The Mashco Piro People are Human Beings, Not Anthropological Curiosities

So civilization is encroaching on an isolated ethnic group in Peru.  Much handwringing has ensued.

A second image was taken by Gabriella Gali, an Italian visitor on a bird-watching tour of the national park. She was taking a speedboat down the Alto Madre de Dios, a tributary of the Amazon, when she spotted humans on the far bank. Concerned a tourist could come so close to uncontacted tribes, Gali passed her photograph to Survival International, which fights for the protection of indigenous people.

My reaction to this “encroachment” is “so what?”  If people want to be left alone, they will stay left alone.  It’s not like there isn’t plenty of Amazon basin left to disappear into.  If they want to find out about civilization, and “lose their culture”, they will do that too.

Middle class leftists have this view that “primitive cultures” need to be preserved and kept sacred, because they are supposedly purer and more innocent than if “corrupted” by Western culture.  They want to treat these people like artifacts and preserve their primitivity for posterity.  I find this view patronizing, and probably racist.  These are human beings just like us.  If they don’t like talking to us they will shoot us with arrows and spears.  If they do, then why pretend that a bit of civilization wouldn’t do any good to them?

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