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Paul Harvey Goes Over The Top

Paul Harvey:

"We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy. Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and across this continent by giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans. That was biological warfare. And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever.

"And we grew prosperous. And yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves. So it goes with most great nation-states, which--feeling guilty about their savage pasts--eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry up-and-coming who are not made of sugar candy."


Full transcript available here.

I understand the point Harvey is trying to make. Taking a hard line with our enemies is important. Heck, its neccessary, but that doesn't mean we should adopt a "win at any cost" mentality and repeat the mistakes of our past either.

I think its time for the old man to hang it up.


Not everyone agrees that Harvey's comments were over the top.

Like I pointed out above, I have no problem with taking a hard line against our enemies. I just don't like Harvey's implication that no tactics are taboo. Yes our expansion west was made possible, in part, through terrible treatment of Native Americans. But was that a neccessary tactic? Couldn't we have treated the Native Americans better and still completed a successful westward expansion?

Yes we rode to the status of global economic powerhouse, partly, on the back of slaves. But was that neccessary? Couldn't America's dearly-held capitalistic ideals have brought us here without engaging in the terrible institution of slavery?

I think the answer to these questions and other like them is a resounding "yes." Which is why Harvey's comments are over the top.

Rob Port is the owner and operator of Say Anything.


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Comments (19)

Sorry about the multiple tr... (Below threshold)

Sorry about the multiple trackbacks...I manually trackback and it was saying it failed.

Pierre Legrand

Hmmmm.That's inter... (Below threshold)


That's interesting. Paul Harvey is repeating Ward Churchill's disproven allegation.

Shows you how much life a lie has.

No problem Pierre, I delete... (Below threshold)

No problem Pierre, I deleted the duplicate.

I disagree with accepting t... (Below threshold)

I disagree with accepting the economic timeline thrown out there. The U.S. became an economic powerhouse during our embracing of Heavy Industry which mostly happened post-slavery era, very late 1800's and early 1900's. Before then we were a banana republic and acted that way.

Paul Harvey has been too lo... (Below threshold)

Paul Harvey has been too long at the fair for years. I can't stand his pompous, cracker barrel philosopher delivery "and now you know the rest of the story" annecdotes, which are invariably trite tabloid trivia. I also want to retch every time the old fool segways from news into one of the "not available in stores" type gadgets he flogs.

Paul Harvey, America's trailer trash news commentator. Get the hook, Pleeeze!

None among the Paul Harvey'... (Below threshold)

None among the Paul Harvey's, the Ward Churchill's and some activists among some groups has any PROOF to substantiate that there was some nefarious, intentional plan and action "to infect" anyone with anything.

There's a truth to biology that isolated populations (of any lifeform) develope immunity only to what they're exposed to. Thus, ANY introduction of ANY alternate human populations to North America (or anywhere else where similar isolated populations existed) at the time that Europeans began travelling (again) to North America would bring with them many new pathogens that the Europeans -- being from more highly concentrated populations (and therefore having developed increased immunity to known pathogens, known to their populations, that is) -- that the Europeans were immune to but any more isolated population would not be (having not been in contact in population numbers in their population's past).

However, the issue of immunity and pathogens works the same in ALL human populations: if a population has lower numbers living in lower concentrations to one another, and is isolated from exposure to others over a long enough period of time, a reduced immunity will develope to newly introduced pathogens.

Which means that the Europeans making their repeat treks to North America (repeat because it's proven that Europeans were in North America far earlier than the fifteenth century and afterward), that they both brought new pathogens with them that the existing populations in North America became infected by (small pox, for example), BUT THAT THEY ALSO BECAME INFECTED WITH OTHER PATHOGENS after arriving.

Every population -- when it's isolated enough -- developes it's own particular immunity to what it's exposed to but does not develope immunity to what it isn't exposed to. It's a "d'oh" process, academically.

And, thus, every population when first exposed to others -- if never having shared exposure before -- is going to both pose an infectious threat and be exposed to an infectious threat when that first contact is made.

And, contact involves many years, sometimes several generations, before immunity developes throughout a population.

We always hear/read about all the "diseases" that the "White Man" brought to other races when first contacted, but not about the pathogens that presented pathology to Europeans. Europeans did live in a more highly interactive population than others, as did/do Asians, such that they'd developed greater immunity to a broader range of pathogens than more isolated populations (at that time, North America, South Pacific, and other areas similar).

HOWEVER, it's proven and a part of medical history and fact that THE PLAGUE that nearly decimated European populations and many times over arrived there ("infected" them) IN THE GUT OF FLEAS WHO ARRIVED ON CAMELS FROM ASIA.

This whole "white man" blaming only serves to emphasize a certain level of unlearnedness in those who rely on that as excuse and blame. As in, it's the stuff of cruel and cruelly unaware, irresponsible minds, by those who continue to make those statements (that the "White Man" brought "diseases" and worse, intentionally, to "native Americans" and others -- some perpetuate this in the South Pacific also, about Europeans/Caucasians).

And, lastly, most viral and bacterial threats originate in tropical climates, which are breeding grounds for bacteria, particularly, and among isolated populations of mammals, as to viruses...who have become immune/developed an immunity to whatever but once in contact with humans, infect the humans simply by exposure.

It's a circular problem among all life forms, but particularly among primates, who share a closely related immune system and response, but who still maintain isolated populations worldwide (and thus, are 'breeding grounds' for pathogens that will infect others once contact is made with others...HIV is an infamous example of this).

The blankets, from what I've read, that were given to Native Americans were not known to carry small pox or even how small pox was "carried" or transmitted at that time. People gave other people blankets that had been washed and stored but without the knowledge at that time of how something like small pox was even transmitted.

Thus, there couldn't have been a plan or awareness of any intentional transmission via blankets.

Had blankets not been provided when they were, I am sure today we would be hearing/reading that "the White Man let Native Americans freeze from exposure when the White Man had blankets to share but refused to."

Uhm, I'm sorry but we did n... (Below threshold)

Uhm, I'm sorry but we did not become an "economic powerhouse" until long after slavery had been abolished in this country.

Our standing as an "economic powerhouse" came into being around the time of the industrial revolution due to our large swathes of natural resources (iron, coal, copper) and our business infrastructure that fostered rapid development of such resources (rail roads, large established sea ports on two oceans, lots of cheap labor, invention of the assembly line by Henry Ford).

No one ever mentions other countries, in Europe, who held slaves longer than this country. Or talks about the native African inhabitants who not only had their own slaves also who rounded up and sold their own people to the slave traders. Why not?

Well, no one talks about th... (Below threshold)

Well, no one talks about the slavery going on today in places like Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, so what do you expect Neo.

-S-, sometimes I think you'... (Below threshold)

-S-, sometimes I think you're reading my mind. A word of warning, though, don't spend too much time there, it can be a weird, scary place ;)

At any rate, you'd think that at least some of these people who run around shrieking about smallpox-infected blankets would stop to realize that the people they're talking about didn't see the sense in bathing much more than once a month (or less often).....how on earth would they have known about passing around infection in that manner?

A good book which discusses... (Below threshold)
Not a Yank:

A good book which discusses in detail S's thesis is Jerad Diamond's Guns Germs and Steel. The Germ Theory of disease did not come until 1876 whe Dr. Robert Koch was able to prove that bacteria were the cause of Anthrax. That was almost 80 years after Lord Jeffrey Amherst was mouldering in the grave. Dr. Koch was the first to prove that a specific bacteria caused a specific disease for which he won the Nobel price in Medicine in 1905.

It is highly unlikely that anyone knew that small pox could be transmitted through contaminated blankets in 1763. The are letters in which Lord Amherst discusses such a plan as well as using dogs to hunt down the indians. There is record of Lord Amherst approving such a plan. There is however a record that indicates that such an attempt was made by the Commander of Fort Pitt without the knowlege or approval of Lord Amherst.


Edit. It should read there... (Below threshold)
Not a Yank:

Edit. It should read there is no record of Lord Amherst approving such a plan. My mistake

(having both read and liste... (Below threshold)

(having both read and listened to the whole thing....)

So.... Basically he says that we need to grow balls and take terrorism seriously.

And what is the problem exactly?

Just another Honor the Thre... (Below threshold)

Just another Honor the Threat - everytime we try to make war "humane" we end up hobbling ourselves.

However, that doesn't mean blanket WMD destruction is appropriate for getting results (though the threat of same can be a very effective tool).

We do need to really understand the ramifications of political and economic goals of a war before embarking on one, lest we find ourselves up to our eyeballs in alligators without a canoe or paddle to escape. My take on Iraq is that the Left refuses to undertand these goals and obfuscates any chance it can with the barrage of propaganda it spews, and the Bush administration tried to sell the war with what it thought the most acceptable to the public rationale would be rather than be a little more forthright (the Middle East is a mess for which we share a healthy amount of blame, and we need to start somewhere before everything that has gotten out of hand gets any worse, its gonna be painful and long, but the alternative is our destruction).

A little bit beyond Paul Harvey, who is not a heavy hitter, has seemed to decline significantly in the past 5-7 years, but on rare occassions still entertains me. Sorry.

I'm so tired of the "smallp... (Below threshold)

I'm so tired of the "smallpox-infected-blankets" canard. It's been debunked many, many times.

Well, I was going to point ... (Below threshold)

Well, I was going to point out how the whole germ theory of disease wasn't even around when the Eeeevil settlers were distributing smallpox infested blankets. But -S- beat me to it.

A contributor to the phenomenon that is Star Wars, AND knows about the smallpox myth. Truly, a renaissance woman.

Long before germ theory, bo... (Below threshold)

Long before germ theory, bodies of plague or other disease victims were hurled into beseiged towns. Now the fleas that spread the plague had long vacated the dead bodies, but its the thought that counts.

A little history:

As far back as the 10th century, Chinese people inhaled powder derived from smallpox scabs to protect people from developing smallpox. During the late 18th century, Lady Mary Wortley Montague, wife of the British ambassador to China, observed this custom and discussed this practice in European social circles.

In 1796, when Edward Jenner made his seminal report, the full potential of vaccination became accepted widely. Jenner observed that milkmaids exposed to cowpox developed protection against smallpox during subsequent epidemics. In attempts to produce the agent responsible for smallpox protection resulting from exposure to cows, Jenner ultimately isolated the vaccinia virus. (Vaccinus is a Latin word relating to cows.)

courtesy of eMedicine: http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic2356.htm

Lady M's letter re: smallpo... (Below threshold)

Lady M's letter re: smallpox dated 1717. Not late 18th century.

Ah, Paul Harvey, how that "... (Below threshold)

Ah, Paul Harvey, how that "old-timers" disease creeps up on you.

The "smallpox infected blan... (Below threshold)

The "smallpox infected blanket" is from the book "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee". Other people have told me the claims were debunked, but it's (a) a powerful meme that some people wanr to believe and (b) a popular book among people who care about that subject.






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