In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue … and committed the Original Sin of the liberal imagination. Peruse leftwing sites for observances of Columbus Day and you learn that the intrepid explorer brought only pillage, rape, murder, and enslavement to Eden of the Americas.
On Oct. 10, Yahoo promoted the latest attack on Columbus in Jay Bushbee’s “Slavery, disease, death: the dark side of the Christopher Columbus story.” Columbus Day, according to Bushbee, is a “dangerous farce.”
But Bushby’s views are hardly novel. They’re part of left’s PC history of America. The unhinged radicals at Alternet recognized the Columbus Day in 2006 by revealing the “horrific” details on the explorer, from capturing indigenous women for his crew to rape to imprisoning 1,500 Arawak (native) men, women and children – some of whom he sent to Spanish slave markets.
“Given the realities of Columbus’ campaigns of mass murder and enslavement, why do we commemorate this man ever, much less every year?” questioned Alternet’s Elias Lawless. He continued, “What do we care that some man from Genoa sailing on behalf of Spain landed in the already inhabited Bahamas?”
Not to be out-done in self-righteous hatred of a man who’s been dead for half a millennium, Mother Jones asserted in 2007 that Columbus qualified as a “dictator.” The following year, Jezebel’s Hortense Smith dubbed him a “homicidal explorer desperately in need of a GPS system on the Santa Maria.” That year, the leftist Guardian newspaper (U.K.) celebrated as “The so-called pink tide of leftwing governments [in Latin America] has surged on the back of indigenous movements intent on dismantling the region's eurocentric legacy – starting with Columbus.”
Writing for The Daily Beast in 2011, Columbus scholar Laurence Bergreen admitted Columbus appeared a “courageous and peerless navigator,” but called him “a vain, deluded, and Quixotic leader.” By 2012, Gawker’s Robert Kessler was calling the Italian explorer a “total dick,” and a “genocidal, egomaniacal founding father.”
But nobody boasts a better collection of Columbus take-downs than The Huffington Post. In 2010 HuffPo published PeaceDog Founder Eric Kasum’s piece entitled “Columbus Day? True Legacy: Cruelty and Slavery.”
“Columbus' reign of terror, as documented by noted historians, was so bloody, his legacy so unspeakably cruel, that Columbus makes a modern villain like Saddam Hussein look like a pale codfish,” Kasum asserted, and suggested teaching school children about the “mass murderer” simultaneously with the Nazi death camps. He also trotted out one of the left’s pet peeves: “If you think about it, the whole concept of discovering America is, well, arrogant.”
How bad a guy was Columbus? He was the hemisphere’s original polluter. In 2012 Richard Steiner lamented on HuffPo that Columbus’ discovery “set off a wave of conquest, environmental devastation, and empire building that continues today,” and decided the holiday presented “a good time to reflect on this history, and discuss a better way forward for 21st century humanity.”
The Huffington Post rant continued via Vito de la Cruz’s “I Don’t Have To Celebrate Columbus.” In contrast with the sites, Cruz noted how Columbus' “exposure of the New World made exploration inevitable and that we are who we are today, in large part because he triggered that European curiosity,” although he still concluded with a, “I don't have to celebrate the man.”
No, he doesn’t. No American does, because Columbus’ exploration eventually led to the founding of the freest nation in history, the “last, best hope of earth.” And liberals are as free to dwell on Columbus’ flaws as they do on America’s.