Once more, reality shows that "Human nature" is not what the liberals claim it is

New Orleans is Flooded
Image by Spiritwood Images via Flickr

“Human Nature” has become the eternal cliche, the final argument that all those “civilized” and “liberal” will utter when a system that is not based on domination of human over human is proposed. An argument that has been refuted and debunked too many times to count and yet is commonly trotted out as the ultimate trump card in support of the State when everything else has been demolished.

And yet, once more reality begs to differ. When the chips are down and humans have nothing else to rely on other than their “nature”, we see time and again that it is mutual aid that overwhelmingly comes to the fore, not greed or any vice.

I just read this article from the Guardian which shines some light on the disaster of Katrina and what the reaction was from the poor, the rich and those in power. Needless to say, those who are most blamed about their “Human Nature” were the ones that empirically refuted this nonsense, while the ones who are supposed to be more “civilized” or enlightened enough to maintain order by limiting the excesses of “human nature” where the true monsters.

Here’s some choice quotes from the article. All emphasis mine.

Louisiana’s governor at the time, Kathleen Blanco, announced as she dispatched National Guard troops: “I have one message for these hoodlums: these troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so if necessary, and I expect they will.” She and the city’s mayor had called off the rescue efforts to focus on protecting private property – with lethal force if necessary.

Just in case you still believe that the state is for the benefit of the common people

One group of suburban white men who believed the rumours or just anticipated that in the absence of authority we all become monsters became monsters themselves, even as they fantasised they were preserving order. These men in Algiers Point across the river from the city of New Orleans gathered an arsenal and launched their own little murder spree, killing several black men and injuring and threatening others.

Just in case you think that believing in the nonsense about “human nature” is harmless.

Most people behave beautifully in disasters (and most Americans, incidentally, believe Obama was born in this country). The majority in Katrina took care of each other, went to great lengths to rescue each other – including the “cajun navy” of white guys with boats who entered the flooded city the day after the levees broke – and were generally humane and resourceful. A minority that included the most powerful believed they were preventing barbarism while they embodied it.

“Human Nature” my arse!

This is why every time I see this fucking argument made by any of those civilized people which prefer to support the true monsters, those “scientifically-minded” who ignore all empirical evidence, those bleeding-hearts who won’t let people help themselves, I get annoyed.

And then I get angry when in the face of all evidence, human nature will be brought up as an argument, when all that is really being shown is how ignorant and biased they are. And do you know why I get angry? Because it’s this argument that actually causes such horrible situation. When people are convinced that humans are basically evil when left uncontrolled, then one’s reaction when in such a situation will be to expect others to act like monsters and therefore they start acting like this themselves, making their false beliefs self-fulfilling and things worse than they already are.

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69 thoughts on “Once more, reality shows that "Human nature" is not what the liberals claim it is

  1. Indeed. This is one of those silly things that is happening today that just.don't.make.sense.

    1. Your argument has no basis in reality. Not only have the experiment in village collectivization been far more succesful than what you give them credit, your idea that "a larger impersonal government based on a bill of rights and the rule of law is the best answer to your dilemma and will result in the best overall human behavior" is empirically disproven by the last 100 years of experience.

      In short, your argument is based on personal assumptions of human nature, not on evidence. Ideology, not empiricism.

    1. I think so too. Although not a definite window into one's character, it does reveal more about one's personal nature than anything else.

  2. Why attack liberals here? I always though liberals believe that power corrupts! Isn’t this what took place? The powerful were the corrupt ones and not the poor! It seems that this article should attack the conservatives who believe that the poor are savages and they brought this tragedy on themselves!

    1. Well, first it depends on what you mean by "Liberal". Do you mean the historical meaning or the US one (ie Social Democrat for everyone else).

      I don't need to really explain how Social Democrats think that people need to be controlled by a big state. On the other hand, in classical liberalism, humans were not considered as good either, which is why it was thought that co-operation was not a possible outcome naturally and market exchange was far better to organize human interaction.

  3. I don't think I've ever heard a liberal argue that human nature is benign. In fact, the only people I've heard argue in favor of human nature are the mid- to far-right wing, as an argument against government. (That is, government protection of those unable to fend for themselves is unnecessary because we can trust to human nature to take care of deficiencies in society. S'funny how government protections were erected precisely because human nature unaided was unsatisfactory.)

    Come to think of it, I haven't even heard any self-declared libertarians argue in favor of benign human nature (although I've heard people who are ideologically aligned with libertarian goals do so). Kind of a pity, since these days the libertarians have basically reached a point where you can immediately know that something is wrong (or at least off-base) if they support it. It's almost like Cliff's Notes for practical philosophy.

    1. Are you responding to me or Keith? Because I don't see how what you say disagrees with my article.

      1. You use the word liberal in the first paragraph, and although it is in quotation marks, there is not enough context to make it clear if you're being sarcastic.

        1. But my first paragraph does not imply that Liberals think the Human nature is benign o.0

  4. Both liberals and conservatives (and all human beings, it seems) tend to want to classify people as good or bad. For me the debate about whether or not human nature is good or bad misses the point. Human nature is anything. We are all capable of all things. The question is whether or not you believe it is possible for the more positive, constructive, and cooperative potentialities to manifest in each individual. The question is whether or not you believe the environment, power structure, social structure, and cultural myths can be changed/demolished in order to nurture those qualities.

  5. It is the naive view that tends to classify either cooperative or competitive behavior as "good" or "bad." People exhibit both traits depending on what their interests are at the time. Simply declaring cooperation possible or desirable doesn't make it happen. The big breakdown here is between theory and practice.

    Society can be set up to punish free-riders and reward cooperators. This does not require that we declare human nature to be "evil." Just that we recognize its duality and design our social and political systems accordingly.

    1. While I agree that it's silly to label either as "good" or "evil" that's not what I said. The point is that the myth of a flawed human barely retaining a wild animal by fear of God or Law needs to be called out and finally put down as the nonsense it is. It does no good to anyone and as the Katrina example showed, can actually lead to much harm.

      But I can see that your ideas come closer to what I have been saying all along, that is, that the way humans act is shaped by the social environment around them and that there's an important difference between theory and practice. The most difficult thing is how can we and how do we "design our social and political systems accordingly" to promote co-operation and egalitarianism rather than competition and inequality.

  6. I guess I'm repping for the US since that's where I live, however I'm not a democrat. Power corrupts and katrina showed that. No need to say LIBERALS are at fault. Don't get that part of your argument.

    1. I didn't say that Liberals are at fault (fault for what?). I said that liberals are too eager to claim that humans left alone without a guiding enlightened elite will act like monsters. In fact, the whole thing has nothing to do with power corrupting as the acts of those in charge were because of ideology not because of a power-ride.

      1. I don't think humans need an elite to guide them, they need a principled structure (rule of law). Elites are just as corruptible as anyone else. It's the structure and impersonal process of holding people accountable for their actions that makes the difference between civil society and its unattractive alternatives.

        1. An d who is going to write the rule of law for everyone to follow? Who is going to setup the impersonal process of holding people accountable?

          1. You DO realize that common law requires that an initial set of laws are agreed on by the governing body – Like a constitution or the Magna Carta? You DO realize that someone must write these laws and as such they are not impersonal? You do realize that common law is always based on the initial rights agreed to be given to every citizen by the small minority (ie government) who set the rules for everyone and as such is already biased towards a particular direction as set by those initial rules? You DO know that through this common law and due process we ended up with monstrosities such as the corporations? This is because the law and the case law are always skewed towards those who win, ie those who have more money for better lawyers, ie the rich and powerful.

            In short, common law and due process cannot create new laws, they can only interpret or discard the existing ones which are created by the government and blocked by a (possible) constitution. As such, my question of who will write the law and setup the impersonal process still remains. Not to mention that you need to explain how we are going to get from what we have now to what you assume would be a fair result since it is obvious that due process is not enough. Unless you think that the current common law is a fair and accurate repressentation of how humans should live, which only raises the question of why is everything so fucked up since we have the perfect law system.

  7. Yet again the human nature argument? How many times must I point out that it is wrong? That "the dark side of human nature" is not as strong as you think? FFS the article above is just one sample of this. Your whole argument is based on this fallacious idea that I've countered with arguments and evidence so many times before. I'm tired of doing this so unless you can come up with something new I won't bother countering it yet again.

    1. And I don't think you're really addressing the argument. You're using assumptions and opinions. When I bring up any evidence of competitive human nature, you brush it aside by saying it's because people are living in a statist system. But that just doesn't cut it. For anarchy to work, you don't just need some of the people to behave and cooperate some of the time. You need all of them to behave all of the time. That's an amazing leap of faith given the behavior we see every day.

      I'm not denying that people have a communitarian side and sometimes help each other. But if you want to turn over the entire project of civilization, it has to be more reliable than that.

      1. When I bring up any evidence of competitive human nature, you brush it aside by saying it's because people are living in a statist system

        Way to ignore my argument. NO, when I counter you argument is when I point that this human nature you speak of does not seem to act how you like it, especially since it keeps acting the opposite way despite a statist system which naturally selects for a antisocial behaviour!

        But that just doesn't cut it. For anarchy to work, you don't just need some of the people to behave and cooperate some of the time. You need all of them to behave all of the time. That's an amazing leap of faith given the behavior we see every day.

        And something which is proven in the few such experiments that happened, such as the Spanish Revolution.

        I'm not denying that people have a communitarian side and sometimes help each other. But if you want to turn over the entire project of civilization, it has to be more reliable than that.

        Exactly, we need a system which promotes this side rather than the antisocial side.

  8. This is the question I pose to anarchists: What makes you think that going back to the time before the rule of law would make things better? Why is it that a mechanism for adjudicating disputes which took nearly a thousand years to develop should be thrown out?

    We wouldn't go back before the rule of law. Anarchism does not mean "no laws", it means no rulers, or rather, no minority deciding the laws for everyone. We think that making things decentralized in this aspect and allowing people to decide on their own rules would be better than what we have now since what we have now is the tool that is used by the minority to rule and does not work for us. This does not mean that murder and rape would be normal. You sound like a theist who can't understand how people wouldn't run around killing and stealing if the religious morality was taken away.

    I ask you this, if tomorrow the enforcement rights of society (police and the army) collapsed and you couldn't count on them to control crime, would you immediately turn to crime? If not, then why do you assume everyone else will? Why do you assume they won't be able to setup rules amongst them to live civilized?

    1. Decentralization is precisely the problem. People's rules would be inconsistent from town to town, and travelers who found themselves in some enclave where the rules were different could find themselves dealt with harshly. Do you know how many racists exist out there? How many homophobes? Humans are a tribal species. Can you imagine having a different skin color or sexual orientation in a place where non-discrimination wasn't enforced? We need global consistency of law for the concept of universal human rights to have any meaning.

      I'm not going to take the bait on your argument. What I might or might not do has nothing whatsoever to do with what others might do. It's not about morality (a really meaningless concept), it's about power, it's about sanctions and fear of reprisals. That's what keeps people in check. Nothing to do with gods. It's all about human nature. I've got science and history on my side, and I think you are just sidestepping the issue. I, too am tired of repeating the same thing over and over. So I'll leave you to your faith-based position, which has the emotional benefit of having a close to zero probability of ever being tested in the real world. Governments are consolidating and we are heading toward a time of greater interdependence, increased globalism, and greater universal consistency with international law. And it's not happening a moment too soon. Africa could sure use a major dose right now. That continent has been wracked with corruption and many states are so called "failed states." Applying globally accepted principles of checks, balances, and the rule of law and using state power to enforce justice and human rights is the only thing that will save them.

      1. Decentralization is precisely the problem[…]We need global consistency of law for the concept of universal human rights to have any meaning.

        Absolutely not. Cultures differ even now in laws and customs but they still have the very basic ones in common, such as no murder, no rape, no stealing etc. You once again assert the totally illogical position that people and societies will turn into beasts if they didn't have the government to hold them back, which as the article above is another provides proof, is absolutely false.

        Once again you seem to ignore reality for ideology.

      2. , it's about power, it's about sanctions and fear of reprisals. That's what keeps people in check. Nothing to do with gods. It's all about human nature.

        You cannot escape "the bait" either it's human nature and thus your nature as well, or it isn't. As such either you will turn into a beast when the laws are taken away, or your won't. You can't have your cake and eat it. You're not better than everyone else, more enlightened and smart. You're just as human as the rest of us. But thanks for showing exactly the kind of wrong mentality which plagues politicians and causes stuff like Katrina.

        1. I never denied that I would. I simply said that even if I claimed I would not, it wouldn't prevent others from doing so. Nor would it prevent me from becoming rapacious if I was pushed to the brink of desperation. If you know anything about me, it's that I consider repressed shadow to lurk in everyone. And human psychology does not integrate without acknowledging its' darker side.

          1. I simply said that even if I claimed I would not, it wouldn't prevent others from doing so.

            So if the state went away, you expect everyone to become a beast and you wouldn't stop people from murdering and raping? Are you for real?

          2. Nor would it prevent me from becoming rapacious if I was pushed to the brink of desperation.

            So your argument is that without state humans would be pushed to the brink of desperation? Not that they would become monster immediately? So if they were not pushed to desperation there wouldn't be a problem right?

            In that case, you've already conceded your position.

          3. Not at all. In fact if human history and revolutions are any evidence it most conclusively shows that humans did not in fact despair and when they did find things difficult, they found it far more beneficial to cooperate rather than despair. In fact, desperation only comes around when humans consider themselves helpless which can only happen when the tools to help themselves are monopolized by third parties such as the state and capitalists.

            FFS did you even read the article above? By itself it counters this position!

      3. I've got science and history on my side, and I think you are just sidestepping the issue. I, too am tired of repeating the same thing over and over. So I'll leave you to your faith-based position, which has the emotional benefit of having a close to zero probability of ever being tested in the real world.

        Ahahaha, you've got science on your side? After I've reality proves you wrong in many real world examples and scientific studies in human behaviour back me up? But yes, you have a point, you ARE repeating the same thing over and over because you haven't bothered to listen to it being refuted!

      4. Africa could sure use a major dose right now. That continent has been wracked with corruption and many states are so called "failed states." Applying globally accepted principles of checks, balances, and the rule of law and using state power to enforce justice and human rights is the only thing that will save them.

        yes, because the last thing Africa needs is MORE foreign interference. I mean, we've seen how great this interference has been for them already, raising their standard of living and life…oh wait, no we haven't. What we've seen time and again when the "civilized nations" meddle into foreign affairs is the subjugation (military or economical) of everyone else.

        But your naive ideas about how our governments are here to help them are cute.

        1. What makes you think I'm pushing for foreign intervention? I think Africa needs sound self-government in harmony with international norms. They may need money or technical assistance, but the last thing I want to see is neo-colonialism.

      5. "Applying globally accepted principles of checks, balances, and the rule of law and using state power to enforce justice and human rights is the only thing that will save them."

        How about the globally accepted principles of overconsumption, capitalism, and unchecked growth and exploitation of resources? This goes under the guise of "development," at least according to the UN, IMF, World Bank, WTO, and every aid agency in the world. This is an example of how some of these "globally accepted principles" are promoted by those in power, and are not necessarily accepted by those not in power.

        As for things like justice and human rights, those are globally accepted on another level, besides legally: they are accepted by the oldest cultures in the world. So if ANYTHING is human nature, it's a principle that is universal among all humans, not just intergovernmental organisations.

        There would be no need to "enforce" justice and human rights if those in power hadn't created the conditions that erode those principles in the first place. Africa is a perfect example, as you said. Africa was horribly exploited by colonists and continued to be abused since. First there were cash crops, where traditional farmers were forced to stop feeding themselves and instead grow food for export. Their lives of subsistence were destroyed. They began to depend on the profit from the cash crops so that they could be paid a tiny percentage as wages. But those wages were insufficient, and as a result, they starved.

        So now, to help them, people in power tell them to go the way of industrialised agriculture, and continue exporting crops. Of course, this has the same result. These people are not making food for themselves, they're making it for Westerners. In addition, resources were exploited through the centuries and industrialised agriculture eroded the soil, polluted their water and air, and destroyed the nearby ecosystems. The countries are a mess, dealing with disaster after disaster, and when is the best time for a corrupt tyrant to come into power in a country? After a disaster.

        All of this happened legally; all in the name of the "rule of law." First, legal colonialism, and now legal globalisation. The slave trade was legal, the pillaging of the land was legal.

        True checks and balances come from human beings who know how to be human beings; not huge organisations of people who don't have to take any individual responsibility for their actions.

  9. Informal town meetings? Those are the types of gatherings that once agreed to lynch people and burn witches

    And this kept happening even when the "rule of law" existed, hell the law in many cases supported it, which only goes to show that the law follows what the people do rather than tell them.

    In fact, such actions from previous humans did not happen because they were informal, they happened because they were lacking rationality and were based on superstision. Rationality, not the state is, as me and others pointed out to you before, the main reason why we have become more "civilized" and peaceful. You choose to ignore this fact and continue to press that all good comes from the state which is severe nonsense.

    As such, since this rationality won't go away when people decide for themselves instead of following rules someone else decided for them and the villages and their federations are going to agree on laws that truly repressent their interests, rather than the interests of the elite.

    1. I agree that often the law has been lax and behind the curve on human rights. But long after the law gave full rights to black people, they were still lynched in America. It was corrupt local law-enforcement officials who often looked the other way. This did not happen in the big cities, but only in small towns which were protected by distance from the close scrutiny of the central government.

      The stats on "rationality" are not encouraging. The only way a "rational" perspective is maintained today is through the existence of large science associations with reputations, such as the Royal society, or the AAAS. Left to their own devices, clear majorities of people even today reject things like evolution and global warming. Any scientific or rational perspective that is counter-intuitive to the untrained mind is in trouble.

      Again, governments must enforce the findings of science, and make policy accordingly. Or people take what they want and leave what is inconvenient for their short-term goals.

      1. I agree that often the law has been lax and behind the curve on human rights. But long after the law gave full rights to black people, they were still lynched in America.

        Which just proves my point that the law is irrelevant without human action behind it. In other words, whatever the law is, human will keep doing what they feel as long as they are in majority.

        In fact, the law only because the people were outgrowing their need for slavery, not because enlightened politicians or "due process" forced them

      2. Left to their own devices, clear majorities of people even today reject things like evolution and global warming. Any scientific or rational perspective that is counter-intuitive to the untrained mind is in trouble.

        That is absolutely ahistorical. Rationality has been increasing throughout the world even despite the lack of movement or outright opposition of government agencies. Or did you miss the fact that rationality increased even under the brutal rule of the Catholic church? No, human rationalize because as a meme it is far more competitive in this environment. No governmental force is needed.

        1. The Catholic Church was not a government. This is another anarchist strawman. Yes, rationality is increasing, but not nearly enough. And without the heavy funding of basic research by government, we would not even be where we are today.

          1. The Catholic Church was not a government.

            Irrelevant. it has as much, if not more of an influence.

            Yes, rationality is increasing, but not nearly enough. And without the heavy funding of basic research by government, we would not even be where we are today.

            Yes Capitalism is not positive to research spending but that does not counter the fact that human rationality increased despite both capitalism and anti-rationalist governments! As such, taking away capitalism will NOT STOP RATIONALISM FROM INCREASING!

      3. Again, governments must enforce the findings of science, and make policy accordingly. Or people take what they want and leave what is inconvenient for their short-term goals.

        Only in a system which makes short-term goals the primary incentive and punishes those who do not follow them, in other words, a system like Capitalism

        1. And unregulated Capitalism is a reflection of unchecked human nature, not the other way around. Why do you think it naturally evolved? Why do societies naturally trade with each other and develop merchant and working classes?

          Since playing for advantage is an essential characteristic of all life, even non-human life, we must establish structures to blunt the edges of the exploitation which inevitably ensues. I don't understand how you can accept biological evolution and deny political evolution. It just doesn't make any sense.

          1. Why do you think it naturally evolved?

            What naturally evolved? Do you have any idea what you're talking about? Capitalism could only exist because of violent acts of the state (enclosures, tariffs etc). This is a another aspect of the unnaturalness of the system

          2. Why do societies naturally trade with each other and develop merchant and working classes?

            They don't. To do that they require private property and the possibility of accumulation.

          3. Since playing for advantage is an essential characteristic of all life, even non-human life, we must establish structures to blunt the edges of the exploitation which inevitably ensues.

            There you go again with debunked arguments. Playing for advantage can be fulfilled through cooperation as well

  10. What happens when a rhetorically skilled but unscrupulous person manages to convince a substantial portion of the community that they should be the leader, and they don't agree with the communitarian principles?

    This is some major nonsense right there. Someone managing to convince a substancial majority that they do not agree with communitarian principles when they see those principles working every day? Won't happen. If that was possible socialist demagogues would have moved us towards socialism ages ago. This is because people do not change their habits as easily as you'd like to pass and there is a societal momentum which is impossible for a single demagogue to counter, especially when they'll have to counter both experience and people countering their arguments.

    As such, this argument is based on the same fallacious reasoning that assumes that everyone would become a criminal if people didn't use the morals of the bible.

    In fact, now that I think about it, your arguments in favour of the State are very similar for those in favour of Religion. You assume a human "dark side" much like they assume a human "sin" and argue in the same way, that if this is not controlled somehow, we'll all return to barbarism. Think about that for a minute.

    1. This is some major nonsense right there. Someone managing to convince a substancial majority that they do not agree with communitarian principles when they see those principles working every day? Won't happen.

      And that, my friend, is the essence of your faith-based position. "Won't happen." And you will entrust the future of humanity to that assumption? When that is what precisely happened in every tribe, village, and hamlet in human history. It is what drove the chances of dying in mortal combat to insane levels of 15-60% of males in primitive societies. As long as you use arguments like "won't happen" when it clearly happens every day in every uncivilized corner of the world, you don't have an intellectually sound position.

      Tribes in the rain forest who have absolutely no contact with modern governments still dispense summary justice and kill people who violate their tribal codes. Or don't you watch Discovery channel?

      1. And that, my friend, is the essence of your faith-based position.

        Way to go to ignore all the arguments I've presented why this will not happen. In fact I fling the accusation of faith right back at you for you assumption that the law and politicians can somehow make the world better.

        When that is what precisely happened in every tribe, village, and hamlet in human history. It is what drove the chances of dying in mortal combat to insane levels of 15-60% of males in primitive societies.

        Right, as opposed to now where millions of people only die of starvation or easily preventable diseases every year.

        Not to mention that I do not suggest returning to tribal structures and superstition but don't let that stop you from killing strawmen.

        As long as you use arguments like "won't happen" when it clearly happens every day in every uncivilized corner of the world, you don't have an intellectually sound position.

        Yes, way to go to magnify the reality and ignore the hand of the developed world in the lives of the "uncivilized corners" and their horrible exploitation for our benefit.

        1. We're talking about tribal violence vs. state violence. So bringing up issues of poverty is a separate discussion. Certainly many people in the developing world are exploited and that exploitation leads to an increase in violence.

          But you still haven't addressed the reality of what happens to small groups of people who are completely isolated. They behave in an uncivilized manner. That was my point. This even happens to groups in survival situations such as failed expeditions and plane crashes. They often turn to cannibalism.

          Going further back, it looks like homo sapiens hunted and ate the Neanderthals. Can't blame the state there!

          http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,19

          Note the language in the article: "Earlier this year, Fernando Rozzi, an anthropologist at Paris's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, found a Neanderthal jawbone that had been butchered in precisely the same way that humans cut up deer carcasses in the early Stone Age. Rozzi said humans likely cut out and ate the Neanderthal's tongue and used his teeth to make a decorative necklace. "Neanderthals met a violent end at our hands, and in some cases we ate them," Rozzi said at the time of the discovery.

          {…}

          I suspect that interactions were different all over the place, much like the European colonizers had different interaction with other races. In some places the interaction was peaceful and there was interbreeding and cultural exchange, and in other places it was pretty violent." In other words, the Neanderthals may have disappeared, but the species that Shanidar 3 came into contact with in his Iraqi home — a creature capable of both cooperation and violent confrontation — is most certainly the same species that dominates the globe today."

          Pretty much what I've been saying all along: WE ARE CAPABLE OF BOTH COOPERATION AND VIOLENT CONFRONTATION. Since we are capable of both, we need a system that prevents one and promotes the other. By definition, preventing violence involves the use or threat of use of greater force. It is the only language a violent person understands. In the face of insurmountable force, a violent person using rational faculties will choose to back down and behave peaceably.

          1. Going further back, it looks like homo sapiens hunted and ate the Neanderthals. Can't blame the state there!

            Wow, way to lose the point. Humans hunted and ate other animals as well. What does this prove? Nothing, because what is important is the internal working of societies. And your examples of humans acting like beasts when put into an impossible situation is ridiculous as I do not suggest to put all humans in a dog-eat-dog world. This is strawmanning to the extreme!

            In fact, experience shows that groups of people when put into a situation where they had self-control and no need to compete with each others, naturally proceeded to cooperate.

          2. Really. Straw-manning to insist that people who evolved over millions of years to deal with a competitive existence will act competitively? Ridiculous.

          3. Yes Really! Because I do not suggest people will have to move into a dog-eat-dog environment as the "Anarcho"-Capitalist prefer. This is a strawman.

          4. that people who evolved over millions of years to deal with a competitive existence will act competitively

            Wrong again. Human and pre-human existence has been marked by extended cooperation with very few and short periods of strife. As such, the natural, evolved tendency of homo sapiens is towards cooperation, not competition! This in fact is supported by both Anthropological and Evolutionary evidence!

          5. Pretty much what I've been saying all along: WE ARE CAPABLE OF BOTH COOPERATION AND VIOLENT CONFRONTATION.

            Did you miss the part where I've been saying the same thing to you all along? That humans are capable of both and the way they act is SHAPED BY THE ENVIRONMENT THEY FIND THEMSELVES IN?

            Since we are capable of both, we need a system that prevents one and promotes the other. By definition, preventing violence involves the use or threat of use of greater force. It is the only language a violent person understands. In the face of insurmountable force, a violent person using rational faculties will choose to back down and behave peaceably.

            yes, we need a system that gives a disincentive to turn to violence and at this point you need to ask: WHY DO PEOPLE TURN TO VIOLENCE! It's not some random "human nature" which you keep bringing up as an fucking "original sin", it's because they are brought to desperation BY THE SYSTEM AROUND THEM. Take away povertry, take away exploitation, in short, take away PRIVATE PROPERTY and most crimes have no motive to exist!

            Your mistake is to assume that the crime that happens currently is like a natural level of humanity which is ridiculous since humans have managed to go far below this number especially WHEN PRIVATE PROPERTY DIDN'T PLAY AS MUCH OF A ROLE.

          6. OK, so even though people have kept private property since they developed language and written tablets to keep track of it, you still think we can do away with it “somehow.” And I'm irrational?

            The environment has been competitive from the beginning. Any attempts to make it less so will be met with resistance from free-riders, cheaters and slackers. It doesn't have to be everyone. A small percentage of competitors will drive the whole society that way. And then you're back to laws and hierarchy.

          7. OK, so even though people have kept private property since they developed language and written tablets to keep track of it, you still think we can do away with it "somehow." And I'm irrational?

            Let me rephrase that a bit to show you the ridiculousness of this sentence.

            OK, so even though people have kept slaves since they developed weapons and enough productive capability to sustain them, you still think we can do away with slavery "somehow." And I'm irrational?

            (A very popular argument for slavery a while ago btw)

            PP is a very recent development in the history of humans and it was only used because it was enforced (originally it was used to take advantage of slavery and then it was enforced on peasants living communally). As such, it is not wired in any way into our brains and humans have shown that we can live without it, without discarding civilization along with it

          8. This is a false equivalence, and it's the locus of why your argument falls apart. Property is not sentient. Human beings are. I think it's highly dishonest that you gloss over this distinction in service of the way you wish things could be. Private property is not just something that exists for accumulation. It's also a way of drawing boundaries of responsibility to provide stewardship. When someone owns something, they (usually) are more inclined to take care of it. Common ownership dilutes this interest and makes the assignment of responsibility unclear. And it's not just physical property, but psychological boundary issues that require delineation. Civilization itself has advanced directly correlated to the strength of such boundaries. (An interesting side note is to correlate the progress of human societies with the development of physical containers of all types.)

            This is demonstrated every day by how the lack of ownership of uncontained things like the oceans and atmosphere prove how inexorably we are bound by the tragedy of the commons. If everyone had the right to exercise control over their portion of the atmospheric and oceanic commons, they could demand payment from those who are fouling them. If enforced, this would impose a cost for bad behavior, and begin to reign in the externalities which otherwise continue unabated.

            I predict we are headed toward just such a scheme. As our governments begin to implement “cap and trade,” they are asserting their individual ownership and therefore responsibility for portions of the commons. I think we need to advance further to where every citizen of the world has the right to use or charge for their portion of the commons, and if necessary, sue others who infringe on it. It is the only way we can recognize how we are all tied together and assert our cooperative interest in maintaining an irreplaceable common resource.

            Under such a scheme, we would paradoxically achieve what anarcho-communism seeks to achieve, without the confusion and hopelessly blurred boundaries.

          9. *Sigh* are you going to bring debunked argument over debunked argument in an endless series or disconnected points taken from the anti-anarchist reader or something?

            I've pointed you before (more than one time) to the fact that the Tragedy of the Commons doesn't apply to Anarchism or Communal Management but I get the impression that I'm talking to a brick wall. I won't bother to repeat my arguments every time you are struck with selective memory. I'm truly starting to get tired of your debating tactics which seem designed to annoy more than argue. I won't bother repeating the same stuff over and over, I'll merely link you to 2 refutations of this silliness.

          10. This is a false equivalence, and it's the locus of why your argument falls apart. Property is not sentient.

            No it isn't. You made an argument from history/incredulity. My example fits it perfectly. The properties or PP are irrelevant to this.

          11. This is a false equivalence, and it's the locus of why your argument falls apart. Property is not sentient. Human beings are. I think it's highly dishonest that you gloss over this distinction in service of the way you wish things could be. Private property is not just something that exists for accumulation. It's also a way of drawing boundaries of responsibility to provide stewardship. When someone owns something, they (usually) are more inclined to take care of it. Common ownership dilutes this interest and makes the assignment of responsibility unclear. And it's not just physical property, but psychological boundary issues that require delineation. Civilization itself has advanced directly correlated to the strength of such boundaries. (An interesting side note is to correlate the progress of human societies with the development of physical containers of all types.)

            This is demonstrated every day by how the lack of ownership of uncontained things like the oceans and atmosphere prove how inexorably we are bound by the tragedy of the commons. If everyone had the right to exercise control over their portion of the atmospheric and oceanic commons, they could demand payment from those who are fouling them. If enforced, this would impose a cost for bad behavior, and begin to reign in the externalities which otherwise continue unabated.

            I predict we are headed toward just such a scheme. As our governments begin to implement “cap and trade,” they are asserting their individual ownership and therefore responsibility for portions of the commons. I think we need to advance further to where every citizen of the world has the right to use or charge for their portion of the commons, and if necessary, sue others who infringe on it. It is the only way we can recognize how we are all tied together and assert our cooperative interest in maintaining an irreplaceable common resource.

            Under such a scheme, we would paradoxically achieve what anarcho-communism seeks to achieve, without the confusion and hopelessly blurred boundaries.

          12. The environment has been competitive from the beginning. Any attempts to make it less so will be met with resistance from free-riders, cheaters and slackers. It doesn't have to be everyone. A small percentage of competitors will drive the whole society that way. And then you're back to laws and hierarchy.

            Nonsense, the environment required co-operation and mutual aid in order for homo sapiens to come about. That does not exclude strife of course but overwhelmingly it was a life of mutual aid and egalitarianism. As such, the attempts to make it again as such will only seem natural.

            And Free Riders do not of course pose any issue if one thinks about it.

  11. What makes you think I'm pushing for foreign intervention?

    ?

    This quote?

    Governments are consolidating and we are heading toward a time of greater interdependence, increased globalism, and greater universal consistency with international law.

    You are obviously betting on Africa using international law (ie law created by the developed nations).

    I think Africa needs sound self-government in harmony with international norms.

    The reason Africa is not proceeding is because it's being exploited by neo-colonialism and foreign intervention every time they don't like their democratically elected rulers. Not because they're barbarians.

    1. Nothing in that quote precludes sovereignty for African nations. If there are genocides or unstable regimes such as in Darfur or Rwanda, that might trigger UN intervention. You are then facing the “lesser of evils.” But even under globalism, there should still be respect for state sovereignty, much as we still have state governments in the U.S.

      1. You are once again simply dreaming of a future society without considering how that may come about and why it isn't this way now. How the African nations will proceed to this developed utopia you think of you don't even think of. "It just progresses this way" as you think even though the history of Africa shows that any progress will be quickly quelched when it goes against "international" interests. And you still keep the naive impression that the developed world cares about genocides or other disasters in Africa or other third world nations, when in Rwanda they didn't even lift a finger!

        Oh, I know! The next time it will be different! "Never Again" eh?

    1. The one where somewhere between 15% and 60% of human males died in mortal combat for the bulk of their pre-modern history. Where in-group/out-group strife has negated the lesser effects of in-group cooperation since tribal life began.

      1. Is it the same group where humans lived cooperative lives for most of their living existence, where cooperation for hunting and foraging was a necessary condition of existence? Where mutual aid was used when any member of the tribe was threatened? Where in-group cooperation has negated the lesser effects of in-group/out-group competition until civilization and Private Property began.

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