OPINIONSnRedskin and Whitewashnby Chilton Williamson, Jr.n”/ij fouiteen-hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean nude.”n—Chronicles, 1992nStolen Continents: The AmericasnThrough Indian Eyes Since 1492nhy Ronald WrightnBoston: Houghton Mifflin;n424 pp., $22.95n1492 And All That: PoliticalnManipulations of Historynby Robert RoyalnWashington, D.C.; The Ethics andnPublic Policy Center; 200 pp., $18.95nThe profusion of the anti-Westernnvirus released by the quincentenarynof Columbus’ landfall on the Caribbeannisland of San Salvador has become thenmental equivalent of the AIDS epidemic,nfatally infecting millions of promiscuousnand incautious intellectuals andnsubintellectuals. For the literary ghetto,nKirkpatrick Sale is the sinister Mr. Xnto whose book The Conquest of Paradise,npublished in the fall of 1990, many subsequentncases of this formerly incurablendisease can be traced. Today the readingnpublic can be thankful that an effectivenantidote has at last been discovered andndeveloped by Robert Royal, vice presidentnand researcher at The Ethics andnPublic Policy Center in Washington,nD.C.nRonald Wright’s talents as an historian,nobserver, and writer make his afflictionnthe more tragic: the extreme tendentiousnessnof Stolen Continents doesnnot lessen the readability of his book,nthough it does vitiate it. Mr. Wright isnthe personification of the left’s inabilitynto think historically. His account of hownfive indigenous peoples—the Aztec,nMaya, Inca, Cherokee, and Iroquois—nsuffered invasion by the white Europeans,noffered them resistance, and fi-nChilton Williamson, ]r. is senior editornfor hooks at Chronicles.n30/CHRONICLESnnally induced a “rebirth” of their uprootednand smothered cultures is so outrageouslynone-sided and given to specialnpleading that the final effect is to undercutnthe reader’s confidence in thenauthor’s trustworthiness. In 346 pagesnof text, literally no overt criticism of NativenAmerican culture, belief, or deeds isnoffered, while the entire rhetorical structurenis designed to point up the evil ofnEuropean civilization and the cruelty,nmean spiritedness, and hypocrisy of itsnagents and representatives. Wright, annative of England now resident in Canada,ntells how as a student he was borednby the histories of ancient Greece andnRome and of the Tudors and Stuarts,nconcluded that there must be somethingnelse, and found it in the history ofnthe Inca. In Ronald Wright’s case as innmost others, boredom is a result of anlack of empathy. For Wright, it is notnenough that modern Mexico is whatnRoyal calls “a melding of cultures,” native,nmestizo, and European: anythingnshort of the preservation of Aztec societynin its pre-Columbian form, intact andnunadulterated, represents an historicalncrime—the result of dragging the Aztec,nkicking and screaming, into History, an­nnnother evil European invention. AndrewnLytic in his novel At the Moon’s Inn, byntreating De Soto’s invasion of Florida asna prefiguration of the rape of the OldnSouth by Union generals, in a sense anticipatednthe inversion of cultural valuesnthat is being practiced fifty years laternwith infinitely less nuance andnwisdom. Would Ronald Wright, whonbelongs to the species of leftist thatnchampions “tradition” while scorningn”progress,” be willing to defend the “traditionalist”nvalues of the Confederacynagainst the onslaught by the “progressive”nUnionists? Somehow I doubt thatnthe multiculturalist fervor extends so farnas that.nStolen Continents, like all of the recentnanti-Columbian literature, is fundamentallyndishonest work; an intellectualnset-up disingenuously assuming anhistorical consensus that the Indiansnwere never more than Stone Age savagesnincapable of anything properly describablenas civilization. This sleightof-handnmakes it possible for thenrevisionist historian to strike a blow fornenlightenment by gushing over LongnHouses built of logs and bark and “townnhouses” supported by poles inset in rock,nas though the germane comparison werenwith mud huts and igloos rather thannwith St. Paul’s Cathedral. In fact, Europeansnin the colonial Americas werenfrequently impressed by what they sawnof Indian culture and said so, asnWright’s own documentation shows.nOther examples of fast-and-loose techniquesnare Wright’s equation of thenrough adventurers who were the cuttingnedge of European exploration and colonizationnwith European society as anwhole (the da Vincis, Saint Theresas,nand Pascals of any civilization are notngenerally found in such vigorous vanguards)nand his adverse comparison ofnthese with the generality of the Indianncivilizations they conquered; his ten-n