Recycling a ‘black legend’

(Letter-writer) John Skorupa recycles the black legend of “the British” who, supposedly, “used germ warfare” by giving native peoples “blankets infected with smallpox.” In this old myth, we never get any names, dates or places for these unidentified “British.”

(Letter-writer) John Skorupa recycles the black legend of “the British” who, supposedly, “used germ warfare” by giving native peoples “blankets infected with smallpox.” In this old myth, we never get any names, dates or places for these unidentified “British.”

The phrase “germ warfare” is a neologism created in the 1950s. It refers to the lie, spread by the Chinese Communists, that the United States was practicing germ warfare against North Korea.

Thus, it is an historical anachronism for Skorupa to try to place “germ warfare” back in a time period before the Korean War.

The germ theory of disease was not confirmed until the end of the nineteenth century.

By that late time, British contact with North American natives had long since come and gone, and Louis Pasteur was still working on germ theory.

No British soldiers, uneducated in science, would have understood germ theory.

Besides, smallpox is not spread by germs at all.

Instead, smallpox spreads by several viruses.

Virus theory is historically recent and no British soldier could have known it long ago.

Skorupa also imagines “a papal bull” which, supposedly, “classified natives in the newly discovered Americas as uncivilized savages who had no rights to lands, liberty or personal possessions.”

There is no such papal bull at all. That is why Skorupa cannot quote first-hand even one sentence from this alleged document.

On May 4, 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull Inter Caetera.

An honest researcher can find and read it on the Internet in four minutes.

It deals with colonial rivalry between Portugal and Castile (Spain). It has absolutely no reference to “savages” or “uncivilized.”

It makes no mentions of native possessions, liberty, lands or rights.

Instead, Inter Caetera speaks kindly of the “very many peoples living in peace” in the New World.

It praises them because they “believe in one God, the creator of heaven, and seemed sufficiently disposed to embrace the Catholic faith and be trained in good morals.”

Persons with good morals today can ready this papal bull verbatim, and not rely on Skorupa’s parody.

 

Greg Lanning