Feb 26, 2009

Assumptions about human nature

Re bad behavior, graft and corruption...

I hope you agree that a fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives is the assumption about human nature. The Left believes that in a benign environment, humans are naturally good and it's abuse that triggers bad behaviors. The Right believes that people are naturally selfish, jealous, greedy, power hungry...

So the Left tries to create Eden so that people can express their natural goodness while the Right tries to build policies that channel vile urges in constructive ways, like use self interest to control prices.

I believe that graft, corruption, evil, all those bad things have been with us all along. With the Enlightenment and the more general acceptane and practice of Humanitarianism, I think global society, overall, has gotten better. But with the Information Age, we find out more about more of the bad stuff.

Soap opera, crime shows, newspapers, magazines, pulp fiction, even literature, seem to deal with the bad aspects of human nature. The types of media that try to communicate positive stories do not enjoy as broad an audience. So I guess whatever human nature may actually be, we enjoy learning about the evil aspects.

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