24 January 2013

More Regression



Those achievements make it especially a surprise and disappointment to encounter in his latest work, The World Until Yesterday, a vanity project marketed as anthropology. In this book, Diamond draws from his extensive field research in New Guinea to share his views on the shortcomings of contemporary American society. Primitive approaches to social problems, he thinks, would better serve our society. For example, he argues for: dedicating more resources to mediation as an alternative to civil lawsuits, establishing “conventional monopolies” to smooth out trade fluctuations, deemphasizing competition and the desire for excellence among children, on-demand nursing for infants, spending more time talking to our children, devising new living conditions for the elderly, accepting that the gulf between rich and poor in the United States provides an explanation of the popularity of religion in our country, preserving language diversity, and ending obesity.
At its core, the book is based on a fundamental contradiction. Diamond explains that the customs of primitive societies are not applicable to the characteristics of our society; then he proceeds to use those customs as the basis for recommendations for improving everything in our society from parenting to diet. He opens the book explaining that the defining characteristic of primitive cultures is that everyone knew each other, necessitating the repair of relationships as the principal objective of justice and the establishment of rules governing the treatment of outsiders. Yet he proceeds to spend the rest of the book arguing for the use of these tribal customs to our own society.

Again, the progressive mindset is a misnomer, since oftentimes the policies recommended by progressives are really nothing more than desire to revert to savagery.  This is not to say that life in the civilized world is not without its problems, nor is this to say that primitive societies have nothing to teach those who are civilized.  However, it must always be remembered that progressives idealize the savage, and are constantly looking to revert to savagery.  Perhaps they think that a primitive life is an easy one; perhaps they think that being one with nature is pleasant; perhaps they are merely ignorant.  Nonetheless, the progressive is the most regressive thinker of all, and one must never forget that the progressive ideal is savagery.