WaPo Demonizes Drinkers of 'Colonizer' Pumpkin Spice

P. Gardner Goldsmith | October 9, 2023
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Most journalists and readers likely know the difference between an “historical interest” piece, and a preachy, inappropriate attempt to virtue-signal, to look holier-than-thou, and insinuate that the uninformed are ignorantly attaching themselves to some generations-running immorality.

Given the “it’s a legacy of White Supremacy” pulpit from which a recent Washington Post piece appears to have been delivered, it certainly seems as if the team at the “WaPo” either doesn’t understand the distinction, or they do, and they have no problem moralizing over something that has absolutely nothing to do with any of us alive today.

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The Post’s Maham Javaid October 6 saw her polemic about the “violent history” of pumpkin spice released by the paper, upon which it was republished on other sites, as well.

And she served-up a story that acts not merely as an interest piece, but, more than that, acts as another brick in the wall of contemporary Cultural Marxism, in which a certain crowd of “sensitives” can inform YOU that you are part of a legacy of lethality. Yes, you are enjoying the fruits of eeevil, and, as a result of your dastardly participation in this – which actually is centuries-ended – activity, you, too, are suspect unless you change your “colonial-White-Supremacist” ways.

Javaid opens with this darkly portentous line:

“The invaders struck the island from three sides simultaneously.”

And then she rolls into the 1621 state-corporate invasion of Indonesia – the Banda Islands, to be precise – by the Dutch East India Company, describing the thousands slaughtered, enslaved, or starved to death due to their flight into mountainous terrain, and she quotes a university professor who adds reiterative thoughts:

“’The population of around 15,000 Bandanese was decimated to just a few hundred in a few months,’ said Adam Clulow, a historian and professor at the University of Texas at Austin. ‘The Dutch company was later accused of carrying out what some describe as the first instance of corporate genocide.’”

Of course, those who understand the nature of the polis know that all state entities are corporate in nature, and that the Dutch “company” really was an arm of the Dutch government, as are so many so-called “private” corporations today.

Some of us might recall the efforts of the Boston Tea Party participants to fight the corporate-government hegemony of the British East India Tea Company and their Parliamentary-provided lock on American tea sales…

But, just to be sure you understand your grave culpability on the Pumpkin Spice issue, just so that you understand that it’s okay to drink British tea, but not the shadow-draped Pumpkin Spice, Javaid includes Prof Clulow saying that it was all for nutmeg -- the Banda Islands being pretty much the sole source of nutmeg at the time.

You’d better put down the Pumpkin Spice and slowly back out of the coffee shop, dear reader.

And if you still need your eyes opened by the Sensitives at the WaPo, make sure you know this:

“’Some spices are part of a natural course of trade,’ said Sarah Wassberg Johnson, a food historian. ‘It just happens that the main spices in pumpkin spice are fraught with colonizer histories.’”

We’d better grasp that – we dastardly, spice-soaked, sods.

Beyond the lame virtue-signaling about nutmeg and this long-gone tie to what is seen as the normative term “colonialism,” what might be most important to grasp here is something that collectivists rarely, if ever, will acknowledge.

That is the fact that all government/state activities are forms of colonization – into our lives. Every action a government takes, from claiming the authority to make you pay for it, or engaging in threats that agents of government call “regulations” and “rules,” to literal takings of land and other physical property, they all are means by which these agents of the state invade our private lives and attack our natural rights to our property.

In fact, one of the most pervasive forms of colonial invasion into our rights can be seen in what is called “Rent-Seeking,” whereby special interests lobby those claiming government power over us, and try to have that government power wielded to help the special interest at our expense and at the expense of competitors. These special interests often receive from the government monopoly or oligopoly status over a particular field. Hence, in the case of this horrid history of nutmeg, we discover that the Dutch “United East India Company,” saw its origins in the March, 1602 merger with the government of virtually all Dutch sailing interests headed to the Indies, this ostensibly done as a form of protection from the Dutch state enemy of Portugal, but also to protect from competitors who might try to enter the market of sea-trade and undercut their “Rent-Seeking” prices. (For more, read Volume One of economist and economic historian Murray Rothbard’s phenomenal book series, “Conceived in Liberty,” available free in audio form, here.)

In fact, there are so many things we use, so many terms we employ, that have ties to some kind of colonialism or corporate-state power plays that it’s nearly impossible to know them all.

Take the term “sterling,” as in “sterling silver,” and “Pound Sterling.” As Rothbard notes, and as historian Sheilagh Ogilvie discusses early in her book, “The European Guilds, An Economic Analysis,” the term we non-Brits associate with the purity of silver actually has its origins in a 14th Century union of German long-distance merchant guilds called the Hansa or the Hanseatic League. This group soon began trading with British interests, and, as Rothbard notes on page 18 of “Conceived in Liberty”:

“The trade of the Hansards, or Easterlings (from which the English measure of silver, the pound sterling, is derived), as the Hanseatic merchants were called, was largely in raw materials and agricultural products.”

British wool, mainly exported via interests from Flanders, Belgium, became a staple good for the Hansards, and saw the increasingly centralizing English government impose “Poundage” – a tax on the export of wool and the import of cloth -- as well as a way to insure the collection of the duties: government-granted monopoly power to sell wool, power given to a handful of British merchants who were “drawn from the (British) exporting and importing centers,” as Rothbard notes.

These “Merchants of Staple,” collected the taxes and got oligopoly status – a status that eventually grew in political power and saw many of the same corporate interest unite into the British East India Tea Company, the very company against which the Sons of Liberty protested at the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773.

So, regardless of this “wake up to your own pumpkin-spice link to oppression and wrongdoing in history” polemic from the Washington Post, one can see that our reality is filled with terms and products that, at one time in history, might have been connected to colonialism, or corporate favoritism, and that it’s nearly impossible to untangle the threads.

The fact is that we are not responsible for those historical wrongs. We only can try to end the government-corporate, Rent-Seeking abuses we see today, and teach people about the moral and economic benefits of peace and free trade, as opposed to politically protected attempts to steer consumers where special interests want them steered.  

One thing is for sure, we need not feel guilty sipping a pumpkin-spice latte while reading this fascinating world history.

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