Goodbye, Columbus

Today is Columbus Day. It used to be, anyway. Here in Minneapolis, as in a number of other cities, it is now Indigenous People’s Day:

The holiday formerly known as Columbus Day was created earlier this year by a vote of the Minneapolis City Council, which said it was an attempt to recognize the history and contributions of American Indians in and around the city. …

Jay Bad Heart Bull, president of the Native American Community Development Institute, said the change marks a big step for communities that have been pushing back against negative stereotypes and traditions for decades.

“It’s a validation and a correction of a historical wrong that has perpetuated a negative image of American Indian people, by celebrating somebody that has really been nothing but bad for American Indian people and indigenous people across this continent,” he said.

So the fact that Native Americans are no longer living in the Stone Age is “nothing but bad”? Mixed, I could possibly see, but “nothing but bad?”

Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano [said], “It’s much more than a symbolic gesture.”

That, I think, is absolutely correct.

Minneapolis City Council establishes "Indigenous People's Day"

Minneapolis City Council establishes “Indigenous People’s Day”

What is behind the anti-Columbus movement? Dan Greenfield hits the nail on the head:

The explorer who discovered America has become controversial because the very idea of America has become controversial. …

The shift from celebrating Columbus’ arrival in America to commemorating it as an American Nakba by focusing on the Indians, rather than the Americans, is a profound form of historical revisionism that hacks away at the origins of this country.

That is exactly right. “Nakba” is “the Catastrophe,” the founding of the State of Israel, a disaster that is commemorated around the Arab world. The Puritans who saw America as a “new Jerusalem” didn’t know how right they were.

[T]his is about more than one single 15th century Genoan with a complicated life who was neither a monster nor a saint. It is about whether America really has any right to exist at all. Is there any argument against celebrating Columbus Day, that cannot similarly be applied to the Fourth of July? …

If the settlement of non-Indians in North America is illegitimate, then any national state they created is also illegitimate. …

The battles being fought over Columbus Day foreshadow the battles to be fought over the Fourth of July. As Columbus Day joins the list of banned holidays in more cities, one day there may not be a Fourth of July, just a day of Native Resistance to remember the atrocities of the colonists with PBS documentaries comparing George Washington to Hitler.

These documentaries already exist, they just haven’t gone mainstream. Yet. …

A nation’s mythology, its paragons and heroes, its founding legends and great deeds, are its soul. To replace them with another culture’s perspective on its history is to kill that soul.

That is the ultimate goal of political correctness, to kill America’s soul. To stick George Washington, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, James Bowie, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and all the rest on a shelf in a back room somewhere, and replace them with timelier liberal heroes. Move over Washington, Cesar Chavez needs this space. No more American heroes need apply.

Followed of course by no more America.

This is how it begins. And that is how it ends. Nations are not destroyed by atomic bombs or economic catastrophes; they are lost when they lose any reason to go on living. When they no longer have enough pride to go on fighting to survive.


Liberals–not all of them, but most–hate America and want to destroy (or, as Barack Obama put it, “fundamentally transform”) her. For now, at least, they are in the driver’s seat, and the destruction is accelerating.

Before we say a final goodbye to Columbus, let’s just note that he was an extraordinary man. Not genteel by today’s standards–no continent has ever been discovered by a Pajama Boy–but extraordinary, one of the greatest sailors of history. He sailed by dead reckoning, estimating his position on a chart at the end of each day, based on his judgment of his ship’s speeds and directions over the course of the day. His calculations were remarkably accurate. Samuel Eliot Morison writes:

No such dead-reckoning navigators exist today; no man alive, limited to the instruments and means at Columbus’s disposal, could obtain anything near the accuracy of his results.

Southern Voyages, pp. 176-177. Many people today think that Columbus was not worthy of our era. I think it is much truer to say that our era is not worthy of Columbus.

The Nina

The Nina

STEVE adds: I’m pleased to be able to point out that Pepperdine University, my current billet, not only recognizes Columbus Day, but has a statute of the great explorer on the campus.  Not yet defaced by any local crazies.


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