Kevin MacDonald: Given Ian Jobling’s work (which is decidedly odd for someone who claims to be a race realist and defender of the White race) and the recent interest on this list in ethnic genetic interests and genetic similarity theory (GST), I thought I would briefly lay out my views.
My ideas on GST are spelled out here. The data compiled by Phil Rushton and others are very clear that people assort on the basis of genetic similarity — they like genetically similar people more, are more likely to marry them, etc. Any critic of this theory must show where this rather large amount of data is wrong and provide another explanation for why genetic similarity influences behavior. That has not happened. A recent study that is entirely compatible with GST concludes “assortative mating related to genetic ancestry [not social class] persists in Latino populations to the current day, and has impacted on the genomic structure in these populations.”
Contrary to Jobling, my argument is that GST is not about altruism: “Relationships of marriage, friendship, and ethnic group affiliation fundamentally involve reciprocity, and self-interest is an obvious component of all of these relationships: Assortative mating increases relatedness to children, so that one receives a greater genetic payoff for the same parenting effort. Successful alliances and successful friendships have a greater payoff to self if genetically similar others succeed when you succeed.” There is also a higher threshold for defection.
The same argument can obviously be extended to larger kinship groups. Again, it’s not about altruism but about self-interest. Indeed, as I note, genetic similarity must compete with other interests. For example, in marriage, genetic similarity must compete with the resource value (health, age, beauty, wealth) of a prospective mate. As I also note, GST is not adequate as an underpinning of an evolutionary psychology of groups — of the deep attachment that people often have to their ingroups. Nevertheless, GST mechanisms are doubtless responsible for what I term “implicit Whiteness” — the primal attraction that Whites have for each other in an increasingly multi-racial societies they live in now. Clearly, this has nothing to do with altruism.
Jobling mentions my comment on Jews preferring martyrdom over conversion to Christianity as an example of bad thinking. My argument is not based on GST, but on social identity (SI) and individualism/collectivism mechanisms. In the article referred to above, I provide a number of arguments for why SI mechanisms are an evolutionary adaptation to between-group conflict. These must be answered by any competent critique. I also provide an argument for individual and group differences in social identity processes based on research on individualism/collectivism. Again, it’s not about altruism. The argument is that at the collectivist extreme, people lack an algorithm to calculate the relative benefits of defection versus continued group membership. Any reasonable critique must address my specific argument and provide an alternative explanation of martyrdom. I also argue that in many parts of the world people have lived in group-structured populations for evolutionarily significant periods. This in turn leads into one of the major areas of my thinking briefly discussed in the article— that European peoples are significantly more individualistic than collectivist peoples, prototypically the Jews. European tendencies toward individualism figure in much of my recent writing. (See here and here.)
Finally, I argue that rational choice mechanisms are critical for developing adaptive strategies for humans. For humans, the evolutionary game is played out in conflicts over the construction of culture — hence my book, The Culture of Critique. This argument first appeared in my books on Judaism, since I repeatedly noted that Jews were flexible strategizers, not preprogrammed robots. (Whatever else one might say, an effective lobbying group like AIPAC is using rational mechanisms, not evolved modules in figuring out how to influence US foreign policy.) In the academic journal literature, I presented it here, and I expanded on it here recently.)
It is true that these mechanisms do not have an affective component — they don’t produce an emotional allegiance to one’s race or ethnic group, and they are therefore insufficient to build a mass movement. But rational choice mechanisms do show why it is entirely rational to have allegiance to one’s ethnic group. Implicit Whiteness based on genetic similarity is insufficient as a basis for a successful White movement. I think that ultimately a White mass movement will rely on social identity mechanisms because they do have an emotional component. As Whites become a minority and as the political fault lines are more and more centered on race, these mechanisms will naturally be triggered. This is a recent comment along these lines.
Acting on and strategizing about genetic differences is the very essence of evolution, and there is no doubt that genetic differences between human groups are meaningful and have important effects on behavior. Quite simply, societies composed entirely of sub-Saharan African groups are going to be very different from societies composed entirely of Jews, Chinese, or Europeans.
Humans, like all living things, have genetic interests because we are not clones. People who deny there are genetic differences and behave as if there are no meaningful genetic differences will simply lose the evolutionary game — much like a pacifist male elephant seal who refuses to fight other males in order to be able to mate. Salter’s work is absolutely bedrock sound. Jobling repeats several arguments that have long been refuted (see this paper for a more detailed discussion). As Salter notes no matter what the level of genetic commonality among humans, if this commonality negates the adaptiveness of favoring one’s ethnic group or race, then it must also negate the adaptiveness of parental love. This is absurd, both intuitively and theoretically. But you cannot have it both ways: if preserving genes in your children is adaptive, doing so with any concentration of your genes must be adaptive.
There is no doubt that we have evolved modules that reliably promoted adaptive behavior in past environments, but as humans we are able to make plans and strategies that don’t depend on these modules but are responsive to current contingencies. For example, one idea that has been proposed is to establish a White homeland in the US. Such a proposal should be evaluated by rational choice mechanisms: What are the costs and benefits — genetically, psychologically, financially, economically, and in terms of defensibility, etc.? How exactly would White be defined? These questions can only be answered by rational choice mechanisms — what psychologists term explicit processing.
If we don’t act on our knowledge and understanding of genetic differences we will be like the pacifist elephant seal — a genetic dead end. Our tombstone could read: “Here lies the White race. It went out and conquered the world. It then committed suicide because it decided the game wasn’t worth playing.” This is definitely not an ideology that seems to appeal to others around the world, as in Israel where immigration and marriage are tightly linked to genetic ancestry.
The peoples who appear to be on course to inherit the earth will doubtless enjoy attending museums dedicated to exhibits of this peculiar people. It is perhaps fitting that after the hatred that so many now bear toward Whites for their previous dominance has subsided, our demise would be seen as a mere evolutionary curiosity — the first group to voluntarily exit history.