Sunday, August 09, 2009

Darwin at Work

The invocation of Charles Darwin during ideological debate is one of those interesting quirks of modern political life.

Darwin's finchesDarwinian scripture has been cited to justify a host of progressive causes, from Margaret Sanger’s eugenics to the racial hygiene theories of National Socialism. “Social Darwinism” has lately gone out of fashion, since it tends to militate against the Third World dystopias that have become the mascots of today’s progressives. Nevertheless, Darwinian scorn directed at creationists and advocates of intelligent design is still a staple of political rhetoric among today’s leftists.

Funnily enough, those who believe most fervently in Darwinian theory as it applies to biological evolution are often loath to recognize its application to other information systems. Variations on Darwinian principles can be applied to any system in which memes compete with one another, whether such memes reside in DNA, the human brain, or complex social systems.

Take pacifism, for example.

A brief analysis of human social behavior would conclude that there is a strong selective pressure against pacifism, especially absolute and unconditional pacifism. Those social groups whose political institutions are based on pacifism will sooner or later be confronted and overcome by groups that observe no such restrictions on violence.

Neither great intelligence nor advanced technology is required to defeat a pacifist polity. Fists, cudgels, and knives are more than enough to put an end to a people that refuses to defend itself.

This isn’t rocket science. A few minutes’ application of basic logic leads inexorably to this conclusion. So why does pacifism as a political ideal continue to enjoy such a pervasive vogue amongst left-leaning literati in all Western societies?

The obvious explanation is that pacifism — like all the other destructive ideologies of the Left — is nurtured under the roof of Western military might. Pacifists are free to dispense their noxious fumes because they are hothouse flowers, and would be unable to survive as a political movement in the cold world outside.

If the Darwinian kill-or-be-killed function were actually operating, memes like pacifism, anarchism, socialism, and the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement would have been bred out of the West’s idea space a long time ago. But the rough men who stand ready to do violence on their behalf have kindly allowed such disastrous movements to flourish within the artificial environment of Western culture.

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A related example may be discovered in the functioning of the fully mature welfare state.
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State welfare was originally applied within relatively healthy and homogeneous societies. The concept of social benefits was so attractive that it seemed inarguable. To take care of those who were unable to take care of themselves was something we simply had to do.

Christian ethics, originally intended to be a code followed by the individual believer, was extended to the workings of the State. But a fundamental error is embedded in the concept: Christian ethical principles don’t scale up.

If you are a devout Christian and give alms, you are immediately aware of the results of your alms-giving. Prudence limits the scope of your generosity. Your self-interest prevents you from exhausting your wealth entirely on others. If you are scammed by a faux-indigent con artist, you will curtail your largesse towards the same person in the future if you have any sense.

But the State doesn’t work that way. Since it doesn’t own what it gives away, it doesn’t have to act like an owner. If it is being exploited or scammed, there may be no compelling reason for it to halt the process, as long as the system itself is maintained and expanded. After all, more money can always be gouged from the taxpayers to keep the machine oiled and running.

And so we arrive at the situation we have now in the twilight of the multicultural West. Instead of a small percentage, half or more of the citizens of the welfare state may be battening off the collective wealth.

If our society were a healthy organism, it would dispense its vital fluids in modest quantities, and only for self-interested reasons. Small amounts of nectar would be displayed in flowers as a lure for the insects that spread the pollen.

But the current welfare state is like an old tree with split bark whose sap is laid open to the air. The trunk is covered with eager ants — and who can blame the ants?

When you give away a lot of wealth for free, as many people as possible will inevitably find a way to tap into all those goodies.

If you make rules intended to limit participation, shrewd people will find a way to simulate compliance so as to bypass the rules and suck on the sap.

Those who are already in on the deal will try to loosen the regulations to benefit their friends and relatives.

And as long as all that wealth is available, someone will game the system to grab it — it’s only human nature.

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What all these self-destructive evolutionary dead ends have in common is an attempt to wish away human nature.

We are all supposed to be modern, rational, secular human beings who live without the crutch of religion. We no longer believe that man is a fallen creature, born with a germ of evil in his soul. We know that people are inherently good and perfectible, and that any flaws can be removed if we simply eliminate damaging environmental influences and the atavistic traditions that bind the human psyche.

Unfortunately, people remain stubbornly imperfect, so that increasingly harsh measures are required to restrain their antisocial impulses. As a result we have surveillance cameras, diversity training, mandatory psychotropic medication, and all the other modern manifestations of Big Velvet Brother. The more intractably human we are, the more extensive the attempts to control us.

But basic human nature cannot be changed, and to achieve his aims Big Brother will eventually have to switch from velvet to steel — re-education camps, forced psychiatric care, removal of children into foster homes, and massive fines or imprisonment for those who resist the dominant ideology.

It’s been a long slippery slope leading down to where we are now. Fifty years ago it would have been unthinkable for a Western democracy to fine or imprison someone for expressing a political opinion. That’s what Communism did, but we were different. We were the Free World.

But no longer. Such incidents are a routine occurrence now in any number of Western countries. They’re nothing out of the ordinary, and don’t generally merit a mention in the state-controlled media.

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The good news is that Darwin cannot be thwarted indefinitely.

The artificial Western hothouse that keeps all these dangerous and counterproductive ideas alive is under severe stress. Panes are dropping out of the frame here and there, and the steam pipes are rusted and barely functional. It won’t be long before the baroque orchids inside have to compete on equal terms with thistles and crabgrass outside. Anyone want to place bets on which is the fittest?

Ideas, like species, undergo a process of punctuated equilibrium. A stable, static, seemingly immutable organism continues for a long time with almost no change, and then suddenly a slight shift of the environment induces rapid and unpredictable evolution. We’re headed into one of those discontinuities right now.

Hang onto your hats: our equilibrium is about to be punctuated.

40 comments:

Watching Eagle said...

Baron is right that PC MC Leftists have denied the reality of Natural Selection, by thinking that we have 'progressed beyond natural selection' (due to the fact that they think Western Culture can't fail). They also fail to realize that many things they thought were 'out-dated' were really moral concepts of responsibility and discipline that had been validated in human societies by Natural Selection.

As a result, they co-operate with Islamists, thinking that they are the "poor, cuddley lion cubs"!!

If the Leftist aren't stopped, they will be the MOST shocked at what Islamists do.

Wake up, West!!

Ex-Dissident said...

excellent post.

EscapeVelocity said...

You may also want to examine the empowerment of women, economically and politically, and its effects on society. Feminization of those societies, especially the empowerment of Female Archtypical Characteristics vs Male Archtypical Characteristics. Furthermore a historical review of Matriarchal Societies vs Patriarchal Societies (having Male Archtypical Characteristics) and their relative success through history would be informative as well.

Zenster said...

So why does pacifism as a political ideal continue to enjoy such a pervasive vogue amongst left-leaning literati in all Western societies?.

I believe that this extends beyond the protective umbrella of military might that shields such lunacy from its usual reward.

Pacifism, like communism and unilateral disarmament all extend from the same fount of Magical Thinking™. A huge majority of Liberals routinely prioritize their feelings above rationality or logic. It is egocentrism writ large and represents the attempt to make over reality according to human whims.

It is a lot like the South Park Underpants Gnomes:

Phase 1: Collect Underpants
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: PROFIT

Written otherwise:

Phase 1: Unilaterally disarm
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: World Peace

Or:

Phase 1: Redistribute all wealth
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Universal prosperity

It is always that elusive and niggling Phase 2 that seems to trip up our Liberal brethern.

Pacifists are free to dispense their noxious fumes because they are hothouse flowers, and would be unable to survive as a political movement in the cold world outside.

Pacifists are not just hothouse flowers, they are more closely related to Cryptostylis orchids. In order to reproduce they require pseudo-copulation with another unrelated vector. In the case of Cryptostylis it is the male Lissopimpla excelsa wasp. For pacifists, it is more often Cultural Marxism that pollinates their artificially fertile minds which remain uncontaminated by rational thought.

But the State doesn’t work that way. Since it doesn’t own what it gives away, it doesn’t have to act like an owner. If it is being exploited or scammed, there may be no compelling reason for it to halt the process, as long as the system itself is maintained and expanded. After all, more money can always be gouged from the taxpayers to keep the machine oiled and running.

Few better arguments exist for federally mandated Congressional and Senatorial term limits.

[to be continued]

Niko said...

Great piece.

Zenster said...

And as long as all that wealth is available, someone will game the system to grab it — it’s only human nature.

Not "human" nature, but criminal nature. There is a difference as real humans behave honestly and ethically. Otherwise, if the bulk of humanity were criminal by nature, civilization would have perished long ago.

We are all supposed to be modern, rational, secular human beings who live without the crutch of religion. We no longer believe that man is a fallen creature, born with a germ of evil in his soul. We know that people are inherently good and perfectible, and that any flaws can be removed if we simply eliminate damaging environmental influences and the atavistic traditions that bind the human psyche.

Ummm ... no. A part of this world qualifies under that description but there is still a huge number of people who have yet to obtain even a small shred of civilized behavior. Expecting them to participate as honest players at the table of civilization is like hoping your dog won't wolf down the raw steak left unattended for an hour.

So long as that portion of the world's population is still unschooled in civilized bahavior there remains a need for harsh retaliation, be it military intervention or capital punishment at a more local level.

Unfortunately, people remain stubbornly imperfect, so that increasingly harsh measures are required to restrain their antisocial impulses.

Unfortunately, insufficiently harsh measures continue to dominate the social landscape and corruption plus a host of other destructive vices effectively go unpunished such that they may as well be rewarded.

It is this indulgence of criminality that has led to such a precipitous juncture. A goodly portion of it is the byproduct of highly placed individuals gaming the system in such a way that the rules needed to interdict more common criminal behavior are debilitated in favor of perpetuating an otherwise corrupt bureaucracy.

A second portion resides in people who adamantly refuse to believe that human depravity can attain such dimension whereby perpetrators forfeit all right to continued existence. Those who object to and defeat capital punishment are among the prime facilitators at this secondary level.

Francis W. Porretto said...

"Christian ethical principles don’t scale up."

Actually, they do, if the appropriate priorities are also applied.

The Great Commandment to love one's neighbor as oneself would forbid a Christian to endorse any scheme that would coercively separate neighbor from income or property. After that, all that remains is individual good will toward others and good judgment about when charity will do good, and when it will do harm.

A Christian must always remember that, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "The State is a soulless machine, and so cannot be weaned from the violence in its very nature." You don't trust a soulless machine with the privilege of reaching into your pockets at its sole discretion. At least, I wouldn't.

DP111 said...

Baron

Excellent article. Well put together.

And as long as all that wealth is available, someone will game the system to grab it — it’s only human nature.

The system was more or less fine as long as society was homogenous. Gaming the system then led to disapproval from the immediate peer group. Thus the system worked. Multiculturalism broke the system as a "beggar thy tribal competitor" began to operate. With Muslims in the mix, you could say that in spades.

But the current welfare state is like an old tree with split bark whose sap is laid open to the air. The trunk is covered with eager ants — and who can blame the ants? When you give away a lot of wealth for free, as many people as possible will inevitably find a way to tap into all those goodies.

Calais is full of "ants" desperate to get to the tree before the sap runs dry.

Damon said...

Baron,

A thought-provoking article…

However, I would liken the Pacifists to parasites:
They contribute essentially nothing to the body(-politic), but draw sustenance from that host.
A successful parasite draws enough from the host to survive, but not too much to kill or seriously weaken the host.
Demand too much and the host will die, or reject the parasite – which is not a successful outcome.

Until recently, pacifists were like the successful parasite – not impeding Western civilisation too much.
Now however, they (and functionally similar groups such as Marxists and militant Islam) are becoming a burden to the body of Western civilisation. Either they will kill it, or there will be a rejection – not pretty any way you look at it.

Baron Bodissey said...

Zenster --

Not "human" nature, but criminal nature. There is a difference as real humans behave honestly and ethically. Otherwise, if the bulk of humanity were criminal by nature, civilization would have perished long ago.

I’m flattered that you chose to rewrite all my arguments so as to improve their logical conclusions. However, I must take exception to this one.

It partakes of the same fundamental secular error that led to the idea that human beings are essentially good, perfectible creatures.

Without years of acculturation during childhood, human beings will not behave honestly and ethically. This doesn’t mean that they have an inherent tendency to be criminal, just that the concept of “criminal” has no meaning to the unimprinted human mind. A child must undergo a moral education to move beyond the I-take-what-I-want-when-I-want-it mentality.

It’s inborn human nature to take – by violence if necessary – whatever is necessary for oneself and one’s close relatives.

The inherent tendency of human beings is to regard anyone outside of a very local group – the clan level at the largest – as an enemy alien. Rules against killing, stealing, deception, and exploitation do not apply to those outside this small group.

Any other kind of moral behavior is not natural, and has to be learned.

To believe otherwise is to partake of the core progressive delusion that led to the extermination of hundreds of millions of people during that abominable era known as the 20th century.

The neglect of our children’s moral education over the last two generations is going to bring us unimaginable horror and sorrow in the near future. We shall reap what we have sown.

Baron Bodissey said...

Francis --

The Great Commandment to love one's neighbor as oneself would forbid a Christian to endorse any scheme that would coercively separate neighbor from income or property. After that, all that remains is individual good will toward others and good judgment about when charity will do good, and when it will do harm.

This is essentially my point. Christian principles cannot be applied to the action of the State without disastrous results.

The totalitarian nightmare would not have been possible without the abandonment of God. Prior to the 18th century, it would have been considered an abomination to expect a temporal ruler to coerce wealth from his subjects and distribute it to others as a form of Christian charity. Rulers often took from the commonweal by force, but that was due to their own avarice, and not in obedience to God.

The high-minded theft and reallocation of other people’s goods could only occur after any personal duty to God had largely been abandoned by the servants of the State.

Baron Bodissey said...

DP111 --

The system was more or less fine as long as society was homogenous.

Yes, exactly. Zylark made that point when he described what has happened to Norway’s welfare system over the last few decades.

However, his account also pointed out how welfare eroded the work ethic, even for indigenous Norwegians.

Over time the welfare state leads inevitably to a weakened work ethic and a decayed moral fabric for those who participate in it. More and more people are sucked into dependence and idleness by the lure of a “free” lunch.

Thus we can see that the welfare state destroys the homogeneous traditions of the people it is supposed to benefit. Multiculturalism can only take root in a society that has already been damaged by socialism.

The core virus, the cause of all the other ailments, is socialism.

Baron Bodissey said...

Damon --

However, I would liken the Pacifists to parasites:
They contribute essentially nothing to the body(-politic), but draw sustenance from that host.


Yes, that’s what I mean when I compared them to ants feeding on the sap of a tree.

The difference between ants and (say) tapeworms in this analogy is that the ants are merely availing themselves of a welcome opportunity. Sucking sap from trees is not their habitual modus vivendi. The tree is giving away sap, and the ants just happen to be there to take it.

So it is with those who suckle on the welfare state. They don’t have to act like parasites to get what they want. They don’t have to anesthetize their host, bore through the skin, and tap into a blood vessel. They just have to be there.

We’re giving our life’s blood away to anyone who wanders by.

Damon said...

Baron,

I kinda-sorta understand your distinction here, so maybe I should clarify my point:
The pacifists/Marxist-liberals/PC-MC’s are home grown. They came from within – they weren’t just “wandering past” Western civilisation. I would argue that “sucking sap from trees” is their modus vivendi, and it's the tree the grew in. They contribute very little, but demand support from the rest of (productive) society. They want to build their glorious new society on the ruins of our existing Western civilisation, using the wealth and knowledge already created (not by them, I might add).

Did I interpret you right?

I’ll concede that the militant Muslim “infection” is entirely oppurtunistic, like your wandering ants.

Note that I hesitate to just say “Muslim”, since – me being a hopeless romantic – I hope that Islam might one day adjust to a plural society.




Sorry, I just picked myself off the floor, and slapped myself to stop from laughing hysterically

Baron Bodissey said...

Damon --

Yes, I agree. The Marxists are the ones who opened up the trunk of the tree with their machetes so that all the ants could come and have a little drink.

The ants drinking the sap are not only analogies for Muslim immigrants, but for anyone who grabs a free lunch at the expense of the system.

I have a friend my age in England who had a spot of trouble with his back a few years ago. He retired on disability at the age of fifty, and now goes on snorkeling holidays in the tropics every winter at taxpayers’ expense.

He’s no more disabled than I am, but the UK has relatively lax rules about such things, so he doesn’t even have to commit fraud to live the good life. A typical ant feeding on the tree’s sap. Not a bad person, not a danger to the state, just somebody who saw an opportunity and took it.

The Third World immigrants are just the latest arrivals at the feast, but the Western potlatch was going on for a long time before they got here.

Cugel said...

"The good news is that Darwin cannot be thwarted indefinitely."

The bad news is that the political aberrations have become so extreme that the natural corrections will be harsh. Nemesis never treats hybris with a forgiving hand.

A well-crafted piece of writing, Baron, with the underlying tones of wariness and warning sublimely focused.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Christian principles cannot be applied to the action of the State without disastrous results.

Make that modern state. Did not Christianity suit the class ridden monarchies of Europe prior to WWI, where it acted as a soporific for the poor but an important restraint on the excesses of the monied and landed aristocracy? Since that world self destructed in 1914-18 the influence of Christianity on the state has largely devolved into a loose set of uprooted principles looking for an democratic road accident.

Pacifists are not just hothouse flowers, they are more closely related to Cryptostylis orchids. In order to reproduce they require pseudo-copulation with another unrelated vector... Now that is such a very evocative analogy Z.

Baron Bodissey said...

Fellow Peacekeeper --

Make that modern state. Did not Christianity suit the class ridden monarchies of Europe prior to WWI, where it acted as a soporific for the poor but an important restraint on the excesses of the monied and landed aristocracy?

Yes, that is true. Perhaps I should have specified the adjective.

But what I really should have emphasized was that I mean Christian principles unencumbered by Christianity; that is, Christian ethics as applied by people who don’t believe in God. This leads to a special kind of moral hubris that results in an accretion of unbridled power to the State.

A ruler who truly believed in Christian principles would not implement a welfare state, because such a bizarrity does not accord with the words of the Christ. The State is Caesar, and unto it should be rendered only that which is its due. The capacity to steal wealth from ordinary people and give it to the poor was never envisioned as a Christian prerogative of the State.

The deformation of Christian ethics that produced modern socialism only came into existence after Christianity had largely died out within the ruling class.

DP111 said...

A typical ant feeding on the tree’s sap.

Unfortunately for all grasshoppers, there are only a limited numbers of saps in any country.


sorry.

Joshua said...

"Expecting them to participate as honest players at the table of civilization is like hoping your dog won't wolf down the raw steak left unattended for an hour."

Except that the dog can be trained and corrected when this happens. Not so with people. No, they expect to see understanding and compassion.

Illegal aliens qualify well for the ants on the tree analogy. They come here, drive down wages(doing jobs Americans won't do...for peanuts) and take every benefit they can without contributing anything. And the money they make? Sent home to their Third World hellhole.

Zenster said...

Baron Bodissey: I’m flattered that you chose to rewrite all my arguments so as to improve their logical conclusions.

I'm genuinely flattered that you think so.

It partakes of the same fundamental secular error that led to the idea that human beings are essentially good, perfectible creatures.

Here we must agree to disagree. As an eternal optimist, I believe that mankind is perfectible. If humanity were so deeply flawed, it would never have survived to the present day. To presume that man is innately inadequate smacks too much of Original Sin, a concept that I find morally objectionable.

Within the human condition resides a fundamental decency and spirit that can and does resist the slide into criminality. Otherwise, our world would be one of universal mayhem and reiving.

Should mankind manage to survive another few thousand years, I believe there will emerge a far more moral and fundamentally coherent form of humanity. The pervasive nature of technology eventually will shrink our world back into a relatively small community wherein misconduct and malign behavior will instantly brand a person as predatory.

Without years of acculturation during childhood, human beings will not behave honestly and ethically. This doesn’t mean that they have an inherent tendency to be criminal, just that the concept of “criminal” has no meaning to the unimprinted human mind. A child must undergo a moral education to move beyond the I-take-what-I-want-when-I-want-it mentality.

Unfortunately, there are very few ways to test this theory. Feral Children might provide some insights as to whether criminal behavior is instinctive. Far too much of human history has been one of privation and scarcity whereby one cannot but expect it to be nearly instinctive for a person to automatically take what they can. How might that change in a world of abundance and universal prosperity?

Science and technology have the potential to convert our planet into such an Edenic place. Even now we grow enough food to feed all humanity. It is only political and territorial disputes that exacerbate instances of famine. Overcoming mankind's more parochial tendencies remains a central problem. It will require no small effort to drag this planet's less civilized inhabitants kicking and screaming into the modern age.

Whether or not mankind can survive its own shambling roots remains to be seen. Islam's throwback culture represents one of the most serious threats to humanity's continuation. Communism's rapacious maw is another one of these threats. Both of these fatally flawed memes can be overcome by properly applied force of arms or other forms of unified resistance. Sadly, the world has yet to reach a majority concensus regarding the unacceptability of either of these predatory ideologies. Until that happens, makind's fate is still undetermined.

Zenster said...

Baron Bodissey: Any other kind of moral behavior is not natural, and has to be learned.

Then, how is it that our primate ancestors managed to refrain from killing each other long enough for us to successfully climb out of the trees and get around to building automobiles?

To believe otherwise is to partake of the core progressive delusion that led to the extermination of hundreds of millions of people during that abominable era known as the 20th century.

I submit that you may be tarring healthy evolution with the brush of eugenics. There is still every possibility that mankind can and will evolve into a far more peacable and harmonious entity.

The neglect of our children’s moral education over the last two generations is going to bring us unimaginable horror and sorrow in the near future. We shall reap what we have sown.

Here, we are in violent agreement. It is as if, for one of the first times in all history, the evolutionary clock has been turned back and entire generations are now less well-prepared to survive than those who went before them.

It is a betrayal of humanity writ large and the wave of savagery that promises to issue forth from generations unfettered by moral compunction bespeaks horrors that will defy description.

Baron Bodissey said...

Zenster --

Then, how is it that our primate ancestors managed to refrain from killing each other long enough for us to successfully climb out of the trees and get around to building automobiles?

They didn’t. They refrained from killing members of their immediate kin-group. Check out the observations of cultural anthropologists concerning the most primitive human societies. People outside the immediate group are considered less than human, and thus fair game for anything. That’s why cannibalism is practiced on outside groups: the taboo is not being broken, because what is being consumed is not a fellow human being.

As a matter of interest, this same mindset has been preserved virtually intact in Islam.

Killing nearby tribes not in your local kin-group does not negatively impact the chances of survival for your own group’s shared DNA. There was no selective pressure against such practices until complex social structures evolved.

These behaviors are of deep antiquity, and are presumably instinctive. We are not born knowing how to behave differently. We must be taught.

thll said...

Baron: "We are not born knowing how to behave differently. We must be taught."

I am reminded of the chicken and the egg.

Zenster said...

Baron Bodissey: They didn’t. They refrained from killing members of their immediate kin-group.

This presumes that human population groups had to separate themselves via physical distance as a requirement for survival. While that worked for several hundred thousand years, eventually humans started living in much larger groups that extended well beyond a single DNA type.

Somehow, there used to be large cities of human beings that managed not to lunch upon or kill each other.

I am well aware of accepted anthropological theories about kith and kin. Still, I am obliged to wonder how it is that certain groups were able to focus upon industrious activities as a source of survival instead of merely resorting to the constant looting of other tribes.

It would seem that these more productive groups managed to develop an early instance of ethos that allowed for larger communities to form that transcended mere genetic boundaries.

There still remains the question of how these very early large cities managed to survive without endless internecine strife. I believe that a certain element of decent and positivistic humans were responsible for this advancement. More likely than not it was this component of homo sapiens that were responsible for the rise of civilization.

That’s why cannibalism is practiced on outside groups: the taboo is not being broken, because what is being consumed is not a fellow human being.

Not entirely so. The objective of cannibalism is not entirely restricted to alien tribes. Endocannibalism may still be in practice even today.

Endocannibalism symbolized very different things: reverence for the dead, an incorporation of the spirit of the dead into living descendants, or a means of insuring the separation of the soul from the body. A Mayoruna man once expressed a wish to remain in his village and be eaten by his children after his death rather than be consumed by worms in the white man's cemetery.

thll: I am reminded of the chicken and the egg.

Which is a neatly condensed form of my argument. If humans were always so predisposed to violence, how did any of them ever mend their ways long enough to calm down and stop killing each other, much less transmit this to their children?

Mankind's survival has always relied upon a core set of relatively beneficent values. An example being maternal instinct that inhibits parents from killing their children. A basic understanding of reciprocity and other essential elements of the Social Contract by necessity must have predated the advent of Mosaic law or Christ's arrival on earth.

The Social Contract's earliest practitioners must have had very few incentives to do so, yet they somehow prevailed to the profound betterment of mankind. It is to those courageous and eminently sentient people that I look towards for answers to my argument.

Todd White said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Afonso Henriques said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baron Bodissey said...

Todd White --

You can't come on here, disparage my work so summarily, and then advertise the URLs of your own writings.

That takes some chutzpah, I must say.

Baron Bodissey said...

Afonso --

You may not realize it, but we're cracking down on gratuitously insulting comments around here, especially when the rest of the comment is without significant content.

Read Dymphna's most recent post.

Todd White said...

Baron,

It's your website, so you can do what you want, but there's nothing wrong with me directing readers to another website where they can get a different perspective on the topic you're addressing. For a website dedicated to free speech, you seem to have a casual attitude toward removing free speech which disagrees with your own.

-Todd

Todd White said...

Also, I had Gates of Vienna as one of the recommended links on my website. That obviously will change.

TW

Baron Bodissey said...

Todd --

If you had read my posts here for a longer time, you'd know that I don't mind disagreement. I thrive on it.

What I objected to was the brazen whoring of your own material after you so rudely dismissed mine.

That takes nerve.

Todd White said...

Baron,

Like I said, it's your website, so you can do whatever you want. But to say what I did "takes nerve" isn't grounded in reality. Nearly every moderator will allow a commenter to post a link to their webpage assuming their webpage pertains to the issue at hand. You overreacted. Why? I don't know.

TW

Baron Bodissey said...

Todd White --

I'll give it one more try.

You're like the guy who says to his fiancée, "You know, you're not as pretty as your little sister." Then he can't understand what the problem is when she flings the engagement ring back in his face and storms out.

The difference is in that case is that most guys could understand the error of their ways, once it had been explained to them.

Todd White said...

LOL. I didn't realize I was giving you a marriage proposal! Whatever, dude.

geza1 said...

This piece really gets to the heart of the current configuration of the West. The current zeitgeist is maladaptive from a Darwinian perspective and the fact that modern day progressives are so gung-ho about Darwinism (except for race) makes it very ironic indeed. Christian ethics being applied to the state is only a logical conclusion of the consequence of secularism. A poster refernced a Gandhi quote about the state being a soulless machine. Of course it is but what happens when you are a progressive and the state or ideology is all you believe in? Then you must inject a soul into that golem. The end result was a state with Christian ethics at its core with alms giving and the Golden Rule emphasized. The state has become their god and that is partly the reason why they think the state's resources are unlimited. Even if they were cognizant of the fact that the state's resources are limited, that would still not deter them because their goals are so lofty (no poverty, world peace) that they would still pursue the same path because such a noble idea must attempted since it has the potential to provide so much happiness.

The only way to discredit the zeitgeist is to let it run its course and fail, to take it out of the hothouse and let it fend for itself in the wild. This would be the ideal solution if only those responsible would suffer, but unfortunately that is not the case. Many innocents would suffer for the sake of this ideo-god. There must be a way to discredit the zeitgeist while minimizing the effects of the enivitable conflict.

Engineer-Poet said...

This piece deserves to be read, except for one thing that will destroy its credibility among both the scientifically-minded and those on the left who are just beginning to awaken.  It's just two words, referring to something that does not exist in the real world and discredits everything after:

"Darwinian scripture"

There ain't no such thing, as proven by the extension, revision and partial invalidation of Darwin's original thesis.  (Look at molecular biology for just one example; Darwin had no idea that DNA even existed and was ignorant of Mendelian inheritance, so how could his theory encompass them?)  This is something that only an adherent of a holy book could write, believing in his self-centered way that others must also have their holy books and "On The Origin Of Species" must be the one followed by "evolutionists".  It's a conceit that is damaging in other ways, because it stands in the way of seeing other things as they are, not as reflections of one's self.

I'm not trying to detract from the value, just pointing out where you've done so yourself.  You'd do best to purge terms like that from your writing and your thinking.

Baron Bodissey said...

Engineer-Poet --

This is something that only an adherent of a holy book could write, believing in his self-centered way that others must also have their holy books…

I beg your pardon, sir! How dare you ascribe to me beliefs and sentiments that I do not hold?

Do you consider yourself to be a mind-reader?

You know nothing about me, and have obviously failed to read closely this and many other essays I have written. I adhere to the tenets of natural selection in their general form, and am not a Creationist as the term is commonly understood, even though I do believe in God.

My intention here is to point out that both atheism and orthodox Darwinism (as practiced by, for example, Charles Johnson) are religions, and their adherents are every bit as much believers as Baptists or the Hasidim. Some of them can be at least as fundamentalist, intolerant, and closed-minded as the worst bible-thumper.

They display aspects of a religion that is sometimes referred to as “Scientism”. It is a faith like any other, except for one major difference: believers in the traditional religions know that what they hold is religious faith, whereas devotees of Scientism believe that they do not believe.

With the exception of Islam, this may be the single greatest collective delusion on the planet.

Engineer-Poet said...

Since I won't subject myself to enough of the ravings on LGF to see what you mean about Charles Johnson, I'm going to have to say I just don't know.  However, if there is such a thing as that "orthodoxy" there must be many more examples out there.  If CJ is the only one you can think of, it invalidates your claim.

And I erred in commenting before I had read the comments thread, because you also wrote this:

"Prior to the 18th century, it would have been considered an abomination to expect a temporal ruler to coerce wealth from his subjects and distribute it to others as a form of Christian charity. Rulers often took from the commonweal by force, but that was due to their own avarice, and not in obedience to God."

This statement is terribly ignorant of history.  The dole goes back to Imperial Rome, long before the 18th century.  Of course, the pathologies it engendered then should have been a warning, but Santayana may as well have been named Cassandra.

I'd also take issue with the characterization of genocide as a "progressive" invention.  The Armenian genocide was undertaken by Muslims, people who would not give progressivism the time of day then or now.  (They treat evolution with the same contempt.)  The slaughter of 70 million Hindus by Muslims, the destruction of Carthage by Rome... "progressives" have a lot to answer for, but some of the accusations aimed at them in this thread are as ahistorically ridiculous as the mythical golden age of tolerance under the benevolent Islamic hegemony.

And to Zenster:  "I submit that you may be tarring healthy evolution with the brush of eugenics. There is still every possibility that mankind can and will evolve into a far more peacable and harmonious entity."

I don't see this happening.  Too much harmony may be bad for us; a certain amount of disagreeableness and competition is probably necessary to prevent society from ossifying, and ossified societies are brittle and subject to disastrous collapse (look at the history of China).  On the other hand, certain personality types like psychopaths and narcissists are certainly troublesome and may hinder progress more than they help; using eugenics and euphenics to slash their numbers and carefully channel the development of the ones remaining might slash the amount of misery created by human cussedness.  But on the third hand, quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

1389 said...

How the modern liberal world view makes monkeys of us all.