On Columbus Day
State of the Union: Christopher Columbus was one of History’s Great Men.
In the final scene of The Hunt For Red October, Sean Connery’s character attributes a quote to Christopher Columbus: “And the sea will grant each man new hope, as sleep brings dreams of home.” This was perhaps never actually said by Columbus, but movie quotes attributed to great men are often fictional. Both Hans Gruber’s quote from Alexander in Die Hard, or Dr. Henry Jones Sr.’s quote from Charlemagne in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were made up. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see perhaps the peak Cold War–themed fiction, written immediately after the end of the Cold War in a proud and victorious America, have two quotations attributed to Thomas Jefferson and Christopher Columbus. Both of whom, erstwhile heroes of America, had their statues toppled by Black Lives Matters and Antifa groups in the riots of the cultural revolution of the 2020s.
One of my favorite memes is the midwit meme, a classic internet creation depicting three types of people: the dimwit, the midwit, and the over-IQed autists. In the joke format, the proles and peasants and the intellectual reactionaries appear to come to the same conclusion despite their vast differences, opposed to the midwit centrists who blather about logic and reason.
The idea is important, because you cannot use logic and reason in questions of theological conflict. The hatred for the Western conquests, cultures and colonialism are questions of theology, not to be won or lost with logic or reason. Interestingly, Columbus was ignored by the original elites of this country, too. Columbus Day was only celebrated after the largest mass lynching of Italians. The simple reason that Columbus was regarded as a hero was that the American elites started to believe and promote the idea.
The current elites have stopped believing that, hence the current reversal. Elites decide policy top-down, influenced by the dominant religious impulses of their times.
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Ask a normie and the answer is still obvious. Of course Columbus was a hero, in the proverbial Greek sense of heroism. How many men do you think would have the courage to take three wooden ships and try to cross the dark and violent Atlantic on merely a theory and a faith in providence? Which other culture and civilization other than a Christian Europe at its prime devoted so much time and money to discovery and exploration? To grandeur? To conquest?
Columbus sailed to the West with a faith in providence and a courage that defies human logic at a time prior to the Mughal hegemony when there was no unified India. The Islamic Bahmani and Hindu Vijayanagar empire were at each other’s throats in the south of the subcontinent. In the north, Hindu Rajputana were divided as pagan kingdoms tend to be, and facing invasions upon invasions from either Islamic forces from the West—Persian and Afghan warlords—or from whoever was seating in the central throne in Delhi in the dying days of the Islamic Delhi Sultanate. The land was noted for poetry, muslin clothing, spices and beautiful architecture, but not much else. In Central and South America, virgins were still being cut open for the weather gods. Most of Africa didn’t have written script, wheels, or knowledge about irrigation. China was closed and xenophobic, a forbidden and alien land.
Columbus wasn’t normal. He was a brilliant navigator and a visionary. But most importantly, he was fanatical in his faith. And only fanatics change the course of history or die trying. And the fanatics who are successful in changing the course of history are history’s great men.