Polemics & Exchanges

Noble Savages

Allensworth and Frye do a wonderful
job dispelling human ignorance concerning
the walls that have protected civilizations
from barbarians (“Against the
Barbarians,” Chronicles, July 2019). But,
one thing mentioned bothers me: “Endless
warfare, savagery, and sudden, violent
death.”

The prevailing wisdom concerning
Hunter-Gatherers, completely betrays
common sense. Our Stone Age ancestors,
who had no sophisticated tools, or weapons,
or any kind of agriculture, were frequently
only barely able to get enough to
eat. They could not afford to “fight amongst
themselves,” as Allensworth writes. There
was virtually nothing much to fight over
anyway. Frye is correct in pointing out that
they were not “noble savages.” But they did
not stray from cooperation because disunity
meant sure death.

Piers Woodriff
Montpelier, Va.

Mr. Allensworth Replies:

Despite Mr. Woodriff’s assertion that “common
sense” should tell us that our Stone
Age ancestors could not afford to “fight
among themselves,” there is significant evidence
to the contrary.

Indeed, according to a research paper
on lethal...

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