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Colloquial Rants and Reasoning: End Civilization as we know it Part 6
Borders, Divisions and Labels
I think civilization as we know it should end because civilization observes arbitrary, imaginary lines on Earth as barriers between different worlds. I like cultural diversity and it can be argued that borders help to preserve it, but would it not be more beneficial to everyone if it could be openly and easily shared? I think I would have had a much easier time in my Spanish class and might have actually learned the language if I had been exposed to more Spanish speaking people. I have always wanted to learn foreign languages, but I think I’m the type that would have to be immersed in different cultures to learn them. If my children want to learn foreign tongues one day, I would like them to have access to the option in a way that I did not. This brings me to my next point.
Why should it matter at all where a child is born? The child didn’t ask to be born. The child didn’t ask to be a Russian or an American. They didn’t ask to be brought into a mansion or a shanty town made of cardboard with excrement floating down the street. Thanks to civilization, the proximity of your birth can be the difference between living a long, happy, well fed life and not living to see your fifth birthday. Why is any child on either side of these pretend lines considered less or more deserving of the best this world and its people has to offer? There is no good reason for it. The people of the uncivilized world had their hard times and setbacks, but they were always due to natural disasters or disease; never politics, never money, never religion. These setbacks rarely lasted longer than a year or so; that is, before civilization came along. In most cases people could just easily walk somewhere else and start a new life. In so many ways, this just isn’t possible anymore within the parameters of civilization.
Wouldn’t you want a better life for your family if your country was torn apart by violent drug cartels (which by the way are a product of civilization)? What if your children were starving and you could make ten times the money doing the same work a mere stone’s throw away? What if there was a big apple tree full of ripe juicy fruit just over the border? Would you adhere to the rules of a country that attempts to ostracize you over the nourishment of your family? I ask proponents of closed borders; what will your grandchildren or great grandchildren do if for some reason in the future America is a desolate wasteland and Mexico is an abundant society? It could happen. Your descendants will be ostracized by Mexico because their grandparents turned their backs on Mexico when the shoe was on the other foot. Maybe Mexico will have mercy on your descendants. Oh, or maybe your descendants can use what they have learned from civilization and fabricate a reason to invade Mexico. Borders are mostly based on very old wars of narrow minded and shortsighted civilizations. So why do they still stand? How are they perpetuated?
Divisions and Labels
Beyond borders, people are divided in countless other senseless ways. Perhaps the most prevalent and obvious is race. I think civilization as we know it should end because it cultivates racism. I was shocked to find while researching racism at how recent the earliest recorded occurrence of it was. George M. Fredrickson writes in “The Historical Origins and Development of Racism”
“No clear and unequivocal evidence of racism has been found in other cultures or in Europe before the Middle Ages. The identification of the Jews with the devil and witchcraft in the popular mind of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was perhaps the first sign of a racist view of the world. Official sanction for such attitudes came in sixteenth century Spain when Jews who had converted to Christianity and their descendents became the victims of a pattern of discrimination and exclusion.” And “The period of the Renaissance and Reformation was also the time when Europeans were coming into increasing contact with people of darker pigmentation in Africa, Asia, and the Americas and were making judgments about them. The official rationale for enslaving Africans was that they were heathens, but slave traders and slave owners sometimes interpreted a passage in the book of Genesis as their justification. Ham, they maintained, committed a sin against his father Noah that condemned his supposedly black descendants to be "servants unto servants." When Virginia decreed in 1667 that converted slaves could be kept in bondage, not because they were actual heathens but because they had heathen ancestry, the justification for black servitude was thus changed from religious status to something approaching race. Beginning in the late seventeenth century laws were also passed in English North America forbidding marriage between whites and blacks and discriminating against the mixed offspring of informal liaisons. Without clearly saying so, such laws implied that blacks were unalterably alien and inferior.”
A minority of rich and powerful people turned the races of the world against one another for money. It was a construct to justify unethical business, to validate slavery which facilitated the growth of civilization. This happened hundreds of years ago and we’re still dealing with it. Racism is unnatural. If you put two toddlers together from different races they will most likely play together. It IS a learned behavior. The reason it still exists is because it continues to be taught. And the divisions don’t even come close to stopping with race.
America claims to be united. It even says it in the name, The United States of America. I’m sorry, but the only thing I can see that we’re united in is our disdain for whatever group we are not associated with. Democrats, Republicans, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Socialists, Communists, Atheists, Anarchists, gay, straight, black, white, yellow, red, brown, poor, rich, white collar, blue collar, prep, jock, nerd, slut, prude, hippy, yuppy, hipster, goth, emo, are but a handful of labels bestowed on groups of PEOPLE! Has no one heard of “divide and conquer”? “United we stand, divided we fall”? We could go on for days concerning how these divisions came about, but they all have one thing in common; someone somewhere doesn’t like them for one reason or another.
Not long after a group is established and labeled it is stereotyped, stigmatized and ostracized. This helps to disarm the group, to limit their influence. The labels become words that switch off the mind upon hearing them and any favorable facet of a group or its ideology is rendered impotent. This is currently observable in the Tea party and Occupy Wall Street movements. Many members of these groups express legitimate concerns and ideas, but after the media got a hold of em, these aspects were down the toilet. Conservative minds close when they hear Occupy and liberal minds close when they hear Tea Party. Whether we like it or not, we are ALL people. I always hear people spouting about how they’re proud to be an American or they’re proud of their party; how come I never hear anyone say they’re proud to be a human? Are we subconsciously ashamed or secretly embarrassed of our species?
These labeled groups provide civilization with convenient places to lay blame whenever problems crop up. It was the Democrats fault or the white people or the Hoosiers or the unions etc. etc. It’s never the humans fault, never civilization. Yes sir, civilization would run just fine if it weren’t for those pesky groups of people who I’m not affiliated with. Once we realize civilization lies at the root of almost every human dilemma we can imagine, we can no longer point fingers at each other. Everyone is just playing their part in the charade. From politician to protester, from millionaire to minimum wage we play into civilizations trap and we’re too busy fighting amongst ourselves to notice. It is for this that I hereby publicly renounce civilizations labels! I am a human and I am an Earthling!
"An Underground Education." Randomhouse.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2012. <http://www.randomhouse.com/book/195374/an-underground-education-by-richard-zacks/>.
Kawagley, Oscar. "A Yupiaq Worldview: A Pathway to Ecology and Spirit [Paperback]." Amazon.com: A Yupiaq Worldview: A Pathway to Ecology and Spirit (9781577663843): Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2012. <http://www.amazon.com/Yupiaq-Worldview-Pathway-Ecology-Spirit/dp/1577663845>.
"The Original Affluent Society--Marshall Sahlins." The Original Affluent Society--Marshall Sahlins. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2012. <http://www.primitivism.com/original-affluent.htm>.