Re: Indigenous Greed?

Lief M. Hendrickson (hendrick@NOSC.MIL)
Mon, 6 Mar 1995 22:57:40 PST

On Mar. 6, Bret Diamond gleefully stated:

> While several people have responded to my challenge to provide an
>example of pre-contact capitalist greed by an indigenous group, all
>attempts so far have failed to meet the criteria that I put forth.

Bret Diamond's challenge was obviously a ploy so he could issue
his pompous indictment against capitalism. However, despite his
claim to the contrary, the challenge was met.

He refutes greed in appropriating what belongs to others by
defining greed in a certain way. He says Native Americans didn't
steal horses before they had horses to steal, and before that
when they stole, it wasn't really stealing because they only took
what they could consume and nothing else. If they didn't convert
their bounty to interest bearing capital, they weren't ever
greedy. The rebuttal of damage to the environment is just about
as flimsy. Some groups didn't "fish out" every small lake,
stream, or pond, therefore no indigenous people ever caused
damage to the environment.

It's easy to uphold a challenge by changing the rules after it is
met- like moving to another hill in the game "King of the
Mountain". Well, Bret, you can be king or your mountain, because
what you're standing on is just an ant hill (hmm, I wonder what
color the ants are?).

Notwithstanding Bret's slight of hand, if his so-called
"challenge" had withstood the mighty onslaught of anthro-l, what
would that mean? According to Bret, the capitalists are out to
stamp out indigenous peoples and destroy "the last remaining rich
areas of the world". Following Bret's contorted thinking, that
leaves two mutually exclusive survivors. So, what's it gonna be,
Bret? Kill the capitalists? or kill the indigenous peoples?

I'd say there is no answer, because the Bret Diamond challenge is
a frivolous approach to many complex issues. These silly
attempts to use biased measurements of limited attributes and
make broad judgements of worthiness lead nowhere.