Feb

5

 Have any of you been following this bone of contention for the anthropologists.

'In a lengthy and angry rebuttal on Saturday, Diamond confirmed his finding that "tribal warfare tends to be chronic, because there are not strong central governments that can enforce peace". He accused Survival of falling into the thinking that views tribal people either as "primitive brutish barbarians" or as "noble savages, peaceful paragons of virtue living in harmony with their environment, and admirable compared to us, who are the real brutes".

He added: "An occupational hazard facing authors like me, who try to steer a middle course between these two extremes, is the likelihood of being criticised from either direction."'

(Link from Marginalrevolution.com)

Stefan Jovanovich replies:

Only Professor Diamond could see himself as "steering a middle course". When a snarky questioner at one of his UCLA appearances suggested that tribal warfare was chronic precisely because no individual member of the tribe had any property that was truly private, his first reaction was bewilderment. His second was less than polite academic rage when the questioner noted that Jean Jaures' sad comment that the poor had been so patriotic at the beginning of World War I because "their country was the only thing they owned". Central governments only exist because of war; that unfortunate fact is why the founders of this country were so adamant about having ours be strongly limited in scope and scale.


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