It is hard to believe, but on the other hand, one should expect that the intellectual elite favoring social constructivism will not stop producing one fallacy after another.
The current fallacy comes from University of Oxford, from a study by the team at the Oxford Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology. It is not necessary to read the original paper published in Current Anthropology, as the article published on the Oxford University News site correctly reproduces the part of the results that says more about the bias of the team than about the subject itself.
Nothing new under the sky
The article is one of many attacking selfishness as the value that drives human action. As we know not only from the early work of Richard Dawkins, cooperation is not only perfectly understandable from an evolutionary point of view, but also perfectly compatible with gene selfishness. Even more, as the late Ayn Rand so perfectly demonstrated, the ultimate selfishness of the individual only leads to fair and productive social cooperation. Blind collectivism destroys not only the individual, but also social cooperation.
So it is a straw man argument when Oxford claims to have found the ultimate proof that all cultures around the world follow seven moral rules and that these rules support the thesis that cooperation is deeply rooted in all cultures. Only conceited intellectuals think such findings are groundbreaking. Every single family on earth and every community lives cooperation every day. Should Oxford intellectuals preach their findings to them, they would soon be ridiculed at best.
Seven moral rules?
But the best is yet to come. Let me list those seven moral rules and find an impostor:
- help your family;
- help your group;
- return favours;
- be brave;
- defer to superiors;
- divide resources fairly;
- respect others’ property;
Yes, among these seven rules there is a clearly visible impostor for the one that is useful for the rights of the individual. It is rule number six. There are two reasons for this.
There is an impostor
If you follow rules 1., 2., 3. and 7. you can not help but follow rule number 6. Rule number 6 does not add any value. It is a redundant rule within the proposed set of rules. If you follow reciprocity (Rule No. 3), then you are already being fair. And if one respects the other‘s property, which means the other respects his property as well, then the fairness of Rule No. 6 is fully defined. I will divide my resources according to rules No. 1 and No. 2, but not in such a way that someone outside of me would force me to divide according to rule No. 6.
The first reason why Rule No. 6 is a hoax becomes clearer in conjunction with the second reason. Rule No. 6 is the only one of the seven rules that undercuts collectivist value when considered as a rule in its own right. This rule is a standard and the most important collectivist value expressed in various forms of the ideology of equality of results. It is the only rule that refers to an external authority, a kind of collective imperative, a gun pointed at the head, to use Ayn Rand‘s famous metaphor. Even Rule No. 5, which may seem to lead individuals to follow an agent outside themselves, does not lead to a collective imperative, but to just the opposite of collective, to hierarchy. Hierarchy is the worst enemy of egalitarianism, which rigidly supports the collective agenda.
Rule #6, when considered in isolation, contradicts all other rules. When combined, it is superfluous.
No, thank you!
So why does this rule take place in this study? For a single reason: to justify a thesis that the “researchers” wanted to prove from the beginning. If you follow the story that the Oxford research team built around the seven rules, you can find only one lesson: cooperate according to rule #6. The whole study serves only one purpose: to justify the collectivist ideology of sacrifice.
Another major cognitive dissonance is also evident in this text. The researchers are trying to prove the universalism behind these rules. This would inevitably bring them to the ultimate human universalism: that of biology. A universalism that is biologically embedded in each individual is in stark contradiction to social constructivism. But they certainly avoid such a conclusion, for it would falsify their initial thesis.
The six rules mentioned are a poor attempt to rewrite the 10 Commandments and add an eleventh, whose only goal is to destroy the previous ten. For the 10 Commandments do not allow for social constructivism, just as our biological construction leaves no room for human rationality. As Jonathan Haidt famously depicted rationality as riding an elephant, we are inherently cooperative and selfish. Socially enforced cooperation is an illusion, but one that has done and can still do great harm to humanity in various forms of collectivism. Yet another progressivist blunder about morality.