If, as Calasso claims, parodic irony appears as early as in Lautréamont then postmodernism itself is nothing more than an uncreative regurgitation of a prior art.
The persistent mantra of the call for limiting the size and power of government that has so captured the imagination of a certain segment of the American body politic sounds very well to those of us who would do what we will in our own personal and economic spheres, but no amount of suasion is very likely to have significant effect, aside from the occasional lip service when the country’s mood requires it, to the actual trajectory of growth of governmental power.
The sad fact is that the law of government is that it must grow, not less than it is the nature of rabbits and of entropy to increase. The simple reason for the growth is the natural reluctance of those in authority to relinquish it but rather always to increase the power they hold. What bureaucrat, after all, has ever volunteered to reduce his budget or his reach?
If we are to examine the trajectories of governmental institutions throughout history, we likewise find that once a governmental system has emerged from the infighting, it promptly will commence to establish and shore up its power position. We see this pattern, for example, in the emergence of strong monarchy in Europe in the Middle Ages, just as we do in the rise of empires of the East and of the ancients.
Only when a governmental power is overthrown, by war, disaster or even revolution does it give up the growth of its reach, only to be replaced by the next emerging government which next begins its own power-agglomeration cycle.
Despite our well-attested distaste for pseudo-scientific historic theories, for once I must come to the defense of the usually very fatuous Mr. Diamond, at least when it comes to his claim that civilization reduces violence. Conflicting claims of clashing anthropologists notwithstanding, there is little doubt that men pursue violence against one another at the slightest provocation and that in the absence of the apparatus of civilization in the form of law and its enforcement, such violence tends to only escalate.
The fact is that there are no paleolithic tribal societies still in existence that remain untouched by contact with our civilization, and — even if there were, in an ironic parallel to quantum theory — we could not study them without changing what we see. It is thus an exercise of most utter of futilities to claim, based on very spotty, often over-interpreted and — to begin with — circumstantial evidence that the original human social structures were free of war-making. Perhaps we could ask their contemporaries, the Neanderthals, for some corroboration?