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Jefferson and genocide
by prugovecki
15 April 2002 19:56 UTC
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In the April 14, 2002 WSN communication "Jefferson and USA" Seyed Javad
<seyedjavad@hotmail.com> reproduces the article "Happy Birthday Mr.
Jefferson" by Thomas L. Krannawitter. In it Thomas Jefferson is described
as a great humanitarian. Thus, in the beginning of this article it is
stated that

"[N]o one in human history has done more [than Thomas Jefferson] to advance
the cause of human freedom."

The article ends with the following statement:

"If America is ever to truly get beyond race -- if Americans are ever to
view one another simply as fellow citizens and friends -- we will do so
only by embracing the color-blind and universal principles of Thomas

One arives, however, at a totally different impression of Thomas Jefferson
by reading AMERICAN HOLOCAUST (Oxford University Press, 1992) by David E.
Stannard (a University of Hawaii Professor of American Studies). On its p.
120 one can find the following passage:

"Jefferson's writings on Indians are filled with the straightforward
assertion that the natives are to be given a simple choice - to be
'extirpate[d] from the earth' or to remove themselves out of the American
way. Had the same words been enunciated by a German leader in 1939, and
directed at European Jews, they would be engraved in modern history."

Later, on p. 240 of the same book, while comparing Bolivar (who believed
that the native Indians are the "legitimate owners" of the South American
continent) to Jefferson, Stannard writes:

"... Jefferson would later write of the remaining Indians in America that
the government was obliged 'now to pursue them to extermination, or drive
them to new seats beyond our reach.'"

This Jeffersonian policy was very successful. After I purchased my 1967
copy of ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA and read the cold statistics on pp. 75 - 79
of its vol. 12, dealing with the North America Indian, I realized that the
greatest genocide in human history had been carried out right here, in
North America. Thus on p. 77 of that volume it is stated:

"[E]vents [in USA] gave currency to the concept of the Indian as 'The
Vanishing American.' The decision of 1871 to discontinue treaty-making and
the Allotment act of 1887 were both founded on the belief that the Indians
would not survive."

And yet none of my academic colleagues at Princeton, University of Alberta,
University of Toronto, and elsewhere, seemed to be aware of these facts -
never mind the average American or Canadian! However, well-documented books
Ronald Wright, published in the 1990s, eventually substantiated even
further my conclusion.

The indifference and/or ignorance of the North American public about these
and other basic historical facts prompted me in part to write the
utopian/dystopian novel MEMOIRS OF THE FUTURE (Cross Cultural Publications,
Notre Dame, 2001), in which the docile population of one of its featured
imaginary countries, called FWF (Free World Federation), is systematically
"brainstuffed" by its media, which has built a political virtual reality
into which each "Freeworlder" is immersed from the moment of birth. (Note:
As opposed to "brainwashing," by definition "brainstuffing" takes place
from the moment of birth, so that its victims never even realize that their
brains have been "stuffed" with false or misleading information.)

Assuming that there have not been two presidents of USA named Thomas
Jefferson (perhaps coexisting in parallel universes!?), it would be hard to
find a better example of the way "brainstuffing" is carried out than the
one provided by the above cited article "Happy Birthday Mr. Jefferson."

But brainstuffing can be more subtle than that! Thus the article on Thomas
Jefferson on pp. 985-989 of the earlier cited volume 12 of ENCYCLOPEDIA
BRITANNICA makes absolutely no mention of Jefferson's writings which
condemned entire native nations and peoples in North America to extinction.
However, in explaining his high-level "moral sense" it states:

"Right and wrong differed in different societies, and the criterion which
Jefferson accepted was the utility for a given society."

It might be very interesting to view Hitler's philosophy and genocidal
policies from this utilitarian point of view.

All I can add in conclusion is that FWF, which can be dubbed "utopia for
the rich," is being realized much faster than I had expected when I wrote
the first draft of MEMOIRS OF THE FUTURE in 1974. However, not the same can
be said of my other imaginary country named Terra, which deserves only the
more prosaic name of "everybody's utopia."

Eduard Prugovecki
Professor Emeritus
University of Toronto

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