Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chicanery and Knavery: Living in Perfect Harmony

Herman keeps using the phrase "Spanish Crown" in this chapter. Well, who or what's gives justification to the Spanish Crown?

"Born around 1474, Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas had two lives. The first was as a Spanish planter on a freshly conquered Cuba, where he received a royal grant of land tenure (encomienda) in 1513. Las Casas proceeded to rule over his Indian serfs with a brutality that was not unusual in the early years of the Spanish conquest of the New World but was unusual for a man of the Church— in fact, a Dominican friar." (Herman, p. 458).

Oh yeah, it's the Pope--the Catholic Church. I guess "historian" Herman carefully worded around that fact. He mentions it later during the "moral and legal status" meeting of the "church council."

"The issue was considered so grave and pressing that a church council was called to resolve it, at Valladolid in 1550. With King Charles V himself presiding, Spanish churchmen assembled to hear a debate on the moral and legal status of the New World’s indigenous peoples" (p 459).

It was no accident that the indigenous peoples of Cuba were enslaved.

Requerimiento (1513)

On the part of the King, Don Fernando, and of Doña Juana, his daughter, Queen of Castille and León, subduers of the barbarous nations, we their servants notify and make known to you, as best we can, that the Lord our God, Living and Eternal, created the Heaven and the Earth, and one man and one woman, of whom you and we, all the men of the world, were and are descendants, and all those who came after us.
But, on account of the multitude which has sprung from this man and woman in the five thousand years since the world was created, it was necessary that some men should go one way and some another, and that they should be divided into many kingdoms and provinces, for in one alone they could not be sustained.

Of all these nations God our Lord gave charge to one man, called St. Peter, that he should be Lord and Superior of all the men in the world, that all should obey him, and that he should be the head of the whole human race, wherever men should live, and under whatever law, sect, or belief they should be; and he gave him the world for his kingdom and jurisdiction.
And he commanded him to place his seat in Rome, as the spot most fitting to rule the world from; but also he permitted him to have his seat in any other part of the world, and to judge and govern all Christians, Moors, Jews, Gentiles, and all other sects.
This man was called Pope, as if to say, Admirable Great Father and Governor of men.
The men who lived in that time obeyed that St. Peter, and took him for Lord, King, and Superior of the universe; so also they have regarded the others who after him have been elected to the pontificate, and so has it been continued even till now, and will continue till the end of the world.

One of these Pontiffs, who succeeded that St. Peter as Lord of the world, in the dignity and seat which I have before mentioned, made donation of these isles and Tierra-firme to the aforesaid King and Queen and to their successors, our lords, with all that there are in these territories, as is contained in certain writings which passed upon the subject as aforesaid, which you can see if you wish.
So their Highnesses are kings and lords of these islands and land of Tierra-firme by virtue of this donation: and some islands, and indeed almost all those to whom this has been notified, have received and served their Highnesses, as lords and kings, in the way that subjects ought to do, with good will, without any resistance, immediately, without delay, when they were informed of the aforesaid facts.

And also they received and obeyed the priests whom their Highnesses sent to preach to them and to teach them our Holy Faith; and all these, of their own free will, without any reward or condition, have become Christians, and are so, and their Highnesses have joyfully and benignantly received them, and also have commanded them to be treated as their subjects and vassals; and you too are held and obliged to do the same.
Wherefore, as best we can, we ask and require you that you consider what we have said to you, and that you take the time that shall be necessary to understand and deliberate upon it, and that you acknowledge the Church as the Ruler and Superior of the whole world, and the high priest called Pope, and in his name the King and Queen Doña Juana our lords, in his place, as superiors and lords and kings of these islands and this Tierra-firme by virtue of the said donation, and that you consent and give place that these religious fathers should declare and preach to you the aforesaid.

If you do so, you will do well, and that which you are obliged to do to their Highnesses, and we in their name shall receive you in all love and charity, and shall leave you, your wives, and your children, and your lands, free without servitude, that you may do with them and with yourselves freely that which you like and think best, and they shall not compel you to turn Christians, unless you yourselves, when informed of the truth, should wish to be converted to our Holy Catholic Faith, as almost all the inhabitants of the rest of the islands have done.

And, besides this, their Highnesses award you many privileges and exemptions and will grant you many benefits.

But, if you do not do this, and maliciously make delay in it, I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter into your country, and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can, and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their Highnesses; we shall take you and your wives and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their Highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, as to vassals who do not obey, and refuse to receive their lord, and resist and contradict him; and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault, and not that of their Highnesses, or ours, nor of these cavaliers who come with us.

And that we have said this to you and made this Requisition, we request the notary here present to give us his testimony in writing, and we ask the rest who are present that they should be witnesses of this Requisition.

Herman is a very crafty historian. He cherry picks antidotes and anomalies to paint a whitewashed version of history, leaving out the parts that don't align with his narrative. This tactic is lying by omission, misleading, and intellectual dishonesty. I'm calling it long-form spitballing.

Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse call this spitballing, which is describes as follows.

"The derailing strategy we have in mind may be called spitballing. At its core, spitballing works as follows: One makes multiple contributions to a discussion, often as fast as one can think them up (and certainly faster than one can think them through). Some contributions may be insightful, others less so, but all are overtly provocative. What is most important, though, is that each installment express a single, self-contained thought. Accordingly, slogans are the spitballer's dialectical currency. As the metaphor of the spitball goes, one keeps tossing until something sticks; hence it helps if one's slogans are tinged with something disagreeable or slightly beyond the pale. As the spitballer's interlocutors attempt to reply to what he has said, the spitballer resolutely continues spitballing."

I find it insufferable.

P.S. One more example.

“In this, their [The Vienna Circle] chief foe was not the Catholic Church (many, like Mach, were raised and educated as Catholics) or Boltzmann— in the early days, they hardly gave him a thought. Rather, it was Georg Friedrich Hegel" (pp. 481-482).

Can you see the problem with this argument?


  1. And do you find instances of "swamping" here too?

    "Like the spitballer, the swamper introduces into a discussion multiple pointed, self-contained, and overtly provocative statements. Yet the swamper's aim is not to overload his interlocutors, but to dominate the political conversations conducted by others. The swamper's intention is to say something so overtly bizarre or inflammatory as to force others to discuss what he said. In doing so, the swamper seeks not to deflect criticism, but rather to direct political discussion away from the ideas, proposals, policies, and platform of his political competition. As a consequence, the swamper stays at the center of the conversation, forcing every other topic to the periphery. One important motive for swamping is that, in making oneself the topic of conversation by being overtly either vague or controversial, one crowds out time for critical exchange with others. One swamps the competition..."


    1. Yes! Actually, "swamping" might be a better phrase than "long-form spitballing." I read A & T's piece on swamping, but it slipped my mind. I find myself in need of a long walk after each chapter. In spite of the "swamping," I've learned a great deal about history by reading original texts and tracking down Herman's secondary sources. Gotta always look on the bright side of life!