06 August 2009

Violence and farm subsidies

More from Alice Miller:
National leaders intent on war do not want to believe that the destructive forces from which they constantly attempt to free themselves at other people's expense are in themselves revenge feelings for old, very personal wounds. in the face of even the possibility of nuclear war, we simply cannot afford to go on ignoring this fact. But that is exactly what we do: numerous civil servants and government specialists deal with the results of child abuse, without being able to see and know its origins.
Breaking down the wall of silence (page 94)
If Alice Miller is correct, violence against children is self-entrenching. The more it's done, the more it will happen in the future. In this it's similar to other destructive policies: farm subsidies for example, which enrich a tiny minority at great cost to everyone else and the environment, and enable this minority to oppose their removal. The corrupt madness of agricultural subsidies in the west has been known about for decades, but last year they totalled $265 billion. And in both areas, it's going to take a long, wearisome wait, for better policies to arrive. Darwinism selects only for a fairly narrow definition of fitness; it does not select for 'optimal from the point of view of human wellbeing'. Even then, I don't think we could rely on evolution to work, even after many generations, unless perhaps we are considering large numbers of planets and are indifferent to what happens on our own.

Agricultural subsidies, for all their many faults, don't threaten entire populations, but nuclear warfare does. We might well be inhabiting a planet where violence against children has irredeemably taken hold, and the 'fittest' in that paradigm are fit only to destroy human life on it. Rather than hope for the best, or wait eons for evolution to work in our favour, we could instead let a basic targeted outcome drive policy: absence of nuclear war. We could do this by issuing Conflict Reduction Bonds. It's true that, given numerous planets, the ultimate survivors may be those on the planet that, for some random reason, did not succumb to self-entrenching destructive madness. But for our planet and in our time, I think we need explicitly to target human survival, and to reward the people who help maintain it.

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