State of nature forum

State of Nature vs. Human Nature

 
 
Picture of Roland (Lan) Peterson
State of Nature vs. Human Nature
by Roland (Lan) Peterson - Friday, 2 May 2008, 4:47 AM
 

Right after natural disasters, when there is a lapse of authority before the state can reassert its power, we get a glimpse of what the state of nature might look like: looting, rape, and violence; increasingly perpetrated by roaming gangs of armed gunmen as time passes and the state fails to regain control.

I do not think, however, that this reflects human nature. Human nature is varied, not monolithic. Not everyone becomes a marauding pillager when the rule of law breaks down. Some people display acts of courage, compassion, and self-sacrifice, and are guided by a sense of justice.

The problem is how to defend against those who are nasty and brutish, so that life doesn't turn out to be short, solitary, and poor for the rest of us.

Picture of Faik Kurtulmus
Re: State of Nature vs. Human Nature
by Faik Kurtulmus - Friday, 2 May 2008, 8:14 PM
 
Hi Lan,
I think what happens after natural disasters is a good example, but wouldn't you say they are extra-ordinary circumstances?
Faik

Picture of Trevor Jones
Re: State of Nature vs. Human Nature
by Trevor Jones - Saturday, 3 May 2008, 5:34 PM
 

Yes perhaps (and hopefully) they are extra-ordinary circumstance but nevertheless give some insight how uncivilized even modern man can be. Anthony's observations on Somalia and Darfur are also good examples, although the question of how much of the violence in Somalia is in fact state-sponsored might change the emphasis.

Not exactly 'on subject' but a few months ago the UK Home Secretary admitted that she wouldn't walk alone through the London borough of Hackney (where I in fact live). A sad thing for anyone to have to admit, and I do understand her trepidation. However, as this is from a government minister (and the one responsible for domestic law and order at that!) isn't it also some admission of the government's failure in its 'contract' with the people to protect them from an (albeit minor) aspect of the state of nature?

Picture of Roland (Lan) Peterson
Re: State of Nature vs. Human Nature
by Roland (Lan) Peterson - Saturday, 3 May 2008, 6:12 PM
 

Hi Faik,

I am not sure. If you look at the damage that so-called human predators - such as serial rapists, mass murderers, hate groups, child molesters, con artists, etc. - already cause today, when you have the power of the state to go after them, you have to wonder how much more suffering they would inflict if we could only offer an ad-hoc response. Even today, when hate groups target a minority, descent people who aren't part of that minority often decide to look the other way, so as not to inconvenience themselves or, worse, become a target themselves.

I suspect that the state of nature would not be an idyllic place. Not because people aren't inherently descent (many are) but because some aren't and they would prey on the rest.

Roland

Picture of Faik Kurtulmus
Re: State of Nature vs. Human Nature
by Faik Kurtulmus - Sunday, 4 May 2008, 9:12 PM
 
Hi Roland,
What do you make of this argument (or sketch of an argument) on behalf of the anarchist: some of the crimes you mention are due to mental illnesses and the state isn't able to effectively deal with them anyway; and the others are due to the social system in place, once the state is out of the picture they will no longer exist.
Faik
Picture of Anthony Diallo
Re: State of Nature vs. Human Nature
by Anthony Diallo - Saturday, 3 May 2008, 6:19 AM
 

Lan,

May be the return to state of nature (lawlessness) avails the opportunity for criminals to act as they wish. People seeing loss of their loved ones are forced to revenge and the situation goes out of control. Eventually people of same interest groups come together to become one gang (group) against another until when one stronger group emerges and overruns the rest.

State of nature is evidenced in Somalia and Dafur; for over 10 years Somalia has failled to regain control of Statehood..this is where we see bruitarity at its highest accord. Though sometimes courage, self-sacrifice and courage emerges from time to time, they lack bonding mechanism that could encourage forgiveness and return to a legitimate government.