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Cornell Leftists Trash Columbus/America By: Joseph J. Sabia
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, October 14, 2003



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As cities around the country held traditional Columbus Day celebrations, America-haters on today's college campuses protested Christopher Columbus' alleged genocidal megalomania. Mainstream Americans correctly perceive Columbus as the most important explorer in the history of the world, but Leftists in academia see Columbus as Adolf Hitler's evil twin. Why do they hold this psychotic worldview? Though Leftists whine and moan about imaginary genocide, the truth is quite simple: They will never forgive Columbus for the greatest sin of all — bringing Western Civilization to the New World.

Liberals abhor Western Civilization because its tenets include science, logic, reason, and individual liberty. These principles are a direct threat to the Leftist vision of utopia — collectivism, multiculturalism, and group identity. Assaulting Columbus' reputation is a way for the Left to destroy the "messenger" of Western Civilization. This tactic is quite a bit easier than attacking the substantive ideas of Western Civilization since Mr. Columbus is no longer around to defend himself.

Recently, a mob of Native, Hispanic, and black students at Cornell University held an anti-Columbus Day rally at which protesters blamed white people for everything from systematic murder to New Coke. An angry black student stood at the center of the rally holding a defaced American flag. The following message was scrawled along Old Glory's white stripes:

We live in a country founded by cheats, murderers, rapists, thieves, terrorists whom [sic] captured, killed, enslaved millions of Africans, whom [sic] killed more Natives than Nazis did Jews while the Catholic Church is behind the altar justifying molestation — God bless Amerikkka.

Upon seeing the flag, Dr. Donald Barr, Professor Emeritus of Human Service Studies, remarked, "I like it. I like it a lot." Isn't that special? One of the men responsible for educating young minds "likes it" when students deface American flags with slander against those responsible for our liberty. One wonders how Professor Barr would have fared if he were forced to live among the American Natives of the 1400s?

In point of fact, the Europeans who discovered America brought advanced civilization to a savage, vicious, animalistic New World. The Natives who inhabited the Americas were brutal thugs waging constant wars and engaging in widespread scalping. Their economies were primitive with little incentive for technological innovation. A three-course meal consisted of maize, tree bark, and human flesh. There were no buildings, no architecture, no offices (sorry Professor Barr — no office hours or symposia for you!).

The message on the flag was especially puzzling because it linked European voyagers of the late 1400s with (i) America's Founding Fathers of the late 1700s, (ii) the German Nazis of the 1930s, and (iii) the Catholic Church of the 1990s. It's hard to keep track of what these people are arguing and who the alleged perpetrators are. But that's part of their point — they link every white person to National Socialism or the Ku Klux Klan and romanticize savage, murderous backward cultures. For instance, Victoria Lopez, the Residence Hall Director of the racially segregated Hispanic dormitory, stated:

When I went to elementary school, [Columbus] was celebrated as a hero. It wasn't until I got to college that I learned the truth…He was not a wonderful and heroic man. There were many wonderful civilizations that already existed [in America] when he came. And it still goes on today. They are still oppressing people. It's really sad.

Ms. Lopez ought to thank her lucky stars that she is being "oppressed" in America today, thanks to Christopher Columbus' historic journey. Oppression in the West is quite preferable to, say, acceptance by Natives.

Fortunately, a group of students on Cornell's campus refused to allow the anti-Columbus protesters to demonstrate without opposition. A group of flag-waving conservatives — including two with an Italian flag — gathered to mock the anti-Columbus protesters. Waving a poster that said "Thank Columbus for Fall Break," the Republicans defended Christopher Columbus with smiles and good humor.

Unfortunately, the mood turned rather ugly when one of the protesters, Jason Corwin, pointed to one of the black conservatives in attendance and referred to him as a "House Negro." Apparently, Mr. Corwin is a recent graduate of the Harry Belafonte School of Political Thought.

He continued his diatribe by referring to the Founding Fathers as "murderers," offering, "George Washington was a terrorist and he's on the dollar bill now." Apparently, Mr. Corwin will only be purchasing goods with wampum from now on.

Other signs at the Cornell protest included "In 1492 Columbus killed more than a few," "Thank you for celebrating 500 years of genocide/ethnocide that gave death to my people," "We are natives, not naïve," and "Is killing people heroic? Think."

Did Europeans kill Natives? You bet. Did Natives kill Europeans? You bet. Wars were fought because the Westerners wanted to civilize the New World. This endeavor required the taking of territory and the creation of Western governments predicated on individual liberty and the rule of law. Were treaties broken? Sure, by Europeans and Natives alike.

Was there genocide? No, of course not. There was no systematic effort by Columbus or anyone else to wipe a race of people off the face of the earth. The goal was to westernize the New World and many "merciless Indian savages" (as they were called in the Declaration of Independence) were killed in the horrors of war. Besides, more Natives were killed by diseases brought over inadvertently by Europeans than by European weapons.

The fundamental question is this: Would we be better off today if America had not been westernized? To leftists on college campuses, the answer is yes. That’s why even if they don’t like Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, they hate us more.


Joseph J. Sabia is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Cornell University.


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