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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Are Citizens Tame Humans?

In my opinion that's a more apt version of Ron Bailey's question, "Are Humans Tame Apes?"

He points to the fact that domesticated animals tend to have smaller brains than their wild ancestors, and then draws our attention to the startling revelation that the human brain case seems to have shrunk on average since the rise of the state. Get it? Huh? Huh?

Domesticated animals are bred for docility and obedience. The dog is bred for loyalty to his human masters: essentially a wolf who views the human as an alpha male. And nobody wants a sheep or a cow, obviously, that's smart enough to ask "what's in this for me?" And likewise, ruling classes don't like subjects with critical thinking skills.

The next time you hear of a schoolkid diagnosed with "oppositional defiance disorder," you might stop to ask what's the agenda here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are several things to note about the smaller braincases:

1. The state arose about the same time as did civilisation. Civilisation was brought about by agriculture, which represented a dramatic shift in how humans worked and ate. Hunter-gatherers worked near their capacity to hunt, then played and enjoyed the fruits of their labour. Agricultural man worked hard all day long, then got up again and did it the next day. This shift in activities made intelligence less necessary, since the advanced skills of hunting are much more brain-intensive than farming.

Moreover, humans switched from very meat-intensive diets to very grain-intensive diets. That change made humans much less healthy, and dawn-of-agriculture-humans were smaller and had more brittle bones. Hence, they would have had smaller heads, as well.

2. Larger braincases does not necessarily equate to smarter animals. No hominid has ever had a larger braincase than the Neanderthals, but scientists almost universally agree that Neanderthals were not as smart as humans then or now.

- Josh

August 10, 2006 1:12 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Bbo Wallace,

It's the old double-standard: the state doesn't want ordinary people doing anything for themselves that it has reserved for its own specialist cadres. But the two policies play into each other. The average citizen or schoolchild should be passive and instinctively call for an authority figure to solve any dilemma; but it's OK for the authority figures to operate completely unchecked--the state can teach people to use tasers and kick down doors, or "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out," when it puts them through the relevant academy.

Of course, the state doesn't want critical judgment even from its functionaries, to the extent that they might question their mission, or switch sides like the soldiers at the Winter Palace.


The change in economic model (from using initiative to subsist independently to working under supervision) at least partially coincides with the change in the structure of power. The state prefers people who do what they're told and collect their paychecks.

The issue of health effects is interesting, though. People with gluten and lactose problems are probably holdovers from a much larger portion of the population at the time of the ag revolution. Probably for several generations, there was heavy selective pressure for adapting to an unnatural grain-based diet and adult consumption of milk.

August 10, 2006 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So now you crazy leftists are saying meat-eating is good? Make up your minds already! I for one vote that we commence with the hunting and feasting on wild alley cats and rats immediately.

August 10, 2006 9:39 PM  

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