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Displaying posts with tag Racism.Reset Filter
Life and Liberty
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Liberty and the Social Order – Part Two

[An article from Free Life]

In Part One of this series on liberty and the social order, we explored some difficulties which discussions of this topic are likely to face. In this second part, we will move onto to exploring the complex issue of cultural compatibility in a free society.

*     *     *     *     *

Any complex social phenomenon – whether it be law, money, the state, the nation, the family, or a given culture – is neither random nor does it appear by chance. Human beings are thinkers, choosers and actors. Our behaviour is not pre-determined in the same way that the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening. Rather, we select a particular action from an array of available alternatives.

These choices, in turn, are influenced by ideas that motivate action in a particular direction – ideas that may concern either the boundaries of technical possibility or how we should form a particular world-view. The application of these ideas and values to the particular conditions with which we are confronted are the building blocks of a way of life – building blocks which are refined in the form of ethics, tastes, customs, conventions, art and institutions.

Thus, the precise reifications of any particular culture are a product of the unique economic conditions presented to a people by the opportunities, challenges, resources, climate and environment of their specific location, together with the choices they make in order to confront those conditions.[1]

Of course, cultural elements taken as a whole are scarcely the product of any one individual’s action. Moreover, every person alive today was born into an existing culture and an existing civilisation, the cumulative accomplishments of which predate and, seemingly, outweigh our mere, individual fripperies. Such circumstances can often induce the illusion that civilisation is mystical, its development the product of an unconscious, “evolutionary” force of nature. (For conservatives, such thinking can result in an uncompromising deference to “tradition”; for leftists and social reformers, civilisation is simply an object which can be taken for granted – even to the extent that it can be reshaped, remoulded or discarded at will without much ado). But the fact that each of us has to deal with our existing culture as a starting point does not invalidate the proposition that it is still, ultimately, the product of our choices and actions and, furthermore, of the choices and actions of people alive today.[2]

As a consequence of this, when different societies and communities emerged in different parts of the world, they would, as a result, have developed cultures, traditions, ethics and values different from those of other groups. Moreover, in this setting, owing to the limitations of travel and communication, it is possible for these cultural elements to be pretty much entirely coincidental with race and ancestry. In that instance, it would make sense to speak of concepts such as race and culture – and, concomitantly, societal cohesion – interchangeably.

Thus, to the extent that any of the differing cultures were incompatible with one another on account of contradictory and irreconcilable ideas and values, it would have been the case that peaceful co-existence in close proximity would be impossible and, moreover, for such impossibility to have been spoken about in terms of race. Moreover, such thinking is likely to be especially true if these societies fail to adopt an idea that is critical for the generation of peaceful, social co-operation: the primacy of the individual’s rights to his own person and property instead of a tendency to regard these things are mere tools for expropriation and/or devotion to some fictional “collective” purpose imposed by some individuals upon others.

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