Washington, D.C.–Columbus Day, observed this year on October 13, will celebrate the 516th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America.

“Although in recent decades Columbus Day has fallen out of favor in many circles, it is vitally important that we continue to celebrate this holiday with pride,” said Thomas Bowden, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.

“Columbus Day is, at root, a celebration of the worldwide spread of Western civilization–a value that is under attack by ‘multiculturalists.’

“Multiculturalism, which rejects the idea that some cultures are superior to others, makes it possible for American Indian activists to get away with castigating Columbus as a ‘cultural imperialist,’ calling for abolition of his holiday and replacing it with ‘Indigenous Peoples Day.’ This is outrageous. Contrary to the multiculturalist position, it is possible to demonstrate objectively that one society is superior to another–by the standard of what benefits human life. By this standard, modern industrial society is incomparably superior to the barbaric, tribalistic Stone Age culture of the Indians who predated Columbus.

“Those who attack Columbus Day are attacking the distinctive values of Western civilization that America so proudly embraces–reason, science, individual rights, and capitalism. Americans need to understand that their lives and happiness are at stake in the struggle to uphold the core values of Western civilization–a struggle that is epitomized by the continuing controversy over Columbus Day.

“We need not evade nor excuse Columbus’s flaws–his religious zealotry, his enslavement and oppression of natives–to recognize that he made history by finding new territory for a civilization that would soon show mankind how to overcome the age-old scourges of slavery, war, and forced religious conversion,” Bowden said.  “On Columbus Day, we must continue to celebrate that civilization, and declare our resolve to defend it against both its intellectual and political enemies.”

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