And the end of the world.
I canít help but feel that the history of the Klondike is able to help us understand the true way of the world and why our future is more a case of destiny rather than individual free will.
When gold was first discovered in the Klondike there was so much that all prospectors were welcome regardless of whether they were Euro-American, Afro-American, Mexican, Indian or Oriental. So long as a person played by the rules it didnít matter who they were or where they came from.
But a year later, when the number of prospectors had increased dramatically and all the easy to find gold had been lifted, there was no longer enough for everyone and attitudes began to change.
The biggest group, the Euro-Americans, felt a need to hog what remained for themselves and did this by persuading the Californian Legislature to impose a monthly tax of $20 on any prospector who wasnít Euro-American. Euro-Americans didnít have to pay the tax, but everybody else did.
This unbelievably unfair tax forced most non Euro-American prospectors to depart the Klondike and leave the gold which remained for Euro-Americans. But when the Chinese paid the tax and continued working their claims, this so infuriated the Euro-Americans that they started discriminating against the Chinese. But when discrimination failed to drive them away, Euro-American prospectors began to see the Chinese as interlopers and then began to believe that there was nothing wrong in killing an interloper. They were foreigners who were trying to steal that which rightfully belonged to the Euro-American community.
And so it goes. In the beginning, when there was plenty for everyone, no one cared about anotherís nationality or creed. But as soon as the shortages began everyone started forming themselves into groups and the most powerful group was able to prevent other groups from having a share of what remained.
If we fast-forward to the present we can see that for the last fifty or sixty years we have lived in a world of abundance. But the world population is growing and somewhere along the line we are going to arrive at a situation where there simply isnít enough to go around. Then, as people keen to survive begin forming themselves into groups, the whole idea of individuality and the right of an individual will be forgotten. In an effort to grab as much of what remains for themselves, group will compete against group. War will be the inevitable result of this and the killing will become so horrific that it will probably make all the terrible prophesies in the Book of Revelations seem rather tame by comparison.
It's fair to add that an apocalypse can have many causes and the above is but one possible scenario. Human nature is such that the Apocalypse must happen, but quite how and when it will manifest itself and the causes behind that manifestation are still open to question.
---April 3, 2011---
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