If the Vikings taught us anything, they’ve showed us how useless it is to try to appease others. No amount of gold was ever able to stop all those Viking raids, after all.
“Give me (some outrageous demand), or I will (do something that negatively affects you and impedes your goals).” If this sounds familiar, then someone has tried to force you to appease them. My advice: Tell them to “fuck off” now. Seriously. There is no appeasing people like this because these people don’t want to be appeased. Their goal is one of a constant grievance and demand to be made whole, yet none of your efforts will ever do that. One of the earliest lessons in the futility of appeasement was taught to the world by the Vikings.
Vikings Could Not Be Appeased
Sailing out of the frozen North to raid and kill, the Vikings made an impact upon the world. As the their ruthless reputation began to spread, some kings thought they’d get wise by bribing these vicious Norseman not to pillage and plunder in their lands. This payment was called “Danegeld,” which translates to “Danish gold.” (Many Vikings came from Denmark.) Danegeld was a bad long-term strategy because the Vikings’ price kept going up, and even after being paid, the Vikings – or other groups of Vikings – would raid nations that paid the Danegeld. (Tough times back then!)
Appeasing People Never Works!
The Vikings taught the civilized world a valuable lesson that has lasted longer than the Vikings, themselves. Consider this historical quote from British military historian and strategist, Sir Basil Liddell Hart:
“It is folly to imagine that the aggressive types, whether individuals or nations, can be bought off … since the payment of danegeld stimulates a demand for more danegeld. But they can be curbed. Their very belief in force makes them more susceptible to the deterrent effect of a formidable opposing force.”
So what is Sir Basil Liddell Hart trying to teach us here? In my opinion, he’s trying to tell us three things to consider when dealing with people who make ridiculous demands:
- Threatening to take something away from someone until you are appeased is an act of aggression made by an aggressive person.
- Appeasing someone carries with it NO guarantee of reciprocal behavior on the part of the aggressor. (In fact, it often produces the opposite.)
- When threatened, it is best to respond with force, since force – not reason, ideas, or soft talk – is the only thing to which aggressive people respect and respond.
Stop Trying to Appease People
Those who make demands and hold your relationship hostage is a blatant act of aggression. And much like the historical Vikings, these folks can never be appeased. Simply put, appeasement is never their goal. These calculating miscreants have a diabolical long-term strategy to drain you of everything you have, then cast you aside when you have nothing left to give them. Remember this the next time someone tries to threaten you into complying with one of their outrageous demands. The only way to beat a Viking is to become a Viking.
Not All Vikings are Bad
Not all Vikings made threats and demanded “Danegeld.” Check out my novels Legacy of the Bear, Prophecy of the Bear, and The Berserker’s Return. This fantasy-adventure series follows the life of Autar Magnusson, a young Norseman who faces his greatest fears in order to become a man… and so much more. Fans of fantasy fiction such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones will love The Berserker’s Saga novels. After all, the literary world needs more heroes who are Vikings!