Adversity And Genetics

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There is a saying that adversity makes men and prosperity makes monsters.  If we look at the dark ages, where, for hundreds of years, people went without the protection of society, and afterwards, there was an enlightenment period, it would seem that the dark ages gave way to the enlightenment.  
Society affords protection to selfishness that would otherwise be rooted out.  In nature, offending someone means risking violence.  As such, any regularly offensive person would probably not live very long.  However, in society, those who are offensive are protected from violence by law enforcers.  And so, there is less genetic pressure against being offensive in society.  In this sense, when you have the dark ages where, for hundreds of years there was no or less protection for those who were offensive, we might consider that offensive people were largely, in one way or another, removed from the gene pool.  And, in the absence of this pressure against offensive people, in the present society, where it is beneficial  to be offensively selfish, we can expect a trend towards more offensive and selfish people.

Interestingly, the "adversity makes men and prosperity makes monsters" saying not always applicable.  If we look at wars, you can speculate what sort of genes are promoted during wars.  In a war, you are most likely to survive if you avoid the front lines, if you cower, if you don't risk your self for others, if you have others die for you, and if you take positions in management rather than fighting.  And, based on these behaviors, we can expect war to be disgenic, promoting the survival of selfish cowards.  This might explain the boomer generation, also known as the "me" generation.

So, if we want a re-emergence of the sort of progress seen in the European enlightenment, we need to avoid wars and promote consequences for offensive behavior.  But, in a nanny state, this is nearly impossible.

Some radicals think that re-allowing dueling is a good idea.  There are plenty of ways dueling would have negative consequences.  But, there is another notion which is almost wholly unrecognized and much more practical.

In the United States, there is the right to bear arms.  If everyone were armed, we might expect, at least temporarily, the occurrence of shootings during disputes to go up.  However, this actually would have a progenic effect.  For, the people who are irresponsible with gun ownership would shortly be taken out of the gene pool owing to their irresponsibility.   And, overall, this would improve the society.  It would both help to remove irresponsible people, but, in knowing that everyone else is armed, it would force the instillation of a greater respect, or the reluctance to offend, in people.  Apart from the consideration of guns directly in crime, you need to consider what sort of an effect wide gun carrying would have on the society.  And, it appears, from the perspective of wanting to improve the rights of the individual, having a society of wide gun carrying reverse the trend away from the increasing nanny state.

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