George Walford: The First Step

S.i. identifies the first ideology, originally displayed, by the hunter-gatherers, as expedient and the second (which first appeared together with agriculture, production, civilization and trade) as principled. One ethnographer notes a later appearance of the distinction. After saying that Navaho behave in one way towards fellow-tribesmen and in another towards outsiders, he continues:

Under the circumstances of aboriginal life Navahos did not need to orient themselves in terms of abstract morality… In a large, complex society like modern America, where people come and go and business and other dealings must be carried on by people who never see each other, it is functionally necessary to have abstract standards that transcend an immediate concrete situation in which two or more persons are interacting.

C. Kluckhohn, ‘The Philosophy of the Navaho Indians,’ in M. H. Fried, ed., Readings in Anthropology, 1959).

from Ideological Commentary 56, May 1992.