42 Comments
Sep 28, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

Moral of the story: If your neighbors say they are going to kill you, throw away your pacifist ideas and learn to fight.

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And in the process become your neighbours, abandoning all that made you a distinct culture... Not as simple as you might think.

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Step 0: Don't have a stupid culture.

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Nothing stupid about avoiding internal violence.

Everything stupid about expecting an aggressive neighbour to play nice.

Avoid both mindless violence and mindless pacificism

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Well they lived on an isolated island. Thus for centuries they had no interactions with any neighbors.

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Moriori culture wasn’t stupid. It made sense on a totally isolated island with limited but viable resources for a few thousand people and no external visitors for centuries. It only failed when faced with aggressive outsiders who brought their aggressive culture.

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So it makes sense for an isolated culture to remember that it probably won’t stay isolated forever. _Para bellum_. Now, getting people to listen is left as an exercise for the reader.

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"...all that made you a distinct culture...."

Better than an extinct culture.

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You make the best case I have ever read - against pacifism. And really, defending oneself and one's family against an aggressor is very simple: ask the Ukrainians.

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I thought of this. But:

A) Their culture was obviously demonstrated to have a problem. If your culture has a problem, then you should fix it. Or should Westerners forget about trying to mitigate their impact on the environment because their culture is inherently consumerist?

B) Their culture didn't need to be completely abandoned. They didn't need to start *eating* the invaders, for starters.

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Sep 28, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

A cautionary tale for modern Europeans. Bravo!

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Sep 29, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

one of the first things you are told as a new European in the Antipodes is that Maori and Aboriginals are nothing alike, the first fierce warriors the latter peaceful hunter gatherers.

Its simplistic of course but there really is no Aboriginal haka equivalent and their bands rarely seemed to have battles.

Moriori seem to have been a noble human experiment, worthy of a mention in history and I can tell you many modern NZers do know their story

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author

Certainly they are very different cultures, the Maori are genetically closer to Europeans than Aboriginals. Australia is also a vast continent with different language families and different groups. Some did engage in warfare, of a quite ritualised variety, raiding was also common. But you're right that it doesn't compare to the Maori, who built fortified villages, war canoes, specialised weaponry etc.

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The Maori were also more technologically advanced than the Aboriginals. Heck, the ancestors of the Maori and Polynesians more generally were even more advanced. They lost technology due to the need to periodically simplify their culture to what can fit in a canoe as they expanded across the pacific.

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How come there was no Polynesian colonisation of Australia?

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The eastern Polynesian culture was a toolkit for ranging across oceans and colonising tropical islands (New Zealand is not in the tropics but it is warm enough to support the garden systems they developed, and it had a reservoir of seals and enormous birds to allow a few centuries of hunter lifestyles while the population established itself). The Polynesian explorer culture was superbly adapted to exploring the Pacific where there were enough uninhabited island groups from Tahiti to Hawaii to Easter Island that they could colonise. Australia was in the wrong direction already had people.

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Oct 5, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

"Europeans came along and taught Maori how to be racist" is such a hilariously stupid idea that it's immediately clear that an academic have came up with it.

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author

Only somebody that smart could say something that ridiculous - could be most of academia at this point

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Sep 29, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

"Colonial encounters motivated behaviour that diverged radically from Māori custom" - this sentence summarizes the entire, the self districtive, mindset of the modern liberalism.

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Sep 30, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

Except that what were seeing from our current batch of self-haters is not liberalism. That fine tradition is to be found in the works of Locke, Smith, Mill et al.

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"Did the Colonialists also provide recipes for cooking your neighbors?" seems the obvious retort to such a silly assertion.

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Oct 2, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

Thanks for this.

The story of each human group, however small, gives us an insight into human nature in general--including our own.

Interesting also how difficult it was for the Moriori to abandon their beliefs, even when, rationally, they were very counterproductive.

It shows how powerful beliefs are for both traditional and contemporary societies.

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author

Totally agree. It is only through examining the worst and best of ourselves that we can begin to understand human nature.

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Sep 29, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

One of the most interesting reads this year !

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author

That's quite the compliment, thank you!

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Sep 28, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

Excellent article old chap - I had never heard of these series of wars before - very interesting indeed.

It certainly adds to my view on human historical interactions.

In short form :

Pacifism is the cowardly refuge of Poets.

Warriors cannot maintain the peace.

Warrior-Poets can rule a world filled by the other two.

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Sep 29, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

Slight editing note: "It might be somewhat unfashionable to say today, but there can be doubt that the Māori were a proud ..." appears to be missing a " no " between "... there can be doubt that ..." which is critical to making the author's point.

I would've emailed the author directly but I'm not sure how to message them here.

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Sep 29, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

Doesn't even seem real, and so recent! A lesson in humanity for sure. Pacifism is only as strong as your nearest neighbor. Great article, thanks!

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Oct 6, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

Great article

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author

Thanks! Happy so many people liked it

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Oct 1, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

Great article!!! Thanks for enlightening me about this sorry part of history. Yep, it's not about just the "bad white men".

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Sep 28, 2023Liked by Stone Age Herbalist

Excellent piece!

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author

Thank you, appreciate it

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I thought only white colonisers committed atrocities

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author

I'm performing the anti-racist function of highlighting how equally violent most cultures were

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That's the essence of the "stolen land built on stolen labor" narrative that seems to go unrebutted in elite discourse.

Someone needs to write a book about all the bad things non-European cultures have done.

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One thing that makes this tragedy difficult to discuss in contemporary New Zealand is a persistent myth that Moriori were an early group of inhabitants of mainland New Zealander who were defeated and driven out to the offshore Chatham Islands by the later, more advanced (and unrelated) Maori. This myth was concocted by some Victorian writers and widely promulgated in colonial New Zealand, probably as an unconscious attempt to justify British settler colonialism. (“The Maori defeated the Moriori so we’re only doing the same as you did to your predecessors, so tough luck but that’s the law of history.”)

It’s total bullshit but as soon as anyone mentions the word Moriori in contemporary New Zealand someone will replay this nonsense. It derails any sensible conversation about colonial history and allows culture warriors on both sides to continue advancing their incomplete narratives.

And of course, it does a huge disservice to the actual Moriori people still living.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf_inGOubEg&t=203s I was wondering if you have watched this documentary. I am really unsure of some of the claims found herein, but I do love to think about little White pygmies and ancient White sailors... I know its likely just fantasy, but its fun.

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