Re: [xmca] The myth of the noble savage

From: Eirik Knutsson (
Date: Fri Mar 30 2007 - 05:22:30 PST

I believe Baudrillard had some interesting thoughts about related issues
(although, he was primarily referring to the cultural and
historico-political situation in France and Europe):

"Why has everything moral, orthodox and conformist, which was
traditionally associated with the right, passed to the left? Painful
revision. The right once embodied a certain historical and political
urgency. Today, however, stripped of its political energy, the left has
become a pure moral injunction, the embodiment of universal values, the
champion of the reign of Virtue and keeper of the antiquated values of the
Good and the True, an injunction that calls everyone to account without
having to answer to anyone. Its political illusions frozen for twenty
years in the opposition, the left in power proved to be the bearer of a
morality of history rather than any historical mission. A morality of
Truth, Rights and good conscience: the zero degree of politics and
probably the lowest point of a genealogy of morals as well. This
moralization of values was a historical defeat for the left (and for
thinking): that the historical truth of any event, the aesthetic quality
of any work, the scientific pertinence of any hypothesis would necessarily
have to be judged in terms of morals."

(J. B. "The Conspiracy of Art: Manifestos, Interviews, Essays", 2005:30-31)


> I only read a couple of bits of the article Phil, but I do recall reading
> some of the literature from Britain around moral panics which included
> convincing arguments that (in Britain of the 80s) ordinary social violence
> has been in a secular decline for a century or two. I know that here in
> Melbourne not only does the crime rate continue to decline, but it
> declines
> in the face of a continual rise in what counts as crime not to mention
> perception of crime rising due to ever more comprehensive penetration of
> the mass media into people's consciousness.
> I mean, obviously I don't blame 'left anthropologists' - I blame the
> capitalist media and neo-con politicians.
> What was the issue with this guy's article?
> Andy

> At 09:16 AM 30/03/2007 +1000, you wrote:
>>Steven Pinker writes a piece claiming the "leftist anthropologists'
>>celebration of the noble savage" was mistaken and that we are
>>becoming a much less violent species. Whilst referring to interesting
>>data, and more "interesting" explanations, Pinker hedges toward
>>celebrating our current peaceful state...rather a worry.
>>xmca mailing list
> Andy Blunden. The Subject -
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