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Human Beings: Earth’s Imperfect Caretakers

Since the dawn of civilization, no society has fully grasped what is necessary to live in harmony with its environment

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Before human occupation, forests, not deserts and barren plain, covered the uplands of Arizona and New Mexico. 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 — 700 years before Columbus’ arrival in the Western Hemisphere.

Misinformation about how societies developed and how their people lived often leads to erroneous conclusions about how present-day society ought to be managed.   Accordingly, what we understand to be historical realities are often distortions of the truth.

Misinformation Abounds

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.

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“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?

Erroneous 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.

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 weaknesses, is as good and decent a society. 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. This view is naive at best and classically demonstrative of the perils of misinformation.

Environmental Novices

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. 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 Native American nations were blessed with vast stretches of land, often 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.

Vast Stretches

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, likely sealed the ecological fate of their region for evermore. 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 sought 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 believe 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.”

Paradise, Not

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.

Learning From Our Past

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’s vital 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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Education

‘Anti-Racists’ are Racist: Do Not Apologize for Being White

‘Anti-racists’ claim that whites, by virtue of their skin color, are detrimental to society

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Ibram X. Kendri, the bigoted professor from Boston University and director of their Center for Antiracist Research, says that whiteness is a problem for all of society, indeed for the entire globe. Who knew?!

Kendri, who was included in Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020, seemingly knows a lot about white people. In fact, he professes to know about every white person in America if not all over the world.

Me? I’m one of those people who merely gets up every day, brushes his teeth, gets dressed, eats a decent breakfast, and goes to work. I had no inkling that in the U.S. and other western nations white people like me had been “socialized to feel that they are inherently superior because they are white.” How naive I have been all these years!

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Now I discover that to be “less white” is a virtue! It requires one to be “less oppressive, less arrogant, less certain, less defensive, less ignorant,” and, more humble, more willing to listen, more willing to believe, and, get this, “to break with the apathy” that white people like me exhibit and “to break with white solidarity.”

Woke Institutions and Brainwashed Authors

White solidarity? Darn, nobody told me about this. Thank goodness it’s all become so clear thanks to enlightened (white) authors such as Robin DiAngelo, who wrote the thoroughly racist and condescending book White Fragility, and thanks to companies such as Coca-Cola which have the foresight to impose programs for its white employees, to be less white.

When there’s a challenge in front of me, I actually do strive to find the right answer, particularly something related to numbers. I will collaborate on occasion, but most of the time I prefer to figure out things for myself, aided by the “all-knowing” Internet.

Am I arrogant, oppressive,  defensive, or ignorant? No one has ever brought this up. Being white, however, I guess I can’t help it! I don’t seek to inhibit the success of others, but I’m now informed that by virtue of my skin color I am detrimental to society. Mea culpa!

The Anti-Racist Racists

With Coca-Cola and other organizations teaching white people to be less white, I’m wondering, will the sequel be how Asians can be less yellow and Indians can be less brown? In America, both groups seem to excel academically. Perhaps only domineering Caucasians, particularly 60+ white males like me, however, are the ones upsetting the apple cart all over society.

Was I given a free pass for the last 40 years? I mean, all the while nobody mentioned my whiteness as a social and cultural problem. My black friends from Little League, high school, various hiking groups, and other groups around town haven’t said squat. So, up ’til now, presumably, I was doing okay. Perhaps they’ve merely been nice to me while whispering behind my back.

Heeding the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I thought our common goal was to live in harmony and to reach a state of color blindness where people were judged by the content of their character and not by their skin color. Hmmm…  I guess that is no longer in play.

I’m wondering, what would MLK conclude about today? Would he speak up against the propensity of the Left to define everybody else by class, sex, or race? Would he be opposed to pitting young against old, rich against poor, black against white, rural against urban, male against female, and all the other phony dichotomies that the Left relentlessly promulgates each day?

Absurd From the Get-Go

Imagine the unending uproar if someone drew up a list of how hundreds of millions of black people all over the world could become “less black.” The  absurdity of regarding all white people, hundreds of millions of them, as having a general set of characteristics, let alone having those characteristics be detrimental to society, is the grand facade of the ages.

How long will “woke” organizations maintain this illusion? Have they been coerced to the point where they’re afraid to say, “This is ridiculous, and needs to stop now”? [Actually, they have been coerced.] Will decades pass before we see the end of this malarkey?

I do not apologize for being a white person, just as no person of color has to apologize for their ethnic background, skin color, race, or religion. If you’re a good citizen who respects the rights of others, that, my friend, is sufficient.

Morgan Freeman, who played God in the movie Bruce Almighty, wishes we would do away with Black History month and merely have history. Freeman also wants us to stop regarding individuals as black and white and simply let people be people. Amen to that.

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News

A Compound National Fracture

Our 246-year experiment in representative democracy is rapidly fraying at the edges

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If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today, he’d be appalled at the fractionalization of our nation. No one can guarantee the USA will exist for the duration of the decade, let alone the next several years.

Our 246-year experiment in representative democracy is rapidly fraying at the edges, and not merely because of anarchists and agitators funded by one-world globalists, or because of perpetually contested elections. Big money has always been the controlling factor in Washington D.C. Today, the levels of influence peddling are unprecedented and getting worse.

Evaporating Middle Ground

Democrats and Republicans once sought to join together on critical issues for the good of the Union, at least some of the time. Today partisan politics predominates. We now approach $30 trillion in debt and $164 trillion in unfunded liabilities, equal to 492,000 per citizen, This a level that is unconscionable and represents theft of our children’s and grandchildren’s heritage. Concurrently, Communist China operates in the foreground to undermine our every institution.

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The sentiment that the U.S. is a global force for good is a sentiment shared by at least half of our friends around the globe, and even begrudgingly by our enemies after the dust settled — think Germany and Japan — but the sentiment cannot be as potent when there is constant internal strife. Domestic dissension and sedition, the lobbying stranglehold, and treason has left our friends befuddled and our enemies bemused and emboldened.

Meanwhile, the world is suffering, beyond the ravages of the coronavirus and in ways that few people could have predicted. More refugees populate the earth than ever before. Human trafficking, often a euphemism for sexual slavery, is a blight on “civilized” societies. The world population is now approaching 8.0 billion people up from 5.0 billion people in 1985.

Madness in Motion

In the U.S. whether or not the libstream press will address the reality, the waves of illegal immigrants from 2008 to 2022 have strained our resources. Local and state governments are bursting at the fiscal seams, while Biden and crew keep the floodgates open.

Crime is rampant among communities with an influx of illegal aliens. A visit to the Drug Enforcement Administration website reveals the country of origin of those criminals most wanted by the D.E.A. in cities across America. Hint: Overwhelming it is Mexico.

Despite record amounts spent on education, our schools were already failing, before the current shutdowns. Minority academic underachievement has been near-constant for decades, even in the most “progressive” communities with the most “progressive-thinking” teachers. Hordes of immigrant children, primarily hailing from Latin America, further strain school districts.

Splitting along Ideological Lines

On the East Coast and the West Coast, deep pockets of liberalism prevail. In the center of the country, conservatism prevails. Communities are organizing along political divisions and feel “the other side” simply doesn’t get it: espousing policies, theories, and beliefs contrary to the best interests of our civilization.

I don’t wish to reside in a land dominated by a polarized news media, the current Senate and Congressional leaders, billionaire “progressives” bent on censorship, sell-out corporations, a two-tier justice system, and a school system designed to poison the minds of our children.

The U.S. might fracture and become two or three countries. The geography for such a partition, of course, is not convenient. How do you combine California, Oregon, and Washington, with New England and the left-leaning Mid-Atlantic States? They are joined together by ideology, while thousands of miles apart. And, if we the U.S. were to split into two nations, beyond the inconvenient geography many problems would occur from legal, political, and trade standpoints.

No Unity, No Future

In any case, we cannot continue in the current mode. The far-left is pulling away from everyone else in the nation, even from patriotic rank and file Democrat. Many people would just as soon let the rabble-rousers go: What is the point of seeking to maintain the Union with people who fervently wish to “re-educate” you?

All the above points to the reality that the U.S. as we know it could soon be irretrievable.

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