Who We Aren’t

For the last few years, whenever someone says “it’s not who we are” it means the conversation has veered into the heretical or that some line of argument is viewed as a challenge to official orthodoxy. Amusingly, the people most prone to blurt this out are so-called conservatives. It’s how they police the boundary to their right. The funny thing though, is no one ever tries to define “who we are” in concrete terms. Instead, we get a long list of things, ruled outside the set of things that constitute “who we are.”

This is something that becomes clear in the debate about David Reich’s book, Who We Are and How We Got Here. As John Derbyshire noted in his review of the book, Reich is reporting real facts about who we are as humans, but he puts almost as much effort into re-asserting all the cliches about who we are not, even when those cliches contradict his own research. Everyone gets how this works and why he felt the need to do it. To the people in charge, defining the “not who we are” stuff is who they are as morality police.

As is often the case, that constant push by our masters to enforce their moral framework tends to turn us into thoughtless reactionaries. The Bush years were a great example of this phenomenon. If the Left had remained silent on Bush, he would have been a one term President and few people would have supported the Iraq war. Instead, crazy liberals turned all of us into warmongers, simply in reaction to the unhinged opposition to the Bush administration. The opposite of what the Left says is not necessarily the truth.

As a result, the temptation on our side is to focus exclusively on what the revolution in the human sciences is telling us about ourselves, particularly those bits that confirm what we have always believed about the human animal. It may be just as useful to look at what the science is telling about who we are not. After all, the people in charge are acting on those assumptions about who we are, namely the blank slate. Many on the right are also operating from a set of assumptions about who we are as a species.

The first thing that bears scrutiny is the demolition of the post-Boasian conventional wisdom. As Peter Frost explained years ago, Boas may have started out trying to strike a balance between nurture and nature, but his followers went on a berserk rampage against the nature side of the balance. This really can’t be underestimated. The last half century, being a smart person meant a war against observable reality, under the color of science. Now, no smart person can deny the supremacy of nature over nurture.

That’s an easy one. Another thing that bears scrutiny is the collapse of the pots not people narrative to explain the archaeological record. It has been extremely important for the people in charge that we believe the natural state of man is cooperative. The assumption being that people naturally wish to get along with one another, despite the trivial physical differences. An essential part of the prevailing orthodoxy, from the Right and the Left, is that all human beings seek order so they can go about making and trading stuff.

The data is now confirming that this is not reality. Humans have been raiding and sacking one another since the dawn of man. More important, humans with a genetic edge, some small advantage, like lactose tolerance, were able to conquer the people around them and that meant killing the men and raping the women. They did not just take over an area and incorporate the people within it. The story of man is the replacement of one people by a better people, better because they had some edge rooted in their DNA.

There’s another side to this. The demolition of “pots not people” as the official narrative means the demolition of homo economicus too. Humans are much more complex than the libertarians and so-called conservatives would have us believe. It means defining man as “a creature who seeks the greatest amount of wealth, with the least amount of effort” was only, at best, a superficial observation in the moment. Man is motivated by much deeper forces within his nature. One is his biological desire to conquer those not like him.

Another one of those forces is a desire to understand his place in the universe. It is increasingly clear that belief, which often manifests as religion, is one of the earliest traits of modern humans. The research at Gobekli Tepe reveals that this complex set of structure pre-dates agriculture. In fact, the archaeological record is showing that settlement was the result of a long evolutionary process, driven by shared interest and communal identity, not rational self-interest. Selfish transactionalism is not who we are.

The fact is, who we are is who we believe we are. We define ourselves within the bounds of biological reality. Much of what we have believed about ourselves over the last century is turning out to be at odds with that reality. Modern science may not be telling us who we are, but it is surely telling as who we are not. We are not amorphous blobs that can be shaped into anything, regardless of race. We are not transactional economic units that exist merely to buy more stuff. We’re not that. We are not what modernity has said we are.

We are something else.

54 thoughts on “Who We Aren’t

  1. From the pots-not-people 2010 article:
    “Both of these are examples of the explosive process in demographics and migration which can revolutionize the cultural landscape within a generation or two.”

  2. “The opposite of what the Left says is not necessarily the truth.”

    Most of the time “the opposite of what the Left says” is a very good heuristic. It might not get you all the way to the center of the truth, but it will almost always point you in the right direction.

  3. “If the Left had remained silent on Bush, he would have been a one term ”

    Disagreed: if Florida 2000 hadn’t happened, and it had been just another election, *then* things would have been different. But all the oxygen used up by that stupid recount and Algore throwing a tantrum that even Nixon wouldn’t do cost us in ways we still don’t know.

  4. I remembered this quote by George Orwell on the meaning of life “All “progressive” thought has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain … Hitler, because in his joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life.” from this ( very good ) easy on V.S Naipaul; https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/02/a-terrifying-honesty/302426/

  5. “…. to explain the archaeological record. It has been extremely important for the people in charge that we believe the natural state of man is cooperative…..”

    One would have to be a moron to have ever believed the above.

    The Aborigines of Australia, the Polynesians of the Pacific and Hawaii, the New Guinea headhunters, the North American Indians, etc. etc., would exterminate the adjacent clan for whatever reason they deemed served as justification to do so.

    All of this was routine well before white folks ever exposed themselves to these “peaceful” stone age tribes.
    Every society ever discovered had tools of killing and warriors; if they were so damn peaceful, why did they have warriors??

    Was it the explorer James Cook (???) that was killed by some “peaceful” natives on some remote Pacific Isle?
    Did the Pueblo Indians of the present day SW USA live in cliff dwellings to enjoy the view and realize better re-sale values?
    Did the Huron and Iroquois or the Tutsi and Hutus or the Zulus and Xhosa all live in peace and harmony before the white folks showed up?

    I don’t think so.

    As for “who we are?” there is a damn simple answer; to the progressive, leftist, socialist, communist (but I repeat myself) , we ALL are jews, gypsies, kulaks, untermensch, and other assorted “enemies of the people.”

    And we all know what happened to those folks, don’t we.

  6. Every time I see a flint-knapper archaeologist, every time I hear “That’s not who we are,” I think of the opening ape-men-fighting-over-the-water-hole sequence of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,” because that’s what I see going on all round us – because that is still who we actually are. “That’s not who we are” is a vacant denial of who we are, and in the long or short run Western people’s mass moronic subscription to “That’s not who we are” is going to get us all killed by a tribe or assortment of tribes whose folks know EXACTLY who they are and EXACTLY who we are not.

    • If you look at polling data most whites are at least implicitly aware of this. They don’t want anymore of the “other” here.

      Most whites don’t want anything to do with the “other” because they know damn well they are spell trouble in one form or another. Hell this is what got Trump elected. This includes white liberals.

      We don’t need Reich to tell us or some HBD guru to tell us all that. What we need now is a way of getting rid of the elites that are imposing a invasion of our country by 3rd world detritus. Because it will destroy us in time.

      That said, whites have had their sense of community and unity beaten out of them in way ore another. At one time we had the lodge system and churches to help build and keep a sense of community. That went to the wayside as people commuted more and more and spent more time at work. The advent of the internet help fragment and isolate people even more.

      • There’s a lot to Rod’s comment.

        A few days ago, one of Z’s remarks was “…As I’m fond of pointing out, this is a social war where the battlefield is public morality. It’s not about changing facts. It’s about changing attitudes….”

        At the time I thought about the inconvenient facts of bakers being sued and and workers being run out of their jobs for crimethink. Those facts need to be changed. Rod’s comment here captures the way I felt. We try to win hearts and minds while the enemy wins the battles.

        But it’s not either-or between what Z and Rod said, and it’s not a matter of compromise. The refinement and sysnthesis of these ideas is part of the way forward.

  7. Modernity says we are all human beings. Which just means we are individuals in the state of being “human”. Which means absolutely nothing.

    When I was training at one of those great places of learning called UNIversity, the smartest authorities there spent many words on the debate between nature and nurture. Somehow they all came to the same conveniently simple solution, 50/50. Not 51/49 you fucking racist, or 49/51 you blank-slatist fool.

    Just… 50/50… how very humane of them all.

    • How…egalitarian of them.

      Off topic, you know how people ask that stupid question, “If you could go back in time, would you kill baby Hitler?”
      (So boring, totaly lacking in creativity)
      Why does no one ever ask would you kill baby Adam Smith, John Locke, or Franz Boas? For some reason I think about this question a lot, who would you go back in time and kill as a baby. Am I the only one who does this? Right now, I’m leaning heavily toward Theodore Hertzl.

      • “I think about this question a lot, who would you go back in time and kill as a baby.” “I generally fantasize about stabbing mass amounts of people.”

        Could you confirm that you are indeed a woman?

        • Yup. And deep down, we all think like this. Some of us would use our power for good, but most of us given power end up like Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Theresa May & those broads who run the country once known as “Sweden.”
          That’s why I always say repeal the 19th, never give a woman the nuke football.
          If given the power, I’d probably do stuff that’d make Stalin, Hitler & Mao uncomfortable.

  8. A moment of conversion for me was when I realized Adam Smith and John Locke were constantly surrounded by white people.

    • Money was also unequivocally accepted by everybody as gold and silver coin back then. All their theories were based with that in mind.

      Our modern economy of credit (soon to be social credit as parallel economy) is a reversion to tribal practices, where the Chief is the greatest gift giver and hoarder and the women are happy to peddle in the currency of sexual availability.

      The reason our women want to be free is so they can leverage their natural forms of credit to their fullest extent (highest return on investment). It’s what follows when your economy loses sound money. Why do you think the “Misogynist” Arabs want a gold-backed currency so bad? Funny how they see it as shielding their daughters from becoming prostitutes.

    • I enjoy tormenting Randians and libertarians with the question, “Why is it that 99% of the people who respond to your ideology are white males?”

  9. What is this “we” everyone speaks of? Once I hear the statement “we are…” or “this is not who we are”, I generally get ready to throw up. The precociousness of assuming to speak for others! Also the statements “nobody thinks that…” or “nobody believes…”. In fact, I got put in my place yesterday in a thread here for saying something exactly like that (posting without thinking about what I was saying). It is an easy trap to fall into.

    One of the really special things individual humans have is agency. Each of us gets to think and do the things he wants to do, and if there is any freedom left in the world, he gets to speak and act in ways that freely serve his own best interests. The Puritanical/Progressive fantasy is for our agency to be taken away from us by force. Those who speak in terms of “who we are” are subtly assuming the stripping of our own individual agency as part of the deal. Don’t fall into that trap. Humans are messy and complicated creatures.

    • “I generally get ready to throw up.” We are the Dissident Right. Our innards are of steel. We do not get queasy. Tummy talk is for women and the Jim Comey’s of the world.

    • I generally fantasize about stabbing mass amounts of people and wonder if I could muster a good insanity defense, when I hear “that’s no who we are,” but then, I’m a woman. We often have unrealistic, unfulfilled fantiasies.

  10. Maybe I’m misremembering history, but it wasn’t until the Achaemenid empire that the notion of not slaying all your male enemies and enslaving their women and children was regarded as a pretty radical innovation in political “discourse”.

  11. The upper class does not subscribe to boasian theory. They simply preach it. They have noticed that the negro and the indio are becoming intractable problem populations with the continued growth of boas mythology and are now engaged in some rear guard action.

  12. As a Canadian I understand the ‘it’s not who we are’ concept because a Canadian when asked to define what a Canadian is responds by saying what he is not.
    Basically the average canuck says ‘well,l’m not an American.

  13. The first mistake is the arrogant use of “we” based upon the assumption that someone speaks for the species (or some ill-defined subset). That kind of hubris typically leads to megalomania. Each of us has a duty to speak his own mind and then seek the concurrence of others where appropriate.

    Second, our DNA programming has been around for a few hundred thousand years minimum, which makes belief in the blank slate an act of supreme stupidity. Breathing is a DNA program and we wouldn’t be here without it.

    Third, we tend to fight when resources are scarce and cooperate when they are plentiful. This dichotomy of behavior exists because it works.

    • Third, we tend to fight when resources are scarce and cooperate when they are plentiful. This dichotomy of behavior exists because it works.

      This *may* be true of whites. It’s certainly not true of sub-Saharan Africans. East Asians are a mixed bag. The Mongols got their act together, created some excess and then went on a rampage through Europe and Asia.

      • Within the span of recorded history, the Mongols had a brief spasm of success using their warrior model, but were ultimately outperformed by the Europeans and Chinese. Most negroid races will fight strangers reflexively, but are tight-knit within their own tribes.

        • This was true even at that time. I did a teaching company course on the mongols and what really stopped their advance was european brick and mortar castles. The Chinese engineers they employed to breach fortifications could not defeat them.

  14. “The first thing that bears scrutiny is the demolition of the post-Boasian conventional wisdom. As Steve Sailer explained years ago, Boas may have started out trying to strike a balance between nurture and nature, but his followers went on a berserk rampage against the nature side of the balance.” The author of the article you link to, is not Steve Sailer but a Peter Frost.

    • Thanks. Fixed it. I was going to quote Sailer there, but changed my mind and linked the Frost article, which is better. Speaking of which, I wish Frost would start blogging again.

      • I can see that Peter Frost has his own blog called “Evo and Proud” and Unz has republished it from there. There is quite resents post on his blog-so he is active. They have also republished posts from the HBO blog “Those who can see” a few times.http://evoandproud.blogspot.dk

  15. “We are not what modernity has said we are”

    This is pretty much the message of the Alt-Right and the “Dark Enlightenment” (do people still use that term?), and which is why I remain part of it, despite all its manifest stupidities, because in the long run, it’s true. Nitwits, Nazi wannabees, and Crypto-libertarian neo-Monarchists can’t change that.

    • “Dark Enlightenment” is the perfect term. We should take it upon ourselves to preserve it.

  16. I still chuckle to myself every time I think about “Otzi,” the guy whose remains were found in some Alpine glacier. The EU was going to adopt him as their mascot since he had a few trade items on him. I guess he was supposed to become the poster child for the pots not people narrative.

    Then things got real quiet. Turned out he also had an arrow in him, and he was probably on that glacier in an attempt to shake his pursuers. Otzi should be a mascot of sorts. The mascot of why we can’t run from our true nature.

  17. Every time I see an archaeologist making statements about finding another ancient temple I remember a Mad magazine article purporting to be an archaeologist from some time in the future describing how toilet seats and toothbrushes were used as headdresses and earrings in an elaborate religious ritual.

    Sometimes I think our biggest problem is taking ourselves too seriously.

      • I often think of this book when I watch some smug moron on the History Channel describing how some Incan city was built and disappeared with his thick (phony) British accent. I laugh. Especially when they do something really stupid like hold up a shard of pottery and state with conviction “this ceremonial pot could have held local wine for a marriage ceremony or poison for a failed king”. What a putz. I could have been a chit pot for a one armed Inca midget too, so what?

        • My favorite is the the flint knapping guys. They will hold of a weird looking rock and swear it was a neolithic dental instrument.

    • I don’t think it really matters with these pre-agrarian finds. The salient point is that agriculture did change the nature of man, but agriculture was not the result of humans becoming soulless consumers. A defining aspect of our nature is a sense of self and pondering of our place in the universe.

      • I got in trouble with a rather snooty group of people once when watching one such program, because I kept swearing the presenter was wrong about the tool he was presenting as a…I don’t remember. I kept assuring the group that I was an archaeology major in college, (lol), and that tool was merely a common “cooter scratcher.”
        After 20 min, no one would speak to me again. A rather glorious night, all the way around.

  18. And now they know that everyone on earth except for Africans has Neanderthal DNA. In any other biological classification system, that would make us different species.

    • Or at least a different race or breed. Can I still say that an Arabian is faster than a Clydesdale or a German Shepherd is smarter than a Beagle?

      • I’ve read comments on other blogs/forums that it is racist to state that pit bulls are the dog breed most prone to violence.

          • Drake:
            In my part of the country, thesouth-of-the-border
            crowd has overtaken the white population in the last 20 years and are now dominate, bringing their
            customs and problems with them; one of which is dog-fighting. The preferred beastie is the pit bull,
            So any attempt to control or eliminate the critters
            from residential neighborhoods where they tend to lunch on mailmen and UPS drivers is denounced
            as raaaacist.

          • It’s “racist” because there is a parallel between pit bull behavior and black behavior, and even blacks and “goodwhites” can see it.

        • Perhaps because they are popular with blacks? You must not criticize anything related to black culture and preferences. Of course, accuracy of any assertions here is irrelevant.

    • When I was in school the definition of a species was if two creatures had offspring that then was viable and went on to produce grand-offspring, the two creatures were the same species.
      Lots of close-but-no-quites can mate but the offspring is infertile (hybrid vegetables, mules from donkey and horse, etc).

      • I was taught this too, but this is seldom the case in nature, broadly speaking. 30% of lynxes have bobcat mitochondrial dna! Think about it; when zoologists classify a new species they don’t do cross breeding experiments, they make subtle anatomical arguments. Neanderthals are classified as a separate species—we doubt they had language—yet we are supposed to have interbred with them!

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