In his Things That Matter, Krauthammer makes a persuasive case that it is politics, since, if you get that one wrong, everything else goes south with it:
"Politics, the crooked timber of our communal lives, dominates everything because, in the end, everything -- high and low and, most especially, high -- lives or dies by politics. You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away."
Ah, but what is a humane and successful political system built upon? What is its foundation? Intelligence? No, because all human groups have that. Supposedly. Genes? In fact, Nicholas Wade's new book suggests that we can no longer rule that out a priori, as do liberal creationists.
But genes are not what make us human. First of all, they are necessary but not sufficient to account for our humanness. But also, they are simply an encoded memory of, and plan for, genetic fitness, AKA reproductive success: a memoir of the future.
Besides, there is no such thing as an individual human being, or at least our individuality can only be understood in the context of an irreducible intersubjectivity. Since the I-Thou relation is "built into" our genes, it means that human beings are literally programmed for transcendence (if you want to look at it from a strictly scientific standpoint; obviously there are deeper and higher perspectives).
Consider this highly coonworthy book, Marriage and Civilization. Note in particular the subtitle: How Monogamy Made Us Human. It doesn't get any more Cosmic than that, because we are talking about the conditions that permit humanness to emerge from mere biology.
One could also express it inversely, say, How Homosexual Marriage and Other Deviant and Dysfunctional Attitudes Rendered Us Less Than Human and Destroyed Civilization. That book is yet to be written, nor does Tucker put it that way. Nobody wants to replace Donald Sterling as the sap du jour in the roiling cannibal pot of the proglodyte left.
It is always gratifying when a respectable person confirms some of the multi-undisciplinary speculation of the Coonifesto, in this case the intimate connection between humanness and monogamy. Just the other day I read how this deliriously self-satisfifed idiot thinks it's Time to Ditch Monogamy. Why? Because it's time to jettison civilization, as have the subcultures that have already successfully eliminated the norm of marriage and reverted to barbarism.
Interestingly, this downward-cutting edge view goes back to the cultural Marxism of Marx and Engels, who -- once again turning reality on its head -- suggested that marriage and monogamy are the origins of that curse word property, in that woman becomes the first possession of man: when man "took command in the home," "the woman was degraded and reduced to servitude; she became the slave of his lust and a mere instrument for the production of children" (in Tucker).
Yeah, it's just like that around here.
When we talk about civilization, what are we really talking about? For starters, we are talking about the domestication of man. Not woman, mind you. Women are already domesticates, and quite literally so, since the female body is the domicile of the baby, which is to say, the human future. In short, mother-baby is built into nature. The category of Father -- in distinction to sperm donor -- isn't. Father is the first purely cultural category, the one that makes all the others -- politics included -- possible.
How the hell do you civilize a man, of all things? Well, since it happened, we need to examine the circumstances under which it happened, but also the circumstances under which it failed to do so -- at least up to my standards.
Tucker notes that "the adoption of social monogamy by early hominids created something unique in nature -- a society where males cooperate at common tasks with a minimum of sexual competition."
In most other species it is a violent free-for-all to determine Who Gets the Chicks. Males spend the majority of their time competing with other males for access to the holiest of holies. (Recall what Chagnon discovered about those ignoble savages of the Amazon basin, constantly at war over the ladies.)
What we're really looking for is a kind of gap in nature, or a "place" where prehistory verticalizes and becomes transnatural, i.e., jumps into civilization and history. In my opinion, it ultimately -- which is to say, ontologically -- takes place in the infant (I saw it happen with my own eyes!) -- but there are existential conditions that have to prevail in order to give birth to premature and neurologically incomplete babies.
I just noticed that I'm way outta' time here. To be continued....