Monday, April 28, 2014
White guilt gets a lot of things done
From a tip from regular reader David.
So the Minneapolis city council voted to change the observance that used to be Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day. Berkeley, CA, South Dakota, and even here in Alabama, we observe both on the same day.
There is a lot of lingering white guilt about fair skinned Europeans settling the western hemisphere. There's also a lot of criticism of Columbus, an Italian from Genoa, receiving credit for "discovering" America, when Native Americans already lived here. I have several points to make about this:
First, the viking Leif Erikson "discovered" what would be named Canada 500 years before Columbus came to what would be called "the Americas"....AY! So what? He was a horrible settler and never reported back to anybody in a modern part of Europe what he had found and then abandoned.
Second, Columbus didn't set out to discover the United States and infect whatever natives he found with syphilis, as many liberal PC teachers and detractors like to accuse him of. Based on his Ptolemaic maps of the known world, he calculated that there should be land somewhere west of Europe, he just didn't know how big the ocean was or what specific direction he should sail before he found it. He landed in what would be called the Bahamas and the collection of Caribbean islands that would be called the West Indies, named because he thought he was landing on the eastern coast of India/Asia.
Third and most importantly, the entire known history of human existence on Earth has a single unifying thread; expansion into, and colonization of, foreign lands. By sending explorers west, the Europeans were simply doing what man has always done when population size, economic incentive, and the human genetic yearning for exploration demanded it, expand. That the natives were displaced as a result is not an enjoyable part of our history, but I imagine tribes who were slaughtered by stronger, larger, rival tribes, all over what would be north America, during the hundreds of years prior to Columbus' arrival, weren't too happy about that either. War and conquest are how developing civilizations interact most of the time. It's an ugly part of human nature, but it's our nature nonetheless.
Fourth, our elementary school teachers like to paint a picture of peaceful Indians, sharing harvest bounty with each other, communing with nature, and getting high smoking peyote, but they fought and killed each other just as men of different "tribes" have done throughout world history....and continue to do. Good grief, Mayan and Aztec cultures had no historical rival when it came to human brutality and killing by the thousands.
Finally, Columbus Day is simply a recognition of our European ancestors expanding into the Americas, for which we are all thankful. That they discovered here, primitive natives, tribes of virtual cavemen, who hadn't even invented the wheel yet and killed their food by chasing it around with a sharp stick, is how civilizations are historically modernized whether they like it or not. (Today, only the rain-forest head-shrinkers of Borneo and Muslims have failed to modernize.) The guilty American taxpayers are reminded regularly of our past colonial sins, most recently by our current President, and money is taken from us to pay for the destitute, miserable lives of current Native Americans on reservations, among others.
We should abandon the Native American welfare programs which only foster dependence, sloth, and misery, just like in any welfare ghetto. They're plenty smart enough to make it on their own, but they may have to abandon the old cultural ways for the new world......just as the syphilitic pilgrims did. ;-)