12.2.18

BET ON EMERGENCE.

Quillette's "George Gallatin" (a nom de plume) contemplates the evolutionary forces present in tribal formation, and fracture.
The fundamental human social skill is the formation of groups that act with shared intentionality. The skill to coordinate intentions is what enabled our ancestors to form sophisticated social coalitions that outcompeted lower primates. Shared intentionality is a double-edged sword, though. The ability to form groups around intentions also means the ability to form breakaway sub-groups around different intentions. Thus, one of our primary evolutionary breakthroughs carried within it the potential for endless factionalism.

The reason why we are still tribal today is because tribalism appears to have been evolutionarily adaptive — at least for our ancestors. Researchers at McGill University have described it thusly: “ethnocentrism eventually overcomes its closest competitor, humanitarianism, by exploiting humanitarian cooperation across group boundaries”.

Despite prevailing moral fashions, we are the products of this evolutionary competition. This observation has no moral polarity, it is a mere reality. And while it is undoubtedly noble to argue that we should try to overcome tribalism, it is a very different matter to argue that it is achievable, or that in doing so we won’t be outcompeted by less noble, more unified groups.
That's an intriguing variation on the Cold Spring Shops "Sharing works well among people 'from our own tribe and family.' Market interactions are a way by which self-interest elicits empathy, or at least, cooperation." The social science Mr Gallatin refers to raises the possibility that differentiating by family or tribe came later, perhaps as unthinking humanitarianism got mugged by reality too many times.

Thus, there are potential gains from embracing diversity; there are also risks.
Since human beings are so quick to form factions, it should be the goal of government policy to ameliorate division and ward off for as long as possible the demon of sectarianism. Our current public policies and cultural products seem aimed at doing the exact opposite. I think this is because the designers of these policies hold at least two mistaken assumptions about diversity and migration.
First, upscale boutique diversity is bourgeois interacting with bourgeois.  The facts on the ground are not always so benign.  Second, over time, people can expand their set of interactions, or they can fort up.  Emergence is messy.  As Mr Gallatin puts it, "It is a mistake to believe that unregulated mass migration will bring about redemption for guilty Westerners. For whatever economic benefits it may bring, it will also bring tribalism, disunity, and violence. And for those of you who think this isn’t a major issue or that the worst has passed, please note we are just in the opening act of this drama."

(Via Thomas Lifson at American Thinker.)

No comments: