Friday, November 16, 2018

Unjust Justice, Irrational Rationalism, and Backward Evolution

Before the fire chased us out of here, we were discussing Hayek and limits of reason. I want to finish that line of thought before moving on.

One key insight is that attitudes that are necessary for maintaining harmony in personal relationships become totally dysfunctional and counter-productive when applied to the vastly larger system of which we are all tiny parts. Different level, different rules. Neosporin might work fine for a cut on the skin, but you wouldn't swallow a tube for a systemic infection. Or something like that.

However, the left totally exploits our ignorance of this principle via ceaseless appeals to values that only apply to the micro but become destructive when applied to the macro -- e.g., "social justice," "equality," "fairness," etc. As we shall see, it is literally the case that social justice is unjust -- as fairness is unfair and equality is inegalitarian. None can be accomplished or even attempted without great immorality and violence at a level to which they do not apply.

You might say that morality itself becomes immoral if applied to the wrong level. And amazingly, many religious people fall into this trap -- for example, pacifists. But the entire "Christian left" interprets the macro in terms of the micro, misapplying values and virtues that are entirely irrelevant if not destructive to our collective well-being.


[W]ith an equal, or even with a "just," distribution of the [total] product, nearly all would have much less than they have now -- for the existing world population probably not even enough to maintain its numbers. The present magnitude of the total product is a result of the inequality of its distribution... (emphasis mine).

Therefore, you can impose "justice" and "equality," but this only undercuts the mechanism whereby we produce enough to sustain the existing numbers. You'll feel good about yourself, even while watching millions suffer and die.

But that is how human beings are built. Human traits were selected in the context of small bands numbering around 25. In this context, even 100 people would get confusing. Ordering 7.6 billion is beyond inconceivable.

So, childish leftists such as Alexandria Cortez "offer us as a superior moral[ity] what is, in fact, a very inferior morality, yet alluring because they promise greater pleasure or enjoyment to people they would be unable to feed." They exploit our inner caveman with an ideology that doesn't apply to a mode of living that transcends cave living. It's why for the next week we'll be hearing all about how Native American barbarians were so virtuous, while the Americans who displaced them were (and are) so evil.

For Hayek, "The silliest sentence ever penned by a famous economist" -- this book was published before Paul Krugman came on the scene -- was from John Stuart Mill, who claimed that "once the product is there, mankind, individually or collectively, can do with it whatever it pleases." In short, the pie has been baked. It's just a matter of dividing it in a fair manner.

Which means 1) this will be your last pie, and 2) you won't get much of it, if any.

In previous posts we pointed out that a rationalism unaware of its limits immediately renders itself irrational. Likewise, a personal morality unaware of its limits renders itself immoral. And you will have noticed how the left always combines these two, i.e., omniscient rationalism and unhinged moral passion. It's why they know they are smarter and better than you are.

Socialism is always brought to us by pseudo-intellectual boors and bullies (speaking of Krugman), never the laborers who will supposedly benefit from it. Ever wonder why so many Smart People fall for leftism? "Logically, a strict rationalist or positivist is indeed bound to believe in central planning and socialism, and it is indeed quite difficult to find a positivist who is not a socialist." But by definition, we can never deliberately produce something that can only occur spontaneously. "Compulsory spontaneity" is a contradiction in terms.

For which reason, economics -- or evolution more generally -- cannot be understood prospectively, only retrospectively. If it could, then we would all be wealthy. Not to mention Supermen.

Regarding the latter, it strikes me that the whole integral movement of "conscious evolution" is another attempt to take control of something that can only occur spontaneously and that no one could ever plan -- which is why New Age folk tend to be so conspicuously unevolved and even backward. Maybe there's a conservative one in there somewhere, but I've never heard of it.


julie said...

It's why for the next week we'll be hearing all about how Native American barbarians were so virtuous, while the Americans who displaced them were (and are) so evil.

But at the same time, "migrants" today deserve to be let in to whatever place they want without judgement, borders are evil, and there can't possibly be any negative consequences for the people already living in the West because shut up.

Anonymous said...

Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism

julie said...

Yeah, I hear they have it great in Venezuela, even when they aren't doing it for a handful of flour and a couple of black market eggs. And who wouldn't want to have a baby in one of their top medical centers? I mean, if you want sheets or a bed or medicine or sterile equipment, you have to bring your own, and the power may go out while you're in labor, but the doctors really love their work.

That reminds me, I highly recommend the series Comrade Detective on Amazon Prime. Weird and well-done series on what a police detective show would be like if it had been produced in Romania during the 1980s.

julie said...

Though I will say, perhaps the weirdest thing about it is how the people who made it - actors producers, voice actors, etc. - clearly saw what a ridiculous set of false premises and propaganda the socialist country was based on, yet if I'm not mistaken, many of them still champion all of the socialist crap here and now. Baffling.

Gagdad Bob said...

Kooky philosophy and bad scholarship are just unwitting autobiography.

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Godwin and One Cosmonauts all:

Glad you're back in the saddle. This was a beautifully written post, and made some thoughtful points which were well argued.

Nevertheless, some rebuttal is called for:

Regarding socialism, let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. One item not discussed on the blog in relation as to why socialism exists at all: problems with capitalism. If capitalism worked so well, there would be no need for the natives to get restless. Yet, in the early parts of the Industrial Age, in Europe and in the United Stated, uncontrolled capitalism led to unpleasant social consequences. You might say, boo hoo, let the have-nots eat cake. Well, the have-nots will sometimes eat get my drift. The underclass has to be cared for in some manner, because they can get dangerous. Hence socialist minimum wage laws, and so forth. Bemoan socialist decrees, but recognize they help keep the unwashed mob out of your back yard. Apply socialism judiciously, and capitalism remains healthy and alive. The two systems need each other.

Regarding immigration, the Irish,Italians, and other groups had their "caravans" in the 19th century, and for the most part were let in. Things have changed? We've run out of room? Opportunities? We ain't what we used to be? What gives here? Give us your huddled masses? No sir, not any more.... I'm cool with that, but it is sad.

Regarding New Age "conscious evolution." I would agree with your point about letting evolution unfold at its own pace. However, there are always a few cutting edge savants out in front of the pack, who are the real deal. And there are scads of wannabees.

Regards, Professor X-D

Anonymous said...

Far more rational, would be an attempt to explain why socially irrational oligarchies form in every society, no matter how “left” or “right”.

julie said...

This is a surprise? It was warped into our nature from the moment of disobedience. Anyone who understands what man is is not surprised when people somehow fail up, nor when evil is drawn to wealth and power and bad things ensue. Americans tend to be naive about these things, but it was ever thus. From the line of David and Solomon, some truly evil and terrible rulers took what should have been God's kingdom and turned it into a hellscape, many times over. Nothing new under the sun.

What's truly amazing is when people spontaneously work together to do what is right and good, even though they can receive no "rational" benefit. See Vanderleun for details.

Anonymous said...

Boycott the oligarchs? Can't much ignore them, they'll be coming for your children next.