Acknowledging human nature

When I was 12 or 13, I used to have heated discussions with my father about Communism.  Even then I had the wit to see that Communism’s major failing is its denial of human nature.  Daddy, one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, had been so indoctrinated in Communism in the Germany of the 1920s and 1930s that he simply wouldn’t acknowledge this as a problem.  That is, he agreed that I was correct that it denied human nature; he also believed, though, that humans could be changed from their feisty, competitive, greedy selves to fit into the Communist mold.  I couldn’t imagine that Utopian event.  Even then I touted Capitalism as the system most likely to turn human foibles to the greater good.

I thought of those long ago fights when I read Ex Cathedra on the subject of human tribalism, another quality that doesn’t seem erasable.  As with capitalism, and it’s ability to harness innate greed and competitiveness, we need to hit upon a way to take our bone-deep tribalism and leverage it into mutual benefit for more than one tribe or, at the very least, to acknowledge that, in a tribal clash, we want our side to win.

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Comments

  1. suek says

    The old nature vs nurture discussion.

    Since the homosexual marriage discussion is so fresh, it brought to mind those individuals who are convinced that homosexuality is genetic. Yet generally, the group of people who think homosexuality is genetic are those who are among the same group of people who feel – like your father – that if we were just able to raise children “correctly”(nurture), then all those little human foibles that cause one human to harm another in one way or another could be erased.

    I don’t have an answer – other than to say look at cloned horses…the performance of the cloned horse doesn’t necessarily match the performance of the horse from which the clone is taken. Reason? because even though the genetics _are_ identical, the nurturing is not. Both have their contribution to make. To deny either one is deny reality.

  2. rockdalian says

    I don’t see how the tribe of conservatism could reconcile with the tribe of socialists. While we may reside in the same country, I see the socialist tribe as a cause of death and destruction, evidenced by the former Soviet Union.
    I see it as my duty and obligation to do all that I can to defeat this tribe, not find common ground. The area of common ground is minute.
    The current war against terrorism is a case in point. Left to the socialists, this country as I know it would perish, to be molded into a socialist fantasy utopia.

  3. Ymarsakar says

    he also believed, though, that humans could be changed from their feisty, competitive, greedy selves to fit into the Communist mold.

    Only by using secret police, totalitarian, and brainwashing techniques. And only then, temporarily until the new and latest revolution comes about.

    I see it as my duty and obligation to do all that I can to defeat this tribe, not find common ground.

    If the Democrat tribe had honor and we could trust them to enforce their own anti-corruption laws on their own members, then we might be able to co-exist with them, so long as there wasn’t a culture and language barrier to stand in the way.

    However, the Democrat tribe is the kind of tribe where if you are allied with them and they need to sacrifice you for their ambition, you’ll get sacrificed. That’s not exactly a tribe you want to ally yourself with.

  4. suek says

    No honor among thieves…

    That’s the fatal flaw in many movies, I think. The plot depends in the end on some sense of honor among the bad guys – when in reality, there is likely to be none. It’s each man for himself…the ultimate immorality.

  5. Ymarsakar says

    In addition to what Rock said, here is a comment at Neo that people should read.

    # FredHjr Says:
    May 31st, 2008 at 9:38 am

    The company I work for (I am not in academia) is chock full of Leftists or liberals (slightly left-of-center), so for the sake of my own social (and maybe career)survival I stay away from any discussion which would reveal that I am a former Leftist who is now slightly right-of-center. And if these topics come up and I cannot find a convenient excuse to flee, I just grin and nod my head when it seems appropriate, in order that my cover not be blown. I realize this is cowardly. It makes me angry to think that I must live this way. But, I know Leftists VERY well, having been one of them thirty years ago. Many have only the most shallow patina of ethical reasoning, and I’ve seen them knife people (not literally) and ruin them. I have a family to support, and so I take one for the team.

    I know that in almost every contentious issue to debate I could demolish these people, but I also know their tactics and how they “debate.” They shout you down, resort to “tu quoque” and ad hominen. I know I would be cut off during one of my usual thoughtful pauses to think about what I am going to say. Now, not all of them are like this. In fact, decades ago when I was one of them I had the same style I have now. I actually listened to conservative critiques of socialism, and took them seriously. So seriously, that when I was a Jesuit seminarian and before that a college student I would go in search of – and put a lot of time into – finding ways to carve a “third way” socialism that would honestly address the very concerns that conservatives would voice. I RESPECTED those people, which was something I rarely saw among my fellow Leftists. Mostly rabble who were not interested at all in the philosophical and psychological overlays of the ideas they parroted.

    Only recently have I grasped the reasons why, in totalitarian societies, the intellectuals are feared and then “dealt with.” We saw what Stalin, and his forebear and then his successors, did to socialist intellectuals. People who ask uncomfortable questions are quite threatening to the activist types and the ones Who Would Be Saviors.

    Eventually facts, history, logic, and then, finally, a lot of insights from neuroscience about the manifestations of evil convinced me that socialism and utopia are impossible, and that pursuing them is madness. Now that Scientific Socialism has been demonstrated to be DOA, all that remains of Socialism is the myth of it, energized by Georges Sorel and then the struggle for this religious myth given structure by Antonio Gramsci and then the Frankfurt School Marxists. Literally, the Left is now reduced to barking Moonbats who have no idea of what they are talking about or the epistemological fallacies they have embraced. But, we are dealing with a religious faith now. This is not something rational. I know this, which is why I tread very carefully around these people. A pensive, rational exchange is not the likely outcome if you get drawn in to their web.

    What’s frightening is that our societies in the West are so balkanized now that any well-done book or paper that exposes the fallacies of socialism just ends up ignored by the other side. Dismissed. The sound of crickets in the background. All of us have retreated into our echo chambers because there are no longer any ground rules for how to conduct a dialog.

    http://neoneocon.com/2008/05/30/academia-a-self-perpetuating-closed-shop/#comment-70733

  6. Ymarsakar says

    In addition to what Rock said, here is something else that people should read.

    # FredHjr Says:
    May 31st, 2008 at 9:38 am

    The company I work for (I am not in academia) is chock full of Leftists or liberals (slightly left-of-center), so for the sake of my own social (and maybe career)survival I stay away from any discussion which would reveal that I am a former Leftist who is now slightly right-of-center. And if these topics come up and I cannot find a convenient excuse to flee, I just grin and nod my head when it seems appropriate, in order that my cover not be blown. I realize this is cowardly. It makes me angry to think that I must live this way. But, I know Leftists VERY well, having been one of them thirty years ago. Many have only the most shallow patina of ethical reasoning, and I’ve seen them knife people (not literally) and ruin them. I have a family to support, and so I take one for the team.

    I know that in almost every contentious issue to debate I could demolish these people, but I also know their tactics and how they “debate.” They shout you down, resort to “tu quoque” and ad hominen. I know I would be cut off during one of my usual thoughtful pauses to think about what I am going to say. Now, not all of them are like this. In fact, decades ago when I was one of them I had the same style I have now. I actually listened to conservative critiques of socialism, and took them seriously. So seriously, that when I was a Jesuit seminarian and before that a college student I would go in search of – and put a lot of time into – finding ways to carve a “third way” socialism that would honestly address the very concerns that conservatives would voice. I RESPECTED those people, which was something I rarely saw among my fellow Leftists. Mostly rabble who were not interested at all in the philosophical and psychological overlays of the ideas they parroted.

    Only recently have I grasped the reasons why, in totalitarian societies, the intellectuals are feared and then “dealt with.” We saw what Stalin, and his forebear and then his successors, did to socialist intellectuals. People who ask uncomfortable questions are quite threatening to the activist types and the ones Who Would Be Saviors.

    Eventually facts, history, logic, and then, finally, a lot of insights from neuroscience about the manifestations of evil convinced me that socialism and utopia are impossible, and that pursuing them is madness. Now that Scientific Socialism has been demonstrated to be DOA, all that remains of Socialism is the myth of it, energized by Georges Sorel and then the struggle for this religious myth given structure by Antonio Gramsci and then the Frankfurt School Marxists. Literally, the Left is now reduced to barking Moonbats who have no idea of what they are talking about or the epistemological fallacies they have embraced. But, we are dealing with a religious faith now. This is not something rational. I know this, which is why I tread very carefully around these people. A pensive, rational exchange is not the likely outcome if you get drawn in to their web.

    What’s frightening is that our societies in the West are so balkanized now that any well-done book or paper that exposes the fallacies of socialism just ends up ignored by the other side. Dismissed. The sound of crickets in the background. All of us have retreated into our echo chambers because there are no longer any ground rules for how to conduct a dialog.

  7. Ymarsakar says

    Link

    It was a comment from this post and has a lot of other interesting and informative stories of people living in Fake Liberal land as conservative or center right.

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