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Forum Post: An egalitarian, non-hierarchical society is best suited human nature

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 9, 2012, 6:19 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80 (6584)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Now, we have to face the fact that we don´t know everything about human nature. We do, however, know that there are some fundamental human characteristics. Human nature allows for different kinds of behavior and it can be shaped to a certain extent, but there are certain things such as solidarity for example, that make up some of the core features. Look at the history of our evolution. For millions of years things like cooperation, sharing, caring, sticking together and so on, basing social organization on a relatively egalitarian principle, have been central parts of our evolution. Even as far back as Homo Habilis working together for the common good, cooperating on finding and getting food etc. were essential and crucial for the survival and further evolvement of the species. Now, there were also things like rivalry and violence that took place at that time, and these things have to a certain extent also been passed on, but as our ancestors evolved further, all the way up to Homo Heidelbergensis and later on Homo Sapiens, these things decreased and elements like solidarity and egalitarianism, in addition to cooperation, became more integrated in the social organization. Working together for the common good turned out to be a crucial and highly successful factor in our evolution. And with cooperation and working together, things like solidarity, altruism etc - a more collective mentality - also became a natural part of our ancestors´ way of thinking and acting. When our ancestors finally evolved into Homo Sapiens this had become a big part of our way of life: Some of the first human societies consisted of hunter-gatherers basing society on solidarity, cooperation and egalitarian principles. Marx and Engels studied and wrote about these types of egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies; they called them "primitive communism" - a kind of preindustrial version of the modern classless stateless communist society they envisioned might come into place in the future.

In other words, evolution has allowed us to develop a free will, a mentality that allows for variation in behavior, making room for adaptation and molding of the mind; but our ancestors have also passed on certain elements, mostly good ones, that are determined and part of humans today. Things that were the main reason for our evolutionary success, like solidarity and cooperation, are parts of our nature.

In fact many of these things can also be seen among most species, simply because sticking together and helping each other increase the chances of species survival. Peter Kropotkin, a zoologist, philosopher and Libertarian Socialist - contributing especially to the philosophy of Anarcho-Communism - wrote about this issue in his book "Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution", looking at mutual aid and cooperation in nature, arguing that evolution naturally would develop things like commitment to helping others, and that these were important factors in the survival of the species.

Another important contribution to this topic is of course "The Selfish Gene" from 1976 by professor and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. In this book he pointed out that altruism, and cooperation naturally would evolve among species thruout evolution because organisms act as if their genes, not the organisms themselves, are selfish. It is the gene that is being passed on endlessly thru organisms, and things like altruism would therefore accrue in order to increase the chances for the gene to survive. And it makes perfect sense; individuals sharing the same genes would naturally evolve cooperation, altruism and solidarity, because it increases the chances of the gene being replicated. Most scientists on this field regard Dawkins´ contributions to be correct.

But if these things are huge parts of our nature, why don´t we see a lot more of this in our society today? Well, the problem is that today these things are being suppressed. In today´s (especially Western) societies things like greed and consumption are being encouraged. In fact, capitalism requires corporations f.ex. to only think about the "bottom line". If they don´t, they´re out of business, and corporations that do think profits and greed replace them. A society like this will of course produce a lot of greedy individuals. Capitalism encourages greed, and since human nature allows for some molding of the mind, the system we have manages to suppress many individuals´ core characteristics. Take advertisement f.ex: Private tyrannies spend huge amounts of money on this. We´re being pumped full of this garbage almost everywhere we look, whether it´s TV, radio, internet, newspapers etc etc, day in and day out. It is a highly unnatural phenomenon, it´s been a part of human history for an extremely small amount of time, yet it affects us, many of us in a huge way. But with that said, I think it s worth mentioning that even though we´re being encouraged to be greedy and selfish, we still see lots of kindness and solidarity. Even in a society based on greed and consumption, human characteristics, opposing this lifestyle, are lived out.

In an egalitarian non-hierarchical Libertarian Socialist organization society would encourage all the good things in us. When society no longer encourages us to be greedy the true nature of humans would come to the fore. If a big part of our nature is based on cooperation and solidarity, and the society encourages cooperation and solidarity, guess what, it would produce cooperative and soldaric humans! There will of course be a few immoral individuals in a libertarian socialist society as well, but that shouldn´t prevent us from organizing society in a way that is best suited human nature in general.

So, to sum up: living together in solidarity, cooperating, looking out for one another and being creative on one's own terms in an egalitarian social organization is in accordance with human nature. It would then logically follow that the most appropriate way to organize society would be one that is based on Libertarian Socialist principles: a free, egalitarian, non-hierarchical society where human characteristics like solidarity, kindness and creativity would come to the fore.

Chomsky-Foucault debate I

Chomsky-Foucault debate II

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[-] 3 points by philosophersstoned (233) from Gypsum, CO 2 years ago

Human nature? Culture and Ideology separate us from our true "human" values. Instead we have "Western" values or "American" values or "Christian" values. If we could all remember that we're all human and not Americans or Whites or Christians, the world would be a much better place. But how is itpossible to send that message so people can hear it?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

" If we could all remember that we're all human and not Americans or Whites or Christians"

Hear, hear!

Yes, we have culture and a nature.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

That's a good question, Jesus tried pretty hard and didn't have a lot of success... (whether you believe in him or not a large number humans believe what he said is the inerrant word of God, and people still don't listen to him.. so how can regular folk expect to be taken seriously?)

I've said this a few times on here, some would probably disagree, but you really just have to look at what happened during a few years in the middle-late 1960s to see what is required to cause that degree of rapid social transformation.

There are an enormous amount of non-addictive, non-damaging, plants and alkaloids in a truly staggering number of species which cause people to get past their egos, and feel a real sense connection to each other and this planet. (Things where were used for thousands of years before America even existed and continue to be used frequently by indigenous peoples in around the globe without issue).

That is also why they are illegal worldwide thanks to Richard Nixon's 1971 UN Convention; but if you ask me, the day that convention is overturned (if ever) there will be a massive and sudden revolution toward peace and unity once again.

[-] -1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Yes, uh huh. Because the "naturally" stoned get SO much work done and accomplish so many worthwhile things-like hygiene and feeding their families. riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

[-] 2 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

You missed the non-addictive part my friend. Check out John Halpern's study on Peyote use by the Native American Church. They use the stuff regularly and scored better during assessments than straight-edge people and drinkers over long periods of time.

If you think people can use alcohol and lead normal lives, but not use psychedelics and do the same, you are sorely mistaken. There is a long line of people from the founders of high profile tech companies to Nobel prize winning scientists and famous artists who say you are completely wrong.

DMT exists naturally in the human body, if it were bad for the brain, we'd all be in pretty big trouble by now.

[-] 1 points by philosophersstoned (233) from Gypsum, CO 2 years ago

"Check out John Halpern's study on Peyote use by the Native American Church"

As well as recent studies into members of the Brasilian UDV Church which came to similar conclusions. Or basically just go to Maps.org and read about any one of the recent Johns-Hopkins studies into medical applications of entheogens.

Modern medical science is a matter of years from a revolution in attitudes towards the medicinal usefulness of entheogens in the field of mental health. The 60's aren't exactly the model we should be following, after all the Hippies ultimately lost that cultural battle and we've all been living through the 4 decades of retribution that followed, but Hippie-punching as exhibited from 'justthefacts' is stupid and ignorant.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

I disagree about the 1960s; keep in mind how conservative things were in the 1960s. You couldn't sit on the front of the Bus if you were black, and free love or homosexuality were viewed by most people the same way they are currently viewed in the middle east. In other words, the changes in behaviour brought about by psychedelics would not only be closer to contemporary norms, they are badly needed.

A lot has changed since the 1960s, including a better understanding of these substances; and the cultural battle was lost largely because of the government / media propaganda machine combined with police crackdown.. and persecution of academics.

I subscribe more to Terrance McKenna's idea that if people want change, they have to come out of the closet and make their voice heard... not run around in a state of perpetual paranoia pretending they don't have relationship to consciousness alteration.

You would have to agree that had the government not given a huge backhand to the hippie movement, the world would be a lot better place today. While I appreciate the limited efforts of scientists, I don't think we have another 100 years to wait around for. We need a massive sudden change in consciousness that grows to 4 million people in 3 years (and continue from there), and we need it now, or we are in big big trouble.

I don't let hippie bashers bother me, I work a decent respectable job, don't look like a hippie most of the time... don't go out of my way to tell people, but don't make a big secret about it either. I can't see how anyone who uses these things can fail to see that even more so than Wall Street; what is keeping humanity from realizing its potential is the Vienna Convention of 1971... its like the Berlin wall standing between people and a different way of life beyond ego-drive and profiteering.

[-] 1 points by philosophersstoned (233) from Gypsum, CO 2 years ago

Mainstream, scientific acceptance of medicinal psychedelic use is not going to take 100 more years, I would guess 5 or 10 at most based on the current rate of progress. It was held back by the cultural backlash against the 60s movement, but those attitudes have faded for the most part, allowing the scientific community to build a significant body of evidence.

The last obstacle we have to face is the reason I'm here - corporate control over government regulatory agencies such as the DEA and the FDA. Since the research already exists showing the incredible potential for medicinal use, there is no rationale for psychedelics to be controlled as Schedule 1, which makes them difficult and expensive for researchers to acquire for study. The threat of plant-based medicine to the Pharma industry, which we all know has immense influence in DC (Obamacare was written by Wellpoint's CEO), is the last hurdle before the culture finally acknowledges that these medicines, are medicines.

Over 118 Million Americans are on Prozac. Imagine if they all switched to, for example, Ayahuasca, which is potentially more effective with none of the side-effects. That kind of cultural change would be immense, and due to medical/scientific sanction would result in none of the systemic backlash that resulted from the 60s movements. I believe we are less than a decade a way from this reality, and much closer if Occupy is successful in getting Pharma money out of politics.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

Well that I do agree with, the potential is there to help an enormous number of people who do not want to use addictive, side-effect ridden, anti-depressants which need to be taken every single day. The only thing I found surprising about those studies is that they were actually approved...

I hope you're right about the 5-10 years, I'm not so sure; but I hope you are right. The case is incredibly compelling, but the old stereotype of a useless brain damaged hippie seems to be incredibly persistent. For that to change, people need to start getting honest about it, at least in my view.

Again, I appreciate the position researchers have taken; but at the same time, the paternalistic idea that a fellow in a white lab coat knows what is best is a bit offensive to my thinking. I hope its a position taken out of necessity rather than honestly believed. I'd like to see at the very least the ability of naturopathic doctors to prescribe, or a controlled licensed system for all.

(Hopefully the western paradigm that medicine is only for those with bodily malfunction, and all other use is sinful and bad for you, also dries up some day).

If the government continues to inch closer to bankruptcy and is unable to fund prohibitionist policies and prisons, I think success will be closer as well; but you have a really good point about the pharmaceutical industry, I always forget about just how much they do not want more effective non-patentable products around.

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

I didn't say anything about people who use alcohol at all, so don't assume to know what I "think" about them or their ability to lead normal lives.

Those same scientists will also tell you that what one person can or does become "addicted to" may not be "addictive" to someone else.

There are many chemicals that exist naturally in the body that can KILL you if they become concentrated or elevated beyond a certain point. In fact- "Halpern already has research experience with DMT. In 1994 he spent six weeks helping Rick Strassman, a psychiatrist at the University of New Mexico, inject DMT into volunteers to measure the drug's physiological effects. That study showed that DMT is not necessarily benign. Twenty-five of Strassman's 60 subjects underwent what Strassman defined as "adverse effects," ranging from hallucinations of terrifying "aliens" to, in one case, a dangerous spike in blood pressure. Strassman's concerns about these reactions contributed to his decision to end his study early."

The way Peyote is used in the Native American Church is SPECIFIC and the members of that Church admit that using it differently than they do is dangerous (not to mention blasphemous in their view).

ANY substance can be abused.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

What irrespective of what you may or may not think, a substantial amount of people who use alcohol do so without issue; from successful professors to politicians. Its probably the most destructive drug on the planet, certainly more so than psychedelics.

DMT is very powerful, but in spite of that pretty benign, as philosopherstoned points out, the UDV is a great example of DMT use. The story illustrates that it is more than possible to introduce a powerful psychedelic into contemporary society, and the sky does not fall. In fact people are better off because of it. You won't get any argument from me that psychedelics are not for everyone, but they are incredibly safe, and non-toxic. (especially with a little education, good setting, and a solid spiritual foundation).

Terrifying "aliens"? Sure, some people cross over and experience other beings; but the vast majority who use it enjoy that particular effect. Its not at all terrifying. If that reaction was anywhere near typical, it wouldn't be sought with any kind of frequency. The experience is extremely pleasant, if short lived, things "light up" and it feels like you get a warm hug from God; that is the typical experience.

With respect to the NAC, I appreciate their concerns very much, I agree it should be respected; however, the physiology of a Native American is not so different from the rest of humanity... if they suffer no appreciable cognitive deficit, and are actually benefited, it stands to reason that also would apply to white/black/whatever people.

I agree, if you drink too much water you'll probably die; but should it be banned notwithstanding its positive effects?

That said, I'm not sure what you are even arguing about. First you're talking about how drugs make you be lazy and have bad hygiene... then you're pointing to two minor incidents to say what exactly? I'm more inclined to think you just have a moral problem with the subject matter.

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Here's the thing....drinking too much water is not an "extremely pleasant" experience. Which is why people don't do it. And "short lived" means people who want to experience that feeling for longer-will abuse it in order to regain that feeling.

"Education" "good setting" and "solid spiritual foundation"-NOT three things that the majority of our society today are inclined towards.

People don't end up getting addicted to alcohol because they enjoy barfing in the streets, waking up with a headache, and making asses of themselves in public. They end up addicted because of the positive feelings they experience-even if they are just the dulling of the negative emotions they feel when they are sober.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

Ok, so should people not go to good movies or play a game because its a pleasant experience they might want to repeat? I mean rather than waste your money, and risk life and limb driving to the theater you can simply pay $5 and spend 12 hours enjoying nature, having a beautiful spiritual experience.

Well "good setting" and "solid spiritual foundation" are not hard to come by, Christians had a pretty good time in the Good Friday Experiment prior to all the government misinformation. Even the vast majority of the modern research shows the same thing: Top 5 most significant moment in peoples lives, people feeling tremendous unity with god, etc. etc. Check out http://csp.org/psilocybin/Hopkins-CSP-Psilocybin2008.pdf

Studies involving LSD, Psilocybin, and terminal illness show people who are literally about to die having a life changing experience which makes them frankly look happier than the majority of the healthy money obsessed population.

Education? License, regulate. Same as owning a gun, but less dangerous.

But you still haven't told me what upsets you so much about these things? They are non-toxic, non-addictive, and have tremendous therapeutic benefits; and a potential to transform society into something more egalitarian and beautiful.

[-] 1 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

The "things" don't upset me at all. Guns don't upset me either. Stupid PEOPLE do.

Most people go to a good movie or play a game because they don't have 12 solid hours to "enjoy nature" or have a "beautiful spiritual experience".

You're playing with brain chemistry.

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

The "things" don't upset me at all. Guns don't upset me either. Stupid PEOPLE do.

Most people go to a good movie or play a game because they don't have 12 solid hours to "enjoy nature" or have a "beautiful spiritual experience".

You're playing with brain chemistry.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

Again, check out the Peyote study... or a whole bunch of others; there is no need for concern unless you are in that tiny minority of individuals who suffer from a serious debilitating mental illness like Schizophrenia. If you are outside that group; you can actually have a nice transcendent mystical experience without worrying about it. (Less if you educate yourself and get some advice from an experienced user).

I dunno man, you seem quite opposed to the idea of people using psychedelics. Guns don't bother me either, just saying; if you can regulate something much more dangerous... why not these too?

A movie takes about 5 hours these days including travel, more if you hit up dinner and a few glasses of wine. Personally I'd rather be outside somewhere watching fleeting geometric patterns, and marveling at the majestic beauty of nature, and feeling a sense of unity to the earth, my fellow humans, and the divine; and as an added bonus, its got a smaller environmental footprint than driving to the mall.

On brain chemistry, insofar as it is my own brain; I'll tell you what, so long as you are ok with me enjoying myself (I assure you, I bathe and work, and its not been an issue in 20 years); then I'm ok with you not being interested. :)

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

And if you can find a way to assure that no one else will manipulate their brain chemistry and then interact with myself or my children in a manner that is dangerous, stupid, irresponsible, or destructive I'm good.

Oh, and just to expand your worldview-I can be at one of 5 different movie theaters within 15 minutes, and even taking in a long, one hour dinner and collecting and dropping off a sitter would still get get me home in less than 4 hours. I don't require wine to have an "enjoyable" experience either.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

That's impressive time! I'll still take 12 outside, but that's just how I am I guess lol.

No need to worry about your children, at some of the outdoor festivals I go to people bring their kids. Everyone shows them respect, and parents are very responsible. Little kids play in the mud, and the atmosphere is generally a lot less worrying than you would find in a typical city park with all the crazies around.

Psychedelics are very different than stuff like meth, they don't turn people into junkie sketchers, quite the opposite, they make people more kind and compassionate.

Again, they're is also the few exceptions to every rule; but when you consider the prevalence of psychedelic use and lack of noteworthy incidents, especially per-capita compared to alcohol its quite amazing. I've not seen anything very worrisome in 20 years, a few people had a bad time and got over it quickly, and I've heard a few stories of issues about mentally ill people... but in all honesty, nothing that would me register any real concern.

I've actually had people tell me stories straight out of 1967 Saturday Evening Post as if they happened to a good friend of theirs; but the "Orange Juice Man" was an urban legend back then as much as it still is today.

I won't say the same thing about a list of other substances whose legality is more likely a matter of congressional debate on the real harms vs. harms of prohibition; but I do not feel psychedelics fall into that category. Their potential for abuse is extremely low, and the benefits extremely high for many many people (and I've seen its effect on thousands first hand).

[-] 0 points by misterioso (86) 2 years ago

it is a very important question, one that I have thought a lot about. I believe there is a great deal we can learn from the eastern contemplative traditions. Buddhists monks have been developing methods for maximizing compassion and suppressing selfish desire for millenia. One of the best ideas I have heard involves teaching meditation and positive emotional development in public schools(although i fear many americans would be resistant to this) . We spend so much time learning about math and history, isnt it odd that we dont spend any time leaning about that which effects our lives the most, our emotions.

a great book that relates to this which I highly recommend. http://www.amazon.com/Destructive-Emotions-Scientific-Dialogue-Dalai/dp/0553381059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326223246&sr=8-1

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

Meditation in schools is a great idea, that should be on the 99% demand list for sure.

You don't need to be Buddhist, Michael Molinos was an incredibly popular Christian Priest who said basically the same thing hundreds of years ago. Quiet prayer and inner contemplation. The Catholic Church at the time condemned due to his growing popularity, but he wrote a phenomenal book called The Spiritual Guide which is a lot like Christian styled Buddhism (without the Buddah).

[-] 2 points by AlwaysIntoSomething (42) 6 months ago

"So, to sum up: living together in solidarity, cooperating, looking out for one another and being creative on one's own terms in an egalitarian social organization is in accordance with human nature. "

Sounds pretty good to me.

[-] 2 points by chuck1al (1074) from Flomaton, AL 2 years ago

Libertarianism:

So what is this belief-set, and why is it so popular in certain subcultures? The following is an outsiders view of Libertarianism. From proponents, you might be told

The Libertarian way is a logically consistent approach to politics based on the moral principle of self-ownership. Each individual has the right to control his or her own body, action, speech, and property. Government's only role is to help individuals defend themselves from force and fraud. However, I regard the Libertarianism as a kind of business-worshiping cultish religion, which churns out annoying flamers who resemble nothing so much as street-preachers on the Information Sidewalk. In order to understand how one gets from the "moral principles" above to the sort of fanatical proselytizing seen everyday on discussion lists, it's important to grasp how the ideology actually works out, from theory to practice.

To start off, Libertarianism is highly axiomatic. Note how the above quote touts its logically consistent approach. There's a set of rules to be applied to evaluate what is proper, and the outcome given is the answer which is correct in terms of the moral principle of the theory. Are the religious thinking connections starting to become evident? This doesn't mean there can't be religious-type schisms in applying the axioms (for example, there's one regarding abortion). But in practice, the rules are simple and tight enough to produce surprisingly uniform positions compared to common political philosophies.

Libertarian proselytizers will preach some warm-and-fuzzy story such as

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized. Now, how many ideologies have you ever heard state anything like We believe that disrespect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud are good things in human relationships, and that only through slavery can peace and prosperity be realized. Libertarians are for "individual rights", and against "force" and "fraud" - just as THEY define it. Their use of these words, however, when examined in detail, is not likely to accord with the common meanings of these terms. What person would proclaim themselves in favor of "force and fraud"? One of the little tricks Libertarians use in debate is to confuse the ordinary sense of these words with the meaning as "terms of art" in Libertarian axioms. They try to set up a situation where if you say you're against "force and fraud", then obviously you must agree with Libertarian ideology, since those are the definitions. If you are in favor of "force and fraud", well, isn't that highly immoral? So you're either one of them, or some sort of degenerate (note the cultish aspect again), one who doesn't think "force and fraud must be banished from human relationships". In a phrase I'll probably find myself repeating "I am not making this up". It's important to realized that what might sound like hyperbole or overstatement really, truly, will be found when dealing with Libertarian arguments.

Just to pick an example from one public exchange (directed to me)

Too complicated. All you need is one proposition: No person should initiate the use of force against another person.

All libertarian thought flows logically from this. For instance, taxation is undesirable since it is backed by the coercive force of the state. Naturally the key word is "initiate."

So, the question is, does Seth agree with this proposition or not? Of course he will say there have to be certain exceptions. This is the difference between him and a libertarian. Libertarians (like free speech advocated!) prefer not to make exceptions.

Note that this is the only political movement, so far as I know, rooted in one simple ethical statement about human rights. This alone biases me in its favor.

My reply to this point was to ask if he agreed "No person should do anything evil". I get to define evil, "evil" is taken according to "Sethism". The response: Seth, you have not answered the question. Do you agree, or do you disagree, that it is always wrong for one person to initiate force against another? If you disagree, then you disagree with the fundamental concept of libertarianism, ... On the other hand, if you agree with the proposition, yet you still don't like the conclusions that libertarians draw from it, then we can refocus our attention on the chain of logic that leads to those conclusions and find where you feel the weak link is.

Observe the aspects pointed out above. It's an "agree or disagree" where implicitly "initiate force" is taken to be that of the Libertarian ideology. And it's justified by the axioms, the "chain of logic". Note the rhetoric is made further meaningless by the "initiate force" concept. When Libertarians think using force is justified, they just call it retaliatory force. It's a bit like "war of aggression" versus "war of defense". Rare is the country in history which has ever claimed to be initiating a "war of aggression", they're always retaliating in a "war of defense".

The idea that Libertarians don't believe in the initiation of force is pure propaganda. They believe in using force as much as anyone else, if they think the application is morally correct. "initiation of force" is Libertarian term of art, meaning essentially "do something improper according to Libertarian ideology". It isn't even connected much to the actions we normally think of as "force". The question being asked above was really agree or disagree, that it is always wrong for one person to do something improper according to Libertarian ideology. It was just phrased in their preaching way.

While you might be told Libertarianism is about individual rights and freedom, fundamentally, it's about business. The words "individual rights", in a civil-society context, are often Libertarian-ese for "business". That's what what they derive as the inevitable meaning of rights and freedom, as a statement of principles:

Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals. The whole idea of a contract is that government enforces relations among individuals. The above sentence is a nonsensical, it's conceptually that they oppose all interference by government in the areas of government enforcing relations among individuals. The key to understanding this, and to understanding Libertarianism itself, is to realize that their concept of individual freedom is the "whopper" of "right to have the State back up business". That's a wild definition of freedom. If you voluntarily contract to sell all your future income for $1, they then oppose all government "interference" with your "right" to do this. It's a completely twisted, utterly inverted, perfectly Orwellian statement, almost exactly "Freedom is Slavery".

This is not at all obvious or what people tend to think when they're told the song and dance about rights and freedoms. This point about contract and Libertarianism needs to be stressed. Often, the "chain of logic" used by a Libertarian will be a fairly valid set of deductions. But along the way, there will be very subtle assumptions slipped in, such as "contract" (meaning business) as a fundamental right. It can be quite difficult to spot, such as a redefinition of terms, or a whopper like the above. But again, it's very "logical", very "axiomatic".

[-] 1 points by zymergy (236) 2 years ago

If the vector of human nature is multi-factored, then what we get for the most part is the vector sum of who we are. If we don't like what we have gotten, then we need to look at some external factors that might alter the balance of forces that drive our social systems. This is not an easy task because almost everything that we can come up with is also a product of our natures, sometimes however, these things may represent only the better factors of our natures such as cooperation and compassion. Government and its laws and enforcement powers are attempts at introducing external factors. But government has invariably been realigned to the vector sum of human nature. We can only try again to push it back out of balance.

[-] 1 points by Democracy101 (54) 2 years ago

This question may be a little out of the way - but who do you think is more responsible for the current financial crisis - Wall Street or Government?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

They´re very tightly linked, so the answer is both. Please read my article Our Democratic Deficit http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1321956132_our_democratic_defici.html

[-] 1 points by Democracy101 (54) 2 years ago

You point to the Chomsky-Foucault Debate and support Chomsky's descriptions of human nature. What do you think of what Chomsky says about human nature in the last 3 minutes or so of this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se-Nq_rBQHk.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

I pretty much agree with Chomsky. He says that "we don´t know much about human nature", but that that doesnt mean that we dont know anything (as he himself has pointed out numerous times). We know some, like the things mentioned in my article.

Chomsky is really one of the greatest thinkers and philosophers in history. His ideas and thoughts deserve much more attention.

struggleforfreedom

[-] 1 points by 903w (24) 2 years ago

Someone give this man a twitter.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

:-)

please come visit my blog struggleforfreedom

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

Another genius lol! Libertarian & Socialist is a total contradiction

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

It´s actually the opposite. Anarchists and socialists used the word long before advocators of private tyranny started using "libertarian":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPUvQZ3rcQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDHBvQRyOr0

wikipedia: "The first anarchist journal to use the term “libertarian” was La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social and it was published in New York City between 1858 and 1861 by French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque. "The next recorded use of the term was in Europe, when “libertarian communism” was used at a French regional anarchist Congress at Le Havre (16-22 November, 1880). January the following year saw a French manifesto issued on “Libertarian or Anarchist Communism.” Finally, 1895 saw leading anarchists Sébastien Faure and Louise Michel publish La Libertaire in France." The word stems from the French word libertaire, and was used to evade the French ban on anarchist publications. In this tradition, the term "libertarianism" in "libertarian socialism" is generally used as a synonym for anarchism, which some say is the original meaning of the term; hence "libertarian socialism" is equivalent to "socialist anarchism" to these scholars.[22] In the context of the European socialist movement, libertarian has conventionally been used to describe those who opposed state socialism, such as Mikhail Bakunin. The association of socialism with libertarianism predates that of capitalism, and many anti-authoritarians still decry what they see as a mistaken association of capitalism with libertarianism in the United States.[23]"

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

and the word liberal has also transformed itself from it's original meaning. what's your point. Today's Libertarian believes in limited government & maximum freedom. To those ends I dont care what you call it. OWS is a bunch of juvenile Anarchists if you ask me.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

My point is that "libertarian socialism" is not a contradiction. It is a term used all the way back to the 1800s and up to present time. Libertarian has meant something quite different than capitalism/private tyranny most of our history.

No libertarians (in us sense) wants private tyranny. That´s not freedom at all.

This is freedom:

http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

private tyranny how so? they are against crony capitalism, for lower taxes, less regulation = more freedom. Unless you dont want to carry your own weight. then it is a threat to your free ride I suppose.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

one click & I dont even have to watch. All I saw was Noam Chomsky and that says it all lol! Good Luck !

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Yes, that pretty much says it all: you don´t even have the guts to listen to the arguments. It´s called willfully living in ignorance.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

I've already read all about Chomsky. Give me something new already. He is yesterdays news.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

I´m confused. So why did you ask what was ment by "private tyranny"??

Chomsky´s ideas will become more and more relevant and appealing in the future. Just wait and see.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

Is Chomsky for wealth redistribution? Big government or limited government? So called "Social Justice"?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"Is Chomsky for wealth redistribution?"

Absolutely.

"Big government or limited government?"

Limited: Anarcho-Syndicalism: http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

"So called "Social Justice"?"

Absolutely

[-] -2 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

yea - he's a commie.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

many of them are, but they are being controlled/bought by private tyrannies in an increasing extent, so its the ones in power - the ones who finance politicians in order to get big favors in return - who are the real problem

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

why do the politicians take the money? arent they the ones accountable to the people?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

oh, force. That old A. Rand nonsense.Politicians have forced wealth into the hands of the 1% for decades.

[-] 0 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

Ah so the politicians are the villains after all.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Define "commie" please.

[-] 1 points by aries (463) from Nutley, NJ 2 years ago

using force to redistribute wealth in the name of equality. In our case it will be through taxation such as Obamacare, Cap & Trade and the Federal Income tax as well as many hidden taxes and regulations.

[-] 1 points by GypsyKing (9780) 2 years ago

A univeral declairation of human rights, backed by the force of law, would go a long way to attaining this goal.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Oh, have you actually read selfish gene by Dawkins? He does conclude that our altruism is related to our genetic propensity to reproduce.

In describing genes as being "selfish", the author does not intend (as he states unequivocally in the work) to imply that they are driven by any motives or will—merely that their effects can be accurately described as if they were. The contention is that the genes that get passed on are the ones whose consequences serve their own implicit interests (to continue being replicated), not necessarily those of the organism, much less any larger level.

This view explains altruism at the individual level in nature, especially in kin relationships: when an individual sacrifices its own life to protect the lives of kin, it is acting in the interest of its own genes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene#.22Selfish.22_genes

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Jepp. I´m aware of this (as you can see in my article above)

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I like Foucault's arguments much better (although I don't think he did a good job of explaining the underlying foundation of justice, but neither did Chomskey).

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

I totally disagree. I think Chomsky really nails it here. I think F had some good points, but he totally underestimates feelings that are part of us as humans

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Chomskey points to an underlying, "innate" human nature that only exists in our imaginations. He has no empirical support for this idea, and it's not consistent with all we know about our own biochemistry at this point (this is not as much of a mystery as Chomskey would have us believe, and although it wasn't as well understood at the time of this debate, we do understand our biochemistry much better today, yet Chomskey is still holding to this presumption about human nature).

Other than that ... I love Chomskey (notwithstanding my disagreement with him on this particular point).

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

So if I understand you correctly: you don´t agree with Chomsky that solidarity, sympathy and altruism is a big part of our nature..?

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

He makes a more profound claim that that. He seems to presume these things point to an underlying "goodness" in human nature. Yet altruism has been well studied over the last few decades, and we have a decent understanding of the biological reasons for altruism in nature (including human nature).

Moreover, tribalism can override sympathy and solidarity. Group think can go either way, in a very good direction, or a very bad direction (for this we don't even need biochemistry, cracking open a history book does the trick). You might say that this propensity for badness isn't something innate, rather it's learned behavior, but that argument applies equally to goodness, and in fact, the "biological" propensity for BOTH exists in our nature.

So if we have the propensity for both evil and good, then we're not innately good (nor are we innately bad), yet Chomskey's approach to this over-presumes a level of goodness that cannot be supported by the evidence. I mean, we have to be honest with ourselves (and not feed ourselves romantic fairy tales presuming an almost mythical, magical, and wonderfully good human nature). We call that religion.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Yes, he does, but he doesn´t say that were "pure" all the way thru so I think you more or less argee.

Rivalry etc decreased more and more as we evolved into humans, and in a right society these attitudes would more or less vanish.

"You might say that this propensity for badness isn't something innate, rather it's learned behavior, but that argument applies equally to goodness, and in fact, the "biological" propensity for BOTH exists in our nature."

Listen, Im not saying we´re pure, I (and Chomsky) say that our nature ismostly good, and that we should organize society so that these fundamnetal core characteristics would be encouraged.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

This is such an unrealistically idealist version of human nature, I don't know where to start. I mean, we still cooperate in ways similar to our ancestors. We go to work, we cooperate with coworkers. When hanging out with friends, we cooperate with them (in whatever we're doing).

Cooperating for purposes of hunting and gathering doesn't mean our ancestors weren't tribal, didn't suffer from sexual jealousy, weren't violent, didn't have wars with other tribes, etc.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

I don´t think you read the article thoroughly enough..

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Well, maybe I misunderstood something, but I'm very familiar with Chomskey (and overall I love his work and positions, but his view of human nature is, as I've said, inconsistent with the evidence). So when you appealed to Chomskey, and given the other language in your article, it sounded like you agree with Chomskey with respect to his view of human nature?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

I do agree with him. Actually I think I might have an even more "romantic" (to use your words) view on HNature.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

LOL .... I feel you, and I wish it were true, but the evidence doesn't flesh it out. I mean, depending on which philosopher I'm reading, my views of human nature can shift around a bit. If I'm reading someone like Chomskey, he's very poetic, and makes me want to believe we have this inner goodness/beauty. When I read Nietzsche, much different story.

However, when I study biochemistry (a much more reliable source in my humble opinion), I get a different picture completely. If I were to try and summarize the biochemistry, and explain it in philosophical terms (not very easy to do, but I'll try) I would say humans are neither good nor bad, we have the propensity for both. We do have intelligence, which gives us an advantage over everything else in nature, yet we can't ignore the fact that we are biological organisms. I believe we do have a semblance of free will, but I also acknowledge that people tend to underestimate the influence of our biology on our behavior.

This doesn't need to be bad news, indeed, the more information we have--the more our intelligence will be able to override our animal instincts (but the worse thing we can do is fool ourselves).

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

We have potential for both of course. Like I mentioned, human nature allows all sorts of various behavior, but in an egalitarian libertarian socialist society the good things in us will come to the fore. Things like altruism, solidarity and kindness are a big part of our nature, we should make the society so that these good things are being encouraged!

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I agree, and to some degree we of course already do this. We obviously discourage savage behavior, so to your point, we need to do a better job of encouraging good behavior (but of course we need to come to a better consensus on what "good behavior" means). When I hear people exalting philosophical narcissists like Ayn Rand, it's not very encouraging.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Honestly I concider Rand´s philosophy to awful and immoral to even discuss, even though I have argued with some sect-members in the past:)

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

It doesn't get any more awful than Ayn Rand. I mean, do people really need more encouragement to be selfish? Plus, she was a poor writer, and an even worse philosopher.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Let me quote our favorite philosopher:

"Rand in my view is one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history"

-Noam Chomsky

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Like I said, just because I don't exactly agree with Chomskey's characterization of human nature, doesn't mean I don't love his work (I do, and I greatly appreciate his intellectual contribution to the human race); and I completely agree with his remarks about Ayn Rand, although I don't like the term "evil" (I prefer to think of her as seriously misguided, and influenced by her unfortunate childhood experiences in Russia).

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Well, she did by herself develop a philosophy advocating total private tyranny, a philosophy advocatingf.ex taking away life necessary support for disabled or poor widows. I have no problem calling that evil.

Btw, did you not contradict yourself a little? So even Rand was just misguided and influenced, but was deep down (in her nature) good.... :)

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

No, I don't really think in terms of good or evil, even when it comes to crime and punishment, I favor a utilitarian versus retributive approach. I don't think there's a conscious purpose behind nature, so I see no philosophical reason to call anything evil. There are plenty of things that I consider bad, as in not conducive to the health and welfare of society, the environment, etc., but I think the idea of "evil" presupposes too much.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I don't necessarily disagree with most aspects of what's implied by the term "egalitarian libertarian socialist society" ... but I don't want it to be grounded on an erroneous assumption about human nature (because it's just less likely to work). I consider myself a liberal/progressive, libertarian, and I agree with many socialist principles (but the term socialist requires qualification--because unfortunately, we have to effectively interact with its bad connotations, even though perceptions of the word is largely based on inaccurate information and propoganda). One of my favorite socialist thinkers is one of the first (if not the first), Robert Owen.

Returning to the issue at hand, these guys point to the egalitarianism of primitive tribes, however, here's why this idea is largely irrelevant and misleading. First off, in the earliest stages of our evolution, we only existed as small and isolated tribes. These primitive tribes rarely ran into each other, and when they did, they often fought each other. Secondly, even within these tribes, while they cooperated for the purposes of hunting and gathering, there was plenty of infighting. Sexual jealousy, violent fighting and murder, etc. Indeed, modern western society is much more civilized than our ancient ancestors from remote history.

So it's hard for me to fathom that we're sitting here and creating a romantic, grossly inaccurate view of primitive tribal life, much less basing a political philosophy on this view?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

But I think a fair point here is that the closer up to Homo Sapiens our ancestors were, the more relevant their behavior is to discussions on human nature. Afarensis behavior (which behaved a lot like you described) is less relevant than Homo Heidelbergensis f.ex, and as we evolved these, what we concider bad behavior today (proving my point a little), decreased substantially. So the things you mention are really not that relevant. The first huaman Societies lived in egalitarian, non-hierarchical societies (pretty much like how the San People are living today) and there´s a reason for that:)

[-] 3 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

We really don't know enough to make these determinations. It's believed by some anthropologists and evolutionary biologists that Homo Sapiens killed off other hominid species, not exactly egalitarian utopia.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

We actually do, my friend. Science have figured out a lot about our evolution including what I mentioned above. I have read the exact opposite, that we coexisted more or less without violence against them, so I guess that discussion is not ready yet...

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I mean, you'd have to provide some links. Here's an article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal_extinction_hypotheses#Rapid_extinction_by_violence

There's various hypothesis' for the extinction of Neanderthals (we killed them off, competitive replacement, division of labor, and so on).

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

I have read a little here and a little there, especially anthropological articles, some many years ago. But you´re right, links can make a strong case. But again: I have never said (nor has Chomsky) that humans are all the way thru angels (including the first ones that came into existence) but that a huge part of our nature - the core - is to a very large extent good (cf my article above). I think you and I agree with each other more than you think, my friend.

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 2 years ago

I've though it over in the past and I came to the conclusion that hierarchies are natural.

The most qualified leads the less qualified.

Also the majority of the jobs are boring but nesessesary.

That's not to say we should encourage the unregulated capitalism insanity.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

But think about it. All the way from H.Habilis f.ex and up to a 100 000 years ago when humans came into existance we´ve been living in egalitarian groups. Hunter-gatherers today, like the San People fex live just like sthe first humans, in an egalitarian non-hierarchical society. Hierarchies have been part of our history for an extremly small amount of time, so your conclusion does not make any sense. For boring jobs, check out these videos: http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1317735903_chomsky_explains_libe.html

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 2 years ago

Well I think the shift happened after the agricultural period. With a growing and stable population life improved, but it also became more complex and so hierarchies began to manage everything from the delivery of water, to the protection of crops and so on... If we were hunter gatherers though we wouldn't need them. Specially since hunting became so easy after the invention of arrows. But at the same time we would get none of the benefits of living in a society. It all comes down to complexity and the expertise needed to manage it.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

So you don't think greed is built into the human mind?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

I think there is self interest combined with solidarity, but very little greed.

[-] 2 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Where do babies get the mine idea?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

First of all, Im talking about fully (intellectually) developed humans - adults. Second, you see lots of altruistic and solidaric behavior in children also.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Ok fine but if you think as a child that everything belongs to you then you weren't taught that.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Maybe not. I say maybe because children are fed propaganda (commercials etc) from a very early age. I do however think that what you say here has no root in reality. I don´t think any child is supergreedy and only care about themselves. I certainly did not think that way, nor did any of my close family members. Did you ?

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

I don't really remember ages 0-3

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

ok. But you didn´t behave in that way from 3 and up to adulthood, right. And I´m pretty sure you, like any other, never have seen a child act in such a manner at any age. And that was my point. But Iike I said, The important focus in this context - how to organize society - is to focus on the ones doing most of the organiziation of society - adults.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Actually I have. Many a brat I have met actually do act like this.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Observing brats you´ve met in a couple of social settings does not make a very convincing argument, nor is it relevant to what the real issue is here.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Not particularly but you asked.

[-] 1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

AGREE.

Greed is NOT natural. Obsession with possessions is pathological and is usually a symptom for a lack of love linked to childhood trauma..

[-] 1 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

Freud, is that you?

Seriously, do you have any links with evidence for the idea that "obsession with possessions is pathological and is usually a sympton for a lack of love linked to childhood trauma"? That seems like a complicated answer. Couldn't we just say that in our material world based on consumerism it's quite natural for people to become obsessed with material possessions.

What about greed? What is your source to show that it's not natural?

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

YOU again?

I thought I had said to you: "GOOD DAY, Mr. Logical Fallacy, I have much better things to do with the rest of my evening."

I'm afraid you'll have to find someone else to stalk...

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

I'm confused. Aren't you the one who's always stalking me? Aren't you the paranoid conspiracy theorist who always claims I'm some kind of master agent from an alien race that came a long distance to reclaim the Earlth?

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

Xenu?

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

Who's Xenu?

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

The alien from Scientology.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

Of course, right... I know about L. Ron Hubbard and a few other things, but you'll excuse me if I never studied the finer details of Scientology.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

I haven't either. Its a running joke with my friends.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

LOL

You ARE indeed confused, my dear Thrasy and I'm glad you realize it, as it is rather obvious that I commented first on this particular post and YOU came barging in with the Freud thing...

GOOD NIGHT, Mr. Logical Fallacy.

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Perhaps the "altruism" gene is non-dominant and other modifier genes like greed and selfishness are inhibiting it.

And of course if Dawkins theory is correct, then murdering, selfish, rivalry oriented groups would ALSO reproduce with each other and thus increase it's chances of being replicated.

The idea that humanity has "bred out" either side of the coin, or has ever gotten remotely close to it, is a THEORY only.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Dawkins was not implying that our genes are sentient creatures, enabled with will or purpose (they're clearly not). They want to reproduce, and our altruism (particularly kin selection) is in furtherance of global reproduction. We see this in nature (not only humans). A profound example is certain species of spider. The male is often killed by the female during mating, hardly conducive to the survival of the male spider, but conducive to the propagation of his genes (and the genes of that species of spider).

There is no magical, romantic, Chomskey-like idealistic motive here, it's a rather cold biological process.

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

If our "genes" are not sentient, then "they" cannot "want" to reproduce. Genes do not reproduce, so they couldn't even if they wanted to.

Would it not be more conducive to the "propagation of the male spider's genes" for him to survive and be able to propagate his genes with more females?

There's more to the "altruism" argument than genes.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070121162756.htm

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Right (not a great way to explain it on my part), indeed, genes do not "want" anything (as wanting implies some degree of sentience), I really meant to say what Dawkins said (I'm paraphrasing), they behave "as if" they want ....

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