Columbus Day is important because liberals hate it so much. And, if something is such a threat to liberals, it has to be a good thing.
Christopher Columbus embodied what liberals hate, heroic courage and an indomitable desire to succeed—in spectacular fashion, he made something of himself. But, more than that, liberals despise Columbus for setting in motion a series of events leading to the establishment of the most successful republic that the world has ever known or is likely to ever know again. But all the hate isn't about the long dead Columbus, it's really about destroying the legitimacy of America's moral, economic, political, and military superiority. It’s about destroying faith in our national and individual nobility.
It's hard to argue with the American success story. We are better than the rest of the world; we have a right to be proud of that. So, liberals attempt to taint the miracle of our republic by besmirching those responsible for its inception. That's why Columbus is portrayed as a hapless despot and harbinger of pestilence, then everything that follows him can be characterized as the product of exploitation, the victimization of a primitive culture by despoiling them of their wealth and lands. The truth is more complex and does not lend itself to the prattling of cowardly bolshevists, hiding behind the impregnable walls of tenure. Propaganda is always simplistic. It appeals the most to those who pay the least attention. And, in our society, that's a lot of people.
In 1492, Spain was a world power ruled by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Monarchs wielded a power over their subjects that was nearly absolute, the envy of modern liberalism. In practical terms, their influence and control was bounded only by the dictates of conscience. The world was governed by the laws of conquest, plunder, and the notion of the divine right of kings. The powerful ruled while the impotent served. Lands and riches were acquired by birth, by grant, or by the sword.
Indentured servitude was common, so was slavery. The black death, peaking between 1346-1353, had claimed 75 to 200 million European lives. Disease was an ever present threat. The ideas that would form the basis of the American Republic existed in nascent form within the dusty cloisters of Europe's protestant institutions but would not take hold and come to fruition for at least another century.
This was Christopher Columbus' world. Everyone played by a set of rules completely foreign to us today. Columbus was a man of great ambition and indomitable will. In his time, the prospect of traversing the vast expanse of ocean in an effort to discover new routes of trade to the Indies represented a feat as great as placing a man on the moon--if you weren't really sure where the moon was. The savage sea was a bleak environment and the men who set out to conquer it were harried by tales of sea monsters, the terror of sailing into the abyss, or succumbing to scurvy, starvation, or storm. Yet Columbus mounted his expedition in ships and under conditions which would give pause to the most resolute of modern explorers.
Columbus sought to participate in the 15th century's version of free enterprise. Working within the political environment of his time, Columbus obtained three ships from his Queen and an opportunity that promised trade and, if successful, vast riches for himself, his compatriots, and his Queen. This may seem vulgar to modern sensibilities, since the accumulation of wealth is so bourgeois, unless one is a member of a politically approved and correct class--Hollywood's liberal glitterati or a greasy democrat party operative.
Before the infiltration of the American educational system by collectivist agitators, the American dream was largely defined by notions of financial independence. What frightens big government statists like Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid are independent citizens who refuse the bonds of the welfare state. The Obama administration’s political power depends on a servile underclass whose only hope for subsistence is the beneficence of their political masters. The specie of exchange in the Obama political universe is the misery of the eternally oppressed and victimized. Envy is monetized and given in exchange for Obamaphones, welfare checks, and rationed health services (aka, The Affordable Healthcare Act; aka, Obamacare).
So, in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Instead of discovering his hoped for business opportunity, Columbus discovered a new world. He happened on an island which he named San Salvador. This discovery set in motion a chain of events that would result in the displacement of indigenous peoples and in the death of many through war and disease. And, this is where the modern liberal academician finds the most fertile soil for politicization and distortion.
All things considered, Columbus did indigenous peoples a huge favor. Americans have been indoctrinated with the liberal dogma of the "noble savage." Students are led to believe that indigenous peoples, the Native American Indians in particular, lived in simple harmony with nature. The primitive is exalted in the liberal story, a beneficent race taking only what was needed from nature and utilizing resources efficiently, leaving nothing to waste. Primitive man is seen as functioning symbiotically with his environment. They are regarded as an almost celestial race endowed with a natural wisdom and the innocence of the deep and untouched wood. This is a characterization that fits seamlessly with the modern environmental movement and provides context for the demonization of modern free enterprise and industry.
However, the life of the primitive was hardly utopian. The acquisition of daily necessities such as food and water were obtained by strenuous and often dangerous effort. The forests didn’t magically bloom forth in an eternal bounty, nor did meat suddenly appear at the entrance of the wigwam in neatly packaged plastic. Tribes were obliged to migrate with prey animals and endure the harshness of cold, wind, and rain. Primitive agriculture produced only subsistence levels of nourishment. The very young and the old suffered the most difficulty and indignity. Contrary to the populist notions promoted by Hollywood and liberal academe, life for primitive peoples was often brutish and short. War and conflict were typical among primitive tribes and nations. No amount of tree hugging has ever expunged the violent bent of human nature. Slavery was accepted as a spoil of war and primitives fought with the fierceness and inhumanity that characterizes man wherever he is found.
As an unintended consequence, Columbus did bring disease. But, that is universally the human condition. However, Columbus was a harbinger of a civilization groping, imperfectly toward liberty. Is it not a monstrous irony that the purveyors of tyranny criticize the evangels of liberty for not producing it fully formed and flowering? American history is as imperfect as is the nature of man. However, the American story is about the ascendency of a liberating ideal, totally unique in the annals of human history.
But, let us not forget that liberals have a history of their own. Liberalism is only the most recent incarnation of an ancient tyranny. Wherever governments are allowed to consolidate power into the hands of a privileged few, stifling and brutal tyranny ensues. Trace the history of man back to the dawn of recorded language and the same twisted figure appears. The Old Enemy always seeks to enslave and brutalize. He wanders the earth cloaked under a multitude of titles: socialist, communist, progressive, anarchist, statist, national socialist, monarchist, and liberal. The great liberal experiment, The Soviet Union produced Stalin who butchered millions of his own people. Volumes have been written detailing the horrors and atrocities perpetrated by the left. Free men and women are perpetually stalked by the tireless minions of The Great Oppressor. As the Rolling Stones would say, “pleased to meet you, have you guessed my name?”