Columbus Day Without Guilt
By Thomas Bowden
In years past, the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s 1492 voyage was an occasion to honor the explorer’s courage and to rejoice in the spread of Western civilization across a savage wilderness. More recently, however, advocates of multiculturalism have damned Columbus and the New World’s settlers as brutal conquerors who destroyed a pristine Indian paradise. Columbus Day, we are told, should be spent in atonement and repentance—or be discarded in favor of "Indigenous Peoples Day."
Unjustified guilt-mongering about Columbus Day improperly blackens the reputation of Western civilization while obscuring the harsh realities of life in the Stone Age, argues attorney Thomas A. Bowden, analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights and author of The Enemies of Christopher Columbus.
In this myth-shattering lecture, Mr. Bowden re-examines such controversial topics as the morality of displacing the American Indian tribes (did they really own the land?), the fallacies in the treaty/reservation system (was government too generous?), and the infamous "Trail of Tears" (what caused so many Cherokee deaths on the way west?).
Rejecting as false all notions of racial superiority and collective guilt, Mr. Bowden instead affirms the objective superiority of civilization to savagery. On Columbus Day, he maintains, individuals of all ancestries should guiltlessly celebrate Western civilization’s core values—reason, science, technology, progress, capitalism, individual rights, law and the selfish pursuit of individual happiness here on earth—at a time when those values are under terrorist assault by America's declared enemies.