Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why does government exist?

Rothbard and Hoppe use the idea of a "natural order" against which to criticize the State. One of the difficulties of this approach is that it makes an arbitrary distinction between what is "natural" and what is not - why is it the case that the State is unnatural and what does it even mean for something to be "unnatural", given methodological naturalism? Whether the government is "natural" or not, the question remains: why does it exist? Here's my video on what the government is.

My current view regarding why government exists:

  • The essence of the State is the accepted or legitimized double-standard
  • This is puzzling since humans generally find double-standards revolting... the Golden Rule is a culturally universal ethical principle
  • My solution is as follows:
  • Humans evolved from primates which largely engage in alpha-male mating patterns
  • Alpha-male mating separates the males into two categories, the commoners and the elite (alpha)
  • The costs of reproduction were shared communally (pregnancy and birth costs borne solely by the mother)
  • The human nuclear family (culturally universal), on the other hand, evolved to "privatize" the costs of reproduction (Hoppe), making reproduction more efficient
  • This privatization occurred by resolving the problem of paternity uncertainty with a combination of monogamy and concealed fertility*
  • In alpha-male mating, paternity uncertainty was resolved by granting a monopoly on mating privileges to the fittest male
  • The congenital tolerance that the vast majority of people have for the State is a vestige of our alpha-male morality, where everyone accepted as a matter of course that one special male would be permitted the privilege of reproducing while all other males would be prohibited from having this privilege

I believe this explains why a State can exist at all. Try going to a national park and blatantly breaking one of the rules with a large crowd of people standing around. Within seconds, you will hear loud grumbles or even threats of calling a ranger. This "crowd morality" is the result of an instant, visceral reaction on the part of people within the crowd to the effect "Who does he think he is? I guess he thinks he doesn't have to follow the same rules as everybody else. We each have to obey the rules in order for this park to work. Somebody needs to put him in his place."

But when a police officer engages in blatantly illegal or immoral behavior - even on videotape - it's almost as if a fnord has been inserted into the brains of the public. What is it about a uniform and association with the territorial monopolist of law and force that causes people not only to not apply their ordinary, visceral reaction to a double-standard but to apply that reaction to anyone who points out the double-standard?!? I think the answer is my alpha-male vestige theory, or something like it.

*Biologists believe that human females have concealed fertility - unlike our primate ancestors whose fertility is advertised - to make it hard to engage in cuckoldry, that is, accepting support from a less fit male (to get the benefit of his labor) while reproducing with a more fit male (to give her offspring the benefit of his excellent genes)

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