US immigration history is hilarious. And also more than a bit tragic. New groups arrive. A new set of yahoos comes out of the woodwork, spouting the same hogwash as similar defenders of “Real America”, decades or even centuries before. Rinse, Repeat. Today’s video on Columbus Day peels those layers back a bit. 100 years ago, US bigots weren’t worried about Muslims or Mexicans, it was the Italians, and to a lesser extent the Slavs and the Jews. If you look back at this earlier era of bigotry, the arguments are almost exactly the same. The fear of change, “being swamped by multitudes” and having our culture changed never fades away. It’s never been justified either.
We’re in a weird panic transition moment in the United States today. Both of the great “threats” hyped by our modern morons, “Islamic Terrorism”, and the “Mexican Invasion” are fading away. As I predicted years ago, lower oil prices mean that there is less Gulf money for extremism. Also, Muslim countries outside of the gulf are getting rich enough to liberate themselves from the Saudi-CIA corruption of their versions of Islam. As I have also talked about at great length, migration from Mexico is basically done, and the few tens of thousands coming from Central America will never amount to the same sorts of numbers. Affirmative Action may keep the idea of a distinct Latin identity a little stronger than Italian-American distinctiveness, but in practical terms, the distinct group of Mexican migrants is already assimilating away.
The entrepreneurs that profit off of these old bigotries are still profiting, from YouTube to the White House. These panics are always strongest after the phenomena in question have passed, but savvier operators can already see them fading away. The Pentagon has now abandoned “terrorism” as a threat and they are now trying to push “great power rivalry” though that doesn’t really exist yet either. Forward Thinkers!
I don’t know who the next group to be panicked about will be. My hunch is that it will probably be Africans, as that continent is the only one that will be offering surplus population in the decades to come. Perhaps it will be Chinese or Indians, as the rising wealth of those countries, or perhaps a crisis in one of them leads to more migrants. We can be sure, however that there will be a new group for morons to panic about. This is profoundly sad of course, but it’s also a bit reassuring. We’ve seen these waves of bigotry before, and they’ve receded before. There is nothing new under the sun.
Video Transcript after the jump…
Ladies and gentlemen, Columbus day is an SJW holiday. This may sound a bit strange. According to some, SJWs, or Social Justice Warriors are trying to destroy this time honored tradition. If you know your history though there’s a lot more to the controversy than that, and I think it has a lot to teach us about the way that US myth making works, and the way that US identity evolves.
This October 8th, some US citizens will celebrate Columbus day. Christopher Columbus is usually remembered as the guy who discovered America. Never mind the Native Americans or Leif Ericson, he’s the guy we go with. Interestingly, not even Columbus thought he discovered America. He thought he was in India. Importantly, Columbus is now seen as an Italian, even though he died hundreds of years before Italy was unified.
In recent decades the Columbus Day tradition has been taking a lot of flack. It’s a historical fact that his discovery and the adventures of his successors annihilated like 95 percent of the people present in the Americas in 1492. When I was younger I used to celebrate Columbus day by reading the first chapter of Howard Zinn’s A people’s history of the United States. It lays out the genocidal consequences of Columbus’s discovery. I think the US would be a better place if every student in the country read this story every October 10th. But I am not so sure that the holiday should be abolished. Because, as a conservative Social Justice Warrior I remember an older story.
100 years ago Italian Americans occupied a position in the United States that was almost identical to Latinos today. Some saw them as darker skinned invaders who were swamping the country. They were seen as both lazy and as stealing the jobs of real Americans. They supposedly came from a sinister Catholic civilization that just wasn’t compatible with our values. Italian Americans were very interested in combating these prejudices and inserting themselves into US history and identity. Columbus day was a way to do that.
So what is a Social Justice Warrior exactly? It’s one of those terms like Globalist that I think people should try harder to embrace. If people are going to keep shouting it, why not use It? Those who hate SJWs claim that they are trying to corrupt our country’s great traditions and impose new alien ideas on our national culture. Those few people, like me, who try to defend SJWs, argue that they are trying to build a better, more inclusive United States. Now the funny thing about the establishment of the Columbus day holiday is that it fits both those definitions of SJW quite well.
Columbus doesn’t exactly fit the profile of most of our official national heroes. And it’s not just the fact that he predates the country by like three centuries. He wasn’t some earnest patriot or hypocritical philosopher of liberty. He claimed American lands and riches for the crusading Catholic monarchs of Spain. This was exactly the sort of thing that many of our founding fathers hated most. Those old hatreds of Catholic Imperial Spain were trotted out again as recently as the Spanish American war at the end of the 1800s. You can see many echoes of that old hatred in the distrust of Latinos today.
The idea of celebrating the Italian Columbus was hated by many of the White Anglo Saxon Protestants or WASPs that ran the United States 100 years ago. Actually the WASPS still pretty much run the country today, but that’s a different video. Anyway, the self appointed guardians of Real America hated this Columbus Day idea. You know the classic Actually it was Leif Ericson who discovered America line? That was initially popularized because the northern European Vikings were seen as real white people, unlike those dirty Italians.
The SJW Italians ended up winning. Kind of. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a New York Democrat with a lot of powerful Italian American supporters, made Columbus day a national holiday in 1937, meaning federal government workers get the day off. But less than half of the states celebrate the holiday, and most of the bigger ones don’t. Columbus Day today is only observed in states with a lot of Italian Americans and in sparsely populated western states where the federal government is the biggest office employer.
I think it’s great that the Italian American Social Justice Warriors got their holiday. It’s also deeply hilarious that the Defenders of real America are now going to bat for a holiday that they would have been fighting as recently as 50 years ago, and that their state probably doesn’t even celebrate. I honestly don’t know what we should do about Columbus day. But I think we should all have a better sense of what it represents before we make any decisions.
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