Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In the Hot Seat With Kultur

Kultur and I have been having a series of debates at another blog. We have been bandying ideas back and forth. He has generously agreed to sit for an interview to discuss his rather unorthodox political philosophy.

Our dealings have come on a Marxist site where I am usually in a sarcastic mode. People who are on those sites would have a hard time believing that I am actually known
for my humor. When interviewing and being a host my job is two fold. Number one it is to be polite to my guest. Number two is to entertain and fascinate the readers.


1) What is it that you feel man has lost with the progression from Hunter gatherers to the industrial age? Are you talking about a spiritual loss or something more tangible?
2) What differentiates your philosophy from the earlier version of the "Noble Savage"? My take on it was it was traditional radicals disillusionment with society more than an honest look and indigenous people.

On a related note who and what was considered "Savage" may have been more nuanced over time. In Eagles and Empire by Clary on page 143 speaking about how other American percieved Texians ( not a spelling error) in the war of 1812 they were often viewed as "Savage" for their unkempt appearance and brutal style of fighting. The Mexicans were viewed as courageous but poorly led.

3) There are studies that indicate that contrary to your philosophy that hunter gathers were fairly violent. The studies of some groups in New Guinea and the Northern Amazon show that death by human violence is exponentially much more likely in those societies than in Capatalist NYC. Is this poor sampling of sub groups or is this violence part of the balance of nature and the human condition?

4)Is it fair to judge certain movements by key events. Any discussion of the merits of Nazism must eventually discuss kook racial lunacy and the Holocaust. In a similar
discussion are gulags, planned starvations inevitably tied to any discussion of Communism.

5) Are modern terrorist guilty of using a type of marketing strategy to promote brand awareness in the media with horrific crimes that seem pointless like the 9-11
attacks, the Beslan Massacre and the Munich Massacre. These attacks almost seem media driven from my perspective.

6) Is Communism a religion? It certainly is not based on science or economics. Many of the followers seem to view certain philosophers and leaders in ways that seem more religious than politically coherent. I call myself a "Rudy Republican" but this is more of a reflection of an overall philosophy than hero worship.

7) You seem to be very down on Obama and see him in an almost totalitarian fascist type of sense. Obama amazes me in that he seems to have pissed off the entire political spectrum. Not surprisingly he is unpopular with Conservatives like Mr. Beamish, Bardo, AOW. Many see him as a crypto Marxist who hangs out with Communist terrorists like Bill Ayers and went to a racist church that preaches a fusion of Marxism and Malcolm X known as Black Liberation theology. Has he failed to define himself and tried to be all things to all people and failed miserably?

My view is more optimistic in that either Obama moves to the center and listens to the American people or he destroys his party with his arrogance.

8) What is your view of the Tea Party Crowd?

9) Do you really view man communing with nature in Hunter Gather societies. It appears that the Maori hunted the Moa to extinction before the Europeans survived. The notion of preservation of species and managing resources and preserving species appears modern in origin. Tribal man polluted and his natural garbage heaps often been boons to anthropologists.

10) We are now in the informational age. Is this a step forwards or backwards from the industrial age?

11) Lets look at freedom. In America I may get the news from any source I desire. How is it possible to brainwash so many people into imagined happiness when choices are so abundant. This would appear easier in a place with state run media like Cuba.

12) Do you view the EU as the apex of civilization?

13) What are your views on the First Amendment and Intellectual freedom? I view these as my cultural inheritance as an American.

14) Are you familiar with the writings of Jared Diamond? He points to a more balanced
view of history as a product of opportunity, resources and natural human reactions.

15) Has the high cost of weaponry made conflicts like WW2 a thing of the past? Planes costing nine figures and ordinance costing six figures is very costly.

16) Is there some truth to the axiom that gainfully employed people do not riot? In the famous Crown Heights almost none of the people who were arrested for rioting were gainfully employed. Allegedly, these results were similar to recent riots in France?

17) Is there a natural human tendency within our psyche to view previous times as the good olde days?

18) Is the notion of tribalism itself behind much of the unrest in Africa and other regions such as Afghanistan?

19) When you formed your theories about the HG societies did you consider that some of societies had extensive trade and a few practiced slavery?

20) Do you think that people who flee places like Cuba are seduced by media images?
If so why do so few wish to return?

21) Did you consider the role that raids play in HG societies. Many groups steal from each other in order to survive?

22) Did non Europeans engage in colonialism?

23) Is the notion that indigenous people have rights and cultures that should be respected a Western Construct?

24) Do academics at times tend to over idealize the lives of pre industrial man?

25) Does fealty to a single philosophy having all the answers hinder the ability
of scholars to objectively study society within a coherent prism.

I want to thank Kultur for his time and well thought out responses. We do try to offer a fair framework for discussion.

My view differs from Kultur in that man himself with all his frailties and strengths need to be considered. I don't view indigenous people as all wise or all evil. My perspective is that they were different, but possessed many of the same issues we do as they are common human concerns.

24 comments:

kulturcritic said...

1. What have we lost with the transition from H-G to Civilized Life?

The tame and domesticated contours of civilized life have eclipsed our sense of the feral in everyday experience – that irrepressible anchor of human embodiment, our elemental interlacing with nature, “that subtle knot which makes us man.”(J. Donne)

Neglecting this wild core, we’ve abandoned our original gift of freedom, the inherent power of just being-there, outside the chains of time and the terror of history. Forsaking this primal autonomy, the groundwork was laid for our own entrapment, the beginning of our enslavement. In short we lost our primitive sovereignty -- the untamed, ecstatic undercurrent of life.

I hear some of my critics like Beak shouting, “What are you talking about? Are you crazy? It was civilization that bought us our freedom, and brought us out of savagery and our slavery to the waywardness of nature’s wild and uncertain bounty!”

Oh really, and agriculture was a liberating enterprise? Not quite. To the contrary, farming required constant diligence, daily control and management of the land, leading to our own self-domestication, as it did to domestication of the earth and other creatures. It was the beginning of human enslavement – the very opposite of freedom. Nor was the birth of the city the actualization of human freedom; it was a yoke around the neck of manager and laborer, landlord and tenant, legislator and citizen alike.

Do we not now find ourselves preoccupied with the daily grind of work, ensuring an emptying of the present, with all focus on that ever-receding future where we can finally enjoy a life free from such drudgery? Is this not the elusive promise of every modern, rational politics, especially that which underlies the American Dream?

Yet genuine freedom should seek to recollect our primal, natural sovereignty – delivering us from subjugation to the unrealistic demands of this artfully constructed spectacle, releasing us from the hypnotic attachment to some promised future, and ultimately, liberating us from the fear of history and death.

CM said...

"WOW"
Full circle for some of us.

Natural instilled GPS....for the Native Americans still travel to and fro coming upon their ancestrial lands and always meeting someone who knows something or someone. Thats the American Dream. White world the American Dream is stolen by identity theft.

CM

kulturcritic said...

2. I will resond later to your question about the 'noble savage'.

3. I am familiar with the raids and killing among the Yanomamo of S. America. I am not suggesting that the pre-civilized life was without violence. But there may be various explanations for such violence among the Yanomamo. If you have specific citations, please provide them.

4. Yes it is fine to judge movements by key events. But be certain what you identify as key, is generally accepted as such.

5.Perhaps terrorists are using a marketing stratgey; they are definitely trying to get there issues heard.

6. I don't know if Communism is a religion; provide a definition of religion and I can think about it.

beakerkin said...

Kultur

CM is a Commanche and this exchange seems awkward. From my understanding of their traditions they would appear
to have some similarities to Mongolian tribesmen. They were more or less nomadic.

I actually do have a contact that lived amongst that Venezuelan Indians with similar groups. I will contact her for an opinion.

In fairness you could point to a sample taken of gang members in NYC and not extrapolate a larger meaning. However, even in New Guinea these numbers are much higher than NYC. The Commanche were
well known for their war like ways.

kulturcritic said...

I have no idea what CM is refering to in his post!

beakerkin said...

Kultur

She will explain it. I think she is pointing out the irony of a historical half circle. Europeans demonized her kind committed horrible crimes against people who lived differently and described their ways as barbaric. Now you have come and inverted that into more civilized.

My view is somewhat more nuanced in that as fellow humans they were just different with unique challenges.

CM said...

Sorry,

I guess I read too fast, I thought we were talking about the beginning, anyones.

I have so many things to express, but do it wrong at the wrong time. I will back up and quietly sit down.....and just listen to the quiet!

CM

kulturcritic said...

7. I voted for Obama. I thought perhaps he was not a real politician. I was wrong. Politics is politics. I do not like politicians. I think they are all self serving thieves and liars.

The evolution of political society was a disastrous turn in human culture. But, it was necessary with the advent of surplus food from farming and animal husbandry. This led to increased population rates, division of labor, a political and warrior class, and also urbanization, which led to crime, etc, and the necessity for law and police.

8. I don't know much about the teabaggers. But I know that most of them are gun-totten folk. So, if they get pissed off enough they could start an insurrection, opening the door for commies and anarchists to fill the hole. Wouldn't that be intriguging Beak?

9. Beak your questions continue to be self-serving and boorish. You really need to do some serious research before you make such assinine statements. I also find it ofenive that you monitor my responses to your questions. This is not a real intterview; it is more of your private spectacle!

10. Again Beak, does some research -- we have already left the 'information' age; we are now in the digital age! According to historians and politicians and techncrats... this is a step forward.

11. If you have been raised in a certain culture's ideology, let us call it 'the curriculum of the West'; and your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents... going back for 50 centuries... or over 150 generations; then it would be most likely for you to accept what the culture presented to you in terms of facts, fictions, news. etc. But, I am not sure of why this comes under the rubric of 'freedom' for you. Freedom of information?

12. I would say America and Europe together represent the height of Western civilization, in terms of their cultural, economic and political vision.

kulturcritic said...

7. Actually, I voted for Obama. I thought perhaps he was not a real politician. I was wrong. Politics is politics. I do not like politicians. I think they are all self serving thieves and liars.

The evolution of political society was a disastrous turn in human culture. But, it was necessary with the advent of surplus food from farming and animal husbandry. This led to increased population rates, division of labor, a political and warrior class, and also urbanization, which led to crime, etc, and the necessity for law and police.

8. I don't know much about the teabaggers. But I know that most of them are gun-totten folk. So, if they get pissed off enough they could start an insurrection, opening the door for commies and anarchists to fill the hole. Wouldn't that be intriguging Beak?

9. Beak your questions continue to be self-serving and boorish. You really need to do some serious research before you make such assinine statements. I also find it ofenive that you monitor my responses to your questions. This is not a real intterview; it is more of your private spectacle!

10. Again Beak, does some research -- we have already left the 'information' age; we are now in the digital age! According to historians and politicians and techncrats... this is a step forward.

11. If you have been raised in a certain culture's ideology, let us call it 'the curriculum of the West'; and your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents... going back for 50 centuries... or over 150 generations; then it would be most likely for you to accept what the culture presented to you in terms of facts, fictions, news. etc. But, I am not sure of why this comes under the rubric of 'freedom' for you. Freedom of information?

12. I would say America and Europe together represent the height of Western civilization, in terms of their cultural, economic and political vision.

13. Freedom is something we have trouble defining; often a function of mental gymnastics of our leaders. But, I would say any prohibition, or attempt to control forcefully or by law another human being is contrary to our natural constitution.

kulturcritic said...

14.On 21 April 2009, Henep Isum Mandingo and Hup Daniel Wemp of Papua New Guinea filed a $10 million USD defamation lawsuit against Diamond over a New Yorker magazine article titled Vengeance Is Ours: What can tribal societies tell us about our need to get even? The article is an account of feuds and vengeance killings among tribes in the New Guinea highlands which Mandingo and Wemp claim have been misrepresented and embellished by Diamond. The lawsuit came in the wake of an investigation by Rhonda Roland Shearer which highlighted factual inaccuracies in the article, most notably the fact that Mandingo, the alleged target of the feud who was rendered wheelchair-bound in the fighting, is fit and healthy. Diamond and the New Yorker stand by the article. They maintain that it is a faithful account of the story related to Diamond by Wemp while they worked together in 2001 and in a formal interview in 2006, based on "detailed notes", and that both Diamond and the magazine did all they reasonably could to verify the story. … Pauline Wiessner, an expert on tribal warfare in Papua New Guinea, points out that young men often exaggerate or make up entirely their exploits in tribal warfare, and that Diamond was na├»ve to accept and publish Wemp's stories at face value.

15. I have no idea; I am not a defense, military expert.

16. If you want to understand the source of riots in France over the past few years (and perhaps globally) you may wish to read the following monograph, The Coming Insurrection..

http://tarnac9.wordpress.com/texts/the-coming-insurrection/

17. I do not know; I am not a psychologist or psychoanalyst.

18. Desire for self-determination rooted in our earliest tribal groupings would seem a reasonable explanation for unrest... Again, I refer to the monograph referenced above.

19. Please provide me with citations regarding trade and slavery. So that I might understand what other factors may have played a role.

kulturcritic said...

20. Perhaps; perhaps they like the distractions here better than in Cuba. who knows?

21. Is your only source fo info on HG from Jared Diamond? I suggest that is not research you are doing! I will take your word on this situation.

22. What non-Europeans? And what is conolialism?

23. The modern concept of 'rights' is a civilized (Western) concept.

24. I don not know; I am not an academic.

25. Perhaps; just as dedication to deductive reasoning, with false premises, leads to incorrect findings.

kulturcritic said...

Further comments on question 14, re/Jared Diamond. In his analyses of Africa, he justifies the migration of Bantu-speakers across the continent (he calls them 'blacks'), with the argument that iron working and agricultural knowledge were what enabled them to displace autochthonous Khoisan and pygmy societies.

This would not contradict, but validate my assumptions about the role of agriculture in the destruction of indigenous peoples.

beakerkin said...

Lets start this again

The questions were a way to explain your philosophy in a more compehensive form. In general you seem to place too much distance from our common humanity while assessing
the other.

Human society in general faces common problems. How to wisely use resources, how to place food on the table, care for our loved ones
and lastly meaning of life. In essence the radical rejects the current for the idealization of the other or in the case of Marxists imagined utopia. In general as myself and tribesman y
share a common humanity many of our day to day concerns are more similar than many would presume.

I disagree with your assessment of the Tea Bag phenomena. They are very law abiding and it would take a feat of monumental arrogance to get them into armed revolution.
Americans celebrate individualism
and in general employed people do not revolt.

Obama has made baby step concessions to the populist under current. The freezes in spending are symbolic gestures to independents. Obama never said much beyond hope and change and was elected more as a symbol than as a person. He has been pampered and is more Little Lord Fauntleroy
than executive. He needs to stop being Professorial and lead from the front.

beakerkin said...

Kultur

On number 23 we do have some agreement but rights evolve over time. In the book the Great Divide by Alvin Schmidt he presents the groundwork that what has evolved in our present society has its roots in Christian ethos. He notes the progression of law, medicine and care for the needy via Christian orders initially to being a government function we largely take for granted. It is a fascinating book on many levels.

Unlike you I have studied psychology extensively. In a depoliticized manner I find it useful in understanding the world around me. Where it has gone tragically wrong is the cult of me.
This is largely due to politicization of a decent discipline.

I am likely more well read than you presume. Nor is Diamond my only source on HG societies. I have taken the intro courses at the University level and have read plenty of articles and books along the way.

My approach is different than yours
as I lack the alienation you describe. I merely accept that the search for meaning itself is a human trait and that somethings may be above man's capacity. I accept the present and do not yearn for the good old days or romanticize exotic people. As man has differing abilities it is natural that results of our work should vary.

I approach things from a different vantage point. I am sorry if you view this approach as condescending or self promotion.
This has not happened previously, but it will be interesting to see how my readers react to this exchange.

You might learn a thing or two as the reactions to these interviews
are unpredictable.

CM

Do you as a descendant of tribal people see a more common humanity
or a difference with the larger society. I understand the question is broad and you are speaking for yourself. I guess that after being prodded by social scientist for generations the reaction of the studied like Diamonds subjects to the condition of being studied might be interesting.

beakerkin said...

The analysis of Diamond is correct.
However, subtly Diamond also shows the adaptability of these same cultures such as the Comanche integration of the horse into life
and the tragedy that often HG societies would acquire guns and kill their rival HG bands.

This does not surprise me as HG types share our humanity they would also share our human frailties and bad traits as well.
We are more alike than different
at our core.

Tragedy101 said...

Beak

Can you define HG? I enjoy new acronyms, but knowing what they mean is probably good.

Also Kulturcritic is using circular logic: He claims he knows all of human history and prehistory, while you cannot know what is happening in New Guinea because the people there "exagerate" and your sources "lie."

If what occurs today is so hard to confirm, how can he be at all certain of the thousands of years of man's past most of it before writing and record keeping?

The lives of these primitive men may be terribly mis-represented by scientists and archeologists. The difference is they don't sue.

Ducky's here said...

Violence against people who are not part of the "tribe" has always been a human quality.
Surely you see that in Jewish history, Beak. The Old Testament allows any sort of violence whatsoever to OUTSIDERS. Justice is a concept for the insiders.

Now, why not expand the tribe? Make it larger. Tough problem, myself, I think the right is a huge road block.

FJ said...

So, if they get pissed off enough they could start an insurrection, opening the door for commies and anarchists to fill the hole.

Yep, we sure would be filling a LOT of holes w/commies and anarchists. ;-)

beakerkin said...

Tragedy

HG is hunter gatherers.

Communism is a religion. I never heard a normal person look for the answers of the meaning of life from a long mendicant disturbed Kato Kaelin mooch philosopher.

FJ

I agree

The_Editrix said...

22. Beak the biggest and most violent coloniser in human history is non-European. He goes by the name "Islam".

CM said...

WEW!

Soooo nice to have electricity again, seven days without. People....we are so spoiled. Water went off last nite, but came back on today. I have always had heat, so two sisters and daughter and two Grandsons stayed with me for these nites and days during the beautiful ice and snow storm. Today everything seems to be coming together, lots of help with Comanche Nation Chairman bringing it together!

Question to CM was..."Do you as a descendant of Tribal people see a more common humanity or a difference with the larger society?"

So many answers to this...I am such an descendant that my Mother and Father were both full Blood Comanches, how much closer can I get? Its such a Natural thing to me, to be Indian and Proud of it.

Humanity...human race whether one likes you or not, we are all a part of the human race.

Native Americans have had their day of savagery as any other race, it was to survive. In the end, we are all still here, Native Americans, Europeans, etc.

Just as you Beakeerkin, when you meet different people, its the same with me. It depends on their impression of you on how they will view the larger society of Native Americans or your given Race. I am not a good example of what a Anthoropologist or ethnologist would study as a Comanche, I admit that(you know who will have a good joke with that) yet I am the real deal by Blood. I am very proud to be considered Full Blood. I am not a Savage and I try to treat people the way I want to be treated, or they way I would want them to treat my Mother. Indians still want their place under the Sun, but since the late 1800s' its assimilate. Nothing else would suffice in Our changing world and our People knew it.

The larger Society won out. We accepted this life and we are still here, most willing to work along side any other Race at the same time keeping our own Culture as much as possible, just as the Jew, Mexican, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, etc.

To most, this is understood I believe, the World is getting small!

CM

CM said...

Also,

HG includes all Native Nations beginning with the first contacts on the East Coast in the 1600s.

Comanche were living at this same time in what was later to become Texas. Prodded even at that time by De Vaca in the 1500s. At least this is what I read and tend to believe putting similiar stories together. Of course you can't believe everything written, like Comanche Captives, the Smith Brothers who said in their "TRUE" narratives that the Ft. Sill Indians School was surrounded by a 6ft stone fence, it never was! Like yeagley claimed that the Arbuckle Mts. were North of Mount Scott, they are NOT! Indian People need to be Honorable and spread the Truth, not propaganda!

CM

kulturcritic said...

"Indians still want their place under the Sun, but since the late 1800s' its assimilate. Nothing else would suffice in Our changing world and our People knew it.

The larger Society won out."

Thanks CM; you made my point very well and simply. Best to you and yours.

CM said...

Kulturcritic,

I also said "keeping our Culture as much as possible".

Beakerkin,

How can yeagley claim this AMREN meeting is a mixed group? About them inviting him...he asks "what else could it be?" I say the What else is all th Hate Blogs he's made against the first ever Black President, Black men, Indian men and women, Mexicans, his calling the White Race the Purest Blood that ever flowed. That one is crazy...the White Race is the most mixed of Bloods ever flowed! Nothing wrong with it, it just ain't Pure!

yeagly is also wrong when he says "integration means interracial sexual relations and mixed children"....God, what a stupid statement from a Degreed person! Integration to me has always meant simply coming together for the betterment of mankind, all colors(NOT FOR DAMN SEXUAL RELATIONS..CHIT!) schools, churches, town meetings etc.

White Anglo Saxon Protestant founding fathers he praises so often were no different than these AMREN people, they wanted an all white colony. "White" is the Key Word. He is for all intents and purposes "WHITE", he was invited and accepted to bring shame upon any other Race...mark my word. His mythical relative Badeagle was a turncoat he claims, he is also a turncoat. I read this over and over in many of his blogs and forums. Others may not have noticed, but I have because I am a Proud Native American, and he is NOT, he is a very racists unhappy human trying to find a place to call HOME.

CM