By Stan Gudmundson
I absolutely despise what the radical left is doing to America and the world today. Tearing down statues, monuments, and trying to destroy history, good and bad, is much like Mao Tse-Tung’s ‘Cultural Revolution’ in its destruction of the old. As if history can be changed.
Their beliefs about and attitudes toward the past are silly. And infuriating. It’s as if sanctimonious self-righteous 21st century ‘purity’ could produce retroactive historical change.
Leftists seem to think that, were they able to change places with our ancestors, they would have believed and behaved differently. That’s fantasy. A case can also be made that revisionist historians suffer from the same delusional malady.
Were they able to do so, they would have had to do exactly the same things they did. Nothing would have been different. Time and circumstances have changed but human nature has not.
When Columbus came to the Americas, he launched an inevitable cultural clash that had to occur sooner or later. He just happened to be first. Moreover, it wasn’t just a cultural clash. It was also an ecological clash that continues today as “invasive” species show us.
We don’t exactly know what it was like here before Europeans arrived because the diseases they brought obliterated native American populations. And much of their cultures.
Now, imagine that you are a male child of a couple living in Norway or Sweden in the 1800s. By law, the farm you are grew up on will pass from your parents to your oldest brother. You will have to work for him or someone else’s older brother or find other work in a time and place where there wasn’t much other work. Going to sea was an option but it was a dangerous way to make a living. To make matters worse, a famine hits, something that periodically strikes Scandinavia. And the rest of the world. About 350,000 people starve to death this time.
Like many, many others you are desperate but have a chance to move to America and start a new life, free of primogeniture and Norway’s other limitations. You take it. When you arrive you learn English and stop speaking Norwegian. You are never, ever going back to the awful life in the old country.
If you were to be from the United Kingdom, your children will have a chance to grow taller than you because of an improved diet. Like the diet that historically allowed the British royalty to be four or five inches taller than peasants.
Because of the incredible mortality rate, in some parts of the world, children weren’t named until they were five years old. America offers hope. Maybe you can begin naming your children at birth.
You are joining people confronting stone age cultures now modified by the introduction of European horses and cattle. Moreover, Indian “homes” weren’t always static. Many moved often, fleeing from the predations of other tribes. Inter-tribal warfare and conquest is extremely brutal and, many kept slaves. When tribes in the southeast were relocated to “Indian” territory in Oklahoma, they brought with them at least 3,000 black slaves.
Pekka Hamalainen, in the book Comanche Empire, points out that Indian slave traders even captured Indians and Spaniards sending them to the horrible Caribbean sugar plantations. When the Spaniards once decided to stop trading for slaves, the Comanches killed their captives in front of the Spaniards. They publicly raped the women first as they continued to do after the Spaniards relented and began again trading for the slaves to save lives.
The Comanche tribe, establishing a way of life dominated by horses, controlled the southwest for upwards of 200 years. They could have easily wiped out European settlements in all of Texas, New Mexico, and areas to the north. To an extent, they tolerated them because they needed European trade goods. Especially guns.
Some Indian tribes, anxious to save themselves from Comanches and others came to missions begging to keep them safe. If they could. In exchange, many promised to become and did become Christians.
History is really grim and a mess. The left should stop pretending they are better than and would have behaved differently than our ancestors. They couldn’t and wouldn’t have.