[Milton-L] "Avatar" reviewed by Milton

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Mon Jan 25 09:50:54 EST 2010


Milton here had in mind what Samir Amin calls "tributary societies," in
which appropriation of surplus is carried out by coercion. (Western
european feudalism is an example). This was not quite the way in which
the genocide of the original inhabitants of North America   was carried
out. Ellen Wood and Neal Wood, _A Trumpet of Sedition_, analyze John
Locke's rationale for the expulsion from the land of those who do not
use it "productively," i.e. for production of commodities. For example,
an Indian village raises corn on their land, which they then consume
themselves. That is against nature, a waste of a useful resource. They
are driven off the land or massacred and the conquerers then (with hired
albor or slaves) plants tobacco, which he sells for a profit. _That_ is
productive use of the land rather than the unproductive use to which the
former inhabitants put it, merely for their own subsistence. The Planter
has, unlike the Indians, increased the wealth of society and the value
of the land.

Locke would have disapproved _also_ of the form of appropriations
describedby Milton:


> ... and subdue
> Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
> Manslaughter, shall be held the highest pitch
> Of human glory,

The Virginia Planter praised by Locke is unitrested in either glory or
direct plunder of the inhabitants; that also is unproductve and does not
increase the welath of society. The Spanish Conquistadors, however, do
exhibit the destroyers Milton describes.

Carrol     

Dario Rivarossa wrote:
> 
> In reviewing the movie "Avatar" for The Guardian the British
> journalist George Monbiot wrote a shocking article about the genocide
> of natives in America; see
> http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2010/01/11/the-holocaust-we-will-not-see/
> 
> Milton had already described it in PL 11.691-697:
> 
> ... and subdue
> Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
> Manslaughter, shall be held the highest pitch
> Of human glory, and for glory done
> Of triumph, to be styled great Conquerors,
> Patrons of mankind, gods, and sons of gods,
> Destroyers rightlier called and plagues of men.
> 
>     ---------------------------------------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> Milton-L mailing list
> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
> Manage your list membership and access list archives at
> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
> 
> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/


More information about the Milton-L mailing list