Over a year ago, I posted something about the conflict between my anarcho-capitalist political stance and my newer understanding of human behavior. This came about because market anarchism and other “idealistic” political theory tends to presume and depend on rational behavior among humans. The problem is, that much of our behavior is irrational. I began to realize this when I discovered game, the art/science of being attractive to women.
Game, as it is understood today, came about as a mechanism to get men, especially men of high intelligence (who arguably think too much), to stop projecting rational thinking onto women. Instead, we should behave in a way that takes advantage of their instinctual drives if we should hope to get what we want from them. This doesn’t just work for men on women they want to bang, but it’s definitely the scenario where it’s most pronounced.
I’ve also learned, and this is similar, that if you want to convince people to agree with you, rational argument is not normally the most effective means of accomplishing this goal. It is generally more effective to appeal to one’s emotions. If you can appeal to the more powerful emotions like fear, even better. Understanding this helps explain why democracy doesn’t work so well, why the people who manage to get elected to political offices tend to be awful human beings with no discernible conscience.
Rational arguments work on critical thinkers, typically people of well above average intelligence. The problem is that most people are not critical thinkers. The structure of anarcho-capitalist society is a hard sell, largely because of it’s necessary complexity. It could be argued that people in an anarcho-capitalist society don’t need to “believe in” anarcho-capitalism for things to run smoothly, but I’m not convinced. I’m not saying anarcho-capitalism is the necessary endpoint of critical political thinking, but that any sufficiently complex and sufficiently different social arrangement is too far-out for the typical idiot to understand or accept.
More recently, I’ve been heavily into the ideas of the paleo diet community, and when you think about the natural environment of our ancestors and how it differs from what we have, it’s easy to wonder if we might be seriously ill-equipped to deal with the society we’ve accidentally created. A very recent post by Andrew at Evolvify addresses this. There’s a lot I could say about his post, but right now I’m mostly just referencing his claims about hunter-gatherers. He’s got a lot of footnotes, is what I’m saying.
When we think about humans in paleolithic times or even modern hunter-gatherers, we see small groups of 20-100 people where everyone knows each other. Such small societies are inherently orderly because each person needs the rest of the group for their own survival and reproductive success. Hunting, gathering, and child care are performed communally. Violence within groups exists almost exclusively among males vying for the mates.
What we don’t see are property rights outside of a man’s hut, his tools, and maybe his wife. We don’t see individuals lost among thousands of fellow humans who neither know nor care about each other. Outsiders may be welcome among hunter-gatherers, but they will certainly have to demonstrate that they are trustworthy before they are trusted. In such a world, a man is never expected to interact peacefully with people he’s never met and has no reason to trust, as we are expected to when we go about our business.
The problem here is that this world is very different from what we have today and very different from any future world we can imagine that doesn’t involve massive depopulation, something I’m not a supporter of, to put it mildly. What we can do here is question the practicality and necessity of private property in land, I suppose. I’m not one to argue against the private ownership of land, but I’ve always felt the the arguments of georgists or geoists have some merit. If you fell off a cruise ship, landed on an island, and met a guy who claimed to own the entire island because he got there first, you might really have a problem with his further claim that you must either do as he demands or leave.
In the Evolvify post I linked to above, Andrew notes how common it is for paleo people to also be libertarians and how these ideas are at conflict. Libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism support the institutions of private property, and individual responsibility and autonomy. Communist anarchists favor limited private property rights and shared responsibilities, and this sounds a lot more like the environment to which we are best suited, as long as we’re talking about the social arrangement inside the monkeysphere™. If you’ve never heard the term, please follow the link to Cracked.com and learn. Basically, it’s the size of a group of people we can be part of and care for everyone else in the group, estimated to be about 150 for humans. Of course (as if this is common knowledge), communist anarchists typically support collective societies on a much larger scale, all the way up to the entire population of Earth.
It may well be a good idea be part of a monkeysphere™ of some sort, where wealth and and responsibilities may be shared to some extent. I think fraternal orders might be good for this, and I think those who embrace paleo-living concepts would likely benefit from building interdependent groups based on this one common interest. I also think that it’s impractical and unwise to totally abandon private property and individual autonomy for several reasons, including the fact that the cost of being shunned from a group just isn’t what it used to be and that we quite literally don’t need to depend on each other the way we once did. Also, I can’t ignore the reality that even if we build wonderful monkeyspheres™ for ourselves we will still need to deal peacefully with outsiders on a regular basis.
In conclusion, I don’t really know what to conclude. I still believe the state, especially the nation-state is an unnecessary evil, but maybe voluntary socialism on a small scale isn’t a terrible idea, and I should point out that we have that already in families. I’ve touched on a lot of stuff here, and I have a lot more to say in seven different directions. For inspiring me to think about this stuff, in addition to the game and paleo bloggers out there, I’d like to acknowledge Joe Rogan, for continually referencing our ape ancestry and our evolutionary limitations on his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, which is the most open-minded and informative podcast by a household name in all of the internet. I should also mention Richard Nikoley of freetheanimal.com, who twittered the Evolvify post to me and recently posted two related articles, If You Want Someone Dead Kill Them Yourself and Are You More Moral, More Benevolent and More Competent than Any Politician? Then Act Like It.