Vox Day at Vox Popoli:
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… 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…
Day quotes from an account, set during the Roman Empire, of Visigoths under devastating attack from Huns. The onslaught eventually pushed the Visigoths against the Danube River, which formed the border of the Roman Empire at that point. Desperate, they appealed to the Empire to let them cross the river into Roman territory. As described by an observer of that period:
All the multitude that had escaped from the murderous savagery of the Huns—no less than 200,000 fighting men, besides women and old men and children—-were there on the river bank, stretching out their hands with loud lamentations, and earnestly supplicating leave to cross, bewailing their calamity, and promising that they would ever faithfully adhere to the imperial alliance if only the boon was granted them.
Who among you would be so heartless, so cruel, as to deny hundreds of thousands of desperate women and children refuge from some of the most savage warriors ever to slaughter the innocent in the recorded history of Man?
Emperor Valens decided to be charitable and – he thought – prudent. He told the Goths they could cross into Roman territory if they would surrender their weapons and provide hostages to the Romans. Soon after they had crossed the river they started refusing to surrender their weapons. Hungry Goths attacked a marketplace and when Roman soldiers tried to repel them, they killed the soldiers.
As to the hostages,
The Goths drew their swords and cut their way out of the palace. Then riding to the nearest camp of his followers, Fritigern told his tale, and bade them take up arms against Rome. There followed a year of desperate fighting all along the Danube…
Eventually things came to a head in a battle against the Goths, led by the Emperor himself.
The Romans were slaughtered.
More than forty thousand of them were killed, including the Emperor who had so mercifully allowed the Visigoth refugees to enter his land.
38 years after the Goths crossed the Danube, Alaric the Goth sacked Rome itself.
The lesson here is too obvious to require mentioning. Wait, unless you’re a leftist. So, to be so clear that even lefties get the point:
And that, my dear bleeding heart moralists, is why you always sink the damn ships.