Corpse Bashing

Mundane day. And a holy day: the observance of the nth discovery of the Americas by Europeans. The holiday is named after Christopher Columbus which is an Americanization of an Hispanicization of an Italian (?) name. Many people – number and fraction of population unknown but not too many since it isn’t a political thing – seem to want to do away with the holiday because they blame Columbus for the inhumanity and social extinction perpetrated on the (then) Americans by the Europeans. Some even want to rename the holiday Native American Day.

This is Stercus Tauri. There are NO Native Americans. Humans did not evolve in the Americas. All of us came here from Europe/Asia/Africa. You can call them First Peoples like the Canadians do but that is also possibly specious since we don;t have a good handle on “First”. There is a growing body of geneto-anthropological data that supports the idea but it has the usual archaeological/paleontological uncertainties. Namely, preserved old bones are stochastic and we have scant idea of the probabilities. That’s one of the nice things about science. There is NO truth. And we are the better for it.

Anyway, I am not opposed to keeping the day named after Columbus. After all, all holidays are arbitrary. I will stop short of saying all holy days are arbitrary because that isn’t testable. Holidays are. Columbus pulled it all together and got it documented. That’s the usual standard for attribution. Yes, there were predecessors, otherwise there would have been no humans here, which makes for an intriguing bit of peculation but is not relevant. They didn’t document it. 

And the cruelties he displayed were quite moderate given the cruelties shown to him by the natives. (Not a popular topic; noble savage and all that stercus tauri.) Yes, societies were destroyed and natives enslaved but that’s consistent with the social practices of both sides. In fact, some of the natives added cannibalism to the list and unless we consider Christianists to be such that’s a cruelty asymmetry. So the most we can penalize Columbus for is being a terrible, nosy neighbor.

Rule 3: you don;t get to pick your family nor neighbors.

It’s also a dying holiday. Only the YG observes it any more. Schule is still sessioned. Local and state governments are still withholding services to their citizens but not because of holiday. Evil. So let’s do away with government and partisanship. But we can’t. So go do something that is constructive instead of complaining about evil past. We have plenty of evil present and you’re doing nothing about it.

Advertisements