From a reader:
I just finished your book and loved it. I work in the environmental compliance field and I’ve been witness to some of the fascist tendencies among environmentalists. You nailed them.
However, I was struck by one thing that you didn’t go into in your book – no doubt to keep your sanity. I think the Federal government’s policy toward Native Americans in the early 20th century may qualify as the ultimate Progressive experiment. The damage these policies – breaking up reservations, boarding schools, etc. — caused to the tribes is now clear, and post-modern anthropologists categorize the anthropologists and others responsible for the policies at that time as colonial oppressors, racists, hegemonists, capitalist swine, or whatever. But these people were often do-gooders who thought they were helping the Native American assimilate into the national culture and escape cultures that were unsuited to modern life and doomed to extinction.
I’m a far cry from an expert on this period, but some of what the early Progressives were saying (as quoted in your book) sound similar to what the people responsible for Indian policy said at the time. Is it just a coincident or were they strongly influenced by Progressive thought.
You got me interested, and I’m going to be doing some more research into this.
Me: Sounds interesting, but I know very little about early 20th century policy toward the Indians, and that’s an understatement.