History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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World history: a mysterious and terrifying enigma…pinker’s failure to see the failure of capitalist ‘progress’

February 20th, 2018 · No Comments

One more bit on pinker: one could do worse than promote a thesis of progress. But our larger point here is that pinker’s thinking is based on a false or absent theory of history. First, the focus on the enlightenment is too limited: it is the early modern as a whole (a transition) from 1500 to 1800 that is the generator of modernity and that is much more than science and reason, and the result is a misleading idea what progress is and what is anything it generating.
How do we know this? It is almost terrifying to think that a hidden dynamic is driving history in the large and that we can barely observe it and can find no thinkers as yet who can bring themselves to take it into account.
We need a larger perspective than that of the enlightenment which generates, yes, but which is generated in a larger sphere.

Pinker will also fail in the way classical liberalism and thus capitalism are going to be taken the engines of progress: whence the trend toward a compassionate society? Enlightenment reason? Did enlightenment reason generate the Quaker abolitionists? Wasn’t capitalist liberalism a tad cruel, eh? The key here is to follow the emergence of democracy and to see that via classical liberalism it is a work in progress. A step backward from the eighteenth century will show the crucial dilemmas of the English Civil War at a point when monarchy, democracy, and primitive communism were fighting for the definition of democracy. The exclusion of socialist strains from the liberalism of the England of the restoration is the truer picture and a reminder that classical liberalism is a regression that never really solved its core problem, as the men of the french revolution rediscovered well enough, generating the hopes to complete the ‘revolution’ toward ‘real democracy’ that we see in marx, whose work however didn’t fully resolve the overall question. But we should be clear to remind the pinkers that progress has been mixed and that the capitalist era is failing tragically as it engulfs a planet in ecological disaster…
The point here is to see that technology and economics do not really drive progress, as such..

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