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Old May 19 2013, 08:53 PM   #55
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Location: Montgomery County, State of Maryland
Re: Had we ever seen imperial democracies in Trek? - "'Your coming is not for trade, but to invade my people and possess my country...' In 1610 the London Company instructed Gates, the newly appointed colonial governor, to Christianize the natives and absorb them into the colony."

And so many more:

That's damn near 200 years of constant warfare between Europeans and Native American nations. Neither side were angels; what we would today consider war crimes and atrocities were committed by both sides. The Indian nations were not pure and virtuous, and did fight one-another too -- and often allied with Europeans to do so. But the fact remains that the constant pattern from the 1600s to the 1800s was European encroachment onto Native American lands, leading to conflict, violence, and then the European control of those lands.

This was a systematic campaign over the course of almost two hundred years to expand and take control of Central North America. The words "manifest destiny" come to mind.

This does not mean America is evil. Acknowledging this does not mean one must hate one's country.

It does not mean that the Europeans who came to North America always came with an intent to "subjugate" the Indians -- though many of them did, what with their goal of "Christianizing" and "civilizing" them. (The people of New France -- what later became French Canada -- had particularly enlightened ideas about peaceful relations and comingling with their Native neighbors.)

But by the same token, when subjugation became necessary for European or Euro-American control of land and resources, it was pursued. And the expansionistic desires of both the Puritans of New England and the slave lords of the Deep South are well-established historical facts.

This does not make America particularly worse than other nations -- many of the Indian nations themselves had histories of launching wars of aggression and conquest against other Indian nations. But none of that makes it moral, either.

The simple fact is that the United States is the product of a long campaign to expand into Indian land and take control. It's not like they took control of Central North America by accident.

R. Star wrote: View Post
For whatever reason there's a growing trend these days to cast scorn and blame down on our ancestors as if somehow it will make them look more enlightened. From my experience the more someone points their finger and casts blame, they're just trying to avoid people from looking at and scrutinizing them. Not to mention it's just petty and childish.
1. Do we owe our ancestors unquestioning reverence? Why are we not supposed to be critical of their policies? Why, exactly, is it not politically correct to say, "My ancestors did this, and this was wrong?"

2. I have often defended, and will continue to defend, the revolutionary generation of Americans from what I perceive as unfair criticism. I've been on the TrekBB over ten years, and any number of times, I've gotten into arguments with people who, for instance, think the Thirteen Colonies did not have a legitimate right to rebel against Great Britain. I've pointed out that the British once had a policy of salutary neglect, and that following the French and Indian War, a new British administration decided to interfere in internal colonial affairs in manners unheard of before -- that the British betrayed the Americans long before the Americans betrayed the British by declaring independence.

Which is a very long way of saying: Criticizing bad things one's ancestors did does not mean being mindlessly hateful of them, either. It is entirely possible to celebrate the good things one's ancestors did, while also condemning the bad.

It may not be politically correct, but I have no interest in pretending I don't see the bad things our ancestors did and in just handing them mindless praise.

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
You do arrogant, self-righteous humility just like a good Catholic.
You know, I haven't insulted a single person in this thread -- and ad hominem attacks are in general a logical fallacy.

But I gotta say, I don't understand what your beef is with Catholics. There are plenty of Protestants and Jews out there who have just as big of guilt complexes as any Catholic, and plenty of Catholics out there who are as shameless. Possessing a guilt complex has way more to do with individual personalities than with religious affiliation.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Europeans came to the Americas basically to make new lives for themselves, to escape the societies behind them and to find opportunities to succeed and grow.
This is half-true. Different colonies were founded for different reasons. Spanish colonies in what is now the American Southwest were founded with the explicit goal of turning the Native American nations into good Catholic subjects of Madrid. New France was settled to expand French colonial holdings and to maintain peaceful, equal relations with the Natives but with the hopes of peacefully persuading them to become Catholic. New England was founded to be a model Puritan society in a new covenant with God, which would then expand and convert others to their Calvinist ways. Tidewater was founded to be a replica of English manor life for the younger sons of English aristocracy. The Deep South was founded as a replica of the Barbados apartheid slave society. The Spanish Empire in South America was founded with the explicit purpose of exploiting Native labor and extracting natural resources. And, of course, the interests of the common man from Europe were often different from the interests of the political elite founding these colonies.

None of this changes the fact that a systematic campaign to seize Indian land was undertaken.

Again, there was never this "grand plan" you speak of.
The relevant term is "manifest destiny."

What happens now Sci? Are you going to tell us of the deliberate "systematic project" on the part of the people in the near east to spread the bubonic plague through-out Europe?

During the Middle Ages, victims of the bubonic plague were used for biological attacks, often by flinging fomites such as infected corpses and excrement over castle walls using catapults. In 1346, during the siege of Kafa (now Feodossia, Ukraine) the attacking Tartar Forces which were subjugated by the Mongol empire under Genghis Khan, used the bodies of Mongol warriors of the Golden Horde who had died of plague, as weapons. An outbreak of plague followed and the defending forces retreated, followed by the conquest of the city by the Mongols. It has been speculated that this operation may have been responsible for the advent of the Black Death in Europe. At the time, the attackers thought that the stench was enough to kill them, though it was the disease that was deadly.[6][7]
At the siege of Thun-l'Évêque in 1340, during the Hundred Years' War, the attackers catapulted decomposing animals into the besieged area.[8]
In 1422, during the siege of Karlstein Castle in Bohemia, Hussite attackers used catapults to throw dead (but not plague-infected) bodies and 2000 carriage-loads of dung over the walls.[9]
Albert Arthur wrote: View Post
Poppycock. Europeans didn't "steal" the land
Then why two hundred years' worth of wars with the Indians?

any more than half the Indians who were living here in 1600 had stolen the land from the other Indians who lived here previously.
Wars of conquest and ethnic cleansings are theft of the land (amongst other things). It doesn't matter if it's the Iroquois stealing from the Huron, or the Americans stealing from the Iroquois, or the French stealing from the Germans, or the Germans stealing from the French.

There have been mass immigrations throughout history. Invariably, there is armed conflict as a result. One side wins, the other loses. The Indians were innocent bystanders. They fought a 200 year war and lost.
I am at a loss as to how you can describe mass migration from one culture onto another culture's land, resulting in armed conflict and then the latter culture's loss and expulsion or subjugation, as anything other than "theft."

Get a grip on your anti-Americanism, Sci. Grow up!
You know, funny story. Every year on 4 July, I pull out a copy of the Declaration of Independence and read it out load. Just to myself. The founding principle of equality, and of the right of people to institute or abolish governments for the protection of their natural rights? It's probably the most inspirational document in history. As far as I'm concerned, by writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson (inadvertently) planted the seeds of the civil rights movement; the women's rights movement; the gay rights movement; the social justice movement; the workers' rights movement; etc. There there, in that quintessentially American document, we have the origins of the political struggles that make the world a better place.

So, no, I am not anti-American. What I am is someone willing to call a spade a spade. Willing to say that, no, the Europeans did not have a right to encroach on Native American land if the Native Americans didn't want them to. Willing to say that they should not have expanded without consent and a peaceful, egalitarian relationship with the Indians.

It's not anti-American to say that. Just like it's not anti-English to say that England shouldn't have conquered Ireland. Just like it's not anti-German to say that Germany should not have invaded Poland. Just like it's not anti-French to say that France should not have conquered Algeria. Just like it's not anti-Japanese to say that Japan should not have conquered Korea.

And there is nothing "grown up" about being unwilling to criticize one's ancestors. And nothing immature about doing so.

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post
For whatever reason there's a growing trend these days to cast scorn and blame down on our ancestors as if somehow it will make them look more enlightened. From my experience the more someone points their finger and casts blame, they're just trying to avoid people from looking at and scrutinizing them. Not to mention it's just petty and childish.
Not recent, self-righteous Christians have been using the 'We have sinned, Lord' for ages in order to pontificate and hector people into behaving in a manner they consider desirable. Sci is using a very old, dogeared playbook.
If I am hectoring people into behaving a certain way, what way is that? What, exactly, am I trying to manipulate you into doing?

As I have already said, I am not the one who has been insulting people in this thread.
Democratic socialism is the hope of human freedom.
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