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  #11  
Old 10-20-2011, 01:52 AM
testostyrannical testostyrannical is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Denver
Posts: 83
Default Re: Values Added: Expanding the Circle (Robert Wright & Peter Singer)

How is positing that liberal democracy is an accident of mate selection practices not a form of genetic determinism? This whole "drives for inclusive fitness" thing is a bullshit dodge and you know it. To say that cultural phenomena are only possible as a consequence of a dispersal of genetic similarity among a larger set of individuals than one's extended family is just to posit a genetically deterministic account for those cultural phenomena.

How is denying that liberal democracy is possible without the formal exclusion of cousin marriages not the same as saying that state development is limited by mate selection practices? Maybe it's only limited in one way, but that's a limit.

I have no doubt that Western marriage practices have changed over the years, but there's a really simple logical problem with explaining complicated historical events with this kind of monocausal garbage. The problem in the case of your argument is quite easy to spell out:

The "West" is a recognizable if somewhat amorphously large geopolitical entity whose contemporary variant is a consequence of a large number of historical antecedents, and here we may mention things as significant as the invention of the printing press and as inconsequential as the invention of the limerick.

The "West" is also recognizably different from other somewhat amorphously large geopolitical entities such as The "East" or the "Middle East" or what have you.

A person can take any historical antecedents he wants and say, "This is the reason contemporary the West is different from contemporary not the West."

There is absolutely no way to really measure in a highly complex system such as western history what impact the limerick, the printing press, or Church sponsored changes to marriage practices in the medieval period had on the development of liberal democracy.

With that said, almost no person offering a causal account for the evolution of liberal democracy is going to mention mating practices. But they'll probably mention the printing press, and if you're lucky, a limerick or two. It's not that hard to imagine why, either. The evolution of the contemporary political order is one of the most well documented phenomena in history. Why posit a subtle system of (presumable unconscious) incentives based on kin selection when you can actually just read what the designers of the new world order actually thought they were doing?

And finally, this whole "what makes white people different" line of inquiry is boring and stupid. It's the kind of shit that occupied the minds of turn of the century eugenicists and narcissistic aristocratic antiquarians and all white people who have ever felt the need to answer the question, "Why am I so special?" But trying to answer that question is less than useless, since it presupposes something that isn't true to begin with.
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