Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: Before the white man came? War
Posted on 07/18/2006 7:45:03 AM PDT by Pokey78
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So, he was French after all?
They may have wanted or even craved meat, but they didn't "need" it because they were suffering from protein deficiency.
They had corn and beans which together make an excellent complete protein. Human meat was an elite monopoly, used more as a status symbol than anything else.
Many millions of people have gone their entire lives without eating meat. It isn't needed. (Although I like it a lot.)
The same thought entered my mind as soon as I read the piece. I was surprised that Steyn didn't include the quote from Hobbes. It would have made a perfect ending.
If I recall correctly, the Iroquois exterminated [absorbing the few survivors] the Erie Indians - so the Iroquois could control the fur trade with the whites. Kumbay - frickin' - ya.
Who in the end is more respected by the non Indians than he was by the Indians.
Especially when, as at Cannae, the loser managed to get himself surrounded, on an open plain, by an army about half his numbers. Quite a feat, that.
A great many men usually escaped from ancient battles, since the losers would usually divest themselves of their arms and armor, making them much faster than the victors. A guy toting 30 to 50 pounds just can't catch a guy who isn't.
Thus the importance of cavalry in killing as many of the runners as possible.
True. Prior to that it was an independent city-state, but Protestant, not Catholic, and generally in opposition to France.
He along with Voltaire are buried in the Panthéon, which to me is man's greatest work of architecture. I spend many hours in there or in the cafe outside whenever I am in Rome.
Eckert's book on Tecumseh is exceptional.
Much of his Shawnee tribe and Cherokee relatives (mother's tribe) revered him deeply in his day.
Very good points.
Especially important when you consider the relatively small size of the Roman state at the time.
Hannibal killed something like 150,000 to 200,000 Roman and allied soldiers in two years. That's out of a total population of perhaps 5M. That's equivalent to America losing perhaps 12M to 15M in two years.
Oops, wrong Pantheon.
Great article, as always.
T.S. Eliot, writing years ago about permissive education, said that moderns fear that they are going to "repress" their children - but there are some things that should be repressed!
Another great Mark Steyn - btw, for people who aren't familiar with the Lee Harris book, it's definitely worth a read.
The great anthropologists like Marvin Harris (as opposed to the intellectual pygmies we find in academe today) were unafraid to tackle the issue of war in primitive societies. In Harris's 'Cannibals and Kings' he devotes a chapter to the "Origin of War". Significantly, Harris found that anthropologists had found only a handful of societies that ostensibly did not make war. However, Harris found that those usually mentioned (Andaman Islanders, Shoshoni, Yaghan of Patagonia, Tasaday of the Philippines) were really refugee cultures. He notes that warfare is as old as time, and even the famous Peking Man had his skull smashed at the base, an indication of warfare.
That is a great article. Completly true. I have read a lot of James Fenemore Cooper, most notably, "The Leatherstocking Tales," and he portrays the Indians as a bunch of warring saveges.
I will have to check that out! Tecumseh was very popular in the area I grew up in, except among the Native Americans. Don't remember exactly why.
A small mesa, sure. As at Acoma.
I'm speaking of the large mesas such as at Mesa Verde, which are really more like a plain or plateau cut by canyons. Once the enemy was on the mesa, which was much too large to control access to, the pueblos were definitely not defensible without changing their entire character. Rather than build castles, the Anasazi logically moved into the cliff dwellings.
Oh, good grief! Why must everything end up having to do with the Palestinians?
And the Huron were known to be some of the fiercest, and barbarically cruel, of the tribes.
No group of peoples has a lock on inhumanity to man - If only two people were left on the face of the earth, I suspicion they would be at one another's throats...
Why the facts that the aborigines of the Americas warred with another is supposed to be largely unknown is merely the supposition of someone who has not read the histories and documentations.
It always amuses me when someone learns something for the first time themselves, they assume no one else ever knew either...
Calling: Donner...party of five...Donner...party of...
There also seems to be an elitist bias that automatically attributes being poor with having been victimized by society. In many cases its the result of their own laziness or shiftlessness. Great article. Thanks for posting.
I took an anthropology course a while back and had to watch a video serious called, "A Poor Man Shames us all". It was all about how great and good these indiginous tribes were versus our Western hegemoney. It was sickening, and every single paper I had to write about every episode I broke down the BS that the producers of this garbage were trying to sell. I did make some points with the young mush heads in the class with me.
If there were enough of us left, we would go to war against them, but in today's climate, your suggestion would probably work better.
Debate is good; dogma bad. Let's then just say that the Zooarcheological evidence indicates that the late Pleistocene mass extinctions (in say, the Americas) strongly coincided with arrival of skilled human hunters. Whether aboriginal overkill or ecological change brought on by the burning of fire-sensitive vegetation is the cause of the disappearance of large mammals, it still gives lie to the silly notion that the "natives" live in harmony with Mother Nature.
I guess that's what comes of establishing your civilization in a swamp -- shortage of protein.
But we should take a page out of their book, you know, the Noble Savage and all ...
I don't remember any European civilization that practiced cannibalism as a routine matter. But that must be because I'm seeing history through a Eurocentric prism ...
How did your professor take that?
Then why isn't SanFran the center of the universe?
One swallow doesn't make a summer, of course [...]
Oh, well maybe that's why.
They 'killed' for protein and put on a nice dinner show.
Interesting post (#42). I accept your criticism of the word "need." It has been many years since I read Marvin Harris, but I think that he (or someone else) indicated that the Aztec agriculture was inadequate. I "need" to revisit the research..... Relavent in a way now since the professors of Aztlan want to revisit [sic] their paradise on California etc.
He'd probably been out hunting with his Vice-Chieftan.
This is just another great article popping the PC bubble of Rousseau's primitive lovelies. The Left really are the nancy-boy pacifists who would get us all killed by their delusional thinking. Thank God for Bush, Cheney, Rummie and boy would we need some more Pace's and a few Pattons thrown in.
I couldn't agree more.
Steyn continues to belt these out of the park...
IMO, science, wonderful as it is, often contains far more speculation that we'd like to admit.
Great point. I wonder if Rove shared that tidbit with La Raza when he met with them?
I can't believe La Raza and like minded people want to go back to that? And Che? Puh-lease. They can go to Cuba or Venezuela and become workers for the state. It would be quite an eye opener. It's a shabby excuse to try to impose some kind of socialist revolucion on us. But, shhh, we aren't supposed to know that.
The Clovis overkill hypothesis is that human hunters arrived in America about 12,000 years ago and promptly killed off all the large mammals.
Two major problems:
1. Evidence is growing all the time that humans have been in the Americas for much longer, as far back as 20,000 or 25,000 BP.
2. A great many other animals went extinct at the same time, including ones unlikely to be hunted by people, implying that there were other causes involved.
I have a very open mind on the subject. Something happened then, and humans moving in may have been a part of it, but they are probably not the whole story.
Agree that the idea of "native Americans" living in harmony with nature is hooey.
If Hobbes and Steyn were contemporaries, Hobbes might have quoted Steyn.
I'm sure there are some hard people all around us, but the Frontiersmen and Indians of that era were the definition of hard.
The Aztecs ate the "sacrifice" victims because they needed protein. Antropologist Marvin Harris writes of this. Aztlan.
And for the 'mystical' properties - the different parts gave them strengths. It wasn't just the famine issues that came later. And the sacrificing in such massive numbers, I've read 20,000 at some 'festivals' (checking for source, also was taught this in school), was surely more than those present could feast upon and dwindled the local 'supply' forcing them to travel further to conquer more people to fuel the insatiable sacrificial fires.
Columbus decided to keep what he found secret, writing a secret letter to the Pope. The Pope endeavored his church to save the savages' souls.
Which they did. They weren't perfect either, but the massive, 'sacrificial' bloodfests were brought to a halt. I was taught this in Catholic grade & high school, as well. Ironically, it is absent, or told in very different ways, from my son's textbooks, same school system.
Then I came to this passage:
We want to believe that the yard, the cul-de-sac, the morning commute, the mall are merely the bland veneer of our lives, and that underneath we are still that noble primitive living in harmony with the great spirits of the forest and the mountain.
The reality is that "civilization" -- Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian -- worked very hard to stamp out the primitive within us, and for good reason.
Suddenly, I realized Steyn had said everything he needed to about Lebenon... Though I wish he had included Hindu and Buddha as well, just to round it out...
Actually, you need beans, maize and squash - and if you had a bad harvest on any of 'em, or otherwise couldn't get all three, you were in bad shape.
Human meat was a luxury item, reserved for the upper class, and commoners could advance in rank by capturing it for 'em....
Thank goodness for Cortez.
Living in harmony? I don't know if I'd call it that, either. Many nations certainly were very knowledgeable about their surroundings and frugal with their supplies. But that probably had as much or more to do with sustaining life (food, clothing, clean water, medicines) and safety (travel light, avoid war or be able to spring an attack), as it did with living in 'harmony' with nature.
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