Now The Barbarians are Inside the Gates

In the past few decades a discovery in western Turkey has excited the archaeological world no end.  An early “city”, with perhaps a few thousand inhabitants has been discovered at a site that archaeologists have named “Çatalhöyük” (and since the word is Turkish, don’t even think of asking how to pronounce it).

What makes this little city noteworthy is that is about 9,000 years old.  For nine millennia, humans have banded together to voluntarily live in small, dark, single story dwellings that appeared to be something between very small garden apartments and cramped public housing.

One has to wonder why people of the very distant past would willingly huddle together like that.  It’s not as if the whole world was overpopulated back then.  It’s not as if they all had jobs on antiquity’s version of Wall Street and just hated the long commute.  It’s doubtful that the performing arts were so incredible that everyone wanted to live close to the theaters and concert venues of the time so that they’d never miss an opening night.

How about people gathering in (at that time) large numbers to provide for some mutual self-defense?  Archaeologists have not fully excavated Çatalhöyük, so they are not yet sure whether or not the city was surrounded by a wall, although such a wall, in some form, would be likely.  At the Israeli settlement of Jericho, archaeological evidence has been found of a wall surrounding the village / town that dates back to about 8,000 years ago, and in archaeological terms, a thousand year difference is not much more than the blink of an eye.

It would appear that creating a defensive wall was a response to external threats that were a real and serious danger to the community.  The walls may have been constructed when the external threats became too much to be repelled by just a bunch of guys in togas and copper swords acting as a local militia. Having a strong wall to keep out those threats probably looked like a really good idea.

Over the millennia, defensive walls were built around human cities all over the planet, and those walls kept getting higher, longer and encompassed larger and larger areas as the cities themselves grew.  The Great Wall of China is probably the most famous (if ineffectual) example of a defensive wall. The Chinese government tried to use the Great Wall to prevent attacks on their territory by the Mongols.

The people who lived within the city walls were artisans and craftsmen who wove cloth, tanned hides and made jewelry.  They were carpenters, wheelwrights, blacksmiths, and so on.

Farmers and herders who would have cultivated the areas surrounding the cities, would, in times of danger, have retreated within the city’s walls for protection.

And who were the folks left outside the wall?  In the earliest examples of communities surrounded by walls, it is more than likely that the threat came from migrating barbarians or hunter-gatherers who wanted to take anything and everything that those inside the walls had created.  Why would this be likely?  Well there just weren’t that many towns or cities in existence, but there were more than a few groups of hunter-gatherers roaming about, and they did not have the skills necessary for the production of everything that they needed.

So it appears possible that even as long as 9,000 years ago humanity found itself divided into “makers” and “takers.”  So much for the posturing of Progressives that humans have “evolved” and are no longer the same base animals that they used to be.

Over the centuries, particularly after the invention of gunpowder and the development of cannon, defensive walls surrounding towns and cities became less and less effective, and were over time abandoned as a defensive strategy.

Attacks on communities were no longer likely to be made by migrating peoples, but evolved into full blown wars between nations, or city-states such as the medieval Italian cities of Florence and Siena for instance, or Venice and just about anyone.  Disputes between nations or city-states would no longer be for only the taking of the opposing nation’s physical possessions, but for control and dominance of a region.

Of course by the Middle Ages, nation-states became the unit that needed to be defended against outsiders who committed aggression and war rather than a village, town or city.  About this time, too, the idea of standing armies took hold as a more viable defense than any wall, no matter how large.

There is also a consequence to giving a king access to a standing army that no wall ever had.  You generally can’t attack someone else with a wall, but an army?  We all know how that’s worked out over the centuries.

No matter who starts a conflict, whether a king, czar, or other royal, a war-lord or an elected president, the underlying concept of “makers” versus “takers” still exists.  When looking at conflicts between nations, the modern day “taker” would probably want something beyond pottery or the products of a blacksmith.  The taker would want land, for their own expansion or providing grazing for their animals, or raw materials such as timber, ore or even people as cheap labor, or, in more modern times, they might want to gain or maintain a monopoly on trade.  Hitler’s policy of seeking “Lebensraum” would be a striking example of this kind of “taking”.

Whatever the motivation was, land, labor, raw materials, or something less tangible, the attackers could reasonably be assumed to be the “takers”.  They wanted something that another had.  And rather than invest the time to develop, find or build whatever that something was, it was easier and more efficient (from their point of view) to just “take” it from someone else.

Even today, every conflict whether between nations or between cultures, whether civil wars or even Congressional disagreements over the distribution of government monies, boils down, in the simplest terms, to “takers” trying to wrest something from “makers.”  And these conflicts exist constantly.  Mao Zedong once said that “Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.”  The conflicts are continuous, only the form that the conflicts take changes.

With that in mind, tear yourself away from reflecting on the primitive walled cities of the ancient world that evolved to protect “makers” from the depredations of “takers.”  Look at a city today in the most advanced nation on earth – Detroit.

The “takers” infiltrated the city using a modern version of a “Trojan Horse,” namely the Progressive / Democrat politicians who got themselves elected by making promises and pandering to the “takers” while using the deceptive mantra of “justice”, “equality” or “fairness.”

What promises could they make?  Well how about promises of free food, low rents, free medical benefits or free phones?  And they promised that the cost of all these things would be borne by the “makers”, the people inside the city “walls” that created the wealth that the “takers” envied and wanted to enjoy.

These politicians stripped the “makers” of their wealth and property. Then these same politicians took offense when the people who actually created the wealth, the “makers”, realized that they couldn’t defeat these ravenous “takers” at the polls, so chose instead to vote with their feet and move out of the city, to relocate themselves to the other side of the “wall”, in a manner of speaking, and leave the “takers” nothing left to take.

How dare they!

So the politicians within the walls of the city have tried to persuade other politicians, the ones this time in the state houses of the nation, to ally themselves with the “takers” to help them prey on the people, the “makers”, living outside the “protection” of the wall.  They keep trying to expand their reach.  Even the President of the United States is supporting their idea through his push for “regionalism.”  The “takers” don’t know any other way to survive. They only know that their survival is possible when they take and take and take.

Humans used to be faced with barbarians, or “takers”, trying to get in to take all that the “makers” had. The “makers” banded together, congregated into cities, built great walls to protect themselves (talk about an infrastructure project) to hold off those ancient “takers”.

Today though, these latter day barbarians are inside the gates and running things – right into the ground.  Their disastrous policies have destroyed the wealth of the very cities that they once envied, and they, themselves, have no idea how to “make” anything. They are only know how to “take.”


Originally published at Canada Free Press


About Jim Yardley

Retired after 30 years as a financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, and independent voter.
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4 Responses to Now The Barbarians are Inside the Gates

  1. sunshine says:

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  2. Besides existing buildings and technical literature of building manuals, Song Dynasty artwork portraying cityscapes and other buildings aid modern-day scholars in their attempts to reconstruct and realize the nuances of Song architecture. Song Dynasty artists such as Li Cheng , Fan Kuan , Guo Xi , Zhang Zeduan , Emperor Huizong of Song , and Ma Lin painted close-up depictions of buildings as well as large expanses of cityscapes featuring arched bridges , halls and pavilions , pagoda towers , and distinct Chinese city walls . The scientist and statesman Shen Kuo was known for his criticism of artwork relating to architecture, saying that it was more important for an artist to capture a holistic view of a landscape than it was to focus on the angles and corners of buildings.

    • Jim Yardley says:

      Thanks for what appears to be a very scholarly comment, although, to be completely honest, the article wasn’t an art criticism regarding wall construction, but more the military and socio-economic purpose for the walls themselves as a defensive structure. I only mention this because your comment doesn’t appear to have any direct relevance to the article.

      But thanks for the lesson on Chinese art and architecture — and no sarcasm is intended. Every day that we learn something, every day that any of us can say “I didn’t know that” is a day we haven’t wasted.

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