A Little Ray of Sunshine

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Musings on slavery, Stockholm Syndrome, and Western Civ

After reading Mr. Day's latest article and some of the comments on his blog (linked in title), particularly one by someone calling himself Mutly: "Athor -- If serf == slave and taxpayer == serf then...." I come to consider the following:

Why do the vast majority of people not object to increased regulation and controls over their actions, which seem quite clearly to lead in the direction of de facto slavery?
The answer that immediately sprang to my mind was Stockholm Syndrome. I have not made any great study of human psycology, so what follows is simply the musing of a mind momentarily unfettered by children (they being asleep).

Knowing that people have a tendancy to sympathize and even support their oppressors, why? I suspect it is a survival issue. There are reports, after all, of slave women in the southern US killing their infants to keep them from growing up in slavery. These women, one might hypothosize, were resistant to this tendancy to support their oppressors. However, they did not pass this on, be it environmental or genetic in nature. So Stockholm Syndrome is a survival trait in such a situation--at least, for one's children. And the vast majority of slaves throughout history who cooperated with their masters lived long enough to reproduce.

Most people alive today have ancestors who were slaves in one society or another. The willingness of people to submit to oppression rather than resist is the cause of this. Resisters tend to die young and not pass their genes or their opinions along to their offspring. So, in that way, it is easy to see where an encroaching police state meets with little resistance: it has been bred out of the strain over thousands of years.

Is there anything that could cause the reversal of this trend in humanity? Surely so. The current model of state oppression encourages people to rely on the goodwill of the oppressor to provide for them, and most people do. Any widespread disaster, be it plague, volcanic, oil, nuclear, or even extraterrestrial, will quickly eliminate those who rely on the state. Most of those left would be those who went against the will of the state and prepared themselves with both supplies and the means to protect those supplies. Will this happen? No human can say, but a great many think it likely that one or another of the above will come to pass sometime in the next few hundred-thousand years.

The question remains, of course, if this is geneticly caused or environmental. If the former, one worldwide disaster would eliminate Stockholm Syndrome almost completely. If the later, then humanity will continue in the current pattern over the millenium that follow. I lean towards genetic, myself, but without someone doing a study of this (do children of survivalist-inclined parents who are adopted by nanny-staters tend become survivalists as adults?) who can tell?