by Rod D. Martin
October 14, 2013
Today we honor one of the greatest adventurers, explorers, entrepreneurs and visionaries of all time, Christopher Columbus, discoverer of the New World.
Half the Democratic Party’s heads just popped, at each and every word of the foregoing sentence. But they are the fools, not we. Though Columbus set out to find a new route to China, he found something far more important. Though he did not realize the fullness of what he’d found, the fullness of his personal understanding is no more relevant than Wilber Wright’s understanding of the Space Shuttle. And though leftists screech about Columbus’s “conquest of the innocent natives”, I don’t recall his ever conquering any part of Berkeley, Boston or the Upper East Side; nor do I recall their refunding anyone’s $24 worth of beads and moving to Europe.
Though he was a late medieval Genoan in the service of a Spanish crown that had only just concluded an 800 year war of liberation from Islamic rule (“la Reconquista”), Columbus embodied much of what it is to be a modern American. He would have been right at home at Cape Canaveral or in Silicon Valley: a man who refused to accept traditional thinking and was willing to bet everything, even his life, on his idea. Columbus was a Christian, and saw what he was doing as glorifying God, pushing back want, and spreading truth to the whole world.
And in perhaps his most modern American act of all, when the Spanish crown reneged on its (extremely generous) deal with him, he and his family sued the King, the official records of which lawsuits constitute much of what we know about the “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” and his voyages today.
To suggest Columbus was some sort of monstrous mass murderer is sick, twisted revisionism. To belittle him because someone else either previously had or would have eventually made the same discoveries is a joke: that thriving Viking Kingdom in Newfoundland speaks to the former, and as to the latter, one might as well say Steve Jobs was no big deal because someone else would have eventually made a Macintosh.
No, Columbus was a great man to whom we owe much. And he’s a role model for all who might ever have a big idea with which they want to change the world.
So Happy Columbus Day. Celebrate it with gratitude and pride.