Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Human Nature?

The ‘human nature’ objection to socialism manifests itself in numerous ways, though it is usually the human nature of others, the wider society, which is acting as the barrier to socialism, never that of the model citizen and objector.

Picture this:

Scene: The High Courts of Justice, London. On trial is a 30 year-old man, charged with 3 armed robberies, 3 counts of attempted murder, and 5 charges of assaulting police officers and another of incapacitating a police dog. The QC for the prosecution has finished summing up. He sits down, satisfied he had done enough to see this psychopath imprisoned for 350 years, and now the defendant’s barrister approaches the jury, one hand in his pocket and fidgeting with his car keys.

Barrister: Members of the Jury! It’s an open and shut case as far as I can see. It’s human nature, innit? Humans are by nature greedy, selfish and aggressive. We’ve been like this for donkey’s years. Nothing you can do about it, eh? He can’t help it (points to defendant) – he’s naturally predisposed to be a violent robber. I, therefore, urge you to find my client not guilty on account of this ’ere human nature thing.

The jury retires and the judge adjourns. Five minutes later the jury returns. The foreman of the jury hands the usher a note which is then passed to his Lordship Justice Fairlaw. The judge looks at the slip of paper, raises an eyebrow and puts the note to one side.

Justice Fairlaw:  Have the ladies and gentlemen of the jury reached a verdict on which you are all unanimous?

Foreman of the Jury: Yes, M’Lud.

Justice Fairlaw:  And it is?

Foreman of the Jury: We find the defendant not guilty, M’Lud. We’re all agreed it’s not really his fault. Like his barrister said, it’s human nature, innit?’

Justice Fairlaw: In that case you’re free to go Mr Stabbemall

If you read this account of a trial in a newspaper you would be flabbergasted. You’d think this some huge joke or, if not, that the judge, barrister and jury were completely and utterly bonkers. Your faith in the criminal justice system would be shattered into a billion pieces.

This, however, is just the kind of logic socialists come up against when trying to convince people of the benefits of a socialist society. People will hear us out, agree that capitalism is insane and that our vision of a future society sounds perfect, and then wallop you with their evolutionary psychological analysis of human society, saying:

“Yeah, I agree with everything you say. But it ain’t gonna work, is it, coz of human nature? At the end of the day, humans are greedy selfish and aggressive. Always have been, always will be.”

Which immediately puts your socialist on the defence: “Are you greedy, selfish and aggressive?”

“No, but . . . err . . . I’m . . .”

“Good to hear it. Neither am I. Hold on a sec, I’ll ask this bloke here.” And the socialist holds out an arm and attracts the attention of a passer-by. “Sorry to bother you. I wonder if I could ask you a question.”

“Yeah, sure?” The passer buy joins the socialist and his critic.

“Right, would you consider that you are greedy and selfish?”

“Most certainly not.”

“Maybe aggressive?”


“Thanks. That’s all.”

“That it?”

“Yes, thanks. Have a leaflet.” The socialist turns back to the evolutionary psychologist. “I’ll ask this woman crossing the road.”

The street psychologist walks off, muttering under his breath that the socialist is distorting his words.

John Bisset 
from here

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