Politics and Human Nature

Politics is the means we have developed to deal with the complexities of Human Nature.

Tory values are based on: — from an editorial by Fraser Nelson
• The lowering of taxes,
• Being strong on defence and
• Keeping the streets safe

From Michael Fry in the National:
Adam Smith set out 250 years ago what he believed the to be a Governments’ indispensable tasks:
• One was the administration of justice, without which a society could not function.
• Second was the defence of that society against outside attack.
• Third was a function Smith called police, though he did not mean police in the modern sense.

In the West there are two distinct political aspirations:

Capitalism” refers to a political and economic system that was developed in Europe and America during the Enlightenment. It is characterized by private ownership of property, rather than state control. More fundamentally, it rests on the Enlightenment principle of Individual Rights, in which the unit of moral and political value is each individual. As the American philosopher Ayn Rand explains this,
Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned. The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man’s right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Social ownership may refer to forms of public, collective or cooperative ownership, or to citizen ownership of equity — a sympathetic version, and the following —

Socialism is a political and (derivatively) economic system in which the individual has no independent existence, and morally exists only to serve the collective as represented by an omnipotent state.

The context is the State and the Nation:
• A Nation is an aggregate of people united by descent, history, culture or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.
• A State is a nation or territory with an organized political community under one government.

Sovereignty is the soul of any state because sovereignty means the ability to rule itself.

The Rule of Law — A state uses its police power to enforce a set of laws while there is no nationwide police force

He notes:– Capitalism is the only system that is capable of delivering mass prosperity — but it tends to go awry.
Once every few decades it veers off track and requires active public policy

Paul Collier advocates ” One-Nation Conservatism”

A brief recent history:

In the 1930s, no political party rose to the challenge of mass unemployment, which was addressed as an inadvertent by-product of rearmament.
During the 1980s, a tempting new eco¬nomic doctrine emerged in America: mar¬kets were sacrosanct, and government regulation was impeding them. High- powered incentives, linked to monitored performance, would be the carrot inducing CEOs to get tough.

So — A competitive product market, combined with a competitive finan¬cial market, would provide the stick, forcing firms to be efficient: only the most profit¬able ones would be able to attract capital, while badly performing firms would face the threat of takeover.

A competitive labour market, combined with reduced access to welfare benefits, would get everyone into a job.
So — Open borders for trade and migration would benefit everyone.

Ethics became redundant: self-interest would drive society upwards. In this brave new world, business became the hero, government the villain.
The Conservatives embraced it with ‘roll back the state!’

In the 1990s, even Labour embraced a diluted version, becom¬ing ‘intensely relaxed’ about people getting filthy rich.

So — The consequences for social division were starting to look ugly well before 2008 when deregulated financial markets blew up the economy.
Reversing long trends, from the 1980s the provinces diverged from the metropolis; the educated from the less-educated. British society, a dense pattern of reciprocal obligations, was being torn apart.

Yet there has been little serious rethinking in either party.

Labour became so intellectually lost that it got hijacked by Marxists (A cheap Retort by Collier) , shunting itself into a cul-de-sac from which it will be difficult to escape.

However, the Conservatives flirted with good ideas:
• David Cameron with the Big Society,
• Theresa May, less specifically, with ‘Burning Injustices’.

However — neither narrative became dominant.

The concept of the Big Society was fatally contaminated because it coincided with reductions in public spend¬ing and, more especially, with the official narrative of ‘austerity’.

Even an incompe¬tent political opposition managed to present the Big Society as a deliberate obfuscation of spending cuts: ‘The government is going to cut taxes on the rich and hit the poor, but we needn’t worry about you because you’re going to help each other.’

As for ‘burning injustices’, it rapidly transmuted into ‘we’ll take your house off you if you get Alzhei¬mer’s’: possibly the most ethically offensive and politically inept message ever proposed during an election campaign.

The intellectual comfort zone of each party retreated into equally unviable nests: the Conservatives wanted nation-without- state; Labour wanted state-without-nation.

Meanwhile, ordinary people facing new anxieties seized their opportunities to muti¬ny.
In Scotland, they voted for the SNP; in England for UKIP, Brexit and Corbyn.

Given the travails of Labour, recovery of the intel¬lectual confidence of the Tory party has become essential for the country.
So what are the options facing the Tories?

The American right was lured by libertarianism: ‘neither state nor nation’.
This is manifestly ridiculous: I tell my libertarian friends that they do not need to wait in America pining for nirvana.

They can breathe the air of freedom from govern¬ment right now by moving to Somalia.

The libertarian agenda
• Appealed to Silicon Val¬ley,
• Naively enthused by Bitcoin’s promise of money without government, and
• Facebook’s mission of connecting everybody to every¬body.
• Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme burning the less-educated latecomers;
• Facebook is pro¬ducing echo-chambers and abuse.
• The agen¬da is irrelevant to the anxieties of ordinary people. For them, ‘stand on your own feet’ sounds more like ‘fall on your own face’.

As with Labour’s ‘intensely relaxed’ narrative, it left the Republican party vul¬nerable to hijack.

The GOP response was a populist. ‘Neither state nor nation’ that could never be a serious agenda for the Conservative party, despite its appeal with¬in the regulation-averse City, and Sajid Javid’s admiration for Ayn Rand and tax cuts.

Turning the Conservative party into the Libertarian party would be the royal road to political suicide.

So — The remaining choice is state-and-nation.

Human Needs are complex, explored in Literature, TV, etc, giving understanding, as well as entertainment.
In simple terms they are::

These are (Reference) —
1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.
2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, and freedom from fear.
3. Social Needs – belongingness, affection and love, – from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.
4. Esteem needs – achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, and respect from others.
5. Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

Clearly many are Complex Needs, and many also particularly apply to certain individuals and in certain circumstances.

In his book, “Hardwiring Happiness”, by Rick Hanson re-grouped these Needs, and related them to brain functions, as follows:
As the brain evolved, so did its capability to meet our three Core Needs, each with an operating system to realise the Need , which are —
• Safety — Avoiding harms
• Satisfaction — Yielding Rewards,
• Connection –. Attachment to others

Each of these brain operating systems has alternative modes of operation:-
• Responsive — If the Core Need is basically being met = the Green Setting
• Reactive — If the Core Need is at risk — the Red Setting

See Blog on Human Nature

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