In his 2015 book “The Evolution of Everything” Matt Ridley makes a compelling case that evolution is now and always has been the key to all real progress in the world. It’s a little dense, not a beach book, and demands some concentration to appreciate, but it’s well worth it.
Evolution explains everything. Ridley starts with the General Theory of Evolution, and in 16 chapters applies evolutionary principles to the universe, morality, life, genes, culture, the economy, technology, the mind, personality, education, population, leadership, government, religion, money, and the internet. This guy is smart, and all of these subjects are explored using the theory of evolution.
He says, “Evolution is a story, a narrative of how things change. It implies the emergence of something from something else. It has come to carry a connotation of incremental and gradual change, the opposite of a sudden revolution. It brings the implication of change that comes from within, rather from being directed from without. It also usually implies change that has no goal, but is open minded about where it ends up.”
Applied to politics, evolution sounds to me like conservatism, even libertarianism. The absolute antithesis of evolution is modern totalitarianism, fascist or communist. Because evolution is freedom, and to evolve you must be free to do so.
You don’t need to be a visionary to see the long arc of history. It’s where we’ve been headed for the last 500 years. More wealth, more health, more freedom, less violence and war, more personal autonomy. This is where the natural force of evolution is taking us.
And who hates evolutionary change, and demands instead immediate solutions cooked up in some faculty lounge? The primitive left, of course. Use the brute force of the state to impose the desired outcome. This is 20th century thinking, obsolete, and destined, like communism, for the ash heap of history.
Obamacare wasn’t an evolution in the provision of health care. It was a top down revolution from above. When it began to implode in October of 2013 the whole leftist agenda went down with it. That was a turning point in American political history, and Trump came to power in reaction to it and to all the many excesses of Obama and the left in general. It was a reaction election, a rejection election.
Trump is a symptom, not a cause. He didn’t create the conditions for his political rise. He was simply shrewd enough to see what was happening in this country, and smart enough to take political advantage.
If Trump fails, it won’t mean the rise of the new left. Someone else will take his place, perhaps someone with superior political skills.
I believe evolution, as it’s taking place today, is away from the center, and back to the people. Evolution is a bottoms up phenomenon, not a top down. For evolution to work its many magics requires freedom, and that is where the long arc of history, and evolution, bend.