101 CHRONICLESnVIEWSnMUTINY IN PARADISE by John ChodesnIn December 1787 His Majesty’s armed transport Bountyncrept out of Portsmouth harbor on a clandestine mission,nheading for the vast and largely uncharted South Pacific.nTahiti, a tiny pinpoint of land in the Polynesian Islands, wasnthe goal. In October 1788, the Bounty dropped anchor innTahiti’s spectacular Matavai Bay. In April 1789, she set outnfor Jamaica, West Indies, the hold filled with breadfruitntrees, to feed the slaves there. The secret objectives had alsonbeen achieved. A Tahitian-English dictionary was written. Antrade and diplomatic relationship had been established. Annaristocratic crewman had married into the royal family,nlinking England and Tahiti politically. The Tahitian culturenand governmental system and its weaknesses had beennmonitored in Captain William Bligh’s log. All this effort wasnthe first step in absorbing and colonizing the Polynesiannchain.nOn April 27 some of the crew mutinied, led by Master’snMate Fletcher Christian. In September 1792, a handful ofnthe captured mutineers faced a court-martial in Portsmouth.nThe trial was sensational. The testimony and the whole auransurrounding the Bounty’s journey shook British and Euro-nJohn Chodes is a playwright and communications directornof the Libertarian Party of New York.nnnpean society to its core. Did Fletcher Christian revoltnbecause of Bligh’s cruel authority, or had Mr. Christiannseen Utopia, the living Garden of Eden, and turned againstncivilization itself? If the first was true, the mutineers shouldnbe hanged. If the second, civil society was on trial. Theninformation released about Tahiti’s moral climate created angreat after-shock. The credibility of the Church wasndamaged—its age-old power to define human values wasnweakened and shifted to the King’s domain. This strengthenednhis hold over people’s minds as well as their bodies.nTwo centuries later, these after-shocks still reverberatenand probably affect us more deeply, since contemporarynfederal education and social service philosophies have beennindirectly influenced by the Bounty’s journey.nThe underlying political and social implications — andnnot simply the romantic adventure story — is what hasncreated the Bounty’s enduring popularity (2,500 books andnfour major motion pictures).nThe Bounty’s Tahiti was a sex-and-sun hedonists’ paradise.nIt was a lush volcanic island, with white coral beachesnand crystal-clear lagoons. The natives scarcely worked. Allnthey had to do to eat was pick fruit off the trees. To thensailor’s delight, the Tahitian women were promiscuous andnguiltless about it. This was in stark contrast to the restrained,npious women of 18th-century Europe, where the Churchnexerted a great influence on morals and values. Before thendiscovery of Tahiti, Christian piety and the work ethic werenlargely thought to be the universal standard necessary fornsociety to function. In that respect, this Utopian worldnshocked and fascinated the West. And while Europeansndreamed of throwing off their restrictions to be free, theynwere unaware that a darker, death-camp side existed in thenSouth sea paradise. Our Uncle Sam may be creating anparadisal concentration camp for us, since our governmentnhas used the Bounty’s findings to rid us of inhibitions andnguilt so we can perfectly fit into the “New Social Order.”nMost of this started in 1679. John Locke, in TwonTreatises on Government, speculated that before civilization,nman lived in a perfect “State of Nature.” Here he wasncompletely free and did anything he wished without guiltnbecause the restrictive rules of society did not exist. Locke’snState of Nature paralleled the innocence of the biblicalnGarden of Eden.nThen, in 1754, Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse onnInequality pushed Locke’s thesis much further. Rousseaunproclaimed that all of mankind’s problems were caused byn