This has to be one of Vox’s best columns ever. And it correlates today’s invasion of Europe to another from the distant, disastrous past.
Last summer, a number of normally sensible people were shocked when I said that the European governments would be wise to sink the refugee ships that were crossing the Mediterranean. Most of those people now realize that the people of Europe would be much better off if their governments had rejected the ridiculous “it is moral to help poor defenseless refugees” argument and fulfilled their responsibility to defend their national borders.
But my opinion is not based on any heartlessness or cruelty, it is based on knowledge of history. As it happened, I’ve been reading Charles Oman’s The Byzantine Empire, and the following incident caught my attention, presaging as it does the current situation. You will note that last summer was not the first time refugees in peril were permitted to cross a border, and as Oman’s account suggests, it will not be the first time that the people whose governments betrayed them have paid a bitter price for that failure either.
It would be just if the Obamas and Merkels of the world met similar fates at the hands of the refugees they saved. Only six years after permitting hundreds of thousands of poor desperate refugees to cross the river and reach the safety of Roman lands, the Emperor Valens and fifty thousand of his best soldiers were dead at their hands. Seventeen years later, Alaric the Goth ruled over the north, and “wandered far and wide, from the Danube to the gates of Constantinople, and from Constantinople to Greece, ransoming or sacking every town in his way till the Goths were gorged with plunder.”
38 years after the Goths crossed the Danube, Alaric the Goth sacked Rome itself. One has to observe that it may not take 38 years this time.
And that, my dear bleeding heart moralists, is why you always sink the damn ships.
That, or wear stab-proof armor to the Louvre.
And he was a “native” European.