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Columbus helped all of us find a better way--yes, the natives, too

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  • Columbus helped all of us find a better way--yes, the natives, too

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    Columbus helped all of us find a better way--yes, the natives, too

    ( _

    With a bust of Columbus behind them, people wave Italian flags during the
    annual Columbus Day Parade in New York City--celebrating Italian heritage and
    the explorer's landing in the New World.
    Columbus helped all of us find a better way--including the natives
    Date published: 10/12/2005
    WASHINGTON--Many crit- ics argue that Christo- pher Columbus gave us a
    devil's bargain. In October 1492 that Italian explorer, working for Spain, opened
    America to his fellow Europeans. The result, say the critics: We got a
    prosperous New World by impoverishing, enslaving, and murdering the natives who
    were already here.
    But this view fails to distinguish between two types of exploitation--one
    over other humans, and the other over nature. The former should be expunged from
    our moral codes and civilized society; the latter is the essence of morality
    and civilization.
    The former form of exploitation was suffered especially by the tens of
    millions of individuals who inhabited the pre-Columbian lands from Mexico through
    South America. Cortes the Conquistador, for example, defeated the Aztec
    rulers of Mexico. Many of the tribes that were subject to the Aztecs sided with
    Cortes; they hated the Aztecs for, among other things, their practice of cutting
    the living hearts out of members of tribes that they subjugated, as
    sacrifices to their gods.
    Cortes imposed his rule on the Aztecs and their subjects alike, replacing one
    tyranny with another. The natives were treated harshly and many forced to
    work as de facto or actual slaves for their new masters.
    On the other hand, many settlers, especially in North America (which had far
    fewer natives), took a different path. They came to the New World to build
    their own lives. They did not prosper by conquering other men but, rather, by
    conquering nature.
    They had to clear the land, plant and sow crops. They had to practice the
    trades of carpenters, masons, loggers, miners, blacksmiths and tailors to build
    their towns and to create the necessities for life and prosperity.
    In the centuries that followed, their descendants--including Americans
    today--built the richest, most prosperous country on Earth.
    Today it is chic among back-to-nature types to idealize the pre-Columbian
    natives and question whether what we have today constitutes real progress. This
    silliness was given philosophical credence by the 18th-century thinker
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau's notion of the "noble savage." No doubt many individual
    natives were as noble as one could be in savage circumstances--but America
    before Columbus was no Eden.
    Let's put aside the wars between tribes, the outright brutality and the like,
    and just look at the daily lives of the Indians before Columbus. Life was
    lived simply, in primitive cycles. Natives inhabited crude hovels and hunted or
    used subsistence farming to sustain themselves.
    Yes, they could enjoy family and friends, tell tales of bringing down
    buffalo, and imagine that the stars in the sky painted pictures of giant bears and
    other creatures. The ancestors of Europeans did the same.
    But true human life, either for an individual or society, is not an endless,
    stagnant cycle. Rather, it is a growth in knowledge, in power over the
    environment, and in individual liberty.
    Perhaps many pre-Columbian natives were content with their lot in a simple,
    animallike existence. But what of young Indian children who wondered why
    family members sickened and died and if there were ways unknown to the shamans to
    relieve their pain or cure them? Or if there were ways to build shelters that
    would resist bitter winters, stifling summers and the storms that raged in
    both seasons?
    What about those who wondered whether there were ways to guarantee that food
    would always be abundant and starvation no longer a drought away, or why
    plants grow, and what those lights in the sky really were; and whether they could
    ever actually fly like birds and observe mountains from the height of
    Where were the opportunities for these natives?
    Three ideas from Enlightenment Europe provided keys to true human life. First
    was the idea that we as individuals have a right to our own dreams and
    desires, that we are not simply tied to a tribe or the wishes of others--that
    civilization means that individuals are free to live their own lives, as long as
    they acknowledge the similar freedom of others.
    Second was the understanding that through the rational exercise of our minds
    we can truly discover the nature of the world around us, replacing myths --no
    matter how beautiful or poetic--with real knowledge.
    And third was the appreciation that such knowledge allows us to bend nature
    to our wills. Through our thoughts and actions we gain the pride of achieving
    the best within us.
    The clash between the cultures of pre-Columbian natives and European
    immigrants certainly produced injustices for natives. But it would have been unjust
    for those natives to expect the immigrants to hold themselves to the level of
    primitive cultures and beliefs.
    The true long-term tragedy is that so many of the descendants of the
    pre-Columbian peoples in North America ended up on reservations rather than
    integrated into a society that offers opportunities for each individual to excel.
    Columbus opened a whole new land for those who would tame nature and build a
    new, free, and prosperous nation. We should celebrate the opportunity for
    America that he gave us--not apologize for it.
    EDWARD L. HUDGINS is executive director of the Objectivist Center.
    Date published: 10/12/2005

    HOW White does that sound? This article made me wanna puke!
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

  • #2
    Blah, blah blah! Sure does...


    • #3
      that is what we like to call "white people sh*t" - who does this ignoramus think taught white people how to farm? just one of many incorrect statements in his one-sided article- he's def speaking to his base audience- all the WASPs out there- objectivist center director my *ss - if this is objective thinking, let me return to a "primitive" life - i'm going to find this moron's email address right now - thanks blackbear.......
      No one can make you feel inferior w/o your consent-Eleanor Roosevelt


      • #4
        Better way, what a joke!

        This guy probably lost his whole $250.00 paycheck at Foxwoods and decided to rant on about how Europeans made America a better place.
        "We who are clay blended by the Master Potter, come from the kiln of Creation in many hues. How can people say one skin is colored, when each has its own coloration? What should it matter that one bowl is dark and the other pale, if each is of good design and serves its purpose well." ~~~Polingaysi Qoyawayma, Hopi~~~


        • #5

          He needs to read more dead white guys and less Ayn Rand. I'd recommend a little Ben Franklin for one.

          It wasn't an accident that the idea of placing individual liberties before the power of the state started in North America. With a few rare exceptions the history of Europe prior to the 18th century was the history of divine right monarchies. I'm not saying that the idea of liberty was alien to Europeans but there was a catalytic transfer of ideas form Native people. Just look at how the European intellectual elites of the time wrote about American colonial thought, it is clear that we had changed the colonists worldview just as they changed ours.

          As for technology... Go visit Plymouth Planation (remembering of course that the trash and stink of daily 17th century life is long gone). It's hard to see much difference between the standard of living between the colonists and oh say the Pueblo people. It is easy to project modern understandings of science and hygiene backwards.

          Science as we would recognize it was in it's infancy. Lavoisier, Faraday, Newton, Bacon and others who shaped our current understanding of physics and chemistry still weren't born in 1492. Religious ideas and Aristotolian retreads were still very much part of the mix that was science at the time. And European medicine was truely terrifying. At least a Native healer was likely to have bathed sometime in last month and wasn't likely to open a vein to balance the humours.

          The Colombian exchange is far more complicated than the "poor benighted Indians" or "ugly, smelly murdering Europeans" viewpoints allow. No culture in the world is what it was 1491.


          • #6
            The natural resources of the American continent would have provided sustenance to its original inhabitants eternally.
            Furthermore, research has proven that our people were the first genetic engineers, astronomers, brain surgeons, pharmacists and leaders of the first democratic governments (to list but a few of the "1sts").
            If people like Mr. Hudgins are too blind and/or ignorant to see and understand; they're simply beyond help. May they continue to harmlessly dwindle in their miserable falacies.
            Last edited by Furiously-Fancy; 11-10-2005, 10:03 PM.
            "I'd rather be @ a POW-WOW!"


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