It’s October 12th, traditionally known as Columbus Day (celebrated on the second Monday in October) but now designated in some parts of the country as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Which “indigenous people” do these historical revisionists “have in mind? Is it the Kalinago people, who ate roasted human flesh, with a particular affinity for the remains of babies and fetuses? Is it the Aztecs, who killed an estimated 84,000 people in four days in their consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan?” (Source)
Supposedly Christopher Columbus was a blood-thirsty genocidal maniac while the peoples of the Americas were peace-loving guardians of Mother Earth. Much of this craziness comes from Howard Zinn’s book A People’s History of the United States. For readable refutations, see Mary Grabar’s Debunking Howard Zinn and Debunking the 1619 Project. It’s telling that Wikipedia’s page on Howard Zinn does not mention Grabar’s book in its “Controversies and Critiques” category.
America's Christian History: The Untold Story
From the founding of the colonies to the declaration of the Supreme Court, America's heritage is built up on the principles of the Christian religion. And yet the secularists are dismantling this foundation brick by brick, attempting to deny the very core of our national life. Christianity is written on every page of America's amazing history. Gary DeMar presents well-documented facts which will change your perspective about what it means to be a Christian in America.Buy Now
Zinn writes a lot about oppression, but “[h]e found it almost impossible to condemn atrocities committed by the Communist regimes of Stalin and Mao, owing, no doubt to his membership in the Communist Party. According to Ronald Radosh, one of the most prominent students of Communism, ‘Zinn was an active member of the Communist Party (CPUSA) — a membership which he never acknowledged and when asked, denied.’” (Source)
Armchair quarterbacks who have never played football and politicians who never ran a business are today’s experts. Pouncing on Columbus is today’s new sport with many sporting events to follow. There are few people today who could accomplish what Columbus did without the ability to calculate longitude, no way to call for help if there was an emergency at sea, or navigate at night with a cloud-covered sky. Was he a perfect man? Not at all. But was he the monster Leftists claim he was? He was not. The criticisms most often come from people who have not produced anything of value. “Let those who are fond of blaming and finding fault, while they sit safely at home, ask, ‘Why did you not do thus and so?’” wrote Christopher Columbus in his Lettera Rarissima.
There’s more to Columbus than you’ll find in Zinn’s book and others who follow his research methods.
Some of the Spanish conquistadors who came to the Americas over the next century were just as cruel as the worst indigenous brutes but it’s utterly unfair to lump Columbus among them. Columbus executed some of his own crew for acts of cruelty toward the natives. “It’s a sad twist of fate,” writes historian Jarrett Stepman in his authoritative book, The War on History, “that Columbus now gets blamed for the very actions he tried to prevent… Primitive societies are often a far cry from the ideal image of the noble savage famously conjured up” by armchair academic charlatans like Howard Zinn.
Some of those charlatans blame Columbus for inaugurating an influx of European explorers who brought devastating diseases with them, centuries before the world even knew of such things as viruses, bacteria, parasites, or sanitation. Diseases among the indigenous peoples were already epidemic and were the leading reasons why few lived beyond the age of 35.
What about the fact that Columbus set sail for Asia and not only never made it, he died in 1506 thinking that in fact, he had? Can we fault him for not knowing when he headed west from Europe that there were two entire continents in the way (North and South America)? If we do, then we should question the wisdom of the many other fathers of accidental discoveries — from x-rays to quinine to corn flakes and Vaseline. (Source)
We can add to the list penicillin, the microwave, anesthesia, Velcro, Teflon, vulcanized rubber, Viagra, Play-doh, safety glass, and Teflon. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by accident, as were Archimedes and the principle of displacement, and Louis Pasteur and pasteurization.
It was inevitable that the Americas would be discovered. There is evidence that before Columbus established a viable water route to what was considered a new world others had been there before but had not established anything that became permanent.
When European settlers arrived in what is now America, the natives were Stone Age people, thousands of years behind the Europeans in cultural and scientific development. They had not discovered metals. They wore animal skins. They had no draft animals; some say this is why they had not invented the wheel. Warfare of the cruelest sort was constant among most of the tribes, many of which practiced slavery. Among the more powerful, public torture of captured enemies was a popular form of entertainment. Needless to say, virtually nothing that could be considered medical care existed, and life expectancy was appallingly low. (Source)
Those evaluating the atrocities of the past have no way to account for what’s good or evil. They only believe in the moral absolutes they get to define as good, beneficial, and profitable. On the one hand, killing unborn babies is a good moral absolute, on the other hand being able to make decisions about what goes into your own body is a moral evil that must be countered by government edicts and if necessary by force.
Banned Book Week was just celebrated by the usual people, the same people who are in the cancel-culture business. Soon after, Google, the owners of YouTube, blocked Ads from appearing next to content questioning the Climate Change narrative. “The ban applies to ‘content that contradicts the well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change,’ Google, the world’s largest digital-ad company by revenue, said in a blog post Thursday.” (WSJ) Try posting something on Facebook that questions anything about COVID-19.
What used to be a call for legitimate and productive criticism now has been weaponized so that no criticism is permitted. This is especially true among those institutionalizing Social Justice Theory and its application to every social construct. They hold all the cards and the right to cancel anything and anyone that does not meet with their approval. The slightest perceived infraction can derail a promising career or cancel a product line:
The job of the Theorist as activist is to scrutinize texts, events, culture, activities, places, spaces, attitudes, mind-sets, phrasing, dress, and every conceivable cultural artifact for hidden bigotry, then expose it and purge it and its source from society—or at least access to the means of cultural production.
Criticisms and cancellations are one-way streets. Those who are doing the canceling and rewriting of history can’t be criticized. For them, the debates are over. Either go along or be relegated to the dust bin of history.
History 101: Lessons from the Past
History 101 is an overview course designed to help Christians understand their place in the historical timeline. With study materials in audio, video, and print, History 101 will give the student of history much to think about. This course will point the way forward by revealing how we got where we are. You will be thrilled and encouraged by the stories from ancient and not-so-ancient history.Buy Now
Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody (Durham, NC: Pitchstone Publishing, 2020), 222.