Chapter 5 POLITICS, COGNITION, AND PERSONALITY Copyright (c) 1991, 1993 by David G. Hays (c) 1995 by Janet Hays 5.1. GOVERNING 5.2. GROWTH CURVES OF GOVERNANCE 5.3. WARRING 5.4. PERSONALITY AND UNDERSTANDING The reach of legitimate power extends from the family, at the beginning of rank 1, outward toward an entity that will encompass the whole Earth. Both technology and politics depend on the character of individuals at each rank. 5.1. GOVERNING 5.1.1. Political Organization 5_1_1* 5.1.2. Paradigms of Legitimacy 5_1_2* 5.1.3. Scale of Organization 5_1_3* 5.1.4. Scope of Power 5_1_4* 5.1.5. Penetration 5_1_5* Each rank calls on new principles to account for the exer- cize of power by some sapients over others. Restrictions on procedure arise, as the size and effectiveness of govern- ments increase. How is the evolution of technology linked with the arrange- ments we make for living together in groups larger than the nuclear family (a couple and their children)? Answer: In a loop of positive feedback. Increasing sophis- tication in one contributes to the advancement of the other. Both technology and governance exhibit a tendency through history toward greater differentiation and integration; nowhere does one get very far ahead of the other. We may look upon India and especially China as examples of sophisticated governance with only modestly sophisticated technology, and upon the German states of the nineteenth century as examples of sophisticated technology with relatively unsophisticated governance. Yet the need for a national economy to facilitate technological growth was offered as a reason for formation of a German national state, and China proved incapable of maintaining its internal system when confronted with Western governments backed by advanced tech- nology. The story of governance can be told in various terms: 1. Scale. How large is the population, or the territory, governed from one center? 2. Scope. What are the aspects of life governed? What is left to individual decision and individual protection? 3. Organization. What is the structure of the government? 4. Legitimation. How does the government justify itself? What is the basis of its right to govern? History shows increase in scale and scope, deepening organiza- tion, and profound changes in the nature of claims to legitimacy. The last, of course, are of greatest interest to me because there, if anywhere, we can see paradigms change. 5.1.1. Political Organization The technologies of Eden, Athens, Florence, and New York show evolution--increasing differentiation and integration. So do their forms of political organization. Let me begin, this time, closest to home, with New York. The most basic principle of organization here and now is that an officer of government must separate the rights and obligations of his office from those of his or her person. If the officer is given a budget of $10,000,000, the person must not take $1 of that--as numerous officers have learned only by going to prison. Giving special help to friends and relations is also forbidden. Nor may the officer look to daddy's college roommate, who now occupies a much higher office, for special help in solving a hard problem. This principle belongs to rank 3; violation is now said to be corrupt, but in rank 2 "corruption" is the way of life. But we are speaking of _offices_. A person may hold office for a time and then resign or be discharged. Some offices are filled by election, others by appointment. In rank 2, offices may be filled according to the personal whim of the person in charge. The very idea of _office_ is an "evolutionary break- through" ( Parsons* 1977:14, 15). In rank 1, it is unknown. A rank 1 person takes part in government either by performing certain actions on occasion, or by becoming a lifelong soldier or priest. At each rank, the ramification of political structure grows as polities become larger. In a simple village with a leader, the chart of political organization has only two levels: Leader above, all others on one level below. A slightly more complex system has a third level, for a leader of leaders. And yet another level may be added. As the leader's problems become more complex, two kinds of assistance appear. Councils of advisors help the leader work out plans. Staffs help to carry out decisions. From rank to rank, the staff comes to consist of persons with special preparation: Scribes, technicians, educated persons. Eventually the staff becomes a corps of mandarins, a civil service, a bureaucracy. The nature of staff preparation changes from rank to rank, as we shall see. Spencer* sorted polities according to the number of hierar- chical levels in their government: band or village (1 level), chiefdom (2), state (3), and empire (4). (See Carneiro's edi- tion, 1967.) Anthropologists and archeologists find this a useful criterion. Since all four types appear in rank 1, and since rank 2 begins with 1-level city states, and since we may wonder whether rank 4 will accept a government for Earth with 4 or more levels of regional hierarchy, I cannot take Spencer's categorization as my main outline. (See Gibbon, p. 342 ARCHBIBL* or Fried, Sahlins, or Service in Po12BIBL* .) One factor that is proposed to explain deepening organiza- tion and increasing staff at each level is sheer _volume of information_. Thompson (1964) estimated that some event that is significant to the U.S. Department of Defense changes a million times per second. Each level of hierarchy reduces the amount of information that the next above need consider. If all goes well, the rate of information at the top is manageable. See POLINFO* 5.1.2. Paradigms of Legitimacy The original paradigm of sociopolitical organization is the family. When an anthropologist writes on social organization, his topic is kinship and generalizations of family relationships. Up to the invention of writing and the emergence of rank 2 thought, any group that considers itself a political unit also believes that its members are all descended from a common ancestor--remote, legendary or mythical, but the human father or mother of us all. With movement up the growth curve the polity grows larger, and the leader becomes more significant. From rather early, the leader is endowed with powers beyond the ordinary. At length he is recognized as embodying a god. He is, perhaps, the eldest son of the eldest son ... of the god from whom all others in the polity are descended through less eminent branchings. One of the most remarkable effects of the transition to rank 2 is the spiritualization of religion. Instead of stones, trees, or mountains, rank 2 worships abstract gods. Such a god can select a leader, who therefore has divine right to rule, but such a god cannot be embodied in a person. Kinship is much less to the point (Abrahamson in Po12BIBL* ). When Europe re-entered rank 2 after the Dark Ages, it shaped its political paradigm in a new context. The most advanced rank 2 thought about governance generalized from religion to ideology (although my position is not quite the same, see Weber). The abstract god who legitimized the government gave place to a system of abstract ideas. Sometimes these ideas were considered to be the inner spirit of a people: The Germans, for example, or the Japanese, or the Slavs. Then the legitimizing ideas are likely to be not only abstract but also ineffable. A little later, in some places, thinkers tried to formulate explicit ide- ologies: Protestantism, property, and later still Communism and Fascism. The membership of an ideological polity is defined by the ideology; perhaps by blood, or perhaps by belief in the ideology, regardless of kinship. Rank 3 rises above ideology. It transforms the legitimizing principle from an ideology of revealed and unquestionable truths into a scheme of assumptions that can be examined critically; the governance of a country can be analyzed rationally as if it were a theory of physics. Frankl remarks that a fanatic does not have an idea; the idea has him. Ideology is governance by and for fanatics. Rational governance is not; it is for populations that can think about their principles, and alter them from time to time. The members of a rational polity are those who choose to join it, provided they can handle ideas: The USA has accepted great numbers of immigrants as "Americans". The preparation of staff in rank 2 is ideological. Knowl- edge of Christian theology, of Marxism-Leninism, or of Confucian literature, is not necessarily a sound basis for a career in public administration. Rank 3 creates programs of education in law and management to prepare future staff members. I should prefer to reserve the term "bureaucracy" for rank 3. We are now far beyond the beginning of rank 3. In optimis- tic mood I believe that the world is well up the growth curve toward rank 4. But I am unable to recognize a crystalization of rank 4 governance, and I suspect that it will not be possible to say what is the most advanced kind of rank 3 governance until the crystalization occurs and reveals its sources. Cultural relati- vism, the belief that every culture must be judged on its own criteria, might be what I am looking for. It would seem possible to establish a world government by applying that principle. But rank 4 might well discover that a small set of values has to be respected everywhere: Life, health, freedom, dignity. I do not know. Figure 5.1 ( Fig_5_1* ) summarizes this discussion. 5.1.3. Scale of Organization From rank to rank, polities do grow. The limits, however, are startlingly high. The largest polities have been Rank 1 Up to 500,000 Sumeria Rank 2 Up to 50,000,000 Roman Empire Rank 3 Up to 1,000,000,000 British Empire And we may assume that the largest polity of rank 4 will include the entire population of Earth, whatever that number may be at the time. ( Graber* ) Within each rank, the size of the largest polity has in- creased over time, although many small polities may continue to exist. (The members of the United Nations are not all of the same size today.) Rank 1 presumably began with families living separately; at that time, the largest polity on Earth might have had only a dozen members. In time, larger groupings formed; Sumeria is high on the growth curve toward rank 2 (Braidwood & Reed in AGRIBIBL* ). In general, see Po12BIBL* . But rank 2 did not form in the largest polities of the period. The Hebrews were not numerous, and Athens at its largest was only about 150,000 ( Parsons* 1977, p. 109). Then Alexander swept a vast territory into his brief empire, spreading the culture of the Greeks (Hellenistic culture), and the Romans built their enormous polity. Rank 3 began in the small cities of northern Italy, above all in Florence; science grew with contributions from many places. The climactic Industrial Revolution made Britain not only the workshop of the world, but also very nearly its master. My estimate of the Empire's population, which included India, Canada, and Australia (as well as many other areas), is a guess but cannot be much too high. 5.1.4. Scope of Power As a matter of historical fact, the scope of governmental power _diminishes_ from rank to rank. In the simplest, smallest polities, the community has fixed expectations about every aspect, category, and element of life; the individual can be criticized for aberration at any moment. As larger polities form in rank 1, the power of leaders is limited only by their ability. Rank 2 can formulate limits on the power of government and governors. Nevertheless, the rank 2 governments that appeared in the 20th century were often called "totalitarian" because they took upon themselves powers of great scope. In the past, rank 2 governments often proclaimed "sumptuary" laws, limiting who wore what. The concept of "rights" was created in the Enlightenment and attached to the American Constitution in the first ten amend- ments, the Bill of Rights--and proclaimed in France during its Revolution, but lost when Napoleon took power. Even so, the American Constitution gives unlisted powers to the states, not to the people. It is the rights of government, not the rights of the individual, that are limited only by explicit statements. I suspect that rank 4 will reverse this doctrine. When, and if, a rank 4 system of governance comes into existence, I predict that it will enumerate the powers of government, giving rational explanations for all of them, and reserve the rest to the people. And it will explicitly hold that if the rational explanations fail, either because of a change in conditions or because of more cogent arguments, any power of government may be lost. This could be the only prediction I make about rank 4, and even here I am skeptical about the concept of "rationality" that I rely on; my concept is almost certainly a rank 3 concept, susceptible of replacement in rank 4. 5.1.5. Penetration To what extent does the law of an empire carry into its remote provinces? Do the benefits of English common law reach the peasants of India or the tribes of Africa? Were the edicts of Babylon faithfully enacted in the other towns of Mesopotamia? As recently as the 1950s, the governor of a southern state announced that he would "interpose" state law to prevent enforce- ment of Washington's civil rights laws in his territory--but he was not permitted to do so. As the size of the polity increases, and the number of levels of organization goes up, the leaders at higher levels are more and more distant from the population. A high leader has power, always limited, to enforce decisions. From the chief of a group of thirty villages to the modern President of the United States, the limitations of power are significant. Medieval kings of England had trouble with their barons, who eventually imposed the Magna Carta. Until rank 3 was well established, leaders in combat might discover that some of their subordinates had decided to withdraw their companies from the battle. The Roman Empire never interfered with the father's power in his own family. From rank to rank, improvement in technology has enhanced the capacity of high-placed leaders to penetrate the domains of their subordinates. Rank 2 provides superior communications. Thanks to writing and to roads, the central leader can send out orders and know that they will arrive in exactly the form dis- patched. In return, the central leader can receive reports: From the local leader, from an inspector sent out by the center, or from disgruntled citizens. In rank 3, the most powerful weapons are so sophisticated and expensive that only high-placed leaders can acquire them; with weaponry an order of magnitude more powerful than any local leader can possess, the central government is beyond any risk of insubordination. Or so it seemed, until terrorism, guerrilla warfare, and the refusal of troops to fire on their fellow citizens proved, late in the twentieth century, that central governments are still vulnerable, and that extrapolation of historic trends into the future is futile. The governments of the USSR and China had penetrated as deeply into the lives of their populations as any government had ever done; their success had made some Americans believe that it was necessary to emulate them in order to avoid conquest by them. Yet one fell and the other is in some turmoil. A few powerful nations possess enormous military power, but can find no way to impose their will, even collectively, on Islam, on drug traffickers, or on dozens of small ethnic units that insist on fighting among themselves. We are left, therefore, to wonder whether, and if at all then how, the United Nations (or some successor organization) will penetrate the "sovereignty" of nations--and of nonstate entities such as the Mafia and the drug rings. 5.2. GROWTH CURVES OF GOVERNANCE 5.2.1. From Family to Church-state 5.2.2. From City-state to Modern Empire 5.2.3. From Democracy to United Nations Each rank has arisen in a small polity, but polities of the new rank have grown, destroying or absorbing many of lower rank. Along the way from the beginning of human life to now, the growth of polities has occurred in small steps. Anthropologists and political scientists have sorted out many specimens and arrived at a sequence of stages. In Fig_5_2* I put their categories into our set of ranks, using widely accepted terms for most of them. Figure 5.3 ( Fig_5_3* ), a table of Types of Polity by Rank, contains the skeleton of my theory. The follow- ing paragraphs flesh it out. 5.2.1. From Family to Church-state Political organization in rank 1 is legitimized by general- ization of the kinship ties that are formed in the nuclear family. From Eden to Babylon, the size and intricacy of the polity increases. Every society that has been seen by a literate observer has recognized the responsibility of a man and woman for the care and training of their children. (If the couple and children are isolated, they constitute a nuclear family; sometimes they are merged into an extended family.) Our nearest primate relatives do not mate for life, and the male does not care for his off- spring. But at some early time in the evolution of our species the family emerged, and we have lived in families from then until now. We can take it as universal among sapients that adults in the family have authority over children, and as very common that the father has authority over the mother. Is the nuclear family ending with the emergence of one-parent homes? If that occurs, it will set aside fifty thousand years of experience. In Eden, where hunting and gathering provide sustenance, the family is the largest political unit. No family accepts the rule of any other. Father is head of the family, and recognizes no chief above him. Sometimes, anthropologists tell us, many families get together for hunts, or around a water hole, or for rituals. But when they are together they do not constitute a community in the sense that we would recognize. Like New Yorkers in a subway car, they just happen to be there at the same time. Well, they commune with each other more than subway riders do, but they are not an organized group. Families come and go at will. (See Turnbull* and Lee 1968, 1979 p. 367 in FORGBIBL* ) BAND. A completely isolated nuclear family would not be likely to survive for long because the world is full of threats against which such a small group cannot adequately defend itself (see Wobst* ). Eskimo families are alone for much of the year, but they assemble occasionally; other hunting and gathering peoples assemble more often. A group of nuclear families that tend to stay together constitute a band. Children of the same band may be forbidden to marry, since all members of the band are regarded as relatives. Band organization seems to exist in every known culture, and for all we know is about as old as the family. The band has a membership of a few dozen. In a few special situations, as beside a stream full of salmon, the band has a residential center, a kind of village, but usually foragers cannot find enough to eat by walking out from a village every morning. Foragers do recognize the boundaries of their territo- ry, and the band may hold it in common. Bands have no definite leaders, but the whole band collectively may enforce its rules on a reprobate member. The basis of membership is imputed kinship. Within larger polities, the band continues as a necessary level of social but not political organization. Naroll calls the circle of kinfolk and friends that is the functional equivalent of the band in a larger society the moralnet* . TRIBE. A group of bands with common language and culture provides the genetically necessary population for marriage outside the range of close kinship. Such a group is sometimes woven into a tighter network, a tribe, by cross-cutting associa- tions. A clan or an age-group society with members in all or most of the bands helps maintain peaceful intercourse in a larger, denser population of hundreds or thousands. Population density depends on sustenance. Where fish are readily available, where the game is plentiful, or where a little gardening is done, density can increase enough to support and require tribal organization. Still there is little or no govern- ment; the tribe is not a polity, but a federation of polities. Leaders may emerge briefly, for specific purposes: for a fight, in particular. Kinship remains the basis of legitimacy (Sahlins 1968 in Po12BIBL* ). VILLAGE. The growth curve toward rank 2 begins with improv- ing sustenance. A rich salmon stream, or more often some garden- ing, provides enough so that a band can settle down and, for one thing, build semipermanent shelters. Without fertilizer, garden- ing depletes the soil and the village must move to a new spot every few years. Often the food produced becomes the property of the village. If there is grain, it may be stored in a single, stone-lined pit for all to draw on. The people in such a village regard themselves as a single, large family. The sense of membership in the village is just moderately strong. Leaders appear in some villages--petty chiefs who may also be shamans. The headman has some authority, but not a lot. A few villages are known in the Near East from 7500 to 9500 years ago; one is Jarmo. They occupied 2-3 hectares (5-8 acres) and had perhaps dozens of houses. There is a magic number here, and the number according to Robert L. Carneiro* is 200. If a village grows beyond that number, the interpersonal tensions lead to a split. Some fami- lies move away and start another village. Flannery ( Po12BIBL* ) reports that Tiv compounds usually include about 20 persons, and rarely reach 80. Nevertheless, Äatal HÅyÅk was a town of 32 acres with 6 thousand population, 8000 years ago, according to Mellaart. CHIEFDOM. Sometimes groups of villages are woven together into chiefdoms. A paramount chief is a man (never a woman) with authority. He rules over thousands of persons, who live in ten to fifty villages and conduct a little agriculture by the slash-- and-burn method. (Cut the bark of trees to kill them; next year burn the dead trees, and plant in the open space between stumps.) The chief needs a political organization to survive. He must have assistants in the villages, a staff of councillors, and some fighting men loyal to him who can put down insurrection and kill those who displease him. The chief's helpers often include strong young men who carry him in a litter. The scope of his authority is not broad: He punishes offenses against his own person, family, and property; he takes from the people what is needed for feasts and ceremonies; he organizes war parties, but he may be unable to prevent spontaneous raiding. (Aspects of life that the paramount chief does not control are handled by local chiefs or families.) The chief may well legitimize his authority by his position in the kinship structure to which all his people belong: He is, for example, the eldest son of the eldest son ... back to the first human being created on earth. A contemporary example is reported by an anonymous Peace Corps volunteer working in Niger: "Last week we celebrated Tabaski, the great Muslim holiday ... There were 10,000 of us in a gigantic field. ... I even saw the local sultan. He rode in a new Mercedes while about 20 men carried his traditional litter. Hundreds of guards carrying mean-looking swords cleared the way for him." (_Washington Spectator_, Jan 1, 1990, page 3) The people are Tuaregs; Niger belongs to the United Nations, and has a national university. On the powers of paramount chiefs: CHIEFBIBL* TIMELINE: CHIEFDOMS ARISE 1200 Southeastern North America. Flannery 1972:401 -350 Lowland Maya. Ball 1977:111 -500 Highland Guatemala. Not before -800. Sanders 1974:97, 111 -850 Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Blanton et al. 1979:374 -900 Valley of Mexico. Sanders and Price 1968:15 -1200 Olmec, Mexico. Not before -1500. Sanders and Price 1978:290 -1800 Peru; not before -2000. Lanning 1967:57, 59, 78, 90 -3000 Central Europe. Milisauskas 1978:167 -4000 Britain. Renfrew 1973:540 -5500 Near East. Flannery 1972:403 PETTY KINGDOMS. The next political level is the kingdom. Let us say that it has three levels of political organization: 1. The village is still the basic unit. 2. Former chiefdoms are administered as provinces. 3. A group of chiefdoms ruled as provinces by a powerful leader is a kingdom. The political organization to keep everybody in line has to be larger, more differentiated, more effectively integrated. Such kingdoms exist without writing. They have much more commerce than chiefdoms, and they have many more craft specialties. (For an example, see Sanders in KINGBIBL* .) The easiest kind of kingdom is a tribe with one language, one culture, and a number of chiefs. The scale is tens to hundreds of thousands of persons, in a territory of many square miles. The central town may grow to be a small city. Between the village and the kingdom is a new level of administration, conducted in provincial towns grow up. The king needs a retinue, which typically includes a council to advise him; and he must exercise authority over local chiefs in different villages. The scope of a kingdom is broader; it defines and punishes a variety of crimes, leaving less scope to subordinate levels. It can tax its people, and require them to work on its projects: Tombs, temples, irrigation systems, and fortifications (for an example of the power of a petty king, see Speke in KINGBIBL* ). Authority is explained still by kinship relations, or possibly by reference to some god or gods who sponsor the king and his government. CHURCH-STATE. In Egypt and Mesopotamia, and later in India, China, central Africa, Mexico and the Andes, the central town grew to be a city; the territory expanded to hundreds or thousands of square miles, peopled by hundreds of thousands. A corps of priests emerged around the king, to form an institution at once political and religious. Authority in practical matters followed immediately from authority in supernatural ones. The government is ramified, with several levels of territorial organization, each having leader, council, and officers to interpret and enforce the laws. The body of laws was in some places codified and covered commercial and family affairs as well as offenses against the ruler and the church-state (the term is from Leslie White, 1959 in Po12BIBL* ,who called it a "state church"). 5.2.2. From City-state to Modern Empire Oriental despotism (see Wittfogel in KINGBIBL* ) has often been set against European democracy, and Greece is taken to be the cradle of Western liberal thought (see Hignett* ). Recent writers argue that the Orient has not been so very despotic, or not always. And of course I see an anachronism in projecting modern liberal democratic governance back to Athens. But the processes of rank 2 thought are more sophisticated than those of rank 1, and Athenian democracy was essentially different from the church-states. When the Greeks defended Europe against Persia, they were defending the seeds of rank 2 against the flowering of rank 1. The new rank has to start over; no large rank 1 polity is transformed to rank 2. Instead, small units create the new forms and begin to grow. CITY-STATE. The difference between a small city such as Athens, with a population of about 50,000, and an overgrown town of the same size, is best indicated by the diversity of crafts in the city. But the difference in governance between the city- state and the earlier church-state is simple: The rank 1 king is god or god's representative, and the people live to serve him. The rank 2 head of state holds his power for the benefit of the people. In ancient Greece the proportion of the population that determined who would lead them all was small; when Athens grew to 150,000, only 30,000 were citizens, and among them only the adult men took part in government. But the idea is new, however limited its application. The choice of leaders was made in Athens by heads of powerful families or clans ( Parsons* 1977, p. 91); the city- state was a polity composed of families, not of individuals. And the Greek belief was that the gods spoke to individuals. I take the town meeting of the Greeks to be a kind of religious ceremo- ny, like the Greek drama. Letting the heads of clans vote for leaders gave the gods a chance to determine the issue, as con- sulting an oracle would do. ANCIENT EMPIRE. Athens created a small, ephemeral empire. Alexander the Great built a larger one that did not outlive him, and he died young. The Romans built a still larger empire, and it lasted 500 years or so. The Roman emperors were arrogant, but in fact the Empire existed for the welfare of its population, and succeeded rather well over long intervals in promoting economic welfare and intellectual development. Other empires were created in Mexico (Aztec and Maya) and the Andes (Inca); also in India and China. MONARCHY. After the Roman Empire collapsed, Europe was again at rank 1. Bands, villages, and chiefdoms variously held bits of the continent. Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire was perhaps a new example of a church-state, although Charlemagne did not pretend to be a god. The resumption of long-range commerce after AD 1000 supported the growth of a new generation of city states. What followed this time was again somewhat novel. The monarchies that appeared when the Renaissance was complete were almost nations; that is, they were institutions that (a) held a territory and (b) organized people of one culture. (See Palmer* and Gellner* .) The best example is Britain, the second best is France; all other examples are ragged. The diversity of language and culture within one monarchy was greater than we would expect today. Life was tumultuous, as late as the fourteenth century (see Tuchman* ). The kings were chosen according to excellence, ability to hold together a fighting force that could overwhelm opponents, the preferences of barons and, to some extent, the wishes of the population. But these are coming to be ideological kingdoms, and the inner spirit of the people (French, German) is embodied in the monarch. "... in the fifteenth and 16th centuries men still gave their political loyalty to persons rather than states. ... Wars were dynastic and personal ..." Eugene F. Rice, Jr., CHW 491 Only at the end, when monarchy was about to disappear, did the kings insist on divine legitimation and inheritance of the throne. NATION-STATE (see NATNBIBL* ). To create a common language and culture, a state must provide elementary education to all its people, secondary education to some, tertiary (college) education to a few at least, and graduate work to a handful. This pyrami- dal scheme (which I learned from Gellner* ) is what it takes to provide interchangeable, moveable workers for industry, replacing the craft worker who learns, as apprentice, how to do one job- --and can do only that forever. European nation-states began to form in the seventeenth century (Kohn; for Britain, see Colley), but Europe did not completely meet this criterion before World War II. Except perhaps for Scandinavia, the countries of Europe retained an uneducated segment, a proletariat, capable only of farm work, domestic work, or menial tasks in the urban economy. However, the Germanic and Romance areas of Europe came close enough so as to build industrial economies. Spain and Italy lagged in western Europe; Czechoslovakia ran ahead of its Slavic neighbors. The nation-state is the birthplace of bureaucracy, the rationalizing staff that formulates and administers laws and regulations on behalf of, but not as members of, the ruling clique. MODERN EMPIRE. The archetype of imperialism is the British Empire, on which the sun never set--until World War II. How many levels of political organization did it have? How many human beings did it rule? Britain sent viceroys and bureaucrats all over the Earth. Think of a person living in a village in India; through how many levels of hierarchy would that person's petition have to rise before reaching Queen Victoria? At a guess, the number might be around 8 or 10. The white man's burden (the term was coined by Kipling in 1899, in a poem asking the USA to take over what Britain could no longer manage), to govern the whole world, fell on his shoulders when he realized that the nonwhite peoples of the Earth lacked the intellectual discipline to govern themselves. That realiza- tion, or illusion, is certainly connected with the difference in rank between Europe of the nineteenth century and the rest of the world as it then was. But the "burden" was a self-serving notion. Britain took from its Empire the raw materials for its factories, and sold to the Empire their products--buying low and selling high. Britain educated the colonial peoples somewhat, sometimes. The story of Malta is suggestive. The local aristocrats did not want to pay taxes, and Britain did not want to spend Empire money. Therefore until the British left Malta had almost no schools, hospitals, or public works. In 1988, a generation after the British had left, the people of Malta were uniformly educated and fluently bilingual in English and Maltese. Imitating Britain, France and Germany established colonial empires. Russia created a contiguous empire by conquering much of the central part of the Eurasian land mass. Under Communism, the USSR made a great effort to make its population literate, and tried to impose the Russian language on the diverse cultures of the Muscovite empire. 5.2.3. From Democracy to United Nations The American Revolution, from the Declaration of Indepen- dence to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, put into place the first rank 3 government in history. Democracy, as the founders of this country knew, requires an educated electorate--that is to say, a population capable of a rank 3 life--because without education people need leaders who assure them that their way of life is legitimate. DEMOCRACY. The doctrine that gives legitimacy to democratic government originated in France during the Enlightenment, and developed in an interchange between thinkers in France and the American colonies. Personal liberty, in English philosophy, had been secondary to property rights: The individual was entitled to decide for himself because he owned himself. French philo- sophy put the individual above property. English religionists gave to each person the capacity and duty to listen to God. The French Enlightenment was essentially atheist. The American version of democracy was a compromise made among thinkers who ranged from Godly to godless. The right to property was replaced by the right to the pursuit of happiness only at the last minute, and for political reasons more than philosophical. There is more here, however, than a political form. I like the statement by Fairbank (in CHINABIBL* ): Civil society may be defined as the democratic type of society that grew up in Western Europe beginning with the rise of towns independent of the feudal system. It is a pluralist society in which, for example, the church is independent of the state, religion and gov- ernment are separate, while civil liberties (recently expanded as human rights) are maintained under the supremacy of law. Civil society is a matter of degree, seldom neatly defined. It is part of a country's state-and-society but has a measure of autonomy, free- dom within limits. It is not to be found in Islam nor in the modern totalitarian regimes of fascism, Nazism, or communism, nor in the Chinese dynastic empires described in Part One. (p. 257) Something of civil society did arise, Fairbank says, in Late Imperial China. Seligman* puts the origin in the West later than Fairbank does, in and after the Enlightenment. To me the point is that most of life, for me and those I know, is unnoticed by the government. We make our arrangements with one another and carry them out, sometimes filing a certifi- cate of marriage, or birth, or intent to do business under a fictitious name, but for the most part the government takes care of its affairs and we take care of ours. We trust our own judgment, and we trust one another. In the end, the source of legitimacy in American government is rational analysis of what is necessary and appropriate. The people are expected to think, and their representatives in the legislature have that same obligation. In both Britain and America, a "conservative" segment of the population has fought against this doctrine. The landed aristoc- racy of Britain held back democracy throughout the nineteenth century; World War I produced some changes, but only World War II converted Britain fully to the American doctrine. In America the conservatives have used religion more than land ownership as the real and symbolic basis of power. In both countries the basic issue seems to be whether the present and future generations are as capable of legislating as the glorious past generations were. WELFARE STATE. In a family, the rule of distribution is that every member have enough to survive. When generalizations of kinship cease to legitimate political systems, other rules of distribution are needed. The most primitive rule of distributive justice is perhaps "Them that don't work, don't eat." Until near the end of the nineteenth century, not much beyond that was enacted in any rank 3 state. But when a generous supply of goods is available, and a significant share of the population has little or no access to food and shelter, it becomes obvious that a milder rule is possible and that love can temper justice. In Sweden and Germany, and in the 1930s in Britain and the USA, laws were enacted giving protection to women, children, and elderly, and guaranteeing at least enough for survival to everyone. Later basic medical care was added. The doctrine that government is capable of ameliorating bad economic problems, such as the Great Depression, which in the USA was put in place by Franklin D. Roosevelt, is another novelty. The combination of economic activism and assurance of survival for all the people characterizes another kind of polity; it is a new paradigm. "In the United States at least, government performs five basic economic functions: (1) determination of laws governing economic organization and conduct; (2) maintenance of competition; (3) economic stabilization and growth; (4) an equitable distribution of income; and (5) reallocation of economic resources." EETc 11 UNITED NATIONS. From the beginning until now, the scale of the largest polity has increased. Even today, the smallest polities are bands or villages in the Amazon or other places to which national power does not reach in any significant way. But the largest are larger than ever before. Europe is attempting, with much hesitation, a new degree of economic integration, and the changes in Eastern Europe that have taken place since late 1989 suggest the possibility of an economic and eventually a political union from Britain to Poland if not to the USSR. Between World War I and World War II, several intergovern- mental entities were created that reduced national sovereignty: The League of Nations, the World Court, and others. After World War II, the United Nations was created. It could interfere with the sovereignty of small nations only, but it has done that repeatedly. Then what? We live in a world with more than 120 sovereign members of the United Nations, some not much more than chiefdoms. New York has exercised a varying degree of influence over some of them, largely through such organizations as multinational corpo- rations, the World Bank, and so on. A political institution covering the whole world is in our future, somewhere. But it has not emerged, and we cannot be sure what it will be, or whether its center will be in New York, Tokyo, or some other place. That the peoples of the whole Earth will eventually form a single political entity, and that the scope of its power will grow until it can guarantee basic rights and welfare for every- one, seems certain. But to achieve that condition may entail the formulation of new doctrines of legitimacy which only rank 4 or higher can conceive of. 5.3. WARRING "Imagine a group of tribes living within reach of one another." If one tribe attempts "expansion and con- quest", the others can 1. suffer destruction; 2. suffer subjugation and transformation; 3. flee; 4. defend themselves. "Power can only be stopped by power, ..." -- Schmookler* p. 21 Here is a plausible (simplified) characterization of life on earth from rank 1 to now. Look at World War II: A group of tribes (the nations) living within reach of one another (techno- logy had made the whole world accessible). One (Germany, Japan, even Italy) attempted expansion and conquest. Czechoslovakia, Poland, and France suffered subjugation and partial destruction; Britain and the United States defended themselves. See NATNBIBL* The reach of warfare has grown. In rank 1, warfare was mostly confined to the distance a war party could reach in a day, although the use of horses and (in one region) camels permitted warfare at greater distances. Those who fled were, it seems, the ancestors of the nonliterate hunter-gatherer societies that Europeans found in arctic and desert areas. Rank 2 expanded the range of warfare by organizing systems of provisioning at a distance--Rome could apply military power from Britain to Egypt. And in rank 3, World Wars could engulf all of Earth. The parable of the tribes was as good a characterization at the end as it was at the beginning. Warfare increases in differentiation and integration. In the simplest societies of rank 1, every adult male is a fighter; groups of young men conduct raids on their own decision. Until the growth curve to rank 2, there is no special technique for fighting as a group. In rank 2, armies are composes of special- ists in warfare, although farmers may go to war between crops. Polities struggle to gain a monopoly on the use of deadly force. The tactics of battle are well developed. When rank 3 is estab- lished, only governments make war and only specialists fight; when it is necessary to enlarge an army, conscripts are trained before they fight. Military strategy becomes an art. Does warfare increase or decrease by rank? Considering the bloodiness of the American Civil War, fought between regions of a national state that I have described as the first to have a rank 3 Constitution, and the horror of two World Wars in which Europe, the birthplace of rank 3, devastated itself, it may be hard to believe that warfare decreases. Nevertheless, I shall try to make the case. Begin with rank 1. Andrzejewski (1954, NATNBIBL* ) found that conflict is more frequent in polygynous societies. In 1970, William Divale published a theory of warfare as a mechanism of population control. In 1976, he and Marvin Harris published a new version in a major journal; they were attacked by a number of readers ( SUPRBIBL* ). Their abstract tells the story: We present cross-cultural data on the existence of a pervasive institutional and ideological complex of male supremacy in band and village sociocultural systems, and we identify warfare as the most important cause of this complex. We explain the perpetuation of warfare in band and village society and its integration with selective female infanticide as a response to the need to regulate population growth in the absence of effec- tive or less costly alternatives. Our hypothesis is supported by a demographic analysis of 561 local band and village populations from 112 societies. Enough females are killed at birth to assure an excess of young adult males, who fight for mates. As many as a third of males die by violence in most societies of rank 1. The frequency of warfare raises males to supremacy. Their critics said that Divale & Harris used data that could not be trusted as a basis for the estimation of sex ratios. I am inclined to believe that their data are, in large part, dubious; but I am also inclined to believe that their conclusion is substantially correct. The proportion of deaths caused by war in modern times may be about ten percent, according to Wright ( NATNBIBL* ). If Divale & Harris are about right, then the rate of death in war has fallen substantially. Rank 2, I believe, can be charged with such horrors as the "Hundred Years" war and the "Thirty Years" war--prolonged and widespread fighting, with indefinite goals and little restriction on the behavior of the fighters. Concern for the wounded was expressed in the Geneva Convention of 1864, but formal recogni- tion that civilians were due some immunity was not given by Earth's governments until 1949. My final point, for which I offer no statistical support, is that warfare has been continued most often by nations not gov- erned at rank 3. On my assessment, Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot did not conduct rank 3 governments. The numerous ethnic wars of the 1990s are in the manner of rank 2. The behavior of the USA in the Gulf War is against my position, unless the USA was in the control of rank 2 politicians at the time. Warfare has been said to interact with technological evolu- tion in at least three ways. 1. Warfare disseminates innovations. The contact between hostile polities is an opportunity for exchange of techniques; the conqueror may give new techniques to, or receive them from, the conquered. 2. Warfare and the threat of warfare inspire development. Necessity is the mother of invention, and an arms race imposes the most cruel necessities next to famine. 3. Warfare selects for successful innovations. Poor ideas are weeded out by failure in battle. But Naroll and Otterbein cast doubt on the whole story. They confirm that success in warfare tends to increase the size of a polity, but not its technological capacity. 5.4. PERSONALITY AND UNDERSTANDING Life is hard. Life is hard because it is lived in brains that strive always to understand, and often fail to understand, both the world and themselves. Our brains are the most complex devices known. The workings of cognition, emotion, and volition are scarcely understood at all even now. We do not know enough to guide parents and teachers, eliminate crime and the use of drugs, or achieve universal and lasting peace. The psychobiological consequence of failure to understand is often fear, anxiety, anger, hostility, and hatred. These states are unpleasant and disruptive. They disrupt thought, and they disrupt society. The fundamental significance of cultural evolution, in my opinion, is that the human capacity for understanding has grown. The striving was there from the beginning; gradually, over some 50,000 years, the striving has come to be satisfied more fully: "Kroeber, who is by no means an evolutionist, suggests three criteria for measuring progress: "the atrophy of magic based on psychopathology; the decline of infan- tile obsession with the outstanding physiological events of human life; and the persistent tendency of technology and science to grow accumulatively (Kroeber, 1948: 304)." ( KrAn* quoted from TCCh*, p. 14) In rank 1, psychotic visions are treated with great respect. Too much attention is given to "blood and death and decay". These are indications that the understanding is unable to cope with the emotions of ordinary life. Alfred L. Kroeber, who may be the greatest American anthropolo- gist of the century, published a book called _Anthropology_ from which his three points are quoted. The same Peace Corps volunteer I quoted above describes an event that illustrates the manifestation of anxiety in a culture not far up the growth curve from rank 1 to rank 2: POSSESSED BY SPIRITS--"I awoke at one o'clock in the morning to horrible wailing and moaning. All the Tuaregs I live with were up, too. Umuna, one of the Bouzoo women, was making all this noise, writhing around on the ground beside one of the Tuareg tents. She claimed that she was 'invaded' by a bad spirit sent to her by her great-grandmother. "None of the others were concerned. They told me it was an odd time for spirits to be possessing people, in the middle of the Ramadan, a holy month. I was assured that she would be all right. I was glad to have so many experts on possession; had it been left to me, I would have thought she was seriously ill, perhaps dying. After fifteen minutes of carrying on, Umuna was fine. Interesting how the old animist beliefs coexist with Islam." (_Washington Spectator_, Jan 1, 1990, p. 1) The Bouzoos, he explains, were "slaves of the Tuareg until very recently," having been taken in raids southward. The Bouzoos still live about as before. This Peace Corps volunteer also saw sex magic for sale, and healing of a headache by laying on of hands and chanting verses from the Koran. In reading to prepare to write this book, I have learned that the wheel was used for ritual over many years before it was put to use in war and, still later, work. The motivation for improvement of astronomical instruments in the late Middle Ages was to obtain measurements accurate enough for _astrology_. Critics wrote that even if the dubious doctrines of astrology were valid, the measurements were not close enough for their predictions to be meaningful. So they set out to make their instruments better, and all kinds of instrumentation followed from this beginning. (That from White, MRTe* ). Metals were used for ornaments very early--before any practical use? "In its original manifestation the compass was a divi- nation, or future-predicting, instrument made of lode- stone, which is naturally magnetic." (George Basalla, p. 172; in BIBLNOTE* ) I suspect that we could get many further examples, up into the growth curve from rank 2 to rank 3. In fact, someone in the future may look back on psychoanaly- sis and remark that its origin was in parapsychology--dreams were interpreted first for divination, second for diagnosis of patho- logy. Here is my first point: The driving force behind progress in social organization, government, technology, science, and art is the need to control anxiety, to satisfy the brain's striving for understanding. To take a political example: In the origin of government, is the key problem why men choose to follow leaders, or how men succeed in making themselves into leaders? [Not a sexist for- mulation; just the way things happened.] For most of my life, I took for granted the first answer. Recently I recognized the second problem and adopted it. Ethnographies (culture reports) from hunting-and-gathering societies show absolute egalitarian- ism. But more: They show an absolute unwillingness to rise above one's fellows in any respect whatsoever. Here and there we find a clue as to the kind of child-rear- ing practises (sometimes brutal) that produce such adults. Since the earliest community leaders were war leaders, who gradually came to exercise some authority between wars, perhaps the answer to the key question is this: The first leaders draw their ability to accept the responsibility of leadership from success in war, from religious experience, and from innate genius or special accidents of handling in early childhood. And my second point: At each rank, and excepting the few persons of extraordinary talent, a person's capacity for under- standing is limited to analytic systems of quite specific logical structure. When rank shifts upward, a new system appears that transcends the old. The new system can rationalize situations, both internal and external, that were beyond the logical capacity of the old system. Understanding fails less often, and the negative states of fear, anxiety, hostility, etc. arise less often. As Kroeber put it, there is less concern "with the gratification of the ego" ( KrAn* p. 301). The person of higher rank has a stronger character. This means, among other things, that a higher rank can solve more kinds of social problems without resorting to (a) withdrawal, (b) fighting, or (c) submission. But technology, art, science, and social-political- economic organization feed on each other. A favorable change in one makes possible changes--sometimes favorable-- in all the rest.
[Mind-Culture Coevolution Home] [Tech Evol Contents]
[1 History] [2 Ranks] [3 Energetics] [4 Informatics]
[6 Investment] [7 Appropriate] [8 Best They Could]
[Bibliography] [Figures] [Notes]