In his book The Reactionary Mind, Corey Robin makes a convincing case that reactionary people are largely driven by a desire to silence and repress anyone they consider their inferiors, with violence if needed. This partly from a strong belief that ‘such people’ have no right to speak (or to be heard); partly because they fear loss of personal status and privileges; and partly from a conviction that society can only function properly when everyone 'knows their place'. Over the years, I've found this a pretty useful insight, and it made me wonder whether it was possible to similarly summarize the views and values of the '(center-)left' (called liberals or sometimes 'progressives' in the US, liberal or social democrats elsewhere). Because it was clear that they didn't subscribe to the ('radical') egalitarianism, inclusiveness and pro-emancipatory solidarity that forms the core of left politics (and to me, of being human).

On Myths, Religion and Innocence

Everybody knows that human societies have long been organized hierarchically, and many people in fact believe that complex society requires this. Largely unknown however is the fact that there is a great deal of evidence that suggests that institutionalized hierarchy is very much a late-comer to human evolution, and that this became the dominant mode only after a very long period in which humans maintained a rough (if violent) egalitarianism, and that this egalitarian period was in fact instrumental to our evolution into the big-brained social apes that we are today (and that e.g. Neanderthals and Denisovans also were).