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January 02, 2005


Spear Shaker

"That's why Maya kings, Norse Greenlanders and Easter Island chiefs made choices that eventually undermined their societies. They themselves did not begin to feel deprived until they had irreversibly destroyed their landscape."

Yes, ol' GW is just like those Easter Island chiefs despoiling the land. . .

Another example of how random, obscure historical references is taken as a sign of intelligence. . . Shaking Spears

The Kid

When I read Diamond’s column I thought that he’d be on firmer ground asking pointed questions about them there Yurripeans. They have cultural issues: not only are Mohammedans not integrating into the existing cultural milieu too well, the new immigrants are breeding while the existing cultural stock is preoccupied with leisure time. Don’t forget that Brussels has set about stamping out homogenizing the peoples of member lands through regulation, denying Germans, for example, their historical suite of sausages, the wurst of all worlds.

Some EU member nations have decided that high tax rates and idiotic regulations are not enough to stifle the economy, so they’ve decided to eliminate nuclear power and signup for full Kyoto.

It would be a stretch to call some European countries classless. While the only untouchables may be the Turks and North Africans, the native-born know their place and seem quite content with it, whether at the top or on the bottom.

Soon Notre Dame and the Cologne cathedral will fall into disrepair as the stagnating economies devote their meager resources to funding the pensions of the law-abiding elderly.

I eagerly await Diamond’s look at the old country or Japan. Both have demographic and cultural trends working against them, while we in Vespucciland seem pretty good at assimilating.

Towering Barbarian

Diamond screwed up on several fronts:

1. Scandinavians in general and Icelanders/Greenlanders in particular were avid eaters of fish and did like a spot of whale when they could get it. So we may safely dismiss any "refusal to adjust to circumstances" as a reason why they should die out.

2. Greenland was absorbed by Norway in 1261. The Norse throne forbade any shipping to or from Greenland on any ships save their own and then eventually stopped sending any ships leaving them isolated. A large part of their problems stemmed from the fact that they had to pay taxes to a foreign overlord and could not make unilateral decisions. The lesson to be drawn from this? Being conquered sucks. >_<

3. Mr. Diamond alludes to military pressure from the Inuit. This is correct. There is some evidence that the Inuit killed the Greenlanders off except for those they absorbed. Once again, the lesson from this is that losing wars is a bad idea.

So Mr. Diamond is right on 2 things, Greenland did indeed suffer from military pressure and did indeed suffer from the adversities of the climate change. He may take consolation in the fact that 2 out of 5 is a .400 batting average! ^_~

- S.P.M. (AKA Towering Barbarian)

jack tanner

Having read The Greenlanders by that fabulous fan of America, Jane Smiley, I note a couple of other differences, although I forget that I'm unteachably stupid. We have some mod cons like electricity and communications which like, they did not. Since they had little or no wood they couldn't build ships to escape or burn the wood for fuel. Since the ships stopped coming and they didn't have any ships they couldn't communicate. They also didn't seem to understand much about diet and nutrition which led to long term health and reproductive problems. I also read Guns, Germs, and Steel, which imho sucked beyond belief but anyway it almost sounds like more than contemplating the prospective collapse of America they are hoping for it. Which will really suck for NYTCo shareholders.

Bob S.

As you read Jared Diamond the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, keep in mind the diversity of his positions, such as his published work in Nature on ethnic differences in testis size.


O yes! Happy New Year 2005!!!
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