And for most animals, contentment is a personal experience. Beyond the group loyalties of pack animals like wolves and dogs, the majority of animals is unconcerned about the condition or status of their fellow species-mates. Very few animals concern themselves with questions of whether another animal has better food or a better den than they do. Throughout most of the animal kingdom, the personal attainment of the basic requisites of survival is sufficient for contentment.
The most notable exception to that general condition is mankind. Men seem never to be satisfied with mere survival. In order to be happy, they must engage their fellow humans in competitive exercises – from commerce and warfare to games like golf and cards or simply getting away from the intersection first when the light changes. Man is without a doubt the most competitive animal on the planet.
It is uncertain whether agriculturally necessitated civilization induced human competitiveness or whether competitiveness was a pre-existing trait that induced mankind to create civilization as a venue for that idiosyncrasy. It is certain, however, that the proximity introduced by civilization exacerbated the human trait from competitiveness to combativeness.
It is that combativeness that plagues human societies with dissention and crime and politics. But it is also that combativeness that transformed civilization from farming villages to cities and then to nations with sprawling metropolises with roadways and motor cars and airports. It is combativeness – the desire to be better than one's fellow humans – that has continually bootstrapped human society up to ever higher levels of prosperity.
Nowhere is that combativeness more evident than in the functioning of the Capitalistic miracle. The driving force of Capitalism is the desire to make more money than one's fellows. The fact that in the process the Capitalist creates far more wealth for others than for himself, while central to the power of Capitalism, is ancillary to the motive. The point is that the driving force that initiates the miracle of Capitalistic serendipity is personal prosperity.
It is this innate characteristic of mankind that gives the lie to Socialism. For humans, equality is never sufficient. The goal is always individual superiority. And it is this king-of-the-mountain perversion in humankind that has been responsible for the miserable failure of Socialism every time it's been tried, from Plymouth Massachusetts in 1620 to Detroit Michigan in 1965.
And it is the failure to recognize this central feature of human nature that facilitates acceptance of the liberal mis-concept of welfare. To restrict men to the level of basic survival is de-humanizing. Men can never be satisfied just to survive. They want to prosper.
And prosperity is always an individual initiative. Although it benefits mankind collectively, it cannot by its very nature ever possibly be generated by mankind collectively. The only thing the collective has to offer is survival. And that's not enough.