Nature versus Nurture

If you want to grow your own apples, there’s a fairly well defined process you can follow. Specific tree varieties require certain types of soil, certain amounts of sunlight, certain amounts of water and regular pruning throughout the life of the plant. Apple trees require the nearby presence of another apple tree so that bees can cross pollinate them, without which they will not bear fruit. These are variables, that if tightly controlled, optimize the tree’s chance of success.

Great apples can be found in the wild, but this is a rare thing and surely it has little to do with the original seed’s will power or work ethic. These wild trees just happened to chance upon a location that meets their needs, but without pruning, the fruit will never be optimal.

Agriculture and societies share this common characteristic. The health of an apple tree in an orchard, much like the health of an individual in a society, is determined by the care and structural support provided by the environment it exists in.

Not only does society have a major role to play in the development of its citizens, but should it fail to provide a sufficiently optimized environment, the majority of said citizens will not succeed. Everybody wants to succeed, you don’t need to incentivize that; what people need to succeed is structure and opportunity, and only a well adjusted society can provide that.

You can’t legislate an apple tree into a fruit haven, you have to help it meet its needs.

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