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.


One Response to “The Evolution of Societies”

  1. Jaktens Tid Says:

    Dependency created at the expense of the productive class will kill any society – it simply comes down to a matter of time. A society that is *forced* to contribute to certain programs will take every opportunity to minimize that contribution.

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