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How Humans Flourish and Wither


Humans are like plants, not buildings.  They tend to flourish when the conditions in which they live ALLOW them to, as the old Army slogan used to say, “Be all you can be.”  They tend to wither when conditions are engineered to MAKE them into an idealized image of what some of them think they should be.

Humans have been around long enough to have figured out a few things.  History is a veritable “How To” manual for flourishing AND withering.

One of the things we’ve figured out is the set of conditions in which we are most likely to flourish. Here they are:

  1. Negative liberty.
  2. Process-based equality, justice, and fairness.
  3. Limited government power
    1. The enemy of liberty is consolidated, concentrated, government power
    2. Government as garden tending; setting the conditions that ALLOW humans to flourish and then getting out of the way
  4. Aristotelian empiricism
    1. Accepts human nature as it is, and proceeds accordingly
    2. Healthy, U of Chicago style cognition and debate
  5. Epistemic humility
  6. The Telos of Truth
  7. Self-dependence, and the culture of dignity.

These are the conditions in the garden of humanity which ALLOW this to happen:

hockeystick Questions for a Resilient Future, video here, article here


We’ve ALSO figured out the set of conditions that is most likely to create oppression, suppression, and misery.  Here they are: 

  1. Positive liberty.
  2. Outcome-based equality, justice, and fairness.
  3. Expanded government power to do “good”
    1. Government as social engineering to create the “New Man” 
    2. i.e., Social Creationism, in which man places himself in the god-like position of “creating” the “Good Society”
  4. Platonic idealism (e.g., “I dream of things that never were and ask why not?” – RFK)
    1. Tries to “fix” the flaws of human nature.
    2. Unhealthy cognitively distorted thinking, and intimidation
  5. Epistemic confident/arrogance
  6. The Telos of Social Justice
  7. Dependence on others, and the culture of victimhood

These are the conditions which have created practically every oppressive social scheme in modern human history

unconstrained-vision-has-the-worst-record-in-the-history-of-ideas-duplcatedWhen Compassion Leads to Sacrilege, 1:03:48 mark of this lecture, full transcript here)

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