Monday, November 7, 2016

Rejecting First Victimhood

First victims as envisioned by horny environmentalist painters.

Just to touch on this one last time, I had someone describe my native American ancestors as the "first victims", a clever word play on the term "first peoples" which is increasingly being used in environmentalist propaganda to take the "American" out of the term "Native Americans".
  Now I think old Amerigo Vespucci was a no-good con-artist for how he got the New World named after himself, but we're stuck with the name and nobody really remembers Vespucci anymore anyway, so I have no trouble with the other terms. Truth be told the Cherokees on my side and the Choctaw on my wife's side probably thought of themselves as the Sioux did - as the human beings.

I'm as sanguine about what was done to the natives in the conquest of the Americas as anybody (and it was a conquest make no mistake). Some of my ancestors were first peoples It could have gone much more smoothly save for the troublemakers. Most of us were farmers and only wanted to use the land to grow food and raise livestock. There was plenty of space after all. As farmers, builders and manufacturers, we brought civilization's tools with us which could have been used by native populations to improve the quality of their own lives. Some of the tribes developed working relationships with the more technologically advanced invaders developed alliances. What spoiled it was the thugs and hooligans on both sides that preyed upon the innocent. There was much unnecessary killing that happened with plenty of guilt on both sides.

Some groups of Native Americans were little more than bands of thugs, stealing from other tribes and murdering Native Americans and settlers alike.

Some groups of settlers were every bit as bad.
It was, after all, the French and English who invented scalping. Had the good folk on both sides managed to get together and shut down the thugs and bullies that were starting all these brush fire wars between groups of good people, America's story might have been much different, especially for the natives.

The trouble is that too many good people are so focused on making a living and caring for their families that they don't have a lot of time and energy left for forcing all those bad people to behave themselves. It's always that way with good people - too busy doing good to waste energy on dealing with bad people especially when they are trying to survive in a wilderness. And there are so many rotten people and it takes so few of them to commit enough atrocities to set off a war.  Police have discovered that if you can remove just a handful of career crooks from a community, the crime rate drops precipitously. Perhaps if we could have eliminated some of our more thuggish forefathers from the gene pool at the time, things could have gone much more peacefully.

Now that civilization is plugging along, however, we need to take a closer, reasoned and less emotional response to the issues we face and to reason together to find solutions. As a community organizer, my job was to found ways to help people who thought they were liberals and people who thought they were conservatives discover that they were really all just people and that the issues were the same for all of us. We only disagreed on how to solve the problems. When we focused on the problems instead of trying to ram the square pegs into the ideological round holes, we could figure out some amazingly effective ways to fix things that were wrong.

The problem long term is that in this world there will always be evil people who are in it for their own benefit and no one else's. These trouble-makers are hard to see because they walk about amongst us disguised as politicians, lawyers, businessmen, union leaders, socialites, philanthropists and community "leaders". When I was doing nonprofit work in Tyler, Texas, I was shocked to discover that on those big marble donor walls they put on college buildings and hospitals, the list of "benefactors" contained both would-be saints and hard-core sinners. There were racial bigots who donated to "black" charities. One excused himself by saying black people "need" their own churches and institutions separate from whites. We had pedophiles organizing benefits and donating to children's charities. I had one lady tell me she gave money to charities because she couldn't bear to look at anything "ugly" and by giving her husband's money to these charities, she could avoid having to see ugly people and unhappy situations without any guilt. She'd bought emotional absolution so she wouldn't have to feel guilty about being wealthy.

Before we choose sides on issues, perhaps we should examine our own hearts first. If you want to be a card-carrying good guy, you should determine whether you are truly on the side of the angels or you are merely looking for an excuse to push aside our own guilt with bribes and posturing, so that you may live comfortably on the side of the damned and bask in your unearned moral superiority.

© 2016 by Tom King

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