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WTF, Barry?

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I always look forward to Barry Evans' column as one of the highlights of the Journal and took particular interest in "Our Worst Mistake" (April 11), which gave credit for the idea that agriculture produced overpopulation, created property and produced wars to a 1987 thesis by Jared Diamond, with the qualifier: "Building on the work of other 'revisionists' (whom he mostly fails to credit — WTF?)."

I first became aware of this view in 1981 when I illustrated the book The Human Legacy for Leon Festinger (the psychologist who popularized "cognitive dissonance" and was later given a chair at the New School in New York in anthropology). Festinger laboriously laid out this progression of technology, beginning with agriculture, and its inevitable negative results. I don't know if Festinger was the first to propose this idea but he undoubtedly gave Diamond the background for his thesis and deserves credit.

Bob Filbey, Blue Lake


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