Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Jared Diamond Gets Catty

Collapse, p. 109:
Easter [Island's] chiefs and priests had previously justified their elite status by claiming relationship to the gods, and by promising to deliver prosperity and bountiful harvests. They buttressed that ideology by monumental architecture and cermonies designed to impress the masses, and made possible by food surpluses extracted from the masses. As their promises were being proved increasingly hollow, the power of the chiefs and priests was overthrown around 1680 by military leaders... [emphasis mine]
Is it just me, or does that sound like the party platform of the modern Republican Party? God loves us, and so does business! Vote, mortals!

The next passage is explicit: p. 114:
I have often asked myself, "What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say while he was doing it?" Like modern loggers, did he shout "Jobs, not trees!"? Or: "Technology will solve our problems, never fear, we'll find a substitute for wood"? Or: "We don't have proof that there aren't palms somehwere else on Easter, we need more research, your proposed ban on logging is premature and driven by fear-mongering"?
Amazing! Such a brief flowering of civilization, yet Easter Island had a conservative think-tank!

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