Skip to comments.From the Archives: http://www.ayn-rand.info/cth--1594-Columbus_Day_In_Praise_of_Exploitation.aspx
Posted on 10/11/2010 12:50:07 PM PDT by Ed Hudgins
Many critics argue that Christopher Columbus gave us a devil's bargain. In October 1492 that Italian explorer, working for Spain, opened America to his fellow Europeans. The result: we got a prosperous New World by impoverishing, enslaving and murdering the natives who were already here.
But this view fails to distinguish between two types of exploitationone over other humans and the other over nature: the former which should be expunged from our moral codes and civilized society, the latter which is the essence of morality and civilization.
The former form of exploitation was suffered especially by the tens of millions of individuals who inhabited the pre-Columbian lands from Mexico through South America. Cortes the Conquistador, for example, defeated the Aztec rulers of Mexico. Many of the tribes that were subject to the Aztecs sided with Cortes; they hated the Aztecs for, among other things, their practice of cutting the living hearts out of members of tribes that they subjugated, as sacrifices to their gods. Cortes imposed his rule on the Aztecs and their subjects alike, replacing one tyranny with another. The natives were treated harshly and many forced to work as de facto or actual slaves for their new masters.
On the other hand, many settlers, especially in North America which had far fewer natives, took a different path. They came to the New World to build their own lives. They did not prosper by conquering other men but, rather, by conquering nature. They had to clear the land, plant and sow crops. They had to practice the trades of carpenters, masons, loggers, miners, blacksmiths and tailors to build their towns and to create the necessities for life and prosperity. In the centuries that followed, their descendentsincluding Americans todaybuilt the richest, most prosperous country on Earth.
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The locals were exploiting each other as well. Same situation was observed in Africa. It is revisionist mythmaking to strictly cast Western Europeans as the “bad guys” in world history.
I’m glad Columbus wasn’t named “Odungo, the Sudanese” or some such name.
Absolutely. And I like the point made in the article that those settlers who came here to settle had to conquer nature.
In the American west the superior hunting, agriculture and fortification methods and the determination of those settlers to stick to their land claims are what ultimately won.
When Europe did send try to send conquering armies up Mississippi, they were stopped by Old Hickory Jackson from conquering the entire west at the Battle of New Orleans.
I wonder if those who hold that point of view you mention believe the Indians could have stopped the British Army...
When the decendants of the Conquistadors came to conquer as the Mexican Army, Texans, mostly European settlers, protected the take-over of the continent again.
If anything European settlers protected this land many times over from conquest by other, larger, more well-armed forces who had come to conquer and exploit...not to settle, trade, and make a life on this land.
Well, the English settlement of North America was warlike, also. From Jamestown onward till the 1890s, there was one Indian war after another, until the last warlike tribes were defeated.
And yet for all the size of Cananda, so much is made of their communities that border the United States.
There is something different about the establishment of this nation.
I’ve got a friend on Facebook who posted that ‘reconsider Christopher Columbus day’ crap earlier today, along with a few choice comments.
I retaliated by posting a Happy Columbus Day graphic and changed my profile pic to Christopher Columbus himself.
I am just sick and tired of all this PC victim bullsh*t.