A Brief Recap...
Their arrival gave me an opportunity of noting again the sense of hierarchy that seemed to exist among the apes.
SEVERAL POSTS AGO, I suggested that many current events make better sense in a broader context.
It's been awhile since I last posted, and you may have lost the train of thought, so I'll bring things up to date before moving forward.
The current events I mentioned included the revolutions in the Mideast, the Republican Jihad against worker's rights here at home, the nuclear crisis in Japan, the Citizens United case in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Bush tax cuts, and the current recession.
The list could easily go on.
I suggested that, instead of viewing these events through the lens of this year, this decade, or even this millennium, we should ask ourselves about the long view—how do these events fit into the journey we have been on as a species, since we first became human beings?
The answer I've proposed is that although humans differ from our cousins, the apes, in many important ways, the most important difference politically is that apes are hierarchical by nature.
In a group of apes the most powerful lord it over the others, who play a subservient role: the top apes, for the most part, get what they want—while the others make do with what's left.
Humans, on the other hand, have an egalitarian society in their natural state, based on mutual respect, sharing, and a complete intolerance of anyone giving orders to anyone else.
I summed this up in a chart, comparing our native, hunter gatherer, culture to that of the apes in terms of modern categories:
|Political System||Democracy and Freedom||Dictatorship and Coercion|
|Economic System||Socialism and Free Trade||Capitalism and Concentrated Wealth|
This is the human distinctive, the thing which makes us different from our animal cousins.
The time we have spent living this way dwarfs the last few thousand years that we call "history".
But sometime in the last few thousand years, a handful of humans stumbled upon a method to turn the clock back: to rob the rest of us of our human heritage and make us live like apes again.
Their methods involved force, economic manipulation, religious propaganda, and frequent wars, to name a few.
They created the idea of a kingdom, where the top ape could once again grab all the wealth and all the power, and force a hierarchy on the rest of us, enslaving us to produce the riches he enjoyed.
Humans, being the progressive and liberal creatures we are, continued to struggle against this radical conservatism—this effort to turn the clock back to a point before the first humans created the first free society.
But the kings and emperors kept winning, until about 200 years ago.
Until the United States of America was founded.
For the first time since our hunter-gatherer days, there was a government which aspired to freedom for all, equality for all, and an end to class.
It seemed, for a very brief time, that the class war had ended—at least within our borders—that humans would be able to meet and arrange their affairs as equals, with little or no coercion, little or no hierarchy.
But the ape-masters had not disappeared, not even in the United States.
They could no longer wear their robes and crowns, they could no longer hold court, they could no longer abuse the populace by force, but they were still here.
They began to use other tactics.
Next: The Old Game In New Clothing...