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A Political Triangle


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13 responses to “A Political Triangle

  1. Sometimes the word “individualism” can be misleading – as it gives rise to thoughts of “atomistic individualism” (ironically it is statist interventionists, such as the French Revolutionary Jacabins, who lead to such “atomised” individuals – by destroying all voluntary institutions between the individual and the state). Actually voluntary cooperation (in churches, secular societies, commercial companies and so on) is also libertarian. Indeed both conservative and Classical Liberal writers have studies civil society (civil association as M.J. Oakeshott called it or “cosmos” to use the Greek word that F.A. Hayek favoured).

    Reading such works as “On Human Conduct” by Oakeshott and “Law, Legislation and Liberty” by Hayek is (I would argue) just as important as reading classics of economics as Ludwig Von Mises’ “Human Action”.

  2. I don’t know what Darwinism is doing on there. That’s a biological theory, not a political philosophy.

  3. Paul-

    I don’t have a problem with atomism. Or being atomistic. Or whatever. Voluntary civil society is composed of atoms voluntarily joining into, er, molecules, as the need or desire arises. Individualism is inherently atomistic and I don’t see a need to disavow that.

  4. Darwinism was Hitler’s political philosophy, and I am left with the uncomfortable thought that he was right. The strong destroy the weak. Thus it has always been. That is the way the world works. Nowadays of course we have civilised ourselves out of this uncomfortable existence, except in the field of commerce.
    Modern warfare interferes with Darwinism in that it is pretty much random who gets killed and who survives.
    Why isn’t Jefferson on there?

  5. Ricardo Ben-Safed

    Reblogged this on Ricardo Ben-Safed and commented:
    Hmmm…a different type of political split ignores the traditional “Left vs Right”!

  6. Hugo-

    Hitler wasn’t a Darwinist, and “Darwinism” isn’t that “the strong destroy the weak”. If it was, we wouldn’t have an ecosystem, we’d have biology’s equivalent of the Somme. Natural selection just tells us that the most fitted to an environment will have a better procreative success rate.

  7. Or, as a slightly facetious example: Romans and Christians. Who were the strongest? Who had the legions, and arenas with lions, and so on? But who ended up with the greater success?

  8. Depends what you mean by success. Perhaps a better example would be Muslims and Christians.

    I was waiting for you to wade in to disagree with me! I see natural selection the other way round – it’s not that those ‘most fitted’ will procreate more, it is that everything else will die off. It’s a horribly cruel and merciless system.

    It’s like making a sculpture of, say, a horse. You start with a lump of rock, but you don’t create a horse, you just chip away everything that doesn’t look like a horse!

    And it is a bit like the Somme. Every living thing is trying to destroy every other living thing. Ok, I know that’s not strictly correct, but it describes the general principle. Or to put it another way, every living thing is trying to turn other living things into copies of itself – i.e. cows eat grass & turn the grass into more cows; humans eat cows & turn them into humans. Foxes turn grass into foxes via rabbits.

    And success in genetic terms is completely at odds with civilised values. If want to succeed in genetic terms, I will impregnate as many women as I can while killing as many of my male rivals as I am able (before somebody kills me). Rape and murder, however, are frowned upon by civilised society, and if I practised such a policy I would no doubt end up in jail rather than being judged a ‘successful’ member of society. It’s all very confusing.

    On a completely different topic (I’m throwing it in here as I have no idea how to initiate a post) I have just discovered another addition to my list of obscure composers; Jose Nono, who I presume is Spanish, and lived from 1776 to 1845. Absolutely delightful and well worth a listen – although even Wikipedia hasn’t heard of him! There is a Naxos recording of his symphony in F coupled with the equally delightful symphony by Arriaga, ‘the Spanish Mozart’ who tragically died before reaching his 21st birthday.

  9. If want to succeed in genetic terms, I will impregnate as many women as I can while killing as many of my male rivals as I am able (before somebody kills me).

    No you won’t. You’re a social animal that evolved to live in a herd, and part of the essential strategy for maximal success is the approval of the rest of the herd. You would find your rape and murder spree curtailed by your peers, by violent means. Violence is a means, in many cases, to subdue violence. Maximal violence is a very bad strategy, in most cases. Even if you take things up to the societal level, societies do better not fighting wars than when they are. It’s an astonishing statistic, but global economic output didn’t get back to 1914 levels until 1960. That’s a pretty good case for not being violent.

    Additionally, you’ll probably be unable to provision most of the impregnated females, and most of the offspring will thus probably be inadequately fed, and die. Stick with a few high value females, impregnate and provision them, and you’ll have the best success. There is a very good argument that Europeans are monogamous because males in our environment could only reliably provision one female (compared to herding cultures where a few alpha males with many goats could provision several). Your rape and murder strategy would not maximise your offspring.

    “Civilised” rules are not some unnatural system dropped on us from a higher moral plane; they are culturally contextualised and pragmatic.

    The description of Darwinism you are using is a cartoonish caricature. It’s a commonplace one, but it’s really not correct.

  10. I wasn’t describing Darwinism – merely my own observations. Your point about ‘provisioning’ is a valid one. Sounds like the Muslims have got the best recipe. Not sure about the ‘social animal’ bit. I think I must have been a cat in a former existence.

    Wolves, incidentally, are the only species which will abandon their young if threatened. This is entirely logical from the evolutionary point of view, since the Alpha male & female can soon produce more cubs rather than risk their lives defending the current batch.

    Spiders, or some species of them at least, have got it pretty well sussed – the females eat the males after mating, then the spiderlings eat the mother when they hatch. That’s why they’ve been around for 300 million years. That this kind of ‘uncivilised’ inhumane behaviour is a recipe for genetic success, illustrates just how nasty and unpleasant this world is, as Darwin was well aware. I reckon spiders will be the last species left on the planet (not mice as Douglas Adams suggested) which is unfortunate cos I’m terrified of them. And that is interesting in itself – arachnophobia is the most common phobia – why is that?

  11. I see what you mean Ian, but the word “individualism” is used as a hammer, and it goes with the misinterpretation of “there is no such thing as society” – what is meant is there is no such ENITY as society. but it is taken to mean that the person saying these words does not believe that Civil Society (voluntary cooperation and cultural institutions) exist.

    As for the graph – some of it is silly (but then remember where we are); Also I can barely read the small writing – remember I am getting on in years.

  12. I’d love to get a high resolution version to make as a poster. Any idea who made this?