by UnHerd
Tuesday, 16
June 2020

Rutger Bregman: Why civilisation is a curse

Freddie Sayers hears from the Dutch historian why Hobbes was wrong
by UnHerd

Freddie Sayers catches up with Dutch historian and campaigner Rutger Bregman to hear why Hobbes was wrong, how civilisation has mostly made people miserable, and why Jordan Peterson is wrong. Have a watch…

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  • That was a bit of a challenging watch for me, but I’m glad I listened all the way through. Thanks Freddie.
    I guess I’m more of a Hobbesian and so was all set to disagree vehemently. However Rutger has thought his points through thoroughly which he articulated well and in a measured way. I found him to be rather interesting. What he has to say is at least coherent which is more than can be said of many on the left especially those angry activists and agitators.
    The one thing I can almost guarantee: if society had been built the way he now wishes it was, we would never have had Chartres Cathedral or Bach, never mind the pyramids.
    The other thing I’d say is that most of it would not have worked out the way he thinks it might nor will it work out after he’s changed all our institutions. He hasn’t allowed for envy, rivalry, resentment all of which in the end lead to violence. He seems to blame the existence of violence purely on hierarchies. Perhaps the hierarchies came about to attempt to control those traits (and so to keep violence in check) rather than leading to them.
    Obviously, we mucked up badly in the 20thC. But was it our institutions that led to that or was it those horrid traits?

  • Gave up when he said “war started”¦ when we became sedentary and hierarchical “¦ and invented patriarchy”¦” Freddie didn’t seem to be ready to push him on any of this, and it all seems very tendentious, –no that’s too polite, flat out wrong– to me.

  • There’s a myth floating around that before civilization we all co-existed peacefully and bartered with each other for goods. Tribal leaders were kind and caring and everyone listened intently to each other, speaking only when they held the talking-stick. Oh, and they were more matriarchal too.

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