America’s postmodern administrative state includes government monopoly education, massive retirement and health care finance, ludicrous farm and housing subsidies, and all are funded with government monopoly money. On top this is are the countless regulatory agencies that act as their own lawmaker, prosecutor, and judge with lives of their own.
Like all great social trends, this one is rooted in a basic philosophical principle. Specifically, the belief that people are inherently flawed, self-destructive, and unable to perceive the world rationally. This is the malevolent universe premise. It holds that happiness must be the exception to lives of struggle, and us poor dumb slobs need government protection from ourselves, not just threats from bad actors.
For example, in 2020, capitalism and the Wuhan virus are being blamed for today’s economic disaster that is really caused by arbitrary government quarantine mandates. And in 2008, the banking crisis was blamed on deregulated capitalists who were really acting according to arbitrary government mortgage mandates and interest rate price fixing.
A recent fictitious example is the President Obama 2012 campaign video titled “Julia.” It highlights a lifetime of government dependency bliss, but the mother of all malevolent universe fiction is the infamous 1951 novel, and 1963 hit movie Lord of the Flies by William Golding. In his forthcoming book titled Humankind, Dutch historian Rutger Bregman writes,
Culture permeates the idea that humans are selfish creatures. That cynical image has been proclaimed in films, novels, history books and scientific research. The secret of the book’s success is clear. Golding has a masterful ability to portray the darkest depths of mankind.
While nearly everyone believes Lord of the Flies to be fiction, an equal number believe its premise of innate human depravity to be true. Both are fiction – reason and productiveness are innate human virtues. As Poetic Justice would have it, six school boys from the Pacific island nation of Tonga became stranded at sea for eight days in 1965, and marooned on an desolate island for 15 months.
Poetic Justice Warrior Mano Totau, now 73 years old, was the first of his friends to scout the island, but after eight days without food and water, he was unable to stand upon reaching the beach. He did however call out to them, and they all swam to the island safely. As journalist Kate Lyons writes in The Guardian,
Totau was interviewed for Bregman’s account, which focuses on the positives of their story – the ability of the boys to cooperate and establish a functioning community that allowed them to survive for more than a year.
As Bregman describes, Lord of the Flies begins with “On the very first day, the boys institute a democracy of sorts, (but) the boys are more interested in feasting and frolicking than in tending the fire. Before long, they have begun painting their faces.” For Mano and his adventurous friends existence exists. Reality would win decisively over savagery,
You should be understanding of what could happen in a group like that, and in a situation they are facing. We were not happy. If you were on a place, you don’t know where it is, and you did not see any part of your family, I don’t think you’d be happy to be there.
According to Lyons, “Totau says that in general the boys managed to ‘settle it down and keep it in peace,’ though they did clash occasionally. They were after all six teenagers stuck together in a frightening situation.” Yet according to Golding’s Lord of the Flies fabrication, we are to believe the boy’s natural reaction would be decivilization, as Bregman summarizes,
By the time a British naval officer comes ashore, the island is a smoldering wasteland. Three of the boys are dead. “Ralph wept for the end of innocence,” we read, and for “the darkness of man’s heart.”
“Of course, Golding had the zeitgeist of the 1960s on his side.” In contrast, Totau and his friends were spotted and rescued by fishing boat captain Peter Warner who recounts,
The boys had set up a small food garden, hollowed out tree trunks to store rain water, a gymnasium with weights, a badminton court, chicken pens, and a permanent fire. All from handiwork, an old knife blade, and much determination. Their flame never went out.
In Golding’s malevolent universe, Lord of the Flies narrative, evil was the boy’s means of survival. Therein lies the contradiction. The values described by Golding are incompatible with human life. The Tonga boy’s premise was to face reality, their means was industry, and their objective was lives of purpose. As Bregman relates,
The kids agreed to work in teams of two, drawing up a strict roster for garden, kitchen, and guard duty. Sometimes they quarreled, but whenever that happened, they solved it by imposing a time-out.
In our individualistic, benevolent universe, it is catastrophes that are the exception because reason and productiveness are fundamental to human life. We achieve our higher values through voluntary interaction; living in a civilized society is the proper way of life. We are not hermits or pack animals, we are contractual. Bregman describes in Humankind,
Stephen slipped one day, fell off a cliff and broke his leg. The boys climbed down after him and helped him back up to the top. They set his leg using sticks and leaves. “Don’t worry,” Sione joked. “We’ll do your work, while you lie there like King Taufa’ahau Tupou himself!”
Rational self-interest is the moral foundation of capitalism; compassion and benevolence are corollaries. We don’t need any more King Obamas reminding us of their own flawed ethics, malevolent metaphysics, and collectivist politics. In his essay, The Rise and Fall of the Pajama Boy Nietzscheans, historian C. Bradley Thompson writes,
James Madison explained in Federalist #10 that men will always pursue competing notions of common good. They always seek political power to force their vision on society. This is a fact. “Common good” means the good of some is sacrificed to the good of others.
Instead, we need to lend more respect and recognition to Poetic Justice Warriors like Mano Totau and his mates. We don’t always need giants of economics, science, or philosophy to destroy the malevolent universe premise of the political way, it is perfectly human.
They survived on fish, coconuts, tame birds (they drank blood as well as eating meat). Later, when they got to the top of the island, they discovered an ancient crater where people had lived a century before. There the boys discovered bananas, wild taro, and chickens.
In Objectivist philosophy, its easy for human beings to agree when they hold as their moral absolute that no one exists for the sake of the others. In Austrian economics, its the collaborative nature of man. They were rescued on September 11, 1966, and “the local physician expressed astonishment at their muscular physiques and Stephen’s perfectly healed leg.” The flame of Mano’s Tonga Party never went out. They were their own heroes, proving that people are inherently heroic beings, not broken souls.