Monday, May 2, 2016

Come over and help us

Scott Alexander reviews Albion's Seed by David Fischer in Book Review: Albion's Seed by Scott Alexander.

Alexander points out that
The great seal of the Massachusetts Bay Company “featured an Indian with arms beckoning, and five English words flowing from his mouth: ‘Come over and help us'”
In light of subsequent history that almost seems a cruel modern parody. However, it is indeed true according to William Fancis Galvin, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In 1629, King Charles I granted a charter to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which included the authority to use a seal. It featured an Indian holding an arrow pointed down in a gesture of peace, with the words "Come over and help us," emphasizing the missionary and commercial intentions of the original colonists. This seal was used until 1686, shortly after the charter was annulled, and again from 1689-1692.

Click to enlarge.

The jaundice of hindsight makes it hard to see that there could have really been a genuine good intention. Likely there was, if even only some in some quarters and if only based on misinformation or misapprehension.

Tragic comedy, misrepresentation, false advertising, naive self-identification, pathological altruism, totalitarian saviorism - all there in one image.

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