February 19, 2013
to be posted on nobabies.net

Jarred Diamond
Department of Geography
1255 Bunche Hall Los Angeles, CA 90095-1524
t: 310.825.6177
f: 310.206.5976

Dear Jarred Diamond:
See here, young whippersnapper.  You say old people don’t advertise Coke.  Didn’t your Pappy ever tell you that Santa Claus advertised Coke? …

Sorry.  Strike that.  What I meant to say was that I read Jarred Diamond The World Until Yesterday Viking Penguin, New York 2012 with relish.  You point out that our own society might learn from more traditional ones in matters of care of the very young and the very old, conflict resolution, nutrition and exercise.  Well said.

A remarkable thing about traditional societies is that they have lasted a long time.  Old people might be considered wise; after all they, too, have endured.  Of course if the name of the back molars has anything to do with it “old” means about twenty one.  Henry David Thoreau in Walden reported he never got good advice or any advice at all from older people.  In that regard I have been luckier. 

However admirable traditional ways may sometimes be with regard to the topics you analyze, none seems to be absolutely vital to survival – their chief fame to claim.  Survival depends on having sufficient babies.  They do and we don’t.  Hmm. 

It turns out (http://nobabies.net/A%20December%20summary.html) that in order to retain viable fertility it is necessary to retain a significant degree of consanguinity.  Your narrative suggests that women are exchanged about as casually as sea shells in traditional societies; they are more expensive, of course and your average sea shell rarely falls in love with another person and runs away, but still exactly who marries whom is not your interest.  It well might be.  Take a look at the link and tell me what you think.

Some day, when all battles are one and all truth is known, perhaps we can loiter over a cup of tea and you can ask me things like: You have at times been able to read or converse in nine languages, you find it tragic that any language should die yet you are tepid about everybody becoming multi lingual; are you insane?  An old codger like you trying to save civilization, isn’t that work for a bright young person with some neurons left unfried?  You’ve never married but you think everybody else you know goes about it wrong; what kind of arrogance is that?  You distinguish between God (or something you would call Up so as not to drag in other definitions) and religion; does that make any sense at all?  What do Glen Coe and castles have to do with any of this? 

Alas that quiz must wait.  Dragons must be confronted.  But my question to you stands. 


M. Linton Herbert

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