Manifesto Continued

I know you've been anxiously awaiting the rest of my manifesto loyal readers. Here it is, in all it's humble glory:

Partisanship should be the means not an end. What do I mean by this? Generally, the more people consider themselves beholden to a particular party, the more the members of the party adhere to a kind of groupthink which is governed by the rules of mob psychology rather than rationality. I know that sounds rather alarmist but let me explain. When there is absolute conformity, conditions become especially conducive to autocracy. When conformity is a given, arbitrary forces or a single influential leader can sway entire bodies of followers whichever way and they will not dissent. Entire well-developed and respectable nations have made disastrous choices this way because of singular allegiance to a bad idea in the name of country, ideology, even science. The genius of the constitution is that it allowed free speech and dissent to flourish so that autocracy, whenever and wherever it may appear, can be freely dissented. On the other hand, there's nothing systematic about fascism (total conformity) that necessitates an autocrat, yet ever major instance of fascism in history has been accompanied by a dictatorship, which should tell you something.

If you believe in the wisdom of self-correcting systems you naturally think this prospect is terrible. The real value of partisanship, as it was actually explained to me by one of my peers, is in enhancing one's personal political influence through coalition-building. If you're willing to support multifold agendas within a party, it's more likely that the ones you care about will come through also. Compromise is going to have to happen at some point, whether it's at the individual or the group level. As far as I'm concerned, this is the origin of good partisanship.

I've been thinking a little more on the inequalities of wealth thing, and another argument that could be made for it occured to me. That is, it is a natural right for me to make more money than you; it is the natural right of every person to make as much money as they want and are able to even if it means making much more than the next guy.

Natural rights are always very fuzzy concepts. For instance, couldn't the case just as persuasively be made that it is everyone's natural right to be treated as an equal? There are various religious / ethical lines of thought that could justify including some form of equality as a natural right. On the other hand there are solid philosophical and scientific underpinnings to claiming that the opposite is a natural right - or perhaps it could be put a bit more neutrally, a natural law. Any scientific findings that support the conclusion that there are differences among people in terms of abilities are absolutely devastating to the natural law case for equality, and there is very much such evidence. People differ in terms of aptitude, and even in a non-economic setting, inequalities in ability, status, hierarchy are going to exist. Furthermore, the theory of evolution is predicated on the existence of inequalities. The fit flourish while the unfit are selected out, and the result is a net good, considered from the perspective of the species as a whole, taking this as the assumed operative unit. So there is much in nature that reflects an unegalitarian scheme.

But here's why I'm not convinced by this argument: for every argument that humans should do something or be allowed to do something because it is natural, there is a corresponding argument of a very different nature, that humans should not behave a certain way, or conduct affairs a certain way, because it is primitive and is fit for the brutes, not a species as elevated and refined as humanity. And the second argument is always equally compelling. For instance, would anyone argue that humans should strive to govern in the same way as a pack of wolves? Should instant violent retribution without due justice process be allowed because it is exhibited in various species of beasts? Everyone would argue that these things shouldn't be permitted precisely because they are characteristic of the lower animals.

When it comes down to it, the natural right and negative natural right arguments seem so evenly weighted that I'm inclined to ignore the rationale altogether and say the categorization of natural is inconsequential to how things should be. And I think this makes sense for any rational person. It essentially involves a leap of faith to make the jump from a descriptive scheme to a normative arugment. Who's to say that just because something occurs naturally, that means it should be. There is no logical connection there, only a faith in an falsely santified entity that can be refered to as Nature. Blind faith isn't how rational people should make decisions.

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