“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Enduring Myth of the Noble Savage

A worthy comment over at Wretchard's Belmont Club

Heather said...

When civilization falls apart: consider Britain after the Romans left.. the lovely mosaic floors in the splendid manor houses soon became places to thresh your wheat. St Patrick and other men could walk for DAYS through Britain, on their way to Gaul, and not meet a soul - this a place a generation earlier had been as settled as it became in the 18th century.

Read the incredible book by Lawrence Keeley, "War before Civilization, the myth of the peaceful savage." One of his points relate to the frontier between the Indian and the European in North America. As he points out, settlement of Euros occurred BEFORE the law in the USA... and so the horrific battles, in which slaughter of whole settlements, women, children and the old, with no prisoners taken - occurred ON BOTH SIDES. It was militias/vigilantes, versus tribal war bands. This is the pre-civilized way of war - ie, when there is no State with a monopoly of power and law, with which to control the exciteable.

Civilization is the place where we in the First World live and frolic, with no idea at all that it would take WEEKS to reduce us to subsistence life... ie, as in the cities of Yugoslavia.

In a non-state, people/bands/tribes/ are at war/ambush/violence throughout their lives. I have never been in that state, and neither have most of us (outside of the most violent of inner cities.)

And that is what Wretchard and Steyn and others mean by their jeremaids - we could be forced backwards to the 7th century/ or outwards, outside our wonderful, peaceful cocoon.

Everytime the airplanes put on another layer of "security" remember St Augustine, who could not - in his later years - travel to Rome ... because the Mediterranean was increasintly infested with pirates as the Roman empire disintegrated.

9/22/2006 08:28:30 PM


We often hear a variation of the old chestnut, "If you do not study history, you will be forced to repeat it". The premise rests on the expectation that you will be studying real history and not a construct of politically correct thinking dejour. If we are going to look for guidance from the past, then let's make sure we understand what we are looking at. When given the "moral equivalency" of Chritianity, Judaism or the most peaceful of religions, Islam, it would be helpful to understand what were the roots of the religion. Is that not what the Pope has done in his challenge to the antecedents of today's Islam?


  1. What we learn from history and constantly repeat.

    1. War is man's natural state.
    2. Build a new weapon and it will
    eventually be used.
    3. There's always another tyrant
    4. "Lasting Peace" is either the
    name of a rock band or in
    some parallel universe.

  2. This Fall season could bring a real two-fer in the way of Death's boney fingers.

    OBL of course is currently being reported as being reported investigated to report his death.

    The second good news is the NOI leader Minister Louis Farrakhan is on his way out.