Rick Santorum is in fact correct here

Not that I’m generally in favour of Rick Santorum but here he is correct:

The former US senator and CNN political commentator Rick Santorum has sparked outrage among Native Americans, and prompted calls for his dismissal, by telling a rightwing students’ conference that European colonists who came to America “birthed a nation from nothing”.

“There was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native Americans but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture,” Santorum told the ultra-conservative Young America’s Foundation’s summit, entitled standing up for faith and freedom, and shared by the group to YouTube.

“We came here and created a blank slate, we birthed a nation from nothing,” he said.

Santorum’s comments, effectively dismissing the millennia-long presence of Native Americans and the genocide inflicted on them as the Christian settlers transformed and expanded their colonies into the United States of America, angered many within the Native American community, and beyond.

Now, whether what were to become Americans should have treated the place largely as a blank slate is another matter. So too whether current American society should pay more attention to, retain more of, Native American culture. But the fact is they did and currently it doesn’t.

In what he said he’s correct that is. Must be why it’s getting up so many noses……

18 thoughts on “Rick Santorum is in fact correct here”

  1. May not be verbatim, but as with the Abo’s: “40,000 years worth of existence and all they invented was the stick”.

  2. I think it’s previously been mentioned chez Tim that the natives were pretty revolting to each other before the Christians arrived.

  3. He’s absolutely right, which is why the reaction is so extreme. I mean, they didn’t even invent the wheel; the single simplest mechanical device in the Universe.

    …effectively dismissing the millennia-long presence of Native Americans and the genocide inflicted on them…

    Is it genocide if they have no immunity to certain diseases accidentally introduced by Brits? If it is, then India owes Europe big-time for the Black Death.

    According to Rick Santorum, the US was founded as a ‘Judeo-Christian’ theocratic state…

    No such thing as Judeo-Christian buddy. There’s Christians and then there’s Jews, and Jews certainly didn’t found the United States of America – it was those evil WASP’s.

  4. From what little I remember of US history, Santorum is right. The English attempt to found a colony for economic reasons was a failure.

    The ‘glory, God and gold’ bit was more the Spanish approach.

  5. There were advanced civilizations in Mexico and Peru. There was a Mississippian culture in the midwest that lived in towns with buildings, houses, etc., that may have been substantially devastated by disease after De Soto’s expedition through what is now the southeastern USA and Texas. Indians in the southwest farmed and built irrigation canals. The Iroquois were fairly complex. It is true that the Indians did not develop the wheel (there is evidence that the Mayans made wheeled toys), though except for the Llama in South America their beasts of burden were limited to dogs pulling travois or carrying packs, though in some places you would think that a wheelbarrow might have come in handy.

    I haven’t listened to Santorum’s speech, but I’d say it is probably true that there is not much Indian culture in US culture today, but to say there was little here when the Europeans arrived is not true. However, there was a gap between when the Spanish arrived vs the English or French. There was probably more here when the Spanish first showed up.

  6. @TD:

    There were advanced civilizations in Mexico and Peru.

    Indeed. Why was N. America so different?

    There was a Mississippian culture in the Midwest that lived in towns with buildings, houses, etc., that may have been substantially devastated by disease after De Soto’s expedition through what is now the southeastern USA and Texas.

    They were already dying out by the time Euros got there:

    The Mississippian culture had begun to decline by the time European explorers first penetrated the Southeast and described the customs of the people living there.

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/Mississippian-culture

    … though except for the Llama in South America their beasts of burden were limited to dogs pulling travois or carrying packs…

    Probably shouldn’t have killed all the Horses then:

    North American horses disappeared around 8,000 – 10,000 years ago. Multiple factors including hunting by early Natives, climate change, and disease are thought to have helped contribute to their demise. They disappeared around the same time as other large mammals like Wooly Mammoths.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20120107031152/http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/Magazine/ma05/indepth/

  7. Not quite sure of the point you are trying to make. You don’t seem to be in agreement with any statement about there being little here when Europeans first arrived.

  8. Nothing stops the Society for Equal Height to speak in a dwarf pub.. Of course.. they might not like the reactions they’d get.

    Safer to be Offended from a safe distance..

  9. To be fair, Europeans didn’t invent the wheel either. And didn’t domesticate any crops to compare with the Redskins’ domestication of maize and potatoes, save for oats.

  10. His timelines are a bit out, TD. Diseases actually spread a lot faster than European exploration. So by the time Europeans saw these cultures a generation or two had passed.
    The great buffalo herds seem to have been a very recent phenomenon. There’s little evidence of buffalo bones in earlier middens. Buffalo seem to have recently occupied a vacant ecological niche
    It’s possible the total disease death-toll in the Americas was 95% of the original population. That’s enough to reduce even a sophisticated culture back to hunting & gathering.
    I wonder about wheelbarrows as well. Except they don’t give sufficient advantage over s skid based device like a travois to justify the complications of a wheel & axle over short distances. And the longer distances you’re not doing because the lack of draught animals & the roads to use them on. Some of the South & Middle American cultures built roads of a sort. But, again, they were built for human pedestrian traffic. Manhauling half a ton of cart bearing half a ton of load don’t provide much advantage over just carrying the load.

  11. I think people are getting upset at what he said because they understand it to mean something other than what the words actually say – but I’m not sure he actually meant what the words say and maybe they’re correctly deducing what he really meant. What he said is consistent with America having a valuable culture which was largely wiped out and replaced with an imported one. What people seem to understand him to mean is that there was nothing of much value, resulting in modern America being built on the imported culture.

    It’s a bit like demolishing Westminster Cathedral and building a shopping centre on the site. He could correctly claim that the shopping centre was build on a blank slate, which might makes people think he regarded the cathedral as worthless even though he’s technically referring to the site after demolition. But it seems a very odd way to express himself if referring to a mere technicality – it does suggest that he has a low opinion of what went before.

  12. How come no one domesticated the buffalo/bison ?

    India had carts pulled by cows thousands of years ago.
    Bullocks ! I hear you cry, but it’s true.

  13. The lefts hatred for Rick Santorum goes back decades, when he offended the homos.

    There’s been a bounty on his scalp ever since.

  14. 1. I don’t see any of these white liberals (and even African-Americans brought here as slaves weren’t natives) trying to give the U.S. back to tribal descendants anytime soon. Most Native-Americans have even moved on with their lives and many have found their own version of the American Dream. They just don’t quite celebrate Thanksgiving or Columbus Day in the same fashion as the rest of us.

    2. Countries and territories fight for control of land. It’s the nature of human history. There are Mexican-Americans who decry Manifest Destiny but tend not to acknowledge their European (Spanish) ancestors who slaughtered the Incas and Aztecs. There are African dictators who are quick to blame European imperialism, but ignore the history of African nations who warred with and enslaved each other. It can happen to the U.S. and UK one day as well, because history is written by the winners. That’s the entire reason why Western civilization considers national defense to be such an important issue. Your compassion and altruism means nothing if you are not able to defend it. It’s not a good thing to see any group of people destroyed, but it is a fact of life. There also seems to be a trend of furthering the “noble savage” stereotype, as if there weren’t any wars, slaves or injustices before the white man arrived. Native Americans in the 17th-18th centuries were also highly capable fighters, and weren’t some kind of helpless and docile weaklings. Why do you think it took so long for the colonialists to take control of their land? To deny that is to view the natives as somehow less than the Europeans. Unfortunately, there has to be a winner, and the winner decides how the winnings are distributed.

    3. What Rick Santorum was getting at, is that if you were to ask a current-day Native-American how they would rather live–in today’s industrialized America, or in a tribal community as existed in 1491–you would most likely get the response that things could be worse, and that there is at least some kind of silver lining to the situation. It’s the same way that I, a Russian-American Jew, most African-Americans, and most immigrants from Latin America, would much rather live in the U.S. than in our countries of descent. You can argue all day that the West also caused destruction in these countries, through war, pillaging or sanctions, but even countries left alone for over a century often still struggle when they fail to uphold certain founding American ideals. Just look at the country of Liberia, which has made every effort to operate much like the U.S. since the 1800s, but has allowed corruption, civil war and old habits to get in the way.

    4. With all that said, I grew up in Pennsylvania while Rick Santorum was one of our senators. I was also pretty left-leaning at the time, so I was no fan of his. I can still give him credit where credit is due, and I never feared his policies the way I fear the left in 2021, but his main Achille’s heel is that he is extremely out of touch. Even though he endorsed Trump, he is very much part of the old GOP establishment. Santorum was one of those Congressmen who hung around in the same circles as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Not hateful, like David Duke or Lester Maddox, but far more concerned with religious doctrine than with the overall electorate. For years/decades, American conservatives had been saying “Republicans could get so many more votes with our fiscal policy if we just quit with the social policy bullshit.” Rick Santorum is an example of that bullshit. He wanted to outlaw pornography, ban contraceptives and supported the Bush Doctrine in the Middle East.

    What has been so frustrating with the recent political division in the U.S., is that Trump is exactly that combination of stronger economic policy with less government intrusion that we’ve needed, but the left has decided to go rogue and dominate the conversation (through censorship of the opposition) with their invented social justice bullshit. So basically, the American left is now just the DNC’s version of Rick Santorum and Bush’s “compassionate conservatism.”

  15. India had carts pulled by cows thousands of years ago.

    And medieval ploughing was largely carried out by oxen, not horses.

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