Monday, October 12, 2009

Celebrate Columbus Day

Two major media articles recently focused on the Columbus Day Holiday. Neither was positive, with one praising the negative treatment of Christopher Columbus in schools as being more balanced, and the other focusing on how the holiday is increasingly less observed in terms of days off or celebrations and is under attack from those who do not appreciate the achievement of the Discoverer of the New World.

The first article celebrated how the negative aspects of the Discovery of the New World, or even about Columbus himself, are included in the curriculum in many schools across the United States, which the article indicated represents a change from the more heroic treatment of Columbus before. I find this premise shocking, as Columbus was totally ignored in the curriculum of the 1970s and early 1980s to which I was exposed. Furthermore, it is nothing new for the left to criticize Columbus, as it has long been a trend among liberals to attempt to ruin the reputations of American heroes and Founders. The far left especially does not appreciate the introduction of Christianity and Western ideals of liberty and equality to the New World by Columbus. Leftists cannot acknowledge that it was these very ideals that ended slavery, not the pseudo-egalitarian Marxism to which they subscribe.

The Discovery of the New World by Columbus led to its liberation not only from slavery and politically, but spiritually because God is Freedom. The beginnings of liberation could already be seen in Columbus’ own time. Indeed, Columbus could be called the Liberator of the Caribbean Sea. That sea was named for the Carib Indians, who practiced a most vicious form of cannibalism, in which they would capture Taino Indians, kill them and eat them, except for the young women, whom they raped so as to produce young males, whom they would fatten until adolescence, upon which they, too, would be killed and eaten. The Tainos lived in absolute terror of the Caribs, until Columbus liberated them. The multiculturalist left who insists that all cultures are equal, except that it condemns Western Civilization as the root of all evil, cannot bring itself either to criticize any non-Westerners for such practices or to give the least bit of credit to Westerners for ending them.

It is not unreasonable to raise the point that the initial contact between any two peoples leads to an exchange of diseases, as there is a lack of immunity on the part of one people for the diseases carried by the other. Therefore, it is something that would have happened if the American Indians had discovered the Old World. However, this necessary consequence of discoveries ought not to be the primary emphasis on the Discovery of the New World, which would be like regarding the Discovery and all the riches and new foods it brought as a bad thing for the Old World strictly because the Indians gave the Europeans syphilis. In other words, it is one thing to point out negative consequences of the Discovery, but another thing to regard the entire Discovery as a bad thing because of them, despite all the good things which outweigh them.

Finally, the article on the curriculum made much of the ignorant old argument that Columbus could not have discovered the New World because there were already people there, as if Columbus’ discovery detracts from theirs, as if one’s discovery is mutually exclusive of another’s, or even as if to credit Columbus for his discovery is to ignore the humanity of the American Indians. It ought to be reasonable to expect that in a school, the origin of the word discovery would be explained in the first place. Alas, it is often not. Discovery comes from the Latin prefix dis, which means “to do the opposite of” and the word cover, which put together mean “to uncover.” The Atlantic Ocean was the cover that hid the Old World and New from each other. Through his exceptional skills as a navigator, Columbus removed that cover by permanently bridging the two worlds, which produced a double discovery as each world discovered the other – the greatest discovery in the history of the world.

As for the second article, I intend this post to represent a proper commemoration of Columbus Day, contrary to the trend of minimizing or ignoring the day. Conservatives ought to celebrate Columbus Day as equally as other federal or state holidays and support accurate education about the Discovery of the New World as part of a broad defense of Western Civilization.

Happy Columbus Day!

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