The term “noble savage” was coined in the 18th century by the idiotic French philosopher Jean Jacques Rosseau. It put forth that primitive man, bereft of Western civilization or an operating market, in a state of brutal animal-like grace, is much to be preferred to modern, then, Enlightenment man so concerned with advancing the human condition through empirical analysis and action. It is utter bosh.
But in different forms it has infected Western thought for centuries. We have seen the left, since the 60s and before, manifest their love of dirty soiled primitive man in their championship of the essential gentle nature of the American Indian, the late 60s counterculture, and the urban terrorists of the 2020 riots. Each meretricious group had the essential quality so attractive to the left: They damned Western civilization.
As any serious scholar of the American Indian knows, my own mentor Edward Osborne comes to mind, the tribes of North America were viciously warring amongst themselves long before Europeans got here. Colonel Nelson Miles says it better than I do.
But we are somehow supposed to believe that we Europeans brought war and strife to an idyllic pastoral paradise. The noble savage ruined by civilization? Blow it out your war bonnet.
I must admit a bias here. My own ancestry is about thirty percent Indian. But it is of the elective heart surgery/flying snake god South American variety, not the North American brutes who oppressed the 7th US Cavalry. But, I digress.
The next infatuation for the crude, the next nostalgie de la boue, was the left’s full embrace of the 60s counterculturalists, better known as hippies. Was there ever a more wrong-headed and disgusting group? Sanctimoniously emo, self-obsessed, lacking the basic rudiments of human cleanliness and decorum, they scuttled across America and their destructive legacy is still with us, as the dirtiest and most Bolshevik of them cleaned up and joined the ranks of the Democrat Party. They guide it still.
The latest manifestation of a port side attraction to savagery was the kid gloves treatment of the urban terrorists of BLM and Antifa as they burned and murdered their way from Atlanta to Los Angeles in 2020. We were told this was the legitimate anger of a people traumatized by racism. Really? How does looting a liquor store strike a note for racial equality? How does setting fire to a downtown business district redress any racial imbalance? They don’t. What we saw was savagery for the sake of savagery, the negation of anything decent in the human spirit.
Man without civilization, without logic, without proper social mores, is reduced to a baying animal-like state (William Golding call your office) marching backwards into history, tearing down notions of freedom and liberty under law as it goes. There is nothing noble about it.