Mongolian Dolphins

An insult to the memory of Genghis Khan

5 min readAug 30, 2020


There are large scale commercial fishing operations which specialize in killing dolphins. Personally, I’d like to see this end, but I have no choice in the matter because the murder-fishing takes place outside of the borders of my country and the people that do the fishing come from cultures which find killing dolphins for food acceptable.

License free image of Inner Mongolian Flag

It’s horrifying that an intelligent animal like a dolphin could be slaughtered wholesale in order to be a side dish for somebody who has innumerable other sources of protein. But the question of dolphin intelligence raises another question. Why are these majestic creatures so easy to catch with nets?

The current method of slaughtering dolphins involves corralling them using large fishing nets which the Dolphins have the ability (but not the initiative) to jump over. Some conceptual barrier prevents most of the dolphins from jumping over the net and so they end up confined and within the range of harpoon guns.

It’s fun to fantasize about some Promethean dolphin who could discover the method of jumping over the net and teach it to his tribe. However, this is just a silly chauvinist fantasy because the Japanese fishing corporations would merely hire engineers to figure out a more efficient method of killing the dolphins.

No tribe can stand against the determined efforts of an industrial society. Once a certain level of engineering sophistication is reached, the victim is doomed because their opponent can simply higher smarter and smarter engineers to negate their efforts to save themselves.

Another example of this phenomenon is the way that China is slowly reshaping the cultures of its various minorities in order to serve the goals of the state. No matter how these people struggle, they can never prevail because they are up against the force which can solve the problems they create faster than they can create new problems.

Until recently Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang were my favorite examples of this phenomenon but now Inner Mongolia (so named because it is inside of China) is grabbing my attention.

People in Chinese Mongolia are very sad this week because the central government declared that they’re not allowed to teach Mongolian language in school anymore. This change would transform the province from a Mongolian enclave to a historically noteworthy area of rural China in a few generations.

To be fair to the Chinese regime: It’s very hard to get into Chinese college and what with the Mongolian language not being on the college entrance exam any little boy or a girl that wastes time studying Mongolian in school is going to be at a huge disadvantage when trying to gain access to the mainstream of Chinese society. The Chinese are destroying their culture in order to empower them within the Chinese system.

The Mongolian response is “This is an insult to the legacy of Genghis Khan” and that’s not playing very well with their Chinese governors. A better response might be that, being fully empowered within one’s own culture might be better than sitting on the bottom rung of the chinese social ladder.

Like many conservative Americans, Mongolians are insensitive to the fact that people disagree on the answer to the question “when was Mongolia great“. Burning Alexandria was not cool, although I bet it was kind of fun at the time.

Was Mongolia great around the time that Genghis Khan and his armies were establishing their reputation is history‘s greatest monsters raping and killing people all over Asia and Europe? This is not a happy historical memory for the Chinese.

The fact that Mongolians are willing to celebrate this history tends to make Chinese people angry. Not that rational debate would help uch at this point. The “erase mongolia project” already has a budget and a timetable. That’s not going to change.

A friend of mine recently said “When the Mongolians built their empire they were less than 1 million people, yet they took over the entire world, therefore, if we stand up to the Chinese surely will be able to prevail in the struggle to preserve our culture.”

Saying this kind of thing only serves to remind the Chinese of the importance of destroying Mongolian culture. It does nothing to prevent the destruction because like the North in the American Civil War, Portugeuse colonialists, Conquistadors, or the Mongolians at the height of their power, the Chinese have the preponderance of economic and technological power. The Mongolian strategy of borrowing tactics from the Black Lives Matter movement, and organizing a professional athlete strike, seems unlikely to help.

Even if these tactics did help, the Chinese would simply find another way to accomplish what they’ve set out to do: Create a monolithic society in which the economy is perfectly managed by artificial intelligence fed by the meta-data of every single citizen moment to moment until the end of time.

In service of this goal every single culture, including the Chinese culture itself will be reduced to the status of harmless tourist attraction and edited to serve the goals of the state. The goals of the state include the well-being of Chinese citizens as defined by the state. It’s a long term sophisticated effort which has the support of the majority of the population.

Although I would like to rectify every injustice that I am aware of, I also feel privileged to have lived long enough to see the historical process unfolding. Unfortunately, historical processes seem to be dominated by uncomfortable themes such as the strong dominating the weak and technology raping nature. One approach to ending this might be to promulgate a philosophy of inclusion and empathy, however, it’s also easy to sympathize with the alternate strategy of ending history by locking humanity into a state of perpetual control by AI. We can’t say it won’t work because it’s never been tried.

One of the nice things about being alive in 2020 is the history is progressing fast enough that I might actually get to see which option prevails. Maybe we will end up with some third option like accidentally blasting ourselves back into the Stone Age.

Frankly, I’m not even sure which of these I prefer because there are intelligent people on all sides of the debate. If you have a preference feel free to leave it in the comment section.