At Every Crucial Juncture In History, The Bad Guys Won

The Scoop (2018) by Kent Monkman. The Canadian theft and murder of indigenous children.

When you learn history—and by ‘you’, I mean ‘me’—you learn an arc. This arc of course bends towards justice, later. The arc starts with an age of discovery followed by enlightenment, then an age of information, leading all, quite perplexingly to total systems collapse. Where did we go wrong? The answer is everywhere. At every crucial juncture of history, the victors wrote the history, but the victors were assholes. The bad guys won.

The Age Of Discovery

The ‘age of discovery’ is told as a superior civilization triumphing over an inferior one, with a few genocides and enslavements as mere boo-boos on an otherwise benevolent record. “We did bring you science, please shut up”. In truth, it was a measurably inferior civilization, the savage warring tribes of Western Asia projecting their violence outwards, brutally displacing civilizations that had lived in balance for thousands of years. These tribes, who called themselves Europeans, claimed great advancements in technology, but these were more like the blaze that comes from burning your own house. They started burning the ecosystem then and they never stopped.

Them being the brutal, enslaving, thieving bad guys then wasn’t some anomaly. They weren’t good guys that just had to be tough because ‘science and knowledge’ (the modern justification since Christianity wore out)demanded it. These actually were the bad guys, bad for the colonized, bad for the planet, and bad for the future. The world would have been much, much better off if they’d killed themselves in Europe or been Captain Cook’d on every shore they set foot on. But people didn’t, and the relatively meek didn’t inherit the Earth, the most absolute shitheads did, and here we are. At the end of it. In hindsight, the age of discovery was an age of destruction. The bad guys won.

The Cold War

The next big juncture is the Cold War, which to me is just World War II by other means. They stopped calling it a war once white people stopped being killed, but across the rest of the world it was still plenty hot. You have to understand WWII as part of WWI, which is the blood-stained colonial empires—the literal spawn of Queen Victoria—fighting each other, killing on their own soil for once. The USSR overthrew Queen Vic’s grandchildren and started socialism. WWI and then II completely tossed over her heirs everywhere except the UK.

This big colonial family deserved to go down. All of those ‘world wars’ were just chickens coming home to roost. Hitler’s logic in WWII was just colonialism turned on Europe. His sin was not the concentration camps or invasions. France, the UK, and the US continued doing that stuff after WWII. His sin was doing it to white people. That’s what was unforgivable. We are taught WWII as the fight between the great evil Hitler and the good guys of the UK and US, but that’s false. It was a fight between a bunch of bad guys, with the USSR being the relatively good one.

That fight went on after the world wars were deemed close, because—like the World Series of baseball which only happens in America—a war only encompasses the world if it touches European soil. It’s that western Asian peninsula putting on airs again. The US war against the USSR went on for decades—Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan—with Nazis literally running NATO and right-wing death squads enabled all over the world. Then the USSR fell over because Gorbachev was a dumbass and the USSR was too democratic. Then the US, as surprised as anybody, stood over state socialism’s corpse and finally pronounced victory in what was World War II by other means. Capitalism was the last man standing. But they were the bad guys. Again, the fucking bad guys won.

Capitalism—as I’ve discussed, and as you might have observed—fucking sucks. Everything good capitalism claims (reductions in poverty, life expectancy) is actually the product of rebellions against capitalism. Capitalism has been enforced by coups, coercion, and outright war all over the world (World War II for colored people) and it produced the same natural resource and labor exploitation that colonialism did, just with nominal political independence. ‘Democratic’ countries all over the world get to choose which capitalist party fucks them over with two settings, mildly and hard. Socialism luckily survived and thrived in places like China, but that is under assault now. World War III is on the cards. Hold on to your shorts. If history is any indication, the bad guys will win again, but I sure hope not.

The End Of The End Of History

Everything we’re taught about history has been taught by the victors. As they are the victors, they’re responsible for the direction we’re headed in, which is total planetary destruction. People have been saying this since the indigenous, since the revolutionaries, but now this is the exclamation point on a very long sentence. These are bad people! Don’t let them win!

Unfortunately, at every crucial juncture they did win. They won the globe in an age of theft and destruction and rebranded it an ‘age of discovery’. They won a century of war from trenches to coups and rebranded it a ‘triumph of human rights and democracy’. Now as it runs into something they can’t rewrite—ie the carbon smear we’re leaving across the geological record—the propaganda runs thin, but they’re still spinning it. They’re still in power. We’re obviously careening off a cliff, but they’re still at the wheel.

But for us, sitting in the backseat, chatting idly amongst each other, we can at least see. Those aren’t our benevolent parents in the front seats, those are planetary kidnappers. They didn’t run over the indigenous and the rebellious coincidentally on the way here, that’s precisely why we headed off the road of human progress and veered towards human destruction. It should have been obvious from the human destruction of ‘discovery’ or the devastation of ‘anti-communism’. As they say on the show Westworld (stop at season two), “these violent delights have violent ends”. Given that we’re losing history, quite geologically, it writes itself now. The good guys of paper history are the bad guys in rock. At every crucial juncture in history, the bad guys won.