Anthropology matters

If the anthropology of unrestrained liberalism is the autonomous individual making his own way, the anthropology of populism is warrior ants in a ruthless tribal war. These are very different views of human nature, but they have something in common: Both narratives make us miserable!

In one, life is isolation, inequality and the feeling of being invisible. In the other, it’s malice, fear and constant war. And that’s because both of these political tendencies are wrong about human nature. They create societies that pulverize who we are and are made to be.

Human beings didn’t evolve into the world’s dominant species because we are more autonomous. We didn’t do it because we’re more vicious in tooth and claw. We thrived as a species because we are better at cooperation.

… No offense, but if you’re supporting Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders this year, collaboration skills are not high on your list of priorities.

David Brooks. Terrific column. Too bad there’s that New York Times paywall.

January 31, 2020

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