Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cash for Scalps: A Thanksgiving Thought

As we sit for our meal tomorrow, enjoying the fruits of our labor and the company of our families, let us remember the 'stimulus' that brought us much of this good fortune.

In the recent stagnant economy, our fearless leaders made moves to 'stimulate' the economy.  They tried taking taking value from your dollars and giving it to rich bankers.  This seemed to work for them for the last century.  This made the bankers happy enough to continue financing the campaigns of these politicians, but the people were still losing jobs and becoming unsatisfied. 

Witness the birth of the Cash for Clunkers program.  The government, with its glorious generosity and bottomless beneficence, decided that it would pay you to get your old car off the road, so you'd be compelled to buy a new one.

It didn't work.  People continue to suffer economically. And to top it off, now they have no good used cars to buy. 

People always suffer when government offers stimulus.  For example, long before Cash for Clunkers, the government tried a 'different' kind of stimulus. 

Way before the Japanese marched POWs on the Bataan Death March, long before Adolph Hitler borrowed the concept of concentration camps from us to kill 6 million+ innocent people... before Stalin killed his millions (dwarfing Hitler's death toll), before Mao killed so many millions in China... there was a similar stimulus right here in America: Cash for Scalps.

In the mid 1800s indigenous people, with ancestors occupying the land long before the european immigration, were considered undesirable; they were thought to be a financial hindrance to the local european immigrants. 

The United States government, who had already been pursuing what they called a 'Concentration Policy' regarding the fiscal 'problem', realized that not all the 'diggers' and other natives who were good at hiding, could be rounded up effectively because they managed to escape and hide.  The only way to get them was to shoot them.

Thus began Cash for Scalps*.  Of course that wasn't the official name, but over one million dollars was awarded by the US Government to state and local governments for those presenting scalps of indigenous peoples.

"That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the races until the Indian race becomes extinct must be expected."-Governor P. H. Burnett, 07 JAN 1851

It was lucrative for some young men to go out and exterminate a few villages and get paid handsomely for very little work.  The 'hunters' didn't waste bullets on babies and small children, though; they'd try to save ammo by using knives and bayonets on smaller prey.  Yes, a baby's scalp brought a bounty, as well, and it was the same for man, woman or child. 

Depending on the locality, some scalp bounties were as high as $200, a handsome sum for the pre-FED days.  However, 25 cents a scalp was a more common amount.  That's about $5 in today's money.  Not much for a human life... not even enough to buy a bottle of liquor to try to forget what a worthless piece of trash you are for ripping the life out of a helpless baby.
Stimulating, right?  Whenever government extends a financial helping hand, you can be sure there is a gun pointed at you in the other.

(*Note: 'Cash for Scalps' was not a new idea. It had been used in Europe for a few thousand years. Scalping most likely originated in ancient Greece and was known to occur in Europe long before the 'discovery' of America. It was not known to be widely practiced by natives before the arrival of Europeans, but through written accounts of a few incidents, became a stereotypical action of 'indians'.)