Friday, October 2, 2009

October 2: Veteran Tells of Indian War (Vol. 29, pp. 107-111)

As you've noticed from other entries, I'm not a fan of Darwin's "Voyage of the Beagle." If ever there was a passage that showed the sensibilities of the time it was written, it is today's passage -- a disjointed account of slaughter and genocide between the Spainiards and the indigenous people of South America.

Darwin writes that "everyone here is convinced that this is the most just war, because it is against barbarians," and tells of how the men and women were killed and the children saved for slavery. This is just?

Darwin returned to England on this day in 1836, during the apogee of the British Empire. Genocide wasn't a concern then, since "civilized" men could kill others with impunity -- particularly those with darker skin. Who are the real barbarians here?

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