Constitutional Longevity. Was Religiosity...

Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at
Wed Jun 17 12:58:41 PDT 1998

While I'm at it, a question that occurs to me is what is it that really matters here? Is it the physical survival of a tribal/ethnic/racial/national/whatever group, or is it the survival of its culture in some sense? Of course these are not unrelated. If all the members of a group are wiped out, without even any intermarriage with another group, it is highly unlikely that its "culture" in any meaningful sense will survive, despite, for example, the memory we have of Ishi's completely extinguished tribe based on his discussions with anthropologists.

I guess most of us would say that a cultural genocide is a real genocide in a very serious way, even if there some "physically descended survivors," as was actually the case in the Tasman case. Again, an interesting example is that of the Picts. There are without doubt many people who are at least partially descended from them. But, not only is their language dead, but untranslated; it is lost. Furthermore, we know that they were matrilineal, like the Iroquois whom Morgan studied with subsequent influence on Marx and especially Engels. That characteristic was lost in their descendents with the great slaughter and rape that accompanied Kenneth MacAlpin's conquest ("first king of Scotland" (he effectively claimed the Pictish throne by marrying the Pictish princess, but then changed the system to patrilinearity as his knights killed off the male Pictish nobility). Barkley Rosser On Wed, 17 Jun 1998 14:54:08 EDT Dhlazare at wrote:

> One (small) point in your favor. Obviously, I was referring to the modern
> era. Human history before that abounds in catastrophic massacres...
> Dan Lazare
> <<
> Dan,
> Your statement about Tasmania is fairly ridiculous on
> several counts:
> 1) Lots of other groups in world history have been
> wiped out systematically.
> 2) Arguably the Tasmanians were not totally wiped
> out as some mixed-race folks survived (offspring, no
> doubt, of rapes by the invaders). An analogy can be made
> to the Picts in Scotland whose language was wiped out in
> the ninth century at a time, immediately after major Viking
> incursions, that Gaelic invaders killed most of the men and
> raped most of the women, thereby creating the modern
> Scottish. Similar outcomes have occurred with numerous
> American Indian tribes, some of whom did not even get this
> degree of survival but were totally wiped out (see _Ishi_).
> 3) Although catastrophic, the numbers involved were
> relatively small in comparison to the genocides attempted
> against the Jews and the Armenians in the modern era.
> Barkley Rosser >>

-- Rosser Jr, John Barkley rosserjb at

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