I’m reading The Red Queen by Matt Ridley. It’s an evolutionary psychology book, but flawed by the author’s left-wing politics. He tries very hard to deny the social implications of the biologically based qualities he discusses. For example, after 15 pages about the innate differences between the male and female mind, he suddenly declares,
Therefore, there is absolutely no justification from evolutionary biology for the view that men should earn and women should darn their socks….
Indeed, in a curious way, an evolutionary perspective justifies affirmative action more than a more egalitarian philosophy would, for it implies that women have different ambitions and even more than different abilities…. Since the bane of all organizations, whether they are companies, charities, or governments, is that they reward cunning ambition rather than ability (the people who are good at getting to the top are not necessarily the people who are best at doing the job,) and since men are more endowed with such ambition than women, it is absolutely right that promotion should be biased in favor of women – not to redress prejudice but to redress human nature.
Do I even need to comment on this?
Laws against racism do have an effect because one of the more appealing aspects of human nature is that people calculate the consequences of their actions. But I am saying that even after a thousand years of strictly enforced laws against racism, we will not one day suddenly able to declare the problem of racism solved and abolish the laws secure in the knowledge that racial prejudice is a thing of the past.
I expect that most readers of this blog are familiar with the ways that “anti-racism laws” have been abused. Besides which, the libertarian in me cannot stomach limiting personal, individual freedom in favor of what whoever controls the government has decided would be best for all of us to be forced to do. Right now it’s getting rid of racism, so sacred a principle that individual rights must be scrapped if it conflicts with it. What will it be tomorrow? There’s a reason certain individual rights are sacrosanct, not to be scrapped with political fashions. But Ridley sees absolutely no problem with repressive, easily broken, ill-defined laws for the rest of humanity’s existence.
Anyway, here’s the passage I wanted to share:
Our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, live in promiscuous societies in which females seek as many sexual partners as possible and a male will kill the infants of strange females with whom he has not mated. There is no human society that remotely resembles this particular pattern. Why not? Because human nature is different from chimp nature.
That kind of naivete is downright touching.