Thursday, February 05, 2015

Left vs. Right vs. Reality

The right is rooted in religiosity and aristocracy. In many cases, the latter is rooted in the former, where it is believed that one's rulers are chosen by God. It is believed by those on the right that humans are essentially sinful, meaning humans are essentially anti-social in nature. This means it is important that there be laws created by those closer to God (those chosen by God) to control people, to keep them from acting on their sinful drives. The beliefs of the political right can be rightly understood if we understand these facts.

The left is rooted in the belief that human beings are atomistic individuals, that our natural state is non-social isolation. However, as our population grew, we were forced together, and social structures had to be developed to make a fundamentally nonsocial being get along with other fundamentally nonsocial beings. Since there are many benefits of being social, it is important that people be made to be social, so laws have to be passed to force people to act in pro-social ways. More, morality is what allows us to live in the social environment; if we are not naturally social, we are therefore not naturally moral. Thus, morals have to be enforced by law. The beliefs of the political left can be rightly understood if we understand these facts.

However, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, and ethology have demonstrated that most mammals -- especially primates, most especially apes, and most, most especially humans -- are social. More, morality is a natural, evolved feature of social animals, and human especially. Thus, it is natural for humans to be social and it is natural for humans to be moral. Why, then, do we see people acting immorally? Nobody said humans were perfect. There are inevitably going to be sociopaths within a given population. Also, institutions matter. We can either have institutions that reward sociopathic and immoral behaviors or we can have institutions that reward virtue and transforms problematic behaviors into social goods.

The left and right are wrong about human nature. And they are thus wrong about human sociality, morality, and governance. We need theories of governance, economics, and civil society that are based on our current understandings of human nature.
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