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Why Was the Understanding of Ethnic Genetic Interests Delayed for 30 Years?
suicide of the West is far more than a figure of speech. All Western societies —
and only Western societies — are voluntarily allowing mass immigration of
peoples who are not ethnically connected to historical Europe. Not only are they
allowing massive non-White immigration, it is being promoted as fulfilling the
lofty ethical goal of increasing ethnic diversity rather than any practical goal
such as the needs of the labor force.
There are several ways that one might think about this phenomenon, but certainly a compelling one is to think in terms of Frank Salter’s concept of ethnic genetic interests. EGI is of fundamental importance for ethnic and racial nationalism, and for the preservation of European-derived peoples because it provides a powerful intellectual counterargument to those on the left who deny the reality of race.
In this article I first summarize the
basic idea of EGI (see also here) and then review a Mankind Quarterly article by Dr. Salter which implies that the reasons that EGI was
not discovered sooner were mainly obfuscation by the political
argument is that all people have reproductive interests — ethnic genetic
interests — in the continuity of their ethny or race. Human groups have genetic
differences because they were isolated from each other for thousands of years.
The result is that we share many more genes with people in our ethnic group than
people from different ethnic groups.
For example, a grandfather has about 12.5% more genetic overlap with his
grandchild than with a person taken at random from his ethnic group; similarly,
I have about 12.5% more genetic overlap with a person taken at random from
within my ethnic group compared to a randomly chosen person from outside my
ethnic group. And of course there is a gradient of genetic similarity among
ethnic groups: Swedes are more closely related to Poles than they are to
The result is that humans have an enormous genetic interest in
their ethnic groups. Just as with genealogical kinship where people with larger
families have a higher inclusive fitness, this genetic interest becomes enormous
because it is tied to the actual number of ethnic group members which, in the
modern world, can total in the millions, or, I suppose billions, in the case of
This is an explosive argument because it implies that ethnic
competition is rational in a Darwinian sense. That is, it is rational for an
ethnic group to retain control over a territory because allowing people from
other ethnic groups to immigrate constitutes a genetic loss to those who were
But of course, this is exactly what the cultural left does not
want to hear. Mass immigration into Western societies has been a project of
the cultural left for many decades now, culminating in the United States in the
watershed immigration law of 1965. Other Western societies went in a similar
direction around the same time.
Salter’s argument is basic Darwinism quantified. Since the mathematics of natural selection have been well understood at least since the late 1970s, one would think that evolutionists would accept the rationality of ethnic competition. We can imagine Harvard professors testifying before Congress intoning that immigration is a genetic disaster for receiving countries and that allowing mass immigration would be the height of folly. Allowing mass immigration would be entirely analogous to a situation in nature where a population of a territorial species ceased defending its space against invaders. Zoologists would scratch their heads and wonder what caused such pathological behavior — behavior that is akin to suicide or self-mutilation.
Yet, until formally stated by Dr. Salter, the fact is that there
had been no discussion of EGI in the scientific literature. And even today,
there are some who would deny the importance of, or even the existence of (!),
EGI. Dr. Salter’s Mankind Quarterly article
attempt to dissect the reasons for the long and continuing obstruction of the
Salter attempts to answer that “why?” The history of all modern thinking in this area begins with William D. Hamilton, the brilliant population geneticist, and his theory of kin selection. In his 1964 papers Hamilton thought of kin as having genes that were “identical by descent.” For example, you and your brother share about half your genes because you received them directly from your mother and father — that is, the genes you have descended from the same mother and father, so they are identical by descent.
Hamilton’s idea was that because you
shared genes identical by descent you would be more likely to help your brother.
Famously, from the standpoint of the genes, it really didn’t matter if you had a
child or helped your brother have two additional children. It was all the same
genetically. Because your brother on average shares half your genes, there would
be the same number of genes “identical by descent” in the next generation
whether you fathered one child or let your brother do the heavy lifting of
Hamilton's next big breakthrough was
when he realized that it didn’t really matter if the genes came from the same
parents and were therefore identical by descent. All that mattered was that the
genes were identical — period. Instead of identical by descent, it was enough
that they were “identical by state” — that they were in fact the same genes.
Thus, “identity by state” means that the gene sequences are the same — the “state” of the sequences is the same — even though there is no direct and recent genealogical relationship between the individuals in question. Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones are unrelated, yet they share the same exact gene sequence. Perhaps they share the same gene sequence because they belong to the same ethnic group. Other ethnic groups are much less likely to have the gene sequences that Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones have.
To summarize: Shared genes are shared
genes and it does not really matter how and why the genes are shared.
This evolutionary logic implies that
people should not limit themselves to struggling to better themselves within the
group (family or ethnic group) but also work to defend the group as a whole in
its competition with other groups. In 1979 Henry Harpending made the final step
by quantifying how helping your own ethnic group could be adaptive because it
would improve the fortunes of the entire group in competition with other groups.
The moral is that it would make
biological sense for a person with no biological relatives to devote himself to
the good of this ethnic group. In fact, armed with that logic, a White person
who sacrificed his life to prevent the 1965 immigration law from being enacted
would have behaved in a very biologically adaptive manner. He would have
increased his biological fitness dramatically more by helping his race
accomplish an immigration cutoff than by having children of his
So why didn’t this evolutionary logic take hold among academics and in the popular media? The first “problem” Salter identifies is “disciplinary boundaries,” in which academics are narrowly focused in their one field and they do not look beyond that more broadly. Salter criticizes Cavalli-Sforza:
The question remains as to why Cavalli did not explore the
theoretical potential of inclusive fitness theory applied to whole populations
after the 1970s. … Based on his
best known publications, one would never guess that parents had a genetic
interest in their children, let alone in their ethnies. The majority of Cavalli’s research dealt with matters not
impinging on altruism, such as the history of human migration. Yet he also
discussed social issues, including those contingent on ethnicity and race, from
Darwinian perspective…. He denied the genetic reality of these categories, and
did not discuss the possible adaptiveness of ethnocentrism.
Salter is being a bit too charitable I
think in postulating “disciplinary boundaries” as an explanation here. Isn’t it
possible that these scientists did not explore, or recognize, the reality and
importance of ethnic kinship simply because the
implications of this work were politically unacceptable? After all, it certainly
does not fit with the leftist zeitgeist to conclude that ethnic genetic
differences are real and these differences make ethnic conflict entirely
rational from a Darwinian point of view.
Then there is the issue,
popularized by Richard
Lewontin, that “there is more variation within groups than between
groups; therefore, race does not exist.” More than any other
argument, this one by Lewontin had a huge influence. One could almost guarantee
that everyone down to the lowliest graduate student would be able to recite it
pretty much verbatim.
This argument has been refuted in a
number of places, most notably by Dr. A.W.F.
Edwards. In addition, Salter shows that
within-family genetic variation is roughly three times that of between-family
variation; thus, if we were to follow Lewontin’s racial analogy, we would have
to conclude that is there no such thing as family!
Given Lewontin’s long association with
the political left, it would seem that perhaps politics is more important at
this point than “disciplinary boundaries,” and one can consider the ethnic
interests of certain scientists as well. Indeed, Lewontin is one of the cast of
scoundrels in Chapter 2 of Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique which discusses the role of
Jewish Marxist intellectuals in vitiating biological views in the social
As E. O. Wilson wrote of him, “By
adopting a narrow criterion of publishable research, Lewontin freed himself to
pursue a political agenda unencumbered by science.”
Salter spends much time
deconstructing the ideas of Richard
Dawkins — the darling of the media when it
comes to presenting evolutionary biology to the public. Salter’s piece-by-piece
demolition of Dawkins (whose website is labeled “a clear-thinking oasis”[!]) is too
comprehensive to be covered in detail here. Salter recounts Dawkins flip-flopping
on the question of “identical by descent/identical by state” as well as his
confusion over the work of Hamilton and his resistance to Hamilton’s 1971 and
1975 reformulations. Salter reminds us of a typical Dawkins quote in which
Dawkins states — against all reason — that kin selection applies only to
“immediate close family” and not to those who “happen to be the same color as
you” — as if all the genetic differences between ethnies conflate to the single
trait of skin color, and as if the differences between family and ethny are
somehow mystically essential, and not one merely of degree.
Salter also shows how,
despite Dawkins’ obsession in pointing out others’ “misunderstandings of kin
selection,” Dawkins himself makes the basic error of confusing helping one’s own
ethnic group (which makes excellent sense) with universal altruism (which makes
no sense at all). Universal altruism is of course the creed of racial liberals.
The reality is that we live in a remarkably diverse human world of competing
ethnies, in which gradients of distinctive genetic information do indeed
constitute important interests at the group level. This fact cannot be
Salter points out that given Dawkins’
high reputation and easy access to the media, his lack of interest in ethnic
kinship and his muddled analysis of ethnic genetic interests and group kinship
competition have contributed to holding back this field of study.
Salter finishes by discussing what I
believe the main factor in the resistance of academia to honest analysis of
ethnic kinship: leftist political preferences. Salter recounts the
politicization of biology and sociobiology and the harsh criticism directed
toward realistic scholars in these fields. He also notes that the concept of
ethnic genetic interests does not fit well with the ideas of academic elites in
or underplaying ethnic kinship accorded with the political orientation of the
Anglo-American academic elite, which led and still leads discourse in
evolutionary biology … Highly individualist thinkers as well as those with a
universalist vision of society tend to overlook the reality of solidary groups
of various kinds, or treat them as inconvenient or irksome obstacles to the
And of course, this filtered down to the popular media to become a pillar of the anti-White intellectual left.
I think that Salter could have
expanded this section into the preceding parts of his essay, since one can
strongly suspect that the alleged “disciplinary boundaries” and “confusions and
misinterpretations of Dawkins” possibly have a political basis.
Obviously, these are exactly the
people who would strongly disagree with the Salter’s EGI thesis and its many
Ted Sallis (email
him) writes on scientific issues.