Discussion on Columbus and the Indians

This discussion concerns my mass-mailed letter on Columbus day, which is found in blue. A representative response is found in pink.

These days it's hard to find any good stuff on the Web about Christopher ["Christ-bearer'] Columbus. Since the 500th anniversary of his discovery of the Western Hemisphere (1992), Columbus has been thoroughly trashed by the PC police.

Why do I like Columbus?

Columbus was brave.
I lived and worked for a few years in a shelter for the homeless in a less-than-desirable part of town. I knew people who would not bring donations to the house because they were afraid to walk from the curb to our door.
"America: Land of the Slaves, Home of the Wimps."


Columbus was a Christian.
Impossible to doubt this having read his diaries. But easy to ignore.

Columbus Contra Mundum

Columbus Contra Mundum (Part II)

Columbus was after Gold.
A good reason to like anyone.
Some Secularist historians have used this fact to cast doubt on the claim that Columbus was a Christian. Neo-platonist "christians" are easily confused at this point. They don't see how someone could be a Christian if he's in pursuit of something so terribly "unspiritual" as gold. But the Bible says gold is good:


Subj: Re: [LABRI-P] Christopher Columbus: My Hero
Date: 10/11/99

In a message dated 10/11/99 6:35:31 AM Pacific Daylight Time, kfwilson1@JUNO.COM writes:

> But the Bible doesn't say enslaving and killing for gold is good.
I completely agree.
My point was that modern man is willing to enslave and kill for Federal Reserve Notes.
Even the U.S. Constitution says gold is good: that no state shall make anything but gold and silver a tender in payment of debts. The triumph of Secular Humanism's preference for unbacked paper money has empowered the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to crush more poor Latin Americans than Columbus could ever dream of.


> How does this justify the killing and enslaving you admit Columbus
> engaged in?
It doesn't. I'm only saying I would rather admire Christopher Columbus than David Rockefeller.




Columbus admitted that his treatment of "inferior" races was wrong. Modern usurers claim to be enlightened practitioners of a "progressive foreign policy."

> Those are your only choices?
Yes, it would seem we are short of choices. I can't think of many people who are really worthy of our admiration. We used to have a holiday for George Washington, but I think he too was a victim of modernism, multi-culturalism, and racism.
> Why do you have to admire either one?
I think it's good to have heroes, people we can look up to, people who are moral examples. I see a whole lot in Columbus worth admiration. He sinned, and I don't mean to downplay that at all -- in fact, emphasizing it serves my pacifistic agenda ;-) But his
sins came in the course of attempting some truly great feats. Everybody makes mistakes, those who repent are worthy of our following.

To say Columbus "stands for" enslavement and genocide is something Columbus himself would not agree with. I can't think of a politician in the 20th century who has apologized for, say, killing more people than Columbus (in Iraq), or destroying more culture than Columbus (in Serbia). And for what purpose? "The New World Order?"
Columbus repented. He acted boldly for the cause of Christ, far bolder than most of us. He's a true hero.

Columbus Attempted to Civilize the Indians.
How many Indians were there? Less than a million? Ten million?
Russell Means says 100 million


This is nonsense. The Indians were unable to sustain a population in North America which is one-hundredth that of today. To quote Hobbes, their lives were "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

The Ignoble Savage

The Indian as Environmentalist

The Indian as Egalitarian
>>> Means may exaggerate, but the Hobbes quote as applied here is a gross over-generalization. Poor by whose standards, our material ones?<<< Yes, and Biblical standards (Gen 13:2; Deut 28:1-14; Rev. 21:9ff.).
>>> Solitary? And none of this gives Columbus the right to forcibly "civilize" them.<<< No one has the right to forcibly do anything.
Whatever myths concerning use of the sword Columbus lived by, his overall goal was the expansion of Christendom and the spread of the Gospel. The U.S. has killed over a million people in Iraq in a forcible effort to expand the "New World Order" and keep gas prices down. I'll go with Columbus any day. If I had been on his trip with him, I might have been able to convince him that the Bible requires more equitable treatment of the natives. Try quoting the Bible during a meeting of the Trilateral Commission.






>>> This is another false opposition. Does the Bible say we're supposed to look up to the least of sinners or to the godly man?<<<
Columbus WAS a Godly man. He undertook great things for the cause of Christ, and if he was given bad advice on how to carry out that undertaking, he realized it and repented. We have much to learn from him. We don't attempt great things for Christ, and we wink at unrepentant sinners far worse than Columbus'. (Sometimes we vote for them, too.)
Was Columbus an instrument of God's judgment upon a people dominated by idolatry, slavery, immorality, brutality, and tribal racism?

Columbus and the Puritans came to this nation to bring the Gospel to the natives, and this is their chief offense in the eyes of modern man.


Columbus Defended Western Civilization
What follows is an article that ran in UC Berkeley's Daily Californian, September 13, 1997. It was published on their Opinion Page.


Columbus Day Banned by PC
by Michael Berliner, Ph.D.

      Columbus Day approaches, but to the "politically correct" this is no cause for celebration. On the contrary, they view the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 as an occasion to be mourned. They have mourned, they have attacked, and they have intimidated schools across the country into replacing Columbus Day celebrations with "ethnic diversity" days.
      The politically correct view is that Columbus did not discover America, because people had lived here for thousands of years. Worse yet, it's claimed, the main legacy of Columbus is death and destruction. Columbus is routinely vilified as a symbol of slavery and genocide, and the celebration of his arrival likened to a celebration of Hitler and the Holocaust. The attacks on Columbus are ominous, because the actual target is Western civilization.
      Did Columbus "discover" America? Yes — in every important respect. This does not mean that no human eye had been cast on America before Columbus arrived. It does mean that Columbus brought America to the attention of the civilized world, i.e., to the growing, scientific civilizations of Western Europe. The result, ultimately, was the United States of America. It was Columbus' discovery for Western Europe that led to the influx of ideas and people on which this nation was founded — and on which it still rests. The opening of America brought the ideas and achievements of Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, and the thousands of thinkers, writers, and inventors who followed.

> Europe was more advanced technologically, but it was guilty of all those
> incil things you mention. More important?! The fact that people God
> created were living here wasn't important?
It was important enough to take great risks in order to bring the Gospel to them. Tragically, the Humanistic myth of "crown rights" diverted Columbus from this goal. Modern man still believes in the right to kill, but cares nothing about bringing the Gospel to anyone.
      Prior to 1492, what is now the United States was sparsely inhabited, unused, and undeveloped.
> What's wrong with this? God commanded men to "exercise dominion" over the earth.
The inhabitants were primarily hunter-gatherers, wandering across the land, living from hand-to-mouth and from day-to-day.
What's wrong with this? Were they disatisfied? Did they ask for help? It is sub-human. Yes they were. Yes they did.
The Biblical goal for man is not primitivism. The Biblical ideal is community and prosperity. Primitive cultures are dominated by envy, as sociologist Hulmut Schoeck has shown in his work on Envy. They are victimized by magic, and progress is stymied.
There was virtually no change, no growth for thousands of years.
> What's wrong with this? Stagnation is unBiblical. We are to grow (Eph 4:15; 2 Pet 3:18; 1 Pet 2:2 Mal. 4:2) and build (Isa 65:21; Jer 31:4,5; Am 9:14).
With rare exception, life was nasty, brutish, and short: there was no wheel, no written language, no division of labor, little agriculture and scant permanent settlement; but there were endless, bloody wars.
> Sounds like Europe. Except Europe fought their wars under codes of Christian Chivalry. Pagans often fought genocidal wars which wiped out entire tribes, from the oldest to the youngest. Modern Secular Man has adopted the standards of the "primitives."


Whatever the problems it brought, the vilified Western culture also brought enormous, undreamed-of benefits, without which most of today's Indians would be infinitely poorer or not even alive.
> There is truth in this, but does it justify taking their land? No it doesn't. Nor does it justify modern practices of "eminent domain."


      Columbus should be honored, for in so doing, we honor Western civilization. But the critics do not want to bestow such honor, because their real goal is to denigrate the values of Western civilization and to glorify the primitivism, mysticism, and collectivism embodied in the tribal cultures of American Indians. They decry the glorification of the West as "Eurocentrism." We should, they claim, replace our reverence for Western civilization with multi-culturalism, which regards all cultures as morally equal. In fact, they aren't. Some cultures are better than others: a free society is better than slavery;
> Yes, and Americans imported slaves, so how can we judge them? Are you against judging? You just judged Americans who held slaves.
I judge them as well.


Urban blacks are worse off as unemployed crack addicts or gang members than they are on a plantation.

reason is better than brute force as a way to deal with other men;
> So you're saying Indians couldn't reason??? And that our shooting them
> and enslaving Africans wasn''t brute force?
Indians enslaved each other. Use of brute force by the U.S. of A. is equally wrong. Columbus and Christians like him believed in the myth that some violence was OK if permitted by the crown. They killed and enslaved thousands. Modern man believes the myth of State-sanctioned violence, unchecked by Christian morality, and has killed hundreds of millions. Columbus repented of his violence. Modern man has not.
productivity is better than stagnation.
> You don't have a right to say your economic system is right for them if
> they were happy with theirs.
They weren't. They wanted to learn the Christian way of life. The Delaware Indians are but one example. They came to Geo. Washington and asked for help in becoming Christian.

You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. . . . Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.
The Writings of GeoWashington, Jared Sparks, ed., (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, 1838) XV:55, from his speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779.

In fact, Western civilization stands for man at his best. It stands for the values that make human life possible: reason, science, self-reliance, individualism, ambition, productive achievement. The values of Western civilization are values for all men; they cut across gender, ethnicity, and geography. We should honor Western civilization not for the ethnocentric reason that some of us happen to have European ancestors but because it is the objectively superior culture.
      Underlying the political collectivism of the anti-Columbus crowd is a racist view of human nature. They claim that one's identity is primarily ethnic: if one thinks his ancestors were good, he will supposedly feel good about himself; if he thinks his ancestors were bad, he will supposedly feel self-loathing. But it doesn't work; the achievements or failures of one's ancestors are monumentally irrelevant to one's actual worth as a person. Only the lack of a sense of self leads one to look to others to provide what passes for a sense of identity. Neither the deeds nor misdeeds of others are his own; he can take neither credit nor blame for what someone else chose to do. There are no racial achievements or racial failures, only individual achievements and individual failures. One cannot inherit moral worth or moral vice. "Self-esteem through others" is a self-contradiction.
      Thus the sham of "preserving one's heritage" as a rational life goal. Thus the cruel hoax of "multicultural education" as an antidote to racism: it will continue to create more racism.
      Individualism is the only alternative to the racism of political correctness. We must recognize that everyone is a sovereign entity, with the power of choice and independent judgment. That is the ultimate value of Western civilization, and it should be proudly proclaimed.

Michael S. Berliner, Ph.D., is the executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute in Marina del Rey, California.

> Agreed. And the Indians chose _their_ way of life. I don't believe all of them chose their way of life. Many abandoned it as soon as a Christian alternative was presented. Others were forced to remain trapped in authoritarian envy-based cultures.
> We came along and said
> it was inferior and eventually took away their ability to live as they
> chose.
I am a pacifist, against all use of force, and therefore against   statist imperialism. A non-violent Christian civilization is ethically superior to pagan "primitivism."
What About Other Infamous Conquerors?

Cortez the Infamous

Christianity & Conquest

Columbus realized his errors.

Which is more than I can say for Secular Humanists.
> So two wrongs make a right? The realization of error and repentance is not a wrong.
Modern man commits violence and then justifies it.
These two wrongs make for unparalled evil, evil which
far exceeds that of Columbus.
At the end of his life, Columbus regretted his use of the sword against defenseless natives. He had bought into the myths prevalent in his day that justified the State and its use of the sword, and especially the view that certain people could be thought of as non-human and their lives taken in order to advance our own material prosperity. Columbus repudiated his earlier championing of this "pro-choice" mentality, and became pro-life. Convicted of his sins in his later years, Columbus purposed never again to wear the costly garments of "the Admiral of the Ocean Sea" and assumed the brown habit of a Minorite friar as a symbol of his penitence. This remained his costume when in Spain for the rest of his life.
> Columbis deserves credit for this, yes. But if he deserves credit for
> repenting, why doesn't he deserve criticism for what he did in the first
> place. Sounds like he repented of what you defend.
I defend his defense of Christendom, but not his means.
Modern man attacks Columbus for defending Christian civilization, defends pagan culture as the ethical superior of Christian culture, and then follows medieval statism unbridled by Christian ethics. The result is murder and slavery a thousand times greater than Columbus'.
The modern world of Political Correctness has learned nothing from Columbus. Even the hysterically overstated estimates of "historians" like Russell Means pale in comparison to the genocide committed by 20th century Secular Humanists: an average of 10,000 people per day, every day of the week for 100 years; nearly half a billion people murdered in this century.


Columbus was an admirable man, as well as a product of his times.
His times were Christian, crippled by the myth of the State.
Our times are non-Christian, empowered by the myth of the State, and therefore more enslaved and more violent by several orders of magnitude.

We can learn much in every way from Columbus.
Happy Columbus Day!

Kevin C.

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
and sit under their Vine & Fig Tree.
Micah 4:1-7
In a message dated 10/11/99 6:48:05 AM Pacific Daylight Time, bburchet@CSLEWIS.HELIOS.ND.EDU writes:

> Hi Kevin,
> Nice post. A couple questions, though: is life without the wheel morally
> inferior to life with the wheel?
If that condition arises out of deprivation or oppression, no. If that condition arises out of moral choices, yes.
> Is life without writing morally
> inferior to life with writing?
Yes. Life without the Word is inferior to life with the Word, and writing advances the Word.
> The article quoted seems to assume that
> material stuff is good, and that the West really has made scientific
> progress. (Newer is better.)
> I question those assumptions.
> Brian Burchett
We must be content with the basics, rather than be envious and covetous. But maturity brings progess, which is to say, spiritual growth brings material prosperity (Deut. 28:1-14).