Anarchy and the Neanderthal

Noam Chomsky pointed out that the Neanderthal were on the earth for 400,000 years (homo sapiens, i.e. our kind, have only been around for 200,000) and for those 400,000 years the only system of government which the Neanderthal had was the anarchy of wandering bands of hunters and food gatherers. Anarchy was also the form of government for the Australian Aboriginals and the Native Americans. Anarchy does not me no rules or no taboos; it means no king, no bureaucracy, no constitution, etc. Anarchy does not mean mayhem and utter chaos. Actually anarchy probably worked very well for 400,000 years, all things considered.

@Jeffrey… I have not finished reading your entire post… I hope to shortly… but during the first paragraph it hit me that if YOU cannot come up with an actual example of anarchy in practice and NO ONE ELSE can come up with some historical example that satisfies you then the term “anarchy” is meaningless because when you say the word you simply IMAGINE [God only knows what inserted here]. Certain scholars consider that the prophet Samuel in the Old Testament was advocating anarchy when he warned the people against choosing a king “to be like other nations.”

I think when we speak of “mob rule” we are simply imagining some period of days in some city where riots break out and if that is so I don’t think it is very meaningful to speak of “mobocracy”. Do you mean that when a crowd waiting for a sale to begin at a Wal-Mart goes wild and tramples someone to death that this represents 20 minutes of “mobocracy?” Don’t forget that we make up all sorts of cute terms for rhetorical effect like “mediacracy” “plutocracy” “meritocracy” but such terms really do not denote something that is politically or historically TANGIBLE in the same way that the dynasties of ancient Egypt denote something which actually existed and had a long stable period of endurance or the way of life that Homer and Herodotus describe.

Regarding Chomsky vs. Aristotle, Chomsky is actually in a stronger position than Aristotle because Chomsky studied Aristotle and has a knowledge of the Neanderthal but Aristotle had no idea that such a thing as Neanderthal existed.

@Jeffrey, I hope you realize that if you cannot agree to ANY actual example of a group of beings living in anarchy (outside of a novelist’s imagination) then YOU have a serious problem in even using the word anarchy. When we watch nature documentaries of packs of animals we do see one animal who is in a dominant position so are you going to say that gorillas and walruses and penguins have a form of government?

Most of us old enough to remember the 1950s have some notion of what a family was and if are not old enough to remember families then we can all watch re-runs of Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver, and a number of other television series. That old fashioned notion of a “nuclear family” is becoming less frequent.

There exists in the Neanderthal genome a gene which is associated with speech so Neanderthal may well have possessed speech. I am intrigued by the notion that polis requires logos. We know that the written word has only existed for a few thousand years and before that everything was an oral tradition. I am certain that we really started to get into political trouble when we started writing things down and forming contracts, constitutions and manifestos.


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