“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.