Monday, September 6, 2021

The Age of Exterminations (I): Who are the Typical Victims?

 


The extermination of the witches is a dark spot in the history of Europe, one that we tend to dismiss as the result of an outburst of superstition. But, as always, things are more complex than they seem to be at first sight. Witch hunting had a dark secret: the fact that killing witches was good business for many people because the assets of the victims could be confiscated. You can see this facet of the story in this illustration from the book, "England's grievance discovered..." by Ralph Gardiner, 1655. Note, on the right, the scene described in the text as, "Witchfinder takes his money for his work."


If you think of the story of the witch hunts of the 16th-17th century in Europe, you may be under the impression that the typical witch was an old hag living in a hut at the margins of the village, alone with a black cat.

But no, that wasn't the case. Maybe this kind of marginal people were occasionally killed for being witches, but they were not the usual victims. In reality, witch hunting had a strong monetary component and it was often carried out with a view on making a profit on the confiscation of the assets of the victims. They were not poor and destitute women but, rather, members of the growing mercantile class in Europe. 

The profit-making facet of witch hunting has been often ignored by historians, but it is being reappraised and highlighted in recent times, for instance by Johannes Dillinger (2021) and by Shmakov and Petrov (2018). Both articles are highly suggested and provide a remarkable wealth of data about the financial mechanism that led to witch hunts: in short, there was no (or very little) witch hunting where the government didn't allow the assets of the victims to be confiscated. Killing witches, then, was just one of the many forms of legalized robbery in history,  

It is a fascinating story that has to do with the birth of capitalism in Europe. During the 16th and 15th centuries, Europe was moving from a nearly pure agricultural economy to a commercial and industrial one that involved the formation of a mercantile class that would engage in activities such as money lending, manufacturing, and other services. It was among the members of this newly formed class that the "witches" were found. The landed aristocracy of Europe found it convenient to use the propaganda techniques of the time to rouse the rabble against this new middle class and incorporate their assets. It was a class struggle that died out when the middle class grew to such a level of wealth and power that it could refuse to be victimized. A couple of centuries later, with the French revolution,it was the turn of the landed aristocracy to be exterminated and their assets incorporated by the state.

Witch hunting, then, was just one of the many cases in which wealth transfer was not obtained by trade but by extermination. You can find many examples in history where a population in expansion invaded the land of another population, exterminated them (at least the males), and took the land (and often the females) for themselves. 

A special case is when the extermination is carried out against people who belong to the same society as the exterminators, at least theoretically. Witch hunting was one example, but the mother of all the domestic exterminations was that of the Jews in Germany during the Nazi regime. The ideological reasons for the persecution of the Jews were prominent in the media and in later historiography, but the factor that pushed the extermination onward was that the Jews were relatively wealthy and that their properties could be confiscated for the benefit of the exterminators. Otherwise, you would not find a logic in the German government encouraging the extermination of a category of people that would have been useful for the war effort (the German Jews had fought for Germany during WWI). But, clearly, the extermination benefited the exterminators and that was the element that pushed it onward.

There are more examples of this kind, including the extermination of the European Cathars (a Christian sect) in Europe (1209-1229 CE), that of the Armenians at the beginning of the 20th century, the Rwandans, the Cambodians, and several more. The latest case is the accusation against the Chinese government to be exterminating the Uyghurs, a population living in Xinjiang, a North-Western province of China. Without going into the details, we can say that all these exterminations have several points in common.

1. A relatively wealthy subgroup of society that can be identified by physical, linguistic, or cultural traits, sufficiently large to give a good revenue if defeated and spoiled of its assets.

2. A strained economic, social, or military situation that leads the dominant groups to look for new resources.

3. The lack of effective military defense capabilities on the part of the subgroup.

If these conditions hold, the temptation is strong for a government or for a powerful political group to exploit the situation by convincing people that the subgroup is composed of evil people: they eat children, cast evil spells on you, eat disgusting things, whatever. Then, physical elimination can take place and the assets of the victims can be confiscated.

It has happened so many times that it is unthinkable that it won't happen again. There is no doubt that we are in a difficult moment, both economically and militarily. So, the temptation is strong for the elites to identify one or more subgroups to exterminate and rob of their assets. Who could be the next victims?

I think I can identify some potential extermination candidates for the near future. But I would leave this question to be answered by commenters. Who would you think would be the most likely target for the next round of ethnic/political cleansing?


65 comments:

  1. White western males could be good candidates for the next round of extermination. At least for a while, mostly white western elites would gain from a replacing of white males with aliens from developing countries. For a while...

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    1. "3. The lack of effective military defense capabilities on the part of the subgroup."

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    2. right now it looks like heat is produced against vaccine-"hesitants"

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    3. Before being exterminated, unvaccinated people have an exit strategy involving much lower risks.

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    4. Yes, compliance will be rewarded.

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  2. Replies
    1. The politically correct class, the culture elite, left liberals ...

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    2. In Cambodia it was the middle-class, intelligentsia, etc.

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  3. In the US, Asians. As a whole, they do relatively well financially ("Filthy Rich Asians"), and are readily indentifiable by their physical characteristics. What's more, they are accused of harboring all kinds of deadly viruses. Recall that in WWII, Japanese-Americans were targeted, and their assets seized.

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    1. Remind me to avoid travelling to the US at all costs.

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  4. Hello Ugo. I really wish I hadn't read this, but a Venn diagram would probably include administrators,technical and professional employees, and people with large real estate assets like farmers and landlords.

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    1. Replying to my own comment is sad, but I realized I left the most important division out ... retirees. So retired professionals who bought a farm or income property would be in the center of the diagram of people to demonize. The old upper middle class, not the really rich as in the French revolution. Sorry I wasn't clear about that.

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    2. I was waiting for someone to see the light! You did.

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    3. The problem with retirees is that (almost) everybody has or will have old parents, grandparents etc. It's not that easy placing them outside of the majority.

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    4. The elites will have to use a certain subtlety in order to exterminate this specific group.

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    5. And don't forget that no extermination camp ever had the sign "extermination camp" on the entrance gate

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    6. We in the USA came close to intergenerational hatred in the late 1960s over Vietnam and the psychedelic lifestyle.
      We seem to be almost there again because college educated voters over here form a Democratic party voting block vs the older Republican MAGA crowd. I think of it as the battles of the Red Hats vs the BLue Masks.
      But there is much more to it than that; the boomer generation grew up with rising wealth and
      expectations, the next couple with diminished opportunities and resources,
      There is unfortunately plenty of hatred and intolerance to go around.
      BTW, The Chinese seem to favor vocational education camps over "slave labor camps"...

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    7. What happened in elder-care homes during this pandemic was not that far.

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    8. Well we did not see yet waves of propaganda of euthanasia for the 'expired', mostly because the elderly still have a relatively large political influence in all parties (demographics still favour them)...
      But once the universal suffrage (or the democracy altogether) are pushed away in the coming more dire times, then all bets are off, even if it might be simpler to straight confiscate the assets (or tax them to death) then also bother kill the owner at that point...

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    9. The retirement and death house warehousing of the Boomer generation is already stripping their wealth away.

      For example, The going rate in my area for 24 hr attended living is upwards of $15,000 month for a double occupancy room.

      There is also a billion dollar company in my local area that funnels Chinese investment money into the construction and management of retirement/attended living complexes.

      These are anecdotes, I know, but they are a small illustration that the sharks are already ripping into the Boomers.

      Then there is the pharma corporations. . .

      I have to say, again speaking from the perspective of my experience and the correlations I have observed, the Boomers set themselves up for a frenzied destruction. (I am speaking of the US set here, other countries had postwar booms on a slightly different timeline)

      The selfish, center-of-universe attitudes the boomers were conditioned to often led to poor parenting and poor decisions that deeply and negatively affected their children. The children of that generation still carry a desire for revenge in their hate-filled hearts for the parents that failed their own selfish expectations.
      You can observe this in popular media for children. I defy you, dear reader of The Seneca Effect, to find an example of a modern "family-based" TV show where the father is not depicted as a loser idiot and the children are the wise sages.

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  5. The unvaccinated - intelligent, educated, know science.

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    1. Poor, stupid hillbillies have no assets to seize. Besides, being unvaccinated, they'll just die off properly.

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  6. The unvaccinated, educated, science knowing people. Maybe i am one of theese. I won't get any coloured pass, anyway.

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  7. Link: https://caricat.it/it/tessere-politiche-documenti-di-riconoscimento-soldbuch-tessere-civili/859-tessera-pnf-partito-nazionale-fascista-1926.html

    La buonanima avrebbe concordato sul colore del lasciapassare ma avrebbe preferito i virili timbri pestati sul tavolo. Cosa sono questi codici uuid se non cervellotici capricci delle donnicciole al soldo della sterlina? Invece Dante nel tredicesimo canto dell'inferno chiarisce che il lasciapassare è rosso e ha validità ben oltre i 12 mesi.

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  8. Witch Hunting, exercised with the hunter having unchallenged control over wealth printers and all the incredibly energy-dense fossil fuel reserves, the hunted is nobody - is quite a reflection on a mental problem.
    All past Civilisations ended by competitions over resources - our Western Civilisation may end because fossil fuels made it going mental...


    When seas of fossil fuels are burned to run this circular reality seen in a youtube video 24/7, witch hunting becomes so cascaded and meaningless, the benefit from it cannot match the sacrifice of finite fossil fuels burned running it.

    Our Western Civilisation is burning the little remaining finite fossil fuel reserves to conquer the nobody[s], worldwide, who already were conquered and submitted long ago.

    If one kills all humans aiming to take all the remaining fossil fuels alone, no fossil fuels will be left after that killing;

    "In an Energy system, Control is what consumes Energy the most".

    Wailing.

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  9. If the term "financial extermination" were developed it might fit to the drug 'war' if asset seizure and immiseration were the included and not always physical extermination.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/this-states-legislators-want-to-overhaul-the-system-that-lets-law-enforcement-keep-peoples-money?utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=majorinvestigations&utm_content=river

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    1. That sounds like Texas where you can sue, well, anyone involved with an abortion, for 10 grand.

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  10. Wasn't witch hunting the birth of modern political ideology ?

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  11. The question "who?" is not enough. We must first know "how many" are necessary to be withdrawn from the system.
    The LGBT community is an easy target. Pacifists and they have assets. But I don't see a motive against them, nowadays. The healthcare profession could be targeted if vaccines happen to have serious long term side effects, people would logically be angry. If so, politicians would be next. Would it be enough? I doubt it.

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  12. In some countries (like Italy) the unvaxxed are easy targets. But the depletion never stops, so this cycle of catabolism (society eating itself) could continue for decades or centuries.
    So the question is not who will be the victims but rather how soon will YOU be targeted.

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    1. The unvaccinated are, in effect, hunting themselves. They're offing themselves and doing their best to off others of the same beliefs with their superspreader events etc.

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    2. Ugo, you should be proud that you are dangerous enough that the TPTB send its trolls (like Alex Carter above) to misdirect and propagandize.

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  13. I think you could also include the Knights Templars. The king of France saw their banking and land assets and took them by eliminating them as heretics

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  14. In England, King Henry VIIIth dissolved the monasteries to confiscate their land. The modern equivalent would probably be the universities. No longer affordable - especially if you assume that most students loans will never be repaid - with lots of expensive city centre assets. Bristol in UK is a good example. And the staff - many "rootless cosmopolitans" teaching grievance studies - it would do them good to work in a modern day gulag such as Amazon.

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    1. That happened also in Italy in the 1860s, but nobody was exterminated. It was a soft confiscation. In the turbo-confiscation, the confiscated are also killed. It happened with the French revolution.

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    2. The interesting question, at this point, is, who are the modern equivalents of the clergy of old? I have a very specific idea.....

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    3. I don't think there is an equivalent today. The clergy was educated, rich, tax exempt, and very much a direct competitor to the political rulers. Today's technology overlords seem similar, but in fact they control the political rulers because they make the communication and military technology essential to modern rulers.

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    4. I think there is. Stark clear.

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    5. Obviously the new clergy are the journalists and media.

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    6. Naah... the journalists are not an aristocracy!

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    7. You are playing with words! Clergy was not really an aristocracy, but a kind of nobility. Some were rich, others poor. The priest in a village was not an aristocrat, was he? The clergy was supposed to teach peasants how to live and behave according to rules aiming to maintain the cohesion of a group. This is exactly what the media are doing. They give us information and beliefs (or propaganda) that people can share.

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    8. Of course the village priests had little or nothing that could be confiscated. It was the Church that owned large areas of land. And those lands could be confiscated -- it happened mostly during the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe. Journalists could be seen as the equivalent of village priests -- my point is that they have little that can be confiscated. But today there exists a category that in my opinion is equivalent of the landed aristocracy of a few centuries ago. They are at a serious risk of confiscation, if not of extermination

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    9. Then I'm impatient to know what you mean. I have no clue! Pension funds?

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    10. The Clergy had accumulated vast riches in the form of land. But it had little or no military power -- the latter was a monopoly of the state. Given the situation, the temptation for the state to pick the low hanging fruit was just irresistible. The same was true for the landed nobility. With the new military technologies of the 18th and 19th century, they had lost their capability of opposing the more modern and better organized forces of the state. And, again, the temptation was too strong. Now, think to our current situation: who has accumulated vast riches, but has little or no military power?

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    11. We all know by now that "rootless cosmopolitans" means "Jews" come on, you anti-Semites haven't changed your language in 100 years. So why not come out and say it?

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  15. Assets of the Church were also confiscated in Mexico in the 19th century--and these included extensive income-producing haciendas and other valuable real estate.

    Let's see, rent controls is another way to confiscate wealth.

    And "land reform"-- I'll add that to the mix-- which was another big story in the first half of the 20th century in Mexico.

    Property taxes-- lots of room there go up, up & away.

    My guess is that, generally, and especially in the US, we'll see more in the way of rent controls and other laws favoring tenants and even squatters-- but, interestingly enough, on the other hand, laws favoring large corporations as landlords (because they have the scale and lobbying power to make that happen).

    So it is the small-scale property owners, many of them retirees, who will be ruined.

    Well, this is already happening.

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    1. Indeed, it is already happening.

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    2. Impoverishment is not Extermination however. Impoverishment of the middle class (or any group with savings) can/does happen simply through steady inflation of prices and caps on interest rates or rents as mentioned above.
      Extermination suggests a more active process.
      And this thread is already quite dark...

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  16. In general, it takes a very strong stigmatizing condition such as religion for people to be grouped for "extermination". If that's not the case, then maybe bankers, landlords, etc. are on the list to rally against in the USA. The "propertied" class will face off with the "unpropertied" class. Rent/housing is getting too expensive. An armed resident of property that isn't his own can do a lot of damage to the owner just by extending their stay either forcefully via a literal armed showdown or passively by property damage.

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    1. The states do not benefit from weakening the property rights: it makes very hard to raise taxes and to administer the state commodities...
      It might be some other group that does not need state enforced property rights that might fuel such revolt (e.g. some multinational enterprises that have little enough material assets while also large enough to be able to defend themselves without a state enforcing mechanism)

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    2. "a very strong stigmatizing condition" like blame or hatred, fear or resentment? In the USA the "former guy" had a pet term for any group he wanted people to hate. One of those terms "Fake News" has certainly made it overseas. Others probably have as well,but that's the one that resonated with his base.

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  17. Maybe bankers, though I guess they have too much leverage in every level of power to defend themselves.

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    1. That, too, is the subject of the latest post in this series

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  18. My leftist daughter said that she "believes in" vaccines, so that must be her religion. Her doctor would serve as priest. Those doctors who toe the line are certainly accumulating wealth!

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  20. Los jóvenes occidentales están siendo cada vez más presionados/maltratados por el sistema, y ya están comenzando a reaccionar. En Europa, abrazando cada vez más opciones populistas de derechas afines al neoliberalismo. El pacto intergeneracional va a sufrir, pero ahora mucho más por la parte de los mayores. Creen que eliminando el estado de bienestar, y con él las pensiones, sobrevivirán los más fuertes, ellos, los más jóvenes. Ah, ¡ qué trágico error !

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