"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Friday, September 2, 2022

Darwinism, West Side Story, And The Fallacy Of Diversity

A number of years ago a formerly convicted criminal, Rodney King, became a cause celebre when, after being arrested by police who were charged with use of excessive force, said, “Why can’t we all just get along?”, a strange appeal from an antisocial n’er-do-well who went on to commit more crimes after L'affaire King was forgotten; but a meme nonetheless.  Diversity, inclusivity, and notions of liberal polity were just becoming political issues, so a black man who seemed to bear no animosity towards the police (his multi-million dollar settlement helped) and who expressed progressive sentiments of moral collaboration, became a hero, albeit a short-lived, fifteen-minutes-of-fame variety.

Of course such sentiments for a more perfect, humane, just, and forgiving world are just whistlin’ Dixie.  There will never be any such thing as long as the human organism retains its particular self-interested, territorial, aggressive character – a character which has been the hallmark of history since the Pleistocene.

Image result for images humans of pleistocene

History has shown that human nature, hardwired and ineluctable, ensures the violent expression of self-interest regardless of historical era.  The Twentieth century can surely claim a place as the most violent in human history, rivaling the 13th (Genghis Khan and the Mongol conquests), the 8th (Lushan revolt), and the 17th (Fall of the Ming Dynasty). 

1,587 Genghis Khan Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

Human conflict has a much longer history.  Tribes, clans, religious and ethnic groups vying for power, wealth, and territory have slaughtered each other for millennia.   This  rape, slavery, and butchery goes unnoticed because events are pinpoints in huge continents; but they are even more illustrative of the natural, predictable, and inevitable conflict that characterizes our race.

Husbands and wives fight.  Siblings fight.  Lawyers, investment bankers, shop-floor laborers, Wal-Mart checkers, burger flippers, preachers, and hairdressers all fight.  As long as competition, conflict, and separatism are congenial if not contributive to human survival, evolution will not do away those bits of human nature.

Visit any playground in America, and you will find parents trying – unsuccessfully in most cases - to encourage sharing and cooperation.  Despite their efforts, toddlers grab, push, shove, grapple, and hit.  They want to protect what is theirs and acquire what is not.  Siblings fight over portions of food, minutes of attention, bedtime hours, privileges, punishments, and rewards.  They are never happy until they have more than their brothers and sisters or at least until the shares are exactly equal.
Why is it, therefore, that these parents are surprised at world conflict?  If children start off aggressively with territorial interests and acquisitive demands; and if only the most restrictive regimes can control this so-called ‘anti-social’ behavior, then why are adults surprised when their world cohorts go on rampages?

Human societies, realizing that such violent, selfish behavior is innate, have tried everything to keep it in check.  God, religion, morality, ethics, rules of conduct, and humanism have all been created to manage human nature.  While the proponents of each may have believed that they were in the inherent values of world peace, spiritual salvation, or communalism, they were simply contributing to authority.

Human nature is a given, and no one should ever be surprised at its familiar expressions.  A literary critic once noticed that if one were to lay down all Shakespeare’s Histories in chronological order, the course of events would always be the same.  Palace intrigues, coups, murders, war, expropriations, misrule, and  conflict were found in all of them.  Only the characters changed.

Opinion: Richard III - the good king? | Opinion | DW | 27.03.2015

This is not a bad thing, and a strong case can be made for violent conflict. The great kingdoms of the world did not just happen.  Rome, Persia, India under the Mauryan kings, Islam, Mandarin China and Shogun Japan; the Gao and Ghanaian African empires all expanded their territories and power through military assault.  Victory meant spoils, enrichment of royal treasuries, the construction of pyramids, temples, roads, and aqueducts, and churches.  Civilization – ideas, art, science – flourished during times of conquest and expansion of empire. The desire to end violence, conflict, war, and adversity is misplaced.  These expressions of human nature will never disappear.  The goal is to manage them, not try to eliminate them; and all societies have imposed religion, caste, highly-structured social systems, law, and order.  As history as taught, these attempts at controlling society have only been means to authoritarian ends.  The Hindu caste system was a brilliant invention of the invading Aryans to control the native population.  The caste system, for all its philosophical subtlety (self-discipline, acceptance, and spiritual aspiration), kept people unequivocally in the social stratum into which they were born.  Social and civil unrest were infrequent.

Image result for images dancing siva

The Catholic Church imposed the same philosophical autocracy.  The fear of excommunication and eternal damnation was enough to keep Catholics in line, obedient, and faithful to the Pope.  Islam, the religion of submission to Allah is no different.  Absolute faith in God and the rejection of any individualism is at the heart of a very disciplined religion.

Image result for Images Pope Urban II. Size: 179 x 100. Source: www.youtube.com

Nevertheless and despite these historical attempts, human nature has remained unchanged.  Each and every society has retained a spirit of hyper-competitiveness, and self-interested behavior.  It is folly to assume that such urges and impulses will disappear, and if they did, human progress – determined not by bland idealism and dreamy utopianism but by competition – would cease or at least slow to a crawl.

Are wars terrible? Of course they are.  Are they inevitable? Absolutely.

Given all these Darwinian, historical, and persistent social facts, it is not surprising that America is a culture riven by racial, social, and political divisions.  We are no different from our Neanderthal ancestors, but pretend we are.  In fact, the move of the progressive Left to sort, categorize, and isolate individuals on the basis of race, gender, and ethnicity is no different from the Hindu caste system.  If you are black, that is your identity and all other characteristics must be subsumed within it.  If you are white you are an Untouchable, an outcast.  If you are gay and especially transgender, you can do no wrong.

It is no surprise therefore that instead of promoting ‘inclusivity’, such identity politics have increased social tensions.  No problem, however, since access to wealth, power, prestige, and influence will still be determined by Darwinist law.

In Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, the Broadway 50s musical based on Romeo and Juliet, a boy and girl from two opposing gangs, one white and the other Puerto Rican, fall in love. Anita, a friend of Maria, warns her against getting involved with someone from a different community.  She sings:

A boy like that
Who'd kill your brother
Forget that boy
And find another
One of your own kind
Stick to your own kind
A boy like that
Will give you sorrow
You'll meet another boy tomorrow
One of your own kind
Stick to your own kind

“Stick to your own kind” is the refrain of human history.  For tribes, castes, regions, ethnicities, and races solidarity is power, diversity is tantamount to weakness, let differences sort themselves out through competitive conflict.  Out of such confrontation, the more able will emerge, reconfigure the social landscape, and progress.

And so it goes.  The course of human history is as unchanged and predictable as ever.  Groups form, consolidate, and fight other groups for resources, power, and influence.  The hypocrisy of the American progressive Left is that they are acting no differently than any interventionist force in history, and are attempting to remake society in their image, an image claimed to be peacefully diverse and cooperative but which is just the opposite.

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