Camus Didn’t Take It Far Enough

Camus starts The Myth of Sisyphus with this insight.

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.”

To which I’ll add:

“There is but one truly serious problem of political philosophy, and that is, why not kill others and take their property?”

We always assume common interest, and that politics starts with debate. Debate is a proxy for violence. But we too often assume that a proxy is equally advantageous. It isn’t. Debate arose uniquely in the west as a means of enfranchising fellow warriors who must pay the high cost of equipping themselves for battle, so that they can participate in the fraternal defense of market centers – what we call towns, or cities, or the polis. It was a transfer of social status and power from the strong to the weak, so that together they might be stronger. The assumed equality in debate is for the purpose of the debate itself. Equality does not exist outside of that venue. There are the weak, and the strong. Violence is still the choice of the strong. And debate is a trade off for them. They hope to be stronger by it. But if debate becomes a means of making them weaker, they have the choice to return to violence.

The only serious question of politics is why the strong do not kill or enslave the weak. From that question all others follow.

If instead, we start with any other assumption, there is already a transfer of wealth going on, from the strong to the weak.

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