Massacre, War and Colonialism

So I’ve been reading this mystery.  Yes, yes, “It came from KULL” [kindle unlimited lending library] I know, but it’s actually decent.  I mean, it’s not exactly setting my world on fire, but it’s pleasant enough.  Until…

The book is set in the nineteenth century. One of the characters is reading her father’s diary, and her father was a scientist/explorer (who has disappeared.  This is sort of the background to the whole series, not the mystery) and she’s enthralled by his adventures, until…

Until his party is attacked by neighbors, and they fight back, killing a bunch of the natives.  The author then refers to this as a “massacre” and proceeds to act as though this tarnished the main character’s view of her father forever.

Then to make things clearer, this woman’s bone-headed brother in law comes in to say that the savages should be glad we bring them civilization even if we have to kill them.  And in case you know, the reader might be tempted to sympathize with this opinion, blusters about how men and women shouldn’t work together, because they might become — horror of horrors! — friends.  Then he huffs off, shedding straw as he goes.

[Sarah puts thumb and forefinger on either side of the bridge of her nose, closes her eyes and inclines her head.] Where to begin?

Let’s start with the fact that the attitude of the main character is seriously a-historical.  A woman of the time might be horrified by the “barbarous” doings, but would certainly not think it constituted a massacre.  To consider this a massacre takes knowing that in these clashes the white men would ALWAYS win and were disproportionately equipped to do so, and KNEW they’d survive and kill all the others.

Reality check, okay, even in this book that’s given the lie, since her father was almost certianly killed by natives.  But beyond that, the world is strewn with the corpses of scientists/explorers, even those way better armed than hostile natives, but at a disadvantage in the landscape.

Then there’s the brother in law’s opinion that colonialism is good for you.  You know… for most of human history it was.  Now, it wasn’t particularly good for INDIVIDUAL humans.  Being invaded and more often than not reduced to the position of serfs or slaves purely sucks. But when the colonialists bring with them a higher level of production/wealth creation/security… well…  I’d hate for it to happen to me or my kids, but in the long run future generations might be much better off.

Now this isn’t always true, of course.  Colonialism, like other Marxist buggaboos, has no existence in itself.  It is the abstract isolation of a phenomenon that can be good or bad or indifferent, depending on who is colonizing whom.  (It is also not, btw, a characteristic of white men.  All humans colonize. Which is why there are humans on every continent.)  Europe being invaded by the Moors might very well, on the whole, have redounded to the worse.  Some things were gained from the invasion, sure (almonds and the artesian well were among the ones we were forced to memorize in school) but had it not been thrown off, the level of individual happiness and wealth would probably have ended up lower (as it did in Africa) and it can be argued it left behind habits of mind that are at odds with modernity (which they didn’t know would come) as well as regressive treatment of women.  It’s far more complex than that, though, since each invading civilization brings both good and bad, and also changes while it’s occupying the land.

That change, btw, accounts for a lot of the disastrous effects of European colonialism in much of Africa: as Europeans embraced Marxist thought, the leading minds of Africa came to Europe to study it.  What communism, socialism, and its cousins have done to Africa doesn’t bear contemplating.

The author, btw, as though aware she’s being crazy and imposing her crazy on the story, goes on about how her father was “trespassing” and that’s why these young men attacked.

[Does sinal salute again.]  She never actually tells us what moral behavior in those circumstances would be.  Letting themselves be slaughtered when they were attacked, even though they aren’t doing anything wrong (objectively) but merely looking for specimens?

Look, I’ve described this type of encounter between western civ and tribal mind set before.  To an extent our current confrontation with Islam is that, writ large.  There is a tribal mind set that is very old, is probably built into our genes, because we were tribal long before we were anything else, and which goes something like this “strangers in our territory” (however defined, since most tribes lacked the concept of land ownership.)  “We’ll commit atrocities against them, so they leave us alone.  The greater the atrocities, the less trouble they’ll be.”

Unfortunately western civ interprets/ed atrocities as “these savages can’t be tamed/integrated.  Kill them all and let G-d sort them out.”

This is a problem, because in the language of violence (and violence, between human groups is a language, intended to convey a message) what is “said” and what is “understood” are completely different.  And it will escalate violence until the stronger civilization destroys the weaker one.

It’s a tragedy, but it’s unavoidable.  It’s been happening for centuries or millennia — alas, Cartago! — and absent the ability to telepathically communicate with a tribal civilization to make them back off, I do not know what the author thinks could be done to avoid the “massacre” of people who were trying to kill a scientific expedition.

But more importantly, speaking to the mindset behind this, the mindset that thinks colonialism is somehow evil, and can only exist from whites/Europe versus everyone else, and also that SOMEHOW Europeans are so powerful that when they kill EVEN PEOPLE ATTACKING THEM it’s always a massacre:

1- All humans are colonialists.  All humans are territorial.  Before we had anything as complicated as tribes, if our understanding of our nearer evolutionary relatives is right, we had family bands, who had territories.  Clashes occurred at the bands of these territories.  The band that was successful in taking over the territory and aggregating the other band, eventually became a tribe.  The tribe most successful in conquering others, eventually became a nation.  You can beat your chest and cry, but it doesn’t matter  We’re not angels.  We’re uppity apes and this is how we function.  All your scolding won’t change it.

2- Violence will always happen when two very disparate civilizations meet.  Why?  Because even when they talk, even when they learn each other’s language, the concepts will be different.  Take martyrdom.  In Christianity this means entering the Arena singing Hymns and acting happy, because overtime that will convert the spectators.  In Islam it means blowing yourself up killing the infidel.  You can talk martyrdom, but it doesn’t mean the same thing on either side.  Violence is also a language, and when even your violence is misinterpreted, it means you don’t have a language in common.  And violence WILL happen and someone will win.  If you feel that your civilization should never be the one to win, there might be something wrong with you.

3- Someone will win from this violence.  All the scientific/exploration parties that died and disappeared means that sometimes the tribal humans win over those who are contributing to the species knowledge of the world.  Those are sad occurrences, but they count for nothing, except that it encourages other tribal humans to fight and die trying to take down something they CAN’T take down.  It’s an escalation of tragedy, if you will.  In the end, killing the tribal band that first attacks you (instead of what?  Lying down and dying, to expiate ‘privilege’?  In a land where the privilege is obviously with the natives?) is the best thing you can do.  It sends the message “fighting is futile” and will encourage the local tribe to try to protect itself by other means, be they negotiation or trade.

4- In a clash between civilizations, if you decide that your morals require you not to fight/lie down and die, you’ll be the one colonized.

There is no option between human civilizations for ‘we’ll each go to our little territories and stay there’.  That’s not how humans work or ever have.  Population pressure; desire for goods; desire for a certain land; conviction of one’s superior civilization, will keep us fighting and trying to expand (and btw, that last applies to ALL human civilizations.  Yes, Islam believes they’re superior to and more powerful than the west.  They have Allah on their side, after all.)  Your choice is never “let’s all live in harmony.”  Your choice is colonize or be colonized.  Think carefully of where you’d rather live, and which mind sets and conditions you’re willing to encourage.

And stop mouthing pieties about “massacres” when someone fights in self defense.  Western Civilization is not always the winner, and will not always be the winner.

The fatal oikophobia you’ve been taught is the worm gnawing at the heart of the civilization that’s lifted most humans out of poverty.  Examine carefully how you’d like to live before your throw your weight behind the supposed victims.  They’re just another set of aggressors.  And if you wouldn’t like to live under their rules, that’s not the side you should be fighting on.

No humans are angels.  Some are just more accomplished warriors than others.  That doesn’t make them bad.  It all depends on what you’re fighting for.

372 thoughts on “Massacre, War and Colonialism

      1. There are worse mindworms.
        Oooo. Now that would be an insidiously diabolical super ability. Not so much mind control as a virtually undetectable mind influence. unless of course everyone starts comparing what their current mindworm is, and find it to be identical with all of them.

        1. Just being able to put any tune or quote into someone’s head. It would be easier if it was something already in there so all you’re doing is triggering a memory. Hmm.

            1. Did I do Right?
              Right for my country and ..oopsie-daisy!
              Left, Right, Left!

              … although I will admit that I learned it as as “Forty-nine children”

            2. LEFT!
              LEFT! RIGHT! LEFT!
              I LEFT my wife with forty-eight kids
              On the verge of starvation
              With nothing but Johnny cakes LEFT!

            3. Nothing to do with the story, but the one I learned was:

              LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT
              I LEFT my shoe in TIMbuktoo
              with FIFteen holes in a BUCKet of glue and I thought it was
              RIGHT for my blister! (Whoop-de-doo!)

    1. “I love you…
      I need you…
      But there ain’t no way I would never try to scalp you.
      Now don’t feel sad,
      ‘Cause two out of three ain’t bad…

    1. No. I read mostly from KULL these days. It’s just I read SO MANY of them that I always find one or two that get me hot under the collar. It was a joke for this blog, like you know “oh, no, Sarah has been on Facebook again.”
      I will reiterate this mystery is pretty good. Don’t think I’ll read the third, though. The built in writer assumptions are just that annoying.

      1. Apologies in advance for my ignorance. When you use a term like KULL, would you mind spelling it out the first time. In context, I think it is Kindle Unlimited but I’m not sure what the LL stands for.

          1. Glad you specified that. I was running into either Robert Howard’s books, or some obscure Finnish term for “penis”.

            1. Not being a member of it, I was thinking it was some kind of genre, like Barbarian stories, or Ancient Kingdoms.

            2. Personally, I keep getting stuck on obscure 80’s fantasy films, because I had the BIGGEST CRUSH on the prince from “Krull”.

              …no, I have no taste in movies…

                1. Do you think Heinlein’s naming of the Howard Families was a salute to the heroes of Robert E, so-named because they were nearly impossible to kill?

                  1. I was at that awkward age where my aunt played it for me because of the Firemares, and I ended up watching it over and over and overandover for the prince.

        1. Yeah, ’cause I was wondering which of the Kull stories (by Robert E Howard) had that sort of idiotic thinking in it.

    2. It’s like the outsiders view of indie. Definitely plenty of gems but a bunch of rocks, gravel and scat to pick thru. Plus the stereotype from the gaming of the system previously.

      1. In other words, no different from what makes it through “the careful curation and editing of the traditional publishing process.”

        I’ve read far too many paper books that should never have made it past the slushpile.

      2. That’s sort of how I used to describe the Dr. Demento show. I’d tape the whole thing or as much as I could and dub the few tunes I liked to another tape. But so much was so very very bad.

        “How is it?”
        “Like pearl diving in a cesspool.”

        There were some pearls. There was also an awful lot of… stuff that wasn’t a pearl.

          1. Art? Hard not to appreciate someone who played poker so badly, lost so cheerfully and was always eager to join in the game.

    3. Not sure about everybody else, but I take it to mean less about the average quality and more about “this is my segue to a thing that annoyed me.”

      The average quality has to be pretty good, or the random annoyances would be just a matter of course.

  1. “‘ere’s to you Fuzzy-Wuzzy, with your ‘ay-rick ‘ead of ‘air;
    You big black boundin’ beggar—for you broke a British square!” And then there was Isandalwana (although the Brits get some credit for that defeat – if you must carry ammunition, don’t keep it in cases that can’t be opened easily in an emergency)

    There’s a reason why military history was right up there with diplomatic and political history for a long time as the three main branches of historical study. Tribal squabbles of varying sizes have been going on since, well, since just after the incident in the Garden. Look at what little the archaeologists have found of that enormous Bronze Age battlefield in Germany – apparently professional soldiers go a lot farther back in history than people wanted to admit.

    1. Military history is the outcome of diplomatic and political history. Can’t think of any civilization that did not create some, even if it was for abject idiocy.

    2. When I was a kid and decided I needed a firmer grounding in world history, I looked to the Encyclopedia of Military History. Problem being, because my grounding wasn’t good enough, I didn’t retain enough.

    3. “Tribal squabbles of varying sizes have been going on since, well, since just after the incident in the Garden.”

      “Jubal sang of the golden years
      When wars and wounds shall cease —
      But Tubal fashioned the hand-flung spears
      And showed his neighbours peace.
      New — new as Nine-point-Two,
      Older than Lamech’s slain —
      Roaring and loud is the feud avowed
      Twix’ Jubal and Tubal Cain!”

  2. She [the author] never actually tells us what moral behavior in those circumstances would be. Letting themselves be slaughtered when they were attacked, even though they aren’t doing anything wrong (objectively) but merely looking for specimens?

    Why, it’s obvious, don’t you know?

    The scientists should have asked the natives politely for permission to come in and collect specimens.

    Then, if the natives gave permission, the scientists should have been careful in their collection process to respect the culture and the cultural artifacts of the natives.


      1. Friends don’t let friends read modern cultural anthropology textbooks. 🙂

        Actually, as an anthropology major, I have to say I find the history of cultural anthropological theory rather depressing, more of a sequence of bad ideas that fit well with whatever the prevailing prejudices of the intelligentsia at any given time than anything else. There may be a few gems sprinkled in among the dung heap, but the stench!

      1. I know that. You know that. To us as students of history it is rather obvious.

        Apparently the author of the mystery has been so indoctrinated in the rightness of present think the author is incapable of imagining a heroine thinking otherwise.

        1. On an even more basic level, she may be unaware that things were ever different. All sorts of fantasy, SF, and historical fiction have things that are modern because it never occurred to the author to consider whether things might be different.

          This is why I recommend reading history and particularly primary source to all aspiring writers. It’s not to research. It’s to knock your block off so you do not automatically write down the modern way because it never occurs to you that it’s not the perennial way.

          1. Very likely.

            I have realized that people in the U.S.A. do not get a good grounding in history or how other parts of the world actually function when in school. What material is presented is often done in such a way as to discourage people from pursuing it on their own.

            An educated person, who has lived outside of the country, and ran for their party’s nomination for candidates for President of the United States argued that you were more likely to achieve the American dream in Venezuela. He got a great deal of support, and still has followers eager for him to try again. What does this indicate about the state of American knowledge?

    1. You say that in jest, but it brings to mind the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Muslims worried that the rifle cartridge grease was lard; Hindu that it was tallow. Supposedly the reaction of higher ups was “It doesn’t matter.” And the rest is history.

      1. Eh, there was also 1) the influence of Wahabism coming in from the west, 2) rumors of Hindu soldiers being sent to Burma and thus shattering caste by traveling over salt water, and a few other things, like sepoys getting pay and privilege cuts now that certain provinces had been conquered. The cartridges were almost the final straw, but Wahabism had a lot to do with events.

  3. “A woman of the time might be horrified by the “barbarous” doings, but would certainly not think it constituted a massacre.”

    Sounds like part of the problem is assuming that the Victorian woman is a modern woman, only more repressed. And by “woman”, they mean “intersectional third-wave woke feminist” who spouts all the trendy opinions on anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism they heard from their college professor.

    1. Sounds like part of the problem is assuming that the Victorian woman is a modern woman, only more repressed. And by “woman”, they mean “intersectional third-wave woke feminist” who spouts all the trendy opinions on anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism they heard from their college professor.

      But this is impossible, for we ‘all know’ that a repressed Victorian woman would never have had the opportunity to become so ‘enlightened’ through higher education. 😉

      1. But this is impossible, for we ‘all know’ that a repressed Victorian woman would never have had the opportunity to become so ‘enlightened’ through higher education.

        But the education to which she doesn’t have access is the patriarchal propaganda that would have unwoken her. She, like all people, is born woke (the natural state of humanity) and needs to be propagandized by the powers that be in order to be properly oppressed.

        1. ye lords. it’s like Islam for progressives. (All humans are born Muslim.) Makes sense since both are Christian heresies, but dear Lord. I’m going to hit my head with a hammer to lessen the pain.

          1. Careful. Too much brain damage and you could end up a blogger at, or worse . . . The Mary Sue.

    2. Witness Ma in the Little House books, who holds to the thinking “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Pa is actually very relaxed for his time period, having the normal wariness you have when meeting potentially harmful strangers, but also acknowledging that their being driven off their land was a sad thing for them.

      1. Pa was a man. Wiki doesn’t say if he was a veteran, and I forget if such was mentioned in the books. He was married at 24 in 1860. But he was not presented as being significantly less capable than his cohort.

        1. The only one of the Ingalls family of that generation I recall being told had served was Pa’s little brother George. Laura described him as wild.
          George ran off and joined the army when he was fourteen, he may have deserted, and was later arrested for the theft of a cow.

          From Pioneer Girl:

          “Pa said, What could you expect of a boy who had joined the army when he was fourteen, and lived off the country all those years? In the South, when the Union soldiers wanted anything they just took it, and George had got used to that way of doing. All that was wrong with George was that he couldn’t seem to realize the war was over and that he was in the North, where he couldn’t live off the country any more.”

  4. There was a Prince Valiant strip I saw a few years ago.

    It had an old King Arthur talking with one of Valiant’s sons.

    Arthur is talking about all the invaders who had come to Celtic Britain basically the Romans and “now” the Angles-Saxons-Jutes.

    The son asks Arthur “Did the Celtics come to Britain in peace”?

    Arthur answers “No”.

    1. The Irish have no creation myth, per se. Instead they have a succession of invasions.

      1. The end of the Israelite Exodus basically amounts to, “God gave us this land. Now we need to wipe out the people who are already living here.”

        1. Sigh. Just look at all the agita which has resulted because they didn’t follow His instruction.

          1. Jewish history, or at least Biblical history, is replete with examples of Jewish stupidity in not doing what God tells them to do. Point is, if you accept as a given that they’re as dumb as the Bible makes them out to be, there might be something to their being God’s chosen people, because they’re still around after thousands of years of persecution, extermination programs and pogroms.
            Just not enough to make me convert to Judaism just yet. And I’d go nuts (more nuts?) with a stereotypical Jewish grandmother telling me what to do all time. 😉

                1. They have turkey bacon here. It’s actually not bad, and a lot less greasy than the usual pork kind.

                  1. *less greasy*
                    Then what’s the point?
                    (I cook with my bacon grease. Mmm, hash browns.)

                    1. My mother cooked with bacon grease. She cooked *everything* in bacon grease.

                      One of the joys of moving out on my own was that I no longer had to dig through bacon grease again…

                  2. My wife found a chicken bacon, at Safeway, I think, which tastes like bacon, but is a bit chewy.

                2. You’ve looked for “beef fry” (Aaron’s or A&H brand) in a local kosher store, or one that has a kosher meat section?

                  A cousin of mine also makes duck bacon, and I’ve seen it in some local (NYC) kosher stores, but I’ve never tried that.

                  1. The old neighborhood had a very good Kosher section in the grocery store, but the “beef bacon” was not like in Oregon, cured and salted, just thin sliced beef. :/ I haven’t looked in an actually dedicated kosher grocery. Um… Denver should have them.

            1. I always picture God facepalming through most of the Old Testament. And the New Testament. And (for us Mormons) the Book of Mormon. And he continues to do so, I’m sure.

              Because humans continually do the same stupid crap, even after he’s told them “don’t do this, it’s a terrible idea and it never works” over and over and over.

              (Also an argument, to me, that God must really love us, or he’d have thrown up his hands and given up a loooong time ago.)

              1. I wonder if the lost tablet (as shown by Mel Brooks) had as one the lost commandments one about “From each…, to each…” was an evil not to be attempted, lest ruin fall upon the land.

              2. To be fair, God is really bad at explaining WHY; if he’d just done a little more of that along with the Thou Shalt Nots, things might have gone differently. ^_^

                1. I believe He thinks “Because I say to …” ought be adequate. As a parent who has been through the “Why?” cycle on many occasions I can understand His reasoning. “I am omniscient, omnipotent and I love you – what more reason do you need? Just bleedin’ do it!”

                  1. And I bet the kid(s) rolled eyes and figured they were just going to have to find out for themselves. 🙂

                2. But She’s God. It’s automatically assumed that She’s going to tell you the right things to do, and explanations are not required. Of course a truly omniscient God would understand that once we’ve eaten of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; She’s going to be perpetually bombarded by the question “WHY?” from Her children.

                    1. LOL. I have no idea whether God is a He, a She, a They, or an It. I was raised with an image of God as an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, usually beneficent old guy; and that’s my gut level visualization of Him. I’ll toss out the She’s to keep my mind flexible, and because it’s just possible the neo-pagan types could be right.

                    2. I think God, being a singular* entity, is probably gender-fluid, identifying as whatever suits the purpose.

                      *A triune God may still be singular, as in unique, and while the Father and the Son seem fairly gender specific I am unclear on the Holy Ghost’s identity.

                    3. Since this particular segment of the discussion is specifically talking about God as portrayed in the Bible, and the Bible consistently uses masculine analogies for God (“our Father in heaven”, and so on), using the feminine pronoun in this instance is kind of inaccurate. I won’t tell you what to believe (though I’d be happy to try to persuade you if you’re interested in discussing the subject), but I do tend to like accuracy. I wouldn’t use the pronoun “he” if we were discussing belief in, say, Artemis — and it’s similarly inaccurate to use the pronoun “she” when discussing belief in God as portrayed in the Jewish or Christian Scriptures.

                      But that’s enough belaboring the grammatical point.

                3. I was going to say that it’s a lot like a parent telling a small child not to do something, but that puts G_d on our level. The moment we demand that G_d explain himself to us, we are demanding he justify himself to us. It puts us in the position of judging G_d. That never turns out well.

                4. I suspect that at least in some cases, God can’t explain because we wouldn’t understand the explanation. Or people would try the “That’s silly. You’re just making up that XXXXX is harmful to your [insert divine technobabble here].” line.

                  In any event, “Thou shalt not kill” doesn’t really need an explanation. And yet people still have trouble obeying it.

                  1. “If You really loved us the way You claim, You would let us [engage in random self-destructive bad behaviours, aka: sin] without suffering!”

                    On your other point, God is okay with killing (and in some instances encourages it) but is really, really opposed to murder. (Shrug – go figure?)

                  2. Grammatical point: the Hebrew word that was translated as “kill” in the King James Bible really means “murder” or “unlawful killing”; this verse does not forbid killing in war or in self-defence. “Thou shalt not kill” was a bit of a mistranslation, and should really have been “Thou shalt not murder”.*

                    Your larger point, that people still have trouble obeying “Thou shalt not murder”, still stands even after that translation correction.

                    * Unless the word “kill” had specific connotations of unlawfulness at the time — and there’s evidence in Shakespeare, who was writing at the same time as the King James Edition of the Bible was being translated, that it didn’t. E.g., in an early scene Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice asks a messenger, “How many hath [Benedick] killed?” She’s asking how many men Benedick has killed in battle, not how many people he had murdered.

                    1. There’s a bunch of disagreement over the word “witch” (or “sorceress” in some Bible translations), so I can’t be 100% certain as I haven’t looked into it enough myself. But as far as I can tell, magic in those days was inextricably linked with religion: anyone who used magic was calling on their gods or goddesses to do something for them. And Jehovah had explicitly forbidden the people of Israel, under penalty of death, to worship other gods or get involved in their various rituals (including child sacrifice, ritual prostitution, and so on). Which meant that any Israelite practicing magic was, by definition, worshiping other gods than Jehovah, and thus committing a capital crime.

                      So while I’m sure you’re right that there was such a translation, I don’t think its explanation got it quite right. I think that the prohibition had less to do with whether the magic was harmful, and more to do with which gods or spirits the magic-user was invoking (i.e., any gods other than Jehovah).

                    2. There’s no such connotation in the Hebrew original. The Septuagint translation of מְכַשֵּׁפָה is φαρμακοὺς, pharmakous, which apparently means “sorceress” but could plausibly also be translated “poisoner”—illustrating the perils of chained translation.

                    3. Shadowdancer:

                      There’s all sorts of urban legends circulating about this, but in Exodus 22:18, the word witch is a translation of the Hebrew word “kashaph,” which means to whisper a spell or incantation and/or to practice magic. This gets into Robin’s point: It’s appealing to a power other than G_d.

                      Hmm … I’ve just looked at Deuteronomy 18:10 with Strong numbers (lists the original words translated into English), and there are several types of magic listed. The definition of the Hebrew words is rather interesting. None of them have the idea of a poisoner or harmful magic.

                    4. The bit about “poisoner” probably comes from the Greek translation of the verse in the Septuagint, where they translated it as pharmakos. That word meant both “sorceror / magician” and “poisoner”, because it came from the Greek mystical tradition where they apparently used drugs to induce trance-like states in their rituals. (The Oracle at Delphi comes to mind, for example). But the original text, in Hebrew, carried no such connotation of drugs or poisons.

              3. I’d also have to point out that there are a few times where God facepalmed in the Doctrine and Covenants (which mostly consists of revelations given to Joseph Smith to direct Mormons) as well…

                And for people who aren’t Mormon? (Well, his work applies to Mormons too.) A lot of Kipling’s work seems to be warnings that if we do stupid things, God is going to facepalm.

              4. Yes, I remember also Elder Holland saying that Lord must find it terribly frustrating that humanity is what he has to work with.

            2. My Emergency Backup Momma (long story) is a Southern Baptist Messianic Jew. She is exactly as terrifying as you might expect.

                1. I saw one is Montgomery, AL. My feeling on this is: You have to be one or the other. Jew or Christian. You can’t be both.

                  1. Jews for Jesus is a thing. It’s theology is wretched, and it was mostly ocnceived as a way to convert Jews to Christianity, but it’s a thing.

                    1. Point of clarification here, with some historical background:

                      In the early years of Christianity, there was serious question of whether Jesus came to save all people or the Jews only. If the latter, one would have to become a Jew in order to become a Christian.When you read in the New Testament that some were pushing the idea that gentiles must be circumcised, this is what was going on. Paul has such as strong opinion that the said something rather coarse. What’s significant to this point is that he warned if a gentile became a Jewish proselytite, he was then obligated to keep the entire Law. This even though the whole point of Christianity is that salvation is of Jesus Christ and not the Law.

                      Why? Consider that Jesus said He didn’t come to abolish the Law. The Law is part of the covenant God made with the descendants of Abraham. The Law is what G_d commanded the descendants of Abraham to follow, and those who become proselyties are under that covenant. In other words, it’s what G_d said to do, and that, being the case, it’s best to do it.

                      That’s the whole point of Jewish Christians keeping the Law. Though they look to Jesus Christ for salvation, they follow the Law because it’s the command of God.

                  2. It is based on the belief that one is not converting by accepting Jesus as the long awaited promised messiah.

                    1. There … are arguments one can make, but ultimately it is not our decision to make. There is only one voice able to define His chosen, and it ain’t none of ours. I am sufficiently occupied with the care and nurturing of my own soul to take no interest in how others tend theirs.

                      Although when I do pause to look about I have to admit either I am grievously misunderstanding the theological teachings or others are. Sometimes I feel like I am taking a math test while those around me are coloring things in.

                  3. Writing with a slightly clearer head (curse you, cold medicine), she’s not a Messianic Jew but more the other way. Started out Southern Baptist, is now more Jewish than otherwise, believes in the divinity of Christ, and can lay down the steel-magnolia smack in a manner that has to be seen to be believed.

                2. The various flavors of “Messianic Jews” are mostly Baptist sects with (to use the Christian theological term) “Judaising” tendencies. (With most members not even half-Jewish, going by those I’ve encountered.) It’s a different phenomenon than Jewish converts to Christianity, or Christians of Jewish descent, though they do particularly try to missionize to Jews.

                  1. yep. They follow the dietary rules, or at least some of them. i have a friend who was raised in one of these sects, and no, he has no Jewish ancestry whichsoever.

            3. There’s a joke in LDS circles that the Mormon Church must be true. Because if it wasn’t, the missionaries (a group composed mostly of guys under the age of 20) would have destroyed it a long time ago.

                  1. Christianity’s saving grace is that it assumes all have fallen and cannot get up. Being in church simply means you’re asking for help, not that you’ve gotten it.

  5. > We’re uppity apes and this is how we function.
    > All your scolding won’t change it.

    They don’t want to change it. It’s just a variant of the SJW “original sin” tactic; that’s how biology works, therefore you’re in the wrong, and they take the moral high ground.

    1. IOW we are always wrong and they are always right. Sounds like “The Elect” in modern dress. They are right and perfect they know so. no outside validation needed. Either outside themselves or outside their hive.

  6. Let us ask the opposite question: why are imperialism and colonialism a scandal today?

    I think the answer is that, under capitalism, land no longer equals riches. So the ages-old culture of conquest, loot and plunder and slaves no longer makes money. And it is much cheaper to hire free laborers than to own slaves.

    Except in socialist countries. Hello Venezuela! Hello North Korea, GDP $583.

    1. But at the same level, colonialism still can provide the warm bodies for work. You still need human capital and resources but colonialism implies a responsibility at some level to the colony while if you just buy a few people you can just discard when used up.

      But today rather than one large sovereignty that would have to be appeased you can have a bunch of smaller ones. Much easier to pay off a sovereign of South Africa versus the British crown due to size and riches difference.

    2. Colonialism paid off for the British Empire. Big time.

      Without help from their former and current colonies they’d have ceased to exist as a power by 1918.

      1. Tbh paid off for a huge chunk of the colonies as well. Compare the outcome of most of the British colonies to the French or Spanish. Hell, we see the effect today with Hong Kong.

        1. Though China is trying its best to kill their goose that lays golden eggs. And when they finally wreck the place beyond recognition, everyone will just shrug their shoulders and blame it on changing times as Beijing continues to insist that its repressive and authoritarian government does not hinder economic development.

          1. Authoritarian government does not hinder economic development.

            For certain values of economic development.

            As the Arafat, Castro and Chaves families can attest, it certainly did not hinder their families economic development.

    3. Socialism is the most defensible means of so ruining the economy that mass murder seems beneficial.

    4. The Chinese seem to be doing quite well off colonialism in Africa. Although the Africans in various countries who have to deal with the Chinese and the PLA forces protecting Chinese enterprises in Africa might not agree.

      1. In East Africa they used to call the Chinese “watu wa batri” – “battery people” – because it was inconceivable that normal human beings could work that hard.

      2. I’ve heard that there’s a lot of resentment toward the Chinese in at least some of the African countries. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the details.

        1. Anti-Chinese feeling is big in PNG. Many of the cheap little trade stores selling sub-dollarstore quality merch are Chinese owned and operated. Some directly by the PLA.
          And let’s just say that they’re not exactly known for either quality merch, or for good customer service.

        2. They don’t tend to use local labor, when they do use local labor they don’t pay very well, and they’re picking up 99-year leases on a lot of the best farmland.

          1. Hmm…

            Long-term leases in a place like Africa are only as reliable as the local government. When that changes…

            How long before the first major Chinese military intervention in Africa?

            1. They have options-
              1) keep the local government from changing
              2) pay off the new government

              1. Keeping the local government from changing in an African nation might end up requiring military force, given the way that power transitions work in many of those countries.

                Also, it’s quite possible that the new government will come to power because of resentment against the pale-skinned foreigners who are seen as having “stolen” all of the best resource areas in the country. If that’s the case, then paying off the new government will only get you so far.

      3. I remember reading somewhere that some Africans are starting to wish the colonizers came back, because the colonizers actually had some care for the people and the land. Chinese? They just want to exploit it all, people included.

        Also trying to get white people to return to the farmlands which had been violently taken over by Africans ‘taking back their land from the white man’ so they don’t starve.

        I take it with a grain of salt, but I find it grimly amusing if true.

        1. The Chinese have a long history of placing scant value on (other) human lives. I remember reading of a Nineteenth Century Chinese guidebook to England cautioning travelers that the British were a very sentimental people, not only did they not have wells on the outskirts of villages for disposing of unwanted infants, they even went so far as to place value upon the lives of the babies of prostitutes.

          1. “wells … for disposing of unwanted infants”

            I could imagine “pit” but “well”? I thought a “well” was built to get drinkable water. That’s not going to work properly if you toss organic waste into it.

            1. My mom has a story from when she was growing up in Korea (missionary kid). They bought a house in Won Ju. It was up on a hill so the water should have been good. (none of the Cisterns should have contaminated it at the surface like some…) Yet it wasn’t. It was the kind of well you could actually go down into. But no one had dared as they were afraid taht the reason the water was bad was that the North Koreans and the Chinese had dumped bodies in it when they pulled out of the area. (Turned out what had actually happened was someone had dumped two army kitchens down in it instead. Haul out the rusty cutlery and they had good water.)

            2. A “well” is, broadly, any vertical shaft. Oil well, for example, or treacle well. I think it may require an interior lining, such as stone, but it is probably a less demanding term.

      4. It’s the modern version of colonialism. You don’t move in and officially form a government, then provide police force, and the responsibility of building and maintaining roads, schools, ect.
        Instead, one bribes the national government in place. That way, you can buy that country’s resources for a small fraction of the cost, while not being stuck with having to keep the peace or provide development.

  7. One of the problems of Leftists is their tendency to embrace mutually exclusive ideas, a trait which renders coherent thought impossible.

    If humans are fundamentally essentially the same as animals, as so many of our Leftists proclaim, denouncing Human Exceptionalism as bigotry, then humans must be expected to behave according to animal principles, principles which include territoriality, aggression toward intruders, and a tendency to expand the areas occupied by the herd.

    If one in turn denounces these tendencies as immoral, one is asserting that humans are not animals, that humans have a capacity for moral behaviour which no animals demonstrate.

    So, which is it, bucko?

    1. …a trait which renders coherent thought impossible.

      Logic is a tool of white European male suppression.

      You don’t really want a better world do you?

    2. Humans aren’t herd animals.
      We’re more pack animals than anything else.
      Maybe why earlier humans and dog ancestors got along so well together; similar early social patterns.

      1. I think there’s a little bit of herdish tendencies as well, which is why we were able to absorb several herd animals.

        And we have a just enough oddball individualism that we get along with cats and ferrets all right too.

        But, yeah, overall we’re pack animals. Or pack of pack animals. (Humans must *always* take their animalistic tendencies to new levels that aren’t found among other creatures…)

    3. How dare you claim that animals aren’t moral agents!

      (Yes, that would actually be the likely answer you’d receive in asking your question.)

    4. I think it was Tolkein who observed that humans, indeed, are animals, and that pretty much anyone can see that. Where the biologist makes a mistake, though, is assuming we’re *only* animals, because we’re clearly so much more.

  8. History, barbarians, and civilization. Lot of wars and fights there. Lots of miscommunication as well. I think one thing that most modern cultural relativists don’t really understand is that the chances of miscommunication even 100 years ago was greater then now. Less chance of finding someone that was truly fluent in both newly discovered languages and the language of the explorer. Thus the brutal “massacres” when civilizations clashed.

    1. One of the reasons the Pacific Theater of WWII was so vicious compared to the European Theater was that Americans and Germans largely spoke the same – or at least related – cultural languages, while there was far more miscommunication between American and Japanese cultures.

      1. I think you are *grossly* understating the effects of the Japanese culture at the time. The Japanese culture of the 30s and early 40s was the unfortunately victim of a combination of beliefs in racial superiority, subservience to the state, and worship of bushido to a level that their own ancestors who had actually practiced it would not have recognized. It was an *extremely* poisonous mix of beliefs.

        In some ways the Japanese of World War 2 were even worse than the Nazis. And I do *not* say that lightly.

        If you’ve ever read Larry Correa’s Grimnoir Trilogy, keep in mind that all of the background atrocities committed by the Japanese in the setting that do not explicitly require magic are based on actual atrocities committed by the real world Japanese during the war with China and/or in World War 2.

        1. Korea, too. Someone mentioned Koreans ‘rushing off’ to join the Japanese, but according to my memory of what my grandfather (who was there) said there were two sorts: The ones who joined the Japanese army basically as a bribe to get their families left alone, and those who were considered the most vile of traitors by the other Koreans (and usually started out as slimy, sadistic bastards before they joined up).

          Both my parents grew up in post Korean War Korea. Mom’s mom was born outside of Pyongyang, Dad’s family had been in Korea since the 1880s so I have a fair amount of background. (I’d have to see if Dad’s Uncle Dick can shed any light on that era more explicitly.)

          I knew China was getting out of hand when I heard (from family I still have over there) that the Koreans were making friendly noises at the Japanese in regards to dealing with China.

      2. Then again, the Germans and Russians have a very close cultural history. Prussia and Russia had very close ties right up until Bismark was fired.
        Yet the Eastern Front was perhaps the most savage of WWII.
        In some cases, a cultural understanding can make things worse.

        1. Well, the Eastern Front was IMO so savage because Germany had “told” the Russians that there wasn’t a place for them in Greater Germany.

          IE For the Russians it was “die now while killing Germans” or “die later”.

          1. IE For the Russians it was “die now while killing Germans” or “die later”.

            First thought: Before I’d be a slave I’d be buried in my grave.

            Doesn’t seem much of a choice, so send as many of them on ahead of you before you go.

          2. Timothy Snyder’s _Bloodlands_. Great book. Grim as h-ll.

            And the whole Russians vs. Germans on the barbarian scale actually went back to WWI, when the Russians carried off Austrian and German POWs and used them as slave labor or shipped them to Siberia, in violation of the then-understood rules of warfare. And killed the Jews in Galicia and enserfed the peasants, and tried to destroy the Uniate churches after promising to allow them to continue worshiping, and… It was a bad start to an ugly fight, and that was 1915. Not that the Hungarian Honved and other Austro-Hungarian and German forces were saints, but what the Russians did startled a lot of observers.

            1. In one of the Dakotas, one of the universities apparently has a collection of documents from German American families. In those are letters from Germans living in the Ukraine during the Holodomor.

              Germans in other parts of Europe would have had similar letters, telling them what it is like to live under Soviet rule, and the Bavarian SSR would have told them that they were in line.

              1. From what I recall of Arms of Krupp, Ukrainians welcomed Germany as liberators. Stupid racist Nazis failed to accept the advantage.

                1. They gladly accepted Ukrainian help in exterminating Ukrainian Jewry. (Ukrainians ran a close second to Lithuanians in their eagerness to assist the project.)

                2. Surprisingly, things actually turned out better for the Ukrainians than originally planned. The original German plan was to just take all of the food that first harvest season leaving literally nothing for the locals, who were then expected to starve to death.

  9. BTW, you want massacre, you need to look at what happens when a “primitive” culture succeeds in overpowering (however temporarily) a “civilized” society. Women and children hit hardest.

    Examples abound, such as the Mahdi Army’s victory at Khartoum or the Zulu victory at Battle of Isandlwana.

    1. And as evil as Western massacres are, they are often the result of Westerners being provoked, and responding in kind.

      While it doesn’t make such responses right, understanding this is often a necessary step in understanding the humanity of people who do inhumane things. (It’s not a sufficient step, though, because there are sometimes massacres that don’t have good explanations — both committed by Westerners, and committed by non-Westerners…)

  10. I had a lengthy reply, but it sounded contrarian, so I just deleted it. Basically it was thinking in 19th Century Mode and what was considered massacres and what wasn’t, and why. Few would have called wiping out those who attacked you a massacre unless there were issues surrounding the particulars. There were incidents involving non-Whites that were considered massacres by contemporaries, but they didn’t involve anyone in the process of trying to lift scalps.

    The sad thing is it could have been done right. If the expedition had come under days of attacks until they marched to the nearest village and killed every man, woman, and child, the reader likely would have considered it a massacre. The brother could have said something like “Having to fight to stay out of the pot is a bit different than reading about in the safety of your parlor,” which is nice and gritty, and may have enough of an icky feeling to certain minds, but would be entirely realistic.

    1. They had come under days of attacks, but the “massacre” was a party of twenty for lack of a better term “braves” (young warriors) who’d attacked them.
      And yeah, making the brother in law a strawman was stupid.

      1. You appear to believe that a massacre is a bad/immoral thing. In my view, it is a thing, if it is good or bad depends on the situation. In some cases, an ambush by our forces for instance, it is a very good and praiseworthy thing.

        1. I was thinking about a specific massacre, so named by contemporaries. From the evidence it was an Indian town playing both sides. It was taken nationally as a case of mistaken identity. Most took refuge in a single building for defense, and they fired on the old chief as he waved a white rag on a stick. The building caught on fire and most of the down burned to death right there. Oral history holds that there was so much smoke from burning and black powder that no one could make out the white rag, and when he opened the door they thought they were going to be rushed, and cut down the first man out.

          Anyway, the particulars that got that labeled a massacre was:

          1. Alleged case of mistaken identity.
          2. Killing the chief as he waved a white rag to show surrender.
          3. The burning to death of women and children.

          The attempted ambush of a force of Indians who had raided and scalped someone alive was not considered the same thing, and had it succeeded the attitude would have been “That’ll learn ’em, durn ’em.” Wiping out an attacking force that signal surrender tended to give attacks the massacre title.

          There’s so many cultural and psychological factors involved it’s almost a case by case basis.

          1. I got to thinking about the Northfield MN Massacre, also known as the James-Younger Raid, but a quick refresher on the Wiki indicates that little affair is not considered a massacre. Further Wiki-checking turns up this:

            Robert Melson’s “basic working definition,” reads, “by massacre we shall mean the intentional killing by political actors of a significant number of relatively defenseless people… the motives for massacre need not be rational in order for the killings to be intentional… Mass killings can be carried out for various reasons, including a response to false rumors… political massacre… should be distinguished from criminal or pathological mass killings… as political bodies we of course include the state and its agencies, but also nonstate actors…”

            Mark Levene defines a massacre as historically involving the murder of more than one individual, within an outrageous moral deficiency: “Although it is not possible to set unalterable rules about when multiple murders become massacres. Equally important is the fact that massacres are not carried out by individuals, instead they are carried out by groups… the use of superior, even overwhelming force…” Levene excludes “legal, or even some quasi-legal, mass executions.” He also points out that it is “…most often … when the act is outside the normal moral bounds of the society witnessing it… In any war … this killing is often acceptable.”

            Emphasis added. Both definition would exclude the total elimination of an attacking force from the meaning of massacre.

            1. There’s a “common language” definition of massacre, though, that has also come into play. This version carries no moral judgment, and is sometimes said approvingly. E.g., I remember reading about a battle in Afghanistan where a smallish number of U.S. Marines (around 50 or 100, I think) fought against about ten times as many Al-Qaeda fighters. (I believe it was an ambush, but I forget which side was ambushing whom). I distinctly remember the milblogger saying, in approving terms, “It was a massacre: almost all the AQ fighters were wiped out, and the Marines didn’t suffer a single fatality.” The milblogger in question, by using the word “massacre”, was not saying the Marines were in the wrong: it was perfectly legitimate warfare. Rather, the word was used to describe the entirely one-sided nature of the combat, where one side was wiped out (or nearly so) while the other side took almost no casualties. (I think a few Marines were wounded, but none of them were killed).

              That’s not the meaning of “massacre” that’s in play in the KULL book that Sarah mentioned, so I mention this more as a curiosity than as any kind of disagreement with the main point.

      2. … making the brother in law a strawman was stupid.

        Making any character a strawman is stupid, as well as a fundamental flaw in story-telling. It suggests you are incapable of instructing your audience undidacticly and lack confidence in the reader’s ability to derive meaning except when lectured.

        1. More possibly, that the writer either doesn’t know any better, or doesn’t know any other way to make his point.

          After all, if he’s been brought up and educated correctly, he’s never seen any other point of view or means of expression.

          1. This is a real fear of mine – we’ve been swimming in a brew of SJW ideas since school, and I’m sure it’s still there in my thinking, in my knee jerk reactions. It’s what’s been programmed in.

            I’m partly joking, but I think I want a SJW-removal edit of anything I write, just to watch for the crap that might have crept in.

            1. I have a problem along those lines. An influential portion of my reading are combat stories which, rather than a male cast, have a mostly female cast with one male. These were largely designed that way for titillation and fan service.

              My own design work sometimes reminds me of the conflict between SJW feminist “women have always fought”/”I am woman, hear me roar” and what I’ve heard about the actual importance of mass and size. Maybe that stifles my creativity, maybe the nagging voice of ‘is that plausible’ challenges it and makes it stronger.

              1. I just finished LawDog’s hilarious stories, and he’s got exceptions like Big Mama and her “Amazonian” daughters (one of whom had three deputies hanging off of her and they still couldn’t take her down). But they are exceptions, and they are not dainty flowers, or conventionally attractive.

                Dainty flowers, or even just women more towards the norm, have to do stuff like go psycho crazy, carry major force multiplication weapons, or keep things psychological, but (other than weaponry) these aren’t effective combat tactics. I think these are also tactics for very small guys, too, who would also have trouble in combat (though even a small guy can out-strong an average female, as i found out in high school (I thought it was SO unfair)).

                1. Whaddya mean “It’s Biology that’s unfair?”. It’s all a myth created by the evil patriarchy in order to oppress womyn.
                  (Now I’m going to have to vomit to get the taste of that out of my mouth)

                  1. I’m a myth and I’ve not oppressed any women* as far as I know. If any would like me to, I suppose arrangements could be made, but overall I dislike that idea.

                    * As for womyn, well, I exist and as I comprehend it, simply existing and being male suffices to ‘oppress’ such.

                2. My then-coworker got huffy when I told her that I had had my then-12-yo son check the weight of the rocks I had picked up to give her for some landscaping. She told me, “I’m strong. I do rock climbing.”

                  So I shrugged, then reached out casually with one hand and handed her the first stone. She nearly dropped it. To her credit, she admitted that it had probably been a good idea to check them.

              2. My own design work…

                Ya need summa them recoilless handguns like I sees all time in movies. Otherwise the difference in mass between a 240-lb buck and a 105-lb gal affects shootin’ skilz. Put reg’lar handcannons in their hands an’ she gonna spend too much time pickin’ he’self offa the ground to keep up with hisself.

        2. Eh, sometimes comic strawmen work.

          The sad thing is that there are actual strawmen in human form. . . but then, we all know why truth is stranger than fiction.

                1. Intrepid African Explorer Professor Bond, shouted over the hasty barricade in Scottish Accent: “Do you expect us to talk?”
                  Local Interested African Resident With Weaponry, in Local Accent: “No, Professor Bond, I expect you to die!”

    2. Do you think it would’ve been better to march into the nearest village and taken the women and children hostage? Or taken a couple hostages with them for protection against attacks?

      I suppose it would depend on the particular beliefs of these particular natives. I imagine there are some cultures that would continue to attack regardless, for one reason or another.

      1. But that could be more trouble than it’s worth.

        Protag: We’ll just take a native hostage to get through this territory in one piece, then let the hostage go later.

        Later, native girl speaks through translator: If you send me back, my tribe’ll kill me.

        Protag: What!?!?

        Native: A kidnapped woman is assumed to have been dishonored and killed to uphold the family honor. I’m sticking with you.

        Protag: But we weren’t looking for another party member!

        Native: Too bad, you got one.

        1. This reminds me of two things.

          First, Vikings coming to America to help the poor indigent people. I won’t link it here, because it’s kindof hard for me to find it, but I usually start my search for it by looking for “Axe of Kindness”.

          Second, I remember overhearing a conversation about a program in Africa to try to reduce AIDS transmission to women, by teaching them to tell their boyfriends to respect their bodies. I can’t remember how it was phrased, but the results were disastrous: every young woman taught this was dead within a year, killed by boyfriends who were dishonored by what they were told. Teaching young women what to do is important, but it needed to be taught in a way that was compatible with local culture.

          Sometimes it’s easy to forget that all cultures have certain norms, and some of those norms can be particularly nasty.

          1. -Vikings-

            Wait, the Vikings were white, so how are white people allowed to be described as altruistic?


            Well what the hell were they teaching the MEN!?!?

            1. I can’t remember, in large part because I didn’t hear the entire conversation, but it was my understanding that they weren’t teaching the men, and that the things they were teaching the women were generally based standard American Feminist thought.

                1. Why on Earth would they think that? That would require 1) an understanding of history and 2) an understanding of comparative cultures. Progs 1) disbelieve in the importance and lessons of history and 2) believe all cultures are at least equal if not fundamentally the same.
                  Yes, progs are idiots.

          2. IIRC, that was the one run opposite of the Vatican-backed program that focused on teaching EVERYONE to marry ONE person and only have sex with them.

            It was so successful that any aid group that cooperated couldn’t get funds anymore; no other program actually reduced the rate of HIV.

                1. I believe that was the method employed to bring HIV in Uganda under control, so you might add that to the search parameters.

        2. …And this is exactly what’s happened with a bunch of the Boko Haram kidnapees. You note where they came out of captivity with babies? Yeah, they’re not virgins anymore and have “dishonoured” their families. The reason you don’t see “Reunited with families!” and instead see “In the president’s protection!” or “Allowed to come to the US for university education!” is because a good chunk of them will be killed by their families if they return. Not that the western media, who thought pouting with a #bringbackourgirls hastag would fix everything, either knows or cares.

        3. For some reason I think I remember a similar tale, although this was a captive from another tribe and bought by the group.

      2. To use an example from PTerry’s writings- Sam Vimes thought he could hold the leader of the D’regs captive and make them do his bidding.
        The D’regs think that any leader dumb enough to get caught isn’t worth listening too. Didn’t work as planned.

  11. No sense of history. Or of massacres, for that matter. I remember when I found out about a massacre by Mormons during the westward expansion. Seems weird to those of us who know the modern Mormons, but those ones were coming off a time of intense persecution and probably some of them wanted to “get their own back.” Human nature isn’t sunshine and roses, folk…

    1. Mountain Meadows, I’m guessing. Opponents of the LDS Church still bring it up from time to time, usually in an attempt to link it to Church leadership. Prior events don’t justify it, of course. But it’s strange how those same opponents never mention the Extermination Order issued in Missouri.

      1. I am no expert in LDS church history, but the fact that after many years of trying, the church finally got the memorial torn down does not say good things about the church.

      2. Ah, but Missouri rescinded the order in 1976, so it’s all good!

        (And while this also doesn’t justify the massacre, but merely puts it in perspective, it happened at a time when the US Government was sending an army to investigate what was going on in that newly-acquired territory, and so Brigham Young was sending people south to prepare forts, in case it was necessary to flee into Mexico…)

        1. Right – in 1847 the LDS left the United States and went into foreign exile, ending up in Mexican territory in what’s now Utah.

          It makes sense that they’d cover their bet after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican War by annexing their new settlements in Utah right back into the US that they might need to load up the wagons again and cross that moving border one more time.

          1. Heh. It was a battalion of Mormon volunteers in the US Army that took Tucson (bloodlessly) and pushed that border so far south, at about the same time Brigham Young was entering the Salt Lake Valley. And he wasn’t really interested in pulling up stakes and moving yet again. This time, the Mormons got there first and they were staying.

            1. While the Mormon Battalion occupied Tucson, that wasn’t what added Baja Arizona to the Union. It was about a decade later Tucson was added with the Gadsen Purchase.

              One of my things to do with a time machine, kick Gadsen in the shin until he ponies up the extra $1 Million to give Arizona ocean front property.

              (Interesting Alt Hist: how would the Civil War in the West have changed if the Confederacy had access to the Pacific through Arizona Territory?)

              1. Not that I’m a military expert, but I’m guessing not much. The Battalion did make it across the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, and Mojave deserts, but a larger force with cavalry and artillery would have had *serious* problems with water and fodder.

                1. During the War you had the California battalion invade Arizona from the west, followed by Sherod’s retreat back to Texas following the Confederate victory at Picacho Peak.

                  At the least the Union would have had to extend the blockade forces into the Sea of Cortez to prevent Confederate resupply from the west, and Sherod probably wouldn’t have surrendered Tucson without a fight.

              2. Won’t change the war much. The distance is too far to reliably move large quantities of men or materials. You’d need a transcontinental railroad for that, and any one line is going to be vulnerable to the Union wrecking it far from civilization.

        1. What a bozo. Everyone knows it’s the FBI that’s full of Mormons.

          [actually, mostly true, or it was during the Hoover years. J. Edgar was a stickler for “clean and neat”, to the point that it hampered various covert operations. The Mormon agents looked and acted like he expected FBI agents to, and were, if not exactly fast tracked, then looked upon favorably. Eventually there were enough Mormon agents that some paranoids were wondering if the LDS had taken over the FBI…]

          1. CIA as well, or at least last I’d heard. A lot of LDS college-age guys are fluent in foreign languages (or possibly obscure dialects of said languages) because they served missions overseas. That’s a valuable commodity for the CIA.

        2. It’s well known throughout Latin America that Mormon missionaries work for the CIA. Those white shirts and ties are a dead giveaway.

          1. The CIA and FBI both recruit–openly–on BYU campus, so, ya know…

            (No, really they do. I attended BYU my freshman year of college, and they had booths. When I returned there for a year after my mission in 2003…they still set up booths. 😀 )

            1. That may have less to do with BYU’s Mormon affiliation than the general idiocy those Bureaus meet on most any mainstream American campus. I hardly think them welcomed with open arms at any (Poison) Ivy League campus, and suspect they’d be greeted by armed insurrectionists at Berkely, Madison, Missou and Duke.

              1. The patriotism is part of it. Another is the bilingual ability of many of the students as I noted above.

    2. The Mormon settlements in the region were only about five years old. The settlers had been given an overly ambitious task of settling an unusually arid raw wilderness about two hundred miles from the more populous and better established towns; civilizing the local Utes, and creating an iron industry from scratch; all at the same time. It wasn’t going well.
      A few of the settlers had already been driven out of their homes three times by mob violence, and had reason to believe that was enough. A federal Army with possibly hostile intentions was on the way to Utah, and the Mormons had been ordered to conserve their supplies as a scorched-earth defense was being contemplated. That meant no trading with a California-bound immigrant train which came by at just the wrong time. A few of these were rather belligerent about their chilly reception and awakened evil memories. The Indians had also had been stirred up and were making threats to all and sundry.
      The local Mormon leaders sent for advice and even initially decided to let the immigrants go, but before a reply to that effect got back, Someone hatched a scheme to have the Indians harass the immigrants. It went off badly. A few of the Mormons were caught helping them, and the rest of them panicked and tried to cover it up. That went off even worse.

      1. I’ve also heard that the group of settlers was from Missouri. If true, that would have been particularly upsetting to many of the local Mormons.

        1. Most were from Arkansas. AFAIK, historians disagree on whether there was an especially provocative group of “Missouri wildcats” with the main body of the train or, if there was, whether they were caught in the massacre. Given their history and the existing tensions, it wouldn’t have taken very much in the way of bragging or threats to convince the Mormons that they were justified in doing their worst.

        2. Arkansas, yeah. My mother and I were chatting about it this morning (since it was brought up in this thread, and I was commenting to her how nice it was to see a discussion of Mountain Meadows that did not devolve into anti-Mormon ranting. I love you people.)

          And yeah. My thoughts on it are: frankly, after what the Mormons of the early church days suffered–especially in Missouri–it’s a minor miracle that there was only the ONE massacre. Humans is humans, and humans have a point where they just snap. Doesn’t make it right, of course, but it is understandable.

  12. 1) Jean-Jacques Rousseau was an asshole. His idea that the ‘Noble Savage’ was living in an edenic state is so stunningly stupid, and so insidiously poisonous, that his grave should be converted into a Pissoir.

    2) In the United States we tend to view Colonialism through a British lens, which skews it somewhat in a positive direction. The British actually weren’t all that bad. The Germans seem to have been pretty decent until WWI. The French were noticeably worse, the Dutch were dreadful, and the Belgian Congo prefigured some of Nazi Germany’s more startling excesses. That said, it really doesn’t take too many decades of ethnic cleansing, famine as a tool of statecraft, and general kleptocracy to make old fashioned British Paternalistic Colonialism look awfully goddamned good.

    3) The Intellectual Left existed, fully blown and completely execrable, before WWII. Kipling delineated them with total believability in “My Son’s Wife” (A DIVERSITY OF CREATURES 1917). They were anti-colonials in large part because they lacked the merit to rise in the mainstream if society, so they ranged themselves against it. My, doesn’t THAT sound familiar?

    Just random thoughts. Sorry, but I’m having my first migraine in a while, and it makes composing a coherent point hard.

          1. For a while I suspected that there was only one migraine (in the local area anyway) and my co-workers passed it around. Fortunately for me, never to me.

    1. “The Germans seem to have been pretty decent until WWI.”
      Unless you were a Herero in Southwest Africa, in which case you faced intentional extermination to make room for white settlers. (That any survived was due to to the protests of settlers who wanted some retained as a supply of farm labor.)

      “The Intellectual Left existed, fully blown and completely execrable, before WW II. ”

      Before WW I. “My Son’s Wife” was written in 1913. “Little Foxes”, which explictly mocks Left anti-colonialism, was published in 1909. “The Mother Hive”, Kipling’s bitterest attack on socialism, in 1908.

      1. Imperial Germany’s colonial history is really a mixed bag. Their record in German Southwest Africa was, as you suggest, abysmal, and those who natives who survived were treated horribly. On the other hand you have the case of German East Africa. There were some native rebellions that got dealt with harshly, but nothing like in German Southwest Africa. The Germans actually tried to bring modernity to the people there, and had some luck. Americans visiting in 1924 noted that the was the new colonial masters were running things it would take years before conditions improved back to the state they’d been under German rule.

        1. Ask the Koreans how they feel about Japan’s colonization of their peninsula. Ask from a safe distance, when they’re not armed, and have something besides you to destroy.

            1. Pretty much all of South East Asia dislikes the Japanese for one reason or another. The vast majority of it can be traced to World War 2.

              But not all of it. Japan invaded Korea twice. And the Koreans aren’t happy about either time.

              Of course, the Koreans probably neglect to remember that it was only blind misfortune that kept them (and the Mongols) from pulling the exact same stunt on the Japanese a few centuries earlier.

              1. The Koreans also like to forget that come ’33-’45 they were volunteering to join the Imperial Army, and were some of the worst behaved Japanese troops.

                1. I hadn’t heard that. All anyone ever talks about when the subject of Korea and World War 2 comes up is “comfort women”. Doesn’t surprise me, though. The Korean Peninsula is the shortest invasion route for anyone planning to travel between China and Japan (in either direction; a friend of mine who is Chinese mentioned that the reason why China wants to keep Korea split is because they’re worried about the Japanese using it to invade China again), and there’s a lot of long-standing grudges and racist sentiment between all three races.

                  Lately I’ve been watching the second season of a Korean historical period drama (second season because Netflix didn’t have the first season). It’s set in the double digit BC era. One of the antagonists in the series are the “Han” (i.e. the Chinese dynasty of the time). Needless to say, the Koreans have disliked the Chinese for a *very* long time.

                2. O.M.G! SE Asia is full of … people! Whatever must we do? (Presses back of right hand to forehead, gazes skyward fervently.)

    2. “the Belgian Congo prefigured some of Nazi Germany’s more startling excesses.”

      In “Beau Geste”, they establish the fort commander’s villainy by saying “he had been thrown out of the Belgian Congo for excesses violating even the standards of King Leopold’s Merry Men.”

  13. “In a clash between civilizations, if you decide that your morals require you not to fight/lie down and die, you’ll be the one colonized.”
    When I first read this sentence, I was convinced there was a typo – as I was apply the not to both fight and “lie down and die” – and if your morals require you not to lie down and die, I think the meaning changes. I’m aware this is probably just being picky, but you probably would be better off flipping the two alternatives to read:

    “In a clash between civilizations, if you decide that your morals require you to lie down and die/not to fight, you’ll be the one colonized.”

    That way, the not clearly does not apply to the “lie down and die”.

    Generally, however, I agree – you clearly ran into an idiot author moment. 😦

    1. Possibly. have I mentioned I write these pre-coffee and in a state of idiocy? And I don’t edit because I don’t get paid for these? (Yeah, sure, reader donations. That comes to… I think, $5 per post.)

      1. Pre-coffee? I would think that would encourage more leakage from your first language roots; not having turned on all the filters and flipped the switches into full conscious English mode. On the other hand, I’ve never gotten to the point of being able to think in Korean, Japanese, German, or, God forbid! French. Although I do have a nasty habit of occasionally dropping into German sentence structure.

        1. In my limited experience, pre-coffee just allows you to stay in the language you’ve been dreaming in. A stimulus like reading or hearing something in your native language is more likely to flip you back into it. Anybody who writes English as well as Sarah isn’t likely to wake up in Portuguese.

            1. Perhaps your dreams employ a universal translator program, a la Star Trek, and it only seems like you’re dreaming in English?

              I find I often dream in Wallabashi, but it translates as English.

                1. I believe you are thinking of Wabashic, the computer programming language. Often used for writing video games involving artillery, catapults and other ballistic devices because of the ease with which it incorporates tables and chairs.

            2. I just pictured you standing in the middle of your dream screaming “What the *&#$ are you talking about?”

        2. Er… I’ve now spoken English as a primary language longer than I spoke Portuguese. My brother calls me “a former native speaker of Portuguese.” He’s not wrong.
          I have dreamed in English for 35 years now, including in Portugal. Under anesthesia I speak English or occasionally and bizarrely Latin.
          The human brain is a mystery.

          1. My high school Spanish teacher had to take at least one Central or South American language for her degree. She claimed that when she was coming out of anesthesia she was babbling in Nahuatl.

              1. I have dreamed in Latin. I was so impressed with my own conversational fluency that I woke up.

                But what was really impressive was that I remembered my dream. Usually I don’t remember them.

        3. Oh, and everyone who’s ever learned German does that occasionally. I have been known to start capitalizing all names at random. I usually notice when I’m trying to build anounthatencompasseseverythingIwanttosay.

          1. Back 20-odd years ago the kooldoodz would capitalize every noun when sending email. It was a pretty accurate age indicator. That went on for years before it (mostly) went away.

            For some reason they got resentful when I asked if their shift key was sticky.

          2. Those of us who grew up in ethnically German subcultures (PA Dutch here) often find ourselves using a not-exactly-English sentence structure when we talk. I sometimes realize it, but never before the sentence has been said, it seems.

            1. Actually when I’m tired, or low on thyroid, or just not functioning I do what I call “approaching meaning by degrees.” This is because there’s some word that I JUST can’t remember, no matter how I try.
              Say the word I can’t remember is firefly. I’m trying to goad it into appearing by approaching it stealthily. So, the sentence that comes out is “there were things flying that had a light. The nether part of their anatomy glowed. they were glowing flies.” It’s so ingrained, I don’t realize I’m doing it, but if you catch one of those in a surviving book, you can hear me at the back going “Damn it, where’s that word?”

              1. The traditional laugh-at-the-Dutchman line was, “Throw the cow over the fence some hay.” That one’s kind of obvious, but we would come up with similar constructions without realizing they weren’t standard English unless we really thought about it.

                1. “Going by den Herder’s come with?” That’s when I realized that Dutch is a lot closer to German than it looks on the page. It was kind cool sorting out what influences came from the Netherlands and which were Swedish/Norwegian.

                  1. Well, there were numerous platt-deutsch words we used without thinking about them, too: doppick, when you were clumsy, shmutz or geshmutzed when you were dirty from playing, etc.

                    1. There’s some Penn-Dutch in my family tree and there was a word that was sometimes used to describe my sister and I.

                      It basically meant “rascal” and started out with a “hon” sound.

                      Never knew how it was spelled but it might have been a Germanic word.

              2. I find myself doing that a lot too. A lot more frequently, in the last couple of years, than I would like, but that probably has something to do with having difficulty getting more than five or six hours of sleep at night (largely because of lack in self discipline in getting to bed — which is one reason why I’ve been reading only about one fiction book a month, if that, much to my chagrin…)

          3. I open the car door for my dog and tell him to ingehoppen. Never have to tell him to outgehoppen.

          4. I’ve found that after my stint reading the Federalist Papers, some Anti-Federalist papers, and Blackstone’s Commentaries, I have a greater tendency to capitalize nouns than I did before. Not as bad as a German, to be sure, but it’s there.

            The copy of Blackstone’s Commentaries I read used the elongated s’s that looked like f’s, but I never really got used to those. (Also, I wouldn’t use “f” as an “s”, I’d insist on finding an actual elongated “s” if I ever felt compelled to use it in writing…)

    2. Or, to put it another way (Q.I., the British quiz show): “Scientists tell us that animals have two mechanisms for dealing with a threat. They call this the “Fight or flight” decision. And there is a technical word for animals that do not either flee from or combat a threat.


      1. I would have enjoyed that show if it wasn’t for the instant-on, earthquake-level laugh track. Of course, they were hardly the only ones.

  14. Does the brother of one of the locals who were “massacred” gather a group of his friends to hunt down and kill the late father? That’s another trope for this sort of situation that always annoys me. Apparently *not* wiping out the locals is particularly foolish because the brother/cousin/uncle/son of at least one of the people that you killed will then gather his group of friends to go after you in revenge. And then the brother/cousin/uncle/son of one of those friends will gather *their* friends…

    (there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of friends for these sorts of things)

    And don’t forget the village elder who counsels the brother/cousin/uncle/son to give up on his quest for revenge, and then shrugs his shoulders when his advice is ignored.

    1. Yep, that’s implied. That he was killed in “revenge” for the massacre. Because, you know, the alternative of letting himself be killed, would not have occasioned more violence. because success is never reinforcing.

  15. Handy counterexamples that darkly amuse me: The Crow Creek Massacre and the genocide of the Marai at the hands of the Maori. The latter being in historical times, so when the Westerners asked why they killed them all, the Maori shrugged, looked puzzled, and said “this is our way.” And as we all know, you *have* to respect the cultural traditions of Others! 😀

    (N.B. my cultural traditions include receiving propitiatory offerings of dark chocolate and handsome kilted men. Just so you know…)

    1. I’m one of those deplorable evil old white men the Progressives are constantly warning you about. Supposedly our culture requires that we be propitiated by giving us all your wealth and all your nubile females.

      Strange, but I’ve never run into a fellow evil old white guy who’s had that ever happen to him. You don’t suppose those Progressives could possibly have been LYING about that, do you?

        1. My mother’s maiden name was Lewis. For decades I thought I was Scottish. Then all this genealogical data became available and I found out that I was actually descended from Welsh Llewellyns/Lewis instead. Which is alright since I think the Scottish Lewis tartan is a kind of ugly yellow and grey.

          1. I’m part-Scottish through my mother. Can’t remember whether I’m one-quarter or one-eighth McKenzie (iirc).

            I’ve occasionally contemplated having a kilt made in the clan colors. But I’d need to get into a more secure economic situation before I could do something like that.

    2. > this is our way

      That was essentially Lt. John Bushyhead’s statement to the court martial after he machine-gunned a bunch of SS prison camp guards after getting a good look at the survivors at Dachau.

      Bushyhead was a Cherokee from the reservation in Oklahoma, and back home they had rather inflexible ideas about how to deal with that sort of dirtbag.

            1. …and reportedly gathered and personally burned all the Courts Martial paperwork, just as a Patton thing to do.

      1. It occurs to me that now might be the proper time to reintroduce everyones’ favorite quote from General Sir Charles James Napier.

        “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

    3. N.B. my cultural traditions include receiving propitiatory offerings of dark chocolate and handsome kilted men. Just so you know…

      Any other women in your culture? Because I can guarantee I fulfill one of those requirements. Give me a day or so and I can get up to two.

  16. It is the abstract isolation of a phenomenon that can be good or bad or indifferent, depending on who is colonizing whom.
    I have to strongly resist the urge to hit people when they say “change is good”. Because I want to hit them, break something painful in them, then say “there’s some change for you; is it good?”

    1. If change is so good, how come nobody wants any unless it’s been put in pretty paper rolls first? Yes, it’s time for my annual dresser top and change drawer cleaning. Like the last several years, this less than efficient savings program will go toward paying off student loans, the ones we foolishly cosigned for.

      1. Feh. No local bank will accept change in rolls any more. They want you to dump it in their counting machine, which is usually non-functional.

    2. When I first heard the campaign slogan “Hope and Change” the first thing to come to mind was… Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

      And I’ve noticed that folks that tell me “Busy is good” are never themselves busy. I guess they must be up to no good.

  17. There is no option between human civilizations for ‘we’ll each go to our little territories and stay there’. That’s not how humans work or ever have.

    Alexander Hamilton or rather Publius, pretty much made the same point when writing The Federalist Papers, and it is why I have never been completely sold on Jefferson’s idealism of remaining a bunch of little colonies that happily go their merry way and as long as they dont bump into each other and upset the cart, things will be hunkydory. Hamilton’s warning that outside forces CAN, DO, and WILL impose themselves with or without confederate permission was apparently lost on Jefferson et al.

    1. Being in Virginia sort of insulated Jefferson from certain realities, that state having a significant abundance of produce to sell.. Not understanding various fundamentals of economics, such as the unwisdom of selling your commodities through the same brokers who you rely upon for luxury goods is likely to end poorly.

        1. However, at least he was capable of learning–see the Louisiana purchase and the Barbary wars.
          Which puts him a step ahead of most of our current political theorists.

  18. My partner and I are watching costume drama Jamestown – about Virginia settlement in 1618 – and my goodness does it get history wrong. It is about a boatload of sketchy, but quite attractive, english women sent over to America to become wives.

    Minor spoilers ahead:
    We’ve only watched two episodes so far but doctor has discovered cholera in water wells two hundred and fifty years before Dr John Snow did and one of the women just survived an attempt to burn her as witch, eighty years before puritans in a different region, and she was saved by another clever female.

    English have not yet had a skirmish with the Indians, I wonder how that will be handled?

    1. “one of the women just survived an attempt to burn her as witch, eighty years before puritans in a different region,”

      Witch trials at that point had been going on for a couple hundred years all over the Europe / England these people came from, for both men AND women, and any six year old knew it. Salem was infamous because it was late, and rare by that time.

  19. “I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.” attributed to Patton.

    In the battle of Us vs Them, it always has to be Us. Everything else is contra-evolution. And if it isn’t Us, then you should evaluate whether you should be alive.

    1. The fascinating (ie Train Wreck-type fascination) is that those who compulsively argue that Republicans are anti-evolution because religious don’t seem to grasp the fact you just stated.

  20. Lewis and Clark managed to avoid this sort of thing with a well-managed display of superior technology. (a repeating airgun) Of course, they never showed the natives how long it took pump up the reservoir.

  21. And you really bother to chase a case of 3rd-hands posturing?.. That’s just “weak manning”.
    Why not someone who’s closer to your size and has at least one thumb outside the mouth? Could be more of exercise and more of entertainment. =)

      1. The commenter has obviously never had a relationship. Of any kind. 😎

        “Build on the flanks of Etna where the sullen smoke-puffs float –
        Or bathe in tropic waters where the lean fin dogs the boat –
        Cock the gun that is not loaded, cook the frozen dynamite –
        But oh, beware the Sarah, when the Sarah grows polite!”

  22. On “recoil-less” handguns – see the “Open” category – the compensators (muzzle brakes) are efficient enough that they are close to recoil-less. Typically in very hot-loaded .38 Super.

  23. So more nonsense from the press, this time from Jim Acosta at CNN at a White House presser on the proposed new immigration standards. He should have been embarrassed, but it looks more like once in the hole he kept digging.

    Since when would requiring a knowledge of English limit candidates to individuals from Great Britain and Australia? Since when would it mean they would all be white?

    English is the official language in 54 countries and 27 non-sovereign entities. This includes nations on every continent — and Oceania. You don’t even have to have been prat of the British Empire to be on the list. English is spoken non only in those countries where it is the official language, it is spoken in some 110 countries. (The Daughter would point out that English is now used throughout the world — it is the language of the internet.)

    As we know from the example of Our Esteemed Hostess, you don’t even have to have been born in a country where English is the official language. Just because the U.S.A. does not make it a priority to see that their children are taught foreign languages it doesn’t mean this is the state of things in the rest of the world.

    The dumb, it hurts.

    1. And isn’t English the world’s most common “second” language?

      As for not making another language a priority… that’s a product of vast area – one can travel immense distances and never need another language. Here and there, now and then, something else might be useful… but hardly critical. That knowledge of more than a single language might well have some intellectual (as originally defined) benefit is really the reason to have more than just English. But even so, such would be an addition or augment – not a backup or replacement.

    2. The dumb, it hurts.

      I gather that even Judge Posner is pained by Acosta’s hectoring. While Canada has not filed a formal complaint I gather the Indian subcontinental nations are considering boycotts of CNN, only deterred by the fact that there is such little audience for the network that there is grave doubt such a boycott would be felt.

      As for the various nations of the Caribbean Islands, I believe* the Jamaican Prime Minister was reported to have said it best: “CNN? Fock ’em, Mon.”

      *For the sake of all concerned, I advise against any deep exploration of things I believe.

    3. IIRC, Redstate is alleging that other news media where supportive of Acosta. Redstate also has transcripts.

  24. So basically the premise of Conquest & Cultures by Thomas Sowell.

    (The other two in the set – Race & Cultures and Migrations & Cultures are pretty good, too.)

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