Re: [xmca] The myth of the noble savage

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Sat Mar 31 2007 - 05:06:14 PST

Andy, my issue was merely a worry that this influential writer's
rhetoric would provide more ammunition for the current community of
warmongers, including the parties you mention. My own mistrust of
Pinker is in his writing on language as biological instinct, which
admittedly probably led me to post this in the first place.

By the way, social violence as crime has in some instances grown as
new social violent crimes have emerged to be anti-social (verbal
abuse, perhaps, and Bourdieu's concepts of symbolic violence?).


> 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.
>> Phil
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> Andy Blunden. The Subject -
> subject.htm
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