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Is America Really Founded on "Stolen Land?"
Could you point us to some land that isn't "stolen?"
There are few things liberals in America love to do more than mar the 4th of July with their endless b*tching about what a rotten country they believe America happens to be. Maybe they feel like there are so many people celebrating America that they have even more of a duty than normal to show their contempt and scorn for a nation that provided them more opportunities than anywhere else on earth.
For example, take Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the founders of Ben & Jerry’s. They have a success story you probably wouldn’t see in a lot of places other than America:
With a $5 correspondence course in ice cream-making from Penn State and a $12,000 investment ($4,000 of it borrowed), Ben and Jerry open their first ice cream scoop shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont.
From those humble beginnings, these two diehard advocates of socialism sold their billion-dollar ice cream business to multinational corporation Unilever and became reportedly worth 150 million dollars each. With that background, you might think Ben & Jerry would be two of the biggest advocates of capitalism and America that have ever lived, but of course, creatures of the Left never seem to look at it that way.
Just look at what Ben & Jerry’s tweeted on the 4th of July:
This is a semi-regular complaint about America from liberals, although in this particular case, Ben & Jerry’s picked Mount Rushmore out of a hat as the piece of “stolen land” we need to return:
Ah, the Fourth of July. Who doesn't love a good parade, some tasty barbecue, and a stirring fireworks display? The only problem with all that, though, is that it can distract from an essential truth about this nation’s birth: The US was founded on stolen Indigenous land.
This year, let’s commit to returning it.
Here’s why we need to start with Mount Rushmore.
We could go into the details of their case for beginning with Mount Rushmore, but it’s irrelevant because as they note here, they view it as a starting point. If we gave Mount Rushmore back to the Sioux, then we’d immediately just move on to the next “stolen land” that we need to give back.
That being said, isn’t it interesting that they aren’t starting with all the property owned by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield? What about all the property owned by Ben & Jerry’s? There are 205 Ben & Jerry’s stores in the United States and certainly, there must be plenty of other buildings and production facilities owned by the company that could be given to different Indian tribes. Heck, maybe Unilever should get the ball rolling. Not only do they own land here, but they also own land all over the world that by Ben & Jerry’s definition was “stolen” at one time or another.
What do I mean by that?
Well, for example, here’s a map from an NPR article from last year that supposedly shows which indigenous people’s land we’re all allegedly occupying:
One of many interesting things you may notice about this map is that there are no dates on it. It’s also worth noting that even the data used to compile this was extremely sketchy:
Native Land Digital aims to use at least two valid sources (including oral history, written documents, or "maps sketched by people deemed to be reasonable authorities") when updating the map and says in cases of conflicting maps it generally errs on the side of being "more expansive." It cautions that the map does not represent definitive or legal boundaries of any Indigenous nations and is a work in progress with many community contributions.
All this leads to a crucial question, which is, “What makes anyone think these particular tribes were the original ‘owners’ of this land?” This is the same point notorious cartoonist Stone Toss made here.
Certainly, at one point or another in history a particular tribe MAY HAVE controlled that land, but what does that mean? That means they had enough men and weapons to chase off other groups that were on the land and take ownership of it. Of course, they probably didn’t feel the least bit bad about doing it because the people they chased off almost certainly did the same thing to another group, that did the same thing to another group, that did the same thing, on and on throughout history, back until who was doing what to whom was lost in the mists of time. So, for example, what supposedly makes the Sioux the real “owner” of Mount Rushmore as opposed to whatever tribe they forced off of that land, after they forced another group off of that land, after they forced another group off of that land, on and on for thousands of years? Why is the arbitrary point in time when the Sioux owned that land more valid than dozens of dates in history when other groups owned that land? It matters who owns a piece of property in America because we have laws in place, but once you get outside of that, that old proverb becomes the rule.
Because Indian tribes in America were fairly primitive, we don’t have a great record of how all this played out in the United States, but if you want to see how often property changed hands over the last 1,000 years in Europe, you will find this video to be very educational:
What it all comes down to is that every worthwhile inch of space on this entire planet was violently taken from one group by another group. Maybe it was another dynasty, tribe, clan, kingdom, or country, but it happened over and over again EVERYWHERE. It’s just as Robert Heinlein said:
This is the point where people who don’t have a real understanding of this issue will tend to say things like, “Well, so what you’re saying is that we don’t really own this land either, right? Someone could just come along and take it and that would be fine with you?”
Whether it’s fine with us or not fine with us, doesn’t matter. If a nation is strong enough to invade the United States and force us off our land, it’s their land then unless we can stop them. This is just reality. In fact, this was the whole premise of the classic movie Red Dawn:
Do you want to know what happened to the Indians? Our ancestors outfought them, slaughtered them, and made them sign treaties. From there, it was, “move if you want to live.”
Incidentally, the Indians would have done the exact same thing to us if they were capable of it. In fact, some of the Indian tribes tried to defeat our ancestors and ultimately failed. This is how the world worked and quite frankly, it’s how it still works in places where it’s advantageous to the nations involved (see countries like Russia and China as examples). If anyone wants to give away the land they personally own to some Indian tribe because you think your distant ancestors gave their distant ancestors a raw deal, knock yourself out, but the proper way to look at it is, “We won. They lost. That’s a good thing.”