Sunday, 24 April 2016

"Somebody Powerful And Shrewd"

Sometimes the defenders of civilization deduce the existence of a mastermind working against them -

M inferred the existence of the criminal genius later identified as Blofeld;

Magnus Clemens Maximus tells Gratillonius:

"'Somebody in Hivernia has been behind the last onslaught, somebody powerful and shrewd.'"
-Poul and Karen Anderson, Roma Mater (London, 1988), p. 22.

And in Hivernia the High King Niall announces:

"'...let us look ahead to a year of revenge and victory!'" (p. 43)

Revenge because his onslaught was repulsed! Why not instead organize peaceful trade and exploration instead of more killing and looting? Why not experiment with more efficient ways to produce and distribute food and wealth? Build better ships? Sail west? Lead civilization instead of raiding and wrecking it? Why not?


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

While I certainly agree with the views behind the questions you asked in your paragraph, I have to insist that sometimes such arguments are hopeless against certain people at certain times. It is not realistic to expect a barbarian Irish war lord of the fourth century AD to prefer peaceful trade or methodical study of better ways of farming and manufacturing. Such things are possible only when a people and their leaders are becoming more civilized. To say nothing of how, very often, it takes centuries to come about.


Paul Shackley said...

You are so right.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

A pity, of course, that pessimists like me are too often right! What this means, in addition, is that many times civilized people will have no choice but to fight off the barbarians. And our times are not immune to such barbarism--my view is that jihadist fanaticism is how barbarism is now showing itself.