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  • derekvg

UBI-- an ontological argument

Updated: Jun 26, 2019

I believe the Left ought to vigorously and without hesitation back Andrew Yang for president. If you have not yet heard of him, he is the candidate who proposes that the U.S. government give every American citizen $1,000 / month unconditionally (Universal Basic Income).

If Yang wins the Democratic nomination, I predict:


A) Trump will be defeated with astonishing ease

B) rapid progress towards long-deferred Left ideals will be enabled

C) culture war between liberals and conservatives as we know it will end

Here are the fundamental descriptive claims that allow me to make these rather dramatic predictions:


1) ontologically speaking: cooperative games will out-compete competitive ones, given sufficient time and sufficient number of games-- gradually, imperfectly. By nature of the structure of the universe, around which all games are played.


2) civilization, pleasant as much of it may appear today, was built on top of unnaturally rivalrous competitive dynamics, which propagate through every level of our society (social, political, economic, familial). Innate, cooperative dynamics continually struggle to reassert dominance, but are constantly suppressed by competitive dynamics, by nature of the shape of the artificial systems we are currently subject to. But as far as the universe is concerned-- this shape is backwards, and unsustainable. There are deep reasons for this I will elaborate elsewhere.


3) Left & Right are not "political groups" in the way many talk about them. They are best described as two trends of personality types: those who desire kindness, and those who desire strength. The relationship between them-- an evolutionary adaptation, to ensure tribal-social cohesion & healthy steering of our cultural evolution. Not at all dissimilar to the dynamic between men and women-- a certain harmony arising from competition between the two, necessary to move life forward. The competing ideologies of our modern, tribeless society today are merely rationalizations of these innate, tribal instincts, which-- along with the rest of our emotional faculties-- remain the primary determinants of human behavior (not rationality). If this is true, ideological war between Lefts & Rights is almost entirely unnecessary; a product of our semi-malleable nature, processed through a backwards system. Any hate or resentment for one category or the other is not political activism; it is an artificial strain of bigotry, produced by history, which most are not yet willing to recognize or try to overcome. I suspect the Left / Right normative divide may, in fact, be the sustaining source of all Othering. ------ I don't claim to be absolutely certain of any of these. But having looked at the science, and listened to some of the stories people tell about that science-- I think my story makes more sense. We are not rational actors, here by accident. We are animals, here by nature, who are driven to better seek the harmony of kindness and strength-- but who have become confused. ------ I believe that Universal Basic Income, and its emerging, cross-aisle popularity, is not just a good policy. It is a novel rediscovery of the great utility of Left / Right harmony: giving for its own sake, fairness towards all, lack of regulatory constraints, free competition allowed above-- and support available for all below. Trusting all will give back to all, better, imperfectly, over time. While such an attractive concept could surely be implemented incautiously, the careful, pragmatic & balanced proposal put forth by Andrew Yang suggests to me that he is deeply attuned to the advantages and disadvantages of cooperative strategies, and perhaps well understands the importance of the transition we now have the opportunity to undergo: from a rivalrous civilization (Game A) to an anti-rivalrous civilization (Game B). Should Yang's UBI proposal be realized, I would expect the culture it amplifies to rapidly convert many pathological expressions of Right-leaning politics into healthy appeals to competition. The Left would experience a similar revitalization away from subgroup-myopia towards common cooperation. Having cured the lack of a common care foundation, which unknowingly pains the psyches of millions today, the unhealthy emotional disturbances which dominate our politics would subdue without conflict or violence, clearing the stage for the electoral ascendancy of pragmatic problem-solvers to tackle enduring problems like poverty, climate change, and the psychological unwellness of society. My theory suggests that UBI is the best possible implementation I can currently see of the crucial Left ideal of care, for any society. That we have lost this ideal for so long. That we could have implemented it so much earlier. And that we should not delay any longer.

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These claims may prompt interesting questions. I am prepared to elaborate upon or defend my claims to any who are willing to speak with me voice to voice or face to face. Contact me to schedule a chat. I eagerly seek others whose ideas will prove to be more resilient.


In the meantime, I will use this blog to build or challenge all claims related to UBI that I believe are worth examining. Entries will be sorted accordingly.

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2020 by Derek Van Gorder