12 thoughts on “The Evolution Of The Lineages Of Modernity”

  1. As an amusing aside, I started reading the review without my reading glasses and at first mistook the title of the reviewed work to be; Lineages of Modernity: A History of Humanity from the Stone Age to Home Automation. Even though wrong, I kind of like the ring of that title.

    About 3/4 of way through review. May have comments after I finish. Can say that the system whereby oldest son inherited the father’s land is why I’m, in a very roundabout and circuitous way, a citizen of the United States rather than Germany.

  2. Extremely interesting, enough for me to buy the book. Thanks for the post.

    The assessment of the family aspect is particularly interesting. I’m currently reading Hillbilly Elegy, which gives a perspective on a particular type of American family. Unlike most, they are prolific, uh, breeders, for lack of a better term. I married into such a family, my wife having been one of 11 children, many of whom in turn had similarly sized families. I now have well over 100 nieces and nephews (counting greats and great-greats), in a system which I consider to be more genuinely American than what has become the “accepted” norm. They, in turn, live in similar communities, and support one another on a voluntary basis. They form “fly over” country and are, IMHO, the last best hope of America.

    Me? Well, I was born in Lake Winnipesaukee. I was one of a litter of three…

  3. I come from families composed largely of people who could barely tolerate each other, much less support each other. I sometimes wonder what would have become of humanity if this had been normal behavior.

    1. It would never have spread out to cover the entire earth. People who can’t stand other people are just the type to go looking for empty lands to colonize.

  4. “the Great Conversation on modernity….”

    Bahahaha! *What* great conversation on Modernity? For there to be a conversation, the people with something real to say can’t be hunted, persecuted, and jailed!

  5. I’ll probably have to buy the book. From the description, it reminds me of Hernando De Soto’s insights into black markets and Western property systems, but goes even deeper into the underlying social forces.

    De Soto made the point that often the people who grow up in a particular system intuitively assume that the system is just how things work everywhere else. Our systems of deeds and titles, for us, is just a given, in the same way that our modern kids grow up thinking everybody has always had smart phones, unable to really comprehend a completely different world.

    Since most people grow up under one zombie property/government system, or maybe two if they’re in immigrant, it’s easy to assume that such systems are just the way the world works everywhere else, or should work, so everyone grows up with an understanding of how their system works, but not why such a system came to be, and what the alternatives were.

    1. I just watched (yet again) the Star Trek TOS episode “The Apple”, about these white-looking Polynesian-like space aliens who fed explosive energy stones into an idol called Vaal that looked like the head of a snake but was in reality the portal to an underground computer that ruled this planet.

      Alright, OK, I get it already, Star Trek is just a fiction and it is simply a made up story, and “The Apple” is regarded by fans and critics alike as a stinker of an episode. On the other hand, Star Trek could be understood to be the thinking of a couple of people in Hollywood in the 1960s about how people (The Federation) with smart phones (“communicator”) viewed the sector of the galaxy (the World) they could reach with star ships (jet airplanes).

      OK the setup is that the Feeders of Vaal were in a symbiosis with a computer, where the computer took care of their needs in exchange for a few simple rules (kind of like a “gentleman’s club” where the women didn’t wear much clothes, but no touching!) and periodically picking up a bunch of stones and bringing them to the Vaal idol.

      Spock gives voice to the notion that “the Vaalians are different and their society is based on a different set of rules” whereas McCoy counters “humanoids thrive on freedom and these people are slaves to a machine!”

      Of course like with almost every other TOS episode, the Enterprise and its 400 crew including the sacrificial Red Shirts (4 of them in this episode) are trapped by The Powerful Alien Entity of the Week. Spock points out “the Federation rules against interference in a primitive culture” (this was before this got formalized as the Prime Directive?) to which Kirk counters that the lives of 400 crew members are threatened and Kirk will worry about his appearance before a “review panel” later on.

      So Kirk stops the Vaalians from feeding Vaal, which weakens it enough that Scotty is able to phaser it into oblivion, saving the Enterprise from being tractor-beamed into crashing into the planet. The Vaalians are not left to their own devices now, which will include the heretofore forbidden “touching”, and when questioned about this, Kirk smiles, “I think they will figure this out on their own”, which in our own humanoid species subject to our large heads and brains giving us intelligence, childbirth even to this day of medical technology takes place under “the curse of Eve.” Thanks for nothing, Kirk!

      OK, Star Trek is intellectually deep relative to other TV shows, which isn’t saying very much, and Picard on TNS was a much more Woke version of Kirk who would have had more regret about upending the lives of the Vaal people. But there was very little curiosity regarding how the Vaal/Feeders of Vaal symbiosis came to be, and how is McCoy to judge that having to pick up a few rocks every know and then is slavery and that being free of Vaal would be such an improvement?

      Finally back on the Enterprise, Spock philosophizes that the Vaal people lived in a paradise and the Captain Kirk cast them out. Kirk pushes back with “Are you comparing me to Satan?” Turning to McCoy, he asks, which one of use looks most like “Satan?” as McCoy and Kirk both stare at Spock and laugh at Spock’s expensive.

      I guess maybe I am under the spell of the Woke Revolution because I accepted the humorous all’s-well-that-ends-well banter until now. Is it just me, but even with the pointy-ear makeup, to comment on Nimoy’s appearance is the most blatant exercise in anti-Semitism? Yeah, yeah, Gene Roddenberry and William Shatner, who as an actor had considerable input into the characters, but really?

      1. Alternative storyline: the Vaalians find a way to bring Vaalism to other Federation worlds, and begin demanding their non-Vaal-worshiping neighbors also bring rocks.

        1. Another alternative storyline:

          The Biden (alright, OK Biden-Harris) Administration is insisting on including construction of a Vaal in every urban and rural community, but Conservatives are saying there is evidence that scientists know how to build such a thing and Libertarians are complaining that this should be left to the Private Sector and if the Federal Government does this, the Vaals will be massively over budget and not completed until the next century, if ever?

      2. Of course in woker TNG, Picard would philosophize to Rikker what signing up for Star Fleet meant in terms of absolute acceptance of the wisdom of the Prime Directive as they and the rest of the landing party watched the Enterprise disintegrate into an absolute fireball while Data reports that a transporter malfunction and lack of shuttles trapped much of the crew on board to whit Picard shrugs, mumbles something about ‘knowing what you sign up for’ pulls out a lute and starts playing a tune he learned in another episode. Of course Berman saved this episode for the last, because well….

  6. Not done with the review yet, but there seems to perhaps be some overlap with Joseph Henrich’s The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous, where WEIRD is of course an acronym for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic. I’m about a third of the way through that book and it’s quite interesting and a good companion to Charles Murray’s excellent 2020 tome Human Diversity (although Henrich, at least so far, is not emphasizing heritability).

    I also note, on this topic, that Murray has a new book coming out this spring, Facing Reality: Two Truths About Race in America; here’s the description on Amazon:

    The charges of white privilege and systemic racism that are tearing the country apart fIoat free of reality. Two known facts, long since documented beyond reasonable doubt, need to be brought into the open and incorporated into the way we think about public policy: American whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians have 1) different violent crime rates and 2) different means and distributions of cognitive ability. The allegations of racism in policing, college admissions, segregation in housing, and hiring and promotions in the workplace ignore the ways in which the problems that prompt the allegations of systemic racism are driven by these two realities.

    What good can come of bringing them into the open? America’s most precious ideal is what used to be known as the American Creed: People are not to be judged by where they came from, what social class they come from, or by race, color, or creed. They must be judged as individuals. The prevailing Progressive ideology repudiates that ideal, demanding instead that the state should judge people by their race, social origins, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

    We on the center left and center right who are the American Creed’s natural defenders have painted ourselves into a corner. We have been unwilling to say openly that different groups have significant group differences. Since we have not been willing to say that, we have been left defenseless against the claims that racism is to blame. What else could it be? We have been afraid to answer. We must. Facing Reality is a step in that direction.

    As the publication date of Murray’s book approaches, it will be…interesting to see how much pressure from the woke is applied to his publisher and Amazon to suppress what is obviously a steaming pile of doubleplusbad wrongthink.

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