Millions of tribal Indians are believed to have died as a result of European colonization backed by the Church, through slaughter, disease or enslavement.The only purpose of such a statement is to emphasize how bad European white culture is compared to the poor oppressed indiginous culture. This as we all know is the primary tenet of multiculuralism: all cultures are equally good, except fro Western culture which is evil evil evil. Al-Reuters could have escalated the provocation if only America had colonized Venezuela. Maybe though, they can alter history enough to ensure that happens.
The second is that this is a "news" article that contains the following laughable statement about the socialist thug currently consolidating absolute power in Venezuela:
Chavez, who has expanded the rights of indigenous peoples from the Amazon rainforest to the Caribbean, said he felt he was Indian because Venezuelans are a mix of the European race and indigenous peoples.
This is presented as undisputed fact. I mean, isn't Chavez wonderful? What a guy!! He has "expanded the rights" of the poor and oppressed indigenous peoples.
What is Reuters, Chavez' publicist?
Many dictators claim to be standing up for the "rights" of the oppressed; that's how those dictators get power. Hitler's preferred "oppressed: population were Aryans, as I recall; and, he also nationalized banks and industry to consolidate his power. Interestingly, while they are standing up for the rights of the oppressed, these very same champions almost always manage to find a group to demonized so that failure can be externalized and not blamed on the regime. Funny how it works like that, and Chavez is hardly an exception to this motif.
One of the commenters in my post on The Transformation of Education into Indoctrination makes the following excellent point:
There has recently been a survey of Australian High School history students which concluded that they were feeling guilty and uncomfortable at the way the colonial history curriculum was being taught. Similarly to the US, leftist educators have promulgated a "black armband" version of our colonial past and particularly as it appliied to the indigenous aborigines.
Any historian who dares to challenge this orthodoxy of genocide and subjugation is howled down as a racist and apologist for the imperialists. http://www.adelaideinstitute.org...ndschuttle1.htm
This review of one particular book concludes with a calm but telling indictment of the postmodernist educational agenda.
"I want to conclude by looking at the motives of historians like Lyndall Ryan and why they write things which are apparently not true.
One critic of Windschuttle, Alan Atkinson, accused him of wanting to “take the discipline back to some golden age, when it was all about facts.” (Australian Book Review, February 2003, p 4 ). This sounds bizarre. We assume history books describe facts and are based on facts. If history is not supposed to be about facts and not based on facts, then what are you supposed to base it on?
This is an issue, which Windschuttle addressed in an earlier book The Killing of History and in several articles on his webpage, The Sydney Line, about history and postmodernism. As the word suggests, postmodernism means what comes after modernism. Modernism, in this context, means the belief that it is possible to find out the facts, to know what is true. Postmodernists believe that it is impossible to know the facts and find out what really happened in the past. They believe everyone is so politically and culturally biased that it is impossible not to be biased and to see things objectively as they really are, so the truth and facts are unknowable. They believe the traditional writing of history, based on facts and evidence, has been used to oppress women and ethnic minorities. So they believe the new purpose of history writing should be to be deliberately politically biased and write history that supports a political agenda, that is, propaganda, in favour of the oppressed minority, such as Aboriginal land rights in this context. Rather than basing what they write on the evidence, they twist or invent the evidence to support their political agenda, much in the same way that Communists used to rewrite history and make events disappear to make history fit their Communist ideology.
Postmodernists try to justify their bias and creative writing to make up for the way Aborigines or other minorities have been mistreated in the past. However, if they do not believe there are facts and it is impossible to know what really happened, then how can they know the minority group was mistreated or oppressed in the first place? Whatever our political agendas, what we believe about history has to be based on the evidence, not on what we would like to believe happened. "(Emphasis mine)
In an earlier post about the intellectual origins of neoconservatism, which has been a counter-movement to postmodernism and seeks to reclaim historical perspective and preserve the intellectual heritage of Western civilization-- I discussed at length the postmodernist's tendency to rewrite history to make it to fit a particular ideological template. The points of that articale bear repeating, since, as the Chavez example glaringly demonstrates, postmodern mantras and manipulations are inserted everywhere--in news articles like the Reuters one linked above; in educational curricula and in art and even smoothly inserted into entertainment. Indeed, the ubiquitous propaganda generated by the postmodern worldview is designed specifically to ensure that no mind be allowed to come to any "unapproved" conclusions or have any "politically incorrect" thoughts flitting around in the synapses.
Big Brother is always watching and no area is too trivial or inconsequential that it can't be used as an object lesson on the correct way to think; witness the link above where even in a film that promotes bestiality in a positive and sympathetic manner, it's important to have the proper political perspective.
The postmodern slogans and talking points of the left are everywhere portrayed as if they were universal, incontravertible, and absolute truth. Which is very curious since postmodernists will tell you that all truth is relative-- except, of course, for postmodernism which is absolutely true.
As I noted:
The rise of neoconservatism represents the only modern intellectual counter and the only known antidote to the infection of postmodernism and its resultant toxic effects on philosophy, rehtoric, and politics.
In order to succeed in undoing and undermining the clear and unambiguous evidence of socialism's and communism's utter human toxicity, the totalitarians of the political left had to undermine nothing less than reality, reason, and truth. Furthermore, they had to deconstruct and invalidate human consciousness, making sure that the everyone understood that the only apparatus available to humans for perceiving reality--the mind--was completely unreliable, and that the evidence of the senses must therefore be discounted. This intellectual strategy resulted in a pervasive cultural relativism and intellectual nihilism that permeated all aspects of society and intellectual thought. Words and language were redefined to mean whatever one wanted; history was deconstructed--ostensibly to expose it's lies, but really to render it meaningless; and the ideas and values that were the foundation of Western civilization were mocked and shown by postmodern "logic" to be no better than any other random ideas.
Thus, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose; and not significantly different from slavery; democracy is just as much a fraud as tyranny; that which was always considered the good, is really just as evil as evil; and so on. Twentieth century postmodernists thus set themselves up as culturally and morally superior to all other humans in history, and with the postmodern relativistic advantage, they could pass judgement on everyone and everything. Thus from the superior postmodern perspective, there was nothing of value to learn from a slave-holding Thomas Jefferson; there is no moral superiority in a system that strives toward increasing individual human freedom and dignity compared to a system that doesn't even recognize the rights of the individual. There is no difference between right and wrong; good and evil--all are suspect, all are hypcritical, all are imperfect; and thus all such concepts are rendered irrelevant.
The key to this undoing of that which is good and conflating it with that which is evil; of deconstructing the reality and reason upon which more than 5000 years of civilization is founded; is through the nihilistic process of deconstructing and reinterpreting the historical past and redefining and undermining its meaning.
You are probably familiar with the leftist drill, since it is now frequently applied to anything valued in the West (in the last week it has even been used to "demythologize" Thanksgiving so as to invalidate what that quintessential American holiday even means). By using the now-common relativistic formula, all individuals and thinkers in the past are ridiculed, demeaned, and scorned because they fail to live up to postmodern and politically correct standards of conduct. Thus, their ideas are considered meaningless and described as "hypocritical"--the absolutely worse possible sin from the leftist perspective.
On the deconstruction of the American past:
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington--all the Founding Fathers for the most part--did not have the consciousness of the postmodern intellectual: they were slaveholders! Yet they dared to consider the problem of human freedom, bound as they were to the cultural norms of their time. That they could not entirely break out of the culture of their time, but still could push the envelope of civilization forward is irrelevant to the postmodern left. From the left's perch of moral superiority they blithely dismiss these "white males" as hypocrites with no moral standing. Thus are the foundations and the generationally built constructs of civilization invalidated and destroyed. Is it any wonder that all that is left is the nihilistic garbage that postmodernism deems as "reality".Likewise, the postmodern left means us to understand that the exploration of the world by the intrepid Europeans; the discovery of other continents and all colonization--in other words, the rise of Western civilization and its expansion westward only resulted in "slaughter, disease or enslavement"; and that this process is merely one of "white imperialism".
But consider, if we do not understand the past; if we abandon the ideas that underlie our values and our morality-- how can we appreciate who we are today? If we are only allowed to think of Thomas Jefferson as a hypocritical colonial slaveholder; if we only see history as evil white males enslaving or slaughtering the oppressed indiginous cultures-- then we are forced to pronounce Jeffersons ideas on the struggle for human freedom as no better and no worse than Hitler's Kampf; and human progress itself as "oppressive".
And so, Jefferson's mind-blowing, paradigm-shattering declaration, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" has no more meaning or worth than Yasser Arafat's statement that, "Since we cannot defeat Israel in war; we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel." Both are either completely meaningless; or both are examples of freedom-fighters--who cares which? Bush = Hitler; Good = Evil; Freedom = Slavery; there is no way to judge because the nihilistic relativism we subscribe to has taken away our ability to morally distinguish and discriminate between right and wrong.
By discarding reason and reality; by abandoning the past and embracing moral and cultural relativism, the left has brought us to this place where we are morally and physically paralyzed and cannot distinguish between the deliberate targeting and killing of innocents and the accidental killing of innocents despite herculean efforts to avoid it; between waging war to give people a chance at freedom and democracy; and waging war for domination and imperialism; between standing up for what is right and accepting the consequences, and abandoning one's values and surrendering with "honor" to the scum of the earth.
This is the postmodern quest. To establish themselves as the arbiters of moral behavior by behaving immorally; of calling themselves "reality-based" without the necessity of having to acknowledge reality; by speaking "truth" to power, without even being capable of recognizing truth (isn't all truth relative, after all?); and by teaching history that fits the marxist/socialist template.
In the specific example from Reuters at the beginning of this post, where the "journalist" has set himself up as the arbiter of moral behavior, the correct way to think is clearly spelled out for us. No other interpretation of history is permitted; and the underlying assumption is that all cultures are equally good and special, the white male-dominated Western culture is uniquely evil and its values must be denounced by all right-thinking people.
Thus, European colonization of the New World was particularly evil and wrong because it disrupted ("enslaved and slaughtered")all those peaceful and morally superior cultures that were already here. SC&A have noted:
...much has been made of ‘Colonialism’ as the scapegoat for hindering change, but clearly, that excuse is wearing thin. Colonialism has now become the watchword- and an excuse for those who refuse to join the rest of a modern and productive society.
The legacy of colonialism is what those former colonies made of it. More often than not, colonialists came into a society that was far behind their own, in terms of achievement, advancement and human progress. Notwithstanding the mythical and fabricated notions that ‘the white man’ came into primitive, peaceful and loving cultures, only to destroy them, the fact remains that these cultures and societies could have been greatly benefited by the advent of the ‘white man.’ Those societies resisted the advances they could have assimilated into their own culture.
It is true there were abuses, of course, as there are in any human endeavor. It is also true that taking advantage of modern day tools and ideas are not an all or nothing proposition. Even today, there are groups of people that refuse the tools that might make their lives easier.
Strange, isn't it, that the same people who are adamant that Darwin's theory of evolution must not be "contaminated" with any non-scientific dogmas like creationism; and can be heard screaming with outrage if any hint of religion is allowed to seep into the curriculum believe that indigenous cultures must never be contaminated by new ideas or behaviors. You wonder how the hell they imagine that "evolution" actually takes place in the real world--either on the cellular or societal level?
Evolution is adaptation to change and change is constant. And it is a process that goes on at every level of human existence--from genes to culture. Those "indiginous cultures" which they see as somehow superior to Western culture and are eager to add to their preferred victim group list, are subject to it and must be capable of adapting to change--or they will die out just as surely as the platypus and other extinct species. Adaptation will either makes them stronger or will undo their "superiority". "Survival of the fittest" does not give a free pass to the unfit and unadaptable morally virtuous; and as Siggy notes above, the interaction of cultures, while not always peaceful, almost always results in a dynamic exchange of strengths and an infusion of creativity and innovation. Under ideal circumstances, both cultures will absorb aspects of the other and be stronger because of it.
But idealize the primitive; keep it forever in amber; demand that it forever be immutable and "uncorrupted" by change or progress; or by freedom and innovation--and you have the recipe for cultural stagnation and the crushing of the individual mind.
The postmodern left elevates clowns like Hugo Chavez and call him a "liberator"; they swoon over despots like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Fidel Castro; and have champagne toasts with fruitcakes like Kim Jung Il.
Karl Marx once said, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy and second as farce." And he was absolutely correct.
Marxism in its initial incarnation was the tragedy; and its current revival via postmodernism, is the farce.
UPDATE: I was thinking of the dodo, when I wrote the platypus. My bad. This error on my part clearly is convenient proof that nothing I say means anything. I am just crushed.