Columbus: Lucky explorer or harbinger of genocide?
I have heard it both ways. He is lucky because there was a big chunk of land in between where he was going from and where he was headed to that probably saved his life since he would have run out of supplies long before he got to India. He is a harbinger of genocide because through disease and conquest the inhabitants of the new world were decimated and lost their land.
I’ll go with the first. The second I’m not going to pin on Chris simply because it is human nature to press your advantage and take what you want. Even later, when the Pilgrims came with the best of intentions, it didn’t take long before those who followed wanted more and more. The American Indians, not realizing the slippery slope they were on didn’t see much of a problem at first. Of course, eventually, if you are pushed hard enough you will push back.
But by that time, government had taken control of the colonies.
(I know I started talking about Columbus and he landed much more to the south and the Spanish Conquistadors did a lot more raping and pillaging than the English to the North but I’m gonna focus on what would eventually become the United States.)
So, the Colonies had government. Be they the monarchy of England or the elected Republic of the States, the end result was the same for the American Indians. Broken promises, broken treaties, and the encroachment and infringement upon lands and freedoms that the American Indians had enjoyed since time immemorial.
It wasn’t until much later, until the American Indians were better armed that they could make a stand. Unfortunately, by that time it was a losing proposition. The government had taken hold and its manifest destiny would “see the red man civilized” and the land subjugated. Of course, in the eyes of the government, civilized just meant doing what the government told them to do and to stop standing up to it.
Some 600+ years down the line, the American Indians have lost a continent and must content themselves with the reservations that they managed to hold on to. Of course, this was after a number of government promises were trashed because gold was found in a number of places earlier reservations were located.
The moral of this story, the American Indians realized too late the hunger that exists in government and even when they fought it wasn’t until they were properly armed that they stood much of a chance.
All Americans nowadays are facing a very similar predicament. No, the government isn’t giving us blankets with typhoid, or burning our villages to the ground or allowing the near extinction of our industry (buffalo)…hmmm…or are they?
Universal Health Care is basically the government controlling our health, eminent domain can snatch up our property for whatever purpose the government demands and our industry is being taxed and crushed out of existence.
I guess there are parallels after all.
I don’t blame Christopher Columbus for the crimes against the indigenous people of the New World. He was just a guy looking for a shortcut. But even with the very best intentions, the repercussions that echo through history are often overlooked in the present.
I’ll tell you what though. If the American Indians were armed as well as the European immigrants and realized what the “white man” was after, history would certainly tell a different tale.
A healthy distrust of the government is a good thing. You shouldn’t believe everything the government says because even if it is true today, who knows how it will be twisted in the future. Even our Constitutional Rights that were written in plain language (SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED) 200+ years ago have been twisted by a government who wishes to exert more control in order to break the American Spirit. And, as the inhabitants before Columbus can attest, it will be the second time.
A little fable about government if you will indulge me.
One day a fox was walking along the shore about to swim across the river. A scorpion came out from the tall grass and approached the fox. The fox stood still and wary and asked: “May I help you?” The Scorpion replied, “I need to cross the river, would you allow me to climb on your back and swim me across?”
The fox replied: “No. When I am in the river you will sting me and I will drown.”
The scorpion countered: “If I were to do that, then I would drown as well.”
The fox thought about this and deciding that it made sense allowed the scorpion on his back and began to swim across the river. Half way across though, the fox felt a sting in his back and he began to lose feeling in his body. As he started to sink he asked the scorpion: “Why, now we will both drown?”
The scorpion simply replied: “I couldn’t help myself…it is my nature”
Just as this scorpion couldn’t help himself from destroying both he and the fox, so too will government do what it will out of its own nature, even if it sinks itself along with its citizens (the fox).
The scorpion should stay on the one side of the bank just like the government should be limited in how far it can go. We must be wiser than the fox and not give into the promises of the government but rather understand it is governments nature to control but our power to limit where it can go.
History has proven the destruction that a insatiable government can produce here in the New World and unless we fight to stay armed and willing to fight to stay free, it may just happen again.
On that cheery note: Happy Columbus Day.