Today is Columbus Day : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

In Denver on Saturday for the first time in four years, the Italians celebrated Columbus Day with a parade. It was interrupted with a number of protestors spilling "blood" onto the streets. After they were arrested, the parade resumed. The protestors believed that we Americans shouldn't be celebrating the life of a man who abused many people, spread disease, and promoted slavery. What's your view? Does any group of people have the right to celebrate or can the government get to determine the appropriateness of a cause?

-- Maria (, October 09, 2000


Columbus probably changed the course of world history more than any other single person in the last 1000 years, and made possible our current civilization. That's worth something.

-- E.H. Porter (Just, October 09, 2000.

Of course a group of people have a right to celebrate in a nonviolent way without approval the government. Likewise, other people have a right to peacefully protest that celebration.

Indeed, the protesters have a perfect right to make perfect assholes of the themselves. (after which they probably had a pizza and beer).

-- Lars (, October 09, 2000.

Thanks for reminding us of this important day, Maria. The government should NOT be involved in deciding which causes are appropriate -- they SHOULD be involved if private commerce would be disturbed, or if there are factors that would result in endangerment to individuals through a "celebration."

My views on Columbus Day are pretty much summed up by the following essay, except that any unnecessary loss of life, slavery, etc. that was a direct result of the actions of Columbus or his men I find tragic.

from Columbus Day

Western civilization is under attack by the politically correct who are questioning and attacking the achievements of Christopher Columbus  while glorifying the tribal cultures of American Indians. The reverence for Western civilization should be replaced, they say, with multiculturalism, which regards all cultures as morally equal. This, despite the fact that it is Western civilization, not primitivism, that stands for the values which make human life possible.

The Christopher Columbus Controversy: Western Civilization vs. Primitivism

Michael S. 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.

Prior to 1492, what is now the United States was sparsely inhabited, unused, and undeveloped. The inhabitants were primarily hunter- gatherers, wandering across the land, living from hand-to-mouth and from day-to-day. There was virtually no change, no growth for thousands of years. 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. 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.

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; reason is better than brute force as a way to deal with other men; productivity is better than stagnation. 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 former executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute in Marina del Rey, California.

-- eve (, October 09, 2000.

Denver did stop the parade for a number of years. This year there was enough publicity, that the mayor allowed the celebration. The first protests came from the Mexican population in the city, then the native Americans found fault in having the parade. They insisted that it be called the "Italian Heritage" parade instead. I don't think any one group should step on another's freedoms. I agree that "Columbus probably changed the course of world history more than any other single person" and we should celebrate that.

On October 12 a few years back I was vacationing in the Carribean. What a wonderful time! They truly celebrate the event like a mardi gras. Every one takes off that day with very festive parades. It has inspired my retirement goals, to be a member of the jucanu (spelling??) band.

-- Maria (, October 09, 2000.

Hitler and Stalin were no slouches when it comes to affecting world history, when do we start celebrating them? Should I begin looking in Wal-Mart for the little mustaches that one might wear at the parade?

-- Uncle Deedah (, October 09, 2000.

With all due respect to the author, individualism is not the "ultimate" value of Western Civilization. If we return to the roots of Western Civilization--the Greeks--we find the core virtues of courage, wisdom, temperance, and justice. Personally, I would add to this list "truth." The Greeks understood that "truth" was the foundation of all the virtues. While not on many traditional lists, the Greeks also considered "beauty" a virtue... but I digress.

The rise of individualism in Western Civilization comes late with the political philisophies of Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau. Not to diminish their contributions, but these thinkers were simply extending Western Civilization, not inventing it.

To understand Western Civilization, one must embrace its long and broad history... not reduce it to a post-modern political philosophy.

-- Ken Decker (, October 09, 2000.

How bout Pol Pot day? We can all put little piles of plastic skulls on our front yards eh?

-- Porky (Porky@in.cellblockD), October 09, 2000.

Driving through the desert darkness, I turned on the radio and found the station of the Navajo Nation, a few hundred miles to our north and west.

"Here's our historical thought for the day," the woman DJ said between country-and-western songs. "When Columbus blundered by accident onto our lands, he claimed them and all our people and all our wealth for the Pope and the King and Queen of Spain. His first order was to assemble all the local Indians and demand that every person over the age of 14 bring him, the next day, one handful of gold. The next day, all those who came with less than a handful, or were unable to bring anything, were hunted down and one hand was chopped off. Thousands lost their hands that day.

"Then Columbus took as prisoners as many Indians as he could jam into the holds of his ships and sent them back to Spain to be sold at the auction block as slaves. Most died during the journey, as they were kept in the hold of the ship, awash in their own excrement, with food thrown down to them when the sailors felt like it, but those who survived made the trip very profitable for Columbus. He made several trips back to take more slaves and cut off more hands.

"This is the man we're asked to honor on Columbus Day."

As Merle Haggard began to sing, I had to make an effort to unclench my hands from the steering wheel.

(The above is an excert from the book, "The Prophet's Way," by Thom Hartmann.)


-- Yona (, October 10, 2000.


With all due respect to the author, individualism is not the "ultimate" value of Western Civilization. If we return to the roots of Western Civilization Ken your problem is you haven't been reading enough Ayn Rand :^)

We are all are visitors here. We all came from somewhere else. Just at different times. Were the Indians treated badly.?Sure. Many defeated people have been [see Irish for example or the Missouris and the Sheepeaters who were exterminated by other tribes]. We are all native americans or there are no native americans. Depends on your definition. It can't be half and half.

I could care less about Columbus day; have it or not; just don't lie about the reasons.

Best wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, October 10, 2000.

Well said, Yona, Unk, Ken.

And yes, I believe we have the right to honor whomever we wish. To hold a parade one generally needs to secure a temporary permit from local authorities. To disturb others whilst celebrating peacefully isn't cool. You don't like it, go someplace else. Have your own parade or moment of silence...whatever.

The mention of Columbus makes my skin crawl. A hero to some, no doubt. A mass murder, no doubt. Fortunately we have the opportunity to make our own decisions in these matters. Amen.

-- Bingo1 (, October 10, 2000.

Maybe we shouldn't celebrate President's Day either, since Washington had slaves.

-- Maria (, October 10, 2000.

Is President's Day a holiday specific to George Washington? I don't pay much attention to these things. If so, I think Maria's idea, dripping though it may be with sarcasm, should be considered. To celebrate a slavemaster, via Federal mandate is quite insane.

Perhaps a whispered atta-boy Georgy once a year by the current President of the U.S.A. would suffice.

-- Bingo1 (, October 10, 2000.

Maybe we shouldn't celebrate ANYTHING,just party for the hell of it anytime we please,problem solved.Full moon celebration anyone? The parade will consist of a conga line : )

-- capnfun (, October 10, 2000.


As I recall, it combines the celebration of Lincoln and Washingtons birthdays. Sort of makes it a wash on the slavery issue.

Best wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, October 10, 2000.

Full moon celebration? As in Friday the 13th AND a full moon? As in October 13th? Uh, yup.

-- Bingo1 (, October 10, 2000.


Full moon AND Friday the 13th coming up, hmmmm!

-- Peg (too@much.spam), October 10, 2000.


Looks like we posted about the same time, (just makes ya go, hmmmm)

-- Peg (too@much.spam), October 10, 2000.

Rich: Friday the 13th AND a full moon

Peg: Full moon AND Friday the 13th

Does this mean we are EXACT opposites? Mirror images, even? Must be that Mercury in retrograde thingee...

-- Bingo1 (, October 10, 2000.

Bingo my post was as "dripping ... with sarcasm" as Unk's post. Personally I think Unk would look great with one of those broom style mustaches.

Z, if we can "make it a wash" for prezs' day, how 'bout we combine Columbus Day with a celebration for Mother Teresa?

Capn, full moon celebrations make me a little nervous. Too many people get loony during a full moon. But on the other hand, right now we celebrate the eve of all saints' day with some weird stuff. So, let's go for it.

-- Maria (, October 10, 2000.

Maria: Personally I think Unk would look great with one of those broom style mustaches.

You're right, Maria. The more square feet the mustache covers, the better off society would be, in my estimation. Of course, that's the socialist in me talking...

-- Bingo1 (, October 10, 2000.


"Too many people get loony during a full moon" I resemble that remark!!! It helps keep the real loonies at bay.I for one can't wait to stand in the expansive desert under God's little lantern and howl with reckless excitement like a banshee,what a hoot!!!


I ain't cuttin' MY mustache dude!!!!!!! Besides,bein' a Libertarian,I don't have to ; )

-- capnfun (, October 10, 2000.

Funny thing is...

When the boys go on their 10 day boat trip, drinkin beer, smokin cigars, telling dirty jokes, farting, and peeing into the river, most of us leave the razors at home. I end up looking like an Amish guy, since I cannot grow a mustache to save my life even though the beard grows just fine.

So I guess I'll need to get me one of those Wal-Mart mustaches for Hitler Day.

-- Uncle Deedah (, October 10, 2000.


You raise some interesting points.

I just have a few minutes right now and Ill be pretty much offline until tomorrow, but I wanted to sneak in a word about your comments, then maybe expand on it if youre interested.

Just taking Plato and Aristotle for now 

Theres no question that Plato was the father of collectivism. Aristotles writings do include a polemic against the more extreme features of Platos collectivism, but he did not advocate individualism. Aristotles politics was a mixture of statist and anti-statist elements. Its true  you do have to go forward to Locke, to see the individualism that I feel was inherent in Aristotles philosophy all along. Wittingly or not, Locke, et. al. just helped to tease it out.

I have to split now, but if youre interested, I think I can connect the philosophical chains that would show individualism as implied in Aristotles philosophy, even though he himself didnt recognize it.

And there's no way that I figured this out on my own. But I really think I can show it to you, although it could take a few long posts. Let me know.

-- eve (, October 11, 2000.

Columbus was an Italian but he worked for the Spanish. Why do Italian-Americans celebrate this guy anyway? And why don't the Indians vent their rage on the Spanish who slaughtered more Indians than Al Capone did Irishmen. Instead the Spanish influence in the New World has prevailed and even become reverential among people of non-Spanish descent (Mexico is predominantly an Indian country but its religion and language are Spanish).

And let's quit venerating American Indians as some sort of morally perfect children of God. First, they are not Native Americans--they are Asians who invaded North America before the Europeans invaded North America. They were not so at-one with nature. They were efficient hunter-killers that quite possibly exterminated several large large mammal species like mammoths. Nor were they all peaceloving. There were many warrior tribes that preyed on other tribes. The movie Black Robe is an excellent portrayal of this difference in tribal behavior. Disease? There is evidence that syphilis was spread from the New World to Europe.

All I am saying is that Native Americans were/are real people, not innocent sheep. Let's stop romanticizing the American Indian and indulging ourselves in feel-good guilt. The conquistadores were also real people, people of their time. An ugly time, in which the stronger prevailed and the weaker were exploited and despised for their weakness. Are people better now? I hope so but I wouldn't bet on it. Slaughters continue everywhere, regardless of nationalty or religion.

-- (Paracelsus@Pb.Au), October 11, 2000.

Paraclesus -- now that's the reply I wish I'd written.

-- E.H. Porter (Just, October 12, 2000.

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