Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Stop Picking on Columbus!

Was Christopher Columbus Really Bad For America?

In the interest of full disclosure, many of my ancestors were Native American - Cherokee for some of them. My wife has Alabama-Coushatta ancestors. My ancestors were badly mistreated by some of my other ancestors. Some of my other ancestors mistreated by them. Plenty of naughty behavior on both sides. It's just one bunch of my ancestors were simply better at fighting than the other bunch. That's about all it was. But make no mistake. Both sides were responsible.

This from Aztec "Art".
So, this time of year it has become the thing to do for the progressive left to blame poor old Columbus and those who followed him for killing some 300 million or so Native Americans. Of course, there probably weren't that many Native North and South Americans who lived between the time Columbus came and now - at least not so long as the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas had their way. And if there is, it's pretty obvious white folks didn't manage to kill them all.

Did my European ancestors bring some diseases with them?
  Yes. but that wasn't deliberate. The smallpox blanket story is balderdash. It supposedly happened before anyone actually knew about germs and how diseases spread.  Scalping? The French and English used that, but the gentle Native Americans took it up with a vengeance. Did the Spanish wage war on the Meso-American native civilizations. Well, that's true, but then, the Meso-Americans were waging war long before the Spaniards came. The Spaniards were just better at it.

What the folks spreading around the mythology of the "noble savage" and the sophisticated native civilizations don't tell you is that the Natives weren't all that noble or sophisticated. The civilizations of the Purépechas, the Toltecs, the Olmecs, the Teotihuacán, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and the Incans were really quite good at mass murder. Human sacrifice, for instance, has been described, even by those who try to justify their practices, as "integral" to their societies. By integral, they mean, these guys did a lot of sacrificing.

Human sacrifice was, for instance the way the Aztecs sought to repay their debt to the gods. Apologists for the Aztecs carry on about how Aztecs gladly participated in the sacrifices, parting with all their worldly goods and their lives. Given the seriously perverse rituals related to these sacrifices, I rather doubt they were that thrilled about it. The "stage" for human sacrifice was the massive temple-pyramids. The kept all their bestest art, treasure and the bones of their victims buried beneath it.

The Aztecs were not peaceful; the were quite warlike. Three tribes, the Aztecs, Tlaxcala, Huexotzingo and Cholula formed an alliance. Fifty years before Columbus, Central America had a series of droughts and famines. These guys decided that it was punishment by the gods because they weren't properly honored. Me? I think the priests were a bunch of perverts. They ginned up what they called the "Flower Wars". They used these wars to obtain captives for human sacrifice. This ritualized warfare was used as a way to train soldiers for close combat. Warriors were supposed to fight in close and injure enemies rather than kill them. Captives were saved for the altars.

Then came the fun parts. The person to be sacrificed would be held spread-eagled by four priests on a stone slab. A fifth priest would rip open his or her abdomen with a flint knife. Then they would extract the beating heart, put it in a bowl. Sometimes they would lop off the victim's arms and legs and then throw the body down the temple stairs. Torture and beating were often administered followed by decapitation. There was so much blood, they had to build channels in the stonework to carry off all the blood. Everybody down at the bottom would stab and pierce themselves while dancing, beating drums and blowing whistles.

Nothing says "civilization" quite like
everyone sitting around naked
while eating your neighbors for lunch!
The body parts were disposed of and/or eaten by the priests and celebrants (yes cannabalism was quite popular in Meso-America). The warrior who captured the victim got all the meaty bits. The viscera was fed to animals in the Aztec zoological park. Heads were lopped off and stuck up on poles. Sometimes they wrapped victims up into a ball and kicked them around, playing some kind game with their bodies until they were dead. Aztec priests would often skin the victims while they were still breathing and dress themselves up in the skin of the victims (shades of Hannibal Lecter).

Sometimes when the Meso-Americans got bored cutting up naked people, they might shoot them with arrows till they looked like pincushions and slowly bled to death. Sometimes they played ball games and killed the losing team. They also burned victims alive, flayed them alive or drowned them. One inscription claims to have sacrificed 86,400 prisoners in just four days of carnage. Apologists for the Aztecs downplay that number to as low as 10,000, seemingly unaware of how appalling it would be to murder that many people deliberately in just four days.

And the Aztecs weren't alone in committing mass murder. The Mayans did it, using the same techniques. They were fond of disemboweling their living victims. There are huge sinkholes in the Yucatan Peninsula where they used to throw living victims to die slowly. The Incas in Peru liked to murder children. They would abandon them on mountains to die of the cold. Sometimes they just buried them alive. Great fun. It's been estimated that one in five children died every year on the sacrificial altars. That estimate comes from people who actually admire the Meso-American civilizations.

I can see why progressives would admire the Meso-American civilizations - an elite decadent ruling class and all those peons to slave away building pyramids and providing all that delightful serial killing for them. Apparently, I am told, I just don't understand them. After all their victims were dressed so nicely and they were told they'd go to heaven and be served by virgins and such.  Where have we heard that lately?

Historian Michael Harner estimated that some 250,000 Mexicas went to the altars annually. Apologists argue that 20,000 is more "plausible" as though somehow brutally murdering 20,000 people makes it all better. And this was going on centuries before Columbus ever got here.

Archaeologist are constantly digging up
Incan child sacrificial victims. The actual
toll of dead Inca kids may be worse than
anyone has previously thought.
People who blithely claim that white people beat that death toll really don't have a clue. I'm not excusing the Trail of Tears or the massacres by white vigilante groups. There's no excuse for what whites did, but the Indians were not without blame in the whole thing. Some of the tribes were little more than roving street gangs only they didn't have streets. They stole horses, children and women, wiped out whole villages and attacked farms and wagon trains.

There's plenty of blame to go around for everyone. Columbus may have been an arrogant European, but he was not solely to blame for the horrors that ensued. It could be argued that even Native Americans are rather better off than they were when Columbus arrived. They no longer live to the ripe old age of 29. They don't get swept up and brutally torture, dismembered and eaten by priestly perverts who enjoy that sort of thing.

The Aztec religion was the most blood thirsty in all pre-Columbian America. Others practiced human sacrifice but nobody was close to the Aztecs for cruelty and the efficiency of their mass murder. So when Cortez showed up, practically every neighboring tribe joined up with the Spaniards to put an end to the Aztec empire. If you think America would have been better off if Columbus had stayed away and left those bloodthirsty savages in charge to create a continent wide civilization, you have to be really indulging in an incredible level of wishful thinking and willful ignorance of how history works.

Anybody who looks at the impact of the "European Invasion" on the modern Americas, has to see that things are way better than they were under domination of the Meso-American civilizations and the tribal cultures of the hinterlands. The "civilizations" of the Americas where three or four millenia behind European civilization. Had Europeans stayed away altogether Americans would still be living possibly at an early Greco-Roman or even Persian level of civilization had they actually managed to advance at all. And given the level of ingrained bloodlust and perversion, I rather doubt there'd have been much of a chance of that.

All in all, Columbus may have done my native ancestors a favor. And native is probably a misnomer anyway given that they were immigrants themselves. So I think I will give a nod to old Christopher this Columbus Day. I encourage you to do the same.

© 2017 by Tom King

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