In praise of a DWM (was: Bill to end logging etc.)

Stephen Worley Anderson nonesuch at
Mon Nov 17 17:21:56 EST 1997

Mary Malmros <malmros at> wrote in article
<64q5ra$pdg at>...
> I don't want to dissuade you in your admiration for the pioneers (by
> which, I"m guessing from context, you mean the European pioneers in
> North America).  However, there is pretty strong evidence that they
> didn't _know_ what the price of their proposed settlement was.  They 
> really didn't have any idea, and a lot of them died when things turned
> out to be less than congenial.  Many, probably most, of them made their
> choices in ignorance, and stuck with it only because they couldn't go
> back.  Characterizing them as "willing to pay the price" seems a little
> inaccurate.  Nor would I really give them props for persistence: if
> you don't have a choice but to stick with it, is "persistence" really
> the name for it?  There are plenty of things to admire them for --
> personally, I think that the preservation of some degree of learning was
> impressive -- but I think our image of the bold, principled, adventurous
> pioneer is somewhat skewed.

It could have been any of quite a number, but the specific ones I had in
mind when I wrote that post were the long hunters who settled the
Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee.  They explored the area before moving
their families there and chose it consciously for its remoteness and
privacy.  They knew exactly what they were doing.

> Well...honestly, I don't think that taste is anything like what they
> knew.  It's qualitatively different.  They were flying blind, and as for
> seeking freedom, any number of them were simply moving on because they'd
> raised such an obnoxious stink back home that folks wouldn't have 'em.

Some.  Some not.  I suppose we're all generalizing shamelessly.

> It's all in your filters, ya know?  I strongly suspect that if some of
> my own Reformation Protestant ancestors were living next door to me, I'd
> consider them a bunch of nosy, preachy, busybody fundamentalists, and
> I'd wish 'em a hemisphere away from me too.

Well, mine were mostly unreformable Protestants thrown out of Scotland by
James I, French Huguenots, and Covenanters (the original rednecks).  Some
branches of the family would still fit right in were they shot back three
and four centuries, and they're still considered solid citizens in their
respective communities (some of which are now pretty cosmopolitan places,
but nonetheless quite different from New England's Puritan precincts).

The most interesting aspect of this short thread has been not my first
post, which was about the freedom of the trail with nary a thought of
politics, but the replies, especially the e-mail.  There are some
hilariously intolerant folks hanging around here.  A few quotes, the names
suppressed to protect the innocent-until-proven-guilty:

"You (expletive deleted). These (expletive deleted) (expletive deleted) the
Native Americans, and you call them freedom fighters? (Expletive deleted)

"The land rapists you call pioneers were nothing but criminals and
murderers. Instead of swallowing this John Wayne (expletive deleted) whole
you ought to be (expletive deleted) on their graves. That's what I'm going
to do, after seeing your stupid (expletive deleted). Don't make me read any
more of this (expletive deleted)."

"I can't believe anyone in 1997 still thinks the pioneers were doing
anything more than running from legal punishment for their own offenses,
and they carried their criminality with them. If we had just put them all
in prison where they belonged much of the horror America has brought to the
world could perhaps have been avoided. Surely you aren't really the racist
you look like. Or are you?"

Each of these is from a different message, but all three originated at .edu
addresses.  It got me to thinking about humanities departments (with which
I have had more experience than anyone deserves).  There is an awful lot of
intellectual effluent sloshing around the campuses, much of it the
ideological hatred of western civilization that is standard-issue weaponry
among the tenured, embittered leftists who, their hair graying and time
running out, are becoming desperate for fear they'll miss out on being
there for the beginning of the revolution.  They've been entrusted with the
youth of good, if naive, American families who believe in the ideals of
freedom and individualism, and what they've done is force feed these eager
young minds politically calculated multicultural bigotry 'til it's running
out their mouths.  The common theme of nearly every reply I've received is
that one simply may not speak approvingly, even in narrow focus, of DWM
without coloring his comments in the dark camouflage of politically correct

I have an old friend, an Englishman who has lived in New Zealand now for
some years, who taught in a humanities department in Christchurch.  He is a
true-blue socialist, and he made every effort to instill his beliefs in his
students (I often told him he was supposed to teach them, not indoctrinate
them, but he's a stubborn cuss).  When the socialists lost power there he
was in due course asked to stop using the classroom for political
recruiting.  He didn't take the hint.  Luckily he owns a house up the
coast, and he now fishes crabs for a living.

I hope American humanities professors are saving their money.  Once the
public becomes fully aware of what they've been up to they're going to need
it to live on while looking for new lines of work.

It is true I hike for (among other things) a taste of freedom.  I sail for
the same reason.  Others I know who do either one say similar things about
their motives.

It is also true many of the pioneers left the security of the long-settled
regions to seek individual freedom; some sought freedom from justice, some
from injustice, some from poverty, some did it out of simple choice (most
of the latter seem not to have cared much for crowds or the filth and crime
of cities).  The simile being a propos here, I imagine I'll have cause say
so again at some point.  Sorry if it offends some (as it obviously does),
but I wouldn't expect them to be silent due to my political prejudices,

Stephen Worley Anderson in Rocky Mount, NC

To mail, please change the header to the correct form of:
        swa at rockymountnc dot com

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