15 October 2014

We're All Barbarians

. . . or were at one time anyway.

I had to laugh and shake my head in amazement when I read a comment a month or so ago written by a popular Civil War blogger in which the blogger claimed that the phrase "politically correct" was "intellectually bankrupt."

That an educated person could write that with a straight face is jaw-dropping amazing, though given the climate in academia, I suppose it really shouldn't be. Generally speaking, those who poo-poo the notion of PC typically fall into one of the following categories:
  • The News Media
  • Politicians & Bureaucrats
  • Academics
Notice that all three have a lot invested in political correctness and the accompanying agenda. Take, for example, the fact some localities are now renaming, repudiating or ignoring *Columbus Day. Why? Because Columbus was an evil Christian European male who is wickedness incarnate for the destruction he brought upon the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Right. No PC to see here, move along. 

PC is about either soothing one's "guilty" conscience, or transferring that guilt to some other ostensibly guilty party. In the first case, it relieves one of their own personal guilt while in the latter, in transferring that guilt, gives power (at least in the transferor's mind), to the party embracing PC. The "transgressor" (violator of politically correct standards) "owes" someone or some party something due to their "guilt." This is what drives so much of current historiography in the United States - as respected (and honest) historians like Eugene Genovese and David McCullough have pointed out.

With all this in mind, Pat Buchanan wrote what I thought was an interesting piece recently which concludes we're all, pretty much, "the heirs of marauders, pirates, conquerors, colonizers, colonialists, and imperialists. And such knowledge is why so many have guilty consciences and seek to salve them by repudiating Columbus."

Read that piece here.

*By the way, I'm married to a descendant of indigenous peoples. She's cool with Columbus Day.


Craig Lyons said...

So Mr. Williams, when teachers teach about Columbus should they avoid talking about what happened to the indigenous people here in the New World?

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at how people react to - what I guess you would call -prejudice.

If you observe something over and over, then you are observing a "pattern." So the logical result of observing a pattern is to develop "stereotypes." And the natural result of stereotyping is a feeling of favoritism or "prejudice." I don't mean just racial prejudice, I mean any kind of prejudice.

patterns - stereotypes - prejudice

Governments operate on this principle every day. At airport security, there is prejudice - policies based on previous observations, but which may be unfair to a particular situation. Same with social services, car insurance, and police work. It is called actuarial statistics.

Your teenage son may be mature and responsible behind the wheel, but the insurance company is prejudiced against him because of actuarial statistics.

So when a person complains that they are being stereotyped, then they need to ask - what patterns do people observe over and over again which result in them being stereotyped? A teenage boy cannot help that he is a boy and that he is a teenager. It's not fair to have higher insurance rates.

If a child is taught over and over to call a ball a ball, then the child develops an association between a ball and the "word" ball. The ball shouldn't complain that people are prejudiced against balls. It is just an association between an idea and a word. Changing the "word" will not change the facts which give rise to the idea.

If you are hit by a ball, and people insist that it is not correct to call the ball a ball, then no matter what you call it, it is still a ball. A ball by any other name still hurts when it hits you.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Mr. Lyons:

No, they shouldn't. But we're not talking about teaching in a classroom setting. We're talking about a day of commemoration for an accomplished man.

I'll further respond with a rhetorical question - when the anniversary of JFK's assassination rolls around every year, should we focus on his known infidelities?

Furthermore, what do you have against the celebration of Italian-American heritage?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Anon - prejudice born of hatred for one's fellow man is evil. I know we'd all acknowledge that. The prejudices you are speaking of are quite different and common sense.

I am prejudiced when it comes to my choice of wives. I preferred a 5 foot, 2 inch, 120 pound, dark-haired, blue-eyed bombshell and that's what I chose - based on my preferences and prejudices. ;-)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Mr. Lyons - are you going to answer my questions? If you think you're going to pose questions on my blog and get answers, but ignore questions posed to you and continue to post here, you're mistaken.

Any further comments without answering the questions I posed to you will be deleted.

Craig Lyons said...

I'm sorry I have not had the opportunity to check back until now.

I take it the question is do I have a problem celebrating Italian-American Heritage.

No not at all. However I do like to tell the whole story. History is never just that simple. Should we demonize Columbus for what happened...maybe...maybe not. But I think many American Indians would like to have their side of the story considered.

I think JFK's indiscretions say something about his character. Do we have to bring it up on the anniversary of his assassination? No, but it is a part of who he is.

How is that?

PS: Try not to be so snippy towards those who read your blog. I don't just sit on the net waiting for people to respond to my comments. I check them once a day and answer when I can.

You seem angry!

Eddie said...

A bit more from Genovese. Notice the two primary sources -- "To speak positively of any part of this southern tradition is to invite charges of being a racist and an apologist for slavery and segregation. We are witnessing a cultural and political atrocity -- an increasingly successful campaign by the media and an academic elite to strip young white southerners, and arguably black southerners as well, of their heritage, and therefore, their identity. They are being taught to forget their forebears or to remember them with shame."

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"I do like to tell the whole story."

I do too - in the proper context and setting. Columbus Day is neither; which you acknowledge in the JFK example.

"But I think many American Indians would like to have their side of the story considered."

Oh, I do too:




"Try not to be so snippy towards those who read your blog."

Cuts both ways Mr. Lyons. But I apologize if you were offended in any way - none was intended. I do appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. One thing I would suggest so that you might better understand my perspective, rather than make assumptions about what I believe and who/what I support. Spend some time reading other posts and most definitely read the articles on my "Must Reads" page. Doing this will answer a lot of questions you may have and save us both time.

"You seem angry!"

Not at all. I'm quite happy and blessed - far more than I deserve. You shouldn't take one's vigorous defense of one's culture, region and heritage as anger. You'll find most of the anger at the blog where you discovered this blog.

Best Regards,

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


"They are being taught to forget their forebears or to remember them with shame."

Precisely. But it's now extended to the Founding era as well, i.e. "enemy of American Exceptionalism." The agenda is the same and the evidence is empirical despite their loud protestations of denial.

C. Lyons said...

Mr. Williams, I don't think they are trying to forget or remember our ancestors with shame, I think it is a process of remembering them more fully...more than just the good things...got to take the good with the bad and vise versa.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Mr. Lyons - Frankly, I don't need someone who doesn't have that ancestral connection lecturing me on how I should or should not remember and honor my ancestors.

And even if they do have that connection, its really no one else's business. And you can go back to the JFK example as well. Read what you wrote.

ropelight said...

As long as we're taking the good with the bad, let's not pretend JFK's indiscretions were limited to surreptitious trysts with compliant women. His sins far exceed those occasioned by an overactive libido.

For one example, withdrawing air cover for the Cuban Refugee invasion forces attempting a landing at the Bay of Pigs (after he'd already given the go-ahead order for the landing) ranks as one of the most egregious and shameful presidential betrayals in modern American military history.

The brave young men of Brigada Asalto 2506 were recruited and trained by the CIA and were already on the beach at Playa Giron with the Cuban Army's tanks and heavy artillary bearing down on them when JFK denied them the air cover they'd been promised, and on which the invasion depended.

The USS Essex was just off-shore with a squadron of A4D Skyhawks, their US markings covered over, ready to prevent Castro's Air Force from impeding the invasion, when suddenly the mission was aborted by President Kennedy at the last moment, and a very angry Essex crew was sworn to keep the secret of his shameful stab-in-the-back from the American public.

Over 118 brave Cuban freedom fighters died, 360 were wounded, and Castro's forces took more than 1100 prisoners. JFK is responsible for turning his back on them and for leaving them high and dry without ammunition, without heavy equipment, and without air cover, alone and abandoned. They knew full well who was responsible even if the entire American media conspired to keep JFK's dirty secret from coming to light.

The Bay of Pigs fiasco led directly to the Cuban Missile Crisis which very nearly plunged the world into nuclear war.

Surely, that's worth remembering.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"Surely, that's worth remembering."

For canting ideologues, that's true only if it fits the agenda of their ideology.

ropelight said...

That's the problem alright, RGW.

Slavish adherence to deceitful ideologies (or false narratives) invariably forecloses opportunities to learn from past debacles and makes the repetition of similar disasters all but inevitable.

In JFK's case the refusal to face the circumstances leading up to his assassination resulted in the murder of his brother.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Ideology trumps truth in their world. Just look around our society today.