Thursday, October 3, 2013

Natural selection

No photo, unfortunately, but you can easily picture it and, no doubt, have seen this broken pattern many times. As I have. But sometimes, for no apparent reason, it hits home, as it did for me last evening.

Sitting in a sheltered courtyard at dusk, I happened to look up at a patch of sky and saw a ragged V-formation of birds (ducks?), very high up, flying north-northwest.

Then, a few seconds later, a single bird flying in the same direction.

It had started out with the others, I supposed, and was slowly falling behind, lacking the required strength or coordination or stamina. If the journey were a long one, the laggard would inevitably be lost to the others.

Evolution at work.

My point here is not political. But you could say that how one responds to these particular facts of life determines the broad tenor of one's political views. Some deny the facts, of course, but those who accept them can clearly respond in very different ways.

In general terms, you could say that the Social Darwinist or the radical right-libertarian positively embraces the dark truths of the evolutionary process; that the moderate conservative accepts the facts and tries to mitigate their worst social and human consequences; and that the socialist seeks to create a sacrosanct social sphere in which these particular facts just don't apply.