On natural hierarchies and material conditions

I was disputing whether or not right wing “anarchism” is legitimately anarchism or not. The devil’s advocate in the discussion told me that right wing “anarchists” reject “constructed hierarchy,” while still believing in so-called “natural hierarchies,” I rejected that therefore right wing individualism is true anarchism, because anarchists reject all hierarchies.

The discussion eventually lead to one about solipsism, natural law, the great man theory of history, so on and so forth, and it lead me to write this little entry about that conversation and where it lead me. So, here we are.

Right wingers believe in natural hierarchy, it’s an essentialist viewpoint, but as we shall see there all natural hierarchies are spooks, there’s no such thing as a “natural order of things,” as per Hume’s guillotine, “an ought cannot be derived from an is.” The world isn’t static and immutable, it is constantly changing. My opponent brought up the right wing belief of the “cycle of history,” summed up like this: “Strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times, hard times create strong men ad nauseam.

This is way too much of an overgeneralizing statement, and ignores material conditions. I pointed out the exact conditions of the Cold War couldn’t have occurred without the invention of nukes, even if there are rough analogues to Cold War esque situations in the past (which there are, but that’s a discussion for another time). My point being that the invention of nukes is what lead to the Cold War, and the Cold War wouldn’t have occurred without them.

Material conditions are important, natural orders don’t exist, the world is not static, and tomorrow will be different from today, as the actors of history are always changing, as is the setting itself.

“Why is there anything at all?”

I must admit I’ve been bothered by the fact that we ultimately cannot find a satisfactory answer for why something like existence itself, well, exists. We now know the Big Bang (probably) wasn’t the origin of everything, and that the current stage of the universe we find ourselves in is just the latest stage of an eternally evolving universe that may very well be part of a larger multiverse, but where did that come from?

“Everything must have a cause” according to Leibniz’s “Principle of Sufficient Reason,” and yet all the causes offered up so far, from God to random quantum fluctuations, don’t give a satisfactory answer. It’s been suggested that this ultimate question of metaphysics is the philosophical equivalent of attempting to square the circle, but I cannot find myself accepting that. There has to be some sort of answer, and this is the territory that allows theism (or at the very least deism) to subtly creep back in, the ultimate god of the gaps that may very well never be shaken out of its hiding spot.

The idea that there exists things humanity will never even hope to comprehend is something far more suitable for Lovecraft’s universe than the scientifically enlightened (for a given value of “enlightened”) one we find ourselves in, and the fact this may very well be true is what disturbs me on a fundamental level. I am afraid I cannot give a satisfactory answer to this, and nor can anyone else. I am sorry.

The Principle of Sufficient Reason

Leibniz famously stated that everything must have a reason and a cause, and that, metaphysically speaking, it would be impossible for there to such a thing that doesn’t have a reason or a cause. That reason and/or cause doesn’t necessarily have to be of conscious origin, the reason/cause that solar systems form is because of the interplay between the solar nebular and the developing stars within, with most of the dust and gas going to form the star and the rest being essentially leftovers relegated to form the various planetary bodies of the solar system that is being formed from the remnants of the solar nebula.

Nothing of the creation of solar systems can be shown to have had any discernible conscious intervention in the creation of said solar system, and yet we still know the reason solar systems form. Could something of the same be said for the universe, that even though Leibniz’s principle of sufficient reason mandates that everything has a reason and a cause, that said reason and cause don’t have to be of conscious, divine origin?

I would be interested to hear the apologist’s attempted rebuttal of this notion, for Occam’s Razor dictates that those explanations that are less parsimonious be discarded in favor of those explanations that are more parsimonious, or require less assumptions, so by using Occam’s Razor, would it be acceptable to state that, per Leibniz’s principle of sufficient reason, that said reason the universe exists is less likely to have been of supernatural rather than natural causation?