Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Breeding Docility

In 1835, 900 Maori from New Zealand landed on the Chatham Islands and massacred the long-isolated and unarmed hunter-gatherer pacifists who lived there. The West should take heed.

I'm finally getting around to reading Guns, Germs, and Steel. Until recently it sat on my bookshelf devoted exclusively to books-to-be-read.

In one part, the author recounts that the Moriori of the Chatham Islands "had a tradition of resolving disputes peacefully. They decided in a council meeting not to fight back but to offer peace, friendship, and a division of resources" to the Maori invaders who informed the Moriori that they were now slaves. (p. 53)

Eventually, the Maori wiped out the pacifist Moriori. As one Maori explained (pp. 53-54):

We took possession... in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped. Some ran away from us, these we killed, and others we killed--but what of that? It was in accordance with our custom.

It strikes me that the Europeans are reacting to their history of intra-European violence as the Moriori did. The European Union is based on the notion that Europeans need to become pacifists in order to keep Europeans from killing each other.

But like the Moriori, the Europeans will find that while pacifism works fine in your isolated environment where everyone shares your pacifism, you have serious problems when outsiders with no respect for pacifism see you as sitting ducks waiting to be destroyed.

I'm not fully on board the notion that the oddly male and young refugees from Syria and elsewhere are like the Goth barbarians who fled into the Roman Empire and eventually destroyed it, it may just be because I'm not familiar enough with the early stages of that history.

And I am on board the idea that this is more about migration than refugees fleeing imminent danger from a war zone.

And in the long run, I don't dismiss the threat of demographics. Ask the native populations of North and South America if you doubt that.

But I do wonder how Europeans will deal with riots in their Moslem suburbs when Iran has nuclear weapons with which to back suggestions to European leaders that they deal with those disturbances with more respect. (Although France has under-performed my expectations from that post.)

Basically, I've wondered about the European will to defend themselves. And if we don't do it until Europeans remember that they are no longer the baddest dudes on the planet and the biggest threats to each other, what happens to Europe when external threats are again their biggest worry?

And if Europe is controlled by a hostile force, that is a problem for us.