Friday, September 10, 2021

9/11 Twenty Years later

Twenty years ago I approached the management of my firm, a small start-up and suggested that we should attend a conference on technology in finance. My boss balked at the fee. He argued that the speakers were advertising their products and that they would come to our office for free to do a sales pitch. I thought that I should be more assertive and push for at least one of us to attend but I decided to keep my powder dry for bigger battles. 

I had forgotten about that fateful decision until recently when I read an article in the Wall Street Journal title “On 9/11, Split-second Decisions by Employees at ICAP Affect the Rest of Their Lives” about another person who did attend the conference.

“On the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 10, 2001, Karen Lynn Seymour told her boss that she wanted to attend a conference the next morning. The 40-year-old technology specialist at a subsidiary of ICAP, a London-based bond broker, thought it could help her career. Her boss, Chris Ferreri, said he was less interested in the event, to be held at Windows on the World, a restaurant on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower.”

“Early the next day, Ms. Seymour left her 3½-year-old twins and headed to the conference. …Minutes later, a terrorist flew a plane into the World Trade Center. Ms. Seymour was never heard from again.”

I could have been her. She had her life ahead of her and a family to love. I had been recently married, started a new job, moved into a new apartment with my loving wife. Two lives left at the mercy of savage dark-age barbarians by a nation that refuses to secure it borders and defend its people. 

Yes, I was furious back then. This article brought me back to the day Islamic jihadi destroyed our tallest buildings and killed decent hard-working people producing for others so that they can take care of their own. 

My anger only grew. Our ignorant President uttered “Islam means peace,” inadvertently gave Arafat the go-ahead to resume terrorist attacks on Israel, and allowed Pakistan to harbor the perpetrators. Bush and his successors supported Pakistan, the creators of the Taliban, as they hid bin Laden and rebuilt the Taliban for our eventual withdrawal. The current President even left them advance military equipment and no doubt will soon fund their operations directly (under the guise of humanitarian aid) and indirectly as we continue to do business with Pakistan.

The inability to investigate the ideology that motivates jihadi has become a hardened ban on any critical analysis of Islam. Critics have been banned from social media and Muslims have become a cause celeb. Even the 19 jihadi who died on that day couldn’t imagine so great a victory. We surrendered the intellectual battle before it started. Our self-immolation continues as the hate-America movement spreads to every institution of our society. 

The attacks of 9/11 were a symptom of the rot at the core of the cultural edifice emanating from the root of our academic institutions, spreading to the media, and engulfing our corporations. We are coasting … and the luck that saved my life twenty years ago may not save your children’s. What are you going to do about it?

Monday, August 03, 2020

All Lives Matter

A decade ago no one would have imagined that someone could be demoted or fired for saying an inclusive statement of universal regard such as, “all lives matter.” That this statement is now considered a racist trope by the media, universities, and corporations is simply Orwellian. This absurdity has to be discussed and dismissed in no uncertain terms. Given the hysteria and the atmosphere of terror that has gripped the nation, we have to take a stand. Silence is not an option.

Central to the creation of this hysteria is the destruction of language. Words no longer mean what they mean. Orwellian double-think becomes the norm. Phrases acquire emotionally charge power that makes propositional thinking impossible. Let’s consider a simple example: “all lives matter.” This is a universal statement of inclusion expressing one’s aspirations of treating all people equally as individuals. One can certainly emphasize “black lives matter” or “blue lives matter” or even “black lives matter but also everyone’s life matters.” Expressing one’s views in one’s own words makes a personal statement that shows knowledge and commitment instead of ritual and obedience. 

What could possibly be objectionable about the inclusive “all lives matter?” All means all. What is it about “all” that some don’t understand? “All” is the universal quantifier, an essential part of the discipline and practice of logic. It is the means of expressing universal statements, i.e. statements of conceptual knowledge, categorical knowledge. Without the word “all” meaning “all,” logic breaks down and no knowledge can be established. Rational discourse comes to an end. Epistemological nihilism is the result and hysteria is its manifestation. 

When the power of reason is destroyed, heightened emotion, rage, and manipulation become the tools used to move men. Words become emotional bullets in a battle to insure conformity and obedience. Anyone not mouthing the woke dogmatic orthodoxy is condemned as racist. Everyone fears the scarlet “R” and scurries to issue boiler-plate apologetic statements. Corporations that had issued statements using their own wording have had to retract these statements and issue proper woke-approved verbiage to avoid the wrath of the mob. 

Silence is not an option as everyone is expected to march in lock-step. When I see social pressure bringing an assembly of people to their knees chanting “Black Lives Matter” I think of the orchestrated crowds in Nazi Germany giving the Nazi salute chanting “Sieg Heil”. Out of fear, no one was silent. You had to use those particular words and make that specific gesture. 

Here in the USA, the woke mob rules. Corporations worrying about boycotts, issue the required statements. Most have yanked their ads from conservative TV programs. Individuals have been fired from their jobs or denied tenure. Social media blocks simple statements of fact, such as crime statistics. Political discussion is now impossible. Patronizing lectures are called “a discussion” by the left, as reeducation and diversity training subjects offenders to indoctrination. Monuments of all dead white men are torn down. History is being re-written by ideological hacks in our major newspapers. The winds of fury sweeping this land were unimaginable twelve years ago when the first black President promised us a post-racial America. Gullible voters believed him. 

Woke propagandists have their twisted logic that assigns narrow meaning and context to the simple phrase “all lives matter.” They mumble something about limiting context. The only context that matters is the human context. They retort that their pain is greater than the next guy as if only pain matters and we exist to soothe their wounds. Sadly people cower in fear, racked with guilt, unable to proudly express the universal ideals upon which this nation was founded:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

That’s what “all lives matter” means. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Economic Bloodletting

I have a brief article posted today on American Thinker on the totalitarian policies put in place to fight the virus hysteria.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Remembering as others forget

After reading articles on a dozen conservative websites, it appears that only one had something to say about the movement and religion that was the root cause of the attacks on 9/11. Here is the article by Brigitte Gabriel. Back in 2004 I doubted that conservatives could face the nature of a religious enemy. With a few exceptions that has become true.

The left suspended its usual criticism of religion because of the foreign nature of Islam and the multicultural imperative to praise foreign cultures while denigrating our own. For awhile there were exceptions. Four months after the attack, Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, in their book, The Age of Sacred Terror, argued that 9/11 terrorist attacks were purely religious:
But neither President’s necessary and useful political speech should obscure the realities of September 11: the motivation for the attack was neither political calculation, strategic advantage, nor wanton bloodlust. It was to humiliate and slaughter those who defied the hegemony of God; it was to please Him by reasserting His primacy. It was an act of cosmic war. … Only by understanding the religious nature of the attacks of September 11 can we make any sense of their unprecedented scale and their intended effects. 
They clearly repudiated the central thesis of their book when they criticized Sebastian Gorka for the exact same idea saying that "religious doctrine is not their sole or even primary driver." They were hoping to remain influential in academia and Washington.

The Islamic revivalist movement reached a climax in the creation of the Islamic State. This vivid example of pure Islam in practice was an embarrassment to Islamic apologists everywhere. Even the New York Times couldn't help but report that ISIS was a salafi creation built on Saudi inspired Wahhabi Islam. Reporters are often the first writers of history. Sadly that history is now lost. History forgotten will be history relived.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

ISIS targets fellow blogger

Daniel Greenfield has written about how a fellow counter-jihadi blogger, Ed Cline, has been listed by ISIS as a potential target. Please read about it here. Many of us have used pseudonyms; Ed has been in the open as he has blogged and written books about the Islamic threat.

Ed's landlord is now making him move and his friends have setup a fund to help him: here. If you can, consider helping Ed. He deserves our support.

Our good friends at Gates of Vienna have more, here. Ed has earned many admirers as he has help to wage the intellectual battle against the jihadi threat.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

ISIS is a teaching moment

My blog has been effectively mothballed since I have been busy researching other areas. However, I noticed how hard it is today to engage in a discussion of Islam and the nature of jihad. The counter-jihadi movement has been vilified for years because of their critique of jihadism. Oddly enough, the language and even some of the analysis has been adopted by the very mainstream media that condemned counter-jihadi authors. ISIS is teaching us something about Islam that is hard to ignore. I write about it here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Obama's Mob Rule

I've written a brief article at American Thinker on Obama, the rule of law, the fiscal cliff, taxing the rich, and mob rule. Take a look (and comment there).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Amoral Nation

“Who are you voting for and why?” asked one TV reporter seeking the pulse of prospective voters in a pivotal state. Not a single person responded by citing political or ethical principles. The Romney voters didn’t point to the prospects of protecting individual rights, free markets, or the virtues of self-reliance. The Obama supporters were silent on redistribution, socialism, and the evils of capitalism. The average voter shows a complete lack of cognizance of principles--any principles. They expressed one overriding concern: who will give me “more stuff?”

It wasn't always overt. Many talked about “sincerity” while others fretted that the candidates are “hard to believe.” A whole host of other character traits were bandied about in assessing which candidate can be trusted. But trusted to do what? In each case our fellow citizens weren’t concerned about the health of the republic--which only principles can insure. They merely wanted to know who will give them “more stuff” now.

There was a completely amoral tone that the permeated the conversations. And it reflects the campaign of both candidates. Obama is clear: he lists all the “free stuff” he’ll give you while making it clear you won’t have to pay for it. He’d fund it from the top 1-2 percent of high earners. You don’t have to work and earn it--as virtue would require. You’ll get someone else’s hard earned wealth--as expediency allows. Mere expediency is the antithesis of principle. If we can get away with expropriating others wealth for now, let’s do it. If they “go Galt” tomorrow ... well, tomorrow will be another day.

What does Mr. Romney offer in return? In the second debate he assures us that the “top 5 percent will continue to pay 60 percent, as they do today. I’m not looking to cut taxes for wealthy people. I am looking to cut taxes for middle-income people.” You’ll still get the government goods and services but you won’t have to pay for it. We’ll still get the rich to foot the bill. No principle is cited and none can be detected. Why, then, would we expect to see the voter apply principles to make an informed choice? When it comes to the expedient of getting “free stuff” paid by the rich, who is more believable?

The choice of principle versus mere expediency is exemplified by the President’s addition of $5 trillion to the debt. If our nation was founded on the virtues of industry and frugality (as Ben Franklin would express it), then what could be more profligate than uncontrolled spending funded by overwhelming debt? Mere expediency allows one to weigh the pleasures of today--which are concrete--while downplaying the costs of tomorrow--which are not in sight. To quote our President, “We don't have to worry about it short term.”

Prudence is another virtue prized by our founding fathers. Living beyond one’s means is recklessness. Excessive borrowing allows one the expedient of funding government services in the short run while deferring payments to the future. The President admits it: “Right now interest rates are low because people still consider the United States the safest and greatest country on earth, rightfully so, but it is a problem long term and even medium-term.” Actually, it’s the Fed that is artificially lowering rates but regardless of the cause we have what is known as a “teaser rate” that will someday reset higher similar to the reckless subprime lending that allowed borrowers to get low monthly payments with “teaser rates.” Let’s remember what profligate borrowing did to the private sector as we ponder what’s in store for the federal government. But “we don’t have to worry about it short term.”

Romney gets credit for making this a moral issue in the first debate. “I'm glad you raised that, and it's a -- it's a critical issue. I think it's not just an economic issue, I think it's a moral issue. I think it's, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation and they're going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives. And the amount of debt we're adding, at a trillion a year, is simply not moral.”

Bravo! Principles are long-term in nature. And Romney returned to enduring principles towards the end of his first debate when he said: “The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The role of government is to promote and protect the principles of those documents.” He discussed “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” but these principles weren’t deployed through out his first debate as arbiters of policy; and they were totally absent from the second debate.  It was Obama, in the second debate, who said “I believe that the free enterprise system is the greatest engine of prosperity the world’s ever known. I believe in self-reliance and individual initiative and risk takers being rewarded.” Yet every policy he advocates takes us down the road to socialism. Principles are not slogans. They aren’t boilerplate rhetoric inserted to pay homage to our past. They must be deployed in the present. Each policy must be brought forth and judged in light of the principles. They must be the arbiter of one’s policy decision as one asks is this consistent with our fundamental principles or does this contradict our principles? Neither candidate employed principles in their analysis during the second debate.

If we are talking about the principle of self-reliance we must continually ask “who earn this?” and “who does this rightfully belong?” Instead the candidates only discuss “who gets more?” at the expense of the rich or future taxpayers. A virtuous person cares how they get their wealth. An honorable person aspires to earn it. Even those temporarily down on their luck can and usually maintain their aspirations to be productive members of society. 

A candidate can prove they respect the principle of “self-reliance” if they defend the property rights of every individual who rightfully produced and earned his wealth. Obama contradicts this principle and Romney shies way from it. A candidate can prove they respect the inalienable right to life, liberty, and property, when they insure that every individual can freely act to further his life, run his business, spend his earnings, and live according to his deepest spiritual values. Obama believes in paternalistic government as he has increased “regulations” to the point of strangling the economy. It’s not clear what Romney believes anymore in this regard.

The questioners in the Hofstra debate, as those asked by the man in the street, show that people want “more stuff” whether they’ve earned it or not. If Obama was smiling during the second debate, it was because he knows he was in his element. Unless Romney explicitly names and challenges the crass amoral expediency implicit in “give me more free stuff now,” he doesn’t deserve to win. It is only the dying embers of the torch of liberty in the hearts of our fellow citizens that can save us next month. If we win that reprieve, we must revitalize our culture and re-establish the moral foundation on which our nation was built. No matter who wins, the fight doesn’t end on November 6th. It just begins. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Back in 2006 I mentioned how anti-anti-Islam is like anti-anti-Communism--an attack on the critics that substitutes for a defense of the indefensible. I explore this in greater detail in my article at American Thinker. I could continue this with an inordinate fear of Islamophobia--Islamophobiaphobia--except that would dignify the anti-concept of Islamophobia. Read my article to see why.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cultural Genocide

As expected the European establishment is using the attack by Breivik to further suppress debate and criticism of the growing Islamic problem within Europe. They already deploy legal punishments for criticizing Islam (witness the trial of Geert Wilders) as well as other forms of intimidation. It is times like these that we should remember Kipling’s words:
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools ...
Many of my online friends and colleagues have seen their words used as excuses for a vile act they would never have imagined let alone condoned. There was no ambiguity in their words that lent them to such usage. The problems in Norway are real. The solution devised by Breivik was diabolical. It has no grounds in the works of the authors he cites. Indeed, many of the authors, in their comments section, have continually told the “let’s nuke ‘em” crowd to get lost. They were never welcomed in the halls of reasonable debate.

There are some ideas in Breivik’s 1500 page compendium that are unique to his thought. They shed some light on his desperation and delusions. This can be seen in his charges against the Norwegian establishment (section 3.2 and 3.5):
Aiding and abetting to cultural genocide against the indigenous peoples of Europe. Cultural genocide is a term used to describe the deliberate destruction of the cultural heritage of a people or nation for political, military, religious, ideological, ethnical, or racial reasons[1]. According to the ”United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”[2] the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites of Europe (all category A, B and C traitors) are committing cultural genocide against the Indigenous Peoples of Europe.

The most basic human right is to defend oneself against deliberate cultural attacks or even an institutionalized cultural genocide of unprecedented historical proportions. It’s not just a right but a duty for all Europeans to defend oneself against such atrocities through armed struggle.
The term cultural genocide is key. This insidious concept is fully operative in Breivik’s mind in the way it was intended by the left--as morally equivalent to physical genocide. Let’s examine their usage before we see why Breivik makes it a driving factor.

David Nersessian writes in the journal of the Carnegie Council:
Collective identity is not self-evident but derives from the numerous, inter-dependent aspects of a group’s existence. Lemkin’s original conception of genocide expressly recognized that a group could be destroyed by attacking any of these unique aspects. By limiting genocide to its physical and biological manifestations, a group can be kept physically and biologically intact even as its collective identity suffers in a fundamental and irremediable manner. Put another way, the present understanding of genocide preserves the body of the group but allows its very soul to be destroyed.
It is very popular in Arab literature with regard to Palestinian Arab culture. Hanan writes:
In many ways, cultural genocide (which is also referred to as "ethnocide", "sociocide" and "deculturation") sets out to achieve the same goals as a physical genocide. As Professor Stuart Stein from the University of the West of England has pointed out, "the same objective, the eradication of a group of people differentiated by some distinct traits, such as ethnicity, race, religion, language, nationality, or culture, can be achieved just as effectively in the mid-to-long-term, by gradual processes, as it might be by their immediate physical liquidation."
Also see this article for another example.

Cultural genocide is a double anti-concept. It is meant to pre-empt valid terminology and distort the debate. The concept of genocide is an insidious replacement for mass slaughter. The notion implies that the slaughter of large number of individuals is worse if the group is demographically homogeneous. By implication the slaughter of a heterogenous group is less severe. Americans, for example, can’t be victims of genocide. When have we seen the jihadi attacks of 9/11 refered to as genocide? The notion of genocide makes the collective ontologically primary. Individuals matter less.

Cultural genocide compounds the error. The mere passing away of a culture, by choice or by time, is raised to the significance of mass slaughter! Thus, when Breivik sees his country changing, it is genocide pure and simple. This kind of talk is poisonous. It’s no longer a nostalgic loss of old folksy customs that many feel when their children adopt new ways. It’s not the threat to fundamental philosophical values, which in a liberal order requires debate and refutation. It’s genocide: extinguishing a collective being. Breivik is striking out against a collective enemy regardless of individual complicity in this imagined crime. Reading between his lines you can hear: we must kill them before they kill all of us!

Closely aliened with cultural genocide is his notion of indigenous cultures. In section 2.78 he writes:
Rhetoric related to “indigenous rights” is an untapped goldmine which has currently been deluded and sidetracked due to “rhetorical contamination” from the US. If you use “white nationalist” rhetoric you are instantly placed in the same category as Hitler. This is not the case with rhetoric related to indigenous rights as this rhetoric is usually related to the Aboriginal or Native American struggles. Some of the reason why many nationalists reject the “indigenous” argument is because it is generally used by a group who has been defeated.
He sees his struggle as an indigenous rights movement for the collective survival of his group. He admits this tribal model is distinctly European and won’t apply to America. In the “Euro-US divide” he says:
However tempting to discuss US nationalism/conservatism, I’m not going to. The reason is that the fundamental factors vary too much. The European Americans aren’t the indigenous peoples of the US, the Native Americans are. In addition; there are more than 60 million Muslims in Western (25-30) + Eastern Europe (35) while only 9 million in the US.
His politics is what the left commonly calls “Identity Politics”. It has little grounding in the [classical] liberal thought which is common in the anti-jihadi writers that he cites. They are first and foremost alarmed by the illiberal nature of Islam. Breivik agrees with the problem but has adapted a collectivist solution that is obviously his own. He has stepped off into an imagined war of all against all. He is alone in this war as he deserves to be.

Let us not for a moment accept the guilt by association that is directed against the thoughtful critics of one of today’s greatest problem: the threat of Islam. This problem has to be discussed. If this becomes an excuse to suppress the debate even further, illiberalism will have won once again.

Update: Caroline Glick defines and defends the essentials of a liberal order. She ends with:
If the Left is ever successful in its bid to criminalize ideological opponents and justify acts of terrorism against their opponents, their victory will destroy the liberal democratic foundations of Western civilization.
I'd add that this would play right into Breivik's hands. So would Daniel Pipes, as he explains here in his last six paragraphs.

Update: Wikipedia notes Breivik's use of the concept of cultural genocide: "In the pre-trial hearing, February 2012, Breivik read a prepared statement demanding to be released and treated as a hero for his 'pre-emptive attack against traitors' accused of planning cultural genocide. He said, 'They are committing, or planning to commit, cultural destruction, of which deconstruction of the Norwegian ethnic group and deconstruction of Norwegian culture. This is the same as ethnic cleansing.'"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

War Before Civilization

Rousseau famous thesis, that "peaceful primitive man" is corrupted by civilization, continues to permeate our culture and undermine our moral confidence. Anthropologist Lawrence H. Keeley demolishes this thesis in his book War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage. He shows that “prehistoric warfare was in fact more deadly, more frequent, and more ruthless than modern war.”

To come to this conclusion he had to fight his own prejudice—one shared by his profession. “Like most archaeologists trained in the postwar period, I emerged from the first stage of my education so inculcated with the assumption that warfare and prehistory did not mix that I was willing to dismiss unambiguous physical evidence to the contrary.” [p ix] “Weapons and armor” were dismissed as “status symbols and had only a symbolic function rather than a practical military one.” [p19] Social anthropologists, who encountered savage societies, declared that contact with civilization induced the transformation from a peaceful disposition to a warrior-like ethos. However, the overwhelming evidence was too great to allow this prevailing dogma to go unchallenged.

Keeley thoroughly reviews the statistics. Depending on region and means of classification he finds that 5%-13% of primitive tribes or bands are peaceful (meaning not engaging in raids or wars more than once a year). “Most peaceful groups [are] living in areas with extremely low population densities, isolated by distance and hard country from other groups...” [p 28] But “many small-band societies that are regarded by ethnologists as not engaging in warfare instead evidence very high homicide rates.” [p29]

“Truly peaceful agriculturalists appear to be somewhat less common than pacifistic hunter-gatherers… Low-density, nomadic hunter-gatherers, with their few (and portable) possessions, large territories, and few fixed resources or constructed facilities, had the option of fleeing … Farmers and sedentary hunter-gatherers had little alternative but to meet force with force or, after injury, to discourage further depredations by taking revenge.” [p31]

War is common to civilized states and primitive non-state societies but given the evidence of Keeley’s book “the only reasonable conclusion is that wars are actually more frequent in nonstate societies than they are in state societies—especially modern nations.” [p33] “From North America at least, archaeological evidence reveals precisely the same pattern recorded ethnographically for tribal peoples the world over of frequent deadly raids and occasional horrific massacres. This was an indigenous and ‘native’ pattern long before contact with Europeans complicated the situation.’ [p69]

What happens when primitive and civilized people clash? He has some startling conclusions. When numbers are equal, either side is likely to win. Civilized fighting, geared to wining battles against other nation-states, is a liability when fighting savages. “In most cases, civilized soldiers have defeated primitive warriors only when they adopted the latter’s tactics. In the history of European expansion, soldiers repeatedly had to abandon their civilized techniques and weapons to win against even the most primitive opponents. The unorthodox techniques adopted were smaller, more mobile units; abandonment of artillery and use of lighter small arms; open formations and skirmishing tactics; increased reliance on ambushes, raids, and surprise attacks on settlements; destruction of the enemy’s economic infrastructure (habitations, foodstores, livestock, and means of transport); a strategy of attrition against the enemy’s manpower; relentless pursuit to take advantage of civilization’s superior logistics; and extensive use of natives as scouts or auxiliaries. In other words, not only were civilized military techniques incapable of defeating their primitive counter parts, but in many cases the collaboration of primitive warriors was necessary because civilized soldiers alone were inadequate for the task.” [p74]

“Primitive (and guerilla) warfare consists of war stripped to its essentials: the murder of enemies; the theft or destruction of their sustenance, wealth, and essential resources; and the inducement in them of insecurity and terror. It conducts the basic business of war without recourse to ponderous formations or equipment, complicated maneuvers, strict chains of command, calculated strategies, time tables, or other civilized embellishments. When civilized soldiers meet adversaries so unencumbered, they too must shed a considerable weight of intellectual baggage and physical armor just to even the odds.” [p75]

Often civilized nation-states were helped by other factors. “These silent partners included viruses, bacteria, seed plants, and mammals that disseminated death and triggered ecological transformations that decimated native manpower and disrupted traditional economies. These insidious conquistadors spread far more rapidly and were many times more deadly than the human conquerors …” [p78] He concludes: “In the face of these facts, the claim that the superior tactics and military discipline of Europeans gained them dominion over primitives in the Americas, Oceania, and Siberia is so inflated that it would be comic were not the facts that contradict it so tragic.” [p79]

Keeley, also notes facts contrary to his thesis. “… it was common the world over for the warrior who had just killed an enemy to be regarded by his own people as spiritually polluted or contaminated... Often he had to live for a time in seclusion, eat special food or fast …” [p144] War is repulsive even to primitive man. “Yet if this worldwide revulsion had any real impact on social behavior, wars should be rare and peace common; instead the opposite is true.” [p147]. His explanation of this paradox isn’t convincing. Neither is his explanation for the rise of the neo-Rousseauian “noble savage” dogmatism that dominated anthropology for so long.

Lawrence Keeley is a man who has respects for the facts. To the extent that he is not an exception in his profession—he says he’s not—there is a silent revolution taking place within the academy. Even if one isn’t convinced of every generality, one has to appreciate the seismic shift in worldview that is taking place.