SILENCE IS GOLDEN

by Professor Revilo P. Oliver

February 1987

A fairly long article, "The Emergence of Maya Civilization," by Professor Norman Hammond of Rutgers University was published in the "Scientific American" for August 1986. It describes many vestiges of Mayan culture, many of them recently discovered, including, for example, two step-pyramids (comparable to the Egyptian pyramids of that type) which are believed to have been built c. 150 B.C., i.e., long before the period A.D. 300-900, in which the Maya were at the apogee of their civilization. According to the author, the pyramids belong to the end of a period of a thousand years or so, during which many of the characteristics of the later period appeared. This earlier florescence of the Maya was followed by what one could, with a little hyperbole, call a Dark Age that lasted for about five hundred years. I can only accept these conclusions in a field in which I have no competence.

What arrested my critical attention was the assumption that since c. 9000 B.C., the date given for the earliest traces of human occupation, the region of Yucatan and Guatemala in which the Maya flourished has been occupied by only one ethnic division of one race – that, in other words, the earliest inhabitants were the ancestors of the historical Maya, who were racially identical with the squalid and rather brutish inhabitants of that territory today. That implies an amazing socio-historical phenomenon for which there is no parallel elsewhere in the world, a territory that was continuously occupied for more than ten thousand years by one nation without ethnic change. That seems to me incredible.

What, you will ask, about the Olmecs, who were generally regarded as the precursors of the Maya? Professor Hammond seems never to have heard of them. You may even be so bold as to ask about the many artifacts and other indications of the presence in that part of the world at various times since c. 800 B.C. of visitors from across the Atlantic, You should know better than to ask such a question. It is taboo. Aryans will behave more docilely if they are convinced that civilizations, every bit as good as their own, just spring up everywhere by some kind of spontaneous generation.

To suggest today that other races might have reached the Western Hemisphere before Columbus is heresy, just as it was heresy a thousand years ago to suggest that a Christian shaman could not magically convert wine into Jesus-juice for the salvation of pious blood-drinkers. For an engaging and well-written summary of the evidence for trans-Atlantic visitors to Yucatan and adjacent regions that was available about twenty-five years ago, see Constance Irwin's "Fair Gods and Stone Faces" (New York, St. Martin's Press, c. 1963). Mrs. Irwin is admittedly presenting the evidence to prove her case, and it is quite possible that some small part of it may be forged, e.g., the head of baked clay found in 1928 at Balsas in Mexico, far to the west of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and known among anthropologists as "the Sheeny" or "Uncle Sam," since it is remarkable for its distinctively Semitic or possibly even Jewish features, including an accipitrine proboscis and a long, curly beard painted black. We can place no reliance on such evidence, but neither can we ignore, for example, the distinctively negroid features of the four colossal heads of basalt, one of which was equipped with a concealed speaking- tube for the convenience of holy men intent on explaining the ways of God to man. The heads, eight feet high, were found encompassed by jungle near the swamp-engulfed city of La Venta on the maritime border of Tabasco. And if you explain them away, what shall you do with unquestionably authentic reliefs that you can explain only by postulating that at one time the Indians of that region suddenly sprouted beards that they subsequently lost, but of which they were so proud that they adopted the custom of Egyptian rulers, who wore artificial beards on ceremonial occasions? When you have done that, you will then have to postulate odd Indian humor to account for a glyph that shows a beardless Indian trampling on a bearded man. It may be possible to explain away such evidence, but it must not be simply ignored to avoid offending the chaste ears of "intellectuals" who cling with passionate faith to the Christian hokum about the equality of all races.

I owe to "Instauration" a reference to "The Blood of Kings," by Linda Schele and Mary Ellen Miller of Yale University. It is a significant book I would otherwise have missed in the unending deluge of bound volumes that pour from the presses these days. It amply documents what "Instauration" calls "the traditional bowderlization of the Mayan past." Everyone who has read at all in the field has noticed that even respected scholars, in an effort to preconize Mayan "civilization," gloss over evidences of savagery, if they do not ignore them as completely as they ignore all evidence for the influence of other races, but I confess that the quantity and quality of the evidence collected and candidly presented in this book astonished me.

We are now compelled to confront the psychological paradox that the Maya, with their impressively accurate calendar, which must have been the fruit of diligent observations conducted with quasi-scientific accuracy over centuries, were also blood-thirsty savages, who not only tortured innumerable victims before butchering them, but even resorted to sexual and other mutilations of themselves to conciliate or appease gods as vicious as old Yahweh.

The Maya in their Bluetezeit believed that their calendar, which, aside from their monumental architecture, is their principal claim to civilization, had a profound religious significance and controlled their destiny; they would therefore have perpetuated it, no matter whence they had derived it. The Jews took all their knowledge of civilization and its arts from other races. Is it conceivable that the Maya did not do likewise?