We Have Great Gadgets … But How Sapient Are Humans, Really?

MonkeyIt’s noticeable that large scale social changes often include a lot of social dislocation. In America, the Industrial Revolution drew many from the land into the cities, stranding them there when financial systems broke down. The plight of such numbers of voters seems to have resulted in U.S. ‘Progressive’ politics, when politicians saw opportunity in promising to use government to alleviate the dislocation — provided only that the voters put them into power. That was reinforced after the Civil War left even more displaced.

The entire premise has always bemused us. America’s Founders found it necessary to bind government with a Constitution to guarantee its limitations could not be easily removed. And their government was indeed limited. The Founders were convinced that powerful  government guaranteed tyranny.

Somehow, we have evolved to the opposite of that belief; we expect government to solve our problems for us and gladly offer whatever power it demands to that end. Obviously then, either the Founders or we are wrong.

We have been considering which, given that we and our progeny must live by that decision. You may differ; this is what we see:

Our strong, human sense of self-preservation often enough leads us into patterns destructive for the larger society. We’re made so; we likely wouldn’t survive else. The same pattern of values seems to underlie our society; wars reflect it at the societal level. Apparently, that’s how we’re made.

We seem to need government in order to help control our more destructive selfish tendencies so that the larger society can exist. Without government, too many selfish individuals would disrupt society too much. Government protects the survival of the group. We need the group because it is more productive than individuals alone. The long time it takes to raise a generation of human children depends upon maximizing resources to overcome; as individuals without society, we could not manage our reproduction, as we see it.

But — any government that we depend upon to help us bridge that economic gap is necessarily composed of self-interested humans much more concerned with their own self-preservation than with ours. So how can we count upon them to solve our problems? Will the wolf give up is dinner in hard times so that we can eat?

So it seems to us that government is a blind alley in any long run. Progressive promises of feeding the poor must depend upon taking food from others and there are a limited number of such others.Indeed, all such cases have collapsed; the Soviets most recently and now, China is underway. America seems likely to follow for the same reasons; robbing Peter to pay Paul leaves both impecunious.

Government will never be the solution to human problems while it is composed of said humans. We cannot lift ourselves by our bootstraps as the saying went back when we used bootstraps. We suppose that the Founders were well aware of all that. Today’s politicians prefer that our students don’t learn it. We can understand that, too.

Summing up, reliance upon government to ameliorate the human condition imposed by reality is relying upon a horse thief to guard the herd. Yet after some five or six thousand years of human civilization (or is it seven now?) we still haven’t figured it out to apply when we vote. Makes one wonder how sapient are we humans?

(Duh ..!)

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
This entry was posted in Economics, Government, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to We Have Great Gadgets … But How Sapient Are Humans, Really?

  1. Sapient, huh? You’re a better optimist than me, I’m still trying to figure out if we’re sentient.

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