An American Thanksgiving story without any heroes

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:

But as Thanksgiving 2019 approaches, I am struck by another lesson: America’s need to come to terms with a history that, as it relates to the treatment of Native Americans, has remarkably few heroes on the side of the white settlers.


Nor is there any major American political ideology that can sit comfortably with the historical treatment of Native Americans, which has been multipartisan in its awfulness. Many libertarians fail to decry the government coercion involved, since they also wish to invoke the growth of the American republic as a major event in the history of freedom. Even if most libertarians are embarrassed by how much of America’s glory is rooted in land theft and massacres, they do not emphasize land reparations as a solution.


This lack of heroes should also make Americans more reluctant to judge their political opponents so harshly. All of us are part of a system built on longstanding historical crimes, and thus we have more in common with those opponents than we might like to think.



I wonder how many people would want to migrate to the Americas today if the Europeans had never colonized them. Certainly no one would argue that indigenous Americans were obligated to let them in!

Probably zero considering it was indeed uncivilized barbary.

American "colonization" was no different from the behavior that they observed when they arrived and was completely and utterly normal for its time.

What exaclty did the native tribes do to divy up land? Was there a congress of Veinna amongst themselves by popular vote?

so civilized

What did the colonizers find? A bunch of scientists and poets?

No, they found people being people. Brutal, savage, and violent.

I've always found this sort of writting to be insulting to POC. It assumes that they don't suffer from the same tragedy pf what it means to be human as white people do.

Rape, slavery, and human sacrifice are only morally wrong if white people are involved.

Otherwise it’s applying a European moral framework. In anthropology we call this moral colonialism or moral imperialism.

You need to take the moral structures of the society in place and judge actions solely based on the native framework.

As Stalin liked to attribute to Lenin, all that matters is "Who? Whom?"

"Land theft and massacres" Actually the Indians living in North America in 1492 got their land by taking it from prior tribe and massacring and enslaving them. Ironic isn't it. But ignore that and call the new settlers nasty names because they were white as that is the latest trend in rewriting history. In fact the Indians killed more of the European settlers than the settlers killed Indians. And of course being savages they did it in more savage ways. But ignore that, nothing to see here, move along.

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"What exaclty did the native tribes do to divy up land?"

They held land in common.

Which if you object to common ownership, you must be opposed to corporations which are designed to eliminate individual rights over property in favor of collective ownership and control of property.

"Conservatives" today are very much in favor of taking land away from individuals. For example, the only way eliminating single family zoning has any meaning is by taking land away from individual land owners and then owning it collectively, either by a developer building apartments and renting to individuals, or building condos which require collective ownership of the land.

It's ironic that single family zoning is deemed evil collectivism because it prevents collective ownership of land.

Conservatives argue for corporations maximizing profits, corporations being collectives, for the benefit of the individuals owning the collective. This policy has converted the original Amazon into a rapidly vanishing enterprise with the individuals owning this collective losing "wealth" as well as income. In other words, Milton Friedman advocated a policy that produced the same results as communist Russia, Cuba,....

But perhaps you consider Walll Street collectivist corporate enterprise as "uncivilized barbary", just as Bernie, AOC, et al do?

Maybe within the same tribe they shared resources, but I'm sure there were still hierachies determining how it was allocated.

But among tribes they fought one another at alarmingly high rates. Especially in the south west.

most of my knoweldge on this subject was informed by Pinker and Ter Ellingson.

i'm actually pretty thankful for the white man inventing the modern world.

I intend to read Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage next.

But among tribes they fought one another at alarmingly high rates.

Significant battles between tribes were so rare and noteworthy that the men involved and the details of the set-tos were remembered and spoken of for generations. Certainly there was distrust and animosity between unrelated groups, just as there was and is all over the world. But at the same time there was extensive trade between them. The Plains tribes developed a sign language that was understood by all expressly for the purpose of communicating for trade purposes.

Of course the indigenous natives were capable of what we might call savagery. But just as historically in Europe the epitome of manhood was the soldier, so it was with the native warriors. The difference was that these men fought for their families and relatives, they weren't mercenaries employed in dynastic disputes. Unlike the current civilized people, North American natives were responsible for their own safety. They didn't delegate that role to hired thugs with badges.

I guess it depends what you mean by "significant battles". Raids, enslavement, brutal torture-murder, and rape were commonplace. Certainly tribes inflicted enough damage on other tribes to drive them out of their ancestral lands many times. You don't expand to a large range like the Comanche or Lakota without killing a lot of Indians in other tribes.

And don't forget simple intra-tribal murder!

You don't have to be Napoleon Chagnon to realise that pre-agrarian tribes are pretty scary places with double-digit male deaths from violence!

I don't know about that, from my best understanding continential america had around 300k natives before the white man arrived. so how violent did they have to be considering that resources seemed to be limitless for such a small populatoin?

but the point stands that Tyler's lament that "no heros" can be identified among whtie people is nonsense. such a cricticsim shouldn't be only directed at white people. There were no good people then, at least by our standards today. only white people of the past are held to out standards of morality of today.

Cool story bro, but I don't know of too many corporations who settle usage of their "common property" via open warfare. That was some impressive mental gymnastics though.

More PC bullsh*t.

How was the experience in North America any different than the plagues and conquests in pre-15th century Europe? William in England? Cromwell in Ireland? Mongols? Huns? Barbarians? Romans?

Get over it.

Given we are discussing Thanksgiving, we should consider the politics of pre-colonial New England. Ninety percent of the Pocanokuts had been wiped out by plague in the year prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims. The chief of the Pokanokets - Massasoit, his title not his name - invited the Pilgrims to settle in his territory as a bulwark against the rival Narragansetts to the South, who he feared would turn him into a subordinate tribe. They lived in harmony until Massasoit's son Metacom (King Phillip) declared war against the progeny of the Pilgrims selling off all his assets including fishing rights to their sacred lake. The beaver and other game depleted, their lands sold, he used the proceeds from land sales to buy arms and wage a brutal war against the children of his father's allies.

King Phillip's War was one of the most devastating wars in US history as a percentage of population. The GDP in parts of New England was set back 100 years, which brings us right up to the "Seven Years War", aka the French-Indian War. The brutality and politicking of the Iroquois Confederation, who acted as enforcers and Indian Land stealers for the pacifist white residents of Pennsylvania, and the loss of life and property in all those Indian wars left white immigrants ( who had a Caplanesque human right to immigrate, right?) with a deep and abiding hatred of the Native Americans.

You see, the Indians were just as human as the white immigrants, just as vain, just as ambitious, and just as violent as the immigrants.

No more PC bullcrap, please!

Those sorts of "facts" are not relevant when the motivation for this style of writing is about atonement and not progress.

either way, what is more conerning to the ultra woke is if John Wayne was progressive or not. Not that natives killed each other routinely over land, women, etc.


Industrialists defeat Agrarians defeat Pastoralists defeat Hunter-Gatherers.

What's remarkable about North America is that someof the land was ethically obtained via grant or purchase, rather than simply taken by force as everywhen else in human history.

News at 11.

I'm confused; do you think the European immigrants destroyed America or made it better? If you really believe that more people "would want to migrate to the Americas today" than if the European immigrants had never arrived, then that would seem to make a strong case for open borders.

How so?

If you're Bryan Caplan, you must think the Natives did exactly the right thing to Open Their Borders. Look at how much richer America became!

In all charity, I don't think I'm traducing his argument. I was really hoping his latest book would honestly deal with the (highly) invidious returns to immigration. But they really do just skate over potentially huge native losses in favour of aggregated returns. It's weird and disconcerting.

Weird and disconcerting is what you get from eggheads on the spectrum. However, Caplan's dream will never happen, because tribalism is baked into the hominid cake. Even the imagined anti-tribalists are tribal - they hate those darned tribal deplorables.

Following that logic, the reverse would have worked out just as well, right? If it had been the native Americans colonizing an indigenous English population and installing their cultural values across the continent.

That's the problem with the open-borders crowd though, to make it work in your head you have to believe that either: 1) people and their societal product are so fundamentally equal as to be completely fungible; or 2) there's always going to be a ruling class around to keep the lights on and the trains running.

We know that our cultural overlords are banking on being the ruling class (and enjoying the profits from it) but we're going to find out rather quickly this century as to whether either of these are true.

Settlers were brave heroes and human rights are a matter of modern vanity.

Okay, bigot.

If I'm not mistaken, the final summation is "don't let the better be enemy of the bad, because the bad is us."

That's not too aspirational.

It seems more like the final summation is "see, progressive colleagues, I am also willing to turn my back on the society I enjoy the fruits of in order to indulge my self-image as an enlightened intellectual by participating in your annual Thanksgiving pseudo-flagellation session! Please continue to invite me to your parties and whatever you do don't report me to the cultural police!!!"

I wouldn't read too much into it but if you can use it as a springboard to reinforce your own misplaced sense of superiority I suppose that's the time-efficient thing to do.

Thread winner.

@EdR - ditto. The "Shark" is spot on. PC is also, I believe, the reason Mr. Cowen joins in the Manmade Global Warming chorus.

Nah. It’s Straussian.

He’s using the moral language of the progressives, appealing to their sense of guilt and original sin of privilege/whiteness, in an attempt to bridge a political divide. Instead of “brothers in Christ/all sinners before God” it’s “all guilty of white privilege and for atrocities committed in the name of furthering your privilege, even 400 years ago.”

Easily one of his most Straussian articles of 2019.

The problem with this interpretation is that it assumes that the SJW whites actually do believe they too possess the original sin they preach to the rest of us. You're looking at them like fellow parishioners making a testimony when they in fact fancy themselves the high priests condemning others from their pulpits, too high to touch even as they're taking indulgences on the side or boffing choir boys or whatever.

This is a common delusion among Tyler and other intellectuals (with or without scare quotes) outside the leftist in-group; they wrongly believe the cool kids are interested in being their friend and listening to what they have to say, so they offer up the peace pipe by debasing themselves and their culture in writing like this. The response you invariably get from the leftists is the same we got from our anonymous friend up there; their worldview depends on good guy vs. bad guy Harry Potter-style framing so there's not a thing you can do to reach out this way.

Now, I don't fully blame Tyler for this, since as a non-leftist academic he is basically living in hiding under an occupied government. Not that groveling as he does is a paragon of bravely sticking to your principles, but a man does have to get a paycheck. But the rest of the right needs to cut it out; there's no reason at all at this point to offer the progressive leftists systematically dismantling our nation anything other than free helicopter rides.

It's over, we won, we took a wilderness full of savages and built the greatest society the world has ever seen, get over it.

That's pretty much my take on Tyler. He's a decent guy doing what he has to survive and telling himself he's building bridges. He may even believe it.

But they'll purge him eventually.

"...they'll purge him eventually."

We can't even make sh*t up as good as the story of Robespierre. There's many a Robespierre lurking in academia, the media, and other preferred habitats of the woke, waiting for their turkey day.

They have earned their fate via their complacency ( wasn't there a book about that somewhere?) and complicity.

Let's not give him too much credit. He could have been a welder.

If Indians wanted to keep the richest continent to themselves, they ought to have invented the wheel, gunpowder and firearms. Maybe gotten beyond subsistence farming.

This is "white guilt" on steroids.

If Poles wanted to keep their land, they should have invented Panzers before the Nazis did.

Perfect response.

Different times, and different rules. Prior to judeo christian thinking, land was held by the strongest. The most beautiful women were paired with the strongest.

The people living in North America all subscribed to this philosophy when western explorers arrived. If you could take a time machine back and ask a group of people living in North America how they got their land, they'd say "Well, the other guys used to have it, but we killed their men, raped their women and enslaved their kids. And now we have it."

Because that's how the world worked until western values seeped into society.

The concept of owning land and paying for it it a fairly recent invention. and it's incredible how often the US has paid for land over the last 250 years when they could have just taken it.

PS. If you want a reminder of how "accidental" this all is, you need only compare Tijuana to San Diego. Just 30 minutes apart. One is the place of dreams, the other of nightmares. And the difference is 100% due to the type of government the people have opted to put into place.

The concept of owning land and paying for it it a fairly recent invention.

In the case of what's now the US, Jefferson's purchase of the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon, neither of whom had ever set foot on the place and which had no justification in the US Constitution, didn't mean anything to the actual inhabitants, who had never heard of either of those men. Then there was the case of Keokuk selling land that didn't belong to him and his admitting at the time that he couldn't actually do so. Let's not forget Seward sending $7 million to the Czar for Alaska, another place neither of them, and few of their subjects, had ever laid eyes upon.

Of course the annexation of the Republic of Hawaii wasn't made through a purchase, nor was that of Puerto Rico and other fruits of the Spanish-American War.

You're trying to be sarcastic, but you're actually correct. They should have.

War was a normative part of world for many millennia. It's not inherently immoral. Are you upset about Rome conquering Europe, too?

Ah, social darwinism! Might makes right, huh? Blame the victim! Riiight, A very difficult moral philosophy - unless you're the only one with a gun (and never sleep). You do raise an interesting point: can war be moral? I'd say war is always bad, but may be the best alternative. Rape is also a normative part of the world for countless millennia, hence rape is not inherently immoral - correct? What is "inherently immoral" in your world view? Well, loving your fellow man, since that's not nor ever has been normative. but I rant.

Ironically, Syrians (around the modern day city of Idlib which Assad is bombing) invented subsistence farming. Their mistake, if you will, was to subsequently evangelize subsistence farming to the Turks and then all across Europe. Europe would be speaking a Levantine Semitic language if they conquered rather than assimilated. Lots of European males are descendants of those original Syrian men and the Turks that accompanied them though, so maybe they did right by their progeny after all.

The screw fastener was known to Archimedes yet wasn't adopted by the Europeans until the Industrial Revolution.

The screw fastener is only useful in niche cases until the technical means to mass produce them are developed. Screws are not where it's at when you have to make them by hand.

Land should be taken from the unproductive and given to those who make the most productive use of it. Would Georgists not support the seizure of native American land?

Also think of it as applying eminent domain. Unproductive land put to better commercial use.

In the US, there is a real estate law concept called "adverse possession" wherein a person openly develops a parcel of land and after a period (seven years) come to own the property.

Typically much more than 7 years

Seven years after murdering the previous owner?

You forgot your middle initial. Another k, no doubt.

So you would have no objection to someone moving into your unoccupied apartment building or industrial site and using it for their own purposes?

But would reparations accomplish anything of real and lasting value. Brazilians starved thenselves for land and deprived themselves of living space to grand Natives territories bugger than while European countries. What have they got in exchange? More ressentment. Their open hands were saluted with clenched fists. It has become clear that reparations failed, and the country's leader, President Captain Bolsonaro has ordered a moratorium on fiving Natives land. Evidently, no one supports extermination, but we can fix the mistakes of yesterday by commiting newer, worse mistakes today.

I think Tyler confused Heroes with SJW's

Each Thanksgiving Day, I reread the two 1949 WSJ editorials by Vermont Royster: "The Desolate Wilderness" and "The Fair Land."

Bloomberg journalism. If Dr. Cowen wrote otherwise, would President Little Michael have published it?

I don't know if everyone caught the news, but President Donald Trump hosted a previously undisclosed dinner with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook board member Peter Thiel at the White House in October. Perhaps they were operating on a similar .. pragmatism.

We are bad, so be bad, eh Tyler?

That’s a swing and a miss on the reading comprehension front again. No surprise there I suppose.

This year I’m thankful that anonymous has no children, and thus will be someone’s crazy uncle shouting Trump! Trump!!! at relatives who question whether it’s time to start researching nursing homes in the area.

Happy Turkey day

For anyone who missed the old news, there it is.

Not sure how it's relevant, but good for him.

It's like there are only two possible interpretations allowed: 1) "oh, it was terrible and evil" and 2) "but there's a redemptive side later." Why not just admit that human history involves struggle between groups over land and other resources? Why not allow oneself to take one's own side in that struggle, and appreciate what one's ancestors did to build a world for the "posterity" mentioned in the Constitution? "Oh, the morality of it"...whose morality? Why does "morality" always seem to involve me having to be the one that has to feel guilty or make apologies? They talk about "white privilege." Passing on "privilege" is the whole point of a civilization. Imagine if we had to restart everything at ground zero in order to make sure things are "fair" for every new generation? We'd have to un-invent the wheel and indoor plumbing, and abolish all monetary inheritances (the Left would like to do this via the death tax anyway).

Do not forget the Franciscans in California who have been dealing with native Americans as long as the easterners. In the comparison, the Franciscans were not quite as bad.

Yes, that's just what we should be thinking about on Thanksgiving. Putz

In his own mind, he’s a penetrating observer of current events, stooping to enlighten those not as smart as him.

When Tyler says "we" he means "you". You, who have not come to grips. You the unwashed.

Bravo. A very thoughtful comment. Also to be remembered on July 4, when ceremonies recite the Declaration of Independence, including the line about the “Indian savages.”

While we're burning Old Glory we also should incinerate a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Yay!

You forgot use a bible as Toilet Paper!!!!!

I think you’re looking for

It's a vast time saver when Cowen posts excerpts from a column that no intelligent person would want to read. Now I can put the time saved to more productive use.

It's funny. The bulk of the respondents above sound ready for the final take-away:

"This lack of heroes should also make Americans more reluctant to judge their political opponents so harshly. All of us are part of a system built on longstanding historical crimes, and thus we have more in common with those opponents than we might like to think."

(So you know, Edward Gallagher is just a regular American.)

But they can't get there, because they are too mired in the introduction, acknowledging cruelty to the natives. They pick up the first mood, and affiliate before they see the second.

Control-F Gallagher.

Hmm. Nothing.

"Edward Gallagher is just a regular American."

Yes, he likes to take pictures.

Not me. In fact I was shocked that Tyler would be so recklessly petulant as to imply moral equivalence between badwhites and those on The Right Side of History™. Presumably he thought that since no one wants to read a tut-tut self-hate session written by an economics professor in Bloomberg the day before Thanksgiving he'd escape being #cancelled by Monday. Regardless he's delusional if he thinks he's going to receive his allotment of Whitie Points for this article after pulling a stunt like that.

I think goes a bit too far. We want to discuss treatment of native folks relative to the era in question.

The Senate Majority Leader and Vice President in the 1920s, Charles Curtis, was Native (he literally grew up partly on a reservation and spoke Kansa!). The most popular athlete of the early 20th century was Jim Thorpe. The biggest leading man in Hollywood 90 years ago was Native, Will Rogers. George Washington, among many others, regularly dined with representatives from many tribes. Attempts to improve the relative position of Natives while respecting their autonomy really do go back to the late 1800s - the US shifted away from residential schooling well before Canada, reforms and unreforms of the reservation system date to before 1900, and of course there is in the Indian New Deal of the 1930s.)

None of this is to deny the massacres, and the land theft, and especially Andrew Jackson (with the caveat that the US v. Native wars do not look much different from the Sioux-Ojibwe wars, or the Beaver Wars, or the Comanche wars, and on and on). But the relative position of Native folks in American culture has been in many ways a more positive story of intercultural relations than this post represents.

"especially Andrew Jackson"

Why "especially"? The Indian Removal Act was passed by a majority of Congress, Jackson just signed it.

"Lyncoya, Jackson's Native American Child
In 1813, Andrew Jackson sent home to Tennessee a Native American child who was found on the battlefield with his dead mother. This boy, Lyncoya, (c1811-1828), may have originally been intended as merely a companion for Andrew Jr., but Jackson soon took a strong interest in him.

Lyncoya was educated along with Andrew Jr., and Jackson had aspirations of sending him to West Point, as well. Unfortunately, political circumstances made that impossible, and he instead trained as a saddle maker in Nashville. He died of tuberculosis in 1828."

History is complicated.

The interesting comments are the ones which suggest or assert that Tyler can't really believe what he wrote. What is this phenomenon? Do people honestly believe that intelligent people can't possibly believe what Tyler wrote?

Approximately 30% of the country are investing in what Tyler wrote. Some of those .. have IQ.

Well, if Tyler believes in the cause, what else is he doing besides taking up virtual column-inches on the op-ed page of Bloomberg?

Perhaps he is using his salary to purchase land from the palefaces and opening it up for public hunting, camping, and light agricultural use.

Or maybe he is saving up to repatriate his pasty self back to (presumably) Europe, taking his academic work, white man greed, and general civilized demeanor with him.

I mean presumably he is doing something other than talking about it unless of course the entire operation is just a ruse to get a dopamine hit and any practical solution will have to be carried out by others sacrificing on his behalf. But that doesn't really sound like something academics pushing contrarian leftist agitprop would do.

Sure. Because land reparations and guilt are about making non-native people feel better about themselves, not actually, you know, doing something practical that could make a difference.

Curios, who are the heroes on the Native side?

The Beaver Wars showed quite conclusively that the vast bulk of native societies were not terribly interested in peaceful coexistence and we saw one group of "Natives" push out another the moment they had superior firepower. Further, lest we forget, these native societies were heavily based on slavery, rape, and abduction; no matter how much we dress these up as "adoption" it was quite common for tribes in these societies to kidnap children, rape and maybe marry minor females, and to massacre the elders. The Lachine and Schenectady massacres were normative, not outliers.

Nor was that an isolated incident. The Comanche built a large portion of their economy off raiding other tribes and selling slaves to the Spanish. The Ojibwe promptly used their new weapons to push out the Lakota who in turn was quite comfortable killing the Plains Indians before them.

In reality, all the horrors visited upon Native Americans had previously been visited upon Europe. Slave raiding was common by the Barbary States as well as the Crimean Khanate (it is likely that these raids kidnapped more people from European heritage into African slavery than the Europeans managed to kidnap Africans into North American slavery). Raids of death and destruction that destroyed villages were common from the Vikings. And of course wholesale displacement happened multiple times with Norse, Huns, Bulgars, and Mongols.

After all which Norse lords should be boasted about in England? Which Vandals were enlightened and freed their slaves? It is awfully selective to ask for heroes of only one time and place.

In reality, New England shipped off missionaries to the natives by the dozen. Missionaries would pledge their very lives to bring what the colonists believed to be most beneficial things to the Natives: Christianity and English culture. Cotton Mather and John Eliot, for instance, both raised substantial sums to aid the Natives. When frontier moved westward, so to did the missionaries and they did so knowing they faced better than even odds of untimely death.

Ultimately, the US treatment of natives was horridly racist ... yet still much better than normal. Be it the Ottomans, the Persians, the Mughals, or the Qing; contemporaneous empires dealt far more brutally with conquered peoples.

So again who the heroes here at all? Peaceful coexistence and mutual respect not enforced by arms was basically unheard of before the 20th century; so which heroes do you have in mind?

+1. Even writing such a thing, Tyler subtly insinuates a form of white supremacy...only the “enlightened” even ask such questions. The present day Chinese and Turks certainly do not, and if you’re not asking such questions, then you are unenlightened.

Well, that's the crux of the issue. There's countless instances throughout history of one group of people invading/displacing/enslaving/colonizing/genociding another group. The Native Americans the Europeans encountered had already done it to an earlier group living in North America.

It would be hard to find a group of people alive who aren't the products of what we'd say today is some sort of atrocity committed against their fellow humans, and yet the only people who are expected to atone for those past sins are first-world whites. I'd say probably because that's the only group that unwittingly, if not willingly, serves as the mark.

+1. Good context.

At the time, the white guys were the good guys, relative to everyone else around. More civilised, you could say.


What exactly does Tyler consider a superior alternate history? One where the Americans stay in their original thirteen colonies? Where there is never an America as we know it?

The Natives have low IQs and we're never going to make it in white society. Player Piano had it right. They could try to kill us, and probably lose, but at least had a slim shot. Or they could become second rate white men. The Steppe people in Siberia went through the same thing with the Russian version of manifest destiny.

You're missing the point. Contemporary Yankees feel themselves to be morally superior to all others. Since this is the case why should they be so reluctant to admit that in the past their morals were little different than those of the Mongol Horde? The Protestant Yankees emerged from their divine City on the Hill to lower themselves to a level of savagery below that of those they regarded as godless barbarians. Today the evidence is obvious. Despite the same ravages of disease in North. Central and South America, and despite the near extermination of the indigenous, their genes live on their creole descendants, the general populations of Mexico and much of Catholic Latin America. These people don't exist in the US, there is no creole class except for immigrants from the south. The Protestant Yankees, Christians to the core, made it their objective to kill the original superstitious inhabitants, not introduce them to Christ. And not to intermarry with them. The Increase and Cotton Mathers, founders of American culture, would have zero to do with a native American, except perhaps to try and convince him of the merits of their own superstitions. The Spanish conquistadors, on the other hand, displayed no such superiority complex, happily fornicating with the local ladies. Their Catholic churchmen defended the natives as well. The victory of the North American colonists doesn't imply moral superiority in any way.

Which is, of couse, nonsense.

In 1636, these Yankees just somehow built an Indian College at Harvard. The colonist designated 14 towns for "Praying Indians" and folded them into New England governance with natives holding positions of power. And of course Dartmouth was explicitly chartered in part to teach the natives. Far from seeking to exterminate the locals, the Puritans (and ultimately most other sects) actively sent missionaries to convert them.

Most likely there would have been far more integration except for the fact that King Phillip's War was fought genocidally by the Natives (and this was their explicit strategy - to drive the English into the sea).

The real difference is that in Spanish America the native population was simply far larger. Which is why the Taino population declined much more similarly to the New England natives, in spite of the enslavement and rape of Taino women from literally the first contact with Spaniards.

The English colonists were racists, murderous, and brutish ... just less so than most contemporary societies.

As far the Mongols? Please. The Mongol invasions endorsed unchecked, planned massacres the likes of which the world would wait centuries to see again. Subutai, for instance, had a full platform built and then ate dinner on it while said platform crushed the recently surrendered princes who had fought.

The English were no saints, but in the scheme of history they were far better than those who came before and most of their contemporaries.

We should celebrate those who took the hardest, first, steps towards a more moral society rather than deride them from atop the giants who did the hard work.

+1, this is a thoughtful response

You need to understand that the Mongols had superior weaponry, superior tactics, and superior organization relative to the western armies they fought.

They won not because of barbarism or whatever, but because their armies were better.

Only during the initial conquests, by the time the Empire fell apart the surviving Christian states were at least as well if not better organized along with some nice upgrades in weaponry and tactics.

That said, having a better army has never meant a lick when it comes to barbarism. Imperial Japan, for instance, had a vastly better army than China in the 30s but was vastly more barbaric than the Nationalists.

The Mongol invasions endorsed unchecked, planned massacres the likes of which the world would wait centuries to see again.

And that century would be the middle of the twentieth, specifically August 6, 1945, when the benevolent Yankees detonated an atomic weapon over teen-age girls walking to school that morning.

Which the Japanese military and government could easily have prevented, but they chose not to.

Recommended Reading:

1. The Day Man Lost: Hiroshima 6 August 1945, by The Pacific War Research Society, 1972, Kodansha International
2. Japan's Longest Day, by The Pacific War Research Society, 1968, Kodansha International

Nah Turks easily got back to that level of massacre during and after WWI. Likewise, the liquidation of class enemies in early Soviet Russia also was easily that brutal.

The atom bomb was neither particularly spectacular by body count nor by civilian percentage. The firebombing of Tokyo handily beats it on both counts.

Having read Ketsugo, I can only say that yes the atomic bombing was inhuman, just not quite as inhuman as not using it. When the enemy's plan is literally "The Glorious Death of One Hundred Million", and all indications from Okinawa that they would follow through ... I come down on the side that the atomic bombing was the least bad option.

Certainly there is the fact that it took two of them, which suggests quite strongly that any other course of action would either leave a revanchist Japan waiting for yet another genocidal war or the bloodiest fighting in the history of the world - even ignoring Allied casualties.

From my studies the largest slave migrations were from West Africa to South America/The Carribean, then from West Africa to the Islamic World, then from Europe to Africa, then Europe to Asia, and then Africa to North America.

The real shocking fact of world history is not that Europeans traded in slaves, but that they traded in so few and so astonishingly few outside of the plantation system. Pretty much everywhere else in history the rich held slaves for all manner of tasks all throughout society. Europe is the only place to have escaped the slave cycle and, in spite of backsliding during the single most lucrative slaving era ever, eventually forced the world to change.

Again, I honor those who took the first, hardest, steps at ending slavery. Not because they were perfect, but because they were better.

'Again, I honor those who took the first, hardest, steps at ending slavery. '

Yes, the British really do seem worthy of respect. That it took a war to end slavery in the U.S. seems somehow less worthy of respect, as the Confederate States of America explicitly seceded from the U.S. to maintain their peculiar institution, and were only forced to free their slaves after hundreds of thousands of Americans died.

What a novel take on American History. Not something you'd here in literally any college across the country. Thank you, sir, for having the courage to fill this vast chasm in our knowledge of our own history.

Maybe we can get Tyrone back, and in a twist, *he* can argue for the better angels of our nature.

It's certainly uncomfortable to admit that we are the beneficiaries of horrible crimes.

But what should be done?

Take all the land from its current owners and give it "back"? Do I have less right to my home that I paid for than an indigenous American because he's related to someone from whom it was stolen many generations ago? Would that serve any moral or humanitarian purpose?

And should I not criticize those who are actively committing atrocities because I indirectly benefited from atrocities committed long ago? Would the world be better if we avoid discouraging atrocities out of guilt?

If anyone has a moral framework that is more useful than harmful, I'm on board. But I don't see a good argument that "original sin" type guilt is helpful.

To expand on one aspect of this:

If a Thief steals something from a Victim, it seems just and useful to take it from Thief and give it back to Victim.

If Buyer buys it from Thief, it might still be just and useful (but less so) to take it from Buyer and give it to Victim (more so if Buyer knew it was stolen, less so if he didn't).

If Victim is dead, then taking it from Buyer and giving it to his Heirs is less just and less useful.

What if Heirs are dead and Buyer sold it to someone new? Does it still make sense to forcefully transfer it?

Squaring this with the Science of Progress would be a worthy topic. Would Tyler agree that the benefits outweighed the costs of America's colonization?

"All of us are part of a system built on longstanding historical crimes..."

I don't believe any of Earth's 7.7 billion human inhabitants are exempt from this legacy. Crooked timber indeed.

I for one am thankful for having been spared the blood-soaked existence visited upon so much of humanity historically, even up to today. Maybe that's a starting point.

Don’t forget Captain Silas Soule! At least that righteous man is proof of concept.

Meanwhile for all the kvetchers in this thread, it’s still not too late the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, ratified by the United States, ands still valid as of today, although continuously breached by the United States since 1872.

What say you?

To honor it I mean. Or rescind it. But don’t leave our perfidy on the books. It’s embarassing.

Apparently Tyler has never heard of Davy Crockett.

You know, beloved folk hero... coonskin cap meme originator... who "vehemently opposed many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, especially the Indian Removal Act."

That he's a hero in the treatment of Native Americans is literally in the Disney version of his life! (Which is, nonetheless, actually accurate.)

Well, Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Tyler. By all means, let's set aside the pumpkin pie and wallow in guilt, shame, and anxiety.

Thanksgiving is not about turkey, and not about remembering an obscure event 400 years ago that was scarcely documented at the time, and it is not about Indians.

Many Thanksgiving proclamations have been issued through US history. In more religious times, they were occasions for reflection and prayer, and gratitude for good fortune and happy circumstances. Imagine gratitude these days. Imagine modern academics giving thanks to the Almighty for abundance and good fortune.

I think gratitude is one of the great virtues. And I am sad to see that this virtue has all but vanished in modern culture and certainly in modern academia.

Thanksgiving Day is about gratitude for what we have, for our good fortune, for the many fine things in our life, and for our success. The family-centered feast is a mere symbol of the meaning, not the meaning itself.

Or you can take a secular page from Atlas Shrugged, where Rand said that Thanksgiving Day was for the productive to celebrate their productivity. In any event, if you read her essays, Rand very definitely felt gratitude for those who blazed a trail. She was a Jewish immigrant from the USSR who became rich and famous thanks to the freedoms she enjoyed; she was very grateful for America as her bright and shining star.

So I will give thanks, and remember those in my heritage who struggled mightily in hard conditions to make the modern world possible, and I will thank the Almighty.

But if you feel guilty anyway, I suggest you invite Sen. Warren to your dinner. She is a Cherokee, after all. Ask her to bring her dish described in Pow-Wow Chow cookbook. Ask her if she will get rid of Thanksgiving Day holiday if she becomes president, to honor her ancestors.

Yeah, my Thanksgiving is not the Puritan one of thanks for defeating The Red Man.

Mine is Lincoln's one of prosperity and thanks for bounty.

(That that came on the backs of conquered natives is horrible, but in the same way that the entire history of the world is horrible and built on murder and theft.

The US Governmetn has been uniformly shameful to the Natives, and continues to be so, if somewhat less.

That's true, and wrong, and should stop.

And has nothing whatsoever to do with my harvest festival, despite a Peanuts special about Noble Indians.)

"Even if most libertarians are embarrassed by how much of America’s glory is rooted in land theft and massacres, they do not emphasize land reparations as a solution"

Because that's a stupid, bullshit "solution"?

In that it involves a new, right-now injustice to "repay" an old one, for starters. Which is ... not how justice works?

And the "new" one has to involve the takings clause and thus cost a few trillion dollars if it's a lot of nice land, which is the point, right?

(And, Jesus. How do you apportion and disburse it? To whom? Do tribal governments I wouldn't trust to run a coffee shop become nation-states? Or do individual Indians [defined how, by whom?] get individual land grabs? Near where they are now? Where their tribe was ... when, if it was a nomadic one?

No. Just ... no.

This is statism-on-statism, and collectivism-on-collectivism.

You wonder why libertarians don't support it!?

I wonder how anyone who claims to be an economist can.)

Blame it on the US, even though there was no US until 200 years later. Maybe if the Indians didn't have a high infant mortality rate, they might be around today... Stone Age cultures have a habit of dying out. Maybe read about Roger Williams, or Isaac Jogues....

What does a lefty Thanksgiving celebration look like? And Andrew Jacskon was a democrat....

Fortunately for them, the Indians had no morality, only the morality of survival, which apparently is not a crime in the lefty handbook of history. So, they could go out on Saturday night and murder the tribe down the river and take the women for wives. There was no one to record these crimes by white men standards.

"But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee."

Fortunately for them, the Indians had no morality, only the morality of survival,

Every culture has standards and values that make up a moral code. Sadly, your asinine comment reveals that even the ignorant can find a way to distribute their anti-knowledge.

It would be useful for you all to read Lincoln's original proclamation for Thanksgiving Day. it is worth noting that Lincoln was willing to say that that God was "dealing with us in anger for our sins," he was willing to praise God for mercy and his gifts.

Transcript for President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation from October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and even soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln

By the President: William H. Seward. Secretary of State.

LOL So much time wasted on presentism.
Give it up already.

'Nor is there any major American political ideology that can sit comfortably with ...'

Come now; you can't be seriously suggesting that "Might is right" isn't the major American political ideology.

Perhaps, but even so, America still tinges it’s “might makes right” with more morality than most other nations. Think of the Balkan wars and the Clinton administration skiing the stopping the Serbian horrors. Or the attempt to distribute aid (and stop profiteering warlords) in Somalia. Britain is similar, at least since the Second World War.

Not perfect, but much better than most.

The big counter point is that figures like Tyler Cowen cherry (or lemon) pick historical atrocities that align with their present day politics and racial preferences.

When reading about the Wounded Knee Massacre or Generals Sherman, Grant, and Sheridan waging "scorched earth" warfare on the American Indians after the end of the Civil War, I absolutely consider the white men evil villains, and the non-white American Indians innocent victims.

The Native Indians were known for slavery, human sacrifice, and all kinds of horrible thing. Several people in this thread mention the Trail of Tears, but remember the "Five Civilized Tribes" practiced racial slavery of black people. The indians took thousands of black slaves with them on the Trail of Tears, and brutally put down rebellions and reestablished racial slavery after the Trail Of Tears. Cowen seems to be hiding that.

Or as evil as Sherman, Grant, and Sheridan were with their "scorched earth" tactics towards the American Indians, they were every bit as evil towards southern whites in the civil war, and those southern whites were every bit the innocent victim. Sherman boasted of inflicting maximum horror onto civilians. That is goring a big sacred cow of both the Democrats and most Republicans, and Tyler Cowen would never mention that, not because the brutal tactics of large scale massacre are not horrific, but because that story doesn't align with his present day tribal affiliation.

Excellent article. Ignore all those comments with people trying to put a political spin on it.
At it's core it's an argument for humanity and the substance of that should be acknowledged.

A few points not noted so far.

The main reason the Native American Indians were conquered was their susceptibility to Eurasian diseases, especially smallpox. The very fact that Plymouth was empty and open for the Pilgrims to settle was that all the previous inhabitants had died of smallpox that came south from European traders to the north. Squanto was actually a former inhabitant of the place who was out of town when the epidemic hit and had traveled widely in Europe.

Yes, interracial relations in new England went awful and violent later, but I think there is something worth remembering and celebrating about that moment of friendship, even if it passed, and even if it is far from obvious what should be done now about it all.

I also note that there were other places where the new settlers did not steal the land and for a long time treated the Natives reasonably fairly. The most important example would be Pennsylvania, founded by the pacifist and at least initially egalitarian Friends, aka, Quakers. But even there, disease and evergrowing numbers of European immigrants pushed the Natives off what was initially their land.

Oh, and reportedly it was Seward who wrote the main portions of Lincoln's declaration, although clearly Lincoln signed it.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving everybody, even those of you frothing at the mouth, :-).

Find a Denisovan and you will own the world.

This is what happens when you read a book on American Indian history right before Thanksgiving.

More seriously, Tyler has a general point, but I still found an example of heroism:

How interesting. Tyler attempts to rationalize for the brutes, saying that we shouldn't be too hard on brutish behavior today, because our nation was built on it .. and the brutes of today aren't having it. They are hung up on the idea that they should have to acknowledge a brutish past.

Tyler pretty much straight up says "relax about war crimes today, because how else did we get this land?" The response is "omg, how can you say we stole this land!"

Maybe rationalizing for the brutes is a no win game, as well of course as being an immoral one. Perhaps instead we should try to advance the arc of moral justice, even when we do suffer some small political costs as a result? Perhaps.

With Warren as an exception, nobody has convinced me more to vote for trump than you.

You can't blame it on anyone else. If you are up for this awfulness, that's just who you are.

Crimes, including now war crimes, or completely legal taxes.

You choose crimes.

You have to be a troll. That or a 15 year old boomer-LARPing an aging hippy.

Still waiting on the policy answers. Which you refuse to touch upon.

What are the risks to the average American of four years of Trump?

What are the risks to the average American of 4 years of Warren?

We await the crickets, personal attacks, and gaslighting. Anything but the truth!

Oh and of course the necessary fact check for the partisan troll.

Gallagher was acquitted of war crimes in a trial under UCMJ. Rightly or wrongly, he’s not guilty as far as the law is concerned.

Compare and contrast with Bradley Manning. Or the choice to not prosecute an obviously guilty Bergdahl.

But keep trolling!

The big picture is what it is.

And it is deeply sad that the reaction is to call anyone not down with this "a progressive," but I suppose it does help build that brand.

This goes to the top 10 worst columns for Tyler. Sad to see how even smart people get sucked into this stupid revisionism. Yes, american colonialists were as brutal as any Europeans, Asians and Africans of that time. Not to mention the "natives" themselves, who destroyed many other natives before the "white devil" arrived here.

By the way, I thought indian reservations were already "reparations" and you can clearly see how that has worked.

Kind of calls into question Cowen’s recent posturings on progress. Exhibit 3,478 in demonstrating how universities have become the strongest bastions of anti-intellectualism around. Relentlessly campaigning to supplant knowledge and. understanding with gratuitous moralizing. Cowen famously scorned James Buchanan as a moralizer but nothing Buchanan ever said or did was as fatuously moralistic as this.

How about an article about the Jewish settlers' treatment and ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian population of what is today Israel for a change?

An article or memorandum on Jewish perfidious? Why should he supply something the UN is in charge of?

Were not the Native Americans xenophobic, nativist, racist , Luddites?

Should not the Native Americans have embraced the Europeans as brothers and also for their diversifying qualities, new ideas, and fresh cuisines?

I don't think there was any way the 2 differing cultures (one with written language, law, gunpowder, individual property rights - the other tribal, without law or writing or a private property concept) could have coexisted side by side.

The world is a better place because the Americas were Europeanized (even given the significant flaws in execution).

Another harsh observation: the world would be 2x richer today if the Schlieffen Plan had worked in 1914.

The Kaiser's descendents running Europe - not optimal. But exponentially better than what occurred and led us to today's Merkel led Brussels clown show.

So. woke. What an easy, un-original target! Sounds like the stoned college freshman that serious people like you make fun of for questioning the very nature of language and meaning in a superficial way since they took the philo 101 class.

How about some analysis - or hand wringing - on the ongoing US led disasters of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, etc...instead of the continued awe and giving space to the Neocon FP consensus.

Or analysis on the MSM contributing, its lack of introspection, on shaping major issues including the failed neocon viewpoints and adherents. Or how the MSM helps scapegoat everything for Hillary for her "unforseen" loss (not campaigning in key battleground states she lost in, calling Trump voters scum of the earth, laughing at Ghaddafi getting sodomized when she was Secretary of State, etc..)

"US says Russian troops are destabilizing Libya"

"Trump’s Syria missile strike was a scandal"

"Clinton on Qaddafi: We came, we saw, he died"

"Harvey Weinstein calls Bernie Sexist on MSNBC"

Way more woke my dude instead of that gender studies/America hating studies stuff you are spouting.

Or better yet, go all meta and ask why is Bloomberg shutting down any (potential negative) commentary on Mike Bloomberg.

What's next, an essay on US injustices on black people? Why are US flyover country people questioning elites and the MSM?

Because I thought it was the Russians that created racial tensions in the US and riled up the masses against the benevolent coastal elites.

There's also an obscure segment of political science literature on the dangers of an autonomous national security state overriding democratic will -- maybe check it out some time. Most of it was written pre-Trump.

Celebrate the times agriculturalists and hunter-gatherers have cooperated peacefully and appreciate how rarely it happens.

So i read the article thinking it was not what the blog post suggested, but i was wrong. It was just what the blog post indicated it would be.

Depressing is the word.

We can't change the past, and it's not even clear that the so many of us whose ancestors arrived in America long after the first European settlers even have a moral obligation to try to rectify it. Talking about reparations, in some ways, perpetuates anti-immigrant bias. The message is that those descended from later immigrants aren't "real Americans" so the fact their ancestors weren't involved in the mistreatment of Natives doesn't mitigate America's guilt. Rather than recognizing that only a fraction of today's Americans descended from those that mistreated Native Americans, we act as though 100% of Americans are guilty --- the descendants of more recent immigrants somehow don't count.

Regardless, maybe, the best way to rectify past injustice to Native Americans is to offer their descendants the chance to Pursue their Happiness as full and equal citizens in the most prosperous and free society ever to exist in human history. That is a prize that so many in the world crave and, indeed, so many Americans are reminded to be thankful for around this time of year.

I’m baffled by many of these comments and how defensive they are.

Who regularly reads MR and/or Bloomberg and feels under attack by an article that talks about the lack of justice for a group of people?

It seems that maybe there IS a major American ideology that sits comfortably with the historical treatment of Native Americans. Honest question: who are you commenters? Why does an article about American history seem so “PC” or anti-white to you?

Can we not learn from history, and perhaps try to do a bit better in the future?

sure Andrew, let's do better, why don't you start, do a little campaigning against rich liberals putting Planned Parenthood facilities in minority neighborhoods

Huh? It has now gone from a post about Native Americans on Thanksgiving, to something about Planned Parenthood. And someone else talking about physically removing communists?

What are we even talking about? These are just rage comments, which I expect to see on Facebook or comments in my local newspaper, but not here.

While this is a particularly bad day, I'm afraid there is nothing unexpected here.

Consider that it is a fairly common talking point among minorities - including Cherokees of African-American heritage - that the support of liberals for promoting inexpensive access to abortion among young minority women is a latter-day counterpart to the wars of conquest of yesteryear. Maps which show the locations of Planned Parenthood
"Facilities" in urban areas do seem to support this complaint.

Your confusion about the direction in which I ably steered the conversation may be due to the relative lack of Planned Parenthood facilities in sparsely populated areas that fall under Native American sovereignty - however, the fact of that relative lack can be explained consistently with the theory I described in the previous paragraph, and it is not my job to explain to you why you mistook my erudite comment for the type of "rage" comment you apparently frequently encounter on your Facebook account.

Anyway, happy Thanksgiving, all of us have subjects we have not thought through, so no offense taken, and I hope, none given!

What we learn from history is the need to physically remove communists and cultural marxists from society.

When someone is wrong, they tend to attract people pointing that out.

I don't see too many massacres today, so maybe we already learned something without the need for this article?

I'm stunned too. Tyler is a decent, completely inoffensive guy calling on people to reflect on a dark past and to be a little more understanding and compassionate, basically, and the comments are suddenly filled with foaming-at-the-mouth ideologues screaming about...well, I'm not even sure. To call them "hyper-defensive" seems to understate things.

Your dehumanizing language, Herr Richter, is troubling.

Rabid dogs foam at the mouth, and nobody argues that their lives are capable of being saved.

Think about that.

I hesitated to recommend this earlier becaus I assumed everyone would have read it, but maybe not, so:

Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James W. Loewan, 1995, Simon & Schuster.

Particularly chps. 1-4 in regard to Thanksgiving and Indian (native American) relations.

Vast stretches of Colorado's Eastern plains can be given back to the Arapaho and Cheyenne (now living in neighboring WY and OK) we so rudely "removed" way back when killing women and child was NBD. I do not think they want the land.

I think they would prefer to retain their sovereignty.

For a guy who has a solid grasp of structuralism and incentives, the column has a weird fixation on the question of “heroes”. Bring to mind Brecht’s lines from Galileo:

Andrea: Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.
Galileo: No, Andrea: Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.

You can count on Tyler to regurgitate whatever lefty crap the DNC needs regurgitated. Kudos to the commenters for pissing all over him.

Even if in my encounters with them they seem chiefly grumpy and/or depressed, Hollywood did such a thorough job enshrining the notion of Indians as a monolithically proud and stoic people that I find the thought of their story ending with the presentation of a Large Check, as though that would bear any relation at all to history, let alone with the bizarre notion that it can be reversed, initially dismaying. So, firstly, I apologize for my unwokeness. Obviously I allowed myself to be misled, as it made acceptance of my crimes easier. I should have stuck to historical accounts that paint a portrait of a group enfeebled and beggared. A race of people like any other, nothing in them that would lend them an air of myth and legend made manifest, nothing that would make permanent victimhood uncomfortable. The check is a good idea and should just about do the trick.

Didn't the heir apparent Hillary once proclaim that "America is already great"?

Why the nihilism TC? Russians hijack the account?

To reduce culpability, America always has good intentions, just bad execution and failure to appreciate unintended consequences or third order effects:

Land reparations are a "solution"? TC thinks we can monetize crime? I'd prefer all the noise around this silly (imho) issue be re-directed towards the establishment of Native American Tribal systems which are healthy and compatible with current US society. I was just reading that they're going to investigate (after decades!!) the epidemic of NA women's disappearances. Before we waste time on crimes of a century ago, we should be doing a hell of a lot better job at fixing what is broken in our system for living NAs. (Interior, Justice, Homeland, to name three in need of better laws (and of course, funding)).

There are more than enough people focused on the past, which isn’t by the way, going to change. Let’s try to focus on the future, which we can actually change.

Indeed. On many indicators of quality of life - life expectancy, homelessness, unemployment, alcoholism - Native Americans rank lowest. The Federal government owns 28% of all land in the US, for no apparent reason. Let’s give some of that to the tribes.

Understood - Our ancestors lived lives centered around religious expectations and moral ideals, yet those societies had their blind spots. Inevitably, our less grounded societies today, are, at least, equally blind.

My feeling is that that reality makes a day of Thanksgiving and introspection even more important now than in the past. So...

Let us be thankful for the good we have done and have compassion for our failings. Compassion never requires perfection, only clearer understanding and thanks for the knowledge that next time we can do better.

Let us be thankful for the small kindnesses sent into and received from the world. Some of the kindnesses we have received have been more important to us than others may ever realize. And, hopefully, so too the kindnesses we have sent.

Let us be thankful for our strength. Every day we are told to be afraid - mortal dangers and monsters close by threaten. Fear is targeted to cloud our minds and turn our hearts inward. Be thankful for the strength of clear minds and open hearts. Be thankful where we have taken strength into ourselves and not given it away to fear.

Lastly be thankful for the generations that have made a better world that we enjoy today, and thankful that we, in our turn, have contributed some and hoped some and loved some.

I have an idea -- Tyler could demonstrate the genuineness of this lachrymose posting by returning to the old sod and on the way out deeding his home to a native american. Who knows? Others might follow suit & the great wrong could be redressed.

But as Thanksgiving 2019 approaches, I am struck by another lesson: America’s need to come to terms with a history that, as it relates to the treatment of Native Americans, has remarkably few heroes on the side of the white settlers.

The Puritans worked diligently to have good relations with the native tribes until attacked and massacred by "King Phillip" the son and heir of the chieftain that asked them to settle at Plymouth to be cannon fodder between his tribe and marauders from the south.

I've been an AI skeptic, until now! Tyler Cowen has obviously been replaced by a simulacrum who gets it's talking points from on high. This one arrived right on schedule! I wonder how they disposed of the Real Cowen?

When is military conquest "military conquest"?

When is military conquest not "military conquest"?

Also relevant: European introduction of domesticated equine mammals to the Americas after 1500 CE was not exploited by all Native Americans equally (thus, in no native Native American egalitarian sense). The Comanches seem to've well exploited the horse for Plains bison hunting, which enhanced their cultural standing within the shrinking world of aboriginal Americans at least until the 19th century CE.

Perhaps a matter of putting this into perspective would be for TC to examine with enough requisite specificity the conflict in Hawai'i over construction of the coveted Thirty-Meter Telescope. Native Hawai'ians object to its construction on ground deemed sacred.

Accommodate native sentiment so the TMT can be built in Spain? --or override native concerns and "recruit" them to a project which by TC's metrics would constitute nothing other than "progress"?

Much of the world is still peopled by those dubbed in the First World as atavistic, anachronistic, and archaic peoples. I can't believe or think for one moment TC, et al., would consent to spending the next 40,000 years wandering in aboriginal Australian dreamtime in the hopes that across those millennia humanity might somehow catch up with itself.

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