Thursday, August 04, 2005

Bummer. He's into the Koolaid.

Like many, I thoroughly enjoyed Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel which tries to answer the question: Why did (white) Europeans end up being the ones who spread out and dominated other societies? Why didn't China or Arabia, who were way ahead of the Europeans at one point? And just what's up with Africa, anyway? His conclusion, btw, is that the Fertile Crescent (remember that from history class?) contained the majority of the domesticatable animals and plants, and Europe's geography allowed the easy spread of the same, thus giving it a leg up. Good read.

But now there's this article from Mr. Diamond: The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race. (Via

Mr. Diamond thinks that agriculture was a bad, bad thing. See, it created inequality and disease. Well, sorry Jared, but inequality is simply part of the dance. Nothing humans did "caused" inequality. When I was a spindly teenager, the big jock my age would've still pushed me around whether we were in a high school hallway or out on the savanna hunting for dinner. Our finer instincts and societal agreements actually posit the idea that we treat everyone as equal in spite of the obvious, simply because it leads to a better quality of life for most of us.

Further, had we not stopped following the herds around, we wouldn't have built hospitals to deal with the diseases. And so on.

Part of the problem with shooting fish in a barrel is it ruins the barrel and wastes ammunition, so let's just stop there.

I hope that someday Mr. Diamond picks up Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where he posits that the original bad move was coming down from the trees in the first place. Maybe the much needed laugh will clear his head.

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