Monday, January 03, 2011

What sort of conception of human nature is Libertarian Socialist predicated on?

This is a really good question. Libertarian Socialism, as I am fond of saying, is a spectrum philosophy and therefore the answer may vary depending on who your are speaking with.

However, it seems that, in general, it is predicated on the belief that human nature is perfectible - an idea that came down to us from the enlightenment. It seems that many on the left seem to believe that people are bascially good. Contrast that with the notion that people are bascially tainted by selfishness - original sin if you are Christian.

I think both stances are incorrect. People are neither bascially good nor bascially bad - we are simply self-interested. However, I would stop short at calling us completely selfish. Research being done seems to indicate that certain types of altruistic behaviors stimulate endorphin release and such.

It makes sense to me, although I cannot necessarily prove this, that we are born self-interested creatures concerned with our own survival, but as we evolved as a species we learned that our survival is ensured by working together with others. Natural selection may well have favored those of our forebears who could sublimate some of their own self-interest to work together in cooperation with others for a common good. This in itself may be the ultimate expression of self interest.

In my own version of Libertarian Socialism human beings are not necessarily "perfectable" which is why we have political and social struggles. Natural Selection picks those traits that ensures a species survival and perhaps, in time, we may evolve into a completely altruistic or good species. But, only if it ensures survival.

For a kiss I will answer all your questions.

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