Report Liberal has issues with Objectivism in Questions about Objectivism Posted January 9, 2011 Hi liberal, Your understanding of biology and animal behavior is deeply flawed. There is no "for the good of the species". To the extent that social animals come together (in the so-called "higher" groupings at least, such as mammals), they only do so insofar as it is in their individual interests. The old idea of group selection, where individuals sacrifice to keep the species going, has been dead since the sixties. There may be some group selectionary forces at work in certain instances, but they happen under very specific conditions that we can model - there's nothing magic about it. Take your lion example. Yes, lions have evolved to be social, since the ancestral behavior in cats is to be solitary. But they do not behave "for the good of the group". Their hunts are not even coordinated as a wolf pack's might be, and some individuals "cheat" - that is, they hang back and do less work, but still eat at the kill. So in reality, this group that you hold up as cohesive actually has an undercurrent of exploitation running through it. Isn't nature a bitch? To the extent that lionesses in a pride actually do cooperate (and remember that the backbone of a pride is the lionesses - males come and go), it is because they are all closely related to each other - mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins. Kin selection can be powerful, but again there's nothing magic about it. It's a matter of getting your genes out there in the next generation - there is no rule that your genes have to come from YOU. Coming from your sister is just as good, or more specifically it's exactly half as good over the whole genome. I promise you that you will not find any basis for your political views in evolutionary biology or, for that matter, in anthropology. You're welcome to try. Kat Thirdly, the advancement of humanity has not been primarily related to the individual keeping what they earn themselves but in the broad distribution of resources among its population, regardless of an individual members' direct participation in their acquisition. The gathering of individuals of a species into permanent groups enhanced the survival of the individuals as well as the species and for that to happen, competition between individuals of a species had to be reduced and cooperation increased and cultivated. If only those can who obtain resources by their own effort are entitled to keep all of those resources and are not obligated or refuse to share with a group of other members of their species, that group breaks down and is no longer a group species but a solitary one. In a group species, resources are obtained to advance the group. In a solitary species, resources, excepting pre-natal exchange, advance only the individual. Group species' or species that gather or organize in permanent clusters have more survival value for both the individual and the group. Notice that a pride of lions is far stronger than a bear because the lions cooperate as a group and the bear does not. That is because the individual lions within a pride have largely overcome their instinct for competition between each other over territory whereas the bear has not. So, this effects the bears' ability to cooperate in groups and therefore its ability to defend itself successfully against a pride of lions who can cooperate for defense. Also notice that the hyena, much smaller than most bears, because of its more advanced group cooperation, is able to challenge and harass lions on the plains. The underlying principle behind all this is: Competition, in any form, is a danger to the survival of the competitors. Today's advanced economic "competition" or free market is not a form of cooperation, it is the leftover territorial aggressiveness over natural resources.