Archaeologists have discovered the first physical evidence of cannibalism by desperate English colonists driven by hunger during the Starving Time of 1609-1610 at Jamestown, Virginia (map)—the first permanent English settlement in the New World.
The English language, like all languages, are peppered with funny little colloquialisms like "head of the pack", "chasing your tail" or "eating their young" - all are meant to be tongue-in-cheek, of course; we're sophisticated human beings, not animals. We are in control of our behaviour, not like those animals we are so very different from.
You'll meet a lot of people who, consciously or unconsciously, believe in a variation of racial superiority - we, however we define we, are clearly superior in ethics, entrepreneurialism or whatever to other people. It's that superiority - not external factors like inherited wealth, climate or geography - that determine success.
Call it the 47% solution - if people like Mitt Romney could get where they are, you know, by building everything entirely themselves, then those less successful simply aren't working as hard as they should. If you take that theory to its rightful conclusion, you'd assume that Mitt Romney could have been born anywhere and had the same level of success, right?
That brings us to Jamestown. People who otherwise lived decent lives were reduced to cannibalism in an environment where Aboriginal people had managed to sustain themselves just fine. The European, in short, were inferior to the Aboriginals in that context, without proper accommodations. That's the key reason, of course, that the American colonies flourished in the long run - they brought boatloads of accommodations, including plants and animals, guns, germs and steel - with them.
Competition didn't help them - in fact, competing with the overwhelming indigenous population cost them dearly. Without accommodations from home, the sophisticated Europeans were helpless. They resorted to barbarism. Worse - they degenerated past our ancestors in terms of cold brutality, doing whatever it took to survive.
Even at the expense of the frailest in their society.
It took strong, centralized leadership and a great deal of societal support for the community to get back on its feet.
Keep that in mind the next time you snap at a pan-handler. It really wouldn't take much for you to be in that exact same position.