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Rick Moran

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November 28, 2013 - 7:45 am
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Robert Jensen, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has made a career out of writing anti-Thanksgiving diatribes. And today, in Salon, he continues his own holiday tradition by bashing Americans for being “hypocrites” and authors of an Indian “holocaust.”

“Thanksgiving is for sociopaths,” he writes. In this case, I would offer the opinion that it takes one to know one.

In other words: Don’t many of us feel just a bit uncomfortable with a holiday that is defined by obligatory family gatherings that often cover up unresolved strife and/or apathy; thoughtless overeating simply because so much food is available; spectacle sports that have become painfully close to Roman gladiator contests; and relentless consumption that often involves buying stuff that many people don’t really want and no one really needs? Of course not everyone in the United States has access to all these markers of affluence, but these Thanksgiving Day routines are more the norm than aberration.

These reflections are not confined to one day; we live in this corrosive culture 365 days a year. For me, much of what is considered “normal” in the United States isn’t very appealing. I think we eat too much cheap food, are spectators to too much cheap entertainment, and buy too much stuff (some of it cheap and some expensive, but all costly to the larger living world). And many people struggle with family dynamics that are stuck in unresolved pathologies which quietly coerce people into ignoring problems for the sake of family “harmony.”

I have long felt that at the heart of Thanksgiving is a denial of reality and an exercise in numbing ourselves, individually and as a culture. I am not claiming that everyone’s celebration of Thanksgiving is defined by these negatives; individual experiences vary widely, of course. But the alienation I’m describing is not hard to understand, and not limited to a few surly people on the margins.

And whatever one’s personal relationship to the holiday, the political question remains: Why is it “normal” in the United States to celebrate a holiday that is based on a profound distortion of history? That kind of inquiry should lead us to related questions.

Why is it “normal” to embrace the hierarchy and wealth inequality of corporate capitalism, even though most of us claim to hold moral and/or theological principles that are rooted in the centrality of human dignity, equality, and solidarity? How compatible is capitalism with the values that are essential to a decent human community?

Why is it “normal” to assert that we are the world’s most advanced democracy, without acknowledging that the concentration of wealth in the U.S. economy has left most of the population outside of the formal political process? Are capitalism and democracy compatible?

Why is it “normal” to express concern about environmental issues without ever questioning an economic system that is obsessed with the very growth that is undermining the integrity of the ecosystems on which are own lives depend? Is capitalism compatible with a sustainable human presence on the planet?

Using Thanksgiving to criticize capitalism isn’t unique but it is revealing of just how warped Mr. Jensen’s worldview has become. His hatred of Thanksgiving is grounded in his belief in the native American “holocaust” perpetrated by the European “invasion” of America.

He wrote in 2006:

One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.

In fact, indigenous people have offered such a model; since 1970 they have marked the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning in a spiritual/political ceremony on Coles Hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, one of the early sites of the European invasion of the Americas.

Not only is the thought of such a change in this white-supremacist holiday impossible to imagine, but the very mention of the idea sends most Americans into apoplectic fits — which speaks volumes about our historical hypocrisy and its relation to the contemporary politics of empire in the United States.

That the world’s great powers achieved “greatness” through criminal brutality on a grand scale is not news, of course. That those same societies are reluctant to highlight this history of barbarism also is predictable.

But in the United States, this reluctance to acknowledge our original sin — the genocide of indigenous people — is of special importance today. It’s now routine — even among conservative commentators — to describe the United States as an empire, so long as everyone understands we are an inherently benevolent one. Because all our history contradicts that claim, history must be twisted and tortured to serve the purposes of the powerful.

[...]

Simply put: Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers.

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Top Rated Comments   
Walking around in life as a big bag of bile...if this simpering spleen-emptier REALLY hated capitalism and all it represents...why not live in Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, China...and become a ragging scribe against the atrocities committed in THEIR histories?

The rhetoric about "courage" and "hypocrisy" would resonate so much more vibrantly from his cement cell typed without fingernails.

Otherwise, Mr Jensen can be thankful today that in THIS country, even a cowardly hypocrite can have his imbecilic thoughts delivered in safety of his imprisoned mind
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Off Topic

HAPPY THANKSGIVING
to all the Authors and the Readers at PJM
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Why is it “normal” to express concern about environmental issues without ever questioning an economic system that is obsessed with the very growth that is undermining the integrity of the ecosystems on which are own lives depend?"

Rubbish. The more capitalistic a country is, the better its environment and ecosystem. The countries that abuse their natural resources are poor command economies.

" Is capitalism compatible with a sustainable human presence on the planet?"

It is our last best hope. Capitalism is what produces gains in agriculture, medicine, and resource production.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (93)
All Comments   (93)
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"That same history is replete with stories of massacres by white settlers and soldiers of native Americans as well as massacres by Indians of whites. That too, is a fact of history of which little is mentioned by Jensen et al when accusing whites of genocide."

Of little mention by Jensen also is the fact that the native Americans weren't necessarily innocent peaceful tribes of saints he and his ilk make them out to be. Their warriors didn't suddenly come into existence after or because of the 'invasion' by Europeans. They warred with one another and engaged in slavery and other repugnant activities before whites arrived. They weren't really much different from any other society at the time in regards to behavior toward others.

One wonders if their were massacres between native tribes but since there is no written history prior to the arrival of the Europeans we'll never know and the natives, of course, will never tell since it would ruin the liberal narrative of their sainthood.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm curious as to what his salary is, and what kind of car he (and his wife) drives. I'm guessing a comfortable six figure salary, a house larger than a 3 bedroom starter home, and a car that is less than three years old with a price tag that's more than most Americans make in a year.

That's usually how these holier than thou liberals operate. Wealth for me but not for thee.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Quoting Dr. Jensen, "Why is it 'normal' to embrace the hierarchy and wealth inequality of corporate capitalism, even though most of us claim to hold moral and/or theological principles that are rooted in the centrality of human dignity, equality, and solidarity? How compatible is capitalism with the values that are essential to a decent human community?

"Why is it 'normal' to assert that we are the world’s most advanced democracy, without acknowledging that the concentration of wealth in the U.S. economy has left most of the population outside of the formal political process? Are capitalism and democracy compatible?"


He does make a good point, although unintentionally. Democracy, as he has noticed, leaves most of the population out of the political process. Democracy is, by definition, the establishment of law and policy by fifty-percent-plus-one of those who vote. Many -- if not most -- people do not vote for one reason or another, so these citizens, combined with the fifty-percent-minus-one, are "most of the population"!

Democracy is incompatible with capitalism and, dare I say, freedom. This is the reason that The Founders and Framers gave us a republic, which -- sorry, Dr. Franklin -- we have failed to keep, having over the years "morphed" it into a true democracy. Democracies always decline into totalitarian systems because "the people" will vote for the tyrant who promises them free stuff over the leader/statesman who would allow them to succeed -- or fail -- on their own.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Pilgrims were refugees, not "invaders".. this sorry reject of a human being who wrote that.. is just soooo angry that we aren't celebrating some made up leftist pagan display worshiping the collective..

and NO feasting... NO.. PUT THAT FOOD DOWN...... you have to wallow in misery because my inner voice commands it...

Oh... to stuff this moron in a wall locker.. people are enjoying themselves, and he can't stand it.. so he rants lies and propaganda, .. then moans about too much cheap food?

like starvation is so empowering the masses?

he's clearly dumb as a post.. any education above the 3rd grade was wasted on him.. he contradicts himself all over the place.. like every addled Marxist scumbag.. I spent my youth learning to end the existence of communists... and while they aren't foreign threats, the emotion to want to ... well.. never would,.. but the emotion lingers..

I hates communists.. they are a disease and kill every culture they touch..
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
The saying used by Moran , “it takes one to know one,” implies that both those who celebrate Thanksgiving and Robert Jenson are sociopaths.

May I suggest the phrase , “it takes one to project one.”

47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jensen is all like all left-wing frauds. He is one of the "occupiers" of Indian land just like the rest of us. He owns property he knows was "stolen" from the Indians, just like the rest of us do. And just like the rest of us, he could give his stolen property back to the Indians, renounce his American citizenship and return to the land of his ancestors. But he won't---he will primp and preen and pretend to himself and his fellow hypocrites that he really REALLY cares about what happened to the Indians, much more so than the rest of us, and that excuses him from having to walk his talk. He will never acknowledge he is every bit as much of the problem as anyone else, and he will continue to enjoy the fruits of the "holocaust", just like everyone else. What a fraud.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Idiotic leftist rant" is redundant.

In the same way, and reporting of MSNBC hysteria and schizophrenia is, likewise, massively redundant. Why do you even bother? It's like detailing, in children, the "Terrible Twos" as regards tantrums.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Don’t many of us feel just a bit uncomfortable with a holiday that is defined by obligatory family gatherings that often cover up unresolved strife and/or apathy; thoughtless overeating simply because so much food is available;"

Which comes down to: "why have we corrupted the idea of Thanksgiving (and in other countries the same goes for Christmas) to the point where it's a mandatory gathering with people we don't like, where we eat too much, after being made stir crazy by a bombardment of commercials telling us we're not celebrating properly unless we spend a lot of money on special things produced just for the occasion".

Which is a perfectly good question to ask, in my opinion. And one the leftists never ask themselves because it'd lay bare all that is wrong about the way they relate to life and other people.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh look. MSNBC's new golden boy Ronan Farrow sneers at Thanksgiving too. Little sh*t.
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/11/28/msnbcs-ronan-farrow-thanksgiving-because-genocide-lot-more-festive-39
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Interesting to note that NPR ran a piece last week in which researchers determined that people who believed that they live in an old and noble nation are more likely to care for the ecology and environment than those who believe their national history is short or shabby. Pride of national history translates into pride in the nation's land and environment.

Message: Promoting American exceptionalism and American greatness does great things for the environment. It builds a powerful sense of community pride that translates into community engagement, greater social trust and cohesiveness, and charitable giving. It does all the things that Leftists say they want to encourage in a communitarian society. People even give more aid to the needy during Thanksgiving than any other time, for precisely that reason. So why do Leftists like Jensen hate it so much?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Quote: "nteresting to note that NPR ran a piece last week in which researchers determined that people who believed that they live in an old and noble nation are more likely to care for the ecology and environment than those ..."

Like, say, China, the most polluted nation on Earth?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
You got me. Screw national pride.

To be fair, the middle kingdom was never known for its natural beauty, however. I expect the lack of care for ecology in China has more to do with the lack of scope for individual action, which results from the cynicism of socialist systems.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
With all due respect, China has extraordinary natural beauty with ecosystems and climates every bit as diverse and breathtaking as those found in the western world. Fortunately for China, these geographic treasures are largely outside of the population and pollution dense eastern seaboard. Furthermore, China's pollution is relative to their progress in industrialization, much like Europe and the US during the industrial revolution. There is a close corrolation between rising incomes and demand for clean air/water, and environmental stewardship. Just as the US and Europe cleaned up in the post-industrial revolution years, China will do also, and with all the subtlety/restraint of Politburo command. While many places on the eastern seaboard of China are facing acute environmental toxicity, even in these areas citizens are demanding improvements. For example, recently, across the HangZhou Bay from Shanghai, the city government of Ningbo shuttered plans to build a new coal-powered power plant after citizen activists picketed the location and the offices of local politicians with an intensity rarely seen in China (the cultural impetus to save face, and trust elders/those in power is as strong in China as the US cultural tendency towards independence).
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
What utter crap , China is one big SEWER. Every waterway has been soiled to the point that it cannot be drunk unless purified. They have cleared forrests for a city which will never have an occupant. All their food is imported ,other than rice , which is grown by government subsidized land that cannot grow enough to feed it's people. No , China is a bad , bad place with NO EPA of any sort.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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