One of the examples used to support Churchill's claim of "pretty strong circumstantial evidence that [Captain John] Smith introduced smallpox among the Wampanoags as a means of clearing the way for the invaders" is a link to an online version of William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation (pp. 175):Yesterday the Daily Gamera self-righteously pointed the finger at both the left and right in the Churchill brouhaha:[T]hey begane to see that Squanto sought his owne ends, and plaid his owne game, by putting the Indeans in fear, and drawing gifts from them to enrich him selfe; making them beleeve he could stur up warr against whom he would, and make peece for whom he would. Yea, he made them beleeve they kept the plague buried in the ground, and could send it amongs whom they would, which did much terrifie the Indeans, and made them depend more on him, and seeke more to him then to Massasoyte, which proucured him envIe, and had like to have cost him his life.
All this is "pretty strong circumstantial evidence" of is Squanto's attempts to impress his fellow "Indeans" with the fearsome and mystical powers of the English, and to enhance his own standing as an intermediary to same. Incidentally, we have to marvel at the scholarship of this latest group of complainers (including several Ethnic Studies professors and two attorneys, yet!) that marshals its "facts" so poorly that even two bloggers and a New Jersey cop can refute them.
Like many debates, the political dispute about Churchill centers on a few info-McNuggets but spins far beyond the realm of verifiable truth. Some conservatives see Churchill as emblematic of rampant left-wing orthodoxy in academe. Some leftists, meanwhile, spin the entire affair into a vast, right-wing conspiracy to silence those who "speak truth to power."Given the clear and clearly intentional twisting and fabrication of sources engaged in over and over again by Churchill's academic supporters, it would appear that "rampant left-wing orthodoxy," far from being an accusation that "spins far beyond the realm of verifiable truth," is merely a sober (and conservative) description of that truth.
posted by jgm