wing spectrum of media, Vox Media - the parent company of Vox - pulled in 80 million unique visitors last month, with 324 million page views. Last year, it was valued last year at $1 billion.
Below is an image of Matthews from 2013, when he wrote for The Washington Post's "Wonkblog."
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.