Professor Luis María Mesquita Errea, of the Center for Historical, Genealogical and Heraldic Studies of the Mayorazgo de San Sebastián de Sañogasta, La Rioja, Argentina, gave an interesting and incisive lecture about Indigenist Anthropology at the Symposium titled Jornadas de Hispanidad, held in Cordoba, Argentina, in August 2005. The author turned his work into a five-article series, the publication of which we are starting today.
A “Scientific” Veneer Leading to a
“Sunset of Reason”
We all feel a growing pressure from the current of ideas, trends and revolutionary action known as Indigenism. It influences journalistic, political and educational spheres and is strategically supported by the mainstream media. Certain points that indigenists postulate are “dangerous for the physical, moral and spiritual integrity of our continent, from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego,” as Prof. Ignacio Tejerina Carreras opportunely denounced in the symposium titled Jornadas de Hispanidad [Cordoba, Argentina, 2004]. While trying to present indigenism as spontaneous, they methodically give it scientific airs.
Where is this coming from? From anthropology, a discipline considered scientific and which has set up a whole system of axioms and data that allegedly justifies Indigenism. Unfortunately, this pseudo-anthropology is in vogue in universities and influences society. It threatens the essential values of our culture and contributes to precipitate the terrible phenomenon that has been called the “decline of reason.”
What does this system consist of? The problem is vast and complex. Here we only intend to outline some ideas that help to clarify it and stimulate a deeper study.
Some define the object of this science as the study of otherness or cultural diversity (Boivin et al.:7). Others consider it the integral study of man – which in itself is unobjectionable, if true…
Many anthropologists work seriously, providing highly rigorous scientific research. But there is a type of scientific research very different from the one that seeks the truth, which Thomism brilliantly defines as “the adequacy of the intellect to the object.”
For starters, this research denies the very notion of truth and is imbued with distorting elements such as Marxist axioms, evolutionism and dogmatism, at odds with logic and evidence, all of which make it a-scientific and anti-scientific.
Example: Its main mentor, Claude Levi-Strauss, stated that “[Anthropology] … is undoubtedly the only science that turns the most intimate subjectivity into a means of objective demonstration” (AP Boivin: 72). In other words, the more subjective it is, the more scientific! This is an example of subjectivity and incoherence.
In order to differentiate it from other “anthropologies” (Boivin), we will call it Indigenous Anthropology.
Fixation on inequality and domination from a Marxist point of view
“Anthropology took an important turn… Marxism was the theory that allowed a first explanation about inequality and domination. The influence of this line of thought … was further accentuated because during the 1960s there was a kind of ‘explosion’ of discussions between the different strands of Marxism … that directly influenced some of the dominant Anthropologies” (Boivin: 11).
This science is not born in a natural way out of scientific curiosity or necessity, but is ideologically motivated:
“Its formulations … are the product of a historical situation: Colonialism … a necessary condition for the emergence of Anthropology” (Lischetti: 19).
The “aspect of reality” to be investigated is a function of different historical moments. How do you present such historical moments? With the materialist bias of Marxism.
Lischetti thus characterizes the fifteenth century: “Development of commercial capitalism and the slave trade. Primitive accumulation of capital” (Bonte, ap. Lischetti: 19). Were there not also other phenomena of a spiritual, religious, cultural or public opinion type, such as the formation of European nations, the schism of the West, the miraculous preservation of Christian France thanks to Saint Joan of Arc, the expansion of culture that led to the Golden Age, the great American evangelizing saga? Why reduce history to economic phenomena? Because this is a Marxist dogma, which anthropology blindly adopts.
The “colonial situation”: a nineteenth-century phenomenon “extended” as if by magic
If anthropology is the product of “colonialism”, it is important to see how it describes what it calls “colonial situation”:
(I) “It is the domination imposed by a racially and culturally different foreign minority, acting in the name of racial, ethnic and cultural superiority, dogmatically asserted.”
(II) “This minority imposes itself on a native population that constitutes a numerical majority, but which is inferior to the dominant group from a material point of view.”
(III) “This domination binds … the relationship between radically different civilizations: a highly developed industrialized and mechanized society of Christian origin, imposes itself on a non-industrialized society with a “backward” and simple economy, and whose religious tradition is not Christian.”
(IV) “This relationship presents a basic antagonistic character, which is solved by the developed society through the exercise of force, a system of pseudo-justifications, and a pattern of stereotyped behaviors operating in the relationship. The colonial situation is a total situation” (G. Balandier, A. Lischetti: 23).
Although Balandier refers to the colonial situation of the industrialized era (19th century), Prof. Lischetti, speaking to her students at the University of Buenos Aires (p.7) applies it without further ado to the conquest of America, which occurred three centuries before in radically different historical, psychological and ideological conditions, ranging from a Catholic missionary state like Spain or Austria all the way to Protestant powers like England, imbued with nineteenth-century secular liberalism post-French Revolution and post-Industrial Revolution:
“… It could be said that, from the fifteenth century to the present … we will find configured situations of colonial relationship in America…
“The colonial situation is born of the conquest and develops from the establishment of relations … between two civilizations…” (ibid. 23).
The aforementioned text aims to characterize “conquest” scientifically, generating in the students, easily imaginable feelings of rejection for our Hispanic past. Let us make a brief analysis.
(I) “… domination imposed by a foreign minority … in the name of a racial … and cultural superiority, dogmatically asserted.”
This characterization does not correspond to the reality of the conquest and colonization of America. The objective of the Kings was not to dominate but to evangelize. It is inappropriate to describe the complex plot of varied interests of other protagonists of the conquest as mere domination (although this is how present materialists see it– for them, there is no legitimate authority but only “the ruling class,” “the powerful,” and the “exploiters”).
The Indians were not simply “dominated”: they constituted the overwhelming majority of the population, were indispensable actors and allies, had the status of vassals, retained their chiefs, organized their own councils, participated in founding expeditions and even in defensive wars against indigenous rebels like the Calchaquíes [Northwest Argentina], and settled in cities along with the early settlers. According to the reliable testimony of Brother Reginaldo de Lizárraga, in the Viceroyalty of Peru there were Indian lords served by Spaniards.
Just who has dogmatically asserted the racial superiority of Spaniards? Was miscegenation not characteristic of that time? This is something that the cited authors carefully avoid to specify.
The term “inferior” is surprising, as indigenist anthropologists maintain that America was more advanced than Europe (see Magrassi, 83).
(III) “…the relationship between radically different civilizations: a highly developed … society of Christian origin, imposes itself on [one with] a ‘backward’ … economy, whose religious tradition is not Christian.”
(IV) “This relationship presents a basic antagonistic character … solved through the exercise of force, a system of pseudo-justifications and a pattern of stereotyped behaviors…”
Marxist dogmatism also creates “conflict theory,” a myth that posits that class struggle is the driving force of history. If the relationship between an advanced Christian civilization and backward non-Christian peoples is necessarily antagonistic, why then did the King of Spain pay for sending dedicated missionaries who served aborigines and the needy with great dedication?
Such was the work of St. Francisco Solano, Father Barzana, St. Roque González, Father Jarandilla, Father Luis Bolaños, Father Ruiz de Montoya, Father Mascardi, St.Toribio de Mogrobejo, and many others who became “Indians with the Indians.” Many were martyred by the aborigines, such as Father Torino, whose hands and feet were broken, bone by bone, by the Diaguitas [in Atiles, Province of La Rioja, North of Argentina] (de la Vega Díaz, 1955:39).
This was done not only by missionaries. In Lima, Peru, some people, out of dedication, became slaves to serve Indians and blacks in hospitals. Materialists, who see “missionary states” like Spain with ideological prejudice (cf. Fr. Bruno), simply cannot understand this, nor can they understand that there can be a community of interests, affection and collaboration among bosses and workers, superiors and inferiors.
Attack on Christianity and on Missionaries
As for the “pseudo-justifications,” it is not difficult to perceive they are an attack on the legal and theological reasons of a Christian State.
Balandier, in his rigid and unreal classification, distinguishes three types of companies in the “colonial situation”:
a) Material: controlling the land and changing the population of subjugated countries;
b) Controlling local authorities, justice, and opposition;
c) “Ideological enterprise (attempts at religious dispossession to allow evangelization … imported learning, transmission of cultural models based on prestige developed by the dominant group)” (id., ibid.).
There was no “religious dispossession” but rather preaching and catechesis, which made America a Catholic continent in much less time than Europe. Don Juan Calchaquí Junior, Viltipoco, Utisa Maya, Paikín [Gov. of Tucumán, Argentina]; the one true Inca, Tupac Amaru -Peru (16th century), who voluntarily acknowledged the falsehood of the Inca religious system before dying; Antonio Navala Huachaca, who triggered the “grasslands war” under the motto “Love Religion and the best of Kings” [Peru, 19th century]; the juries, diaguitas, guaraníes, pampas, chiriguanos, comechingones, guaycurúes, tobas and mocovíes [Argentina] and many others, gradually opened up to the Catholic faith, which their descendants upheld for good, and today fill great processions like the rest of Argentines.
In their own historical context, they acted as Clovis, king of Franks, and countless leaders of peoples converted to Catholicism.
Saint Remigius proposed to this powerful king the alternative valid for all nations that aspire to practice the true religion: “worship what you burned and burn what you adored.” That historic turnaround made the greatness of France and the Catholic nations of Iberian-America. They successfully dumped theocratic paganism with its heavy burden of irrationality, authoritarianism and backwardness.
This phenomenon occurred throughout the world, fulfilling the mandate of Jesus Christ: “Going therefore, teach ye teach all nations … to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28, 18-19). Yet, with artifices of agitators, indigenist activists present the evangelization of America as something unique in history. They speak of “acculturation”, “religious dispossession”, “imposition”, etc.
Mirtha Lischetti continues quoting in her textbook the revolutionary leader N’krumah, who attacks the missionaries who Christianized Africa: “The scene begins with the appearance of missionaries … ethnologists … merchants … administrators. While with their ‘deformed Christianity’ the missionaries demand that colonial subjects place their treasure ‘in heavenly riches, where neither moth nor rust can destroy it’, the merchants, concessionaires and administrators take over their mineral and agricultural resources, destroy their crafts and local industries.”
“Now we have the Bible, but you white people, you have the land” (Lischetti: 24).
The blasphemous words of the African dictator and slogans concocted by Westerners and put into the mouths of blacks thus go over the Word of God by presenting Christianity as a pretext to steal. This is fully according to the Marxist axiom that religion is “the opium of the people.” It is not difficult to calculate the effect of these lessons on young students. This covert indoctrination is called “anthropological science”.
Another dogmatic phrase: “Colonialism supposes the belief in a single culture” (ibid.). Can this be applied to the America of the Guarani missions, where learning vernacular languages was required to perform priestly functions? In fact, in the Andean region, Viceroy Toledo attempted to generalize the Quechua language, and indigenous languages are spoken there to this day. Could it be that Prof. Lischetti failed to read the royal decrees of Carlos V and his successors ordering that the uses and customs of the Indians be respected in everything that did not violate natural and divine law?
Did the kings and settlers value the natives’ persons and culture? Or is the truth found in the indigestible texts of indigenist anthropology, which openly or covertly postulate a regression to barbarism?
 “They first cut his toes, then the fingers of his hands. His articulations were separated one by one … And the friar’s whole body fell to pieces on the parched earth” (La Rioja Heroica, p. 39).