I know I’ve already reviewed this book textually, but I put it in the intro of my Manthropology videos for a very good reason—it’s THAT important. Thus, a video on it.
As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, the noble savage ideal is implicitly a major cornerstone of modern leftist anthropology, no matter how much they deny it, and one of the major cornerstones of the noble savage ideal is that the indigenes, untouched by civilization, “never knew violence” until the big bad colonists brought it to them in the form of doing violence upon them. And of course, they REALLY want to believe that somewhere in some wonderful little corner of the earth, there are still tribes that have no interpersonal conflict at all (and of course those magical tribes are all devout feminists that have no concept of gender roles).
There’s a reason why I put “War Before Civilization” in the intro to all my Manthropology videos. Because this book is an absolute DEMOLITION of the idea of non-violent, happy, primitive indigenes. Keeley’s heavily footnoted analysis shows that, proportionally speaking, primitive warfare (whether looking at archaeological evidence, or modern hunter-gatherer tribes) is every bit as brutal and deadly as modern warfare, and in some ways is more efficient than modern warfare (to cite Page 34, pre-modern Tahitian tribes mobilized 50% of their men for combat, and in primitive war, every man is on the front lines. In contrast, even Nazi Germany could only mobilize 30% of its men for combat roles, and the rest of which were in support roles.)
But the key is in equality to modern warfare, because many tactics of our primitive forebears, or modern hunter gatherer tribes, are equivalent to modern tactics. In one example making flint arrowheads specifically designed to break off the shaft and hook into the enemy’s flesh (similar to expanding “dum-dum” bullets that are today banned by the Geneva Convention). In another example, soaking spears and arrowheads in rotting flesh and various poisons specifically to give enemies a long, drawn out death (and what is that if not a biological weapon?)…
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