The state of human nature
Humans are social animals that live and cooperate in groups. They can achieve a high level of social organisation with the help of language. They can think of causal relationships. They are inclined to invent and follow rules. And they want to be recognised.
What a social order needs to be
Humans imagine that people have rights and are part of social classes. These constructs are called social orders. Social orders have changed throughout history. Not surprisingly, the elites benefit the most from the social order. But a social order can provide peace and stability.
What’s the point of technological developments and social change if these things do not make people happier? So what makes us happy? And what can society contribute to happiness?
Rational debates and historical processes
Most matters in society aren’t straightforward but rational debates can be used to evaluate ideas. Yet many arguments aren’t settled in a debate but in a struggle that is often called a historical process. The consequences of implementing an idea in society are difficult to predict so people may try it out.
The Great Law Of Peace
Is a more equal and free society possible? Perhaps there is an example in history that can show us the way. In the year 1142 five North American tribes, Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca, formed a league known as the Five Nations. Their arrangements were not uncommon in tribal societies, but perhaps we can learn from them.
World civilisation and universal culture
During the last 500 years, the living conditions of humans on this planet changed dramatically because of modernisation. Modernisation involves division of labour, industrialisation, urbanisation, social mobilisation, and increased education and wealth. The West was the first civilisation to modernise. Finding clues about what might constitute a future global civilisation and culture includes investigating which elements of Western culture could be universal rather than typically Western.
New World Order
The direction of history is towards closer integration of the world. The world is becoming one in three major ways, intellectually, economically and politically. In recent decades globalisation has transformed the world.
One of the most successful ideas ever is multiculturalism. Leaders who conquered an empire of different peoples often allowed them to keep their customs and settle their own affairs as long as they did not pose a threat to the social and political order. It brought peace and prosperity. If the empire lasted long enough then the peoples in the empire formed a common culture.
Development aid for every nation
Thinking about animal rights is sometimes seen as a luxury for leftists who have nothing else to worry about. But farm animals can feel pain and have social needs like us. The end of the mass suffering of farm animals could be near. Artificial meat may soon become widely available, taste as good and be much cheaper.
What’s the use of politics?
Humans became the dominant animal species on the planet because they can cooperate in large numbers in a flexible manner. That happened because humans can exchange social information via gossip and build societies based imagininations like ideologies. Politics is both discussing fictions such as ideologies and nation states to determine what should be done and gossip to determine who should do what.
Democracies are often called liberal democracies. So what is a liberal democracy and why might it be the best way of government? There are no easy answers to these questions nor is there agreement on these matters. Liberalism emphasises the value of individuals while democracy is rule by majority. These two principles can be at odds.
Wisdom of crowds and mass delusions
The quality of decision-making in democracies depends on how large groups of people form their opinions and make decisions. In this respect there are two opposing ideas, namely the wisdom of crowds and mass delusions.
Switzerland combines representative democracy (the use of parliaments) with direct democracy (voting on issues by citizens). Switzerland uses direct democracy more than any other country in the world. The Swiss are satisfied with their political system.
What is legal isn’t always fair. Perhaps the role of morality in law is too small. Because people have different views about what is right and what is wrong, the prevailing liberal view in many Western societies is that people should be free to do as they please unless their actions harm others. But even that view may justify a greater role of ethics in law.
It is the prerogative of a sovereign government to issue a currency. A currency stands for political and economic self-determination. The experiment with the euro demonstrated that separating political and monetary authority has its drawbacks. There may be need for an international currency but not for a single world currency.
The last day
This is the end. The exponential growth of human activities is hitting the limits of the planet. These limits are going to crush delusionss that growth can be eternal. We are in the final days of human civilisation as we know it. Even if it is possible to avert a disaster, this may require such drastic measures that life as we know it will end.