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Jared Diamond in row over claim tribal peoples live in 'state of constant war'

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posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 03:20 AM
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Jared Diamond, author of the book Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997) (which argues that Eurasian civilization's domination is due to environmental differences, not any intellectual, moral or inherent genetic superiority), has fallen foul of some anthropologists for claiming that tribal peoples live in 'state of constant war'.


"It's a profoundly damaging argument that tribal peoples are more violent than us," said Survival's Jonathan Mazower. "It simply isn't true. If allowed to go unchallenged … it would do tremendous damage to the movement for tribal people's rights.

Diamond has constructed his argument using a small minority of anthropologists and using statistics in a way that is misleading and manipulative."

The Guardian


Jared however counters that he is in the crossfires of groups who take extreme views: either all tribal people are brutish barbarians or; they are noble savages living in harmony with the environment.


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."

The Guardian


Diamond says Survival's condemnation of his book is driven by something other than facts.


He argues its protectiveness toward tribal societies has led it to deny practices including warfare, infanticide, widow-strangling and abandoning the elderly.

"Well-meaning defenders of traditional peoples, including apparently Corry, feel it necessary to deny the existence of those practices," he said. "That's a very bad idea – 'extremely dangerous', to use Corry's words where they really belong.

"Mistreatment of tribal peoples should be condemned not because you claim that they are peaceful when they really are not. It should instead be condemned on moral grounds: the mistreatment of any people is wrong."

The Guardian


Jared clearly doesn't attribute Eurasian civilizations domination on any inherent superiority. Rather he attributes favorable environmental factors (essentially an agricultural surplus), so he can't be accused of being value driven.

On the other hand, some anthropologist are concerned that his findings will negatively impact the moral legitimacy of the movement for tribal people's rights.






edit on 3-2-2013 by ollncasino because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 04:28 AM
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reply to post by ollncasino
 


While they may have well intentioned concerns, the truth must still stand as the truth.

I am one of those that tends towards tribal peoples being more on the human side. Not paragons of virtue, but more human than me as they live in the way humans lived before technology.

Regardless of how i want to see tribal peoples protected, however, if science is about truth then acknowledging their unsavory behaviors is critical. Anyone not doing so is no scientist.



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 04:53 AM
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Originally posted by ollncasino
On the other hand, some anthropologist are concerned that his findings will negatively impact the moral legitimacy of the movement for tribal people's rights.



So... they're not criticising his argument on the basis of fact, just whether it is politically correct or not.
I dont envy being Jared. Its one thing to argue facts, but one can never argue aganst a politically correct point of view. You just end up being called racist.



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 05:09 AM
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I loved his book and I think he is good for being honest and not telling white lies just to make people happy. Dishonesty, even when well intended, is very dangerous.



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 06:48 AM
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Tribes are everything that hippies in society call out on every one else.

It's hilarious.

Tribes are utterly xenophobic.
Tribes are barbaric.
Tribes engage in war with their neighbours.
Tribes have specific, separate roles for men and women.

Yet when we look at them we see harmony.

Why? Well, when you realise that humans are a tribal people, you realise we've lost that for ourselves.

All the bad things we're constantly told are the wrong, are simple human nature.

It's no wonder we're lost and have no social compass to guide us.



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 09:54 AM
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Originally posted by winofiend
Tribes are everything that hippies in society call out on every one else.

It's hilarious.

Tribes are utterly xenophobic.
Tribes are barbaric.
Tribes engage in war with their neighbours.
Tribes have specific, separate roles for men and women.

Yet when we look at them we see harmony.

Why? Well, when you realise that humans are a tribal people, you realise we've lost that for ourselves.

All the bad things we're constantly told are the wrong, are simple human nature.

It's no wonder we're lost and have no social compass to guide us.



What I don't get is why the political left is okay with tribalism and nationalism so long as the people are not of European descent. It's definitely a double standard.



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 10:41 AM
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Originally posted by lampsalot

What I don't get is why the political left is okay with tribalism and nationalism so long as the people are not of European descent. It's definitely a double standard.


Some of the logic mirrors Marxism. In Communist ideology, the bourgeoisie are assumed to be both very powerful (owning the means of production) and to use that power to exploit all other groups in society. Other groups are consequently assumed to be victims.

On an international level, those of European descent are assumed to be both very powerful (owning much of the world's wealth and dominating international institutions) and to use that power to exploit all other non European decent groups. Any group of non-European descent is assumed to be a victim.

Consequently...

When people of European descent exhibit tribalism and nationalism, they do it to exploit others.

When those of non-European descent exhibit tribalism and nationalism, they do it to resist the actual or potential exploitation of those of European descent.

Consequently, tribalism by tribal people is the fault of those of European descent and not the fault of the tribes.


edit on 3-2-2013 by ollncasino because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 10:46 AM
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Originally posted by ollncasino

Originally posted by lampsalot

What I don't get is why the political left is okay with tribalism and nationalism so long as the people are not of European descent. It's definitely a double standard.


Some of the logic mirrors Marxism. In Communist ideology, the bourgeoisie are assumed to be both very powerful (owning the means of production) and to use that power to exploit all other groups in society. Other groups are consequently assumed to be victims.

On an international level, those of European descent are assumed to be both very powerful (owning much of the world's wealth and dominating international institutions) and to use that power to exploit all other non European decent groups. Any group of non-European descent is assumed to be a victim.

Consequently...

When people of European descent exhibit tribalism and nationalism, they do it to exploit others.

When those of non-European descent exhibit tribalism and nationalism, they do it to resist the actual or potential exploitation of those of European descent.

Consequently, tribalism by tribal people is the fault of those of European descent and not the fault of the tribes.


edit on 3-2-2013 by ollncasino because: (no reason given)


The reason I think that logic is bad is because it leads to cylical historical behavior when one group plays oppressor and the other master. It's essentially racial S&M.



posted on Feb, 3 2013 @ 11:02 PM
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reply to post by alfa1
 

A star for your post, but I would beware offering too much aid and comfort to those who would use Diamond's claim to infer the superiority of civilised westerners over dark-skinned primitives. I recommend a close, critical look at the OP's posting record on ATS before committing oneself to any position on this thread.



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 02:04 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

A star for your post, but I would beware offering too much aid and comfort to those who would use Diamond's claim to infer the superiority of civilised westerners over dark-skinned primitives.



Actually, while I do not think that tribal peoples are "dark-skinned primitives", as you put it, I do prefer living in Eurasian civilization to living in a tribal society.

Why?

We have hospitals, courts, the rule of law, a social safety net and an education system.

If you think that tribal society is superior to living in a Eurasian city, why are you on ATS? Catch an airplane (or get a canoe if you prefer), join a tribe and live the lifestyle!

But I don't think you will do that.

Clearly, you much prefer talking the talk to walking the walk.

edit on 4-2-2013 by ollncasino because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 02:38 AM
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I've watched Diamond's programs, and he's quite astute at being non-racial when it comes to tribes with a "Neolithic lifestyle" (like rural New Guinea).
He actually says there is no difference in intellect, and "European superiority" came from a happenstance of history, mainly by domesticating certain animals and plants.
I think his theories have been quite annoying to certain right-wing streams.

I'm then also quite surprised that he would get critique for not being politically correct enough.

Ultimately I think "tribes" could refer to many different cultures, and there are (or were) extremes of pacifism (the Moriori, for example) or extremes of war-like behavior.
Neither extremes seem to be good paradigms for future survival.
Most tribal cultures would be as morally complex as our modern societies.

The real tragedy of tribal peoples is that they often assume a position where they cannot follow their tribal ways, but they also don't get the benefits of modern society.

It's certainly not always a situation of whites oppressing other races.
Tribes can oppress other tribes.

In Botswana, for example, the Bushmen (San) people are being driven from their land by the government.

Some say that if white people did these things to the Bushmen the whole world would protest, but since it's considered one African tribe against another nobody really gives a stuff.

www.africanseer.com...



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 03:00 AM
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Originally posted by halfoldman

He actually says there is no difference in intellect, and "European superiority" came from a happenstance of history, mainly by domesticating certain animals and plants.

I think his theories have been quite annoying to certain right-wing streams.

I'm then also quite surprised that he would get critique for not being politically correct enough.



Jared Diamond does complain of being attacked from both sides.

I also enjoyed his series Guns, Germs, and Steel. I didn't find his theories annoying. There is much truth in what he writes.

I do feel however that the way a society organizes itself can have a bearing on how successful it is. A society's time perception (live for today or invest for tomorrow) can also impact long term success.

He is absolutely correct however in his assertion that society needs a surplus to be more successful. If the environment does not provide a surplus, then it is impossible to move beyond a relatively primitive stage. All successful civilizations, for instance Chinese, European and South American civilizations, have enjoyed an early environmental bonus.



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 07:41 PM
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Jared Diamond might be right that many tribes are engaged in constant war - but there must be many tribal villages in that have never known war too? Certainly not persistent conflict. I've heard of ancient villages in India like that.

There is also the nature of what we call war. As far as I'm aware, the most successful killers via war are Europeans. For hundreds of years Europeans have been engaged in permanent industrialised warfare/invasions/occupations. But that is not usually what you see in small village wars. Usually tribal warfare is tit for tat, one person kills another in a fight - then the family of the bereaved do the same, etc. Maybe they sometimes raid another village, steal a few things, and a dozen or so people get killed. But they do not usually rig their whole society up to worship war and spend vast shares of the public resources on supporting it (Europeans seem to be the best at that).


Originally posted by winofiend
Why? Well, when you realise that humans are a tribal people, you realise we've lost that for ourselves.

All the bad things we're constantly told are the wrong, are simple human nature.

It's no wonder we're lost and have no social compass to guide us.



Fascisty, misanthropic bile. You'll be quoting Freud to us next.



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 07:53 PM
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Originally posted by lampsalot

What I don't get is why the political left is okay with tribalism and nationalism so long as the people are not of European descent. It's definitely a double standard.


If you'd like to explain how someone in an isolated village with no greater social contact might become a tribal nationalist, I'd love to hear it.

"Tribal Nationalism" is used a pejorative against Europeans because people who really do behave like tribal nationalists tend to be industrialised fascist thugs?





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