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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Slouching towards barbarism

In his book A Troublesome Inheritance, Nicholas Wade points out what he believes to be two of the most important steps in building an advanced Western civilization. The first is the more fundamental one:
How then was the profound transition made from the chimplike society of the joint ancestor to the hunter-gatherer societies in which all humans lived until 15,000 years ago and in which kinship was a central institution? The likely steps in this process have been persuasively worked out by the primatologist Bernard Chapais. The critical behavioral step, in his view, was formation of the pair bond, or at least a stable breeding relationship between male and female....

Having a dad around makes all the difference to social networks. In highly promiscuous societies like those of chimps, an individual knows only its mother and the siblings it grows up with. With pair bonding, people know not only their father as well as their mother, but all their father’s relatives too. The males in a community now recognized both their daughters and, when their daughters dispersed to a neighboring group, a daughter’s husband and his parents.
The development of the heterosexual pair bond, which eventually developed into monogamous marriage, appears to have been crucial in the development of tribalism. It therefore follows that the modern sexual free-for-all and the weakening of the vital pair bond involved is not only dyscivic, but downright dehumanizing.

The second significant step Wade identifies comes much later, and enables the escape from tribalism. This was accomplished most successfully, and fully, in England, but also took place in East Asia:
The entry to the modern industrial world has two principal requirements. The first is to develop institutions that enable a society to break away, at least to some substantial extent, from the default human institution of tribalism. Tribalism, being built around kinship ties, is incompatible with the institutions of a modern state.

The break from tribalism probably requires a population to evolve such behaviors as higher levels of trust toward those outside the family or tribe. A second required evolutionary change is the transformation of a population’s social traits from the violent, short-term, impulsive behavior typical of many hunter-gatherer and tribal societies into the more disciplined, future-oriented behavior seen in East Asian societies and documented by Clark for English workers at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.
But this break from tribalism required a eugenic and eucivic mechanism, one that Wade rather generously labels "natural selection": the English rich consistently having a little more than twice as many children as the poor.
As it happens, Clark has documented four behaviors that steadily changed in the English population between 1200 and 1800, as well as a plausible mechanism of change. The four behaviors are those of interpersonal violence, literacy, the propensity to save and the propensity to work....

“The surname evidence confirms a permanent selection in pre-industrial England for the genes of the economically successful, and against the genes of the poor and the criminal,” Clark concludes. “Their extra reproductive success had a permanent impact on the genetic composition of the later population.”

Clark’s data provide substantial evidence that the English population responded genetically to the harsh stresses of a Malthusian regime and that the shifts in its social behavior from 1200 to 1800 were shaped by natural selection. The burden of proof is surely shifted to those who might wish to assert that the English population was miraculously exempt from the very forces of natural selection whose existence it had suggested to Darwin.
If Wade and Clark are correct, this has terrible implications for the profoundly dyscivic mechanisms we are witnessing across the West today, where the dependent classes and the imported barbarians have considerably more children than the productive classes. While this part of the book is more logic based on statistical and historical observations than science, its scientific aspects are fairly firm. Blank slatists attempting to dismiss it unread, (the ever-inept PZ Myers being but one example), will soon find themselves forced to take scientifically indefensible positions.

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78 Comments:

Anonymous RL May 14, 2014 7:49 AM  

It looks like I will need to add another book to my reading list.

Anonymous p-dawg May 14, 2014 7:58 AM  

"will soon find themselves forced to take scientifically indefensible positions."

Yeah, that'll be a real change (eyeroll) Somehow I don't think that's going to slow them down.

Anonymous Anonymous Conservative May 14, 2014 8:07 AM  

Resource scarcity produces, from necessity, an adherence to reality which, when mixed with the success it produces, yields a temporary greatness (cultural, genetic, epigenetic, and learned). That greatness produces an abundance which brings it all back down. Even understanding the evolved biological mechanisms underpinning it, I am increasingly convinced that there is no way to stop the rising tide of imbeciles, (their brains softened to mush by the abundance), from tearing it all down again. Even if you could stop them, you would only increase the very force of abundance which produces them, increasing the numbers thrown at you, until they finally had the numerical ability to destroy everything.

The upside is, none of them would last ten seconds in a collapse. If they think their appeals to the savages in times of plenty will make the savages spare them, when the choice finally becomes to kill them or die themselves, they are sorely mistaken. The only thing which will assure survival is strength, because it is all savages respect. And it is the one quality the Liberal has none of.

Our job, after the cleansing, will be to make everyone remember it is the Liberal's fault, so none of us try to spare them their fate out of compassion.

Blogger Nate May 14, 2014 8:26 AM  

"Blank slatists attempting to dismiss it unread, (the ever-inept PZ Myers being but one example), will soon find themselves forced to take scientifically indefensible positions."

and they won't care any more than the church types who's social preferences force them into indefensible biblical positions.

Anonymous VD May 14, 2014 8:38 AM  

and they won't care any more than the church types who's social preferences force them into indefensible biblical positions.

Of course not. But that means they will continue to hemorrhage readers and fewer people will continue to take them seriously. It's not an accident that the readerships at Whatever and Pharyngula continue to shrink. If simply you don't know what you are talking about, you can only fool people for so long before it becomes apparent to them.

You can only credibly play the "I'm not going to bother learning anything about this but I'll tell you my opinion anyhow" card so many times before the tactic becomes transparent.

Notice that I haven't said a word about Pinketty despite being asked about him more than 20 times already. I may have low expectations, but I have no opinion. Because I haven't read the book.

Blogger buzzardist May 14, 2014 8:46 AM  

For all the attention Wade's book is getting, Gregory Clark is the person people really ought to be reading. Clark's first book, A Farewell to Alms, lays out brilliantly the economic mechanisms through which the Industrial Revolution took place by tracing and understanding how wealthy families had more children and why this mattered for the formation of the middle class and modern state. His second book, The Son Also Rises, picks up on a question Clark poses at the end of his first book about the extent to which there is a genetic factor involved in the propensity to save, to plan for the future, and to desire to rise in economic class. Clark is a first-rate scholar, gathering meticulous evidence and following it to reasonable conclusions. I can't recommend his books highly enough.

And, although Clark shies away from declaring this, his analysis takes a sledgehammer to the foundations of the modern welfare and immigration state. By subsidizing the poor to have children, while the rich now tend to have considerably fewer, we may effectively be undoing the Industrial Revolution. We're destroying our society's inborn propensity to work, to save, and to weigh future benefits. And by flooding our country with people from countries where people have developed that propensity to a much lesser degree, we are dooming ourselves to collapse back into the economic limits that held human population in check for many millenniums. The Industrial Revolution of England and Northern Europe is the great, rare exception in history, not the rule, and our society is now sprinting back to the historical norm.

Anonymous ThirdMonkey May 14, 2014 8:47 AM  

Part of the reason we are slouching towards barbarism is because the church is playing along, as well. Monogamy has been replaced with serial monogamy; a majority of Christians, especially evangelicals, know more about their favorite sports team than they do about the Scriptures; debt has replaced saving as a way of life, to include mult-million dollar mortagages for auditoriums and Family Life Centers; and sit and consume superfunjesusrockband and pop psychology "sermons" has replaced making disciples. The watchmen are asleep.

Anonymous Lycan May 14, 2014 8:52 AM  

Idiocracy wasn't just a silly comedy after all. The idiots are outbreeding us

Anonymous lurker May 14, 2014 8:53 AM  

"Tribalism, being built around kinship ties, is incompatible with the institutions of a modern state."

And yet the state promotes tribalism via immivasion and slack law enforcement towards their imports. The state is nothing but a mass of contradictions, typical of leftards. Since reason nor logic is possible within such a pervasive dynamic it's no wonder the state goes down.

Anonymous Dr. J May 14, 2014 8:55 AM  

This book sounds great. I'll have to download it tonight.

Does he touch on the impact of modern warfare on the gene pool? The 20th century brought death on such an unprecedented scale with modern weaponry, that it has to have had an enervating effect on advanced cultures.

Anonymous YIH May 14, 2014 8:59 AM  

In highly promiscuous societies like those of chimps, an individual knows only its mother and the siblings it grows up with.
Yeah, They're just like us...

Anonymous Locke, John May 14, 2014 9:00 AM  

It's not an accident that the readerships at Whatever and Pharyngula continue to shrink.

A couple questions. Do you consider yourself in direct competition for readers with Scalzi and PZ? Scalzi seems barely aware of your existence and the topics you both post on seem, with the exception of SF/F, completely unrelated. Also, when you speak of comparative readerships growth, are you factoring in twitter and other social media?

Blogger IM2L844 May 14, 2014 9:05 AM  

Looks like I need to add A Troublesome Inheritance to the queue, but some things just make sense. That Tad, Scalzi and PZ are theophobes, for instance.

Blogger thimscool May 14, 2014 9:08 AM  

It's interesting that forced diversity, at first glance, appears to promote the second mechanism...

In the same way that forced temperance promoted sobriety.

Blogger sykes.1 May 14, 2014 9:10 AM  

There are a number of reports that the pair bond is substantially weaker in sub-Saharan Africa than elsewhere, African men having several simultaneous ongoing relationships and little contact with their offspring. The implication being that the so-called dysfunctional ghetto family is actually the African norm. Hence all the social dysfunction in the ghetto.

Blogger Markku May 14, 2014 9:11 AM  

Do you consider yourself in direct competition for readers with Scalzi and PZ?

Do you mean competing for the attention of the same set of potential readers, or considering the readership numbers as a sport with a winner and a loser?

Anonymous Locke, John May 14, 2014 9:14 AM  

Markku, I meant the former, but would be interested in answers to both.

Blogger Tommy Hass May 14, 2014 9:18 AM  

PZ Myers is one of the most odious, obviously low SMV, gamma people I've come across.

I mean, you know a guy is a loser when pretty much everyone who talks about him comes to the same conclusion.

Blogger Desiderius May 14, 2014 9:22 AM  

"will soon find themselves forced to take scientifically indefensible positions"

You misspelled "already."

Anonymous VD May 14, 2014 9:23 AM  

Do you consider yourself in direct competition for readers with Scalzi and PZ?

Only as a means of keeping score. Their readers repeatedly made the size of the blog readerships an issue indicating the importance of the blogger. Now that my readership is considerably larger, we don't hear anything about this any more.

Scalzi seems barely aware of your existence and the topics you both post on seem, with the exception of SF/F, completely unrelated.

Scalzi is so barely aware of my existence that he raised money in order to try to stop me from mentioning him, went on radio shows to talk about me, then withheld his dues from SFWA and threatened to quit simply because I was a member there, then made a public show of rejoining after an unnamed member was expelled by the Board. He's a fraud in every way. Remember, I had never heard of him and had no idea who he was when he started attacking me to curry favor with Tor. Quite successfully, as it happens.

But he is sound on Pluto. Let's give credit where credit is due.

Also, when you speak of comparative readerships growth, are you factoring in twitter and other social media?

Of course not. Blog pageviews has always been the relevant metric. First, because other factors weren't included when I had a nationally syndicated column at WND and Universal Press Syndicate. Second, because Twitter numbers are irrelevant; I could jack my "following" up to 100,000 inside six weeks without paying anyone if I wished. And lest you think I'm talking smack, note that I jacked my Alexa rating up to the top 5,000 with virtually no effort at all after that was cited seriously as a meaningful metric. It's not either.

Anonymous VD May 14, 2014 9:25 AM  

Does he touch on the impact of modern warfare on the gene pool?

Very lightly, mostly in passing.

Blogger Outlaw X May 14, 2014 9:26 AM  

Blank slatist? Learned a new term today, had to look that one up. But I like it, it means what it says in context. I guess blank slatists don't exit in the real world.

Blogger Desiderius May 14, 2014 9:29 AM  

"The first is to develop institutions that enable a society to break away, at least to some substantial extent, from the default human institution of tribalism. Tribalism, being built around kinship ties, is incompatible with the institutions of a modern state."

This is the fatal error that leads to the dehumanizing noted.

(Narrow) tribalism was transcended, it was not at all broken from. Transcendence includes that which was transcended, as General Relativity included Newtonian mechanics. The two are not incompatible.

Tribalism was extended to a larger tribe (patriotism), it was not abandoned.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 5:17-20

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus May 14, 2014 9:54 AM  

Indeed. The transaction was made for the State as Tribe...not the family

Blogger James Dixon May 14, 2014 10:08 AM  

> That Tad, Scalzi and PZ are theophobes, for instance.

Tad and PZ are, as shown by their own statements. I don't have enough information on Scalzi to judge. Remember that just because someone is a leftist doesn't mean they're a militant atheist, though it certainly seems to help.

Blogger Brad Andrews May 14, 2014 10:27 AM  

Key underlying flaw here: God made Adam and Even, a pair. We didn't evolve toward those.

Blogger Crowhill May 14, 2014 10:28 AM  

Very interesting post.

Traditional sexual morality is more consistent with reality. Feminism and modern free-for-all sex is counter-factual and destructive.

Blogger Brad Andrews May 14, 2014 10:30 AM  

@VD,

> But he is sound on Pluto. Let's give credit where credit is due.

Is that the "is it a planet or not" question? I don't recall ever seeing your view on that.

Or are you thinking of the Disney copyright extensions?

Anonymous hygate May 14, 2014 10:32 AM  

@YIH

Interesting article you provided a link to but I would like to point out that the supposed public defender is dealing with black criminals.

However, given the mention that even the hispanic criminals are respectful towards authority, I suspect that there is some truth in the speculation about the "elite" wanting to import a better quality of underclass.

OpenID cailcorishev May 14, 2014 10:33 AM  

Does Wade or Clark present a theory why those wealthy English people had so many children, and especially why the poor English didn't? That seems so counter-intuitive, based on what we see across the world today. If the poor in England didn't have many babies because they couldn't support them, then why doesn't that slow down the poor Africans and Indians today?

It seems like the English must have already had good future time orientation -- meaning this eugenic period didn't produce that -- or that today's foreign aid and welfare interfere with that mechanism.

Anonymous Don May 14, 2014 10:36 AM  

Lycan - Idiocracy wasn't just a silly comedy after all. The idiots are outbreeding us

Don't wanna sound like a dick or nothin', but it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded. What I'd do, is just like... ha ha... like... aha... you know, like, you know what I mean, like... haha...

Anonymous Alexander May 14, 2014 10:51 AM  

My understanding is that London's very existence was mankind's most efficient way of killing off the lower class faster than they could reproduce. The net effect was that there was a centuries-long vacuum in which non-Londoners were moving into the city to take the place of the corpses, and that this created a window of opportunity: while the excess sons of landed nobility elsewhere had fewer options, the English found that they could have third and fourth and fifth sons and opportunities awaited to take over the middle-class occupations.

Blogger Brad Andrews May 14, 2014 10:53 AM  

I just read John Wright's post from yesterday, so I think I answered the Pluto question: Pluto is a planet.

Cail, I wonder if it is because the "rich" could keep their children alive. That would make it an issue of provision for children, not just having them. The poor might give more births (or try to), but not have them. Though how much did modern birth control lead to the current practice of the rich having fewer children?

Blogger David May 14, 2014 11:01 AM  

I used to agree that Idiocracy is a documentary.

After hearing from my 4th grade teacher wife what's going on in the public schools, I have revised my opinion.

"Lord of the Flies" is a description of the immediate future, whose seeds are already sprouting in a classroom near you.

Decivilization is an STD transmitted vertically from parents to offspring.

Anonymous Don May 14, 2014 11:11 AM  

I have wondered how to encourage intelligent, healthy families to have more kids. I figure we build a series of schools that admit only kids with say IQs in the 115 or greater range who are physically healthy. Full scholarships for kids who have siblings and parents who meet those standards.

Encourage the schools to hold competitions intramural and between schools then encourage those who do well to marry and have kids. A person with enough money could figure out how to do it without violating any laws or even making it obvious what he was doing.

Prizes could include group trips to a nice 'summer camp' where the kids would be together for weeks at a time (properly chaperoned). Then hold other events to keep the kids and their families in touch.

Award kids who marry other kids from those schools when they have children. Make it a one time award so they don't just have kids to have kids they would still need to work. Say free medical care for the family upon the first kid, a car for the second or third, or maybe a low mortgage house for one, lower again for two and so on until say four or five kids then the house is free and clear. I would guess in fewer than five generations you would see a significant difference.

Anonymous the bandit May 14, 2014 11:17 AM  

> Though how much did modern birth control lead to the current practice of the rich having fewer children?

A lot. Modern birth control, combined with feminism, turned longer time preferences and future-oriented thinking into a selective weakness.

Anonymous VD May 14, 2014 11:18 AM  

I figure we build a series of schools that admit only kids with say IQs in the 115 or greater range who are physically healthy. Full scholarships for kids who have siblings and parents who meet those standards.

That is what college used to be.

Blogger buzzardist May 14, 2014 11:34 AM  

cailcorishev,

It's simple economics combined with brutal living conditions. Clark's case is elegantly simple. Poor women didn't marry in the 1500s and 1600s, on average, until they were at least in their mid-20s. Childbearing was dangerous--a lot of women died in childbirth, and people knew that the risk of death was greater for women still in their teenage years--and poor women were less positioned economically to marry young. Once poor people started families, they lacked the means to support more than a couple kids, and disease (small pox, the plague, and a host of others) killed off a lot more poor children than wealthy ones. The result was that the poorest people in English society were having kids survive to adulthood often at slightly below replacement rate.

In contrast, the wealthy had, on average, something like four kids survive to adulthood, but only one of those would inherit the estate. At most, one child on average might marry well enough to maintain that wealthy status. The other two children married down and ended up in a profession (law, the clergy, medicine, the military, mercantile trade, etc.). For Clark, "upward mobility" is largely a myth. A few rare people were upwardly mobile. The estate inheritance system ensured that many more were downwardly mobile. As they sank in wealth and social status upon reaching adulthood, they took with them elite educations and future orientations about wealth. Many harbored dreams of reclaiming the wealth and status that they'd known as children. These people became the middle class.

As for the poor today, yes, they have a lot of children, just as the poor in England a few centuries ago had a lot of children. The difference is in the mortality rate of children. Small pox, the plague, polio, and other diseases no longer take nearly so severe a toll. The relevant number is not how many kids, but how many kids survive into adulthood.

As much as our concern for the well-being of poor people around the globe has the best of intentions, it is entirely likely that transferring wealth and equipping tribal peoples with modern medicine and sanitation is actually damaging their potential to civilize and to catch up with the Industrial Revolution.

One must remember that the Industrial Revolution is the singular exception in human history. For all of human history, the human population remained constrained worldwide, varying slightly, but never rising above a population numbered globally in the millions. For the first time in history, humans broke past these constraints with the Industrial Revolution. Historians have struggled to come up with a reason for why. After all, many Asian cultures developed a strong future time orientation and considerable technological advancements to match, and yet an industrial revolution never happened in these countries. Clark doesn't provide a full answer for why it happened, but his economic analysis of birth records does give us the mechanism for how it happened.

My answer? What Clark argues about the economics of birth rates and inheritance, combined with Northern European Protestantism. Protestants took their faith seriously. When salvation depends on personally having access to God's revelation, this put a premium on literacy. Protestants, at least of the stricter veins, could not rely on group ceremonialism for salvation. They, individually, were responsible to God. And the best way to know God's will was to personally read and interpret the Bible. Literacy overall remained relatively low by modern standards even well into the 16th century, but it was steadily rising with a marked emphasis on being able to read the Bible. The rising popularity of literacy, combined with the truly horrific sanitary conditions that allowed disease to cull a significant portion of the population, combined with Clark's economic-genetic explanation of the rise of the middle class, adds up to a culture with the right mix of individuality, work ethic, and education to make an Industrial Revolution possible.

OpenID cailcorishev May 14, 2014 11:40 AM  

Cail, I wonder if it is because the "rich" could keep their children alive.

Maybe so. That's what I was thinking while looking at the wikipedia page for Nigeria. They've probably always had lots of babies, but they used to lose a lot of them to malaria, polio, starvation, etc. Now nice, caring white people have fixed those problems.

Maybe that was the case with the English poor too. I don't know if these guys are saying the English poor had fewer births than the rich, or that they raised fewer children to adulthood.

Anonymous onejohn512 May 14, 2014 11:54 AM  

Do you actually believe this VD?

How then was the profound transition made from the chimplike society of the joint ancestor to the hunter-gatherer societies in which all humans lived until 15,000 years ago and in which kinship was a central institution? The likely steps in this process have been persuasively worked out by the primatologist Bernard Chapais. The critical behavioral step, in his view, was formation of the pair bond, or at least a stable breeding relationship between male and female....

OpenID cailcorishev May 14, 2014 12:00 PM  

Thanks, Buzzardist. I guess the liberals, with their usual blank-slate, cargo-cult thinking, assume that if they go to places like Nigeria and give people medicines to cut child mortality along with free birth control and abortion, Nigerians will automatically follow their lead in intentionally limiting themselves to 2.1 children so they can afford suburban homes with large TVs. Doesn't seem like it's working out that way, though.

Anonymous Josh May 14, 2014 12:09 PM  

Vox,

College still is that for a certain subset (upper middle class) of students.

Especially at southern schools. It's expected that you'll be engaged or married either at graduation or within a year of graduating.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben May 14, 2014 12:12 PM  

Vox, what do you think of Max Weber's and his book on the protestant work ethic?

Anonymous VD May 14, 2014 12:23 PM  

Do you actually believe this VD?

I don't believe anything about what happened 15,000 years ago. I have no information at all. But a lot of people do, and this is aimed directly at them.

Anonymous VD May 14, 2014 12:24 PM  

Vox, what do you think of Max Weber's and his book on the protestant work ethic?

I read it about 25 years ago. It was vaguely persuasive, if I recall correctly. It's hard not to notice the difference between Catholic and Protestant cultures.

Anonymous civilServant May 14, 2014 12:25 PM  

Only Healthy Seed Must Be Sown

Anonymous Jonathan May 14, 2014 12:40 PM  

@ Locke, John

Scalzi seems barely aware of your existence and

Then you haven't been paying attention the past few years

the topics you both post on seem, with the exception of SF/F, completely unrelated.

Indicating you don't comprehend interrelations between topics. A good example is scalzi's piece on how being a white male is analogous to playing a video game at the lowest difficulty setting.

Anonymous Jack Amok May 14, 2014 12:40 PM  

The break from tribalism probably requires a population to evolve such behaviors as higher levels of trust toward those outside the family or tribe.

I think this progressed farther in Western populations than elsewhere. Contrast the "A man's word is his honor" found in England with the common middle eastern or Asiatic notion that it's not okay to cheat your family members but okay to cheat someone outside your family. I'm sure if Koanic was around, he's attribute it to Neanderthal genes.

Anonymous Harsh May 14, 2014 12:45 PM  

Don't wanna sound like a dick or nothin', but it says on your chart that you're fucked up. Ah, you talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded. What I'd do, is just like... ha ha... like... aha... you know, like, you know what I mean, like... haha...

Brought to you by Carl's Jr.

Anonymous Will Best May 14, 2014 12:48 PM  

It looks like I will need to add another book to my reading list.

Not at $15 for an e-book it isn't. I will wait a few months

I have wondered how to encourage intelligent, healthy families to have more kids.

There are a few issues here.

1) Children are an economic benefit to the lower class, but an economic burden to the middle and upper class

2) Modern society has dramatically reduced the opportunity for children. To make children you need physical proximity plus time. The upper class jobs work longer hours, travel more, and many times have 2 working parents. The upper class also marries very late lopping off not only a large amount of the fertility window, but the best part of it. We aren't even counting all the diversion people have to give up like expensive toys and nice vacations.

3) Much of modern society rules/regulations/social pressures have dramatically increased the cost of having children in both time and money. The average amount of time parents spend with their children is way up from 50 years ago. Time is one of the most precious commodities of the upper class employee and something much of the lower class has in abundance.

Now if you were a dictator you would
1) stop economically subsidizing low income families so that it costs too much for them to have children

2) make it more expensive for people in the middle class to maintain two income households through a series of taxes.

The overall result of which will be to cause a population decline but much more dramatically among the lower class than the upper class. There would be short to mid term suffering, but eventually the labor force would shrink to the point where you could actually take care of a family of for on a janitor's salary.

Blogger buzzardist May 14, 2014 12:51 PM  

Yeah, cailcorishev, it is the tendency. It's what one reader of Instapundit dubbed "Reynold's Law," which is that subsidizing the markers of a status does not produce the character traits that result in that status, but instead undermines them. It's not just in Africa. It's at home, too. We give people cheap access to homes because home ownership is a marker of the middle class, but do we end up with middle class people? No. We end up with a housing bubble and a financial crisis. We subsidize people's college educations because that's a middle class marker, but do the people coming out the other side show any improvement in their future orientations just because they've been handed a degree? No. They often already have proven otherwise simply on the basis of how much debt they've been willing to accrue for that flimsy diploma in discipline that is more about self-gratification and entertainment than it is about anything useful. We give Africans medicines enjoyed by the industrialized world, but does this industrialize Africa? No. It causes population to outstrip many of the resources in Africa, leading to starvation and wars.

For a lot of the population, their behavior economic and otherwise is merely immediate stimulus-response. If the economy tanks, they may panic and start to save more. If the economy is comfortable or booming, they won't save for the future at all. They don't achieve much unless there is an immediate stimulus driving them. For these people, the wrong incentives encourage all the wrong behavior.

For that truly civilized portion of our society, they actually think and plan ahead, sacrificing in the present to preserve and achieve down the road. They, if Clark's work is correct, pass these traits to their children. The wrong incentives will, over time, breed these traits out of their descendants.

Blogger Tommy Hass May 14, 2014 1:12 PM  

"It's hard not to notice the difference between Catholic and Protestant cultures."

Protestant cultures are more godless and secular.

Anonymous Josh May 14, 2014 1:19 PM  

Shut up Tommy.

No one gives a damn about a Muslim lunatic's opinion of christendom.

Anonymous Anti-Democracy Activist May 14, 2014 1:31 PM  

"It's hard not to notice the difference between Catholic and Protestant cultures."

Sure, but this cuts both ways, depending on how you feel about the maxim that "money isn't everything".

Given a choice between trusting my retirement fund to Italians or to Danes, I'd choose Danes.

Given a choice between spending my retirement around Italians or around Danes, I'd choose Italians.

There's a reason.

Anonymous Orville May 14, 2014 1:51 PM  

Somewhat on topic I just saw this short video of a conference to educators about White Privilege
at UW Madison.

Now I understand B. Hussein Obama's "check your privilege" comment earlier this week.

Anonymous civilServant May 14, 2014 1:57 PM  

It's hard not to notice the difference between Catholic and Protestant cultures.

Protestant cultures are more godless and secular.


How could they be any more godless? They have less ornate churches?

Anonymous civilServant May 14, 2014 2:04 PM  

They, if Clark's work is correct, pass these traits to their children.

Most people who have children wonder if those little monsters really are theirs. And most children are convinced they are adopted.

In may cultures one finds variants of the proverb "From shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations." Meaning one generation becomes wealthy and the second generation simply maintains the wealth and the third generation simply spends it all. Such proverbs would not exist if "production traits" were inherited with any frequency.

Anonymous Jack Amok May 14, 2014 2:25 PM  

Most people who have children wonder if those little monsters really are theirs

I guess you know as much about parenting as you do about libertarians. My children are most definitely mine, and most definitely not little monsters. And I think you will find that the "shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations" doesn't apply equally to every family. There are families that maintain an upper class or better situation for many generations. There are others that bob up and down across the border between upper and lower class, and there are still others who never rise above lower class status.

The families in the middle group are what your saying refers to. They are a real phenomenon, but when that happens, it's more a mark of opportunity than of human degeneracy. And it's more an indication of the difficulty of sustained success in any sort of meritocracy than of human failure.

Anonymous VD May 14, 2014 3:37 PM  

Meaning one generation becomes wealthy and the second generation simply maintains the wealth and the third generation simply spends it all. Such proverbs would not exist if "production traits" were inherited with any frequency.

Sure they would. My family gets ridiculously wealthy every third generation. They've been doing this for about 200 years. Although my father managed the entire cycle by himself. You're completely missing the point. The whole family has the genes, but the genes are only the capability. They are not completely determinative.

The family lacking them, on the other hand, is never going to go anywhere.

You don't need the whole society to be civilized and productive, you just need more than a certain threshold. And the USA is falling below it for obvious reasons.

OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 May 14, 2014 3:46 PM  

"Blank slatists attempting to dismiss it unread,..." can simply watch the "Cliff's Notes" version.
It's a movie called "Idiocracy".
CaptDMO

OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 May 14, 2014 4:06 PM  

OK, MAYBE I'll start to read the other comments BEFORE I mouth off. "Lycan" clearly beat me to the punch(line).

The "other" Cliff's Notes I prefer is the quarterly "The Independent Review", from The Independent Institute. Actually thesis worthy for ANY not-for-profit college, but usually "in response", after-the -fact, to the basics, Poli Sci, Philosophy, Econmics, (especially poli-sci dressed in economics clothing).
Much as Ayn Rand's work can be used like a Mad-libs, replacing current folk for the characters in ANY of her books, (I'll go ahead and call them truisms) much of the Review's actual historical (cited) warnings, throughout history, (*sigh* mostly English, French, and American-some Central and South) tend to be not-so coyly attached to "modern" players.
Quick(ish) read, for...say... those enured from grinding through (ie) Road to Serfdom, and War and Peace.
(/shameless plug)
CaptDMO

Anonymous Full-Fledged Fiasco May 14, 2014 4:09 PM  

"...what do you think of Max Weber's and his book on the protestant work ethic?"

1. The Weber Thesis: Capitalism and its Myths of Origin.

2. Why Max Weber Was Wrong.

"It's hard not to notice the difference between Catholic and Protestant cultures."

That's why you choose to live in Catholic Italy?

Anonymous MendoScot May 14, 2014 4:29 PM  

OT (but sort of distantly related)

Another entry for the "No way will this end badly" archive. I bring you heterochronic parabiosis:

Reductions in cognition, healing, and physical endurance are inevitable natural consequences of aging. Age-related declines in cognitive function are associated with decreased neurogenesis and changes in brain microvasculature that reduce blood flow. Muscles in aged mice have fewer stem cells than those in young mice, and these stem cells have greater accumulation of DNA damage and impaired regenerative capacity. Heterochronic parabiosis experiments, in which the circulatory systems of young and old mice are joined, have demonstrated that the blood of young animals contains factors that can improve stem cell function in many organs.
...
These studies may not have identified the fountain of youth, but they suggest potential mechanisms for restoring the regenerative capacity of stem cells to enhance physical strength and increasing synaptic plasticity to improve cognitive functions in aged individuals.


At least they aren't chucking babies in the blender, but I see a black market in young blood coming this way soon.

Blogger Tommy Hass May 14, 2014 4:36 PM  

"How could they be any more godless? They have less ornate churches?"

Are you being obtuse on purpose? Compare traditionally protestant countries to traditionally catholic ones. Which ones are more atheistic and shitlibby?

Blogger James Dixon May 14, 2014 4:37 PM  

> ...but I see a black market in young blood coming this way soon.

Why a black market? College students have been donating blood plasma for money for decades.

Anonymous Josh May 14, 2014 4:40 PM  

Um...Tommy Boy...France is Catholic...and the most atheist country in Europe...

Blogger Tommy Hass May 14, 2014 4:57 PM  

"Um...Tommy Boy...France is Catholic...and the most atheist country in Europe..."

Not sure if serious or really really retarded.

Finland? Iceland? Sweden? Various communist countries?

It isn't even as atheist as it's neighboring country Germany. It is a country where people went to protest against gay marriage in the last year or the one before.

So no, not even close. Italy, Spain, Poland, Croatia and Ireland (not even gonna mention Latin America) are more religious (though that doesn't say much) than the Scandinavian countries, Britain and Northern Germany. Being from Germany, I know for a fact that Northern Germans are less religious than Sourthern Germans.

So no.

Blogger Tommy Hass May 14, 2014 4:59 PM  

"Not sure if serious or really really retarded."

Not sure if trolling or just really stupid, I meant. :^)

Anonymous MendoScot May 14, 2014 6:47 PM  

Why a black market? College students have been donating blood plasma for money for decades.

The phenomena require vascular linkage, JD. It's not been demonstrated - so far - with transfusion or application of purified factors. There are many reasons to believe that the blood is a bidirectional vector, requiring an active response of the young donor to signals generated by the old recipient.

It is vampire science!

Anonymous VD May 14, 2014 6:53 PM  

That's why you choose to live in Catholic Italy?

I like my societies pre-collapsed.

Anonymous Mike M. May 14, 2014 8:48 PM  

I prefer my societies un-collapsed. If the USA sinks, the odds are good I drown with it.

It seems to me that much of the problem is that poor behavior is being subsidized. Breed bastards, get paid more of my money in welfares. The trick will be to persuade the middle class to support a much harder line in this regard - something along the lines of making contraception mandatory for welfare recipients.

The key to this will be pointing out to the middle class that the taxes that buy the welfares come from their CHILDREN's pockets. Not just in terms of debt, but in terms of money not available for their children's education. "Your kid has to eat ramen noodles so a welfare Deadweight can eat steak" will make a powerful argument.

Anonymous MendoScot May 14, 2014 10:04 PM  

That's why you choose to live in Catholic Italy?

I like my societies pre-collapsed.


And with breathing space. Especially if that breathing space is hard and dry and full of people that despise those who live off of them.

Anonymous A Plate of Shrimp May 14, 2014 10:44 PM  

"The trick will be to persuade the middle class to support a much harder line in this regard"

Too late for that to work. The middle class is rapidly on its way to being permanently outvoted. If a fortune teller told me there will never again be a Republican president, I'd be inclined to believe it. If she told me that in another fifty years, there will never again be a white, male president of any party, I'd say it's plausible. The middle class is going to have to either overthrow the present system and create a new one, or else figure out a way to secede. Or maybe move to Russia.

Anonymous Red May 15, 2014 3:10 AM  

A few things that wade doesn't mention: The catholic church intentionally set out to eliminate tribalism through banning cousin marriage. The church fathers who instituted it wrote about it even though they knew the process would take centuries. Talk about good long term planning.

Secondarily the Catholic church removed the nut balls, the looser, and the sluts from the gene pool via monasteries and nunneries. This greatly reduced dysgenic problems caused by such people and was a very human solution to their existence. This kept the worst of the from becoming dominate in the breeding even when a society became rich.

At some point the middle class of Europe started refusing to marry their daughters off unless the suitor was already successful in life. This led to an up flowing of only the best generally re-producing which is massively useful for breeding a successful people. This practice lead to a massively successful middle class.

So Europe solved 2 of the 3 problems with producing and maintaining continued improvements in the breeding population. Where Europe failed was with the upper class. While the upper class spreading their genes to the lower and middle class via screwing around was useful, the upper class declined in ability as time went on. This led to members of the middle classes to take over their positions but without the military prowess that made the upper class so successful and useful. Once in charge our new non fighting elites (mostly merchants) became decadent and destructive. They don't hold military power themselves and they're reliant upon the lesser classes to keep them in power, which means that they view any classes with military abilities as the enemy.

Anonymous FrankNorman May 15, 2014 7:36 AM  

I see this is turning into another Protestant vs Roman Catholic squabble. Or likely to.

If I might opine, a probable reason places like Scandinavia became so "secular" was the adoption of a State Church - in which religion became about obedience to worldly authority rather than about any personal relationship with God.
When it's the government that tells you what to believe, in the end you just get a people who believe in the government.

In the case of the Roman Catholic cultures, well, in those it was always about obedience to a this-world authority. Since for them it's "The Church" that tells them what to believe, they basically just believe in The Church. Loyalty to that religious institution, rather than any real piety.
Which explains France perfectly - when "The Church" lost the loyalty of much of the population, "poof" went their supposed belief in the religion.

Anonymous Joe Doakes May 15, 2014 9:47 AM  

Europe flourished because rich children survived while poor children died. America is in decline because poor children get welfare to survive while rich children are never conceived or are aborted.

The Man Who Killed America1.0: Abraham Lincoln.

The Man Who Killed America2.0: Lyndon Johnson.

.

Blogger Tommy Hass May 15, 2014 2:48 PM  

How did Lincoln kill America again?

Also, what about FDR?

Anonymous Colorado Confederate May 15, 2014 8:38 PM  

...If Wade and Clark are correct, this has terrible implications for the profoundly dyscivic mechanisms we are witnessing across the West today...

Reminds me of this song:

Border patrol looking through me
The towns without names all look the same, I hear crying
Paris to Spain, countries in pain
Caught up in flight, feeling the sight, Europe dying

"Night Train" Steve Winwood

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