In 1992 esteemed economist Francis Fukuyama published a work of Progressive triumphalism, The End of History and the Last Man. Therein Fukuyama posited that man had reached the end of history, being “the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” I am not trying to be unkind when I label this Progressive triumphalism, but there isn’t really any other way to take such a grandiose statement.
As a counterpoint, Samuel P. Huntington of the American Enterprise Institute offered his thesis, which later was published as a full-length book titled Clash of Civilizations. His thesis was that the happy Progressive Utopia had not arrived, and he pointed to the source of future conflicts:
It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.
Fukuyama believes that the greatness of the Progressive ideology has nearly brought about heaven on Earth. Huntington knows this is nonsense and points to culture as an indomitable force which no ideology can overcome. Huntington was close, but Doolittle is closer still.
Fukuyama and Huntington believe that ideologies and culture are nothing more than ideas, so if we can get everyone to think the same thoughts and share the same culture, then the conflicts will end. Are any of you thinking Orwell or New World Order right now? Among modern elites, the persistence of war within the international order is explained by the absence of a world police state, because such a police state could regulate the ideas that cause war.
One of Curt Doolittle’s key insights is that humans use language to justify their moral intuitions, and moral intuitions are the expression of reproductive strategy. Notice how Fukuyama and Huntington are both talking about ideas, but Doolittle is talking about genes (reproductive strategy). The moderns think that ideas are things that come out of the ether — mystically and magically. The idea is that humans use language to negotiate on behalf of their genes, and to defend the reproductive strategy that best suits those genes. So genes and their reproductive strategies come first, then they are translated into language to defend the reproductive strategy.
Following this line of logic, for Fukuyama’s assertion to be true (that the ideology of Western liberal democracy was the final ideological endpoint of mankind), then it must be true that all mankind shares the same reproductive strategy. Otherwise, if there are groups of humans that engage in competing reproductive strategies, then those groups cannot share the same ideology. We know that humans do engage in various and competing reproductive strategies, which precludes ideological uniformity.
I don’t know if Huntington knew of Dual inheritance theory. This theory encapsulates the idea that genes and culture co-evolve. Humans enshrine the ideas that lead to good outcomes in their culture and also instill prohibitions against ideas that lead to bad outcomes. This culture then affects the population and sexual selection, which then shifts the frequency of genes in the population, which then shifts the culture, and so on. Had he known this theory, then he may not have relied solely on culture as the force that cannot be trumped by ideology, because culture itself is influenced by the genes (and the reproductive strategy of those genes) within a population. Still, he was closer than Fukuyama, who probably is unaware that there is even a connection between genes and ideology.
The truth is that political ideologies exist to perpetuate and justify group reproductive strategies. Each group, having slightly different reproductive strategies, will justify those strategies with political ideologies. The ideologies themselves should be seen as reflections of the reproductive strategy.
Each group uses a different interpretation of truth in order to justify its evolutionary strategy. The principle reason for Western exceptionalism is that we actually use Truth proper — what in philosophy is referred to as performative truth, or more correctly as Testimonial Truth: Testimony that corresponds with reality regardless of cost to us. We pay the very high cost of telling the truth as our principle contribution to the commons (tax). The result of testimonial truth is that we can rely upon the common law, judge and jury, which produces economic velocity by reducing risk, by reducing the time between invention of new means of free riding, and the evolution of the law against free riding; and by reducing the opportunity for parasitism (free riding) to gain a normative or institutional foothold. The second reason for Western exceptionalism is that we can, and did, evolve reason, logic and science as institutions. Truth telling is hard and expensive; It is the most expensive commons one can construct. That is why no one else has done it.
Wars will continue. There will continue to be not a clash of cultures, or civilizations, but of competing genetic interests. We Westerners must know ourselves. Only by truly understanding our reproductive strategy can we hope to defend it and perpetuate it, and our people. We have withstood a century of mysticism. It is time that we tell the truth again.
Note: This post was inspired by Curt Doolittle’s August 2014 post: Is Self-Deception Possible?