Thursday, August 26, 2010

Isn't ironic that Homo Sapiens is still locked in an identity crisis?

Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, The New Batman Adventures, 1994.
War vies with sex for the distinction of being the most significant process in human evolution. Not only have wars shaped geopolitical boundaries and spread national ideologies, but they also have carved the distributions of humanity's religions, cultures, diseases, technologies, and even genetic populations. When the British colonized Tasmania, for example, they used diseases, dogs, horses, rifles, starvation, imprisonment, poison, and bounties of five British pounds per head to eliminate the Tasmanians, who had been isolated there for thirty thousand years. The British murdered thousands, with the last two Tasmanians dying in captivity. The Dutch did the same to the San Bushmen in South Africa; the Spanish killed all the Arawak Indians across the Caribbean; the Germans tried to do the same with the Herero in Namibia; and both the British and the Americans tried to annihilate the North American Indians. In one of the earliest tactics in biological warfare, the British even gave Indians "peace" gifts of blankets deliberately contaminated with smallpox. The U.S. Cavalry in the late nineteenth century was primarily a government instrument of genocide. As directed by Washington, D.C., it nearly extirpated all Plains Indians and replaced them with white Anglo-Saxon Protestant pioneers in little houses on the prairie. By 1864, for example, General Philip Sheridan voiced U.S. policy this way: "The only good Indian I ever saw was dead." This was reworded to become the maxim of the U.S. Army: "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." A more concise formula for genocide would be hard to find.
Michael P. Ghiglieri, The Dark Side of Man: Tracing the Origins of Male Violence.