The Collectivist Assumption of Depravity.

The word “natural” is one which has been a channel for a lot of aberrations from the religio-statist contingents. On the Christian side, freely chosen human actions are decried as being “unnatural” because they do not conform to a doctrinal model. On the Greenie side, which is often more extremist, all of human action is decried as “unnatural”. We are nothing but parasites on the face of the Earth, they say, we don’t deserve any rights, we don’t deserve any luxury or convenience, we merely deserve to survive, like brute unfeeling savages (perhaps they want to reduce us to their level, who knows). Both sides are aggressively anti-individualist and using the naturalness rhetoric in order to portray their value-driven enemies as morally inferior freaks.

These attacks are, of course, nonsensical. There is nothing inherently “unnatural” about humans or human behaviour. Like any other species on Earth, the human blueprint is the product of billions of years of evolution. Like many species on Earth, we have intelligence and we use tools. We just attained a critical mass of adaptability that permitted us to be freed from the constraints of day-to-day survival, which is the lot of individuals in all other species, and are able to build gigantic tools and habitations. This is not a “good” or a “bad” thing- it is just a fact, to be accepted.

Likewise, we have evolved the capacity to use our volition (which means: ability, an an organism, to respond to a given situation in many different ways). People can disagree with the memetic domination of this or that principle or rule, and choose a different way of doing things. Once again, this is not “good” or “bad”- it is a fact of nature.

As much as Christians would complain at being lumped with these secular ideologies, relativism and utilitarianism are mere extensions of this religious way of thinking. They seek to brand individual choice as evil, and to reify the collectives as standards of morality, just like the Christian is doing. To the relativist, any disobedience to the accepted beliefs is “unnatural” (which leads to absurd situations, like the atheist sociologist who insisted to me that atheism was unnatural and that Christians would be justified in killing him).

So what is natural and what isn’t? Well, from a general perspective everything is natural. Everything is part of the deterministic natural order. So I don’t recognize that this concept exists at the scale proposed by my opponents.

What I do recognize is that there is such a thing as a “natural state”. This would be the state of a system when it’s not being interfered upon by a violent or chaotic exterior agency, simply “letting things run their course”. A relationship between two people, for example, may develop a certain way if left to their own devices. But if a third person, a jealous party, beats up one of the two people and puts him in the hospital, their relationship may be disrupted. In this case, the introduction of violence derails a human system based on exchange of values.

Another, perhaps more abstract example is that of a computer program. In its normal context, we expect a certain program, based on experience, to behave in certain ways. But when put under duress, it might behave in unpredictable ways. In either case, natural behaviour and behaviour under duress may be vastly unrelated.

So what is the natural state of human groups? Is it, as the collectivists claims, a state of immorality and brutal violence, upon which their “outside” morality must be imposed to restore order and peace? Is it a nihilistic oblivion?

Well now we run into a major problem already. If their “outside” morality must be imposed to have order, how did the “outside” morality ever come to be imposed in the first place? Why would these hypothetical violent and immoral people care about imposing order? After all, remember that morality is part of all our actions. In this case, the order-giving actions would have to come ex nihilo, because they would be moral actions (according to the collectivist), but in the scenario people are assumed to be immoral.

The logical end result of denying individual sovereignty is to deny any morality, because morality is the result of individual sovereignty. If people are immoral by nature, then there is nothing left to say on the subject, as rationality is moral and hence can only arise in a moral organism.

Adding a transcendent agent, such as “God”, to the picture provides no support to the collectivist claim. Even if “God” communicates “outside morality” to its “creations”, they are still not necessarily going to follow it, and if they are immoral to begin with, why would they? Once again, assuming that such an act would be moral, they would have no incentive to effect it.

One may retort that “God” could simply interfere with their volition and force them to be moral, but that is a contradiction. Action without volition is not of the domain of morality, but rather mere puppetry. So when the “god” of the Christian Bible manipulates the Pharaoh’s will in Exodus 9 and 10, we can safely say that all moral concerns have flown out of the window, because the Pharaoh had no decision to take, but rather was being manipulated by a vengeful “god”.

In short, there is no way to save the collectivist narrative, except by sheer magical thinking. It is a fundamental impossibility. At some level, order and morality must pre-exist in the human animal, which we already know biologically that it does.

2 thoughts on “The Collectivist Assumption of Depravity.

  1. […] What does it mean to say human activity is “unnatural”? Is it the same as saying it violates certain relativistic norms of the collective? In The Collectivist Assumption of Depravity, Francois Tremblay argues that such claims are pure rhetoric and that the only sensible view is one on which the natural state of humanity is a moral state of being. Courtesy of Check Your Premises. […]

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