Saturday, August 2, 2014

Dear Fred

In a recent post, Fred Reed asks:

Why should I not indulge my hobby of torturing to death the severely genetically retarded? This would seem beneficial. We certainly don't want them to reproduce, they use resources better invested in healthy children, and it makes no evolutionary difference whether they die quietly or screaming.

The short answer is that any killing, for whatever reason, increases the likelihood of killing for other reasons. One exception is self-defence, but that's not done for pleasure. Another exception is capital punishment, but that, too, is not done for pleasure. More to the point, no single citizen can carry out an execution. It requires a lengthy judicial process. The same reasoning applies to the final exception of war. No single citizen can declare war.

It's not for nothing that killing is so taboo, especially recreational killing. Several things have contributed to the success of Western societies, but a leading one is the relatively peaceful nature of social relations. When people can go about their business without fearing for their lives, much becomes possible that otherwise would not be. This taboo is so crucial that we even extend it to nonhumans. Cats and dogs have no inherent right to life, yet it is a serious offence to torture them to death.

That's society. What about biology?

At this point, Fred may speak up: "But those are social reasons against killing of any sort. What are the biological reasons?"

The immediate biological reason is empathy. If I try to hurt someone, I feel the pain I inflict. Truth be told, the only life forms I enjoy killing are flies and mosquitoes. If a moth flies into our home, I'll go to some length to capture it and set it free outside, and I know others who do similar things. Just think of all the car drivers who come to a screeching halt to avoid running over some poor animal.

It's empathy that makes me and others act that way. And I cannot easily turn it off. It shuts down only when feelings of contempt enter my mind, as with those contemptible flies and mosquitoes.

Empathy is hardwired. It's 68% heritable in the case of affective empathy, i.e., the capacity to respond with the appropriate emotion to another person's mental state (Chakrabarti and Baron-Cohen, 2013). To date, studies have focused on disorders caused by too much empathy or too little. Psychopaths may have intact cognitive empathy, but impaired affective empathy. They keenly understand how others feel without actually experiencing those feelings. The reverse impairment may affect autists. As for depressives, they may suffer from being too sensitive to the distress of others and to guilt over not helping them enough. 

These disorders exist at the tail ends of a normal distribution. By focusing on these extremes, we forget the variability among healthy individuals. We all vary in our capacity for empathy, just as we do for almost any mental capacity.

How can evolution explain empathy?

Why do we feel empathy? How could natural selection favor such selflessness? This is of course the point that Fred is trying to make. Empathy keeps us from doing things that supposedly make evolutionary sense. Therefore, it could not have evolved. It must have been given to us by a Great Designer.

But why did this Great Designer give more of it to some people than to others? We're talking about a heritable trait. It's not as if everyone starts off the same way, with some later falling behind through their own wrongdoing.

And how has the Great Designer preserved this selfless behavior? Unless something is done, empathic people will eventually be overwhelmed by a tidal wave of cheaters, free riders, and people shouting "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" This is as much a mystery for creationists as it is for evolutionists. It's one thing to explain how altruism came to be. It's another to explain how it manages to survive in this cynical world.

These questions passed through my mind when I was going through my late mother's effects. I discovered she had for years been donating money for various projects in the Third World, at a time when she was a widow with no pension. Meanwhile, as a teenager, I had to take on all kinds of odd jobs to help us make ends meet. Looking over those donor receipts I shook my head and felt some resentment. How do good Christians like her manage to survive?

Yet she did, like others before her. For one thing, she was suspicious of strangers, and this suspicion extended to some ethnic groups more than to others. She was prejudiced and "postjudiced." If someone acted dishonestly with her once too often, she would have no more to do with him or her. Such people were "contemptible."

Today, that sort of behavior might seem un-Christian. But her Christianity was of an older, judgmental sort, being inspired more by the punitive Old Testament than by the forgiving New Testament. She would judge people, and her judgment could be harsh, very harsh.

Over space and time

Just as the capacity for empathy varies from one individual to another, it also varies statistically from one human population to another, being strongest in the "guilt cultures" of Northwest Europe. Guilt is the twin sister of empathy. Both flow from a simulation of how another person thinks or feels (an imaginary witness to a wrongdoing, a person in distress) and both ensure correct behavior by inducing the appropriate feelings (anguish, pity).

Why are guilt and empathy so strong in Northwest Europeans? Other societies ensure good behavior by relying on close kin to step in and enforce social rules. This policing mechanism has been less effective west of the Hajnal line (which runs roughly from Trieste to St. Petersburg) because kinship ties have been correspondingly weaker. There has thus been stronger selection for internal means of behavior control, like guilt and empathy.

This zone of relatively weak kinship is associated with unusual demographic tendencies, called the Western European Marriage Pattern:

- relatively late marriage for men and women

- many people who never marry

- neolocality (children leave the family household to form new households)

- high circulation of non-kin among different households (Hajnal, 1964; ICA, 2013)

The Western European Marriage Pattern was thought to have arisen after the Black Death of the 14th century. There is now good evidence for its existence before the Black Death and fragmentary evidence going back to 9th century France and earlier (Hallam, 1985; Seccombe, 1992, p. 94). Historian Alan Macfarlane likewise sees an English tendency toward weaker kinship ties before the 13th century and even during Anglo-Saxon times (Macfarlane, 2012; Macfarlane, 1992, pp. 173-174). I have argued that this tendency probably goes still farther back (Frost, 2013a; Frost, 2013b).

Whatever the ultimate cause, Northwest Europeans seem to have been pre-adapted for later shifts away from kinship and toward alternate means of organizing social relations (i.e., ideology, codified law, commerce). This tendency has taken various forms: the intense guilt-driven Christianity of the Anglo-Saxon penitential tradition and, later, Protestantism; the medieval alliance between Church and State to pacify social relations; and the post-medieval rise of the market economy. This cultural evolution has been described by the historical economist Gregory Clark for the English population between the 12th and 19th centuries. As England became a settled society, success went to those who could resolve disputes amiably and profit from thinking ahead—in short, those who had middle-class values of thrift, foresight, self-control, nonviolence, and sobriety. This English middle class, initially tiny, grew in numbers until its lineages accounted for most of its country’s gene pool (Clark, 2007; Clark, 2009a; Clark, 2009b).

But what does that have to do with evolution???
At this point, Fred may again speak up, with more than a touch of exasperation: "You're ducking my question! You're talking about culture, society, and religion! What does that have to do with evolution???"

Everything, Fred. Everything. Unlike other animals, humans have to adapt not only to their physical environment but also to their cultural environment. In short, we've become participants in our own evolution. We have domesticated ourselves.

Let me return to your initial question. What's to stop you from torturing to death the severely retarded? First, your sense of empathy should. If it doesn't, you're the one with a severe mental defect. I wouldn't want you as a fellow citizen, let alone as a neighbor. The law of the jungle may give you the right to torture defenceless people to death, but it also gives me the right to organize a lynch mob and hang you from the nearest tree.


Chakrabarti, B. and S. Baron-Cohen. (2013). Understanding the genetics of empathy and the autistic spectrum, in S. Baron-Cohen, H. Tager-Flusberg, M. Lombardo. (eds). Understanding Other Minds: Perspectives from Developmental Social Neuroscience, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Clark, G. (2007). A Farewell to Alms. A Brief Economic History of the World, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Clark, G. (2009a). The indicted and the wealthy: Surnames, reproductive success, genetic selection and social class in pre-industrial England.

Clark, G. (2009b). The domestication of man: The social implications of Darwin. ArtefaCTos, 2, 64-80.

Frost, P. (2013a). The origins of Northwest European guilt culture, Evo and Proud, December 7 

Frost, P. (2013b). Origins of Northwest European guilt culture, Part II, Evo and Proud, December 14

Hajnal, John (1965). European marriage pattern in historical perspective. In D.V. Glass and D.E.C. Eversley (eds). Population in History. Arnold, London.

Hallam, H.E. (1985). Age at first marriage and age at death in the Lincolnshire Fenland, 1252-1478, Population Studies, 39, 55-69. 

ICA (2013). Research Themes - Marriage Patterns, Institutions for Collective Action  

Macfarlane, A. (1992). On individualism, Proceedings of the British Academy, 82, 171-199.  

Macfarlane, A. (2012). The invention of the modern world. Chapter 8: Family, friendship and population, The Fortnightly Review, Spring-Summer serial

Seccombe, W. (1992). A Millennium of Family Change. Feudalism to Capitalism in Northwestern Europe, London: Verso. 


B&B said...

Humans are unlike other animals in adapting to their social environments? I think the opposite would be a corollary of gene-culture co-evolution.

Sean said...

"The law of the jungle may give you the right to torture defenceless people to death, but it also gives me the right to organize a lynch mob and hang you from the nearest tree."

The cloven hoof of group selection.

Luke Lea said...

Peter Frost, you are always interesting!

Without disagreeing with your analysis, I myself view the deliberate infliction of pain on another with a kind of instinctive horror beyond anything empathy alone can explain. Maybe it is just me, but to me there is something audaciously blasphemous about torture, taking the power of God into one's own hands.

Based on personal experiences, whose details I will not attempt to describe here, I believe there is an intimate connection between pain and selfishness, or between the the capacity to transcend pain and selflessness, a connection which is deeply rooted in our biological nature. Those who are callous and cruel, lacking in all compassion but putting their own comfort and convenience before all other considerations, are leaving themselves open to a degree of pain beyond thelr earthly imagination.

You might call this a religious superstition, and perhaps it is. But then too there might be relations between pleasure and pain, if not in all people then at least in some, which we do not fully understand.

I am sure I am not saying this very well, but it is the idea of damnation.

Anonymous said...

The cloven hoof of group selection.

Yes, Peter seems to have buried the real answer to this as an aside at the end without even realizing it. After laying out a number of plausible sounding but relatively vague and not very rigorous hypotheses, Peter spills the real answer inadvertently out of exasperation, since he knows someone like Reed isn't going to just accept vague hypotheses. It's group selection. And group selection is war.

Stephen said...

I still think you need to explain more how these out bred non kin based groups managed selected for altruism so well instead of being overcome by free loaders and collapsing into chaos.

Anonymous said...

Killing people in a violent and haphazard manner is certainly bad, but why does medical sterilization also fall under the same kind of stigma?

I come from a third world country that has a moderately low-IQ on average. If some government organization in my country wanted to increase the IQ by sterilizing people beneath a certain minimum IQ, would we be justified in doing this?

Would the Western world object to this kind of policy? Just because they have greater "empathy"? Should people in my country live in squalor and crushing poverty, because their ancestors didn't experience an IQ boost from harsh winters, extreme outbreeding, or whatever is the new theory to explain the superiority of westerners?

I say that westerners should stop being hypocritical on this matter.
They are only the dominant people today because their ancestors went through a harsh and brutal eugenic process. They now enjoy the fruits of that eugenic process by living next to beautiful, kind, peaceful and intelligent neighbors. But all this is built on the bones of those who did not reproduce.

So, my question for you, Peter, is would it be justified for us to want to obtain the same through what you consider immoral means?

Peter Frost said...


Some nonhuman species have limited forms of culture, but humans have gone much further in transforming their environment by means of culture. Look around you. How much of your environment is not man-made?

Sean, Anon, and Stephen,

Group selection is problematic. I would have to explain the model of group selection (there are several), and I suspect a lot of people would have no idea what I was talking about (especially on Ron's site).

I suspect Northwest European guilt/empathy arose through the haystack model, i.e., groups that formed and broke up on an annual basis. This of course begs the question: what has kept outsiders from bashing their way through the barriers we've set up to defend our guilt culture? Why hasn't anyone been able to use our own sense of guilt to destroy us?


Looks like we're back to the Jews again. First, the term "Judeo-Christianity" did not exist until the mid-20th century. Second, the Jewish community played little or no role in the ideological evolution of the Western world until the 19th century. They were afraid of Enlightenment thinking, and the sudden acceptance of Enlightenment ideas was a cultural revolution within the Jewish community that most religious Jews considered, and still consider, to be a grievous mistake. I don't want to belittle the Jewish contribution to antiracism, but I think it's delusional to see antiracism as a cynical means to an end. The means have become the end, and no one is in control. Antiracism is like a headless horseman, a robot on autopilot that no longer responds to any orders. It's delusional to think that someone somewhere can turn it all off with the flick of a switch.


Yes, the Western world would object. I personally don't support eugenics, largely because I don't trust the government to use that kind of power wisely.

On the other hand, I am fully in favor of providing parents with genetic counselling. I am also in favor of changing the tax system to provide incentives for stable honest couples to have families. Single motherhood should not be encouraged because, in practice the "sperm donors" are the worst sort of men. I favor the Chinese system where single mothers are made to pay a penalty.

Finally, convicted violent criminals should lose their reproductive rights.

Anonymous said...

"I personally don't support eugenics, largely because I don't trust the government to use that kind of power wisely.

On the other hand, I am fully in favor of providing parents with genetic counselling. I am also in favor of changing the tax system to provide incentives for stable honest couples to have families. Single motherhood should not be encouraged because, in practice the "sperm donors" are the worst sort of men. I favor the Chinese system where single mothers are made to pay a penalty."

All good ideas, but none of these non-coercive policies have worked in any democratic state in the last half century. See Singapore, for example. Educated women are not having enough children to replace themselves.

Also, for a medium-IQ country to be able to become a high-IQ country would require some kind of government interference. For a population with an average IQ of 85 to become a population with an average IQ of 100, some kind of selection will have to performed. Note that this does not necessarily mean some kind of system of extreme reproductive compulsion must be put in place.

Peter Fros_ said...


I agree, monetary inducements aren't sufficient. Russia has been able to raise its fertility rate through a mix of incentives: financial support for young families; encouragement of the Russian Orthodox Church; legalization of surrogate parenthood, etc.

I believe that selection for higher IQ will take place naturally in a society that facilitates access both to birth control and to support of family formation (i.e., subsidized daycare, paid maternity/paternity leave). The people who invest in family formation will tend to be those with high future time orientation and strong family bonds. This is already starting to happen. Ironically, perhaps, I tend to feel more in common with liberals than with conservatives on many of these issues.

Anonymous said...

I also feel more in common with liberals than conservatives, on most issues, in general because I'm not a violent or aggressive person, and I prefer cleverly "engineering" solutions to social problems, rather than tackling them head-on through demonstrations, aggressive politicking, and activism.

I feel that we are unable to put each other into the other's shoes, because I come from an upper-middle class family from a not-all-that-poor second-and-a-half world country, while you are from a very rich and secure first world country, where almost every family could be described as middle class.

So I naturally have leftist inclinations, not just from my personal background, but my personality is just...well leftist. In the old school way. I don't see eye-to-eye with leftists on the way they put their ideas into practice: To achieve equality they want to penalize the "able", so they are not able anymore,which results in societal breakdown; I think equality could be achieved by distributing and engineering the "source" of ability, to make the stupid smart, to make the poor rich, by genetic engineering. Which are things I'd invest in.

access both to birth control and support of family formation don't seem drastic enough, not for what I'm thinking of.

Europe succeeded because a certain type of personality was selected for, in the past 1000 years. How can I go about doing that in my country?

We might not have genetic engineering yet, but we may have artificial wombs. Babies may be created in special factories from sperm and eggs collected from the intelligent upper classes, and then redistributed to the sterilized masses, who will therefore have smarter adopted children capable of bringing home a much larger income. But how can this be done, without triggering dissent? Or ticking-off western NGOs?

Anonymous said...


Yes, I'm fully aware of when the term "Judeo-Christianity" arose.

As far as the relationship between Jews and Enlightenment thinking, that's not relevent to my point. However, I'm not sure you even want to really go there, since it's more complicated than what you present. See onathan I. Israel’s Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 (Oxford University Press, 2001), and Adam Sutcliffe’s Judaism and Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

You haven't addressed anything I've said. You've just put up some strawmen. I haven't said anything about conscious control, Indeed most of the extended phenotypic dynamics we see in nature are completely mindless and have nothing to do with conscious control.

Anonymous said...

Peter, I think you should be cautious about the term 'single motherhood'. It is a term that could be applied to a divorced or widowed woman who had to all intents and purposes tried to create a 'perfect' family. I'm sure you are not suggesting that women, who become 'single mothers' inadvertently, should have a man foisted on them.

I understand your intention is to refer to women who deliberately choose to have children out of wedlock, with no thoughts about the role of fathering. But we could equally focus on the paucity of paternalism in society these days. I would argue that paternalism is an influence that is not confined to the 'home' but can also be a beneficial influence in, say, the police dealing with delinquent youths.

If you watch some of the old movies it is clear that there was a perception that some form of paternal advice, albeit 'stern', could be a more productive approach than immediately reaching for aggressive and punitive measures.

One example might be the problems that 'stop and search' causes in the UK. From watching 'reality cop' programmes it seems the police can be excessively aggressive and often the officers are the same age as those being stopped and searched.

So, whilst I agree that the 'family', as a foundation structure for a stable society, has fallen into disrespect and disrepair, I feel this phenomenon is broader than simply girls, probably under-educated and under-guided, getting themselves pregnant in order to, mistakenly, achieve some sense of self-worth and of being loved.

In fact, society has reversed the role of respect away from maturity and towards youth. Added to which is the pervasive suspicion of unhealthy interest in children, which acts against mature people stepping in to help solve problems.

Modern societies seem to have been on a 30 year rumpeldink (you know what I mean!) and now would be a good time to reassess, and reintroduce into education, discourse about the role of the family. To that end it probably is quite helpful to have Asian and Hispanic families in the mix.

But certainly, here in the UK, there has been an understandable pendulum-swing away from the authoritarian Victorian model of the family, which was effective in creating a 'robust' society but was also infused with hypocrisy and cruelty.

Anonymous said...

oh! apologies. My laptop was telling me the comment hadn't been sent.

Peter Fros_ said...


In theory, I might be called a conservative but in practice I feel little in common with modern conservatives.

The conservative critique of liberalism is that liberals try to redesign society to fit ideas that look great on paper but not so well in the real world. In contrast, conservatives prefer ideas that have stood the test of time.

In reality, modern conservatives are just as vulnerable to unproven half-baked ideas as liberals. A good example is globalization in particular and free market theory in general, but I could cite others. Also, many traditional ideas are no longer as applicable today as they were in the past. Early Christians did not foresee many of the problems we now face and it would be dumb to look to the Bible for guidance.

The middle class is declining in Canada and even more so in the U.S. I am now living temporarily in Toronto, and there is a noticeable decline between the Toronto I knew in the late 1970s and what I see now.

I don't believe in "drastic" approaches because they tend to have unforeseen side-effects. I prefer modest approaches that will have a bigger impact over the long term.

If I had to point to a sensible demographic model to follow, it would probably be Russia or Israel. Both have been able to boost the fertility rate of stable middle-class couples, even among those who have a secular "modern" mindset. Again, I have no problem with surrogate parenthood, but it must be voluntary.


We may have to agree to disagree. The Enlightenment was not the sharp break from previous thinking that some have made it out to be. It was largely a radicalization of ideas that had already been put forward by medieval theologians.

There were a few Jews who took part in the Enlightenment (like Spinoza) but they were atypical. The traditional Jewish attitude was similar to the traditional Christian attitude.

I understand your distinction between conscious and unconscious behavior, but I'm not persuaded by the argument that the situation we now find ourselves in is the result of Jews, either collectively or as individuals, unconsciously advancing their perceived interests.

If we look specifically at antiracism, it was largely a WASP creation of the early to mid-19th century. Many Jews helped to revive antiracism from the mid-1930s onward, but it continued to remain a largely WASP movement.


Widows don't normally refer to themselves as single mothers. In any case, I'm referring to single women who live in unstable relationships with "bad boys" and choose to keep the children that result from such relationships.

The desire for self-worth doesn't trump the high social costs that single motherhood generates.

Ian said...

Any policies designed to alter the reproductive balance between low-IQ people and everyone else would have to pretend to be about something else to have a chance of being enacted.

Trying to raise the fertility rates of people with IQs in the 120s and over is probably a lost cause. Business and public sector alike demand ever-greater working hours and dedication from such people. Or else they value their careers over family life and, being clever, are good at persuading themselves in ideological terms that they've made the right choice.

It's the large mass of competent, less ideologically-fixated people of average and just-above intelligence who are probably more worthwhile helping.

Anonymous said...

"postjudiced" was a brilliant little gem buried amongst that excellent article. well done!

Anonymous said...


Again, the relationship between Jews and Enlightenment thinking is not relevant to my point. And the issue of how "radical" the Enlightenment was or wasn't is not relevant to my point. And obviously arguing over whether or not a "radicalization" was truly "radical" or not is pointless.

You've written before about the most simplest organisms possibly inducing extended phenotypes like "cuckold envy" in much more complex organism such as human beings, so the notion that you find it "delusional" that much more complex organisms could induce comparably strange behavior in other organisms is not very credible.

"Antiracism" was not a "WASP creation" of the early/mid 19th century, and it certainly was not a "WASP movement" after the 1930s, when WASPs were rapidly losing influence and control in the US.

Anonymous said...

"The desire for self-worth doesn't trump the high social costs that single motherhood generates"

I'm not saying it does. I'm saying there are underlying causes:
a) lack of alternative means of empowerment
b) lack of male responsibility

Thus, it might be more productive to stigmatise irresponsible males than irresponsible females. Which I believe was the case in Italy at some point in the past. Many old movies show male restraint as a desirable quality.

"Trying to raise the fertility rates of people with IQs in the 120s and over is probably a lost cause. "

Maybe not if we adopt a new model of 'family'. From what I can gather HBD harks back to a golden age of intelligent husbands marrying apple-pie women. But supposing Rust Cohle was to marry Sarah Lund. Each has failed to create a stable family and yet together, with recourse to childcare, they could actually create a large family of highly intelligent individuals each independently pursuing their own interests.

"Business and public sector alike demand ever-greater working hours and dedication from such people. "

Again, underlying causes. Arguably, the side effect or subtext of feminism has been the ability to lower wages - two incomes coming into the home. Ideology underpins social change. The same applies to a) above, why are there no other forms of empowerment available to girls and yet, 'sex education' and 'sexual posturing' are proliferated like the best thing since wholegrain bread?

spagetiMeatball said...

What about using artificial wombs to create fetuses, incubate them, and then redistribute them to households who have more time, not being engaged in intensive intellectual labor?

You might bring up the objection that these children will have an intellectually unstimulating upbringing, but we have lots of evidence from studies that environment has little effect on adult IQ, except in cases of extreme deprivation and abuse.

Jim said...

Peter - Regarding your remarks about the decline of the middle class in Canada and the decline of Toronto - Canada seems to have better demographics than the US. I believe that Canada is about 77%white and 14% Asian. Also blacks are only about 3%.

I noticed that average income levels in Canada now seem to be rising above those of the US. This is very different from the pattern which existed throughout msot of the last few centuries. I suspect that in the future the US and Canada may diverge considerably with the US becoming increasingly like a Third World country while Canada may be better able to maintain a First World economy.

Santoculto said...

fertility rates of the Canadian white population is significantly lower than the rate of white Americans. Canadians do not have a lot of fertile conservatives within the country, as much of the white population is concentrated in cities and are liberal, so I see.

Differing rates of fertility among Canadian races will have a significant effect over the medium term, selective immigration with an average of 100 000 or more immigrants (at least half of them non-white), continue to be encouraged and rates white fertility is still too low.

Kept these circumstances, Canada will not be substantially better than the USA.

This is to take into account the possibility of immigrants who are in the USA, go to Canada, when the country is no longer able to meet their demands.

Peter Fros_ said...


Antiracism, like the Enlightenment, was a white Christian invention. Jews were latecomers to both. Please read: One Blood: Abolitionism and the Origins of Racial Equality, by Paul Goodman. Here are two excerpts:

"In the 1830s, for the first time in American history an articulate and significant minority of Americans embraced racial equality as both a concept and a commitment, although it was an ideal far more difficult to live up to than to profess."

"Color phobia, abolitionists contended, is irrational, wicked, preposterous, and unmanly. It is contrary to natural rights and Christian teaching, which recognizes no distinctions based on color. Race prejudice, Elizur Wright Jr. exploded, is “a narrow, bitter, selfish, swinish absurdity.”

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, antiracism fell into decline, largely because of disillusionment with post-Civil War reconstruction and the growing influence of Social Darwinism. I agree that Jewish individuals and organizations played a key role in its revival from the mid-1930s on, but even during that period it would have gone nowhere without WASP grassroots support.


Men, in general, are not becoming more irresponsible. There has, however, been a weakening, among women, of the taboo against associating with irresponsible men. So when certain women complain about "men" they aren't complaining about men in general.

A recent Swedish study has confirmed this trend:

"Convicted criminal offenders had more children than individuals never convicted of a criminal offense. Criminal offenders also had more reproductive partners, were less often married, more likely to get remarried if ever married, and had more often contracted a sexually transmitted disease than non-offenders. Importantly, the increased reproductive success of criminals was explained by a fertility increase from having children with several different partners."


Artificial wombs don't exist.


I'm less sanguine than you about the future of my country. Canada is better off than the U.S., but that's not saying a lot. The Canadian middle class is being hit by the globalization that has devastated the working class across the Western world. Wages used to be higher in Toronto than elsewhere in the country. Now it's the reverse.

Some areas of Toronto have become chic and upscale, but the reverse prevails elsewhere. Most of Toronto now has a tawdry, decrepit look.

This situation cannot be reversed without political change, but political change requires ideological change. Unfortunately, the beneficiaries of globalization have bought out the entire political spectrum, from the right to the left.

Sean said...

When Lynn Margulis asked Niles Eldredge for an example of species formation that had actually been documented, he cited a experiment in which fruit flies had been bred to reproduce at a high temperature, and they were no longer able to produce fertile offspring with their normal temperature living fruit fly brethren. But, it was found that the cold breeding flies had an intracellular bacterium that the hot-bred ones lacked.

Holland has a good claim to be the first modern civil commercial society (yes before England), and Spinoza was not the only Jew in Holland. Jews have probably had more influence on the development of European society, for good and ill, than anyone knows. Of course Holland had emerged from a fraught period. The Dutch rebels ostensibly even harkened the to the Ottomans.

I happen to believe that the international situation is the cause of a nations contemplating an alteration in internal political arrangements; that is when internal dissent can act as a catalyst.

Anonymous said...


Radical abolitionism and "antiracism" was opposed by most WASPs and WASP elites. As you admit, it was a minority view. It didn't just go into decline after the Civil War. It didn't have much currency to begin with.

By the 1930s, WASPs were the most conservative and reactionary element of the American populace. And WASPs were rapidly declining in their control and influence in the US. They certainly didn't provide "grassroots support" for the progressive coalition of that time.

Read The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State by Benjamin Ginsberg. Also read Kevin Macdonald's Culture of Critique as well as his paper on the history of American immigration policy.

Peter Fros_ said...


Unfortunately, the Ottoman Turks were able to exploit differences between Christian Europeans. This was how they took over Hungary, and I suspect they could have followed the same strategy in Holland if they captured Vienna (Cologne was their next objective).


Committed people are always a minority. But most Americans, particularly in the Northeast, went along with the radical abolitionists. Acquiescence is acceptance, and most northeastern WASPs acquiesced to the radical abolitionist agenda.

I'm a Canadian, not an American. In Canada, the political left was dominated by WASPs in the 1930s, as was the union movement. The far right tended to be dominated by Catholics or recent European immigrants.

In the U.S., the New Deal coalition had strong support among rural and working-class WASPs, particularly in the South. It was really later in time, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, that the Democratic Party became transformed into an ethnic coalition (and later into a non-white coalition).

Yes, I'm familiar with Kevin Macdonald's work. I agree that opposition to the Immigration Act of 1924, and later opposition to Nazi Germany, tended to radicalize the Jewish community and mobilize it for an escalating war on racism.

I disagree with him on the inevitability of this historical trend. I also feel he ignores the history of antiracism before the mid-1930s.

Anonymous said...

"I disagree with him on the inevitability of this historical trend."

You've written about a couple of historical details but it would be interesting if you developed your thesis.

It surprises me that, for all the debate in this area, the HBD community, premised on biology, has not broached the subject of relatedness and yet, much has been written about relatedness in Europeans and Arabs.

Anonymous said...


Radical abolitioinism was opposed by most WASPs and WASP elites. There were major anti-abolition riots and mobs in New England and the North.

The New Deal coalition was a minority coalition, just as the Democratic Party is today. It united northern urban residents, Catholics, Jews, white ethnics, and the South against northern WASPs and rural Protestants. The South was a part of the coalition because it was a distinct region long hostile to northern dominance, and because it liked federal welfare, which the New Deal coalition delivered. It certainly wasn't a part of the coalition because it was socially liberal or against racism. By the 60s and 70s, the New Deal coalition started breaking down and the South and northern Catholic ethnics started leaving the Democratic Party. The South left because the Democratic Party supported greater civil rights for blacks.

MacDonald doesn't really argue that the historical trend was inevitable. He carefully documents and demonstrates the fact that there was a distinct historiccal trend of behavior. And his body of scholarship does not ignore the history of antiracism before the 30s.

Sean said...

Anonymous, don't be so dogmatic. You're the one who needs to brush up on MacDonald's recent writing, such as this: "Philip Gura’s American Transcendentalism provides a valuable insight into a nineteenth-century leftist intellectual elite in the United States. This is of considerable interest because Transcendentalism was a movement entirely untouched by the predominantly Jewish milieu of the twentieth-century left in America. Rather, it was homegrown, and its story tells us much about the sensibility of an important group of white intellectuals"

Anonymous said...


You make sweeping statements about every ehtnic group under the sun, but if someone mentions Jews, you get quite defensive. For whatever reason, you're clearly not the most objective person as far as this issue goes, and I don't think you of all people should be lecturing people about dogmatism.

I've read MacDonald's recent writings on the Transcendentalists and other topics. It would be one thing if early 20th century American WASPs and WASP elites were fanatical antracists and social liberals. But that wasn't the case, so a connection to the 19th century Transcendentalists can't even be drawn. said...

Peter Frost wrote: "artificial wombs do not exist"



"how to do you change your country from low IQ to high IQ?"
I would suggest adopting technology and policies favoring high IQ people with the right character.
You start yourself and finding like minded people to support each other.

What make impossible now to increase the reproductive rate of high IQ women with high IQ men is the government interference. The government steal a large part of the wealth produced and this push high IQ women to prefer working and career over having babies.

It will be interesting to see what will happen with the introduction of cryptocurrencies. They will make more difficult for the government to control the currency and manipulate it to extract wealth from the public (mainly the Middle Class) and redistribute it to low IQ voters.

As I wrote before, technology change the landscape permanently until a new technology emerge. It also change the fittings of individuals and the effect of their breeding strategies.