In his short article, “Minority Report”, Christopher Hitchens tells us the arrival of Columbus on the shores of the Americas “inaugurated a nearly boundless epoch of opportunity and innovation, and thus deserves to be celebrated with great vim and gusto” (Hitchens, Coursepack #67). He pays his loyalty to the atrocities of “racism, conquest and plunder” (Hitchens, Coursepack #67) that precipitated from that moment of cultural contact, but dismisses “those who view the history of North America as a narrative of genocide and slavery” (Hitchens, Coursepack #67) as holding a purely “reactionary position” (Hitchens, Coursepack #67), a position he criticize mockingly as being “risible or faintly sinister” (Hitchens, Coursepack #67). While the attitude of the people he mock is inarguably a reaction, it is legitimately one that has its basis in the increased historical awareness and cultural sensitivity of Western society brought about by the human rights revolution that entered its modern form “with the founding of the United Nations in 1945” (Amery, Human Rights). What Hitchens’ “boundless epoch” (Hitchens, Coursepack #67) has still failed to deliver after more than 500 years is a society that has the fortitude and courage to face the exiting and mounting costs of its failure to pay the heavy price of reconciliation. “Including millions of Indians and Africans whose deaths are monuments to such boundless opportunity...” (Amery, “Kirkpatrick Sale”).
To understand the playful humor of Hitchens’ argument, an understanding needs to be developed of the actions of the European imperialists as viewed through the lens of a contemporary understanding of anthropological issues. The article “ Columbus and the War on Indigenous Peoples”, Michael Stevenson writes of Columbus’ landing in America: “it was this ‘encounter’ – a neutral word, chosen by the victors – that a process of destruction, so all-encompassing and systematic that it can only be described as total war, was

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