Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Variety Necessary for Social Change

One of the most dangerous things that can take place for a species is for it to become a "monoculture," meaning it has very little if any genetic diversity. When this happens, the species is in danger of becoming extinct, from either disease or environmental change. Cheetahs, unfortunately, are a genetic monoculture.

For natural selection to work, there has to be variety from which to select. And there is no telling what may be needed or useful, so it is important (as least as far as the species is concerned) that all sorts of varieties emerge from which selections can be made. The choice is extinction or evolution into something else. Extinction means the complete loss of all the potential of that genetic line.

With the exception of the last line, all of this is equally true at the social level for humans. A healthy society is one with a high level of variety, from which options can be selected. Without options, there are no choices (this seems obvious, but it appears not to be so for many who advocate monopoly-creation, whether through government takeover of government preferences/barriers to entry/etc.). Thus, without options, there is no social evolution. A monoculture may be productive for a time, but it does not take long before it grows stagnant, and even dies. A society needs variety -- a variety of cultures and subcultures, a variety of educational opportunities and styles and outcomes, a variety of scientific theories, a variety of arts and literatures, a variety of entrepreneurs, a variety of people starting firms, a variety (even) of quality. Without variety, we have no options, and no social evolution can take place.

Is it not ironic that many of those who say they are for social change in fact support few ideas/programs/policies that would in fact support and promote in social change, but would in fact give rise to social stagnation worse than even the conservatives want?
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