Viewing posts tagged sociobiology
2 years, 6 months ago
‘Return of the Irrepressed’, my overview of Rothbard, will probably return next week. It occurred to me that I should get more specific in my response to Rothbard, as I have been with Hayek and Böhm-Bawerk. So I decided to critique something of his in detail. Here’s what happened. My Patreon sponsors got advance access to an earlier draft. Sorry about the length. I would have broken this up into several posts but it’s too unitary for that.
In his essay on conservative thought, Karl Mannheim argued that conservatives have never been wild about the idea of freedom. It threatens the submission of subordinate to superior. Because freedom is the lingua franca of modern politics, however, conservatives have had “a sound enough instinct not to attack” it. Instead, they have made freedom the stalking horse of inequality, and inequality the stalking horse of submission. Men are naturally unequal, they argue. Freedom requires that they be allowed to develop their unequal gifts. A free society must be an unequal society, composed of radically distinct, and hierarchically arrayed, particulars.
- Corey Robin, The Reactionary Mind
One of the things that has always driven institutional racism is the notion that ...
6 years, 11 months ago
The Doctor is confusing an angel to death.
Light came to our world to count and quantify all life, to create a set and definitive catalogue. Light sent its Survey out into the world to sample each form. But our world corrupted the Survey with the delicious possibilities of evolution. Light was locked away so the Survey could inherit the Earth. It became a Victorian gentleman, a man of property. It enacted a ruthless Darwinian takeover of the house above Light's ship. A colonizing mission. A merger and acquisition. This being Victorian England, the wife and daughter and maids came with the house like fixtures and fitting. The Survey locked its secrets away, just like any Victorian gentleman, and set about dreaming of empire. It adopted the cultural logic of its new society and new position: the ideology of 'the survival of the fittest'... meaning, supposedly, the dominance of the best. With its inbuilt assumptions about the place of 'lesser races' and 'lower orders' and women, Victorian social-Darwinism was perfect for the Survey's purposes, as it shed its insectile and reptilian skins and became Josiah, the pink ...
6 years, 11 months ago
Midge walks into the Gym. You get the sense that it's not the sort of place the old Midge would've visited. The old Midge would've been scared of the self-defence crowd.
The new Midge is all swagger, in his shades and his shiny jacket.
"Waiting on the Sarge?" he asks the room full of silent, watching, bemused, singlet-and-sweatpants-wearing blokes. "He's been held up. He asked me to have a little chat with you."
This is a lie.
"I learned a secret today. The secret of success. Thought I'd share it with you."
Midge has been learning all sorts of things. He's been quarry in a quarry, hunted through a rocky wilderness on another world, stalked by carnivorous beasts. He chose to survive at all costs. He killed... not just to survive but for fun, for revenge, for a feeling of power that - one senses - is entirely new to him, a new experience in a stunted and powerless dead-end life. Of course, in the process, he adopted the viewpoint of the beasts. The logic of tooth and claw. The logic of 'fuck you, I'm all ...
7 years, 4 months ago
Something I wrote a while ago, somewhat rewritten. I'm re-posting it to mark the release of 'The Mind of Evil' on DVD. In brief, being in colour doesn't make it any better.
There is a very old idea about ‘human nature’, that we are born with certain social characteristics already implanted or programmed in our brains, usually inherited from our parents and ancestors. You will find this idea laced throughout the whole of modern Western culture. Ruffians and villains in Conan Doyle are often said to have "vile antecedents". Oliver Twist is incapable of being a pickpocket because, despite being raised in a pauper's orphanage, he is a middle class child displaced amongst the scum classes. Similarly (because J.K. Rowling is nothing if not studiedly unoriginal) Harry Potter is filled with love just like his late mum, despite being systematically emotionally and psychologically abused up to the age of 11. I could go on at great length.
This conception of human nature (please take the quote marks as read whenever I use that phrase) is directly and inextricably linked to class, and to questions of social role, crime, etc. It is still claimed ...