Excerpt from The Social Contract – a Personal Inquiry into the Evolutionary Sources of Order and Disorder by Robert Ardrey
Tuskless in Paradise.
A society is a group of unequal beings organized to meet common needs.
In any sexually reproducing species, equality of individuals is a natural impossibility. Inequality must therefore be regarded as the first law of social materials, whether in human or other societies. Equality of opportunity must be regarded among vertebrate species as the second law. Insect societies may include genetically determined castes, but among backboned creatures this cannot be. Every vertebrate born, excepting in only in a few rare species, is granted equal opportunity to display his genius, or to make a fool of himself.
While a society of equals—whether of baboons or jackdaws, lions or men—is a natural impossibility, a just society is a realizable goal. Since the animal, unlike the human being, is seldom tempted by the pursuit of the impossible, his societies are seldom denied the realizable.
The just society, as I see it, is one in which sufficient order protects members, whatever their diverse endowments, and sufficient disorder provides every individual with full opportunity to develop his genetic endowment, whatever that may be. It is this balance of order and disorder, varying in rigour according to environmental hazard, that I think of as the social contract. And that it is a biological command will become evident as we inquire among the species.
Violation of biological command has been the failure of social man. Vertebrates though we may be, we have ignored the law of equal opportunity since civilizations earliest hours. Sexually reproducing beings though we are, we pretend today that the law of inequality does not exist. And enlightened though we may be, while we pursue the unattainable, we make impossible the realizable.