In the comments section, someone named Tony put up a spirited defense of America's genocidal actions. I've debated people like this hundreds of times, so I shouldn't bother, but I got carried away and did it again.
Go to the original posting to see all the arguments in context. I've picked a few of Tony's most egregious claims to rebut:
If you think pioneers settled the "wildness" of the West, you're perpetuating the myth that Indians were savages without culture or civilization. That they were little more than from wild animals. That's the same argument as before, so the distinction you're making--settling the West vs. settling the West's "wildness"--is immaterial.
The fact is that the Indians had already settled Americas when the Europeans arrived. No amount of semantic games can change this fact.
Later in your argument, you yourself tell us how Indians weren't idealistic tree-huggers--how they altered the landscape by cutting trees, burning brush, etc. News flash, buddy: These are the activities involved in "settling" the land. So you implicit admit what you've tried to deny: that the land wasn't "wild" and didn't need "taming" or "settling."
Disease killed most Indians...really?
And so what if disease killed 90% of the Indians and warfare killed only 10%? Ten percent of several million people is still mass murder and it still constitutes genocide.
FYI, the intent to exterminate Indian peoples and cultures is what matters, not the results. Similarly, we call the Holocaust an act of genocide even though many Jews survived it.
You gotta it when genocide defenders point out that disease killed the majority of Indians. As if that's some stunning revelation. As if Indians and liberal ("revisionist") historians didn't realize it until a few conservative soothsayers pointed it out. Thanks for that deep insight, pal.
FYI, forced relocation and cultural destruction are part of the official definition of genocide. If you "kill the Indian to save the man," you've committed an act of genocide even if the victim lives. For more on the subject, see Genocide by Any Other Name....
And war is always waged to kill people, bright boy. That's inherent in the definition of war. If a war has other motivations, that doesn't change the fact of the deadly intent.
Again, by your logic, the 9/11 terrorists didn't intend to kill the people in the World Trade Center. They wanted to send us a message about getting out of the Middle East and innocent victims just happened to get in the way. Unconscionable, yes, but not mass murder according to you.
No alternative to being savage?
Among the things Indians could've done but didn't were: 1) Wallow in unsanitary conditions without bathing. 2) Demand obedience to a hierarchical church and state with "divine" authorities. 3) Devote their lives to gathering material goods and titles. Which explains why people the Indians captured almost always wanted to stay with the Indians.
Your pseudo-socialist fantasies notwithstanding, many if not most Indians understood the concepts of personal property and territorial rights (e.g., hunting grounds). Again, you don't need written records if you're not prone to lying and cheating, as Euro-Americans were. "You stay on your side of the river and we'll stay on ours"...simple.
Have you heard of the fur trade? Many tribes had extensive trade economies. Whether these economies were "formal" or not is irrelevant. And keeping trade records doesn't necessarily require a written language. Drawings, notches, beads, or memories can substitute for written tallies.
Here's a good example of the Indians' informal economy:
Ancient Miwok harvested salt
For trade according to new report
By Don Baumgart
“The site is the most impressive prehistoric saltworks yet discovered in North America,” Diggles and Moore said in their report, “and represents a unique departure from traditional hunter-gatherer activities to that of manufacturing.”
The grinding of so many basins in granite could not have been done without the labor of a concentrated population.
In short, thanks for sharing your stereotypical "history" with us. You're doing a great job of regurgitating your grade-school textbooks. I'm so glad to hear that the first racist settlers were correct and Indians really were primitive "savages."
Western culture is superior?
What do you base your ridiculous claim on? Euro-Americans "won" primarily because of their inadvertent germ warfare, which you admitted. They also won because of their propensity to break their own vows and laws after signing treaties. Even with these unanticipated and immoral advantages, Native defeat wasn't inevitable. So where exactly is the cultural superiority?
If you define "cultural superiority" as military supremacy, then it's easy to determine the greatest culture in the modern world. The US defeated Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the USSR...and Vietnam defeated the US. Vietnam is Earth's greatest culture.
If you define "cultural superiority" as economic supremacy, you have about a decade before China overtakes the US (and Vietnam) as Earth's greatest culture. Then what? You'll be reduced to weak, qualitative arguments such as "the US is the freest country on Earth" even though other countries have more income per capita, less crime, longer life expectancies, etc., etc. In other words, you'll become a cultural relativist.
Have you read Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel? If you have, you must've missed its message. The message is that the West succeeded because of the luck of the draw, not because of any innate superiority. For more on the subject, see The Myth of Western Superiority.
Are you really saying "progress" is such a virtue that it was worth the death of millions of Indians? Please answer yes or no. Yes, the progress was worth with it or no, it wasn't. Let's see exactly how much or little you value Indian lives.
"Might makes right" better than Zinn?
For more on the subject, see Europeans Taught Natives "Discipline, Order"?, Europeans and Indians Equally Evil?, and No Colonization, No United States?
Below: Our superior Western culture.