cue.nThe truth of an observation madenfrequently by the editor of this journaln— that the root of all leftism is thenhatred of one’s own kind — is substantiatednby Mr. Sale and his silly butnmaleficent book. A wise man is philosophicalnin contemplating the past andnpolemical in his anticipation of thenfuture; the fundamental dishonesty ofnleftist “historical” writing lies not justnin its polemicization of history, but innits pretense to having a genuine interestnin the subject at all. Sale’s thesis,nargued with an almost risible onesidednessnand incompleteness, is thatnlate medieval Europe at the dawn ofnthe modern age had made itself virtuallynuninhabitable by its violent, acquisitive,nanthropocentric, and nature-hatingntendencies, that it felt impelled as anresult to search out new worlds tonconquer as a means of releasing pentnpressures, acquiring more of the materialnriches its insatiable appetite demanded,nand finding “salvation” ofnsorts. In the first act of what developednas a world-historical tragedy, the newnlands its outriders stumbled upon werenhome to a gentle, benevolent, peaceloving,nand “biologically centered”npeople, who lived in egalitarian harmonynwith each other and with theirnsacred mother, the earth. Arrivingnupon the outer shores of “what theyndimly realized was the land of Paradise,”nthe Europeans knew no responsenbeyond the theft, murder, genocide,nenslavement, pillage, andnenvironmental destruction to whichnthey had recourse, while passing up “anchance for the people of Europe tonfind a new anchorage in a new countryn. . . and thus finally the way to redeemnthe world.” Instead of bringing redemption,nEurope imposed hegemony;ninstead of adopting “the biologicalnoutlook on life,” it instilled the curse ofnChristianity (though Sale is not sonforthright as to call it that) and thenman-centered, Faustian imperative thatnSale believes Christianity encouragesnand that he argues is likely to provenfatal to the entire planet. “There isnonly one way,” Kirkpatrick Sale insists,n”to live in America, and there can benonly one way, and that is as Americansn— the original Americans — for that isnwhat the earth of America demands.nWe have tried for five centuries to resistnthat simple truth. We resist it furthernonly at risk of the imperilment —nworse, the likely destruction — of thenearth.”nIt is an insult to the memory ofnAlfred Knopf, who loved historical literaturenand acquired and publishednmany distinguished examples of it, thatnthe firm he founded should have madenitself responsible for a work that notnonly falls scandalously short of grapplingnwith history but locates itself in andimension lying beyond even reality.nAnd it is an insult to that minutenportion of the American public thatnreads (and buys) serious works of historynthat the University Press of Kentuckynshould have published BarrynLopez’s The Rediscovery of NorthnAmerica, amounting to 52 slyly unnumberednpages of-text (I counted)nand approximately 6,240 words, andncharge fifteen dollars for it! It is truenthat Lopez enjoys a considerable literarynreputation; true also that this book,nlike any other of his that I have lookednat, neither justifies nor explains thatnreputation.nAs with The Conquest of Paradise,nthe thrust of The Rediscovery ofnAmerica (which is dedicated to thenmemory of Rachel Carson) is morenecological than historical. Barry Lopezndescribes Columbus’s landing as “anprocess … we now call an incursion”;nlike Sale, he regards what followed “forndecades” as “the acts of criminals.” Henis entirely in agreement with Salenwhen he writes, “What Columbusnbegan . . . what Pizarro and Cortesnand Coronado perpetuated, is not isolatednin the past. We see a continuancenin the present of this brutal, avariciousnbehavior, a profound abuse of thenplace [America] during the course ofncenturies of demand for materialnwealth. We need only look for verificationnat the acid-burned forests of NewnHampshire, at the cauterized soils ofnIowa, or at the collapse of the SannJoaquin Valley into caverns eniptied ofntheir fossil waters.” Like Sale, he thinksnthat the real wealth to have beenngathered from the New World wasn”the cultivation and achievement ofnlocal knowledge,” the “thousand distinctncultures, a thousand mutuallynunintelligible languages, a thousandnways of knowing”; “languages, epistemologies,nbooks, ceremonies, systemsnof logic and metaphysics”; the oppor­nnntunity “to develop a philosophy ofnplace,” to learn “the litanies of thisnlandscape”; the chance to ask “thenpeople or the animals or the plants ornthe rivers or the mountains: What donyou think of this? We said what wenthought, and bent to our will whatevernresisted.” (Lopez quotes approvinglynthe words of a Koyukon AthapascannIndian he met in Alaska, who “sternly”ntold a friend, in Lopez’s hearing,n”‘Every animal knows way more thannyou do.'”) Unlike Sale, though, BarrynLopez sees hope, “[n]ow that we havenbegun to listen to the land, to take intonaccount in our planning the biologicalnand chemical responses of a particularnlandscape. . . .” “[T]his violent corruption,”nhe argues, “needn’t definenus. Looking back on the Spanish incursion,nwe can take the measure ofnthe horror and assert that we will not benbound by it. We can say, yes, thisnhappened, and we are ashamed. Wenrepudiate the greed. We recognize andncondemn the evil. And we see how thenharm has been perpetuated. But, fivenhundred years later, we intend to meannsomething else in the world.”nSince I am one of those people fornwhom it makes no difference whethernColumbus first landed in the Bahamasn491, 497, or an even 500 years ago, Inwas — to the extent that I had thoughtnabout it at all — counting on ignoringnthe quincentennial. Of course I wasnbeing naive in the extreme, and havingnexperienced as a journalist the AmericannBicentennial of 15 years ago, Inshould have guessed what was coming.nIn 1976, at least, we did not have thenunholy alliance of the environmentalistsnwith the left sectarians to contendnwith. Today, the combination of thenGreens and the economic and politicalnleft, plus the entire spectrum of aggrievednThird Worldists, promises to benvery wearisome, bringing antinomianismn— and, as we are seeing, neopaganismn— to a fever pitch worldwide.nIn 1992 it will be either useless, ornhazardous to one’s health, or both, tonremind ideologically besotted audiencesn1) that the idea of the NoblenSavage remains as demonstrably anmyth as it ever was; 2) that all men arensinners, the civilized along with thenuncivilized, but that a savage was —nand continues to be — a savage, evennthough many savages are good men; 3)nthat the basis for the European belief innOCTOBER 1991/29n