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The Best of Intentions

January 3rd, 2007 · Written by · No Comments

Once in a while a friend or relative will inform me, enthusiastically ecstatic, that they are headed off to some foreign land for missionary work. Unassailable on their moral high ground and armed with benevolent yet insidious weaponry – you know, peachy platitudes like vaccines, schools, modernization – their eyes twinkle with altruistic intentions as they expect me to share in their “doing the right thing” intoxication.

Righteous delusions aside, the reality of the situation is that each of these potential mouthpieces for Judeo-Christian cosmology are complicit in an ongoing catastrophe.

It’s hard to be polite when someone you care about has just informed you they’re joining the forces of cultural destruction. Teaming up with Nike, Coca-cola, Starbucks, MTV, Hollywood, and the ubiquitous T-shirt, these hosts for the dissemination of Westernization are wreaking havoc on the few remaining bastions of sociodiversity in our world.

It is estimated that at the height of cultural diversity there existed between 7,000 and 8,000 distinct languages.

It is estimated that at the height of cultural diversity there existed between 7,000 and 8,000 distinct languages. Each of these the byproduct of a unique way of living in and interpreting the Universe at large. Today, that number has been whittled down to around 6,000 and of those about half are on the verge of extinction. Ninety-six percent of them are spoken by only 4% of the world’s population. Due to the pervasive influence of missions – be they religious or economic in nature – most of the some 370 million indigenous people who make up that 4% are not expected to last the 21st century.

And that’s called genocide.

This systematic destruction of 96% of humanity’s cultural heritage in exchange for a lucrative group of religions and worldviews is as much a threat to our survival as the current worldwide decline in biodiversity. Much as biodiversity improves the survivability of an ecosystem, cultural diversity improves the survivability of human beings. With the death of each unique sociological outlook, our species’ ability to adapt to environmental change is greatly diminished.

You’d think while undergoing climactic climate change, this might be a concern.

Surviving in remote geographic locations across the globe and eschewing contact with the Western world, indigenous peoples can be found still living via their traditional means. As these ancestral warriors struggle for the right of self-determination, we can assist them in the preservation of their heritage by redefining twisted notions of nobility.

What we call progress, others call extinction.

I look forward to a future where missionaries of all types – exterminators of culture, ravagers of ethnicity – are looked upon with disgust rather than admiration. Where the candid response to forcefully enforcing one worldview over another will be one of outright revulsion.

Tags: Opinion · · · ·

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