Monday, April 21, 2014

Captain Phillips

Very good movie about a very bizarre situation: the re-appearance of piracy and the strangely restrained response of modern Western powers to its incursions.

I was amazed at the quite accurate description of how self-limitingly suicidal is the policy of requiring merchant ships to travel unarmed in east African waters. Massive vessels worth many millions are captured by small groups of Somali men armed only with rifles, on pathetically small boats. 

Bruce Charlton includes this phenomenon in his reflections on the decline of the West.

The piracy test for moral inversion 
A few quick questions on attitudes to modern piracy and what should be done about it can be used to detect moral inversion (moral inversion being the endemic disease of modern elite ideology which reverses traditional evaluations).  
The facts are that: 
1. Piracy is a 'natural' state of affairs, which will recur unless suppressed - because gangs of reckless and aggressive young men will be able to prey upon the productive population 
The reason why so many old Mediterranean towns are built on hills away from the coast is not for convenience or fine views, but because coastal and non-fortified towns would regularly be attacked by pirates, and their population robbed, killed, raped and enslaved (on galleys where they would be worked to death, or marched across the Sahara desert where the survivors would be worked to death).  
2. Piracy is a very great evil - gangs of aggressive young men will do utterly appalling things, and will enjoy doing them; and if unchecked pirates will act as parasites on decent and productive society, until decent and productive society is destroyed utterly, when they will move on to their next victims. In other words, piracy is not necessarily self-limiting or self-correcting: it could be fatal, like cancer.  
3. It is relatively recently that piracy worldwide was suppressed - just the past couple of hundred years. The main agents were the British Navy and also the navies of the other great European powers. However, piracy was long enough in the past for wishful-thinking pacifists to imagine (like Shire hobbits) that peace and plenty are the natural state of affairs, and need not be defended, need not be fought-for.  
Therefore, the fact that piracy has been allowed to re-emerge over recent years as a highly profitable business - unchecked and essentially unpunished and despite technical developments which make the suppression of piracy easier than ever in the past - is the most conclusive evidence that could be imagined to demonstrate Western decadence: the reckless, complacent, futile, hand-wringing, self-absorbed, morally-paralyzed blindness of Western political leaders and their ruling elites. 

Julius Caesar would be stunned.


Anonymous said...

I've been doing some research on the Golden Age of Piracy, and the big players of that era. Blackbeard may have been the most bloodless of the lot- sure, he was a merciless SOB, but he didn't kill unless he had to. He preferred to let his theatrics and stage presence do the work for him. There were some awful guys, don't think otherwise: Charles Vane and Bartholomew Roberts were nasty pieces of work, to be sure. But they impression I get is that the pirates of yesteryear would be pretty disgusted with this new bunch.

The first republic in the Western Hemisphere was set up by the pirates in Nassau- Blackbeard, Calico Jack, Anne Bonny. It collapsed due to lack of structure and British crackdowns. Perhaps this was prophetic of all republics our side of the Atlantic.


Anonymous said...

A search for "Russian pirates" will reveal not pirates from Russia but how the Russian navy addresses piracy. Equitably - with the same means and to the same degree as the pirates offer to their targets.

The Bishop of Portland

Col. Bunny said...

Pirates need love too.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...