02.12.13 1:19 AM ET
What Does 'Barbarism' Look Like?
So this Tweet got me in trouble today, lot of push back.
In my defense, let me call the writer who inspired the thought: the great Greek historian Thucydides:
The whole of Hellas used once to carry arms, their habitations being unprotected and their communication with each other unsafe; indeed, to wear arms was as much a part of everyday life with them as with the barbarians. ... The Athenians were the first to lay aside their weapons, and to adopt an easier and more luxurious mode of life
We could fill this page with quotations to similar effect from Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, and others, if it weren't too tedious. Contra Robert Heinlein, it's everywhere and always been recognized: an armed society is a primitive society.