December 19, 2009

Indians = philanthropists, not socialists

Bear's Den:  "Christmas is much about being … an Indian Giver"

By David Walks-As-BearNow, many in the Progressive Movement–Obama's sort–seem to think that American Indians were, and are socialists. Hmm, well, maybe to a degree–but nowhere near how they insinuate. They liken the traditional American Indian 'giving' to their new slogan of 'Sharing the Wealth'. Now, when they say this (the Progressives), it always means forcefully taking from some to give to others. But the fact is that traditional American Indians didn't do this–uh-uh. Anything they did was voluntary. They weren't socialist–not by a long stretch. So, this somewhat erroneous application is one often given by some college professors and others in this Progressive movement who state that American Indians were so inclined to total socialism. Nah, trust me–they weren't. The American Indian culture, however, tribe to tribe and nation to nation–honors a giving nature. Heck, giving has always been, and remains, a basic tenant of who we are. Yep, yep, and while Indians do love decorating stuff–especially at Christmas–you'll probably never see a wigwam with a hammer and sickle on its sides … know what I mean?

Traditional Indians view philanthropy pretty much as it is derived from the original Latin philanthro-pia. The word is from the Greek, philanthro-pos, which means, literally, "loving people." Um-hmm, and Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines it as:

1: goodwill to fellow men; especially: active effort to promote human welfare.

Right. And this kind'a fits with the modern version of philanthropy. It's akin to some rich dude, or dudette, donating a smidgen of their coin, and thereby being a benefactor to those in the community. Sure, and maybe the philanthropist donates a new wing to a hospital. Usually, they get a little something back for this gift, too. It's the trade or exchange, the completing of the circle, as it were. Boy … that sounds kind of Indian to me, eh. Yes'um, it does, because in this case, often the new hospital wing will be named for him or her–the said philanthropist–see what I'm saying? And they did this … of their own free will, eh–nobody forced them to do it. In return, they got a good feeling and helped those around them. And, Indian giving is very much the same, in a different venue.
Comment:  For examples of Indians being labeled "socialists," see Republican Hypocrisy on "Socialism" and Uncivil Indians. For more on Indians and Christmas, see Starman Visited Baby Jesus and Lawton Museum's "Comanche Christmas."

Below:  Dancers at a potlatch ceremony.


dmarks said...

Good thing. Socialists are about as far from being philanthropists as you can get

Rob said...

Blaming socialism for these people's crimes is about as silly as blaming capitalism for the crimes of Columbus, Cortés, Pizarro, Jackson, Custer, et al.

Incidentally, Hitler was far from being a classic socialist. As Wikipedia explains:

In 1929, Hitler called socialism "an unfortunate word altogether" and said that "if people have something to eat and their pleasures, then they have their socialism." According to Henry A. Turner, Hitler expressed regret for having integrated the word socialism into his party's name. Hitler wrote in 1930, "Our adopted term 'Socialist' has nothing to do with Marxian Socialism. Marxism is anti-property; true Socialism is not."

Rob said...

You've mistaken socialism for communism or totalitarianism. They aren't the same thing.

As I think I explained before, many Europeans are democratic socialists. From 1900 to the 1930s, the US had a large democratic socialist movement too.

Here's evidence that someone can be a socialist without being a freedom-hating fanatic.

Bolivia's Revolution

Bolivian president Evo Morales and his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chávez, are comrades in a self-proclaimed socialist revolution. But their standing at home couldn't be more different. Morales won a landslide reelection on Dec. 6; meanwhile, two thirds of Venezuelans now say they foresee a possible uprising against Chávez. Why the split? Turns out that Morales, for all his fire-breathing rhetoric, governs with far more discipline. Both he and Chávez have nationalized key industries, but while Chávez blew his windfall on poorly focused social programs, Morales has been a model of fiscal austerity. He built up enormous reserves; made smart investments in infrastructure, electricity, and microfinance; and diversified trade to depend less on the U.S. So while Venezuela is suffering from blackouts, water shortages, and double-digit inflation, Bolivia is growing faster than at any point in the past three decades. Now, that's downright radical.

dmarks said...

There's no mistaking, as communism is a more hardline ("pure") form of socialism. A subset relationship.

So far, Evo's kind of an exception to the rule when it comes to socialism.. One has to be aware of how much personal power the changes in government give to him. Too often, the tendency is like what happened with Robert Mugabe, also a socialist. At one time an anti-colonial freedom fighter, but he evolved into a monster.

dmarks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aw said...

"They liken the traditional American Indian 'giving' to their new slogan of 'Sharing the Wealth'. Now, when they say this (the Progressives), it always means forcefully taking from some to give to others"

All societies require taxation and involuntary payments and the use of force. The article is rubbish.