Çatal Chattel No More

Yabba Dabba Anarchy!Check out Ken MacLeod’s discussion of possible evidence for a Neolithic revolution that may have replaced a sanguinary theocracy with a non-hierarchical society that lasted for the next three millennia.

While one must be wary of succumbing to wishful thinking when evaluating such hypotheses, it’s certainly interesting. Plus it’s nice to see Çatalhöyük spelled correctly for a change. Outside of Turkey, Höyük is frequently, and used to be almost invariably, spelled Hüyük – a most unlikely spelling given how Turkish syllable formation works. (I don’t remember much of the Turkish I once learned, but I remember that much!)

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5 Responses to Çatal Chattel No More

  1. Soviet Onion July 12, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    Don’t forget this earlier interpretation of the Indus Valley civilization. Similar positive evaluation, but with a more explicitly market anarchist twist.

  2. Axel July 17, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    According to Lawrence Angel (Angel, Lawrence J., Early neolithic skeletons from Catal Hüyük: demography and pathology, in: Anatolian Studies, Journal of the British Institute of Archeology, London, 1973) a significant number of inhabitants seem to have suffered from malnutrition, malaria and other diseases.
    I am neither a medical scientist nor an archeologist, so I am not able to estimate Angel’s work; moreover I may be biased towards MacLeod because of his stance on Israel.
    I might be wrong, but to me it sounds like another quest for some ‘Golden Age’…
    And anyway: do we advance libertarianism by burying our dead in the kitchen?

    • Roderick July 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

      I don’t think it’s being defended as an ideal society — just as a successful overthrow of a nasty state that didn’t replace it with another state. As always, stateless societies should be judged by comparing them with states of comparable economic and cultural development.

      • Axel July 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

        But that’s what MacLeod suggests (‘free, equal, happy and peaceful…’)…

        • Roderick July 17, 2009 at 7:06 pm #

          Well, “free, equal, and peaceful” could be accurate even if the standard of living was abysmal. “Happy” might not apply if we’re using strict Aristotelean standards, but it might well apply if it means “reasonably contented” or perhaps “significantly more contented than previously.”

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