Where left and right agree about history.

26 11 2010

I’ve been tempted to say something about this new conservative Thanksgiving-as-celebration-of-failed-socialism obsession, but others have handled that better than I ever could. However, I think this part of the argument is noteworthy because of what it gets right:

And despite his problems evaluating the recent Manhattan real estate market, [Rush] Limbaugh had another look at the one from 1626. “We got shafted when we bought Manhattan,” he claimed, saying that European settlers initially paid a Long Island tribe that didn’t own the land, then had to repurchase it from the actual owners. “We got scammed … we got hosed … we paid for Manna-hata twice because a bunch of Native Americans scammed us.”

Compare that to this from James Loewen’s revisionist classic Lies My Teacher Told Me (p. 121):

“What a bargain! What foolish indians not to recognize the potential of the island! Not one book points out that the Dutch paid the wrong tribe for Manhattan. Doubtless the Canarsees, native to Brooklyn, were quite pleased with the deal…The Wekquaesgeeks, who lived on Manhattan and really owned it, weren’t so happy.”

Of course, Limbaugh thinks the people who bought Manhattan were Pilgrims (rather than Dutch) so maybe I should be more circumspect with my praise.


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