[ExI] Basis of property rights and religion

painlord2k at libero.it painlord2k at libero.it
Thu May 14 14:48:59 UTC 2009

Il 12/05/2009 20.41, Damien Sullivan ha scritto:
> On Tue, May 12, 2009 at 08:28:10PM +0200, painlord2k at libero.it
> wrote:

>> The first step out the "State of Nature" is a mutual contract,
>> implicit or explicit, to not kill others. The second step is to
>> mutually recognize their right to their property, like their
>> territory and their stuff, as you want them to recognize the same
>> right in you.

> Yes, exactly, that's my point!  Except that what's fairly claimed as
> "their property" is also subject to negotiation.

What "property" is can be subject to "negotiations" but when "property"
is defined it must apply to all that negotiated the agreement.
It could be argued that "negotiation" is not always a talk or an
exchange of writings, but could be also a refusing to [fully|partially]
cooperate with others not agreeing with us.


>> Even if it often pays to cooperate, however, our human ancestors
>> would have needed to avoid being too cooperative. If my group is
>> working to produce some resource—say, a communal shelter—that will
>>  benefit everyone equally, and I am doing a larger share of the
>> work than anyone else, I will end up with lower net benefits than
>> the other members of my group. This is the central social dilemma
>> that bedevils most human cooperative groups. It came to the fore
>> in the 1960s among social scientists as Mancur Olson’s “logic of
>> collective action”7 and as Garrett Hardin’s “tragedy of the
>> commons”,8 but this problem is as fundamental in evolutionary
>> biology as it is in the social sciences.
>> From an evolutionary perspective, if I am willing to contribute to
>>  the production of a shared resource, then I face an adaptive
>> problem: how can I avoid being exploited by free riders who take
>> the benefits I produce but don’t share in the costs of producing
>> them? I could just ignore these free riders, put my head down and
>> get to work. If I do that, though, the free riders will ultimately
>>  end up on top, since they’ll get as much benefit as I do, and for
>> a lesser cost. Mathematical models of the evolution of cooperation
>>  consistently show that, when free riders can acquire higher net
>> benefits than contributors, they will, over time, exploit
>> contributors to extinction. Once that happens, of course,
>> cooperation ceases to exist. Morality has decayed completely, and
>> the selfish have inherited the world.
>> My other option is to avoid getting involved with free riders to
>> begin with, and it appears that natural selection has designed us
>> to do just this. The main trick to adaptive cooperation is that my
>> willingness to contribute must be contingent on how much my
>> partners are willing to contribute. As long as my partners are
>> contributing as much as I am, then I’m safe from exploitation—it’s
>> when they start slacking off that I need to be concerned.
>> Consequently, evolution has predisposed us to be hostile towards
>> people who intentionally take group benefits without helping with
>> the costs. Research by a number of social scientists (including
>> myself9 ) suggests that punitive sentiment towards free riders is
>> common cross-culturally, and that it results in efforts to negate
>> the advantages that free riders would otherwise enjoy.

So, "rights" evolve as a way to build rules enhancing trusts and
cooperation that benefit all the participants on an equal foot.

I suppose the problems with "socialists" is that they believe that
wealthy people are, as such, exploiters and are not able to note that
many proponents of "socialist policies" are really exploiters.
Given our bias against exploiters, the exploiters themselves must find a
way to justify with themselves and with all others their actions with
"cooperative" reasons or with "fairness" reasons. The exploiters
themselves need to be cooperative within their group to be successful.
So they are subjected to a push to be cooperative within their inner
circle-group and exploiters outside, but they must always keep up the
façade of cooperativeness or fairness. I suppose many of these
individuals have inherited some mental traits that help them to be
monists: they are able to believe two contrasting and opposing things
true in the same time and use the thing that best fit them when it is

The "rights" could evolve as a way to make sure exploiters are not able 
to hijack the punishing instincts of people against successful / wealthy 
cooperators. The "rights" limit how much individuals can be punished and 
how fast this could happen. Unfortunately, this was hijacked by 
exploiters as well, because they try to expand the scope of the "rights" 
including licenses and entitlements.(*)

But the "rights" concept evolve from religion, that is a previous 
adaptation to keep under check the exploiters. Without some "religion" 
(in a very extensive sense) there is no way to force people in 
respecting them. The religion, and their rituals, help to tack down and 
identify the committed collaborators and the uncommitted exploiters on a 
greater degree than simply observation. They are not surely perfect, but 
they are a better way. Then, how religions are organized and what role 
models they have determine what "rights" people come to believe / 
respect / claim and how much they are able to cooperate.


(*)For example:
adulterous women that cuckold or cheat their husband in the past could 
be killed by their family with impunity or minor sanctions (today this 
is possible only in places dominated by a "tiny minority")
with the introduction of "rights" in the western world, this practice 
fell in disuse and was shamed.
with more progressive "rights" introduced in the most recent years, for 
example in the California, the "cuckolded" husband is forced to pay for 
the maintainment of the "cuckold" sons and daughters. Out of wedlock 
babies are no more shamed like in the past, but throwing money to the 
women having the babies is an hijack and a mockery of what the church 
did in the past when helping girls raped, forced in prostitution because 
they were poor or because they acted stupidly or trusting too much their 
lovers. Instead to solving or reducing the problem, the statists 
approach made it worse transferring the costs to innocent subjects. 
Obviously, in the long run this is unsustainable. In the long run there 
will be only cuckolds uninterested or unable to take care of their 
offspring and mothers unable or unwilling to take care of their 
offspring. Or there will not be cooperators willing to take care or 
someone else children and willing to retaliate against cheaters ans 

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