Payback, Mr. Columbus, is the Only Riches We Offer

Fourteen hundred and ninety-two

Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Three ships filled with greed and pain;

He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; And sailed by day;

He searched for India’s golden quay.

Day by day he looked for land;

He dreamed of gold and slaves and sand.

October twelve, his dreams came true,

A day we all would come to rue.

In fourteen hundred ninety-two

Plague rolled across the ocean blue.

–with no apologies to Scholastic, who forced me to learn a cutesy version of this horrible human.

Once upon a time, a bunch of people decided that it was a great idea to be sedentary and do crops and herding. And often, this meant having the animals in the houses with them for at least part of the year. Equally often, the sedentary lifestyle created some filthy, filthy living conditions.

Put bluntly, civilized folks quickly became (and still are) the plague rats of humanity.

It’s really not a surprise that when they met a whole continent full of folks who were healthy and clean (and were willing to help them), they got those nice people sick.

Now, history books, written by the plague rats, claim that they were stronger immunologically than the others, that their exposure to these other plagues gave them a god-granted (or Darwinian, depending on the century) advantage and that it was just bad luck that those poor primitive people didn’t have the stamina to buck up to the challenge.

Hell, there was even a book out that took the manifest destiny clause out of the propaganda and played up geographical determinism as the ‘killing blow’ that gave Europe a savage opportunity to take over the world.

I’m not claiming that disease wasn’t a factor.

I’m just saying the narrative is ridiculous.

Here we have one disease to deal with, SARS-co-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), and look at how much ‘fun’ people are having with it, with international, near-instantaneous communication and more resources to throw at it than at any stage in human history.

Imagine that times ten.

But here’s a further problem with the “official” version. It posits primitive vs civilized, a useless unscientific definition that is used by the current culture to affirm that “it won.”

Here’s a more realistic version.

There were cities in the Americas that were larger than Europe at the time. And there were civilizations which had lived, died and been swallowed by new civilizations for thousands of years.

There were thousands of robust cultures, one nation which became the very basis for the American republic and had been around for centuries. Well-traveled intercontinental trade routes. There were doctors in each culture, each with medicine successfully applied for thousands of years.

What happened? Well, a bunch of stuff. Plagues don’t always spread symmetrically, so some cultures thought it would miss them entirely. Some were happy to see an enemy or competitor laid low. Other cultures continued their practices of open trade, even as disaster loomed, the equivalent of anti-maskers today.

Some cultures prescribed the wrong cure initially but adapted to it, only to be overrun by invaders.

The invaders. That was a big deal. Other than being unclean savages, the Europeans brought a particularly unsavory combination of tactics to the continent. Enslave when you can. When you can’t, kill the doctors.

Yes, America was born on the back of war crimes and biological warfare.

Everybody’s likely heard of the plague blankets that the army sent to different tribes and the government sent to different reservations. But few recognize that when you hear about things like the missions that’s whole new levels of evil.

When they put the natives in lockdown, if anyone got sick, they were denied access to the one set of people who could have cured them; traditional medicine workers. Instead, they were given medicines which sort of kind of worked for the Europeans, if they were given medication at all.

You try surviving any serious illness today if you are denied fresh food and water, a doctor, or access to any medicine better than an aspirin.

Across the continent, missionaries targeted medicine workers and women who bore traditional knowledge. They annihilated whole branches of medical understanding, enforcing only a biblical view on the suffering that the missionaries were the direct cause of.

All the while going “can’t you just get over a little flu?”

Apparently, as this year’s events are showing, the Europeans can’t get over a “little flu” either.

SARS-co-2 is now unraveling the fabric the conquerors poorly wove. Whether that will precipitate their ultimate fall or not, that’s a matter of history. However, I have one note on that.

Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?

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