Native America --
The Forked Tongue of Collectivism
The Great City Civilizations
There has long been, probably even well before Rousseau’s ‘noble savage’,
a romantization of what it sometimes called peasant life and culture.
This has resulted in a number problems and misunderstandings for it ignores
both the problems of the societies, and people, it is applied to, and their achievements.
It strives to apply others’ norms and mores on people and treats theirs as less than important or valuable.
It is therein fundamentally racist. Even members of the groups affected
are often caught up in the confusion, rendering them actually ignorant
of their own valuable characteristics and history. It is effectively cultural genocide.
It also wants to treat members of these societies, not as individuals,
but as part of some imposed or imagined collective. Perhaps as much as any other society,
this has been done to the American aboriginal.
Not surprisingly, at the heart of the problem is the issue of private property.
We are told that one of the ‘magical’ things about native culture – indeed,
all of the fascination with peasant culture – is that they did recognize private property.
This is portrayed as one of the strengths of ‘traditional’ Indian society,
one of the aspects of European invasion that natives did not want.
In actuality, it is not only one of the flaws of collectivism wherever it is found,
but one of the deficiencies that blocks development and leads to societal conflict and failure.
The successes of these societies was structured around wealth and profit though,
much as Pilgrim society only flourished when people were allowed to keep the fruits of their labors.
There was, however, a hierarchy of wealth in Maya civilization (and in Olmec, Incan, and Aztec cultures),
and one based on the creation and accumulation of wealth, and competition for it,
that was the basis of their rise, perseverance, and decline and collapse.
The grandeur of these cultures was built on trade, and trade involved activity for profit,
without which there would have been little. The great city cultures
that developed were premised on it, whether that is taken to be the cities themselves
or the learning upon which they were dependent and which developed on it.
The trade not only brought with it by its practitioners,
an increasing standard of living for they and their customers,
but it fostered peace with the interdependence, and underwrote a level of learning that marked Mayan culture.
Mayan civilization also appears to have reached out in the course of such trade to establish ‘colonies’
up the Mississippi and elsewhere in North America – the Mississippians, Cherokee, Iroquois, etc.
It also led to the development of a priest and an administrative class that this supported
but which in time began to be a drain on the wealth and competition for it,
as well as the evolution of an administrative state and began to undermine it,
and, as a warning for the American situation, undid the civilization. It seems that
the Cahokian/Mississippian culture suffered a similar fate. Burdened and stultified
by a governmental structure not unlike what is today described at the deep state,
neither the government or the economy, which had been built on trade and property,
could respond to a variety of changes, resulting in a disintegration of economic relationships,
culminating in a breakdown of order and civil unrest.
Similarly, the other great city cultures devolved and collapsed. If their ‘science’ and wealth
had been able to build around inevitable changes that developed, that became less possible
and then impossible as property and wealth was usurped, such as natural fluctuations
in the sun’s pattern of climate on earth. As the society degenerated,
so did the maintenance of order and peace, and conflict developed.
There is evidence that the trading commercial and producing economies of the Maya,
Inca, and Aztec not only recognized wealth and its creation, and the market's role in fostering that,
but on it, property rights, although as government and priesthood and bureaucracy expanded,
it began to usurp those rights, inhibiting trade, blocking development,
limiting population potential and actual numbers the society could support,
and leading to declining living standards and the demise of the civilizations,
as the inevitable result when this causes a decline in both mean standard of living and civic culture.
It was in these great city cultures that most of the native populations of the Americas lived.
Further north, in what is now called North America, there was sparse population
and little development as had taken place in the great city civilization of Meso and South America.
By the time of the arrival of the Europeans, the high points of these cultures had long passed,
and they were in no position to resist.
Pox, Plague, Pequot, and Pilgrims
No one suffers from small pox anymore. One of the achievements of what is termed détente
of the Nixon and Ford years was the conquest of that deadly disease.
The United States went to the Soviets and proposed that they help us vaccinate the world to counter it.
This, done through the WHO, may be one of the very few positive accomplishments of the UN.
The last man who had small pox lived in Ethiopia in the late 1970’s.
No one has had it since, and since the only way to contract it is from someone who has it,
the disease has been obliterated. Barring some terrorist effort to spread it,
the number one killer of human beings in history has been eliminated.
It did play the major role in destroying American native civilizations,
and it did come with the Europeans. But it is also true that diseases
like the pox and the plague spread in ways that does not explain.
For instance, the horrible impact of the plague on Europe spread there from the East,
perhaps India. Does that suggest that anyone in the eastern hemisphere consciously
and purposely committed this crime against humanity?
As terrible as the contact with Europeans was on the original Americans,
it was not done on purpose, and may have been inevitable. The impact of disease on inter-cultural
contact would have occurred anyway. That does not help the Maya or their neighbors,
but it puts a different light on the manner this has been treated in the manufacture of history.
There are tales of Europeans, usually in this case, English speakers,
deliberately distributing blankets to ‘Indians’ that had been infected with small pox germs.
The time frame is problematic. These stories date back into the 1600’s, 1700’s, and 1800’s,
and are part of the usual racist leftist mythology.
The problem is that this could not have taken place much before the 2oth century.
Those who made it up may not have known this, or just as likely, did not care,
thinking it sounded good and would be believed by the dumb masses, as they view most people.
This is clearly the case because it was only in the years immediately before the Civil War
that Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur learned about germs.
It was some time before they became widely understood.
Furthermore, since smallpox is caused by a virus and they were unknown until the 2oth Century,
no one could have done what the story purports. Even Custer, who might have been low down enough to do such a thing,
had no such scientific basis for doing it. Neither could Andrew Jackson,
or any number of other perps. Why would such tales be spun then? That is left to your imagination.
The popularized ‘Columbian Exchange’ is similarly mischaracterized.
The ‘popular’ version of it recognizes that the world got much from native America
– corn, potatoes, tomatoes are three prime examples of the benefits.
They also got tobacco but that is another story. In exchange, although they ‘lost their land,’
the indigenous peoples got – well, the Black Legend – or dead.
There is far more to the story than that, however. Whatever they lost,
and that was substantial, native peoples also gained much from the ‘exchange.’
Learning much from Europeans, including new technologies for production,
but also horses, the wheel, and guns, to name only the most obvious,
must be underscored by the fact that the developing new American society brought
even more advances which would have enhanced the individual power of Indians, ‘whites,’
and black people alike, had they been able to utilize them.
Among those important advances we must include not only the value of recognition and practice
of property rights, but also importantly, the concept of limiting government interference
with individual rights. But we are not supposed to think of them,
or anyone else in terms of individuality any more. It was the ‘collective’
that is to be considered. Had they been able to enjoy the fruits of this,
the story would be quite different. Where these peoples were able to exercise those fruits,
the story is very different. It is also important that as time wore on this
became a very political matter. Manipulated into opposing advancing
technology and property and its fruits on some romanticized peasant noble
savage ideology imposed on them by political ‘allies’ cast the shadow over
native peoples that sealed their fate. They were not like the ‘others.’
This is the same racialism that infects the left now.
We are told by ‘scholars’ that the Great Law of Peace that led to the Iroquois Confederation
was the basis of the American Constitution, that it had its ideological roots in that soil.
Notwithstanding the importance of the league, and its value,
there are vital differences that this ‘contemporary’ and ‘enlightened’ perspective somehow overlooks.
There is a reason, a rational and a purpose, to having a ‘written’ constitution.
Hiawatha’s league, whatever it was, whatever it accomplished, was not that.
It could not be. The Iroquois had no written language.
To the extent that is was ‘oral’ is precisely the point. It is also at the heart
of contemporary judicial activism. It means unlimited government because it is more readily ‘interpreted.’
This view fails to recognize or understand the vital character of the ‘written’ constitutional order.
The Great Law of Peace – oral or scrawled in a manner on wampum
– was thus not in any real sense any model in form or principle for the Constitution,
or the Articles. What it did do, perhaps important, was of a different character.
If the Lords of the Confederation might try to resolve conflict or foster trade, etc.,
their ‘regime’ did not limit government so it did not interfere with individual liberty.
Molly Larkin, among others, misses this point. The Treaty of Lancaster, and Franklin, did recognize the Iroquois order.
To any extent that the Constitution was patterned on or influenced by the Iroquois League,
and not just the charters of the colonies and such as Montesquieu and Blackstone,
thete is this major distinction. The U.S. Constitution was the first 'written' plan
limiting governmental power so as to protect individual rights and liberties.
There is a lot of mythology involved here. The Iroquois would have had written language
– English or French (a technological gain of the exchange) – by the early 1700’s,
but, while they did not have their own written script. The city cultures of meso America did
- the Maya in particular. But we are beginning to learn that these cultures utilized ‘writing’
for business and trade, religion, governance, science, and sports.
Sequoya’s Cherokee language was of much later vintage, as important a technological advance as it was.
The current rage of destroying and rewriting history reaching to removing statutes of scoundrels
is tainted by this. What should be done with these statues, from Lee to Jackson and Taney
would be more appropriate. A plaque should be placed on each one
indicating that this was ‘ANOTHER PRO SLAVERY DEMOCRAT.’ Or in the matter of such as Custer,
perhaps indicating their anti-native bias, perhaps the plaque could read
‘DEMOCRAT SPEAKS WITH FORKED TONGUE.’ He had miscalculated on riding the Little Big Horn into the White House.
Conflict was a problem among native peoples. Particularly after the demise of
the great city cultures, which had collapsed even before European arrival,
and a good part of the success of which was conflict control as a key to
trade, and especially so on the peripheries of native society, like the
sparsely populated, underdeveloped, and romanticized areas that are now the
US and Canada, conflict and intertribal war was a problem. Even the city
societies of the Mississippians, Anasazi, and Cahokia and the like were all
but vanished pre-Columbian. These were virtual outskirts or remnants of
what had been high culture lost, although some vital positive
characteristics can be found within them. Indeed, we are only beginning to
understand the advanced aspects of these peoples. Some of that may be
attributable to what has been the Rosseauian mischaracterization of peasant culture.
That denigration of native civilization is not a small part of the
mischaracterization of indigenous society and its subsequent subjugation,
deprived of its true nature and achievements. This continues on the left to
this day, as part of its anti-growth, anti-industrial, anti-technology, anti-science essence.
Resistance to the Black Legend of the Spanish conquest in central and South
America continued for centuries, in such manifestations as the Pueblo
Rebellion and the Colusa spear that found Ponce de Leon, but the fact is
that the Spanish arrival was at an inauspicious time for the Aztec and Inca,
neither of which was in a position to successfully fend off their assault.
Hiawatha’s confederacy did not occur in a vacuum, either. It developed
in efforts to contain intertribal conflict, and when it formed in the early 1700’s,
it was in an environment in which ‘others’ in the area who were
not ‘native’ were involved in not dissimilar actions. Prior to
that, from the time of the arrival of the Pilgrims a century before,
natives and new arrivals coexisted in often tenuous and sometimes tense interdependence.
Natives and ‘new arrivals’ joined together against the Pequot.
An uneasy ‘alliance’ persisted from the Roanoke settlement’s disappearance
through Pocahontas’ day to relationships among the Cherokee
and other tribes with ‘settlers’ until the days of Jackson and beyond.
The Three Periods – Tribal Wars, Colonial Wars, Democrat Wars
This period of Tribal relationships took on a different tone in what followed,
as both sides were caught in Colonial Wars. A third period followed that
should be termed a Democrat War on indigenous peoples, but certainly not
confined to that, and part of its aforementioned fight. There is a reason
it is called the French and Indian War. It was part of a larger conflict
that was, in reality, a world war. Pontiac was, in effect, at least a
French asset. He got caught up in the battle between the British and French
Empires and the impact of the French victimization on use of his people was devastating.
The English were just as culpable in using other tribes in the struggle.
Natives and settlers alike were the victims and suffered dire consequences.
Once the British has secured their control over North America,
a variation on the theme was used in their efforts to partition North America
to contain the new American republic. The burning of the English settletment where
Fort Pontchartrain de troit had been in 1801 was part of their manipulation of ‘English General’ Tecumseh.
His ‘Confederation’ was simply an element of a deadly chess match of divide and conquer,
that continued through the War of 1812. Natives could not be allowed to join
with or into the new republic, something Franklin and others clearly proffered.
For the 'Democracy', Indians were tribes, not people. it would be hard to find
indigenous people who were more 'individualistic' than the Cherokee, but
the natives of the southeast took the brunt of Jackson's antinomy. That is
one of the reasons that Davy Crockett was a Whig and not a Jacksonian. To him,
Indians were people, while to Jackson, they were a tribe, and they were in the way.
There are common denominators -- overarching consistencies which mark the three periods.
This is the 'identity politics' which typifies the politics of the left to this day.
The purpose is 'divide and conquer' and the impact was disastrous.
The Jacksonians were also committed to a no growth zero sum game.
Opposition to the Bank was tied to this, and support for 'local energy' was opposition to raising labor power.
They opposed technology and industry. Contrary to the fiction of Jackson
and his ilk being marketeers, they were programmatically and systematically
against free markets of individuals. Neither Indians nor slaves were taken
to be individuals or able to operate in such markets, but it was not just them.
This was the rationale behind 'local energy.'
A third leg of this system of the 'Democracy,' amplified by the Spoils System,
was governmental coercion. 'Removal' was not about markets. The Trail of Tears
and the Seminole Wars were government action. And slavery and the slave codes
and all that went along with that was imposed by government, just as the Progressives
imposed Jim Crow with governmental coercion. it was, in fact,
market forces and raising labor power on technology and industry that undid it.
There was a second Civil War, or rather a continuation, in effect, of the War
Between the States that took place largely in the West, but was, in reality,
part and parcel of the original conflict. As part of the secession,
and aided by foreign elements, including the British, but also the French and Austrians,
efforts and aid were extended that were ancillary if not formally aligned with the South.
This was what put Maximillian in power in Mexico, who the Lincoln allied Juarez
in great measure countered, running operations against
their efforts to arm the South across the Texas border. Formal treaties allied native tribes with the South.
Arming the tribes was at least an effort to tie up some Union forces,
but it also armed, in particular, the Sioux. Once more, the Indians were played.
Were it not for such as the Treaty of Washita, there may not have been a Sand Creek Massacre.
Custer, of course, was ‘with’ the North, but his antinomy to the ‘savages’
did not dissuade his ruthlessness. But it was after the Civil War,
when this part of the fighting continued, that Custer made his real mark,
until it ended for him on the Greasy Grass.
For decades after the war, the Republican Party formed out of the Whigs and
Free Soilers and abolitionists ‘waved the bloody shirt.’ It is no secret to
history that it was the Democrat Party and its policies that led the civil war.
But the current culture war is merely a continuation of the result of those programs.
And it clearly is the third leg described here. The Redeemer Democrats
structured Jim Crow and sharecropping. It was the County Democrat Clubs in hoods
that enforced it. This is what ended Reconstruction with the election of 1876.
They created the reservations along with segregation –
and Chinese Exclusion and Plessy. This produced Wounded Knee. This is the Jacksonian Democracy.
And Progressives were responsible for literacy test, white primaries,
the grandfather clause, and the rest. And now, the left 'uses' some native peoples
to perpetuate its anti-growth agenda continuing to glamorize peasant culture
in opposition to the pipeline.
Termination policy, perhaps an appropriate term, was passed off as an effort of
‘assimilation,’ but it was enforced assimilation. From the Kansas Act of 1940,
indigenous people were supposed to abandon not only the reservation POW camps
– forced relocation – but become ‘civilized,’ leaving behind traditional cultural practices.
Purportedly ‘granting’ native people all the benefits of citizenship,
tribes could no longer be tribes (say the federal overlords),
and the people could effectively no longer be Indians. That was the judgement of
Republican Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. It collided with any individual desire
to preserve any native identity.
Often described as somehow anti-collectivist,
it was a collectivist ‘answer’ to collectivism, as was the ‘Restoration’
which replaced it in the 1960’s. But it was more of the same, and it was,
of course, imposed. Indians could not be individuals and the glamorization
of peasant life continued. And to disagree would brand any such individual
as the equivalent of an ‘Uncle Tom.’ Nixon condemned forced termination in 1970,
but what we find now is just the new segregation of identity politics
maintained. The federal plantation and reservation persevere in different form.