Friday, November 16, 2018

Egalitarianism is Neo-Meat-Sharing

My idea of the Great Reaction is that the left represents a return to the past. The left is forced to mine the past because its faith in politics means that it has to ancient emotions and instincts to trigger people into wanting political solutions.

Now the basic fact of politics is survival, to mobilize your band or group to confront an existential peril, most obviously to deal with the band nearby that would like to take over your territory because more territory means more food. Humans are clearly wired to respond to the call to arms and then willingly sacrifice themselves for the survival of the group.

But what if there is no existential peril? Why, then humans just live day to day taking care of business and do not rally to the banner of their Big Man feudal lord or fascist F├╝hrer. So what do the political leaders do then, poor things?

Perfectly simple. The political leaders punch the button on the good old ways to get people all riled up and ready to surrender themselves for the greater good and the safety of the band. And if they have to make up an existential peril out of whole cloth, well, that is what it takes.

Thus I call socialism neo-slavery, because slavery in one form or another was a universal culture of the agricultural age. And the welfare state is neo-feudalism, where people subordinate themselves to the protection of a liege lord. And identity politics is neo-tribalism, because humans are groupish. My point is that humans seem to love to dominate others; they seem to be ever ready to snuggle up to a powerful leader; they are suckers for Us vs. Them warfare.

So if you want to exploit these human traits for your own power and profit, you go for it, because you will always find people eager to enslave others, or seek protection of powerful people, or get into a bar fight.

There is also the ancient culture of egalitarianism, the counter-movement against the universal hierarchy and pecking order by which social animals reduce the amount of violence in their communities. And the taboo against hoarding.

The culture of equality, sharing, and no hoarding made complete sense in the good old days when the main job for men was hunting for meat. Ancient humans did not share the food gathered by women, the fruits and vegetables and grubs they obtained. But they did share the meat that the men won from the hunt.

The reason for meat-sharing was pretty obvious. Hunting, especially hunting large prey, is much more iffy than gathering. An individual man is not going to land a big antelope every day. Or even every other day. And he is probably going to have much better success in cooperation with other men. Plus, meat spoils rapidly. If hunters don't share their meat then the meat is going to spoil. So that is another reason to share.

Plus, one of the big things for any person to do is establish a reputation for trust and generosity. If someone is wondering whether to trust you and do business with you, it really helps to have a reputation for trustworthiness and generosity. But hello lefties: if you are forced to trust lefty activists, and forced to be generous through the tax system, then maybe you will get a society with less trust and less generosity. You think?

Today things are a bit different from the good old days of the hunter gatherers and the agricultural age, because of the market economy and property, and the reason is that your wealth and income are not a result of hunting or hoarding, but of your contribution to the economy. If you have a billion-dollar fortune it is not because you have a hoard of gold down at the bank but because you built a corporation that makes products and services that people value and want to buy. As the World Bank wealth survey puts it, 80 percent of wealth in advanced industrial countries is "intangible" wealth. Not physical wealth like oil and coal, not produced wealth like factories and homes, but intellectual and process knowledge, ideas and techniques. And the point of intangible wealth is that it only has monetary value if it is shared and implemented so as to benefit other people. The science of quantum  mechanics is worth nothing until it is shared in LED lights and smartphones.

But when the left raises the banner of equality, and rails against the selfishness of great corporate chieftains, they are ignoring the fact that all wealth today is social. It would have no value if it were not benefiting other people.

So I say that by returning us to the old ways of equality and the taboo against hoarding, the left is embracing the atavism of neo-meat-sharing, as if intangible capital is likely to spoil like a pile of unshared elephant meat, as if intangible capital is not always shared every day in the marketplace.

I tell you. We gotta do something about these lefty reactionaries before they destroy us all with the catastrophic atavisms of their Great Reaction.

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