Washington Post runs racist "White Man's Burden" article.

The top story in the outlook section of the Sunday, April 27th edition of the Washingtop Post was headlined "War, a necessary good" and posited that conquest has lowered death rates and benefited the conquered for the past ten thousand years. Given who has run the majority of the world's major empires in the past 150 years, this is a blatent endorsement of the "White man's burden" theory that gives false credit to Europeans for alleged improvements in living conditions that do not even exist in the real world.

The story posits that before the age of conquerors and empires, small-scale killing imposed about a 20% risk of death on each person over an unspecified time period. The story also posited a life expectancy of 30 years, which is at odds with the experiences of traditional Native American elders.

The statistics in the story, by counting all deaths in a single pot, ignore the experiences of those who were worst off. Native Americans traded whatever the original risk of death in inter-tribal warfare was for a 90% risk of death at the hands of white invaders or diseases. No doubt over the past ten thousand years this story has been played out again and again. Also, in many places, especially those conquered by the empires of old, the tradeoff was the claimed 20% risk of death in small-scale war or feuding vs a 100% chance of becoming a slave.Some of these empires, the United States antebellum South among them, were notorious for brandings and amputations inflicted on those they enslaved.Even castration was not unheard of.

In short, the story completely ignores the impacts of genocides on their victims, and the impact on quality of life of the conquered. Genocides were simply averaged into all deaths, as though it would be better for Europe to lose 6 million Jews than 7 million randomly chosen people from all of the continent. That would make an argument for permitting Hitler to win WWII on the grounds that the Holocaust killed fewer people than the war. If you do not accept that proposition, than you have just rejected the claimed benefits of being conquered posited in the Washington Post article.

Quality of life is an even bigger issue here: the article claims that conquerors began incorporating the conquered into their societies about ten thousand years ago. Well, most of this incorporation was as slaves! There were exceptions, notably King Cyrus of Persia, who is remembered in the Torah and the Bible for freeing the Jews from Babylonian captivity. This was a lot more recently than ten thousand years, yet at that time and in that place normal practice by the victor was to raze a defeated city and slaughter its inhabitants except for anyone deemed useful as a slave. Babylon was the New York City of its time, and Cyrus no doubt considered it far too valuble to destroy. By freeing Babylon's slaves he destroyed their economy, making them dependant on Persia. Freeing the slaves of Babylon did to the Babylonian ruling and business classes what cutting off all supplies of gas, gasoline, and electricty would do to a modern industrial city-it removed the power source from the economy.

Persia, Greece, and Rome were all infamous in their times for slavery, and their sucessors after the Fall of Rome continued the practice. For a variety of reasons related to available crops, post-Roman technology, and moving the center of conquest to areas not deforested by Rome, the white Europeans grew into a collection of conquering powers. When they combined guns with oceangoing ships, they enslaved African people for labor and slaughtered Native American people for new lands. By this time, Europe's ecology was in a tailspin, and again the center of empire had to be moved.

Today, there are reported to be more enslaved people alive on the planet than at any previous time in human history. All the consumer goods that pack the Wal-Marts of the wealthy nations are still made with slave labor, even with the huge energy boost provided by fossil fuels.

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