Early America and Western Civilization in Historical Perspective - Politicrossing
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Early America and Western Civilization in Historical Perspective

Feel-good “history” embellishes the accomplishments of select groups while misconveying actual history.

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Archeologists find that since the dawn of civilization, no society has fully grasped what is necessary to live in harmony with its environment and for its people to live in peace with one another. In the last 10,000 years of civilization, for example, remarkably little has changed in the way in which people treat their surroundings.

The Myth of Noble Societies

Before human occupation, forests, not deserts and barren plain, covered the uplands of Arizona and New Mexico. 700 years before Columbus’ arrival in the Western Hemisphere, the mighty Mayan civilization, with a population of 200,000 in what is now Mexico and Central America, fell into ruin following human-caused depletion of the rain forests, heavy soil erosion, and internal warfare.

Misinformation about how societies developed and how their people lived often leads to erroneous conclusions about how present-day society ought to be managed. Let me explain. In my book Breathing Space: Living & Working at a Comfortable Pace in a Sped-Up Society, I discuss five “mega-realities” that simultaneously compete for one’s time and attention.

The second of these mega-reality, an expanding volume of knowledge, plays a vital role in our understanding of earlier societies. A proliferation of information invariably leads to a proliferation of misinformation. Accordingly, what we understand to be historical realities are often distortions of the truth.

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The Rise of Misinformation

Predictably, the volume of contradictory information and the associated discrepancies it spawns is rising. Annually, well over 40,000 scientific journals publish more than a million new articles. “The number of scientific articles and journals published worldwide is starting to confuse researchers, overwhelm the quality-control systems of science, encourage fraud, and distort the dissemination of important findings,” says New York Times science journalist William J. Broad. Misinformation has become a major impediment to social progress.

In these “politically correct” times, in the area of social history in particular, too often pseudo-historians dispense misinformation in the form of “feel-good history,” a term referred to by noted professor and distinguished historian Dr. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in his award-winning book, The Disuniting of America. Feel-good history is “history” designed to accent or embellish the accomplishments or nature of select groups for purposes other than conveying what historical records objectively reveal. Such accounts cloud the accuracy of historical accounts, presenting events in ways that might not be real or complete depictions of what took place.

American history, as a case in point, has become one of the most maligned of the historical disciplines. To be sure, the U.S. government reneged on treaties and, sometimes inadvertently, sometimes not,  destroyed cultures. Nonetheless, do misinformed or overzealous teachers and leftist professors have the right to overturn decades of research and analysis in their efforts to present “the untold, untaught side of American history?” Are they justified in making wholly unfounded assertions about the origins, nature, and achievements of ethnic groups that they represent or who they feel have been slighted by “Eurocentric” versions of history?

Common Mistaken Beliefs

Consider common beliefs about Native American populations. Evidence is mounting that Europeans pre-dated them in North America, but that is the subject of a different article. Many people today believe that the arrival of Europeans from 1492 was co-terminus with the introduction of disease to native populations. The Europeans did bring with them new diseases, such as smallpox, which proved to be more deadly to North American peoples than it was to Europeans, but by no means were Native Americans free of disease beforehand.

Karl Reinhard, Ph.D., a prominent pathologist, observed that “Native Americans had already accumulated quite a spectrum of parasitic diseases before the Europeans arrived. Take the Incas. We’re looking at no less than three species of lice, not to mention different varieties of fleas, tapeworms, hookworms, the works.”

Actually, all told, American civilization, with all its strengths and weakness, was as good and decent a society under Donald Trump as it likely had ever been. Many Americans, however, believe that Native American cultures historically were superior in interacting with one another and in maintaining a harmonious balance with the environment. However, this view is naive at best and classically demonstrative of the perils of misinformation.

Masters of the Environment?

Dr. William K. Tabb, one of my economics professors in college, remarked to our class that economics in essence was the “allocation of scarce resources.” Only when a society has to manage limited resources is it an “economic” society. Let’s apply this to the case at hand. Some Native American nations starved during harsh winters. Some could not care for all their members.

On a continent as large as North America, most of the Native American nations were blessed with vast stretches of land, in some cases more than they could use. In that sense they were not “economic” societies. In comparison to today, natural resources were plentiful. Because they did not live in economic societies, it is hard to determine to what degree many Native American nations practiced sound environmental policy.

It is known that vast sections of the southwestern United States, for example, were completely decimated by over-cutting. Dr. Charles Redman, an anthropologist at Arizona State University, says, “The idea of the primordial paradise, that pre-European societies were somehow great environmentalists, is romantic history.”

The cliff-dwellers, with their elaborate wooden structures, may have sealed the ecological fate of their region for all the centuries that have followed. In the Eastern U.S., the Cherokee removed such large swaths of forest along riverbanks  — not coincidentally, some of the areas now most carefully protected by environmental legislation — that Europeans entering some areas thought there were no trees.

Illness and injury were treated with natural remedies, many of which worked and are still viable solutions for health problems today. It would be unwise, however, to surmise that all Native American nations at all times were populated by wise dispensers of health information that uniformly fortified their people. For acute illnesses, major injury, and rare disorders, most nations could do little for the afflicted and, if they attempted to do anything, would do more harm than good.

Operations were crude. Medical hygiene was all but unknown. Many “treatments” hastened the death of the patient rather than alleviating the condition.

Human Rights or Tribal Mythology?

Many contemporary Americans maintain the notion that Native American nations were exemplary in their homage to human rights. This issue cannot be summarily concluded. Some groups were effective in upholding human rights; some were not. Many people within nations paid homage to human and individual rights; many people did not.

In some  nations, elders were cast out of the tribe to die on their own once it was believed that their final days were near. Some nations, and many individuals within many nations, were intolerant of homosexual behavior or other sexual and personal orientations that deviated from the norm.

Many nations maintained rituals and customs that forced individuals into predetermined roles independent of their individual aspirations or aptitudes. As cited previously, some nations maintained elaborate rituals and rites of passage whereby young men were summarily cast into battle. Or, young men had to fight and kill a wild animal, perhaps with nothing more than a knife or a spear. They then would have to return with the animal’s vital organs to prove their “manhood.”

Nowhere Near Paradise

In many nations, everyone was expected to pull his own weight-not necessarily a bad idea, as societies go-but what fate befell those who proved to be less physically endowed?

Some nations permitted polygamy, whereby one man was permitted many wives, usually with no say on the part of the maidens thrust into service.

Still, many Native Americans loved the earth, lived in harmony with it, and lived in harmony with each other. Their poetry and chants often reveal the kinship they felt with the earth. Let us avoid the trap, however, of sanctifying those who were here before us because some of them, in some respects, embodied environmentally and socially redeeming virtues needed today.

Let’s not paint in our minds and post in our literature exalted, vague notions of environmentally and morally superior peoples whose ageless wisdom is somehow quintessential to our survival today.

Every Group Qualifies

The lesser-known side of Native American history is one example of how history can be skewed to reflect a certain set of ideas. There are, of course, other examples throughout world history. It is important that we draw what we can from the knowledge of such cultures and be respectful of their heritage.

Let’s forsake the counterproductive mythology that seeks to rewrite history to match the flawed ideology of a few. Instead, let’s learn what we can from the actual lessons and experiences of history, and use that knowledge to improve as a society.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Politics

Why Mainline Republicans Should NOT Be Trusted in Latest Threats

When conservatives and populists finally got someone who they believed in, the mainliners were the first people to jump ship.

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We’ve all been told for years and years that we have to support the mainline candidates but when conservatives and populists finally got someone who they believed in, the mainliners were the first people to jump ship. And they still continue to perpetuate their angst ridden accusations. From this no-name guy who I can’t even remember who is threatening to pull people out of the party to Liz Cheney to your average mainline Republican, Chris Widener, the founder of PolitiCrossing take them apart piece by piece in his latest video.

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News

The 90-year Shame of the New York Times

Despite its constant lies, propaganda, and censorship, the New York Times is regarded by many as the ‘newspaper of record,’ offering ‘all the news that’s fit to print’

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The New York Times deliberately buried the story known as the Terror-Famine, in 1932 and 1933, which astoundingly killed 3.9 to 7.0 million Ukrainians, at least one out of every eight people, perhaps one out of every four people.

The editors at the Times were well aware that the famine was orchestrated by Joseph Stalin who forbade outside food and aid shipments, confiscated household food items, and restricted the mobility of Ukrainian citizens.

What made Stalin do this to a region known as “the world’s breadbasket”? He sought to punish independence-minded Ukrainians, quash anyone who represented a threat to his totalitarian government, and vanquish Ukraine’s small farms in favor of Soviet state-run collectives. Stalin lost no sleep over the legions of emaciated bodies, near death, scratching for any morsel of food they could find.

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Maniacal and Mendacious

Why did The New York Times bury this heart-wrenching, world-shaking story? Then, as now, their leftist bent was so intense and so all-encompassing that they couldn’t help themselves. The blunt truth is that they do not care who is hurt as long as socialist/Marxist/communist ideology prevails on earth.

In another 10 years, it will be at least 100 years since the Times and other heavily left-leaning organizations, which today comprise the highly biased ‘mainstream media,’ have been dominant.

In 2121, one hundred years from now, is it realistic to believe that the facade which the mainstream media has foisted on Americans and on free people around the globe will not continue to dominate?

Will their maniacal ideology, somehow, finally be exposed by some new form of information dissemination or some fundamental shift in media coverage?

Sheeple at the Trough

Just how biased and detrimental their slanted news coverage has been to humanity, globally, is difficult to fathom. For decades on end, when you prop up socialist, Marxist, or communist regimes, are you helping anyone?

The mainstream media has held a news and information monopoly for so long, so skillfully, that the facade is not remotely understood by those in its spell, and bitterly denounced by those who see the mainstream press for what it really is. In the long run, truth generally prevails.

Even today, after five years of attempting to prove it, not a shred of evidence indicates that Donald Trump, his administration, or his campaign colluded with Russia.

Still, you have Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and all the other dolts in Congress who will readily appear on TV and spew lies. They play the ‘talking head’ game with sympathetic hosts and continue the guise, holding sway over those who don’t know how to find out the truth.

A Stranglehold for the Ages

The stranglehold that the Left and the mainstream media has on humanity leads to some intriguing philosophical questions. Even before the mass media came into being, has there always been some entity that enforced its will upon the unwitting masses?

Throughout history, dictators and other rulers imposed their version of the truth on the unwitting masses. Even in societies where news and information was somewhat freely exchanged, has there always been a faction that sought to slant reality and the will of others? It seems likely.

In the 21st century, roughly half of the U.S. and roughly half of the globe are still subject to Leftist manipulation. Despite all the information sources that exist today, why does so much of the world still fall for obviously manufactured and manipulated news?

How can people keep tuning in to CNN or MSNBC, or for that matter the nightly news on ABC, NBC, or CBS? How many times does CBS have to be caught red-handed doctoring the news, slanting stories on 60 Minutes, and laying traps for people like Governor Ron DeSantis, only to be exposed?

And then, within a matter of days, having learned nothing, CBS reverts right back to more of their insidious ways of presenting information.

Living with Perpetual Lies

How often can The New York Times offer a story the latter proves to be completely untrue, and its editors knew was untrue at the time, and yet its readership is unfazed?

How can the Times continue to be regarded by many as the ‘newspaper of record,’ offering ‘all the news that’s fit to print’? What tidal wave of human understanding, once and for all, needs to occur before we universally recognize highly biased reporting sources for what they are?

In the U.K., news publications openly advocate a position, left or right, and don’t play pretend. Consumers understand the bias that each media outlet or newspaper maintains, can read articles, and judge them accordingly.

In the U.S., the mainstream press continues to push lie that they offer an objective, balanced view of what’s happening in the world. How can they continue to do this? Sadly, enough fools buy what they say… lock, stock, and barrel.

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