Monday, March 13, 2006

The meek shall inherit SQUAT

An entertaining and deeply interesting book I've been reading is 1421 by Gavin Menzies. It's about the fact that from AD 1421-1423, the Chinese circumnavigated the globe with a vast fleet of ships and planted colonies in several places, including North and South America. In reading this book, one thing really struck me: the commanders in charge of these fleets were given orders to "treat distant peoples with kindness". The officers and crews were either Buddists, Muslim or Confucianists. And certainly the peoples they encountered, from Austrailia to Africa to South America to the Northwest Coast of North America were of very different beliefs. And yet despite the overwhelming evidence of these extensive Chinese voyages and the colonies they started, there is precious little example of them being hostile or taking people, goods, food or land by force. And so in many ways, they assimilated into the native population, or at least lived in harmony. And thus have been forgotten.

No, it was the Portugese and Spanish, relying on the maps and charts created by the Chinese before them, who wreaked havoc upon the peoples in the lands they conquered. They took over the Indies spice trade that China had built over hundreds of years, and did so by force. They colonized North, Central and South America, by slaughtering thousands...

So despite Jesus's sentiments in his Beatitudes about "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth", I must say that all evidence points to the contrary. Indeed, during my daily commute, it appears clearly that the more aggressive drivers get to their destination first. It appears that the more aggressive political leaders throughout the world are the ones who's policies are established. The more reasonable people may be concerned, and may even "organize" but they aren't willing to become ruthless enough to truly stop the agressors.

Hitler took advantage of this. Mussolini took advantage of this. Stalin took advantage of this. And we can look at our own history here in the US for countless examples of agressive, unreasonable people getting the land, the money, their names on statues, etc.

So I suppose it comes down to a choice: beat them or join them. Ironic how both of these choices involve becoming the agressor.


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