Friday, November 23, 2007


As yesterday's festivities pass into memory here is a clear thought from the efficacious Right Wing Nuthouse:

I know, I know. We simply can’t let a Thanksgiving go by without being made to feel simply awful as a result of rapacious white Europeans betraying and eventually murdering Rousseau’s “noble savage” in bunches. This line of thinking leads to a rather interesting conclusion; Europeans should have stayed in Europe, allowing only Asians to emigrate to North and South America.

If European naval technology had been just a little less advanced, we very well could be speaking some Asian tongue today—or perhaps even Polynesian given the enormous skill and intrepidness of their sailors. The last great migration from Asia may have occurred as recently as 6,000 BC according to some exhaustive yet controversial linguistic studies. But if European ship building improvements had lagged by just a couple of hundred years, North America would have been a ripe target for settlement by any number of Asian cultures. Then, it would have been rapacious yellow men who would have gotten tagged with killing the native population.

That’s because it didn’t matter who came, the clash of civilizations was inevitable. Failing to understand our early history in the context of the history of migrating peoples from the time that Homo Sapiens first moved out of Africa is shallow, stupid, and these days, politically motivated. It doesn’t absolve white people of murder nor does it lessen the tragedy of the destruction of native American culture. But thinking in these terms should animate our total understanding of the history of our continent and our country—something the modern day left, whose guilt-ridden diatribes against our ancestors always sounds such a discordant note on this, the most unique of American holidays, deliberately ignores in order to prove their solidarity with the oppressed.

All of that was in the future when the Pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621 in recognition of the help given to them by the Cape Cod Indian tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag. By that time, the Pilgrim’s numbers had been dramatically reduced by disease, losing more than half the number that landed at Plymouth Rock. The Indians had no doubt contributed to the survival of the remainder by showing them how and where to fish as well as introducing them to some native American crops like Maize and beans.

But what we tend to forget about the Pilgrims is that they were not explorers or people inured to hardship. They were country folk from the Midlands of England—most of them were not farmers or possessing the skills necessary to begin a colony. They were simple townsfolk whose separatist ideas about the Church of England landed them in trouble with the authorities – so much so that they were driven out of the country. First to Holland, where their religious views were tolerated but where parents were concerned that the children were losing their essential “Englishness” and pined for the homeland. That’s when William Bradford made a deal with the London Company for a land patent and the crossing was planned.

Read it all...

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