Here was another trading centre, to which high civic rank had been accorded. A like total slaughter and obliteration was inflicted. “No less”, according to Tacitus, “than seventy thousand citizens and allies were slain” in these three cities. “For the barbarians would have no capturing, no selling, nor any kind of traffic usual in war; they would have nothing but killing, by sword, cross, gibbet, or fire.” These grim words show us an inexpiable war like that waged between Carthage and her revolted mercenaries two centuries before. Some high modern authorities think these numbers are exaggerated; but there is no reason why London should not have contained thirty or forty thousand inhabitants, and Cochester and St Albans between them about an equal number. If the butcheries in the countryside are added the estimate of Tacitus may well stand. This is probably the most horrible episode which our Island has known. We see the crude and corrupt beginnings of a higher civilisation blotted out by the ferocious uprising of the native tribes. Still, it is the primary right of men to die and kill for the land the live in, and to punish with exceptional severity all members of their own race who have warmed their hands at the invaders’ hearth.
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples: The Birth of Britain
[People like to believe the human race has been “civilized” for some time and mass killings and incredible cruelty are an aberration or an artifact of a particular race or religion. I don’t see it that way. I see “civilization” as a thin veneer which barely contains the true nature of people. I’ve heard people claim the atrocities of the 20th century with many tens of millions of murdered by their government will not happen again because “we have learned better”. I call B.S. on that.
Here we have Winston Churchill claiming, “It is the primary right of men to die and kill for the land they live in, and to punish with exceptional severity all members of their own race who have warmed their hands at the invaders’ hearth.”
This should serve as a stern warning to those who would invade a land and the natives who would aid the invaders. I’m not sure where I read it, it might have been The Good Earth, but it went something to the effect of “If you kill a man’s father he will hate you. If you take his land he will kill you.”
Invaders from whatever distant land, be it another continent or the out of touch politicians in Washington D.C. who view the property of others as plunder should study history. They should not count upon the permanence of the good nature of a society when they plunder their property. There is a threshold beyond which the thin veneer of “civilization” is removed and a terrible, bloodthirsty, barbarian emerges.—Joe]