Friday, October 19, 2012

Trail of tees

Takimag on manifest destiny.


  1. That European farmers would eventually take the continent from Amerindian hunter-gatherers was probably inevitable; the Indians just couldn't build up enough population to lay claim to the vast expanses of American wilderness. That said, it would have been better if white Americans had laid claim to more of the continent the way James J. Hill acquired Indian land for his railroads, or the Dutch got Manhattan- buy paying cold, hard cash for it. It would have meant a lot less ugliness all around.

    Still, Takimag is right in pointing out that the Indians would have done the same to the whites, and frequently tried, when they saw opportunites. To the extent that any Pre-Columbian tribe "owned" land, they held it the really old-fashioned way- by right of possession, backed by force, as long as they could fend off other Indian tribes. Whites were just one more tribe in the fight. As Gary Brecher wrote, "[T]here ain’t no better side in a war of extermination, and both sides in the Indian Wars knew damn well that’s what was going on. One was just a lot bigger and better-armed, and there was only one way it could end."

  2. The "White" tribe also practiced divide and conquer. The native tribes fought with each other as much as with the Whites instead of banding together.

  3. Conquest is the unfortunate story of human history. Hunter-gatherer tribes didn't just take over rival lands, they extinguished whole paternal bloodlines. The Mohammedans ruthlessly homogenized dozens of cultures from North Africa to Central Asia. Virtually every State in the Central and South American continent was birthed from Spanish and Portuguese conquest. It's apparently only evil when Anglo-Saxons do it.

    Oddly enough, the reactionary idea that ethnically distinct peoples should have their own geographic redoubts is now considered intolerable.


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