Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

De Las Casas and The 9/11 Commission.

The Spanish Empire declined and then fell with a cataclysmic crash after its armada sank off the coasts of The British Isles. Its infamous reputation lived for centuries and tarred generations of Hispanic people with an unfair reputation for duplicity, inhumanity and barbaric cruelty. This horrible reputation, known by historians as "La Leyenda Negra", or The Black Legend resulted primarily from the writings of a Catholic Monk; Father Bartolomeo De Las Casas.

De Las Casas observed the encomienderos and all of the misery which these people inflicted upon South and Central America. His account sickens any person with a rational mind. When rock singer Neil Young wrote his PC Jeremiad "Cortez Was a Killer" (Lyrics Here), he riffed off the fundamental conceit posited by the writings of De Las Casas. Five hundred years after De Las Casas died his message of self-loathing and grief resounded across the ages and profoundly affected the thinking of a man who probably never studied Spanish Literature and History.

The 9/11 Commission will compose the primary source historical document that will inform future generations of historians, school children and pop culture entertainers of what happened on 11 September 2001. These men and women seem too shortsighted to recognize what they have in their hands. They are the ambassadors that will introduce our society and our traditions to the world of the future. These commissioners are writing the American History that people five hundred years hence will gripe about having to read in high school or college.

Like Bartolomeo De Las Casas, the 9/11 Commission presents an antiheroic picture of our people and our society. Their description of the NYPD and the NYFD does not even remotely give these men and women credit for valor and initiative. The Monday Morning Bart Starr's cast their aspersions on these officers and firefighters from the overfed and very comfortable perspective of The Inquisitor's Chair.

They portray the rescue workers, who toiled in desperation amongst the fires of Gahanna, as bumbling caricatures of Henry Blake and Frank Burns in a profoundly sickening and distasteful episode of MASH. My grandchildren may never see the heroism of these people because a bunch of retread, hack politicians have usurped the mantle that should have been given to people vastly better. The shortsighted and cupiditous are writing the first draft of the history of our age.

I have read Bartolomeo De Las Casas and took a very light lunch after doing so. I have no objective way of knowing whether his history is a fair and accurate account of how Spaniards behaved in The Caribbean Islands. Enough other people support his version of events that this seems likely. Thus, what I learned about Latin American History heavily reflects De Las Casas' appraisal of Spanish imperial policy and society. Judging from Neil Young's musical protest, a lot of other people learned the same version.

Some historian 500 years hence will read the report of the 9-11 Commission. They will then read a few editorials from The New York Times. After that, our notional historian will plug America's own low-budget Sergei Eisenstein, Michael Moore into his DVD player. Amazingly, David Ben Veniste, the respected and widely read New York Times and Jabba the Haw Haw, Michael Moore all corroborate one another.

The historian will write a moving and elegant text that plants this revisionist view as the axiomatic view of ancient and corrupt America. The author will win tenure and go on to renown and acclaim.

My point is simply this. We have to start paying attention to who writes that first rough draft of Post-Modern American History. The authors thereof can do for our nation what Virgil did for Rome or they can do to our culture what Bartolomeo De Las Casas did to the Hispanics. Nothing would prove more tragic and wrong than allowing the despicable Michael Moore to proceed through the eons as the legendary historian of our corrupt and immoral age.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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