Skip to comments.Lessons From the Ancient Mayans
Posted on 01/31/2013 7:32:55 AM PST by Kaslin
Guatemala -- Where is that, you ask? Generally this column comes to you from Washington, D.C. or New York City. Occasionally it comes from London or Paris. Today it carries the dateline of a seaport in Guatemala, and if it were written a day ago or two days hence it would carry the dateline of Belize. It is freezing up north. The inclement weather has driven me to tropical parts. Global warming sounds more and more agreeable to me and, frankly, if you have your wits about you, to you, too. The frozen remains of palm trees have supposedly been found in the melting ice of the poles. Well, that is good news. Bring together a village of Eskimos and notify them of the so-called perils of global warming and, my guess is, they would all become vociferous advocates of anthropogenic climate change. Think of it? Wearing a bikini in the North Pole. That is progress!
I am aboard the cruise ship "Yorktown," once again. Last summer we took an amiable crowd of National Review and American Spectator readers on a tour of the Great Lakes. This winter we have taken mainly AmSpec readers on a tour of the Mayan ruins in Belize and Guatemala with stops along the way to inspect the barrier reefs, fish life and even to partake in snorkeling. Also, we are doing a good bit of basking in the sun and snickering at our friends up north.
Of particular interest is the Mayan civilization. It flourished in the jungles of these parts from roughly 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1521, whereupon it ceased. Gone, fini, vanished -- just like that! Neither war nor pestilence nor plague has been detected by modern scholars seeking to explain its passing. There remain great stone edifices: temples, palaces, living quarters -- even evidence of sacred altars for human sacrifice. However, there is no extant evidence as to why Mayan civilization ceased. It was highly advanced with a written language and astronomical literacy. Yet no word has been found that anything was amiss before A.D. 1521 when it utterly ceased to function. There are Mayans around today, but none seems to know why he is not living atop a ruin in the jungle, perhaps with colorful feathers sticking in his hair and a fancy wand or whatever those sticks are that his ancestors are pictured carrying. I doubt it has occurred to a modern-day Mayan to reclaim a palace or one of the splendid temples in the jungle even for an occasional ritual sacrifice. Perhaps they are too polite.
American Indians make all manner of extravagant claims on the federal government, some of which have resulted in extravagant restitution. The modern-day Mayans make no such claims down here in Belize or Guatemala. They seem to prefer hanging out at the gas station to taking over a temple or palace. Why does not a local Mayan huckster with a huckster's gift for dramaturgy and eloquence simply take over a Mayan ruin and declare it his own? Maybe he could even collect taxes. Surely he could take his case to the United Nations or the World Court. Possibly today's Mayans have suffered a huge failure of the imagination. Possibly it began back in A.D. 1521 when the Mayan civilization went (SET ITAL) poof (END ITAL). Have modern scholars detected in the records of the ancient Mayans any signs of an awareness of mounting economic problems, of an accumulating unsustainable national debt or of entitlements leading to bankruptcy? The Mayans boasted a rich hieroglyphic language. Is there a word in old Mayan for entitlement? How in Mayan would one spell Obamacare?
The other day, as I tripped over a Mayan ruin, some dismal thoughts did occur to me. Could we go the way of the Mayans? Well, I doubt we would leave no evidence of the cause of our demise. True, our godlike leader has never fretted about the problems of entitlements or of unsustainable national debt. If he ever thought seriously about the IOUs being wrung up by the government, he would never have wasted years trying to bring down on us yet another unsustainable entitlement, Obamacare. But there are other leaders in other branches of government who are immensely worried about the perilous state of our economy and about the drift of our leaders away from the Constitution. In the courts, in the House of Representatives and in the states, there is mounting concern that the Progressives in Washington are en route to national decline, if not the end of civilization as we know it.
I had better get back to Washington. There is work to be done.
I heard that a lot of Mayans cashed in the 12/21/2012 scam.
It has taken only a little over 200 years to destroy this “civilization”.
Thanks for the read.
In 1964 the Guatamala government banned guns and 100,000 Mayans were killed in the Genocide that followed.
Beauracracy, the silent kiler of civilizations!
The author has a good attitude.
What happened to us? KFpling asked, shaking his head and looking out the window at a passing cloud of spang engulfed a small tzord and began to digest it. We used to be a race of conquerors. We had drive and ambition. We moved so rapidly across the galaxy that even warrior races were stunned. Now I cant even get a re-charge for my weapon without filling out a form in triplicate and justifying the drain from my last charge.
Zpoor shook her head. We never should have invaded Earth, she replied. We thought they were just another conquered race, a being we could bring back to the capital to serve at our whim. We never knew how insidious their disease of bureaucracy could be, how it could completely infiltrate every level of our society before we even knew what it was. We have not conquered them. We have become them.
“Don’t take our calendar too seriously.” - the Mayans
Argee couldn’t have known about this thread beforehand.
It’s a fluke, one of Those Undead Thread Synchronicity things.
LOL / Awesome find.
Even discerning when that red "pings" warning at the top is for pings I don't know about yet isn't in my wheelhouse (whatever that means).
OTOH: It's not surprising that other FReepers and I would have similar attitudes about bureaucracy, even if we do have different ways of expressing them.
[...even evidence of sacred altars for human sacrifice.]
This is probably is the closest we are to the Mayan type demise since the Socialists/ Communists has proclaimed abortion is sacred.
The Mayans may have descended into barbarism but they didn’t murder their children before they were born.
Bump for reference.
What’s that from?
Indeed, “leave a disclaimer” is a lesson learned.
American Indians make all manner of extravagant claims on the federal government, some of which have resulted in extravagant restitution. The modern-day Mayans make no such claims down here in Belize or Guatemala.
Wrong. Mayans recently won a land claims suit against the Government of Belize: http://www.minorityrights.org/10202/press-releases/mrg-welcomes-supreme-court-decision-upholding-maya-land-rights-in-belize-but-deplores-government-decision-to-appeal.html
Click on the 2020 to see.
When DeSoto explored Florida and Georgia, he found many abandoned villages that had been essentially wiped out by plagues that had front-run the Europeans, spreading along native trade routes as fast as a man could walk, paddle, or run, from the very first contact with the Spanish in Hispaniola.
No -- they let them grow up first. Then they cut their hearts out.
[No — they let them grow up first. Then they cut their hearts out.]
Well, you got me there, snatching the most innocent of the innocent out of the womb for ‘convenience’ is much more civilized.
Over fifteen million ‘pesky problems’ solved and counting.
We are going to pay for that someday, maybe someday soon. At least we have the consolation that, even after Jezebel made a tophet in Jerusalem, the God of the Israelites didn't turn totally away from them. But I wonder if that had something to do with the Assyrian conquest and the punishment of the Babylonian Captivity.