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Thomas Bowden Defends Columbus

From Thomas Bowden, author of The Enemies of Christopher Columbus:

Q: […] Multiculturalism regards all societies and traditions as of equal merit and is very critical of the West, claiming to see in America an explanation for the world’s evils. How can you defend the West, as you do in your book, and claim that its traditions and civilization are superior?

A: […] Defending Western civilization is not defending the “superiority” of white men. That other peoples had not developed the application of reason to life does not mean that they are in any way inferior. It means that they had not yet achieved what the Europeans achieved over many centuries. But if we take an objective look at the standards of men’s lives, then Western civilization is superior in very visible ways. The Indians might have developed it all on their own, but they did not. There is no such thing as a racial inferiority that says they couldn’t have done it. But you don’t have to invent everything yourself to benefit from it, and any gift of knowledge is a great gift. In any case, tribal society is prerational. And no moral blame can be attached to a tribal society living in a prerational, primitive manner. I always point out that there is no shame in having ancestors called “savages” since everyone living on Earth today has ancestors who were in fact savages. The root of the word is “forest,” meaning people who live in the forest. […] Q: But what about the ways the Europeans treated the Indians in America? Doesn’t that prove that Western civilization was corrupt and brutish? A: What happened is that there were Europeans who abandoned civilized standards in dealing with the Indians. The problem wasn’t that those Europeans had too much civilization. The problem was that they had too little. It is true that many Christian Europeans treated the Indians brutally. But it is also true that the Europeans treated the Indians no differently that they treated one another. Think of Europe’s endless wars. And it is true that the Europeans treated the Indians in ways the Indian tribes treated one another. [Stephen Goode, Insight Magazine, 2007. Hat Tip: Provenzo Express]

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