The Evolution of Societies

Democracy is flawed when exercised unrestrained. Morality is not defined by the will of the majority.

The rights which I defined in my first post comprise a moral code which provides more freedom than any other code, while maintaining self-consistency. It allows others to exercise their own codes in their own lives, so long as they are not deliberately harming others or preventing others from exercising their own codes. This moral code is the one most tolerant of the rights of individuals to follow their own codes in their own lives. Hence, as law, this code provides the absolute baseline of principles necessary for a society of law and order, and allows individuals to tighten up restrictions on themselves as they please.

The thing is, like it or not, humans are just as subject to evolutionary forces as every other species. The evolutionary forces very much act at a timescale visible within our lifetimes. The only question we have control over is what the selection factor should be. In defining a moral system for our society to follow, we are to some extent controlling that selection factor by determining what qualities breed success and what qualities lead to failure.

If we want a society that is warlike, we should allow violent individuals to reap the benefits of their violence unpunished. If we want a society that is deceitful, then we should allow deceitful individuals to reap the benefits of their lies. But you see, I don’t want either of these qualities in our society, because they overpower more useful traits, like productivity, adaptability, and innovation. Three hulking cavemen could easily overpower and take the means of survival from one intelligent, productive individual. Such a society would be comprised only of conflict, and would ultimately be self-destructive. Hence, concepts such as “honor” and “peaceful resolution of conflicts” are considered virtues. Deceit and force are punished by legal action, hence making it evolutionarily unfavorable to use such techniques of acquiring resources.

Likewise, if we want a society that is self-sufficient, productive, adaptable, and innovative, then we should allow individuals with these traits to reap the rewards that these traits bring. If violence and deceit are disallowed, but all other choices are allowed, then an individual’s own survivability, productivity, adaptability, and innovativeness are the sole controllable factors in determining their own success and their contribution of success to their offspring. If individuals are allowed to collect the full reward of exercising these traits, then the society we breed is one in which individuals are self-sufficient. In this way, we create a society which doesn’t have to focus on survival, as the people within it have the means to contemplate luxury, charity, investment- all the things which allow life for everyone to be made easier and more productive. In fact, this code for society breeds greater charity, as charity leads to admiration and favor from your beneficiaries and your peers.

Now, let’s consider the effect of social programs on the evolution of society. If we legally require individuals to contribute taxes which go towards social programs that benefit others, are we breeding a charitable society? Does the desire of an individual to help their fellow man contribute to their own success in a system filled with social programs? Not so much. The choice is removed, and hence everyone is forced to make the “right” choice, and those who would’ve naturally made the right choice do not benefit. This situation also slightly disfavors the valuable traits described in the last paragraph, as the more successful you are, the more likely you are to have your success cut short. Perhaps more importantly, dependence on these social programs is strongly selected for by their existence, since they allow individuals to survive and reproduce with very little effort.

So, if you have social programs that allow people to survive and reproduce more than those who spend most of their time being productive and innovative, then society will gradually move towards total dependence on these social programs. However, since the social programs depend on the existence of productive and innovative people within the society in order to survive, the programs will have scarcer resources as the number of dependents grows relative to the number of self-sufficient individuals. Thus, it will be perceived that greater taxation will be necessary to take care of everyone, and the selection factor towards dependency becomes greater. Eventually, the system won’t be able to support itself, and it will just collapse. This happens eventually in every strongly socialist nation.

The speed at which this collapse occurs depends on the starting level of productivity of the nation (prior to the implementation of the social programs) and the strength of the selection factors put in place (i.e. the level of socialism). The Soviet Union collapsed moderately quickly because it had a moderate level of starting productivity coupled with extremely strong factors selecting against productivity. Venezuela is collapsing very quickly because it had a moderately low level starting level of productivity, but has strong factors selecting against productivity. The European nations embracing socialist motifs are collapsing slowly because they had much higher starting levels of productivity, coupled with only moderate levels of selection against productivity. The US strongly favored productivity from its inception, up until the beginning of the 20th century, making it the “land of opportunity.” However, since the establishment of the social programs of the ’60s, we’ve been whittling away at the productivity base we had built up, leading us slowly towards economic collapse.

The reason the principle of freedom is superior to principles of welfare is because it creates a functional society. It favors the development of traits in the population which are beneficial to its survival, and make life easier for everyone. It favors natural selection over any sort of Social Darwinist intervention, producing a society which can survive and prosper. And of course, it makes people happier when they have control over their own lives.

Government Buyouts and Bailouts to Become Permanent Policy?

The Democrats of the House of Representatives recently passed a bill which would give the President and the Federal Reserve Board members that he appoints the authority to take over and/or liquidate any financial company deemed “in danger of default,” so long as failure of the company may cause “adverse effects” to the economy or to the welfare of minorities. The language of the bill is actually that vague.

The process of acquiring a company goes something like this:

Step 1: The Secretary or Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board requests a vote by the Board (all of these people are appointed by the President) on whether or not the default of a financial company poses some risk to the economic “conditions or stability” of the United States, or to the economic “conditions or stability” of minorities.

Step 2: The Secretary of the Federal Reserve (who originally requested the vote) takes the recommendations and goes to deliberate with the President (who appointed all these people to begin with). Together, the President and Secretary make a determination as to whether the financial company is “in danger of default” and whether this default would have “adverse effects on financial stability or economic conditions in the United States.” Together, they determine what to do about the company.

Step 3: At this point the Secretary appoints a “Corporation” which takes financial control of the company, eliminates its management, and liquidates it, as seen with GM. This Corporation expires after a year, but there is no bar against the Secretary appointing a new one, extending the time frame of its control indefinitely.

All of this information can be found in sections 1603 and 1604 of H.R. 4173 at the Library of Congress Database.

With the language as to what constitutes a “danger of default” and what constitutes “adverse affects” left so vague and entirely at the discretion of the President and his appointees, under this bill, the President could hypothetical engineer the liquidation of any company which does not adhere to some set of policies. This leaves absolute control of the policies of financial institutions in the hands of the President. Control of all financial lending institutions means control over anyone who would ever want to take out a loan, which is pretty much everyone.

“What’s that? Your business doesn’t engage in affirmative action hiring? Well, we’re just going to have a conversation with your lenders, who might be in danger of default. Might you want to reconsider your hiring practices?”

“Oh? Your media station is going to criticize our administration? Well, let’s see what your lenders and investors have to say about that.”

“Well, we’ve decided that the voting record of your demographic poses a threat to the State, so financial institutions aren’t going to be letting you take out mortgages anymore.”

Signing of this bill into law would truly mean a total government takeover of our nation’s economy, and by proxy, our lives. Absolute control of everyone would be in the hands of the President. This would be Fascism.

Is Health Insurance a Right?

One reason why some people think that we have a legal right to health insurance (note that health insurance is not the same thing as health care) is because the costs for medical care necessary for good health sometimes make people go bankrupt. Does this choice of “health care vs. bankruptcy” in some cases make health insurance a need rather than a luxury?

The thing is, people go bankrupt for a lot of reasons. People go bankrupt because they bought houses or cars they can’t afford. They go bankrupt because they make poor decisions with their credit. Sometimes they just go bankrupt because of bad luck in the stock market. Should the government be insuring all of these things as well?

In general, you can certainly have the medical treatment that you need, possibly at the cost of some financial stability. But if financial stability is considered a need, and not a luxury, then where’s my taxpayer-funded general bankruptcy insurance to cover me in case of poor investment decisions, credit abuse, or bad luck in stocks?

If health insurance is really a basic human right, then does that mean that countries like Ethiopia and Uzbekistan where people can barely even afford to eat should create national health insurance programs so that everyone can get the latest and greatest medical treatment while being taxed into starvation? Forget economic development of luxuries like industry and improved agricultural methods; These people need MRIs!