Self-Defeating Cultures

Self-Defeating Cultures
Saying and doing things that make us feel loving,    caring, compassionate, noble and needed can frequently be damaging to all concerned.  The following four propositions will clarify my meaning.

1.   The parent who goes too far in loving, protecting, and “doing” for their child is likely to rear an individual that is demanding, self-centered, anxious, fearful, dependent, and helpless.

2.   The Nation that provides its irresponsibly unemployed, uneducated, destitute, and overly fertile citizens with free money, food, child care, transportation, communication, housing, medical care, and entertainment will raise a rapidly increasing percent of the population who are as described in proposition # 1.

3.   Those nations that overprotect other cultures by spending their own resources to save them from the pain of famines, plagues, overpopulation, and wars can actually retard the development of those cultures and increase their long-range suffering and dependency.  All cultures must learn to respond independently to the immediate conditions that threaten them or they will perish. To over-protect cultures from the consequences of their own actions has the same predictable effects as the overprotection of children, as discussed in proposition # 1. 

4.   Cultures live in a Darwinian, naturally selecting, world as do individual organisms and species of organisms.  The feel-good concept of a “world culture” must accommodate that fact.  Cultures that are currently “fit” (in the cultural evolutionary sense) can destroy themselves by squandering their own precious and dwindling resources to teach other cultures to also be helplessly blind to the immediate contingencies of their own survival.

The clearest single prototype of all four of these levels of maladaptive and self-defeating behavior is us, the United States of America.   
Such a cultural organism, without change, cannot long survive.

V. Thomas Mawhinney Ph.D.

P.S. 1/20/11,  There should be no objection to one Nation helping another, providing they have the resources to sustain themselves for a reasonable time frame during which the other culture is progressing toward an ability to sustain themselves. This form of constructive samaritanship can strengthen and benefit all involved and it is in keeping with the Judeo/Christian moral code that we once more fully embrased.

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7 Responses to “Self-Defeating Cultures”

  1. rhetoricmonkey Says:

    To feel clean, I know you were replying to Bruce’s reply to your other post when you mentioned not having a stick to hit them with, but like you, I wouldn’t think to use any form of punishment to enforce or deliver a message.
    Natural laws of human behavior can’t be changed. They can be studied, obeyed, and taught; which is what I am doing. Education of young people is a good start to me. Going to the masses would be unwise with the current status quo but the leaders might able to make a difference, especially tomorrows leaders.


    • rhetoricmonkey Says:

      Once again I messed up some syntax. Practice makes perfect I guess. The above comment should have had the word be betweed might and able. “…might be able to make…”.


    • vtmawhinney Says:

      Well, I confess that I have no problem with the use of punishment, if it is used skillfully and only when it is absolutely essential. But that is a longer story. Short story is use postive reinforcment whenever it is possible, if necessary use moderate and human forms of punishment and reinforce the heck out of the replacement behavior desired. This way, most probably, a quick there will be a quick and good result



  2. rhetoricmonkey Says:

    “Such a cultural organism, without change, cannot long survive.”

    I’d agree and would like to add that no cultural organism without change can survive.


    • vtmawhinney Says:

      Right you are, my friend. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. VTM


    • vtmawhinney Says:

      It would seem that the central issue should not be change or no change, but what kind of change.



      • vtmawhinney Says:

        The moral code is not of my making. It is an amalgamation of existing moral codes and extrapolations from principles of psychology. (i.e., conditioning and learning, stimulus pairings and outcomes, as well as the principles of modeling and imitation). Certain behavior patterns have damaging outcomes for increasingly known reasons. If societies increasingly do them they will be increasingly damaged.

        I think that is news. If people do not read the news and come under its control, so much the worse for them and their socioculture.

        No, I have no stick that I will hit them with; but the laws of human behavior do and it is already beating the hell out of this nation and others.

        For now, this is the avenue of delivery. Don’t know about future avenues. It is indeed a pitiful start.



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