Assimilation versus multiculturalism in a capitalist society

As you know, there is a big debate going on in England right now about the veil. Those who support the veil are framing this support in terms of religious freedom. However, veils are not an integral part of the Muslim religion. Instead, they are a product of Arab culture. (Indeed, you only need to think of the number of devoutly religious Muslim countries in which the women have not traditionally worn veils. Indonesia and Bosnia immediately spring to mind.) The modern use of the veil outside of Saudi Arabia (whether a simple head covering or the full mask) is a political statement that began to rise to prominence as part of Arab nationalism during the 1930s.

The distinction between ritual (or culture) and religion is an important one in the debate about assimilation in a multiculturalist world. France and England demonstrate the dangers of taking either of those doctrines to extremes. At the time of the riots in Paris last year, mahy people commented on the French demand that immigrants assimilate completely — abandoning all ties to their place of origin — as a mandatory prerequisite to entering the French social and economic system. Immigrants unwilling to abandon all vestiges of their past are locked out of French society, and condemned forever to the netherworld of the banlieus. There is no middle ground. Clearly, this level of imposed assimilation doesn’t work.

England, of course, is rapidly going in the other direction regarding its immigrants. If the immigrants ask for it, they get it: In an officially Christian country, crosses are banned and St. George’s flag is pulled down. Muslim police officers are free to walk away from assignments they find distasteful or worrisome. Because Muslims won’t eat pork, cultural icons are threatened or removed entirely. (Personally, I’m deeply offended when I’m in grocery stores selling liver. Blech.) Students are arrested for pointing out that they can’t carry on a discussion with non-English speaking Pakistani students. (Although this seemed more like preemptive obedience by the school and the police than any response to Muslim complaints.) I could go on with examples, but I think we all have the sense that England’s slavish devotion to multiculturalism is also a model that doesn’t work.

There’s got to be a happy medium and, chauvinistically, I think the traditional American model (one that the Leftist’s are chipping away at to recreate the British model) is the one that works. This one says that (a) we will respect purely religious beliefs and (b) you can cling to ritual beliefs, but you have to recognize that they may hamper your ability to get ahead economically. I don’t think (a) needs much discussion. We are allowed to worship as we please in America and, while one can always dig out anomalous situations in which some boneheaded supervisor was disrespectful of an employee’s religion, that’s certainly not the American norm — nor has it been.

The more interesting point is America’s approach to ritual. Although we are officially a secular nation, we don’t have the militant secularism that characterizes France. People are free to wear Stars of David, crosses, and head scarves — all of which are ritual expressions associated with belief, rather than religious imperatives — as long as they don’t interfere with things. We’re all proud of our cultural backgrounds. Many people also find spiritual comfort in wearing religious icons, and that’s okay. However, because we’re a country governed more by the marketplace than by the government (at least until this November), our national position is that people who wish to engage in more extreme cultural rituals than small jewelry or little scarves have to be willing to take the economic hits. Thus, if you’re an Ultra-orthodox Jew, you’re not going to work for a Fortune 500 company that can’t accommodate the myriad religious rituals that underpin your life — and the government is not going to make that Fortune 500 company hire you (or, at least, not yet). To date, multiculturalists’ efforts notwithstanding, religion is still your own business, for better or for worse.

America is also totally willing to allow people to celebrate their cultures within their own homes and their own communities. A Jewish company won’t fire you because you have a Christmas tree in your home, nor will a Christian employee fire a Jew who lights Chanukah candles in December. Again, we celebrate these differences, but refuse to allow them to dominate the marketplace.

The unspoken American pact has always been that legal immigrants are welcome to cling to their traditions, but that they may do so at their own risk economically. The more you’re willing to assimilate, the better you’ll probably do. But if you don’t assimilate, there are still many opportunities. You make your choices. If the veil is overwhelmingly important to you, you limit your opportunities. If it’s of transcendent importance, maybe you should stay in your own country. We will not (or, rather, we should not) change for you.

And really, that last point is the most interesting. Why do people immigrate to Western countries? I think the obvious reason is that the majority come to enjoy the economic opportunities those Western countries offer. Whether they’re leaving Mexico for America, Turkey for Germany, or Saudi Arabia and Pakistan for England, the immigrants come for the work. It is ironic, then, that the more militant, having come to the West to enjoy the economic benefits it offers, immediately work upon the credulous multiculturalists among us to turn our Western economies into the same damaged backwaters they left behind.

As for me, here in America, I welcome immigrants who come here legally, willing to work, and accepting of the fact that they have to embrace the American pact regarding expressions of culture and religion. I am intractably hostile to immigrants who come here to escape their stagnant home countries, and then attempt to impose on us ritual beliefs and practices that will reduce us, a thriving pluralist society, to the same level of cultural and economic stagnation they ostensibly sought to escape.

UPDATE:  Minutes after I posted the above, I opened LGF and read about the British man convicted for protesting (crudely) Muslim extremists.  He was turned in by his neighbors, who feared the wrath of Muslim extremists.

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  • JJ

    Turned in by your neighbors, eh, Winston?

    As I said, Book: not if it was across the street.

  • Marguerite

    Great essay. That last paragraph is sterling silver, BW! Is it any wonder we have come to this when a generation of self-flagellating oh-so-tolerant p.c. multi-culturalists have been taught in our public schools/universities that America is morally equivalent to the third world economic disaster that they long to leave?

  • jg

    Book, where do you discover these English episodes? This is a fine essay about an important issue.

    There’s a fear stalking parts of England, the episodes seem to say.

    Turn in your neighbor (Big part of Soviet thinking) before the (State: Soviets) (Nazis: Germany)– English Muslims come looking for you. And who will defend you against them.. the UK govt. seems to be ON the Muslim’s SIDE.

    Your stories should disturb even the multi culturalist; if they’d listen.

    Your journalism shows a cultural blackmail/takeover about which I’d rather not believe.

    Not about England.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    UPDATE: Minutes after I posted the above, I opened LGF and read about the British man convicted for protesting (crudely) Muslim extremists. He was turned in by his neighbors, who feared the wrath of Muslim extremists.

    You don’t need torture to make people do what you want and to tell you what you wish, obviously.

    This is why the 2nd Ammendment is more important than the First in terms of securing the Bill of Human Rights.

    First you kill the second, then you get the first, easily.

  • http://www.NorthStarMartialArts.com Scott in SF

    Dear Bookworm your essay lacks some historic and some legal considerations.
    Sikhs have sued for the right to attend California Public Schools while carrying their five religious symbols, which are obligatory for all males to carry. They lost with out any ambiguity. One of those symbols is of course a blade. In the suit they said that even an unsharpened knife in a sheath which has been sewn closed is not permisable.
    Secondly, Andrew Jackson abducted his wife, fair and square. Traditional Backcountry culture (rednecks from Northern England) considered abduction and ritual abduction a normal way to get a wife (as do many cultures). Things change (although talk about abduction in music is still common), Tongan-Americans have been prosicuted for rape doing exactly what they consider normal back in Tonga. Also Polynesians love to eat and traditionally celebrate feasts with horse meat, now illegal too.

  • Marguerite

    Scott – It doesn’t matter what is considered normal in Tonga. It doesn’t matter what is considered feast food in Hawaii. When the Sikhs have attained majority status in THIS COUNTRY we can revisit the suit. This is the UNITED STATES . . . get over it. Never mind, the SF explains everything.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    They lost with out any ambiguity.

    What does that have to do with the freedom of expression real Americans hold to and fight for? Since it is the fake liberals that defeated them, as they have defeated Christians in schools, why does any of that have to do with Bookworm and classical liberal Americans?

    While Bookworm’s position may possibly lack some historical facts and legalese, Scott’s post lacks something more critical.

    None of what I saw, was inconsistent with the real American belief that people may practice their religious beliefs so long as those beliefs did not restrict the human rights of other people.

    There is no reason why Bookworm would change her position to advancing either the British or French position, based upon any of the examples Scott has presented.

  • Dann

    Keep up the good work, Bookworm. Been reading for a while and this one woke me up to respond.

    People of good will must speak up and stand up when incidents of the sort you enumerate occur.

    Thank you.

  • Lulu

    E pluribus unum. The US motto. From many, one.

    On my street are immigrants from Peru, Italy, South Africa, Israel, Greece, South Korea and Mexico, as well as the majority of us native-born Americans from many different backgrounds and religions. Never have I felt anything other than that we are all Americans.

  • Lulu

    Let me also add that apparently the normally strident voices of feminism are silenced in the face of multi-culturalism. How else to explain the silence from women’s rights organizations when half the people in some parts of the world are literally hidden in public? Can there be a clearer picture of the invisibility of women in parts of the Islamic world? There is no question in my mind that the veil is dehumanizing. Anyone who doubts this should try wearing a burka, covered head, covered face, with nothing exposed but eyes for a few days as a sociological experiment.

    In any event, I am bothered by the silence of women’s organizations regarding the veil, female genital mutilation, honor killings and the like. If they don’t speak out against this treatment, what is their purpose?

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    You should try eating with a burkha on, as well.

    Their purpose is to prey on the weak, in order to appear strong and righteous.

  • erp

    Lulu, feminism isn’t about women’s rights, it’s about furthering the socialist movement worldwide. Ditto all the other gorgeous colors of the moonbat movement like the environmental whackoes, PETA, Amnesty International, the anti-war/anti-Bush loonies, etc. Right now the left is tight with Islamic fundamentalists because they’re against freedom too.

  • http://ravana.wordpress.com/ ravana

    The veil is not just worn in the Middle East. It’s worn by the more devout in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and India as well.

    Agree with your last paragraph. I wish America’s political ancestors had applied the same principles when they migrated over. It could have saved millions of lives from genocide.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Genocide, Ravana? Genocide refers to a systematic attempt to exterminate a group of people. Who, exactly, was wiped out by America’s political ancestors? How many millions? Where? Names, number and places, please?

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    America was so mighty back then, we had germ warfare at our disposal, dontcha know.

  • Zhombre

    I assume Ravana means Native Americans.

  • Scott in SF

    Thankyou for responding to my comment.
    My point is that we need to take into account the way our values and laws actually change.
    As systems go America is the best. And it is the easiest culture to assimilate into.
    What ever multi-culturalism is, I don’t subscribe to it. I do however think we need to understand what culture is. I think the Albion Seed theory of four American cultures is very useful, if not totally acurate.
    Polynesians are tending to assimilate into black/redneck culture, why?
    Sikhs are very successful in the US, but they are having to compromise their religon if they wish to attend public schools.
    We do not have to impose our eating habits on other people. In the 1970’s Tofu making machines were illegal. How stupid does that seem now.
    I do not believe there is a “principle” we can use to decide what culture or religious practices we will tolerate. We must decide these cases one at a time and admit our mistakes when we make them.
    I do martial arts demonstrations in the schools with unsharpened swords, how is that different than a Sikh religious symbol?
    I think Islamo-fascists attacked us because they think they can destroy us. We are going to have to out-smart them as well as out-gun them. I find veils suspicious but I’m not about to demand someone take theirs off, except in about ten specific situaltions that I can think of off the top of my head.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    I’d have to agree with Bookworm’s principle, which is the one I hold. Anyone may and SHOULD be able to practice whatever religious beliefs they have, so long as it does not violate human rights and the Bill of Rights.

    I do martial arts demonstrations in the schools with unsharpened swords, how is that different than a Sikh religious symbol?

    But you have to realize, people like me and Bookworm would probably not have banned the Sikhs religious symbols, just as we would not ban Christian prayer and symbols in government buildings and schools.

    I cannot really admit a mistake, when it is not mine. Most Americans don’t care about veils, but one thing that did come up, was wearing a veil during a driver’s license photo. Obviously, that’s a no no.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Yup! Native Americans. So, Ravana, questions still apply. Answers?

  • http://www.NorthStarMartialArts.com Scott in SF

    But Ymarsakar, we are going to continuiously make mistakes because we are a democracy and that means we have to resolve competing interests with compromises. The courts will try to be rational, and perhaps even apply a “principle” or two, but much of the time they will fail.
    Witness Prohibition, a feminist inspired anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish– Mormon wet dream.

  • Al

    This posting is great. BW touches on an emerging realization that it is the strong American,capitalist,economy which not only draws peoples of many cultures to America, but this economy also allows and encourages those disparate individuals to at first tollerate,and then accept, and then assimilate into the other cultures represented in the country.
    I am remided of the Tony Curtis’s line in the movie Capt. Newman MD. Gregory Peck is supprised that Curtis can speak Italian. Curtis’s response was,”In my neighorhood you had to speak six languages to do business.” There was a fascinating discussion on NPR two weeks ago about this. The discussion got around to why Muslims seem to assimilate better in the US than in Europe. The interviewee’s answer was our capitalist economy. If you want money to live, you need to work for it. To work, you need to interact daily and meaningfully with individuals of other cultures. That interaction usually breads acceptance and even appreciation.
    In Europe, the only people you need to interact with to live is the government employees who hand out the puplic assistance checks. And of course, the checks are never enough. There is no imperative to interact on a meaningful basis with other cultures. The newly arrived individuals stay in their own neighborhoods. Isolation increases.
    In America, disputes usually are resolved with all individuals have rights and deserve respect. To facilitate that mutually respectfull outcome, all individuals in the dispute need to have a personal strength. That strength too is enhanced by providing for your family youself.
    Then, there is the prayer,”Lord, protect me from minding little stings, or giving them.”
    Or the more secular versoin,”Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” We do need to repeat that a bit more.
    Sorry about the length. I got carried away.
    Al

  • jg

    Good comment, Al. I’ve been wandering through 18c +early 19c American history. American Heritage volumes are great, if you can find them at your used bookstore.

    Gordon S. Wood (Brown U.)in “Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different” (2006), remarks on two remarkable distinctions between American leaders and British.

    400 families dominated 18c. England; only men of their choosing could achieve status in English life. There was no such rule in 18c. America. George Washington, when first he assumed command of the Cont. army, was astonished to find all sorts of men, ‘cobblers to farmers,’ as his officers. And none were appointees of great aristocrats; they had been elected by their own men!

    Even the wealthy Southern plantation owners could run a separate business on the side, and, unlike the British 400, were personally involved in the day-to-day management of their lands. One of the richer American owners earned 1800 pounds/year from his lands. In contrast, the Earl of Derby (UK) reaped 40,000 pounds.

    As a country we were born more equal than England, not only in personal status, but more especially in terms of worldly goods. That has not always stayed the case. But it has mostly been, it can be argued, to our benefit throughout our history.

  • http://ravana.wordpress.com/ ravana

    Danny, You want evidence of US genocide against Native Americans? How about the fact that the region that the US occupies at present once once populated mostly by red people that didn’t spontaneously decide to commit suicide?

    If you want specific details just run a search for “Native American genocide” on google and read some of the many thoousands of hits.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Like I said. America was so mighty back then, we could use germ warfare via biological warfare, and get rid of so many people without having to fight. It was not as if they spontaneously died of “natural causes” now did they?

  • Danny Lemieux

    Ravana, most of the research today suggests that diseases caused a decline in the North American Indian population from about 20 million to about 2 million BEFORE they ever saw a white man. It isn’t even clear to what degree the diseases were imported by the Spanish. Was there genocide? Yes – practiced by one tribe against another (the Iroquois did quite a job on the native Illinois tribe before the remnants migrated west). Were North American tribes badly treated? Of course – in many (not all) cases. However, I defy you to find one example of white North Americans (not Spanish) systematically committing genocide against its Native American populations. If you can’t come up with an example, consider it one more Lefty blood libel that you’ve bought into. There were American-Indian wars, there were massacres (on both sides) and there were forced dislocations (e.g., Trail of Tears). In many cases, the American government (consider Jefferson’s outreach to the Indians, as described in “Undaunted Courage”) or the U.S. Army’s bending backward repeatedly to make peace with the Apaches (ask yourself, why was Geronimo never hanged despite his repeated depradations against white settlers?). The “Indian Wars” were nasty, brutal, patently unfair but inevitable. Don’t go throwing Lefty canards like “Genocide” unless you are willing to support your case with facts. If you are really interested in this topic, you might be interested in this link: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761570777/Native_Americans_of_North_America.html

  • http://ravana.wordpress.com/ ravana

    Whether you want to call it genocide or democide or ethnocide is up to you, the fact is there is sufficient debate about this topic among academics for me to safely assume that the scholars who play up the importance of disease as the overwhelming factor, TO THE NEGATION OF ANY INTENT WHATSOEVER to systematically attempt to exterminate the Native Americans, are apologists fueled by the fear of exposing the glaring hypocrisy of the US.

    However, I think the purpose of my original comment has been achieved. I wanted to provoke. You objected to my labelling it genocide and now we can concur that it is a matter of scholarly debate, even though many Americans themselves still call it genocide (see quotes below). The reason I made my original comment was to highlight the irony of complaining about the ill effects of migrants wearing a simple head covering vis a vis the democide (I’ll humour you) of America’s migrant ancestors. When seen in the context of history it is laughably ironic.

    The inherent objection to the veil is based on a fear of change in society. You dislike the change it may bring. So you object. Any moral objection appears defunct when seen in the context of history. You celebrate the multiethnic diversity of America. But until almost half a century ago, you still had segregation of blacks, your own citizens. You were technologically advanced enough to have nuclear weapons, almost put a man on the moon, before you got rid of segregation? C’mon, and now a few years on, you preach to the rest of the world about multiethnic diversity? In the context of history 50 years is nothing. It’s laughable.
    ______________________________________________________
    The Pequot War was an armed conflict in 1637 between an alliance of Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies, with American Indian allies (the Narragansett, and Mohegan Indians), against the Pequot Indians. This war saw the elimination of the Pequot as a viable polity in what is present-day southern New England.

    Hundreds were killed; hundreds more were captured and sold into slavery to the West Indies.[1] Those who managed to evade death or capture and enslavement dispersed. It would take the Pequot more than three and a half centuries to regain their former political and economic power in their traditional homeland region along the Pequot (present-day Thames) and Mystic Rivers in what is now southeastern Connecticut.[2]

    From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_history_of_American_indigenous_peoples

    “These changes often resulted in decreased birth rates, which steadily lowered populations over time. In the United States, for example, the relocations of Native Americans resulting from the policies of Indian Removal and the reservation system created a disruption which resulted in fewer births and thus population decline. Harmful social side effects of this ethnic cleansing policy, such as malnourishment, alcoholism and internicine stuggles, further contributed to a progressive decline.[15]”

    Effect of decreased birth rates and fertility: Thornton, pp. 43-44

    The genocide debate
    A controversial question relating to the population history of American indigenous peoples is whether or not the natives of the Americas were the victims of genocide. After the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust during World War II, genocide was defined (in part) as a crime “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.”

    Historian David Stannard is of the opinion that the indigenous peoples of America (including Hawaii[16]) were the victims of a “Euro-American genocidal war.”[17] While conceding that the majority of the indigenous peoples fell victim to the ravages of European disease, he estimates that almost 100 million died in what he calls the American Holocaust.[18] Stannard’s perspective has been joined by Kirkpatrick Sale, Ben Kiernan, Lenore A. Stiffarm, and Phil Lane, Jr., among others; the perspective has been further refined by Ward Churchill, who has said that “it was precisely malice, not nature, that did the deed.”[19] — the Europeans chose to spread diseases.

    Stannard’s claim of 100 million deaths has been disputed because he does not cite any demographic data to support this number, and because he makes no distinction between death from violence and death from disease. Noble David Cook considers books such as Stannard’s—a number of which were released around the year 1992 to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the Columbus voyage—to be an unproductive return to Black Legend-type explanations for depopulation. In response to Stannard’s figure, political scientist R. J. Rummel has instead estimated that over the centuries of European colonization about 2 million to 15 million American indigenous people were the victims of what he calls democide. “Even if these figures are remotely true,” writes Rummel, “then this still make this subjugation of the Americas one of the bloodier, centuries long, democides in world history.”[20]

    While no mainstream historian denies that death and suffering were unjustly inflicted by a number of Europeans upon a great many American natives, many argue that genocide, which is a crime of intent, was not the intent of European colonization. Historian Stafford Poole wrote: “There are other terms to describe what happened in the Western Hemisphere, but genocide is not one of them. It is a good propaganda term in an age where slogans and shouting have replaced reflection and learning, but to use it in this context is to cheapen both the word itself and the appalling experiences of the Jews and Armenians, to mention but two of the major victims of this century.”[21]

    Therefore, most mainstream scholars tend not to use the term “genocide” to describe the overall depopulation of American natives. However, a number of historians, rather than seeing the whole history of European colonization as one long act of genocide, do cite specific wars and campaigns which were arguably genocidal in intent and effect. Usually included among these are the Pequot War and campaigns waged against tribes in California starting in the 1850s.[22] Also it was pointed out the experience of Native Americans after European contact is more comparable to the racial subjugation of African Americans by slavery and discrimination.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    The Native Americans can’t complain really, since they backed the British in the beginning, when America tried to revolt. When you back the losing side, and then you have to deal with the side that won, that you fought against, you are not going to get exactly a fair deal. Add in a lot of Indian practices such as raiding and taking scalps and other barbaric things like kidnapping, and you got major clan warfare possibilities. And it is not just the McCoys and Hatfields either.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    the Europeans chose to spread diseases.

    Did I guess it right, or did I guess it right?

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    You provoked Danny into thinking you are one of those fake liberals more concerned with moral purity and righteousness, than actually preventing real life genocides and slaughter of innocents. Congratulations.

  • jg

    RAVANA! quotes (and quotes –and quotes unceasingly):”
    “After the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust during World War II, genocide was defined”

    It was defined by today’s killers.

    As the LEFT does always, you choose to deal in death. It’s a a subject ‘ravana’ knows well. The 20c has seen the Left in its secular fanaticism slaughter hundreds of millions. Muslims now murder each other in nearly as great a manner. So I am glad to see you, as an honorable scholar, addressing TODAY’S issues, ravana, fairly.
    Not.

    Instead you tilt at windmills attempting to rewrite American history ‘Soviet style’ to cover the misdeeds of the Left. Like the Soviets, you always accuse others of YOUR OWN deeds.
    Yep, “cover up” YOUR deeds.

    Your so-called credentials and Leftist data are no good. You possess no basis upon which to judge the so called acts of the past. Neither you nor your ‘in-house’ experts with their trumped up data. If you need war crimes tribunals–I agree.

    Let’s start with FACTUAL RECENT history–Marxism, work back to Nazism, and, of course, include the monstrous evil of Islamfascism that has murdered so many Muslims. Let’s go, ravana. BUT you hide..

    Behind fake stats from a time long gone that no one can really know (you can’t), open to fake debates that establish nothing except your own political motives and dishonesty.. and cowardice..

    for not facing and fighting evil here and now.

    You are part of the evil for not owning up to the genocidal nature of the Left whose credentials you flaunt.

  • Danny Lemieux

    It could not have been said better than you just did, jg. For me, the priceless reference that Ravana made was to Ward Churchill and similar “scholars”? Bwa ha ha ha! According to the dictates of the Leftwing creed, if you don’t have the facts, simply create them.

  • http://ravana.wordpress.com/ ravana

    Well, if that’s the best you can do, Danny and Ymarsakar, to use the Islamic extremists and the scalping Indians as a yardstick, to measure your own morality, I think my point stands.

  • http://ravana.wordpress.com/ ravana

    And… despite your attempt to dismiss my view of thhe Native American experience as “leftist”, the statements of representatives of the relevant department of your own government, reflect this view.

    Remarks of Kevin Gover,
    Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs
    Department of the Interior at the
    Ceremony Acknowledging the 175th Anniversary
    of the Establishment of the
    Bureau of Indian Affairs
    September 8, 2000

    “We must first reconcile ourselves to the fact that the works of this agency have at various times profoundly harmed the communities it was meant to serve. From the very beginning, the Office of Indian Affairs was an instrument by which the United States enforced its ambition against the Indian nations and Indian people who stood in its path. And so, the first mission of this institution was to execute the removal of the southeastern tribal nations. By threat, deceit, and force, these great tribal nations were made to march 1,000 miles to the west, leaving thousands of their old, their young and their infirm in hasty graves along the Trail of Tears.

    As the nation looked to the West for more land, this agency participated in the ethnic cleansing that befell the western tribes. War necessarily begets tragedy; the war for the West was no exception. Yet in these more enlightened times, it must be acknowledged that the deliberate spread of disease, the decimation of the mighty bison herds, the use of the poison alcohol to destroy mind and body, and the cowardly killing of women and children made for tragedy on a scale so ghastly that it cannot be dismissed as merely the inevitable consequence of the clash of competing ways of life. This agency and the good people in it failed in the mission to prevent the devastation. And so great nations of patriot warriors fell. We will never push aside the memory of unnecessary and violent death at places such as Sand Creek, the banks of the Washita River, and Wounded Knee.

    Nor did the consequences of war have to include the futile and destructive efforts to annihilate Indian cultures. After the devastation of tribal economies and the deliberate creation of tribal dependence on the services provided by this agency, this agency set out to destroy all things Indian.”

  • Danny Lemieux

    Ravana, give up the ghost – jg outed you – we know who and what you are. Your reply only confirms that bad things happen to the Indians. We know that. However, it does not constitute “genocide”, which was your blood libel of Americans. I personally don’t know of any other country that addressed its minority indigenous population by giving them semi-autonomous nation states and substantial government aid (even if much of it was ill advised). And, please don’t tell me your Canadian…the Canadian treatment of its aboriginal “First Nation” minorities today (de facto, not de jure) is a horror story of its own.

  • http://ravana.wordpress.com/ ravana

    Jg’s comment is bombastic nonsense. It outed nothing. i’m not even left-wing!

  • Al

    jg.
    You’re right. Tha American Heritage volumes are a marvelous resource for all of us. Would that I had saved my father’s extensive collection. I also agree that the example of our forebares’ working for their living encourages us to do the same. If you do it yourself, you have more control, more self control, and more freedom. If you “let” others do it for you, you have less control, and by definition, less freedom.
    Al

  • http://ravana.wordpress.com/ ravana

    What does that have to do with anything?