Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Re: Searching for Liberty's "Liberals: Touting 'Evolution', Yet Ignoring Its Lessons


I had a good rapport with Harvie over at Searching for Liberty but when I saw this I couldn't help but comment. But my comment got a little long so I gave it its own post.

Original Post can be found here

Isn't it ironic, don't you think?


Mention the theory of "intelligent design", and every liberal worth their salt will come flying out of their dark little caves in coffee shops and book stores and suddenly begin espousing Charles Darwin, and asserting themselves as experts on the "settled science" of Evolution.

And from my own perspective, so they should.

While evolution may have been a random occurrence of nature, or a creation of an intelligent God, there is no rational denial of the reality that, to simplify, things that work tend to survive and things that don't, tend to, well, not survive.

Intelligent design doesn't postulate that evolution was a creation of god. That's a reasonable reconciliation between religion and science. Also there's a bunch of evolutionary traits that have nothing to do with survival, but sexual selection. There are even cases where sexual traits are chosen above survivable traits. (See rock crabs).

Funny thing is, however, after finishing their strident defence of the theory of evolution, when they go back to their coffee shops and book stores, they do everything they can do to assure that the theory comes to a full stop for modern man.

In other words.. natural selection be damned. Regardless of how foolish we are, the state should step up and kiss our boo boos and assure that no negative consequence are suffered as a result of our own stupidity.


Yeah, "more socially adept," which means that we're social creatures... Hey isn't government a social creation?
Oh noes! We're using an evolutionary advantage to help us survive!

Imagine Liberals,however, 35 thousand years ago. While Cro Magnon man learned to use advanced tools, to organize in cohesive social groups and to hunt with more efficiency when times became lean - the Liberals would have, no doubt, said, "No, this is no good. Take your food and feed the Neanderthals.

Maybe, if they were living in our society. But this argument is the equivalent of saying, "Hey! That orangutan is hungry! I better feed with the limited food I need to eat to survive!"

I think liberals would have been more like: "Hey! if we work together we can get more food and then everyone can eat!"

While conservatives would pout and say: "No! I'm going to get my own food, and if you can't get your own food then you don't deserve to eat!"


If man had survived the natural cycle of serious global cooling (yes, you heard right "cooling"), there's a good chance we would still be nomadic early humans, with pesky things that intelligent motivated and driven people helped create like, oh, penicillin and electricity, having no part in our development.

WHAT?!?!? Ice ages involve cooling!?! That's news to me.

Also, the news that all scientists and inventors in history were actually conservative. Too bad Ben Franklin was a progressive in his day. And that penicillin was discovered by accident (not hard work).

Take a look at the world around us today.

There was a reason that North America and Northern Europe in particular were not heavily populated until modern times. Living there was hard. The price of being stupid or lazy was death.

There is a reason that equatorial countries have been more heavily populated. Life there was easier. The price of being stupid or lazy was much less likely to be death.

So - as man becomes more able to function in a hostile environment and as hard work and initiative are shown to allow for expansion of modern man to areas earlier considered unattractive and beyond significant habitation, well, no surprise - not only did man survive and expand in those areas, but they in fact prospered.

Yeah all those countries in the rest of the world that had greater access to resources, just sat there and stared at them. They didn't go and build huge civilizations that made up the ancient world, because they were lazy and didn't believe in hard work. They didn't face hardship either! There weren't plagues, droughts, floods, wars, etc. Nope, life was a breeze and they rested on their proverbial and literal laurels.

What about China, the Middle East, Southern Europe, India, Northern Africa, and South America? All of those places prospered for thousands of years. Just because Western civilization has become the most prosperous place to live during the last 300 years, doesn't make us the Fucking Greatest People in History!!!!

What makes him think that living in more temperate climates is more difficult? Certainly it's easier to farm in England, than a desert. So why aren't Berbers (a nomadic desert people), who presumably have to work way harder than people in Northern Europe to survive, the supermen of the world?

To such extent that now, the most stable political and economic systems exist in areas only sparsely inhabited 35,000 years ago.

And now, the response of our liberal friends, is that the failures of societies in the Sudan, and Niger and Indonesia and elsewhere.. are the fault of the west.

Yeah, it's called colonialism and the neo-colonialism of the IMF which have both fucked up countries like these that were doing perfectly fine before Europeans got there.

And now, the response of our liberal friends, is that the failures of segments of our society to thrive and prosper.. are the fault of those who succeeded in overcoming their own hardships.

Sure.. there were some who emigrated to Canada from families of wealth...

Yeah, Ignatieff is a jerk.

...- but the great majority of the families that I know had grandparents and great-grandparents who came here will little or nothing.

My own grandfather emigrated to Canada from Hungary with nothing - and worked in mines until scraping some money together to buy a small farm in the Okanagan. My other grandfather's family were simple farmers, eventually settling in the Sweet Grass Hills, on the southern border of Alberta, living 5 people to a tiny two-room home in the middle of nowhere.

Their hard work, and sacrifice and initiative I am grateful to say was passed on to my parents who passed on some of that (perhaps not enough) to me.. such that our family "evolved" to relative material comfort.

REALLY!?!?! There's a gene for hard work?? And your family "evolved" to become wealthier? So poorer people are now lower beings? And can people deevolve if they become poor? I'd like to meet the geneticist who can explain that!!!

Also, people from Eastern Europe, like your family, were actively recruited to come to Canada settle the west. Unlike my Chinese grandfather who had to pay a $500 head tax (about $12 000 today) to immigrate to Canada. And unlike my great grandfather and great great grandfather, who came to work on the railroad and then were shipped back to China. As I see it, his family got discounted passage overseas and land from the government... Which some might call a subsidy or "handout". And 5 people in a tiny two room home doesn't compare to the immigrant families living in Toronto today where several families (with parents, children, and sometime grandparents) will share a two bedroom condo. Not an exaggeration.

Liberals would penalize my family for that. They would suggest my grandparents and parents were fools for not simply putting their hand out and demanding government tend to their needs. That their decision in moving to a harsh and difficult lifestyle was fool-hardy when they could have simply immigrated to one of the larger cities and waited until the government gave them jobs that were easy and without toil.

Uhh see previous paragraph. And really? Which liberals? The ones who advocate for immigration or the ones who think its foolish that immigrant families have to share a two bedroom condo with several other families? The only fools that liberals see are the ones who would deny people a basic standard of living.

Liberals would have all of society return to [a] state of the lowest common denominator - would have us all living as modern-day Neanderthals.

No, liberals are all about ensuring that even the "lowest" amongst us has the opportunity to be prosperous and contribute to society. It's called empathy. Think how many great minds have been passed over because they lacked the opportunity to better the world. As you may expect modern liberal or progressives are more apt to accept change, or an evolution in our society, than conservatives.

Furthermore, aren't conservatives the ones trying to 'have all of society return' to a previous state? You know the good old days of 'back when I was a kid?'

Thank-goodness their time on this earth is passing.


We will all be well-served when, like their predecessors, the only place we see a "liberal" will be on display at a museum.

Wow this fits so nicely into my last post. Isn't it cool how: hard work = wealth = moral or in this case genetically superior. I like how his family evolved to become wealthier.


Mr Harvie's family weren't stupid or lazy when they were poor or immigrants. But for some reason similar people today are. Because it's a total sign of weakness to accept help when you need it. I know that when my leg has been mangled by a combine I tell people to go away and let me die for the good of the species.

Also, the total lack of empathy for immigrants or the poor today, by comparing them to condition that existed over 100 years ago. Your right, everyone should live in sod dugouts until they have the motivation and initiative to invent everything they need. When you buy that toaster at Canadian Tire, you're a socialist sucking on the teat of society.

In the first part of the article social organization is considered a good thing: it helped us survive where the Neanderthals didn't. But today social organization is a weakness... because it helps us to survive? Really Harvie is arguing that we ought to be more like the Neanderthals, independent or dead.

No thanks. Evolution put me into a species that is social and chance into a country that is socially conscious. I consider myself lucky for those things and I'm glad that if, despite my hard work, I should fall on hard times that my government isn't going to leave me in the ditch to die.

21 comments:

  1. Wow, this is such a perfect illustration of my comment on your last post. If I may quote myself,

    And as a necessary correlation: poor=immoral. You deserve your lot in life, and damned if my tax dollars go to your doctor's bills, that type of thing.

    The focus on individual morality blinds them to the role of structural advantage and disadvantage, and helps reinforce their own conception of themselves as good, moral people.


    The racism is astounding. Totally erasing the history of colonialism. It's interesting how his, "it's not out fault if the brown people of the world are genetically inferior!" argument is treated as though it's refreshing and new, when in fact it is very old - the same argument was used to justify slavery and denying the rights of non-white people.

    And I think I noticed a tie-in with the "strict father" theme as well. Note the author's disparaging of "kissing boo-boos". Over-mothering is to blame for society's ills! We need a strict, disciplinarian hand!

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  2. This Harvie is the same guy who said, in response to the last post, that it's dangerous to talk about how conservatives think, right? And here he is making broad, and inaccurate, statements about what liberals think and want.

    >Liberals would penalize my family for that.
    >They would suggest my grandparents and parents
    >were fools for not simply putting their hand
    >out and demanding government tend to their
    >needs. That their decision in moving to a harsh
    >and difficult lifestyle was fool-hardy when
    >they could have simply immigrated to one of the
    >larger cities and waited until the government
    >gave them jobs that were easy and without toil.

    ??? The government gave out easy jobs to immigrants in urban centres in the early 20th century? If they had, maybe I would say that's what your grandparents should have gone for... or maybe not.
    Just because liberals advocate a social safety net, does not mean we advocate misusing the social safety net.

    What is offensive about Harvie's article (besides the racism and such that has already been pointed out) is that he extrapolates from ideas liberals actually believe ideas that make no sense and acts like liberals believe those too.

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  3. I tried to comment point by point.. but posting space didn't permit that.

    So.

    Briefly.

    What does "race" have to do with anything. Why is it that when rational discussion appears difficult, easier to just call someone a racist.

    The problems of immigrants 150 years ago are not really that different from those today. For the most part they have to work very hard for very little. What used to be Irish and Hungarian, are now Somalian and Pakistani. Color, race, has nothing to do with it.

    Our aboriginal culture for that matter understood that while we supported children and the elderly - we did not allow the able to refuse to contribute because they had a bad childhood.


    And Striker.. if you come from Chinese culture - are you suggesting that there wasn't a demand to work hard and overcome hardship at the core of your parents upbringing? And if we admire that and support that ethos, does that make me a "racist"?

    But, fair enough LF.. regarding the global description of "liberals".. that was sort of stupid. Lazy sort of shorthand, I guess.

    My point is that we're out of balance.

    And I don't reserve criticism for "liberals". Following the blog attacked above, I wrote a post, "If Conservative doesnt' mean Stupid, What does it mean", broadly attacking those who would seek to use "conservatism" as a tool to establish some sort of Christian theocracy.

    To quote: I think, however, there is a small, but very vocal, minority of conservatives who, while decrying liberals for seeking to foist their misguided vision of utopia on society - turn around and seek to do the same.

    The only difference, however, is it's THEIR misguided vision of utopia.

    I don't want "1984" and I don't want "Brave New World".. and I fear there are those at the extremes of right and left who would have us do just that.

    So.

    Go ahead and continue the attacks - I mean, as a "conservative" it's not like I'm a fellow human being or anything ;)

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  4. About the "racist" thing...

    There was a reason that North America and Northern Europe in particular were not heavily populated until modern times. Living there was hard. The price of being stupid or lazy was death.


    There is a reason that equatorial countries have been more heavily populated. Life there was easier. The price of being stupid or lazy was much less likely to be death.


    Surely you see how those comments are easily read as racist? The implication of your argument here is that people from northern climes are less "stupid and lazy" than people from equatorial countries.

    Go ahead and continue the attacks - I mean, as a "conservative" it's not like I'm a fellow human being or anything ;)

    I just want to point out that your post that is under "attack" is itself quite aggressive and disparaging in tone. You're only getting back what you were dishing out ;)

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  5. Also, I would be interested in reading a point-by-point rebuttal. You could try breaking it up in to separate posts. :)

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  6. The main problem with Harvie's argument is that it's applying biological theories to human society. The two are not necessarily compatible. It's social Darwinism. Didn't we move past that, like 100 years ago?

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  7. What does race have to do with it? Seriously? You argue that the reason why people of European ancestry dominate the world is that they evolved to be smarter and harder-working than people in other parts of the world. You basically say that non-white people are naturally lazy and stupid compared to white people. You might respond that you didn't mean to say that, in which case you need to work on your writing skills, because that is exactly what you did say.

    As Lorelei pointed out, you argue for social Darwinism, the same philosophy that the Nazis used to argue that Aryans are the master race. That's not a resort to Godwin's Law. You have literally argued the same thing as did the Nazis.

    And then you go and say that accusations of racism are a response 'when rational discussion appears difficult', which I just have to LOL at, because Slinger made a very rational response to your post; and the connection between what you wrote and racist ideology is also very clear and rational. Pointing out that something has racist implications is a reasonable critique, and you're the one who's not being 'rational' by simply dismissing it out of hand. You may not have been rubbing your hands together, cackling "hee hee, I'm going to write a racist screed!" but it's not my fault that you were too oblivious to realize what you were writing.

    You also erase the history of colonialsim, and the achievements of non-European-based cultures.

    I would like to say, also, that liberals are not against hard work; they are against needless suffering and unfair disadvantage.

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  8. I too would be interested in a point-by-point rebuttal.

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  9. One more thing:

    Go ahead and continue the attacks - I mean, as a "conservative" it's not like I'm a fellow human being or anything ;)

    You put forth an argument. We have criticized that argument. We are not disparaging you as a human being. You are not being personally "attacked"

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  10. Slinger, not striker.
    ie David used his sling to slay Goliath.

    Regarding the Chinese part of my argument I was merely pointing out that there was government support for immigrants 150 years ago and that what little support was offered was readily accepted. I'm sure that had more support been available that your grandparents would have accepted that too. The acceptance of help, doesn't necessarily make people lazy or freeloaders, people willing to work hard and have the right opportunities are always going to better than people who lack these things.

    What you've done is misrepresent your ancestral past by claiming that hard work alone allowed them to prosper. The government did provide support for new European immigrants, which I attempted to contrast with my Chinese ancestry who lacked the same government support.

    I'm curious what you mean by lazy being a short hand for liberals? What's the long handed version?

    You argued that we're out of balance, but at the same time are arguing for the coming extinction of liberalism. With that in mind what is the correct balance?

    I do appreciate that fact that you are criticizing radical conservatives but there's a difference between this and making broad generalizations about liberals, who are probably just as diverse in their opinions as conservatives.

    In your piece about Conservatism you argue against the use of the heavy hand of government to enforce changes on people instead preferring to let it occur naturally. But you have to agree that there are circumstances where government is needed to bring about change. Such as: the American revolution, the abolition of slavery, etc. In these circumstances the type of change that's needed can't occur without alterations to the law and enforcement of these new attitudes. Why should minorities have to wait for everyone else to choose to give up their prejudices just to be treated with dignity.

    You do realize that these are critiques of your arguments and not personal attacks.

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  11. Alright.. I'll bite.

    Intelligent design doesn't postulate that evolution was a creation of god. That's a reasonable reconciliation between religion and science. Also there's a bunch of evolutionary traits that have nothing to do with survival, but sexual selection. There are even cases where sexual traits are chosen above survivable traits. (See rock crabs).

    I clearly wasn't trying to argue in favor of "intelligent design", what it posits or what it doesn't. In fact, I suggested that when the concept comes up, and liberals attack the concept "..from my own perspective, so they should."

    So.

    I'm not sure why I'm given a bit of a lesson on biological evolution and why it may or may not have to do with survival of the species. In a broad sense I simply said there is a logic to the general concept of "evolution" which is inescapable.

    While not uniformally so, usually, things that work better last longer - whether it's biological, mechanical, or societal.

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  12. Yeah, "more socially adept," which means that we're social creatures... Hey isn't government a social creation?
    Oh noes! We're using an evolutionary advantage to help us survive!


    Yes. My point. I've never said that social cooperation is to be frowned upon, in fact, you make the point you later seek to suggest I imply.

    Namely that complete seflishness and self-interest is how society SHOULD function. I said no such thing - in fact, as pointed out by you, I said the opposite. That our adaptation as social creatures assured our survival and dominance as a species over the earlier versions of us.

    As I suggest later, however, it's one of degree.. not simply are we social or not.

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  13. Maybe, if they were living in our society. But this argument is the equivalent of saying, "Hey! That orangutan is hungry! I better feed with the limited food I need to eat to survive!"

    I think liberals would have been more like: "Hey! if we work together we can get more food and then everyone can eat!"

    While conservatives would pout and say: "No! I'm going to get my own food, and if you can't get your own food then you don't deserve to eat!"


    I think I made my point above. I don't advocate pure self-interest as a model for society and didn't do that in my post.

    I suggested that, in fact, our social adaptation has improved our abilities, but, I have gone beyond that and suggested that it isn't advantageous for a society, including the least vulnerable - not to expect the most from those able to contribute.

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  14. WHAT?!?!? Ice ages involve cooling!?! That's news to me.

    Also, the news that all scientists and inventors in history were actually conservative. Too bad Ben Franklin was a progressive in his day. And that penicillin was discovered by accident (not hard work).


    The "wink" in my post regarding the "cooling" of the earth being a significant impediment to our survival was clearly missed.. ie) irony relative to our preoccupation with global warming.

    Beyond that.. I don't think I said scientists are all conservatives. I said, or implied, that the development of science has resulted from effort and initiative.

    And while Alexander Fleming may have discovered penicillin in mold by chance.. I daresay that many, many human beings for millions of years also came across mold and did nothing with it.

    Fortunately, there was a little effort leading up to that point, however, which allowed Fleming to make the most of his accidental discovery -

    ie) Fleming went to Louden Moor School and Darvel School, and though the two before were modest schools at best, earned a two year scholarship to Kilmarnock Academy before moving to London where he attended the Royal Polytechnic Institution.[3] After working in a shipping office for four years, the twenty-year-old Fleming inherited some money from an uncle, John Fleming. His older brother, Tom, was already a physician and suggested to his younger sibling that he follow the same career, and so in 1903, the younger Alexander enrolled at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London. He qualified for the school with distinction in 1906 and had the option of becoming a surgeon.

    By chance, however, he had been a member of the rifle club (he had been an active member of the Volunteer Force since 1900). The captain of the club, wishing to retain Fleming in the team suggested that he join the research department at St Mary's, where he became assistant bacteriologist to Sir Almroth Wright, a pioneer in vaccine therapy and immunology. He gained M.B. and then B.Sc. with Gold Medal in 1908, and became a lecturer at St. Mary's until 1914. On 23 December 1915, Fleming married a trained nurse, Sarah Marion McElroy of Killala, Ireland.

    Fleming served throughout World War I as a captain in the Army Medical Corps, and was mentioned in dispatches. He and many of his colleagues worked in battlefield hospitals at the Western Front in France. In 1918 he returned to St. Mary's Hospital, which was a teaching hospital. He was elected Professor of Bacteriology in 1928.


    As such, I would have a hard time saying the development of penicillin just fell into his lap.

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  15. Yeah all those countries in the rest of the world that had greater access to resources, just sat there and stared at them. They didn't go and build huge civilizations that made up the ancient world, because they were lazy and didn't believe in hard work. They didn't face hardship either! There weren't plagues, droughts, floods, wars, etc. Nope, life was a breeze and they rested on their proverbial and literal laurels.


    What about China, the Middle East, Southern Europe, India, Northern Africa, and South America? All of those places prospered for thousands of years. Just because Western civilization has become the most prosperous place to live during the last 300 years, doesn't make us the Fucking Greatest People in History!!!!

    What makes him think that living in more temperate climates is more difficult? Certainly it's easier to farm in England, than a desert. So why aren't Berbers (a nomadic desert people), who presumably have to work way harder than people in Northern Europe to survive, the supermen of the world?


    I've already done a bit of a mea culpa on this point. I've over-simplified and unintentionally left an implication that Europeans (whites) are smarter or harder working that non-Europeans (non-whites). There is no argument that adverse circumstances have not also been visited upon nomadic desert cultures or other cultures in temperate climates.. the point, however, isn't that Europeans are better than anyone else.. it's that adaptation to harsh circumstances has been a factor (not the only factor) which has resulted in adaptation of man towards many beneficial aspects of modern society.

    Oh. By the way.. the anthropological record of the dispersal of early man is clear. That more people live in areas where life is easier than where life is harder. That reality makes me a racist? Last time I checked, uh, Italy, Spain, Southern France, all have been populated by caucasians - not that it matters, as our genetic material makes it clear that we all came from Africa in the first place.

    As I've indicated the same argument holds true for Inuit and Bushmen as it is to the Romans, the Franks and the Saxons.

    Now - the reality is (which I never raised, but never denied either) that much progress has been made at the expense of other cultures - including European colonialism into Africa, North America and South America.. but again, the fundamental point I posit - that hard work and adaptation has allowed society to advance and improve to many of the things we value today is beyond argument.

    Again, however, the central point which is certainly debatable, but which hasn't been debated, really, at all, is whether or not the state making things too easy and taking too many pains to "protect us" has, in turn, had an adverse impact on our ability to be self-sufficient.

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  16. I'm curious what you mean by lazy being a short hand for liberals? What's the long handed version?
    I think he meant that he was being lazy, that he was using "liberal" to refer to a specific kind of liberal, hence it was a lazy shorthand.

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  17. "Funny thing is, however, after finishing their strident defence of the theory of evolution, when they go back to their coffee shops and book stores, they do everything they can do to assure that the theory comes to a full stop for modern man."
    This appears to be Harvie's thesis. It is fundamentally flawed because it suggests there is a contradiction in believing in the scientific theory of evolution and supporting progressive initiatives like universal health care, employment insurance etc. There is, infact, no contradiction in accepting the theory of evolution, which explains how, biologically, different species came to exist (and is, in the actual scientific community, no more controversial than the theory of gravity) and at the same time wanting to help your fellow man and build a healthy community and society.
    And therein lies the other fundamental flaw in Harvie's argument - he suggests things like the social safety net and the so-called "nanny state" result in weaker individuals and therefore a weaker society. There is no actual evidence to back this up. Give me an example of a country that has become more miserable and destitute as a result of enacting genuinely socialist practices (not communist or otherwise totalitarian) and I may start to be persuaded. Sweden, for example, has a very high standard of living, (higher than the states) and there seems to be no evidence that Swedes are weaking either physically or mentally.
    The United States, on the other hand, is often referred to as the world's richest Third World country. It has the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world, and poverty and lack of universal healthcare has resulted in in a major health crisis.
    If we're talking about how best to ensure the survivial of the human species (which evolution is kind of about), then I'm arguing for building the kind of society that best enables individuals to thrive, and against the kind that is best for killing off the so-called "stupid and lazy."

    I plan to comment more once I have time, but I have to go to work now.

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  18. How many times has any of us seen an attractive successful couple have unremarkable children and history is full of great authors artists and leaders who were born into humble families. Evolution is an exceedingly slow gradual biological process, it has nothing to do with the potential of the individual.

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  19. Comments on Harvie's original post...

    “In other words.. natural selection be damned. Regardless of how foolish we are, the state should step up and kiss our boo boos and assure that no negative consequence are suffered as a result of our own stupidity.”

    So you’re saying that the social safety net is mainly there to prop up stupid people?
    People who collect employment insurance, or use government assisted housing, or government funded job search programs are too stupid to get a job on their own, or too lazy to work enough to pay rent on their own?
    Parents who want universal daycare are too lazy to take care of their own children?


    “Imagine Liberals,however, 35 thousand years ago. While Cro Magnon man learned to use advanced tools, to organize in cohesive social groups and to hunt with more efficiency when times became lean - the Liberals would have, no doubt, said, "No, this is no good. Take your food and feed the Neanderthals.

    If man had survived the natural cycle of serious global cooling (yes, you heard right "cooling"), there's a good chance we would still be nomadic early humans, with pesky things that intelligent motivated and driven people helped create like, oh, penicillin and electricity, having no part in our development.”


    First of all, this kind of gives me the impression that you don’t really have a thorough understanding of what liberalism is.
    Furthermore, the whole, “Liberals would want us to feed the Neanderthals” argument is totally irrelevant. Even if it was true, it wouldn’t matter. Survival strategies that would have benefitted humans in the stone age are not going to still be the best thing for us in the modern day and age.
    The second paragraph quoted above contains an astonishing logical leap. How exactly does liberalism stymie intelligent and motivated people?
    Also, I’d like to remind you that scientific research and development in the states suffered greatly under the neo-conservative administration of George Bush.


    “And now, the response of our liberal friends, is that the failures of segments of our society to thrive and prosper.. are the fault of those who succeeded in overcoming their own hardships.”

    This is the kind of thing that I find offensive. You are totally twisting things. There may be some liberals who espouse this kind of idea, but it is wrong for you to act like blaming the rich is at the core of liberalism and something every liberal does. It’s like me saying every conservative is a xenophobic, gun-toting Jesus-nut.
    The idea of the social safety net is not that the rich are to blame for the misfortunes of the poor, it’s that it is the responsibility of the advantaged to help improve the circumstances of the disadvantaged, and in so doing we build a fairer and stronger society.

    “Liberals would have all of society return to state of the lowest common denominator - would have us all living as modern-day Neanderthals.”
    Again with the logical leaps. I really don’t understand how the hell you arrived at this conclusion.

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  20. Comments on Harvie's replies to Slinger...
    “I think I made my point above. I don't advocate pure self-interest as a model for society and didn't do that in my post.

    I suggested that, in fact, our social adaptation has improved our abilities, but, I have gone beyond that and suggested that it isn't advantageous for a society, including the least vulnerable - not to expect the most from those able to contribute.”


    So, you’re saying, from each according to his abilities… right? ;)

    Seriously, though, it seems you are suggesting then that the best way to get individuals to contribute the most to society is to leave them to their own devices. When you think about it, though, is that really effective? Someone might have the potential to be a brilliant scientist, but if s/he has to drop out of high school and get a job because s/he comes from a poor family that isn’t able to keep a roof over their heads because there’s no government assisted housing, then that potentially brilliant scientist won’t amount to anything more than a minimum wage worker.

    When you look at history, the factor that is essential to the development of civilization isn’t that people had to work really hard to survive, it’s that they finally achieve the ability to have leisure time to devote to things like art and philosophy and such.

    ”…the fundamental point I posit - that hard work and adaptation has allowed society to advance and improve to many of the things we value today is beyond argument.”

    Well, yeah. But the key to real development is that people no longer have to work hard at surviving, and are free to instead work hard at learning.

    “Again, however, the central point which is certainly debatable, but which hasn't been debated, really, at all, is whether or not the state making things too easy and taking too many pains to "protect us" has, in turn, had an adverse impact on our ability to be self-sufficient.”

    I don’t even see how you can see this as a problem. Where is it in our society that you see a lack of self-sufficiency manifesting itself?

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