Sunday, June 18, 2006
Cargo Cults, Reparations, and Casinos
On some South Pacific islands, Melanesian natives had developed “cargo cults” starting over a hundred years ago. The Cargo Cults believed that manufactured western goods ('cargo') were created by ancestral spirits and intended for Melanesian people. White people, however, had unfairly gained control of these objects. Cargo Cult followers believed that if they simulated the activities of the whites they observed ( here and here), the gods would restore what was properly owed the true believers. To that end, Cargo cultists crudely copied white dress, and built aircraft landing strips with control towers, complete with coconut radios and bamboo antennas.
During and after World War II it looked like their prayers and simulations had worked. The US military flooded islands like Espiritu Santu and Efate in Vanuatu (formerly The New Hebrides) with western goods.
“At the war's end all of the military cargo disappeared along with the servicemen and on some of the islands a cargo cult developed to use customary magic to lure back the great cargo-carrying airplanes. Mock military drills were conducted with the men dressed in carefully preserved military uniforms hoping to convince the gods to restore the manna.”
The war ended over half a century ago, yet reports still come in of true believers waiting for their cargo ships to come and make all their wishes come true.
Before we laugh at their simple faith, we should look about us. For at least as long as the Cargo Cultists have believed their Big Kahunas could convince the gods to provide the material equality with whites which they are due, Blacks have been waiting for the Good Ship Reparations to come in, courtesy of Guilt-Stricken Liberals in Washington, DC, to deliver them equality with whites through reparations for slavery. Various reparations advocates have produced a variety of demands – yes, demands – to give them the wages their ancestors never received.
The practical Blacks want money for everyone, probably on the theory that any other system for divvying up the booty would leave them out, or shortchange them. “Man, I’ve been suffering all my life, and you want me to give it up, so a bunch of college kids can live it up?” (This is a made up-quote, meant to get a point across knowing it will probably be considered highly offensive by anyone who does get the point.)
The idealistic Blacks don’t want filthy money – they’re not greedy – they just want free college educations for all Blacks for a very long time. Many young Blacks will probably say about this idea, “What the f--- have you been smoking? Show me the money! I’ve been working hard since I started school to not get the education that Whitey trys to shove down my throat, and now I have to fight against getting an education for four more years?” (Made-up quote, a forgery that tells the truth, like the CBS President Bush, Texas Air National Guard papers.)
White supporters of reparations are equally the most sincere and most idiotic. They want reparations to give Blacks every government program -- job training, housing projects, government subsidies, etc. -- that have already failed miserably every time they have been tried. The liberals are still pursuing making poor people the equivalent of their lab rats to test their Socialist dreams. “Someday, something will work. All our concepts are 'can’t miss,' at least on TV and The Sims™. Too bad we have to deal with people and human nature, and not Sims™. Maybe we can fix that” (This is another made-up quote.)
Not to be outdone, with the help of the Great White Fathers in Washington, DC (again), our Native Americans have come up with the Casino Cult. According to true believers, once the money starts rolling in from the casino, all will be well. First, education will be a priority, and many will go to college that don’t now because …because …well, just because.
Tourists come here now, but not in large numbers, even though we have a rugged coastline that rivals Big Sur, have miles of pristine sandy beaches, fishing in the ocean and rivers, diving for abalone, hiking among the redwoods, deer hunting, camping and canoeing -- did I mention I’m in real estate? -- large numbers of tourists don’t come here because we’re a two-hour drive over narrow, twisting roads, from the nearest big city. To get here, gamblers have to drive by other larger and handier casinos. Not many gamblers are nature lovers; they are gambling lovers, and the sooner at the tables and slots, the better.
When you talk to some Native American leaders here, the casino will take care of all problems. The chronic alcoholism – I guess just about everyone will go into rehab. The unemployment rate of 50% or higher – everyone will have a job at the casino. The long criminal records of the many who returned to the reservation to escape the law and be there when the casino opens – when a lot of the students become lawyers, they can clean those records up. The chronic health problems because of alcoholism and bad life styles – when the rest of the students become doctors, they can take care of those problems too. Compulsive gambling – just won’t be tolerated; every gambler will have to sign a form that they are not going to gamble irresponsibly.
Of course. Casinos reduce crime, compulsive gambling, and prevent unhealthy lifestyles.
The casino that will take care of all problems will be here in -- pick a number, but I’ll bet it will be a lot longer than 10 years.
“And it will make a lot of money because – because we believe in it. It just wouldn’t be fair if it didn’t. Those gamblers are tough. They’ll come.” (You guessed it. Another made-up quote)
Spoken like true believers. Cargos. Reparations. Casinos. The dreams are alive.