By Roger Hicks
It’s generally assumed that statism is a characteristic of the political Left, which the Tory Right is opposed to, but in fact, both the Left and the Right are committed to the STATE and, in their own rather different ways, each as statist as the other, much as in the past the aristocracy and clergy, who cooperated in creating the state in the first place, were.
The difference between the Left and the Right is that the former wants a big state, the latter a small state; only the perverted Darwinian nature and purpose of the state remains the same in both cases, which is to facilitate “society’s” self-exploitation to the advantage of power, wealth, privilege and, of course, talent.
Both sides, Left and Right (in the past, aristocracy and clergy) deny this, of course, each claiming, on the contrary, to SERVE society, which to some extend they do, through the STATE, which we ALL depend on; but as a shepherd serves his flock, which isn’t primarily for the flock’s sake, but for his and/or his employer’s own sake, for the meat and wool the flock provides and can be exchanged at market for MONEY, i.e. POWER.
It’s important to realise that most individuals on both sides of the political divide sincerely believe that they are not exploiting society, but either behaving neutrally or contributing positively to it; the clergy (or liberal left), for example, by administering to the poor and disadvantage, the aristocracy (or Right), through their contributions to business, government and/or charities.
In reality, there’s a lot more to it than that, of course, with things being incomprehensibly complicated, confused and contradictory. However, if one takes a human-evolutionary, i.e. Darwinian, view of the situation, thereby distancing ourselves, with all our dependences and prejudices, at least to some extent, from it, one can begin to understand it.
Over millions of years of evolution, human emotions and behaviour patterns evolved in response to two interdigitating and interacting, but very different environments: one intra-tribal the other extra-tribal. Then, with the advent of civilisation, along came the STATE, which conflated and confounded them, playing the role of our tribe (and intra-tribal environment) on the one hand, while, on the other, also facilitating society’s self-exploitation as an extra-tribal environment. THIS is where all the confusion and contradictions, present in our own society, come from, most of which we simply ignore or rationalise. This is why one moment we see the STATE as our friend and the next as our enemy.
The extent to which we interpret and rationalise the situation (whether particular or general) to suit our own preconceived ideas and advantage cannot be overemphasised. The problem is, it is extremely difficult to see in ourselves, although a lot easier to see in others we disagree with.
It’s difficult to see how we can hope to be objective at all. Certainly, we can never be entirely objective, but I think that by cultivating awareness and understanding, from a Darwinian perspective, of just how subjective and rationalising we are (all of us), we can achieve at least a degree of objectivity.