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Textploitation - political correctness for students

By Ben-Peter Terpstra - posted Friday, 5 October 2007

In the world of political correctness, anti-American homilies outweigh historical facts. But there’s more to this trend as a letter by Leslie Stein to The Weekend Australian (September 29-30, 2007) points out:

Phillip Adams glibly states that “we can never know how many tens of millions of Native Americans died as a consequence of the white man’s arrival”. In this respect I agree that we can never know the precise figures. However, it may interest your readers to learn that the Smithsonian’s “Handbook of North American Indians” provides a tribe-by-tribe estimate of North American Indian size. Collectively these suggest that by around 1500, the Indian population numbered about 1,894,350.


Appallingly, the far-left likes exaggerating too much. Once they added thousands. Now, they speak of “tens of millions”.

It is also misleading to argue that North America’s Indians lived peaceful lives before Columbus. Context matters. The Cherokee Indians, for instance, would even employ “slave catchers”. This is common knowledge.

Though the North American tribes were not nearly as violent as the Aztecs, they were, in truth, no strangers to slavery either. For starters, several prominent tribes had enslaved 10-15 per cent of their fellowmen before the Europeans arrived.

Yet Adams sniffs in The Weekend Australian (September 15-16, 2007) that the so-called “slaughter” of Indians “got the new nation off to a bloody start”. He portrays them as “Noble Savages” killed off by the “United States of Evil”.

Granted Adams now admits, in part, that Stein was right and wrote - I quote - “my estimate of numbers killed referred to North, Central and South America. US figures remained blurred.” Alas, even this sounds erroneous. Anyway, what would drive him to use statistics from Mexico to Chile as a hammer to hit the United States with?

Phillip Adams - my guess, not an historian - is a storyteller. Take slavery, as another example. From the 1500s to the 1800s, it is true that many slaves suffered greatly in the New World. However, it is untrue, as Adams concludes, that “No nation has a more bloodstained history than the United States”.


The majority (65 per cent) of the roughly 10 million African slaves, after all, were sent to West Indian and South American colonies. America and Canada, by way of contrast, received some 5 per cent of the human cargo.

Yet Adams singles out the Americans for special treatment. Why is that? America was a small-bit player. Nevertheless, I am happy that evangelical Christians (from England to America) spearheaded the modern anti-slavery movement. We owe them a great deal.

Adams just owes us the big picture. But what is at stake in the “history wars” goes far beyond stories of “Noble Savages” and fake anti-gun statistics.

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About the Author

Ben-Peter Terpstra has provided commentary for The Daily Caller (Washington D.C.), NewsReal Blog (Los Angeles), Quadrant (Sydney), and Menzies House (Adelaide).

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