Thursday, May 24, 2012

A letter to a friend: psycho-history of violence

Dear friend,

These articles point to the kind of thing I was talking about in our last conversation:

The way I might look at it, people have been making really good arguments for freedom/liberty for a long time (Spooner, Tucker, Boetie and others) and while those arguments were perhaps "ignorable" for a time (because only a few/select individuals were making those arguments, and as an individual in isolation, their ideas could be seen a particular/unique to them), but at least by the 1970's while Rothbard was active (and as a 'libertarian' movement was developing), I do not see how those arguments were "ignorable" any longer; the liberty movement had coalesced and lots of academics were making these arguments.  This leads me to think, that either, the arguments and evidence for liberty/freedom are not good arguments, or perhaps that people at large are somehow incompetent to consider those arguments, or there are some deep psychological reasons that led people to reject those arguments.  I'm inclined these days to see the later possibility as the most likely; and the emotional reactions that arguments for a voluntary-society will often provoke in people, seems to me, to be a confirmation of the later hypothesis. 

If this hypothesis is right, then it would seem that the most productive path to liberty, is to raise children without violence, and to empathize with people, that they may be able to get in touch with their authentic-selves and perhaps to raise their children without violence.  I have seen convincing scientific evidence that supports the idea that when children are brutalized in childhood, that the experience causes changes in early brain development.   Until people can empathize with themselves, to explore their own pain, to get in touch with what is human inside of them, to get in touch with their authentic selves, the cycle of violence will likely continue.

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