Thursday 30 November 2023

Michael Knowles Defends Colonialism At Vanderbilt: ‘History’s Victors’

 Accusations of colonialism are used by leftists to smear “history’s victors,” or great men and civilizations, according to conservative commentator Michael Knowles.

Knowles, host of an eponymous podcast at The Daily Wire, delivered a speech in defense of colonists, colonialism, and settlements in a speech on Tuesday night at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The conservative Catholic host said that colonialism, seen as universally oppressive by leftists, has rid the world of some of the worst human rights abusers.

Knowles began his lecture with a modern and timely example, the modern state of Israel. The Israeli state, now at war with the terror group Hamas, dubbed “freedom fighters” and de-colonizers by some, was built largely through settlement and colonization during the early 20th century, Knowles said.

Defending Israel against charges of colonization is a bad strategy, he said, because every nation is open to accusations of colonialism if one looks back far enough in history. The anti-colonialist standard is one that no nation could survive if applied equally, according to Knowles. 

“All regimes in history have been established by settlers and colonizers of one kind or another. Not since Adam in the Garden of Eden have any people sprouted out of the ground, and Adam, you might recall, had a little bit of help in the process, as well,” Knowles said.

American history is full of colonialist endeavors, tracing as far back as the explorer Christopher Columbus’ voyages to the Americas. Knowles used the Black Hills of South Dakota as an example. The Black Hills is the site of Mount Rushmore and declared by the Supreme Court in 1980 to have been illegally taken by the U.S. from the Lakota Sioux tribe.

“The Lakota Sioux did not magically sprout out of the Black Hills of South Dakota. In fact, the Lakota Sioux only possessed the Black Hills for about 100 years – less time, in fact, than the United States has possessed it. The Lakota only acquired the Black Hills in 1776, and the way they acquired it was by moving in from Minnesota and conquering the Cheyenne. So, should the U.S. government pay a billion dollars to the Lakota because we took Lakota land? Or should we pay a billion dollars to the Cheyenne because the Lakota took Cheyenne land?” Knowles asked, pointing out the impractical and unrealistic expectations that come out of an extreme anti-colonialist mindset.

In many instances, acts of colonization and expansion conquered much worse cultures, such as the Aztec that used tens of thousands of people annually as human sacrifices. The best version of colonialism, Knowles said, is one that instilled Christian values.

“If there will be conquest, it seems preferable that such conquest be Christian rather than demonic; the kind of imperialism that builds Santa Croce rather than Tenochtitlan; the sort of conquest that teaches people to love their enemies rather than to rip their hearts out,” Knowles said.

“I sometimes tell critics of Christian nationalism that if they think Christian nationalism is bad, just wait until they see un-Christian nationalism. The same is true of settlement, colonialism, and conquest. If you believe that the Western kind of conquest is bad, just wait until you see all the other kinds,” he said.

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