Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I love watching gang violence in third world countries on the TV news.  I love even more reading about similar violence in Europe during the Balkan wars of the late 20th century.  I love it because lends credence to my belief that the human being is a primitive and stupid animal; and it puts the history we were taught at school into its proper perspective.

At school we learnt about kings and generals.  We learnt about the great civilisations of Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Western Europe.  We were taught that our society was descended from these civilisations, and that it was the greatest civilisation of all.

In Religious Education classes we were also told that our species had been fashioned in the image of a great and loving god, and that it stood high in the Cosmos, second only to the great God Himself.

The reality is very different.  The human being is nothing more than a grubby little ape.  The instincts of the human being are as strong, and essentially the same, as those of out primate cousins, and many other animals.  We desire food, sex, and prestige among our peers.  Some human beings have slightly higher intellects than the majority, and they have applied this ability largely as a tool of exploitation.

Those kings and generals we learnt about at school evolved originally from thieves, armed robbers, and gang leaders, into warlords of varying stature.  What we now call rent was originally protection money levied by warlords from the local population, and what we now call taxation was a variant of this – a levy on the warlords themselves by an overlord or king.  And the edifices of those great civilisations were the product of exploitation of the weak by the strong.

I laugh when I watch modern documentaries going to great lengths to explain that those who built the pyramids were not slaves but free men.  Even after schools our teachers go to great lengths to explain how civilised and genteel we are.  And what rot it is.  If a group of armed men came to your village and announced that the king needed young men to build a pyramid, do you think anyone really had the option of saying that they’d stay at home and decorate their hut this year!

Our society is not nobly descended from great civilisations.  It has evolved from the coalescence of gangs and pacts between their leaders.  Our system of laws is not the product of just design, but a cobbled mass of decrees, and agreements between factions of the powerful.


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