Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 1, 2014

My previous articles on Jared Diamond

Filed under: Jared Diamond — louisproyect @ 1:17 pm

Someone asked me for links on what I have written about Jared Diamond in the past. Here you go:

The links below are to articles that take up the New Yorker magazine scandal, where Diamond put words in the mouth of a Papuan New Guinea man to the effect that he was killing rival tribesmen to prove his manhood.

Jared Diamond on tribal warfare in New Guinea

Jared Diamond’s libel, part 1

Jared Diamond’s libel, part 2

Jared Diamond’s libel, part 3

Jared Diamond’s libel, conclusion

Latest developments in the Jared Diamond scandal


A detailed rebuttal of “Collapse”.

The collapse of Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond’s Collapse, part one

Jared Diamond’s Collapse, part two

Jared Diamond’s Collapse, part three

Jared Diamond’s Collapse, conclusion


A rebuttal of “Guns, Germs and Steel” based on the PBS series:

PBS series on “Guns, Germs and Steel”: part one

PBS series on “Guns, Germs and Steel”: part two

PBS series on “Guns, Germs and Steel”: part three (conclusion)


And I just stumbled across something I wrote for CounterPunch before I began feuding with Alexander Cockburn:

Jared Diamond, Greenwasher



  1. One typo had me lost in google for a minute. The book title should be “Africa: A Biography of the Continent” (not “Portrait”).

    Comment by godoggo — November 2, 2014 @ 2:17 am

  2. Louis,

    I’m really rather disconcerted by your bordering-on-obsessive anti-Diamond jihad. So he faked a quote (which genuinely may or may not have been a beery boast – come on, I’ve eaten twenty Tory brains at a sitting, and that was only because I figured they’d be of more nutritive worth that any value of the scarcely identifiable use they were being put to). But BS is how it goes: live with it.

    As for his case, it depends on the book. The later stuff may well have been sell-out garbage, but that’s hardly revolutionary. The TV series was pretty dumbed down: ditto. But the book that matters contained a lot of good sense that had otherwise gone largely unnoticed. Not perfect – but what’s new? Maybe you’re pissed that you hadn’t published something similar when you’d long grasped most of the bases – you’re probably not; I sure as hell am, so good luck to the guy so long as he doesn’t betray his own insight, as he has done in the inevitable inferior follow-ups.

    You’re pulling the same stunt as those who cherry-pick speculative 1860s throwaways to dis Marx. That’s easy pickings too, and similarly proves nothing. But they have cause. Diamond isn’t Marx.

    So he misquoted somebody, or maybe didn’t, or maybe everybody had enjoyed so many beers they’re not quite sure. Maybe Africa’s 50m shorter N to S than he said. so what? If you want to “refute” him (which you haven’t – refutation is disproval, not mere counterargument), by all means do so, but disprove his case rather than coming up with veiled counterfactuals masquerading as solid facts.

    Sorry to get negative on your ass, but Diamond and Proyect both have observations to contribute. You can be a bit “Never mind the bathwater, just throw out the baby” at times. And you’re jut as capable of throwing in dodgy “evidence” to support your case.

    Or are you really saying that England and the future Papua New Guinea were equally placed in potential for future capitalist transformation in 1491, or 1168, or whenever? I’m ‘really not sure as it seems to be lost in the argument about what someone may once have said in a bar in PNG.

    Dave Parker

    Comment by Dave Parker — November 10, 2014 @ 2:54 am

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