The “reality paradigms” of left and right are VERY, VERY ancient and are rooted in the emergence of civilization.
The primal reality of human civilization is the “hunter – gatherer”. People lived in small bands and made their living by supplying their immediate needs by killing or taking what was at hand in their unbounded hunting grounds.
The key elements of this paradigm are:
- The fundamental survival group was the small band, often “ethnically” related
- They made their living by “taking” from the surroundings
- The surroundings were “common” and perceived as unlimited
- Successful hunting required a degree of teamwork and cooperation
- The small band looked to an “alpha male” to lead them in successful hunts
- Purportedly, successful hunts were shared “equally” among the band
- Other bands were often looked at as hostile competition and even as “prey”. Wikipedia remarks that there is evidence of widespread cannibalism among pre-historic “hunter-gatherer” cultures.
- Successful hunting often required deception, camouflage, and surprise
At some point in time, ancients mastered agriculture and herding, which gave rise to a different "reality paradigm": “farmer – herders” .
- The fundamental change was “deferring current consumption for future benefit”, i.e setting aside seed corn and breeding stock
- This resulted in the notion of “private property” because farmers needed to own fields and herders needed to own flocks
- They made their living be multiplying their assets within the domain of their “private property”
- The fundamental survival group was the “family” because accumulated property need to be passed on
- Successful farming and herding required bartering and trade to dispose of surplus production
- Each family unit probably had a “patriarch” who determined inheritances
- The patriarch undoubtedly made decisions about how much production to consume, how to share it, and how much to set aside for the future
- Other bands or groups were looked at as potential trading partners rather than prey.
- Regulating trade and barter inevitably required customs and rules about “fair dealing” and “honesty”
I think these two very different “survival and reality paradigms” endure to this day under the guise of “politics”.
My supposition is that this will ultimately be useful, especially for conservatives, to understand these paradigms because it will help them realize that there is a real difference between conservatives and liberals in their grasp of reality, and that intellectual persuasion isn’t going to change the appetites of those who look at you as “prey” and look at your property as part of the “commons” and theirs for the taking.