By Ross Douthat Dec. 26, 2015 (LINK to article)
I submitted two comments on this article, both of which, after some delay, were approved and published, but I thought that I would publish them here anyway.
"late-modern liberalism might have a certain tendency toward suicide"EVERY civilisation tends towards suicide, because of their perverted Darwinian nature, which, because of the taboo a previous generation of academics placed on viewing our own species from an evolutionary perspective (an OVERREACTION to the Nazis having hijacked and abused the half-baked ideas of social Darwinism for their own evil purposes), there has been a failure to recognise.
And why would they WANT to recognise it, given how well "the current order" works for them?
The human brain surely evolved to want to maintain the environment on which it depends, especially when it has been relatively successful within it, as everyone who is anyone in society invariably has been, and rationalises its view of social, political and economic reality accordingly.
We (especially academics) are bound to see ourselves as a "rational animal", when in fact we are far more a "rationalising animal", which means that unlike in the material sciences, where our models of reality now correlate closely with it, in the social sciences they don't. Thus the author's difficulty in "imagining the basic liberal democratic capitalist order cracking up".
The current order is indeed on course to crack up, and if we want something better, rather than worse, to come of it, we urgently need a much better model of the reality of our situation: http://philosopherkin.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/civilisation-evolutionary-cul-de-sac.html
"it’s been hard to imagine the basic liberal democratic capitalist order cracking up . . "The Germans have a word for this: Zweckoptimismus (self-serving optimism).
" . . let alone envision what might take its place."Looking back to premodern times, would Ptolemaic astronomers, alchemists, or Galenic doctors have been able to imagine what would one day replace their "sciences" and their world? I think not.
And because of their lack of a human-evolutionary, i.e. Darwinian, perspective, the present-day social and political sciences are still stuck in a pre-Copernican, i.e. pre-Darwinian, dark age.
Responsible for this is something the NYT's Editorial Board itself warns of in a recent editorial, The Price of Fear:
“In the reaction and overreaction to terrorism comes the risk that society will lose its way."Western civilisation has indeed lost its way, in overreaction to Nazism, which hijacked and abused the half-baked ideas of social Darwinism for its own evil purposes, making a taboo of the whole idea of viewing ourselves, our civilisation and situation from a human-evolutionary perspective, thus blinding us to its perverted Darwinian nature.
Healthy Darwinian nature serves' a population's survival, while perverted Darwinian nature leads to its demise. What do I mean by "population"? That is something that needs to be discussed, but we can't discuss, or arrive at an understanding of anything, so long as this taboo remains in place.