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The Nick Fury actor chimed in with his thoughts on "The Irishman" director comparing superhero movies to theme parks. After a disappointing season premiere, the series bounced back this weekend, thanks to the 'Fleabag' star. By LaToya Ferguson 16 hours ago. If the offended gods so far blind you as to make you reject peace, you will find, when it is too late, that the people who are moderate and lovers of peace are the most formidable in war. By inference Tacitus was criticizing his own Roman culture for getting away from its roots—which was the perennial function of such comparisons.
Tacitus's Germans did not inhabit a " Golden Age " of ease but were tough and inured to hardship, qualities which he saw as preferable to the decadent softness of civilized life. In antiquity this form of "hard primitivism", whether admired or deplored both attitudes were common , co-existed in rhetorical opposition to the "soft primitivism" of visions of a lost Golden Age of ease and plenty. As art historian Erwin Panofsky explains:.
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There had been, from the beginning of classical speculation, two contrasting opinions about the natural state of man, each of them, of course, a "Gegen-Konstruktion" to the conditions under which it was formed. One view, termed "soft" primitivism in an illuminating book by Lovejoy and Boas, conceives of primitive life as a golden age of plenty, innocence, and happiness—in other words, as civilized life purged of its vices.
The other, "hard" form of primitivism conceives of primitive life as an almost subhuman existence full of terrible hardships and devoid of all comforts—in other words, as civilized life stripped of its virtues. In the 18th century the debates about primitivism centered around the examples of the people of Scotland as often as the American Indians.
The rude ways of the Highlanders were often scorned, but their toughness also called forth a degree of admiration among "hard" primitivists, just as that of the Spartans and the Germans had done in antiquity. One Scottish writer described his Highland countrymen this way:. They greatly excel the Lowlanders in all the exercises that require agility; they are incredibly abstemious, and patient of hunger and fatigue; so steeled against the weather, that in traveling, even when the ground is covered with snow, they never look for a house, or any other shelter but their plaid, in which they wrap themselves up, and go to sleep under the cope of heaven.
Such people, in quality of soldiers, must be invincible Debates about "soft" and "hard" primitivism intensified with the publication in of Hobbes 's Leviathan or Commonwealth , a justification of absolute monarchy. Hobbes, a "hard Primitivist", flatly asserted that life in a state of nature was "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short"—a "war of all against all":.
Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.
Reacting to the wars of religion of his own time and the previous century, he maintained that the absolute rule of a king was the only possible alternative to the otherwise inevitable violence and disorder of civil war. Hobbes' hard primitivism may have been as venerable as the tradition of soft primitivism, but his use of it was new. He used it to argue that the state was founded on a social contract in which men voluntarily gave up their liberty in return for the peace and security provided by total surrender to an absolute ruler, whose legitimacy stemmed from the Social Contract and not from God.
Hobbes' vision of the natural depravity of man inspired fervent disagreement among those who opposed absolute government. His most influential and effective opponent in the last decade of the 17th century was Shaftesbury. Shaftesbury countered that, contrary to Hobbes, humans in a state of nature were neither good nor bad, but that they possessed a moral sense based on the emotion of sympathy, and that this emotion was the source and foundation of human goodness and benevolence.
Like his contemporaries all of whom who were educated by reading classical authors such as Livy , Cicero , and Horace , Shaftesbury admired the simplicity of life of classical antiquity. Shaftesbury's denial of the innate depravity of man was taken up by contemporaries such as the popular Irish essayist Richard Steele — , who attributed the corruption of contemporary manners to false education. Influenced by Shaftesbury and his followers, 18th-century readers, particularly in England, were swept up by the cult of Sensibility that grew up around Shaftesbury's concepts of sympathy and benevolence.
Meanwhile, in France, where those who criticized government or Church authority could be imprisoned without trial or hope of appeal, primitivism was used primarily as a way to protest the repressive rule of Louis XIV and XV , while avoiding censorship. Thus, in the beginning of the 18th century, a French travel writer, the Baron de Lahontan , who had actually lived among the Huron Indians , put potentially dangerously radical Deist and egalitarian arguments in the mouth of a Canadian Indian, Adario, who was perhaps the most striking and significant figure of the "good" or "noble" savage, as we understand it now, to make his appearance on the historical stage:.
Adario sings the praises of Natural Religion. As against society he puts forward a sort of primitive Communism, of which the certain fruits are Justice and a happy life. He looks with compassion on poor civilized man—no courage, no strength, incapable of providing himself with food and shelter: a degenerate, a moral cretin , a figure of fun in his blue coat, his red hose, his black hat, his white plume and his green ribands.
He never really lives because he is always torturing the life out of himself to clutch at wealth and honors which, even if he wins them, will prove to be but glittering illusions. For science and the arts are but the parents of corruption. The Savage obeys the will of Nature, his kindly mother, therefore he is happy. It is civilized folk who are the real barbarians. Published in Holland , Lahontan's writings, with their controversial attacks on established religion and social customs, were immensely popular.
Over twenty editions were issued between and , including editions in French, English, Dutch and German. Interest in the remote peoples of the earth, in the unfamiliar civilizations of the East, in the untutored races of America and Africa, was vivid in France in the 18th century.
Everyone knows how Voltaire and Montesquieu used Hurons or Persians to hold up the glass to Western manners and morals, as Tacitus used the Germans to criticize the society of Rome. It is however one of the most remarkable books of the century. Its immediate practical importance lay in the array of facts which it furnished to the friends of humanity in the movement against negro slavery. But it was also an effective attack on the Church and the sacerdotal system. Raynal brought home to the conscience of Europeans the miseries which had befallen the natives of the New World through the Christian conquerors and their priests.
He was not indeed an enthusiastic preacher of Progress.
He was unable to decide between the comparative advantages of the savage state of nature and the most highly cultivated society. Many of the most incendiary passages in Raynal 's book, one of the bestsellers of the eighteenth century, especially in the Western Hemisphere, are now known to have been in fact written by Diderot. Reviewing Jonathan Israel 's Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights , Jeremy Jennings , notes that The History of the Two Indies , in the opinion of Jonathan Israel, was the text that "made a world revolution" by delivering "the most devastating single blow to the existing order":.
More widely read than any other work of the Enlightenment In the later 18th century, the published voyages of Captain James Cook and Louis Antoine de Bougainville seemed to open a glimpse into an unspoiled Edenic culture that still existed in the un-Christianized South Seas. Their popularity inspired Diderot 's Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville , a scathing critique of European sexual hypocrisy and colonial exploitation.
The Care and Labour of providing for Artificial and Fashionable Wants, the sight of so many rich wallowing in Superfluous plenty, whereby so many are kept poor and distressed for Want, the Insolence of Office Benjamin Franklin , who had negotiated with the Indians during the French and Indian War , protested vehemently against the Paxton massacre , in which white vigilantes massacred Indian women and children at Conestoga, Pennsylvania in December Franklin himself personally organized a Quaker militia to control the white population and "strengthen the government".
Savages we call them, because their manners differ from ours, which we think the perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs.
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Franklin used the massacres to illustrate his point that no race had a monopoly on virtue, likening the Paxton vigilantes to "Christian White Savages'". Franklin would invoke God in the pamphlet, calling for divine punishment of those who carried the Bible in one hand and the hatchet in the other: 'O ye unhappy Perpetrators of this Horrid Wickedness!
Franklin's writings on American Indians were remarkably free of ethnocentricism, although he often used words such as "savages," which carry more prejudicial connotations in the twentieth century than in his time. Franklin's cultural relativism was perhaps one of the purest expressions of Enlightenment assumptions that stressed racial equality and the universality of moral sense among peoples. Systematic racism was not called into service until a rapidly expanding frontier demanded that enemies be dehumanized during the rapid, historically inevitable westward movement of the nineteenth century.
Franklin's respect for cultural diversity did not reappear widely as an assumption in Euro-American thought until Franz Boas and others revived it around the end of the nineteenth century. Franklin's writings on Indians express the fascination of the Enlightenment with nature, the natural origins of man and society, and natural or human rights. They are likewise imbued with a search which amounted at times almost to a ransacking of the past for alternatives to monarchy as a form of government, and to orthodox state-recognized churches as a form of worship.