Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The New Jamestown Tragedy

This month Queen Elizabeth II will visit Jamestown, Virginia as the nation marks the 400th anni-versary of the founding of the colorful British colony that eventually gave birth to the United States. Instead of the pomp and circumstance that is normal for commemorating such an event, Queen Elizabeth and U.S. citizens alike will discover how the prelates of political correctness have hijacked the commemoration and found pliant allies in the Virginia state government with the unknowing assistance of Congress, who initially chartered the Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission (H.R. 4907 / Public Law 106-565). Do you want a sample of your tax dollars at work?

The word "Celebration" has been banned from the Jamestown anniversary because influential members of the organizing committee have stated the colonial settlement was, in fact, an "invasion" that led to a "holocaust" of American Indian tribes and the institution of slavery on American soil. It gets better. The Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, among others, were paneled on a committee to discuss the Jamestown "tragedies" - a surprise to me since I was unaware their esteemed resumes included expertise in 17th century American Colonialism. There was also a discussion on the settlers' ecological habits - earning the glorious accolade for Jamestown as the "origin of environmental injustice in America." Let's not forget that two self-professed "Native Americans," are also selling a new book called "The True Story of Pocahontas." It is allegedly a wonderful addition to the misery of what was thought would be a day of importance in modern American history by depicting the colonists as murderers, rapists, slavers and thieves. The book's release was timed to the "commemoration" date and is supposedly based upon what the authors claim is the "sacred Mattaponi Tribe's oral traditions" unheard for 400 years. Not to be outdone at Jamestown are the official tour guides, who now cautiously describe the role of Christianity in the settlement's founding referring to plaques bearing the Ten Commandments, The Apostles Creed and The Lord's Prayer as simply "religious" in nature and even the National Park Service's official "commemoration" display minimizes the role of the settlers at Jamestown.

As thinking Americans, we are all for free thought and discourse, but let us push aside for a mo-ment the historians of minutia; disregard that the first African slave owner in Jamestown was a free black man, who, like thousands of poor whites, was a former indentured servant himself, forget the "environmentally-friendly," Indian tribes who, instead of cutting down trees and build-ing homes from the timber to make room for gardens, torched the forest and planted crops in the blackened soil or had their own slaves do the work, and lets forget that most tribes acquired their ancestral lands by force from neighboring tribes. In addition, some colonists, as noted by the records of the day, were far from saintly in their own lives. Dispassionate scholars will tell you it's called life and people in the present cannot morally judge the past or be expected to redress the grievances of ancient sins. Man will hopefully advance further and opinions possessed now on morality, or the lack of, may seem unthinkable to our descendants in the future.

In 1607, however, slavery had been a globally accepted practice since Biblical times and had the American Indians found a common language, mobilized under centralized leadership and mas-tered the oceans with the riches of America in hand, Jamestown, Virginia could have easily been Tanasi on the Thames, Pocahontas the Indian equivalent of Queen Victoria and the aristocracy of Europe replaced with the meritocracy of American Indians. Why? Because it is the principal nature of human beings to explore, advance and colonize. It is a trait common to every color and creed as evidenced by the archaeological records of ancient and modern civilizations around the world. The goals and values established by the early Christian colonists at Jamestown that gave birth to this nation were Utopian in their day - a fantasy thrown in the lot of mythical civiliza-tions like Atlantis and El Dorado, but by hard work, tough times and near disaster their goals were achieved and this nation's people are a testament to their existence. A nation where black, brown, red, yellow, and white, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew and Muslim people stand and speak with one voice.

The controversy over the CELEBRATION of Jamestown's founding is proof the enemies of western civilization have finally found this nation's Achilles heel and can successfully exploit it. These enemies have also reemphasized that a real war is a multi-faceted assault. The tree of liberty is like any other tree. Simply cutting it down will not kill it. You have to attack its roots. The enemies of the west couldn't defeat it on the battlefield, in the marketplace, or in the arena of ideas. Instead they turn their attention to its greatest weakness - the noble conscience of its people who pride themselves on fair play and justice. While they have absolved themselves of the sins of their forefathers, they don't extend that same privilege to Americans or Europeans. They romanticize historical victimization, implant it like a Trojan horse in the social classes and practice psuedo-intellectual extortion against a honorable republic under the guise of political cor-rectness. It has unfortunately proven to be a gold mine for them and their accomplices in academia, the popular media and politicians straining to show they all possess commonness. In fact, political correctness survives by capitalizing on the American idea of the common man's struggle, but it fails miserably because that is where "p.c." philosophy dead-ends. It disregards the facts that all people bear the scars of racial injustice at one time or another in their history and outright ignores that the United States and most people around the world celebrate the uncom-mon in our ranks.

President Herbert Hoover once stated during a 1948 speech at the Wilmington College of Ohio: "We are in danger of developing a cult of the Common Man, which means a cult of mediocrity. Let us remember that the great human advances have not been brought about by mediocre men and women. They were brought about by distinctly uncommon people with vital sparks of lead-ership. Many of the great leaders were, it is true, of humble origin, but that alone was not their greatness. It is a curious fact that when you get sick you want an uncommon doctor; if your car breaks down you want an uncommonly good mechanic; when we get into war we want dreadfully an uncommon admiral and an uncommon general. I have never met a father and mother who did not want their children to grow up to be uncommon men and women. May it always be so. For the future of America rests not in mediocrity, but in the constant renewal of leadership in every phase of our national life."

The political correctness exhibited at the 400th Jamestown commemoration is far from a celebration of the uncommon, but the die is cast and unfortunately the "Manhattan mindset" that prevails in the network news media seems to lack the common sense to see a story in this modern tragedy.

If there has ever been a time for the people of this republic to man their battle stations, assume a leadership posture and take a stand against the commissars of political correctness to preserve the American heritage, it is now. The pressure to change what is happening in this nation must be brought to bear by the common citizen to news desks, bully pulpits and elected representatives' offices across the nation. If we stand by and allow this to happen without raising our voices in protest, we will become accomplices to the egregious acts at Jamestown and can only blame ourselves for the devastating results that will affect every U.S. commemoration from this day forward.


The big BUT

Claims of `I'm a believer in free speech, but...' are becoming more frequent these days. Such reservations about full-blown free speech help to legitimise a climate of censoriousness. Don Imus made a racial slur, even if people are still debating whether it was `ho' or `nappy-headed' (or both) that was the problem. However, the immediate demands to ban people or get them fired do nothing to challenge the views they hold. Instead, they consolidate a climate where people become ever more fearful of what they say, and where backward ideas are rarely challenged head-on.

Howard Stern - the arbiter of bad taste and no friend of Imus - suggested that Imus should have said `fuck you, it's a joke' and moved on. While Stern may like to posture and swagger (and many are now asking why he is not reprimanded also), he has missed the central point. Today, one of the worst things that you can be accused of is to have caused offence.

Cenk Uygur, a presenter on liberal Air America's The Young Turks, was one of many who argued for free speech but with limitations (2). It is almost a reverse of the classic `I'm not a racist, but...', except here it is supposedly the most liberal commentators in society who are calling for gagging orders. `I'm for free speech, but not when it offends....'

In which case, there is little point in being a supporter of free speech. If it is only acceptable to say things that do not offend or outrage anyone else, then we denigrate all that is important in our democratic tradition. Yes, sometimes people can be nasty, tasteless, infuriating and offensive - but adults surely are able to deal with, expose and ridicule such views. It is much better to point out, loud and clear, that Imus is an ignoramus with a mouth that's even bigger than his head, rather than to demand that the powerful networks silence him and protect the rest of us from his apparently dangerous words.

Another problem is that once the debate is defined in terms of personal offence, then anyone's comments can be called into question. While Sharpton accuses Imus of racism, other commentators accuse Sharpton of anti-Semitism and suggest he should be silenced. Michelle Malkin in the New York Post abhors the misogynist sentiment in Imus's comments, but then goes on to demand that Sharpton et al stop being hypocritical. She also criticises the music of Mims and R Kelly and all the other popular artists who use `offensive language', and the radio stations and execs that broadcast them (5). And on it goes.

Frank Rich in the New York Times said the only way to deal with someone like Imus is by having `more free speech'. He quite rightly argues that the sacking will have a chilling affect across the entire media about what can be said (6).

People who believed in freedom and universal equal rights used to argue that when one starts calling for bans, it is ultimately only the supporters of freedom who suffer. This wise observation has been replaced by a pernicious and nasty sentiment that we can't possibly handle comments and ideas that we disagree with. Instead, we have to go to the headteacher (someone with the power of censorship) and ask for the name-callers to be silenced.

Worryingly, it is seen as acceptable openly to talk about `white trash' as though everyone can accept that term without reservation (just look at the coverage of the death of ex-model Anna Nicole Smith). Yet when we discuss other groups, there is a patronising notion that they will be debilitated by the trauma of being offended. Furthermore, whether something is offensive appears to be entirely subjective. As a discussion on CNN's Paula Zahn Now illustrated, there's nothing inherently offensive about the phrase `nappy-headed' - it all depends, apparently, on who is saying it and why. Free speech is being trumped by etiquette.

With Staples, Bigelow Tea and other big brands withdrawing their advertising from his shows, and every commentator from Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton and Ann Coulter weighing in, Don Imus has been canned. More than this, however, American society has taken one more step towards promoting the idea that only certain people are permitted to say certain things in certain ways.

Across the board, on campuses and in the workplace, in the media and society generally, there is a dangerous tendency to shut down debate in the guise of protecting the `vulnerable'. This is a travesty and should compel us all to argue fervently for free speech at all times. Anything less is just not acceptable: censorship leaves bad ideas unchallenged, as they get brushed under the carpet rather than being interrogated; and it limits what can and cannot be discussed out in the open. In the words generally attributed to Voltaire: `I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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