Comment Of The Day: Propaganda And Fake History: How Are We Supposed To Trust A Newspaper With Editors That Allow This?”

Once again, I am behind in posting deserving Comments of the Day, in particular one from P.M. Lawrence that opens all manner  of worm cans, necessitating a bit more prep than usual. This COTD, sparked by the New York Times’s allowing fake Middle East history to sully its pages, seemed especially appropo given Vermont’s offensive capitulation to political correctness by turning Columbus Day into “Indigenous  Peoples Day.”

This is sentimentality replacing a crucial historical and cultural marker to which attention must be paid. Whatever his misdeeds, Columbus’s voyage and its discoveries was one of the great turning points in the history of mankind. Columbus’s boldness was a catalyst  for furious colonization by the western European powers , new trade commodities products and the introduction of products like corn, potatoes, tobacco and chocolate to the rest of the world, innovations in seafaring and supply preservation, and transformative contacts between cultures. It also led to the United States of America, and despite the laments of the America-haters, the world is far better for that.

Here is Steve-O- in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Propaganda And Fake History: How Are We Supposed To Trust A Newspaper With Editors That Allow This?”

No one ever mentions that the Muslims had been conquering parts of Europe for 3 centuries before Pope Urban called for a crusade, and if you point it out, the left brushes you off as pedantic at best, an apologist for brutality at the worst. The Inquisition I’ll admit was pretty bad, but, to put it in context, heresy is to the church what treason is to a government, and, when the church is as much a temporal power as the government, it should not come as a surprise that it takes steps to protect that power. The Muslims can lecture us about that when you can no longer have your head chopped off in Sunni countries if you mistakenly sound the call to prayer more than once (a Shi’ite practice, which is prohibited in Sunni countries), and the Protestants can lecture us about it when they apologize for Cromwell in Ireland and the High Commission.

The conquest of the New World was brutal but inevitable. Less developed cultures are pretty much doomed once more developed ones arrive on the scene. That’s how Sumer was wiped off the map by Sargon of Akkad in the 22nd century B.C. (his troops had bows, which the Sumerians knew nothing about), how the Portuguese blew the Muslims out of the water at Diu (galleys are no match for cannon-armed carracks), and the aborigines of Australia had had it once the British started to arrive in numbers (naked people who ate grubs against firearms?). It’s simply not realistic to think that Columbus would have returned and reported he found nothing to keep Europe from continuing to sail west. It’s even less so to think that, instead of the Treaty of Tordesillas, by which Spain and Portugal agreed that Spain would go west and Portugal east for conquest, that they would have signed the Ban of Valladolid, agreeing to leave the primitive cultures of the Americas alone and prohibiting any European ship from sailing west out of sight of the Azores or Canary Islands.

21 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: Propaganda And Fake History: How Are We Supposed To Trust A Newspaper With Editors That Allow This?”

  1. Wonderful post. I am often amused at the characterization of our indigineous peoples as ethical humanists living in harmony with all around them. Had only their naivete’ regarding the treacherous motives of the pale people that came in boats not been pronounce they would never allowed themselves to be led to subjugation by the pale people.

  2. It also led to the United States of America, and despite the laments of the America-haters, the world is far better for that.

    That’s only certainly true in an aggregate that itself includes the United States of America. It’s far more problematic as to whether the rest of the world is better off for it. No, I’m not just sniping, I’m making a stab at considering the counter-factual. For instance, if it had failed to come into existence, the two world wars would almost certainly have had stronger allied sides earlier on. (And we – the rest of the world – certainly disagree about the benefits of its example, as a simple tautology: self respect requires that we either prefer our own values where they differ, or find yours redundant when they don’t.)

    … the Portuguese blew the Muslims out of the water at Diu (galleys are no match for cannon-armed carracks), and the aborigines of Australia had had it once the British started to arrive in numbers (naked people who ate grubs against firearms?) …

    Actually, both of those examples are very much “it depends”. Galleys were far superior in certain waters, and aborigines could and did out-compete all comers until conditions had gone well beyond mere firearms (or European and maybe Arab or even polynesian settlement would have started a couple of centuries earlier).

    • Of course, you are only making the contrarian geopolitical argument, omitting literature, music, business, technology, art, drama, medicine, science…The U.S. has been uniquely supportive of innovation. No US, no Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly; no Elvis—and with No Elvis, Buddy and Chuck, no Beatles. Etc. Etc.

        • See above about how others would have filled the breach, and how a lot of U.S. innovation was really only co-option. No Edison? Then the first practical light bulb would have been invented and marketed by Joseph Swan, in Britain. No Fulton? Then the first practical steam boat would have been the Charlotte Dundas on the Clyde, in Scotland. And so on.

          Oh, wait. Those aren’t counter-factuals, they happened. It’s just that they got co-opted.

          • The light bulb and the steam boat are two famous examples of parallel invention. Many, many other Edison inventions, notably the research lab, are no so easily shrugged off. Nor the telephone, both the competing inventers of which were Americans.

          • America was one of the few places where citizens enjoyed the fruit of their labors, and this incentivized innovation. Those in other countries did not have a great a reason to invent.

            This is still true today, but to a lesser extent.

      • Of course, you are only making the contrarian geopolitical argument, omitting literature, music, business, technology, art, drama, medicine, science…

        No, I’m pointing out that all those categories would most likely have been met by others – or wouldn’t have mattered that much to others. I gave one example, in one area, by way of illustration, but that doesn’t mean that that’s all there is.

        The U.S. has been uniquely supportive of innovation.

        Um… only in a rather specialised sense. Until the 1950s, it typically drew on others’ work and co-opted it – which makes the counter-factual, the notion that others would have done it rather than that it would have gone missing, that much more plausible.

        No US, no Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly; no Elvis—and with No Elvis, Buddy and Chuck, no Beatles. Etc. Etc.

        That is easily rebutted by the idea that others would have flourished, and my earlier point that unshared values are what count more to others.

        • It’s a nonsensical point. You have some kind of delusion that if unique talents with unique environmental influences didn’t come into being, that niche would have been filled anyway. Where in the world did you get that idea? No Mozart, and another equivalent genius was sure to arrive, and soon? No Orson Welles, and someone else would have made citizen Kane? The Fungability of Genius theory? Call me highly skeptical.

          • No, I’ll call you prey to a no doubt inadvertent straw man.

            I was, rather, suggesting two somewhat different things:-

            – That there would have been someone active in the field.

            – That they would not have been interchangeable, precisely because of different tastes arising from different backgrounds.

            So I’m not saying that there would have been an Elvis Presley doppelganger (though his dead twin might have been one had he lived, I suppose). I’m saying that – say – the French would have been pleased to have had Aznavour and Piaf, and maybe yet others. Yes, comparing those with your list is apples and oranges, but that was the whole point: that there would have been different alternatives, catering to different tastes.

            Since this whole topic is getting emotive for some, I’m going to make a couple of suggestions that I hope will be constructive: put it aside for a while, to allow calm to return; and, look more widely at other examples, like the European maritime empires. I hope that lessons taught by looking at their spillover benefits, or lack thereof, should shed light on the U.S. case today. At the very least, realising that others might not agree with Cecil Rhodes about the British Empire’s spillover benefits might let them see that the U.S.A. presents the same doubts to the rest of the world.

            • Are you saying that the US Space program, with the enormous side benefits, would have then come from another country?

              I beg to differ. No one could do what we did. The second largest superpower tried to duplicate our efforts, and failed miserably.

              To use your logic, if someone else could have gone to the moon, or revolutionized telecommunications, or any of the other feats made possible by a free economy, why didn’t they? They have had ample time to do so in the time since we did.

            • See, your entire conceit is a straw man. Sure, in multiverse theory, anything is possible, and “The Road Not Taken” posits that we end up in the same place anyway. But we do know, with certainty, the benefits the existence of the US has given to culture, the world and humanity, and no matter how much you argue to the contrary, we DON’T know with equal certainty whether its absence, would, for example, mean that there would be no more Jews, all of Europe would be speaking German, and jazz and rock would have never escaped the shadow of marching bands. And that’s the end of your argument, however entertaining it might be to speculate.

    • Let the people decide. What countries are people willing to leave everything they have ever known to get to? Do you see supposedly ‘socialist’ Americans flocking to socialist paradises? Do you see ‘socialists’ in these socialist paradises willing to risk their lives to try to illegally enter the US where they know they will be imprisoned?

      • Curiously, that’s just precisely what motivates them to come here, to Australia. That shows that the existence of the U.S.A. isn’t what counts. I already conceded that the U.S.A. is good for the U.S.A.; rather, we should ask whether the alternative would have offered outsiders more and better. Given that it exists, it’s hardly odd that others would want some of that – but that’s no test, as it has to do with them trying to become insiders.

  3. Thanks, and thanks, for the COTD, Jack. As an Italian-American I find this attempt to erase the holiday that is designated as the day to celebrate our achievements and contributions and replace it with a bow to collective guilt offensive as well. However, it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that Vermont should make this change. Lightly populated to begin with (still only about 650,000), with no city larger that 43,000 (If Burlington can be called a city) the Green Mountain State was always vulnerable to change, and it was the place where most of the aging hippies ended up. In two generations it’s gone from being a solid rural Republican bastion to the state that gave us Bernie Sanders. We Italians, who form only about 7% of the US population, have little presence of consequence there, and it’s generally been our resistance that has shot this change down in a lot of places, especially NY, NJ, CT, RI, and MA, where our presence is powerful enough to be one the politicians don’t want to anger.

    As you point out above, this shouldn’t matter. Columbus is probably the most influential figure in history, bar only Gutenberg, Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed, and just ahead of Washington. His voyage was the greatest turning point in a time of great turning points (the Renaissance, the end of the Wars of the Roses, the unification of France, the expulsion of the Moors, and shortly thereafter the rise of Protestantism). There is no getting around this fact. However, if you point this out to those pushing this new celebration, they will just tell you that it’s one thing to acknowledge someone’s importance, it’s another to honor him, and that Columbus is not worthy of honor. He can maintain his place in the history books, with suitable description of his misdeeds, but no naming of streets or places, no statues, and NO day in his honor. As far as they are concerned he’s just like the Confederate officers – a villain with good publicity and a strong following who are clinging to the past. Those who are smart and forward-looking see him for what he is and are ready to put him in the proper light as a villain, and say they are sorry to the poor remnants of the Indians who he set on the path to extermination. Ironically, he was the most forward-looking man of his time. Oh, and you Italians? Too bad about your guy and your celebration, but you should have picked less of a villain to hang your hat on. You are now officially supplanted by a more favored ethnic group and your celebration is officially suppressed, maybe you can transfer it to one of those times when the son of God takes the form of a piece of fried dough.

    The question that arises now is: whose celebration or what celebration will be next to be suppressed as no longer in favor or insufficiently “woke.” We just saw what happened to Kate Smith after someone did a deep dive into her history. It didn’t even take a week. What’s to stop anyone from pushing for the elimination of St. Patrick’s Day due to his introduction of Christianity to a pagan populace and the many misdeeds in the name of the Emerald Isle? What’s to stop anyone from pushing for the elimination of President’s Day because too many presidents had checkered histories and are not worthy of celebration? Why not kill Independence Day because the Declaration of Independence was written by a slave owner who couldn’t see his way clear to doing away with slavery? What’s to prevent a proposal for eliminating Veterans’ Day, which celebrates those who fought for the patriarchy and the 1%, or Memorial Day, which celebrates those who did that and died doing it, from gaining traction? While we’re on the topic, Christmas has only been a national holiday since 1870, that status can be taken away, and maybe it should be, as we move into a time when there are more and more non-Christians and people who practice no religion at all who want nothing to do with the holiday, not to mention the emergence of so many wrong deeds committed in the name of and by members of the church. You pointed to Jacques Brel’s line about them wanting to create “a world the color of goose shit” and that’s where the woke are headed.

    In some parallel world Columbus called his men together shortly after they landed (they were only 90 all told) and said “we’re setting sail for home tomorrow, taking only the food and water we need. When we get there, I’m going to make my report to the king and queen, and all I am going to say is that I was mistaken, and you can’t reach the East by sailing west. I’m going to make no mention of these other lands. I am asking you all to do the same and keep quiet about this land. If any of us reveal this, then Spain and Portugal will be all over this new land like wolves on a deer, France and England are sure to follow, and these gentle, primitive people will be killed or enslaved. I don’t want that on my conscience, and I don’t think you do either. Here is the Bible, now you officers place your hands on it while the rest of you raise your right hands, and swear – I will never reveal the existence of this new land.”

    In another he made his report, but the rulers of Europe decided that it would be wrong to attempt to conquer primitive lands where primitive people, innocent of the ways of Europe. lived. Columbus was pensioned into retirement, on the condition he conduct no more voyages, and, after that voyage, the Catholic Kings, Manuel the Fortunate, King of Portugal, Louis XII, Father of the People of France, Henry VII Tudor of England and Ireland, and Maximilian I of the Holy Roman Empire met in the great port of Antwerp, there to sign the Ban of Antwerp, which forbade any European ship from sailing west out of sight of the Canary and Azore Islands, vowing to leave the newly discovered lands, which they dubbed New Eden, alone.

    Unfortunately, neither of these two parallels are how it really happened, and no amount of wishing or rewriting or apologizing or suppressing will make them have happened.

  4. Better be careful with equating Cromwell with Protestantism. Cromwell’s religious views and theology almost completely dead-ended. The closest you can trace a religious tradition from Cromwell is the Congregationalists. This denomination (descended from the Puritans) was the state church of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire until the early 1800’s. Harvard and Yale were founded to train their ministers. In 1833, the Congregationalist church was finally disestablished in Massachusetts and was no longer a tax-supported religion (the other states did so about a decade earlier). Congregationalism lost mainly to Unitarianism. Today, Congregationalism is quite a small denomination in the US. Some of its traditions live on in the United Church of Christ and a few congregationalist conferences with membership of about 100,000 total members nationwide. For comparison, just one of the Baptist conventions in this country counts 15 million members (150x the congregationalists).

    Remember, Christianity is very varied, more so than most Americans are willing to admit. Rome likes to claim it is the original church, but it ignores the Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Coptic, etc churches that existed at the same time or even before the Roman church (Armenia was the first Christian nation). Protestantism is just a label for non-Insert Name Orthodox, non-Roman Catholic, non-Coptic Christianity in the west (except possibly Anglicanism and Wesleyan tradition churches). Christianity did not begin as an organized, centralized religion and attempts to make it so have not been very successful.

    In other words, ‘Don’t blame me, blame Harvard”.

    • Cromwell was early stages of Protestantism, before a lot of the current Protestant denominations began or were well-defined – the Baptist denomination was just getting underway, Methodism wouldn’t appear until the 18th century and so on. Anabaptism and the Huguenot movement were mostly outside the British Isles, so as far as those living there were concerned, Cromwell WAS Protestantism. He sure as the devil wasn’t Catholic, and his horrible treatment of the Catholic population of Ireland was one of the worst cases of religious bigotry in history.

      Following current liberal thinking, Protestants own him and all he did, the same as we Catholics own everything the libs want to put on us, the same as white people own slavery, and so on. Strangely, you don’t hear American liberals still trying to put Nazism on the current Germans or Japanese militarism on the current Japanese, or Communism on the post-Soviet Russians. You also didn’t hear Robert Byrd getting constantly slammed for his previous high position in the Klan, whereas a lot of libs I know were sneeringly referring to Jeff Sessions by his full name of “Jefferson Beauregard Sessions” (i.e. he’s a racist because his parents named him for Southern officers). The former is perhaps understandable, American liberals are mostly concerned with America. The latter, not so much. It’s an unspoken and unwritten, but very strong, view of the left that groups and individuals disfavored by the left must forever answer for the misdeeds of their race, their faith, their family, their forbears, etc., and nothing will purge that taint, while groups and individuals favored by the left can always be forgiven any kind of misdeed.

      • Progressives are simply about whatever gives them power in the moment, and the rules can be changed to favor that policy three times a day, if necessary to support the cause: total domination of everyone else in the world.

    • Rome likes to claim it is the original church, but it ignores the Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Coptic, etc churches that existed at the same time or even before the Roman church

      So… much… to say…

      We should probably avoid waging a religious war on Jack’s a-religious turf…

      It’s a pity. I consider this my strongest subject even considering that all my degrees are in natural science…

      I will merely say that the only necessary response to an objectionable assertion is a denial.

      • Yet I don’t allow that response here, if that’s all there is. Sometimes the denial is the necessary response because the commenter has no arguments, just certitude.

        I welcome theological discussions, as long as they are somewhere related to ethics.

        • Ah, I see what you mean. My apologies. I think I’ve seen this foul come up before, but I didn’t think to apply the principle in this case because we’re still in assertion/counter-assertion territory. I’m not intending to excuse, mind you, but to assure you my intentions were pure. Now, I think I better understand what you’re getting at.

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