As I like the book Secular Cycles, (at least the first chapter that is freely available) coauthored by Peter Turchin, I occasionally browse his blog. In contrast to that book, his recent argument was not only flawed but got me outrageous.
First. There is an obvious contradiction in his argument:
Although one may follow that cooperation is enforced, at least temporarily, in a threatened society, what about the aggressor? If it were so cooperative, why wouldn’t it simply go ahead and ask others to cooperate. Trading, for instance, as merchants and business people do during peacetime. On the contrary, it requires a great deal of selfishness to attack others and steal from them.
Now if you need both selfishness to attack and cooperation to defend, what will evolve eventually?
Second, and even more importantly. His argument is sheer hypocrisy.
Given a society divided into selfish rulers and altruistic slaves. The more such a society grows in population the more people are employed to enforce enslavement. This can be accomplished either by brutal force or,
even more successfully, by preaching altruism.
Well, Peter Turchin calls it cooperation but it means giving up personal interests for the sake of social ruler’s interest. This is nothing but mere propaganda, and it is for an obvious reason. As a state employee, he earns his money for upbringing devoted slaves, and he does a good job, doesn’t he. Disguising enslavement as cooperation, and condemning self-confidence as selfishness, he is preaching water while drinking wine. His selfishness is at the expense of followers who become proper slaves. I detest such hypocrisy.
I very, very, very much more like Ayn Rand’s position on selfishness, who allowed all people to behave selfishly as long as not abusing others.
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Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.