Guns, Germs and Steel

Nemonemini at Nemonemini at
Tue Jan 16 10:07:08 MST 2001

 In a message dated 1/14/2001 10:23:19 PM Eastern Standard
schaffer at writes:

The factor of environment is not crucial at any fundamental level.
There is no common denominator to the places of fundamental
advance. The time and place of the European expansion falls into place
in that pattern like clockwork. So Mr. Diamond's thesis is really
empty of content. Some of his claims are absurd.
This is so wrong in so many ways that one wonders if Mr Landon has
even read the book. It is simply not serious to dismiss Diamond like
this, or to speak of him merely as a 'cultural relativist' not worthy
of further attention;  

I am sorry to sound so harsh, I'll take it back, unless he is a bourgeois
theorist in disguise.   Diamond's thesis is not without interest and I failed
to mention that I enjoyed his book, I will reread him twice, just for you.  
But Diamond is asking a good question that he cannot answer. For it is
'forced history' made to be Darwinian first. Darwinists are determined to
invade the social sciences and if you think Marxism will have a place there,
read E.O. Wilson on Rousseau in Consilience.
 That is, finally, Diamond is indirectly telling his Borneo correspondent,
tough luck, the survival of the fittest makes history, and that's the way the
cookie crumbles, top dogs in the west. Maybe we can blame it on some
geographical factor, for the sake of public relations.  What theory of
history will free us of this kind of 'outcome inevitability'? One of the
first was Marxism.  The fact is, the west blew it and and produced a subpar
outcome.  The whole point of the discussion is that the rise of the west was
so riddled with tragedies, the world is in danger of losing the future in its
better sense. And the whole point of  Marx and Engels was to proceed against
the inertia of an undesirable outcome. What model will do justice to this
complication. Look carefully, the answer is embedded in Marxism, but it is
not always clear,  in its usual form, how this works. Marxism is basically a
macroevolutionary argument afraid of being thought 'idealist' and therefore
adopting positivist camouflage to survive the age of botched evolutionism, a
la Darwin. After that statement, I may have to skip town. But I sometimes
wonder if I am the last marxist left.
We have ended up convincing ourselves there is no way out of economic
inevitability when the whole point is to grapple with this element of
determination using the element of freedom, to wrest history from itself.  No
derivative of Darwinism can ever do justice to that possibility.  
John Landon
World History and the Eonic Effect
nemonemini at

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