We have A Word For That

One thing you cannot help but notice, if you travel, is that English is just about everyone’s second language. In many parts of the world, their second language is almost as common as their first. In Iceland, for example, you hear as much English in the streets as Icelandic. The locals just seem to assume that people they don’t know are going to prefer English, while people they know will prefer Icelandic. In effect, they have a public language and private language. This is something you see in many places.

It used to be that French was the language of diplomacy. It is where we get the expression lingua franca. Of course, long before that, Latin was the official language of global affairs. In the case of French, it was simply a matter of France being the dominant power on the Continent, so French was the language of diplomacy among Europeans, but not the rest of the world. Latin was the language of the Church, so while the whole of Europe was Catholic, it was a useful common tongue for diplomacy.

The rise of English is a slightly different matter. For sure, the Pax Americana has a lot to do with English becoming the diplomatic language of the West, but it does not explain it becoming the public language. That’s probably due to the rise of global corporations in the last fifty years. Many European countries started teaching English in schools, because it would be useful in the work place. American companies would be more inclined to hire a German who spoke some English than an Italian with no English.

Power and money are always good answers to most questions, because they are easy to understand and confirm things we like to believe about the world. We want to think that there are great benefits to being rich or powerful, like imposing your language and religion on those over whom you rule. There’s certainly some truth to it, but it does not explain everything. For example, the prevalence of English in the Nordic countries is much higher than in France or Italy. The Germans have a lot of English speakers too.

Another possibility for why English has becomes the universal language is the rise of science and technology as cultural forces. English is extremely useful in science, because of its precision and flexibility. English is a not a language with a lot of words that have two very different meanings. For example, study and studio mean entirely different things. In French you would use the same word and the context would make the distinction. Few words in English need context to have a full meaning.

The other thing about English is it adopts new words, either from other languages or out of the blue, with great speed. This post by paleontologist John Hawks is an amusing example of how the flexibility of language works with science and technology. Most languages don’t adopt loan words very well. Instead, they have to take existing words and combine them together to get something like the meaning of the new word. German is hilarious with this. Lots of Zungenbrechers in German with new words.

It is possible that English is a better language for science and technology, where new abstract concepts are common. It is easier to invent a new word or borrow a word, like synergy for example, and imbue it with a definition that captures the new idea, rather than force the new idea into the old grammar. The word synergy was kicking around psychology for a century, before it was picked up by tech companies and turned into a catchy word to describe involuntary cooperation through the use of technology.

Of course, the implication here is that English evolved with people who were better at science and technology. It’s certainly true that the Industrial Revolution started in England and first spread to northern Europe. It’s certainly true that northern Europeans remain the most inventive people on earth. This is probably just a coincidence or perhaps something to do with ecology, as everyone knows there are no differences between people anywhere at any time under any conditions. To suggest otherwise is bad.

Even so, the rapid adoption of English as the official second language in European countries with a common heritage is suggestive. These countries have also always had a high and low version of their languages as well. High German is thought to derive from the Suebi people. Low German, the various German dialects in central Europe, come from the other tribes. Perhaps having a public language and private language, a public custom and private custom, is the real root of this phenomenon, rather than modern technology.

Regardless of the cause, English is becoming the official language of the planet, even as the ratio of Europeans to everyone else rapidly shrinks. Communicating in English is more efficient and more accurate across the wide swath of humanity. There are exceptions at the fringes, but there always are. In the main, English is becoming the public language of the world. That means the elite of the future will be plucked from those with the cognitive skills best suited for mastering the complexity of English thought.

That’s the part you can see in your daily life. There are South Asians, for example, who have a delicate mastery of English. There are others who are comical eruptions of misnomers and butchered grammar. No matter how hard they try, they just can’t think in English or even pretend to think in English. As a result, their mastery of the language is limited to mimicry. Since language is about communicating abstract concepts, these people will never be able to rise to the upper reaches of the cognitive class.

This is usually where the bad people bring up the phrase Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which then results in the usual suspects leaping from the bushes yelling “That had been debunked!” In truth, the strong version has simply been dismissed, because it does not fit in with the blank slate argument. Spend time around people, who speak English as a second language, You will notice that some are thinking in English, while others are just interpreting their native thoughts into English sounds.

It’s pleasant to think that the dominance of English portends good things for native English speakers and their cousins in Europe, but the Suebi may be the better example. They left a lot of their culture, but none of their people. There are claims by some to be the decedents of the Subei, but there is no proof as of yet. Most likely, the Subei were wiped out by strangers who flowed over the borders.

Revolt of the Machines

One of the great unanswered questions in science is how did the first building blocks of life arise from the primordial soup of early earth. It is believed that before even the simplest of life forms existed, earth was something like a thin stew that was getting thicker as more complex chemicals formed. At some point, and no one knows how, the first DNA molecules formed. The prevailing theory is that the first genetic molecule was a primitive form of RNA, which evolved into more complex RNA and then DNA.

No one knows how this could happened only that it did happen. The proof of which is all around us, including in the mirror. Life exists and it is based in DNA. Further, RNA is created from DNA to put that information to work, like controlling the creation of proteins and performing other chemical functions. How DNA became the code of life, while RNA, its predecessor, became its tool, is a great mystery in science. It is the question J.F. Gariepy tackles in his book The Revolutionary Phenotype.

Gariepy or “JF” as he is known by his fans, is an enigmatic YouTube personality, known for his willingness to talk with anyone. He has had everyone from science deniers to holocaust deniers on his show, as well as lots of normal people. His YouTube career is recent, as until 2017 he was a neurobiologist and post-doctoral researcher at Duke University’s Institute for Brain Sciences. In this book, he endeavors to explain the origin of life 4 billion years ago and predict the end of DNA-based life on earth.

One of the challenges facing writers of science books for a general audience is they must first simplify the presentation. It’s not that the audience is dumb, but that they are unfamiliar with the jargon and unfamiliar with the way people in science communicate information through mathematics. A book full of complex proofs and splatter charts is not going to be popular with most readers. Gariepy gets past this first obstacle by sticking with a straight forward narrative format that is easy to follow.

The second challenge for science writers is to follow the old rule about essay writing that kids learn in school. The book should always be like a woman’s swimsuit; big enough to cover the important parts, but small enough to keep it interesting. This is probably a good rule for all writing in this age. Thanks to the internet and cable television, everyone’s attention span has collapsed. Gariepy gets past this hurdle, as the book is just 138 pages and written in a brisk style that makes for easy reading.

The question is, of course, does Gariepy deliver on his promise to explain the origin of life and how it will end. The answer is an unequivocal maybe. On the positive side, he does a very good job of explaining one possible narrative for how primitive RNA evolved into RNA and then DNA. He offers up an interesting theory as to how DNA came to be the master and RNA the slave, which is an important event in the history of life. The presentation here is a nice primer for the general reader on the basics of genetic theory.

What really works here is his use of simple concepts that he stacks together to explain more complex ideas. For example, describing the relationship between your genes and your body as something like the relationship between a machine operator and the machine, is useful in understanding why our bodies will evolve over time. Our body is there to serve our genes, so any innovation that is better for our DNA is adopted, while changes that are not useful are discarded. Our body is a vehicle for DNA.

The negative here is that the language and analogies don’t always work. Using the office printer to explain how gene mutation works is clever, but calling it a trickster printer will give the American reader the wrong impression. The same is true for his use of the phrase “fool replicator.” This is probably a language issue, as Gariepy is French. The word trickster and fool have different connotations to French speakers than they do to English speakers, especially Americans, who think tricksters and fools are immoral.

Another complaint about the book, and one of the trade-offs with brevity, is it assumes the reader has recently read Daniel Dennet and Richard Dawkins. In fact, it is probably a good idea to read The Selfish Gene before reading this book, as Gariepy refers to it extensively in the first third of the book. Again, this is the trade-off that comes from brevity and summarizing the material for a general audience. In this case, it is a minor complaint and it does not ruin the book or invalidate his arguments.

The final complaint about the book is that he spends 80% of the text explaining the transition from simple RNA molecules to the complex DNA-based life. That’s about 100 pages, which is a great short primer on a difficult to understand subject. The rest of the book is a dash to the finish line, explaining how the rise of artificial intelligence spells the end of DNA-based life. There’s a strong impression that this part was rushed in order to get the book done and ready for sale. The book sort of ends with a thud.

Without giving too much away, Gariepy argues that RNA used DNA as sort of a bank vault for its code base. When it needed to copy itself, it did so from that copy stored in the DNA molecule. Eventually, the DNA molecule was able to replicate itself, without help from its RNA master. This set off a battle between RNA and DNA, which DNA won, turning RNA into its servant. This same process is about to happen with artificial intelligence, as AI becomes self-aware and able to self-replicate.

That sounds like the premise of a lot of science fiction stories, but it is both an interesting entry point to understanding artificial intelligence and the dynamic between environment, humans and man’s ability to alter his environment. There’s enough there for another book and maybe that’s the plan, but Gariepy only gives it about twenty pages and it felt very rushed. Given his YouTube audience, most of his readers are more interested in how life ends, rather than how it begins. They will undoubtedly feel a bit cheated.

Overall, the first half of the promise, to tell the story of how life began, works pretty well for the intended audience. It’s not a research paper or a bold new hypothesis to explain the origin of life. It is more of a summary of current thinking in a style that the general reader can follow and understand. The second promise could have worked, but it needed a fuller treatment than what Gariepy delivers. Otherwise, it is a book worth reading, if you have an interest in evolutionary biology or the origins of life on earth.

The Nature of Diversity

Imagine an island that is suddenly populated with one hundred couples, each with a unique last name. In other words, no couple has the same last name. Further, they continue the tradition of the females taking the male’s last name upon marriage. As these couples reproduce, their children will be expected to marry one another. Couple A1 has a couple of boys and they marry the girls from Couple C2. This is not a controlled experiment, so nature can take its course and people are free to marry who they like.

Now, some couples will have all girls. Some couples will have no children. Given that the island is pretty boring and all of the couples are sexually normal, the infertile couple will not be the result of a lack of effort. On the other hand, infertility is not that common, so the number of childless couples will be quite small. At the same time, “Fertile Myrtle” is not an unusual phenomenon and some men have a near uncontrollable sex drive. That means there will be quite a few big families to counter the infertile and the strangely disinterested.

Now, if all couples have one male child and one female child, both of whom make it to sexually maturity and marry, then the population will remain stable. The number of last names will also remain constant, as each male heir will carry on the family name. Given this is a small island, a few extra children, or the “heir and spare” model will make sure that the family names live on and the population does not fall into decline. In this perfect scenario, we can come back in a dozen generations and things are about the same.

On the other hand, if each generation has 10% of the females unable to bear children, it will take about 20 generations before almost everyone has the same last name. The decline in last names happens fast initially, but the name singularity is at about 20 generations. Something similar happens if 10% of the couples have only female children that make it to adulthood. Throw in the fact that each generations may not have enough females for all the males and the decline of last names will progress toward one.

Obviously, lots of couples will have all boys or all girls. Since this island does not have video games or feminism, getting busy with the opposite sex will be the main form of entertainment. That means some couples will have lots of kids, but others will be more restrained and have one or two kids. The bigger the family, the lower the odds of having all girls or all boys, but it happens. If that is just ten percent of the result, the initial disappearance of last names is much quicker, but still takes about 20 generations.

Why would anyone care about this? Well, it is a good way to understand how a trait can flow through a population, resulting in a unique population. Instead of last names, let’s use a pronounced brow ridge, indicating high intelligence. If this is a trait passed through the male line of the A2 family, the whole population will have it, if in our experiment the A2 name is the one that comes out on top after 20 generations. If it is not just passed by males, but also results in high fertility, then it can spread quickly in our population.

Add in the fact that men with a prominent brow line will be highly desirable to the opposite sex, now you have a trait that increases the odds of producing children with it by some small percentage. On the other hand, let’s say the one guy in our 100 founding couples with the brow ridge drowns while out for a swim, before he had kids. That means this highly desirable trait, both from a biological as well as reproductive reason, is removed from the gene pool forever. Our island will be full of homely dumb people forever.

This is a simplified and rather crude way of illustrating how a desirable trait can flow through a population, but it is useful. In fact, this is pretty much how we have so many dog breeds. Humans short-circuited nature, by selecting the dogs that would breed, thus selecting for specific traits. After enough generations, one breeder ended up with Great Danes, while another ended up with dachshunds, so to speak. A famous example of this is the creation of a domesticated foxes by a Russian geneticist named Dmitry K. Belyaev.

Another way of understanding this is to imagine our island paradise flourishing with a high fertility rate over many generations. Then a resource scarcity sets off competition among the islanders and eventually a tyrant emerges to control the island. He correctly sees that the issue is the left-handed and has all of them killed. In future generations, anyone found to be left-handed is killed. It will not take long, in fact it could literally happen over night, for the population to lose the left-handed trait. Sometimes, Mother Nature is this cruel.

This is a good way to understand the natural diversity of people. When modern humans emerged from Africa, that is the most likely origin, we carried almost all of the traits present in humans today. As people spread out around the globe, nature found some traits much more useful in the new environment, so those traits eventually were selected for over each generation. Nature also found some traits deleterious and strongly selected against them, like our left-handedness example. Overtime, we got the diversity of man.

It is why anyone who uses the phrase “scientific racism” is rejecting the fundamentals of biology. Just as there is great diversity in the domestic dog, there is diversity in humans, diversity that is measurable and observable. Denying observable reality is a few clicks less reasonable than witchcraft or astrology. It also means multiculturalism is, in effect, a war on nature, as it is an effort to obliterate human diversity. Mixing everyone together into a gray slurry, is just a primitive minded war on nature and biological reality. It is immoral.

The New Druze

In the late 10th and early 11th century, a form of mysticism evolved that incorporated elements of Islam, Greek philosophy, Gnosticism, bits from other esoteric faiths, that existed in eastern Mediterranean and what we now call the Middle East. The person credited with spreading this new faith was a guy named Muhammad bin Ismail Nashtakin ad-Darazi. He came to Egypt in 1017 and began preaching and attracting converts. He was branded a heretic and executed in 1018 by the sixth Fatimid caliph.

The Caliph, al-Hakim, was not hostile to the new faith, so much as hostile to ad-Darazi, who he thought was suffering from megalomania. His move against ad-Darazi was to put Hamza ibn ‘Ali ibn Ahmad in charge of this new religious sect, which would eventually be known as the Druze. The sixth caliph plays a central role in the Druze faith despite being outside the faith. His actions during his reign as caliph made it possible for the faith to spread and altered its course with the decision to execute ad-Darazi.

This is an interesting bit of serendipity, but it has a connection to our own age in a few important ways. The most obvious, if you are a fan of the period, is al-Hakim is often blamed for starting the crusades. His decision to persecute Christians sent ripples through Europe, eventually leading to the call to recapture the Holy Land. Of course, as with everything about history, that’s debatable. There were other forces at work, but it is generally accepted that al-Hakim played a crucial role in the clash with Christendom.

Eventually, of course, two main strains of Islam came to dominate the Arab world, while Christianity dominated Europe, but The Levant has remained a place with lots of religious diversity. The Druze live mostly in Lebanon. The Samaritans are in the Palestinian territories. Maronites, Eastern Orthodox and Melkite Catholics exist in Lebanon. Syriac Christians and Alawites exist in Syria. Of course, various flavors of Judaism dominate in Israel. It is not an accident that instability is the only constant in The Levant.

That’s an obvious lesson when examining this part of the world. If one wanted proof of the axiom, Diversity + Proximity  = Violence, The Levant has more than enough for any argument. The pathological zeal of Western leaders for inviting the world into Western lands, can only have one end. That’s the same we see in Lebanon, a country blessed with a great location, abundant natural resources and natural barriers to larger enemies. Yet, it is a land riven by sectarian violence and the lack of a unifying identity.

There is another lesson from the history of The Levant and that is the cauldrons of diversity tend to create more diversity. The reason this part of the world was popular with schismatics and holy men is it was where the action was in the Middle Ages. Cairo was a wealthy, cosmopolitan place compared to cities of Europe. There were scholars well versed in Greek philosophy, wealthy patrons willing to sponsor scholarship and a wide range of thought to draw from for the creative minded spiritual leader.

That’s something to keep in mind as Europe works to invite the world and all of its religions to settle in the West. Throw a bunch of people together with a wide range of beliefs and inevitably it spawns a bunch of new combinations. The flow of Muslims into Europe, a land that has abandoned Christianity for various secular passions, is going to spawn new spiritual movements. The recent conversion to Islam of an AfD leader is the sort of thing that is happening with increasing frequency. Islam is now a thing in Europe.

The other aspect to this is the West is now open country, when it comes to the religion business. Just as Catholicism faced a dying collection of pagan beliefs, Islam is now flowing into a world held together by habit and pointless social fads. The soul of Europe died a long time ago. To be a European today means to be a deracinated stranger in a land that is increasingly unfamiliar to you. That makes Europe fertile ground for a confident religion brought by people thinking they are on the winning side of history.

That does not mean Europe will be Islamic. Islam is all over the world, but it always adapts to the local environment. Islam in Asia is Islam with very Asian characteristics. Islam in the Caucasus is a mountain man version of Islam. Biology is the root of everything and that means cultural items like religion flow from it. The Islamification of Europe will inevitably result in something that is very European. The Germans will have their take, the Danes will have theirs and the French will do something French.

It also means all sorts of other permutation that result from mixing Western empiricism, Oriental mysticism and traditional Christianity. The Druze we started with in this post combine Ismailism, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Pythagoreanism and Hinduism. It is an esoteric faith that is also an ethnicity. The Druze do not accept converts and they do not allow out-marriage. A person who marries outside the faith is no longer Druze and their children will not be Druze. Imagine something like that happening Bulgaria.

The point of this somewhat disjointed post is that Europe is dead. The West is dead. The civilization that was created by the culture born of the Enlightenment carries on, but the culture that is the West is dead. Something will come to replace it and that something will, in whole or part, be carried by the people now attempting to replace the Europeans. The resulting culture that rises next will be some combination of the ingredients being tossed into the cauldron, but it will look nothing like the ingredients.

Thinking Backward

One of the hardest things to do when thinking about a subject is to start without a desired outcome. Most people start with the end in mind and work backwards, finding supporting evidence or constructing their argument. There’s noting wrong with it, just as long as you are willing to change your mind when you stumble upon contradictory data or an alternative argument. That’s hard, though, so most people don’t do it. Ideologues stubbornly cling to their ideology, because it is easier than confronting their beliefs.

The funny thing is most people don’t realize they are thinking backward. Even with the popularization of the term priors by economists, few people bother to examine or even consider that they are working within a moral framework. In fact, most people don’t even consider the possibility of there being a moral framework. In America, at least, people who engage in publicize discourse at any level are almost always operating from the assumption they are freely exploring the full range of possible outputs and inputs.

The truth is, Progressives have imposed a moral framework on American public debate and most of their efforts are aimed at maintaining it. The four mortal sins of the modern age are antisemitism, racism, sexism and homophobism. There’s nothing rational about these sins. In fact, these crimes have little support in Western history. All of them were cooked up in the 1960’s as the New Left seized control of public institutions. A quick look at Google N-Gram for their frequency in print makes this point quite clearly..

If you could go back in time and retrieve some of the most Progressive thinkers from a century ago, and bring them into the present, they would be baffled by the limitations on modern debate. Teddy Roosevelt would be baffled as to why Jews, blacks and women were even allowed to participate in public debate. The point here is that the moral framework in which we operate as modern Americans is entirely contrived and entirely new. It’s as if we have been colonized by a minority cult imposing their alien religion.

Few think much about this as most of us have been born into it, but the way to understand the current troubles and the Dissident Right is to understand this point. Our public debates in the West are not about finding the right trade-offs to arrive at a sensible set of public polices. It is about public piety and defending the dominant moral framework. For example, when a guy like Sargon of Akkad decides to form a new cult based on Civic Nationalism, it is important to focus on what goes unsaid, rather than what he says.

Now, I’ve covered the limitations of Carl Benjamin in the past, but it is still useful to look through his new cult’s founding principles. What’s missing from his laundry list of items, obviously plucked from libertarian forums, is freedom of association. The reason for that omission, and I doubt he thought much about it, is that freedom of association means the freedom to privately discriminate. If you are free to associate with whomever you like, you are free to disassociate with whomever you like, for any reason you like.

For guys like Benjamin and his followers, they have been marinated their whole lives in the morality of the Left. They just assume that private discrimination is immoral and always has been immoral. They assume it to be true in the same way people accept gravity. Even when they think about it, they quickly realize this road leads to heresy, so they change the subject. In the case of Benjamin, he is is publicly in favor of laws against private discrimination. He thinks the Christian baker should be compelled to bake the cake.

The amusing thing with libertarians, but also the incoherent liberals like Benjamin, is that they will fly into a rage if you suggest ending abortion or oppose drug legalization. They demand the citizen’s absolute right of dominion over their body. There’s one exception. A person is free to fill their body with drugs or hire someone to rip[ out their unborn child, but they have no right to position their body next to someone else without first getting permission from the state. The irrationality of that position never occurs to them.

The fact is though, individual liberty starts with freedom of association. No one has a right to be around you, which is the fundamental argument underlying the four mortal sins of Progressivism. Blacks have a right to associate with whites. Women have a right to work in your business or join your club. Jews have a right to join your golf club. Homosexuals have a right to be around your kids. Restore freedom of association and all of those conjured rights become irrational and unenforceable. Modern liberalism collapses.

That sort of forward thinking is strictly prohibited, so everyone is forced to think backward, starting with the “Four Isms” and then creating a moral philosophy within those limits. It’s not hard to imagine Benjamin sweating over his manifesto, with the image in his mind of a purple faced racist standing in the doorway to block blacks, Jews, gays and women from entering his business. Liberals and libertarians are forced to defend liberty within the increasingly constrained space permitted within the moral framework of Progressivism.

That is the fundamental reason the Dissident Right exists. It is a rejection of that moral framework. The alt-right kids talk about being red-pilled, but what they really mean is they asked themselves something like  “why do blacks have a right to be near me?” No one was able to provide an answer, other than “shut up!” What we’re seeing is smart young white guys figuring out that the starting point of any sane society must be freedom of association. No one has the right to be around you or have easy access to your culture.

Group identity is the natural outgrowth of personal liberty. If you are free to be around whomever you choose, the group has the same right. If a bunch of libertarians wish to setup a town on libertarian principles, and make adherence to those principles a condition of membership, they have the right. If on the other hand, everyone must seek permission to association with others, then there can be no individual liberty of any kind. Places where people must get permission to speak and move are called prisons.

The Tectonic Paradox

On my morning run, the local temperature read -3° F. That’s an unusually low temperature for this part of the world, but not unprecedented. Modern times makes extremely cold weather not much more than a curiosity. Everyone has shelter and plenty of heat. Even the poor have central HVAC in their homes and plenty of resources to get their energy bill paid for by others. The local bums had to be rounded up, but there are shelters for them as well. Otherwise, it is something to chat about at the office or experience at a distance.

This was not always true. Not long ago, extreme cold resulted in a lot of death and damage. A hundred years ago, deaths from cold were not uncommon in the northern parts of the world. Some of it was due to disease spreading quickly among people huddled together indoors. There was also the poor nutrition that came from not enough food in the winter months. Even so, people did not have what we have now to deal with the cold, so it was not uncommon for people to die when a serious cold snap hit the region.

Go back further and the problem gets even more perilous. A thousand years ago, humans living in areas that got extremely cold, or had long winters, were faced with unique challenges. This required long term planning in order to have enough food, heat and shelter for the winter. It also required a different type of cooperation. Specialization increases productivity so a people facing long winters would be more dependent on one another. Many hands make a light load, but many different skills make it even lighter.

It is generally accepted that humans migrated out of Africa about 60,000 as genetically modern humans. Most likely this meant following a path along the Red Sea and then into Asia and Europe. As the ice sheets receded, humans followed them north to settle into northern Europe and Asia. When the ice sheets began to expand again, these more adaptable and resourceful people moved south, conquering and displacing the people to their south. The slightly improved people became the stock of settled civilization.

Most of this is speculative, but genetics is slowly filling in a lot of blanks. The implication has always been the that harsh environment selected for more resourceful people, who figured out large scale cooperation, burden sharing and so forth. That sounds good until you consider that settled societies did not first start in the north. They began in the mild climates of the Middle East. The data says that the first settled farming communities were in Mesopotamia, which is why it is called the cradle of civilization.

Further, when the Egyptians were building the pyramids, the people in the British Isles were building Stonehenge. That’s an interesting structure, but it was built by people who were barbarians compared to the people of the Middle east. When the Sumerians were writing down things on clay tablets, Europe was lightly populated by people. who had just barely mastered stone tools. Even into the late Roman Empire, the tribes of Europe were hard pressed to do much more than organize a primitive village surrounded by farms.

Of course, all of this has changed. A great puzzle to the blank slate crowd is why it is Europeans rocketed ahead of the rest of the world, in terms of technology and organizational might, starting around the late Middle Ages. When Europeans arrived in Africa, they found a people, who had yet to master the wheel. The ancient civilizations of the Middle and Near East had fallen into squalor. In the new world, the Incas were about where the Egyptians had gotten 5,000 years prior.

It is widely understood that modern humans, homo sapiens, emerged from the speciation phase of sapient humans in Africa about 100 000 years ago. The genetic record supports this conclusion and it provides details in support of the dispersal. Not only are all modern humans walking around today descended from those original humans, a baby born today is not very different genetically from humans of 100,000 years ago. While there is genetic variation in modern humans, significant physiological evolution ended 100,000 years ago.

The archaeological record, what there is at least, says that humans dispersed around the world over the next 50,000 years without much change in behavior. Then seemingly all of a sudden, humans began to change culturally. The first agriculture appears in Mesopotamia and soon after large scale settled societies. New technologies spread in fits and starts as people figured out how to contend with and modify their natural environments. This is the period, up to today, that science refers to as the tectonic phase.

The sapient paradox is the puzzle as to why it took so long for humans to go from hunter-gathers to settled people. The genetic evidence and lots of wishful thinking say that people in Africa 50,000 years ago were not much different from people 10,000 years ago in the Tigris River area. Why did the people in Mesopotamia figure out how to plan and organize large agrarian societies, while the people in Europe were still living off the land in small tribes? Most important, why did it take so long for humans to accomplish it?

The tectonic paradox, a term I just made up, is the puzzle as to why modern Africans were never able to master the wheel or build a structure taller than a man. When Europeans were conquering the globe, the people in sub-Saharan Africa had yet to adopt a written language. At the same time, how is is that the English, who were no more advanced than Arabs in 1066, were the ones to lead the Industrial Revolution? The great gap in material and cultural progress between the big races is recent and unmistakable.

Genetics is starting to unriddle this great puzzle. Even though the genetic difference between human groups is tiny, it turns out that small difference can have huge downstream consequences, particularly with regards to cultural evolution. The high risk environment of northern Europeans, for example, is most likely the root of the wide variety of hair and eye colors that don’t appear anywhere else on earth. A small difference results in people who look like a different species from their close cousins in sub-Saharan Africa.

What this means is that human evolution is not just recent and local, but the behavior differences between populations is not amenable to social engineering, at least not in the short term. The Arabs flowing into Europe are going there because like all mammals, they seek safety and easy access to food and shelter. They are not Germans, however, and no amount of proselytizing will change Mother Nature’s mind on the subject. We may not know exactly why people are different, but we know they are and there’s no changing it.

Family Friendly

If science suddenly noticed that birds were laying fewer eggs, they would ring the alarm and warn of a coming bird-pocalypse. The assumption would be that humans were doing soemthing to make the birds unable to reproduce. The same would be true of any species that saw its fertility decline. The starting assumption of biology is that all living things are built primarily to reproduce. That is the biological imperative. With one exception, a drop in an animal’s fertility must be due to some exogenous factor. That exception is humans.

In the West, human fertility rates have steadily fallen for over a half century. This is celebrated by our betters as the hallmark of human progress. Anytime the subject of fertility rates is raised, the knee-jerk response is to start hooting about women being more educated and having more options. The underlying assumption is that stupid people have lots of kids while smart people have few children. The implication of this is that the people who built Western Civilization were stupid, because they had high fertility rates.

The whole “women are more educated” argument is not really an effort to understand why fertility rates, especially white fertility rates, have fallen. Rather, it is an effort to not understand it. It is a deliberate distraction, a way of shifting the focus from a problem that cannot be addressed by the Left, whether it is the materialist Left of Europe or the spiritual Left on America. To even acknowledge that the purpose of women is to have children gnaws at the extreme egalitarianism that animates the Western Left.

To some degree, efforts to level off fertility in Europe make sense. There are lots of people on the Continent who don’t always get along with one another. Generations of warfare pounded home the message that stable societies, respectful of national borders, is the way to keep the peace. Keeping fertility rates at something just above replacement was an understandable goal. In America though, that’s not an issue. The country is mostly empty space with lots of room to expand. Americans should be breeding like Africans.

It really is an odd thing that has happened in America over the last fifty years. Starting in the 1960’s, motherhood became something close to a badge of shame with our cognitive elites. This rather quickly oozed into the the upper classes and then the middle class. As a result, public policy has been altered to discourage childbearing. Just look at the hysterics from Progressive women anytime they don’t get their way. They immediately start howling about how they will not get easy access to abortions and free prophylactics.

This came to mind when I saw a tweet by the left-wing political science professor George Hawley, commenting on the GOP tax bill. He linked to an essay he posted about public policy and fertility rates. For those familiar with this territory, the points he makes and the errors he commits are all familiar. France may have a TFR of 2.08, but the French people do not have that TFR. The invader population has rocket high fertility rates, but the French, well, not so much. Steve Sailer touched on one aspect of this in a Taki post.

A similar pattern, though less pronounced, is seen in the US. White fertility rates are below replacement, while black fertility is still above replacement. Although the homicide rates among blacks probably requires a different definition of “replacement.” Hispanics have the highest fertility rates. In other words, simply looking at TFR for a country that is slowly being overrun by a third world population will lead to errors. In majority white countries, the salient issue is not TFR, but white fertility rates, relative to the whole.

Putting that aside, we return to the original question. Two questions, actually. Is it simply that whites are choosing to die out or have whites simply wandered down a cul-de-sac, in terms of public policy, that is having adverse effects on white fertility? One way to tease this out is something that Steve Sailer did after the 2012 election. He looked at how white women voted, relative to their marriage habits. In places where white women can and do marry, stay married and raise children, whites vote Republican.

Another way of putting this is that where affordable family formation is highest, you get more families. Despite being run by a cult, Utah is a wonderful place to raise a family. It is like the set of Leave It To Beaver, but the size of a European country. At the other end, a state like Massachusetts is wildly expensive and hostile to family formation. Those who do choose to marry and start families, often move to other states. The decades long migration, north to south and east to west, has largely been driven by cost of living.

None of this answers the basic question. Is it crackpot public policy driving down white fertility or is some weird desire for extinction? The latter is impossible to know, so the prudent course is to assume the former is the correct answer. That’s basic logic. This means any movement that is explicitly for preserving the nation’s racial character should promote public policies that are explicitly and overtly pro-family. That is the part of Hawley’s post that is correct. The GOP should be fanatically pro-family, not pro-business.

This especially holds for the dissident right. The alt-right is all over the map on public policy, because they get bogged down squabbling over aesthetics. Oddly, the best thing they could do, in terms of “optics”, is cast themselves as the extreme end of the pro-family spectrum. Redefining pro-women to mean pro-mother would go a long way toward rallying white Americans to their cause. After all, being for something always trumps being against something, even when the thing you oppose is awful. Positive always beats negative.

The Tribe To Emulate

The Asians are often called the “model minority” in America. This is based on the fact that they have very low crime, very low welfare dependency, low social dysfunction and high academic achievement. Some mentally unstable Asian females have tried to rail against this as racist, but Asians make terrible social justice warriors. That and only a lunatic could construe what is an obvious compliment as racism. The thing is though, they are not the model minority. The most successful minority is the Jews.

If you are in an African tribe and your people are thinking about moving to the West, the group you would want to emulate are the Jews. They have figured out how to wildly succeed in all sorts of places, always as a tiny minority. This is in despite of some very serious efforts by majority populations to keep the Jews from succeeding. Then there was the bit of trouble in the middle of the last century. Asians can’t hold a candle to the Jews in this area. In the US, Jews have become the ruling class.

Steve Sailer has picked up on something that has been an internet meme for some time and that is “Jewish privilege.” This used to be a gag in response to the cries of “white privilege” by Progressive lunatics, but it is slowly becoming a legitimate topic for public discussion. Whether or not you buy into the whole “privilege” argument, the point is Jews have been wildly successful in America. The question that should follow is why? What group qualities have worked for Jews that are unique to Jews in America?

Now, this is usually where people will starting mentioning Kevin McDonald and The Culture of Critique. The more empirically minded will bring up the landmark study of Ashkenazi intelligence, by Gregory Cochran, Jason Hardy, Henry Harpending from a dozen years ago. Neither of those are going to help your African tribe make it work in the West. That’s like the Koreans reading the Talmud looking for the secret of Jewish success. A better approach might be identifying a few qualities and copying them.

One is something Steve Sailer picked up on during the short-lived Larry David flap. It used to be that Jews were obsessively self-aware. Thaddeus Russell touches on this in his book, Renegade History of America. Jews used to obsess over the quirks and flaws of their people, and tirelessly harangue the tribe about the flaws. Shame is taboo these days, oddly enough. but it makes for an excellent self-policing mechanism. In fact, it used to be the default way in which the American ruling class policed itself.

Related to the self-policing instinct is clannishness. A lot of alt-right people criticize Jews for being clannish. They call it nepotism, but they really mean clannish. There’s no doubt that Jews throughout the diaspora have always worried about what is good for the Jews, so much so it is a cliche. The thing is though, unlike, say, Arabs, Jewish clannishness defends the tribe against all threats, external and internal. Arabs will protect complete idiots, who cause the tribe trouble. Jews don’t do that with their members.

This is something that all identity politics should adopt. Going back to the African tribe at the beginning, if they have a member, who brings shame on the group or simply cannot pull his weight, the best course is to cut him lose. If you have talent and you are Jewish, the tribe is an enormous asset. if you’re a mediocrity or a loser, being Jewish is not going to benefit you in the least. Clannishness as a reward encourages loyalty, but it also boils off the losers who drag down the group. Along with shame, it makes for a better tribe.

Another quirk of the Tribe that could help any tribe is the unwillingness of Jews to self-marginalize in society. The Ultra-Orthodox do this, but they are the exception. Generally, Jews engage with the society in which they reside and are willing to engage at the highest levels. Gypsies in Europe, in contrast, live on the fringes. Asians in America tend to gravitate to a little Hanoi or a Chinatown. Jews don’t do that and when forced into a ghetto, and we have the word ghetto thanks to the Tribe, Jews resist it and try to engage.

This is not just something Jews have done in America. Italians and Irish are notable examples of groups that would not stay in the ghetto. Unlike Europe, America has never had a lot of rules about this stuff. We did not inherent Europe’s class structure. Still, the winning hand everywhere is to not settle for a quiet little corner of society. The winning formula is to embrace the greater culture and carve out a place in the center of it. The trouble last century in Germany not withstanding, it has worked very well for Jews.

Going back to the shame issue, there is a Jewish quirk that is a huge advantage and that is a form of shamelessness. That is, Jews are never ashamed of their efforts. You see this with the neocons. Guys like Bill Kristol have no problem walking around in public, despite the things he has done to the country. Anthony Weiner was out and about, even after he was caught in the “bing-bing-bing.” It’s not always an asset, but having the conscience of a burglar makes it easier to overcome failure and keep plugging.

The genesis of this post is a conversation I had with a black guy from Zimbabwe. We fell into conversation about his country and one of the things he said was that his people are the Jews of Africa . He thinks his people should come to America and follow the same path as the Ashkenazi. I did not think to ask if he was Lemba, but that’s my hunch. His general point was that inculcating certain group habits that have worked for other groups, is a good way forward for tribes, be they in identity politics on the African bush.

Narcissistic Altruism

One of the great unanswered question of our age is why Western rulers are obsessed with importing tens of millions of unassimilable foreigners into their lands. In the US, the conventional wisdom among immigration patriots is that one side of the political class wants cheap votes, while the other side wants cheap labor. In Europe, the theories range from female hysteria to poorly conceived economics. The one common thread is that across the West, the ruling elites appear to be trying to crash their cultures.

The trouble with these reductionist theories is they don’t make much sense at the individual level, so they can’t very well scale up. For example, the cheap labor argument does not hold up very well when you examine it. Helot labor is great for the business owner, just as long as he is the only guy doing it. When every landscaper is using Aztec workers, there’s little benefit to the landscaping companies. That’s not to say there is no benefit, but does it warrant the suicidal drive to import Mexico into the US?

In Europe, the cheap labor argument makes less sense. Depending upon who is counting, between 80% and 90% of migrants are on public assistance. Even if these migrants wanted to work, there is little demand for low-IQ unskilled workers. Even if there was some demand, the labor laws in Europe would make it impossible to hire them. One of the vexing problems the Euros have are restricted labor markets, that prevent the sort of labor mobility we have in the US. There’s just little demand for cheap foreign labor.

The cheap voter argument is a better one, but even so, the returns are spotty. In the US, Latin voters have been unreliable. They have very low turnout numbers, relative to other groups. Unlike blacks, they are not easily agitated into rushing out to stage big protests or shoot white people. There’s also the fact that they tend to cause the white vote to coalesce around white candidates regardless of party. That or it results in white flight, as we see in California. So far, open borders has been a disaster for white Democrats.

A similar result has been seen in Europe. The Brits are the example closest to the US for obvious reasons. Open borders has destroyed the party that advocated for it. On the continent, the anti-Euro movements are entirely driven by the immigration waves triggered by Merkel. Even docile countries run by cat ladies and cucks are starting to see the rise of nationalism and anti-immigrant parties. Exactly no where is immigration helping the political class. Yet, the ruling class is universally in favor of open borders.

The fact is, there are no good political or economic arguments in favor of mass immigration. In some places, the arguments have some plausibility, but even the best nuts and bolts arguments in favor of elevated immigration levels don’t justify the high political and cultural costs. Yet, our political classes have an unshakable loyalty to foreign migrants. In every Western nation, the smart political play is to oppose high immigration levels. In many countries, banning all immigration is overwhelmingly popular.

There must be something else at work, beyond money and power. Even if we extend the bounds of the ruling class beyond the elected class and their attendants, there’s no upside for the elites. Why is Mark Zuckerberg berserk for high immigration? He’s even in favor of importing Muslims. The same is true for Hollywood people. They get nothing from open borders, other than fewer job opportunities. Ditto the mass media. About the only thing the self-actualizing classes get from open borders is domestic labor.

That may be the key to it. I’ve pointed out before that the self-actualizing class may prefer Spanish landscapers, as it avoids them having to see blacks raking leaves, while singing old fashioned negro work songs. It also avoids seeing downscale whites, who remind them of the tenuousness of their position. Asian and Caribbean domestics not only avoid those problems, but everyone can pretend they make better workers in those roles. The Korean nanny is like a tiger mom for hire. It makes the deception more palatable.

The underlying cause here may be narcissistic altruism. It is generally assumed that altruism is selfless, while narcissism is selfish. That may not be the correct framing, as lots of people do charity work because it makes them feel good. Similarly, lots of self-absorbed people commit public acts of piety because it makes them look good and elevates their status. The guy funding the museum and demanding his name be over the front door is not acting from pure selflessness. He wants glory too.

It has always been known that men often become more religious as they grow older, often returning to the religion of their youth in a serious way. The pattern is not as obvious with women as they much more likely to stay in their church as young adults. Young mothers will often get involved with their church for family services and socializing with other mothers. Men, on the other hand, often have a religious awakening in their middle years and not only return to their religion, but do so with vigor.

George Vaillant was a researcher at Harvard and did a 50 year study on men, tracking them from their teens to old age. One of the areas he studied was altruism and he found that as the men aged, their altruism increased significantly. This was not simply due to selflessness. Helping others becomes increasing rewarding as we age. Neuroimaging has revealed that helping others brings pleasure to the person providing the help. Altruism activates brain centers that are associated with selfish pleasures like sex.

Organized religion, obviously, provides a ready made structure into which this selfish desire to help others can flow. Not only does organized religion have structured charity, it comes with a spiritually rewarding purpose and generations of others who have followed the same path. The female desire to provide charity is funneled into activities that support the community the church serves. The late onset male altruism follows on providing money and intellectual capital to society-strengthening altruism.

Again, this is not pure selflessness. When you volunteer at your church, you feel good about it, because the pleasure centers of your brain are stimulated. It could simply be that as we age, the vanity of youth is no longer effective. To get the same pleasure from life, that desire for selfish pleasure (sex, wealth, status), is redirected into other areas like church participation and charitable giving. Doing good makes the person feel good for having voluntarily done a good work on behalf of their fellows.

The collapse of organized religion, particularly among the Cloud People, is leaving them with no structured outlet for this normal human impulse. The reason a Lyndsay Graham cares more about Dreamers, than his fellow South Carolinians is he feels like he is helping those who need help. It’s why John McCain spent the last three decades chanting about “causes greater than yourself.” Without a structure into which his narcissistic altruism could flow, he searched around for causes and purposes, most of which were destructive.

The Personal is Political

The defining characterization of second-wave feminism, according to feminists, is that the “personal is political.” The phrase comes from an essay by feminist Carol Hanisch with the title “The Personal is Political.” Hilariously, she claimed the phrase was something all women knew and said, but was a secret until the late 1960’s. The most likely reason for her refusal to claim ownership is that she stole the idea from someone else, but feminists have always been nutty, so there’s no way to know.

The argument is that personal experience is intertwined with larger social and political structures. One’s personal choices reveal one’s politics. Consequently, one should make personal choices that are consistent with one’s politics. Put another way, your life is your politics, so therefore politics defines your life. This was a roundabout way of attacking normal family life and traditional female roles, but it did not stop there. Defining people by their politics, and only their politics, meant that there is no escape from politics.

The irony of this is that this is perfectly consistent with how men have always understood women. Women compete with one another to establish their status in relation to men. That means for women, it is an endless competition. Therefore, politics is all consuming. Men, on the other hand, establish their status among one another. Once the pecking order is set, that’s the end of the competition. Politics is for when it is time to reset the pecking order. Otherwise, men define themselves by their role in society and their deeds.

As our society has become feminized, everything is drenched in politics. You see it with the NFL protest debacle. Men watch sports to enjoy seeing men compete with one another in ritualized combat. Men don’t care about what the combatants think about anything, including the combat. Interviews with coaches are to be focused on the strategy of the game, not the guy’s feelings about life. Player interviews are only interesting because most players are black now, so they say wacky and stupid things.

Of course, the zeal of NFL owners to include the girls is due to the understanding that their sport is never going to be popular with girls or sissies. Like boxing, it takes guts to play football. Anyone who played the game knows the risks, as they saw teammates carted off with broken bones or on backboards. Girls don’t like seeing that and they really don’t want their children doing it. The pinking of sports like football is an effort to distract the girls from the reality of the game so they don’t shut it down.

In a feminine society like ours, it is just a matter of time before masculine things like sports are either made girlish or relegated to the fringe. Boxing, for example, still exists, but only as a fringe sport done by foreigners. UFC has managed to gain an audience, but again, it is as a renegade activity, done underground and on pay-per-view. White mothers will never be taking their sons to UFC camp. They can tolerate martial arts, just as long as it is white boys in bathrobes, safely pretending to be Jackie Chan.

This is why football is so much trouble. Peak professional football was probably a dozen years ago. It was around then that white mothers, especially divorced middle-class mothers, started turning against youth football. They did not want their little baby being run over by black kids. That’s why the concussion hysteria gained traction. It’s a ready made excuse for pulling the white kids out of football, that lets white women pretend it is not racism driving their decision. After all, they loved Will Smith in the concussion movie!

It’s why the NFL’s decision to let their blacks kneel during the anthem is going to be a disaster for them. The owners signed off on it thinking it added drama and would therefore draw in girls, because girls and girly-men like drama. Instead, those kneeling black players are a stark reminder to white women that the sport of football is for violent black men, not nice suburban white boys. Youth participation in football is collapsing and this will only serve to accelerate it. The NFL has now made football anti-white and un-American.

The root cause is not the inherent danger of playing sports like football. The root is the same as it is for everything in the current crisis. The feminization of the West is turning politics into a never ending soap opera for no purpose than the perpetuation of petty gripes among the participants. Nothing gets done, because girls don’t care about deeds. They care about attention. Swedish women have turned their country into rape land, in order to get the attention of their men, who have been feminized to the point of no return.

Aristophanes wrote The Assemblywomen in 391 BC. it is a comedic play about what would happen if women assumed control. The women immediately ban private wealth and enforce sexual equality for the unattractive. It reads like an inter-sectional co-convening of the feminist study department at any university. The play was intended to use humor to criticize the Athenian ruling class. It relied on the basic understanding of the female mind and on the widely held understanding that you can never put women in charge.

For thousands of year, people understood the different roles of the sexes. Human societies, for good and ill, were organized on this understanding. Then all of a sudden, the West went crazy. Men stopped playing their role and instead handed off authority to the women. The women have set about politicizing everything and feminizing everything, including the men. They are now forcing their boys to dress as girls and pretend to be women. Everything is political, even the biology of their children

This will not end well.