May 16, 2007

Just come out and say it: The USA sucks

Pathetic anti-American diatribe by the leftist rag The Guardian (UK): Benjamin Woolley says that any commemoration of the Jamestown founding is ... well, "misguided" because ... well, let's take a look at his list:

The Queen took a tour of Jamestown, Virginia, on Friday as part of the commemorations of its 400th anniversary. The site of England's first permanent colony in North America, recently uncovered in a series of spectacular archaeological excavations, is of huge historical importance. It is the reason the US is an English-speaking nation, with Anglo-Saxon legal, commercial and political institutions. However, the Queen will be not be present for the anniversary itself, which falls this weekend. The reason is a prior commitment that necessitated her presence in the US a week early: the Kentucky Derby, held last Saturday.

The Queen's desire to escape to the safety of the world of horse racing is understandable. Compared to a punt even on a rank outsider, commemorating the arrival of a motley crew of 100 or so English renegades and outcasts on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in 1607 has proved to be fraught with risk. Not only is there the solemn complication of the campus shootings at nearby Virginia Tech, but there is the small matter of Jamestown being the birthplace of African slavery, Native American genocide and the global tobacco trade, as well as of North American democracy and free enterprise.

My emphasis. I'm curious: Is Woolley claiming that African slavery and Native American genocide are somehow philosophically akin to democracy and free enterprise? I'm aware that this doesn't have to be read this way, but considering leftists' hatred of the latter two, it is an assumption easily made.

Then there's the "small" matter of Jamestown being the "birthplace of African slavery." This is just factually incorrect on two main grounds. First, slavery already existed (in Africa, but elsewhere too) before the Jamestown founding. Second, the Spanish priest Bartolomé de Las Casas, in the century before the founding of Jamestown, advocated using Africans as slaves instead of Native Americans in the newly conquered New World. The Spanish (and Portuguese) had begun trans-Atlantic African slavery quite a while before the English in North America.

As for the genocide of Native Americans, a frequently forgotten fact is that, by far, the majority of Natives died as a result of European diseases rather than a purposeful program of annihilation. Anywhere between 80-90% of Native Americans were the victims of smallpox, measles and other European scourges. This by no means is meant to absolve the Europeans of their brutality against the Natives; however, 80-90% of Native deaths by disease is indeed something by which Europeans had little control over.

What leftists like Woolley fail to realize is that anymore, no "celebration" of a Colonial/Revolutionary Era relic/icon takes place without mention of the darker aspects of that time. What is actually unique to the West is the degree to which this mention holds -- so much so that even free enterprise and democracy can be seen as "evil." The irony is that this free enterprise and democracy enables people to bring forth and mention these darker aspects of our history.

(h/t: Newsbusters)

Posted by Hube at May 16, 2007 02:59 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Eighty to ninety percent? I believe you mean 80% to 90% in the hardest hit areas. Your comment leads a reader to infer you mean the entire continent. I believe you omit that there was most definitely intent by White Europeans to subjugate, if not kill, the Native American population of North America.

Posted by: David at May 17, 2007 12:17 AM

That's right. I not only mean the "entire continent" but the entire New World. Actually, the "hardest hit" areas exceeded 90% mortality based on [your] Wikipedia quote, and Wikipedia also notes "While epidemic disease was by far the leading cause of the population decline of the American indigenous peoples after 1492, there were other contributing factors, all of them related to European contact and colonization." The figure I quoted comes from history professor Dr. Suzanne Austin Alchon of my alma mater, the University of Delaware. I attended a graduate class of hers and recall that not only I, but everyone else in the class, was (were) stunned at the figures she presented.

And I do not "omit" European atrocities. I clearly stated "This by no means is meant to absolve the Europeans of their brutality against the Natives." Indeed, as Alchon has recently written, the European pattern of colonization AND subjugation served to enhance the rapidity of Old World diseases' effects. She argues that Natives could have rebounded from the epidemics (just like Old World populations did) but that the expansion of European colonists so uprooted the Native fabric that this was virtually impossible. Wikipedia's quote from above may or may not take this into account, but clearly disease was by far the biggest culprit in wiping out Native populations, and when taken further into context with colonial practices, even moreso.

For further reading: here and here.

Posted by: Hube at May 17, 2007 02:20 PM

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Posted by: misfits online at August 31, 2011 11:10 AM

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