Friday, July 01, 2016

Of Aztecs And Conquistadors

Yesterday's blog post wherein I discovered a site so warped that I couldn't come up with a quick response caused me to ponder the issues it raised. Thanks to Foxie's comment, I was able to finally put my finger on what I feel is the primary flaw in the logic that says the Aztecs were morally superior to the Conquistadors.

First, Foxie recommended looking at the Spanish behavior relative to all other civilizations. Here's what I came up with after about 5 minutes.
  • The Spanish conquered the Aztecs, stole their gold and converted them to Christianity. In the end, the descendants of the Aztecs enjoy the benefits of civilization created by Christian Europe. I doubt any of the residents of Central America would like to give those up and return to Aztec ways.
  • If an Aztec-like tribe had conquered the Aztecs, vivisection and mass slaughter would have been the result.
  • Had the Nazis visited the Aztecs, they would have thrown them into forced labor camps and then gassed them. No descendants.
  • In some parts of the Central America, the communists did come in contact with the descendants of the Aztecs and the predictable end result was poverty, violent political oppression and jails full of dissidents.
  • Had the Romans come in contact with the Aztecs, they would have defeated them in battle, taken slaves and hostages and then made them part of the Empire.
  • Had Geronimo come upon the Aztecs, he might have mistaken them for Mexicans and tried to kill them all.
  • Imperial Japan would have enslaved them like the Nazis, but not sent them to the gas chambers.
All in all, I'm not sure I see where the Spanish Conquistadors were all that bad. This misses the bigger point, however.

According to the authors, who extol the virtues of the Aztecs, invading, enslaving and killing is just fine. It must be, because the Aztecs did it on an industrial scale and are excused for it. If that's the way things are, then the Spanish are instantly absolved of all sins. 

This is the problem with moral relativism. It looks good so long as you're making excuses for your favorite victim group, but the logic is easy to turn around to where the perpetrators are pretty cool people, too.

At this point, what difference does it make?

1 comment:

Foxfier said...

I actually meant the Aztecs weren't much worse than anybody else, the Spanish were freakish historically speaking, but I'm glad it helped you identify what was bugging you!