Evolutionary Psychology

The Evolutionary Dominance of Ethnocentric Cooperation

The Evolutionary Dominance of Ethnocentric Cooperation
Max Hartshorn, Artem Kaznatcheev and Thomas Shultz (2013)
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 16 (3) 7


Recent agent-based computer simulations suggest that ethnocentrism, often thought to rely on complex social cognition and learning, may have arisen through biological evolution. From a random start, ethnocentric strategies dominate other possible strategies (selfish, traitorous, and humanitarian) based on cooperation or non-cooperation with in-group and out-group agents. Here we show that ethnocentrism eventually overcomes its closest competitor, humanitarianism, by exploiting humanitarian cooperation across group boundaries as world population saturates. Selfish and traitorous strategies are self-limiting because such agents do not cooperate with agents sharing the same genes. Traitorous strategies fare even worse than selfish ones because traitors are exploited by ethnocentrics across group boundaries in the same manner as humanitarians are, via unreciprocated cooperation. By tracking evolution across time, we find individual differences between evolving worlds in terms of early humanitarian competition with ethnocentrism, including early stages of humanitarian dominance. Our evidence indicates that such variation, in terms of differences between humanitarian and ethnocentric agents, is normally distributed and due to early, rather than later, stochastic differences in immigrant strategies.

Comment: Ethnocentrism among Whites has been pathologized for decades, while humanitarianism among Whites is constantly encouraged by eliciting spasms of guilt about the White past of colonialism, conquest, slavery, etc., as well as by eliciting the closely related emotion of empathy for non-Whites, particularly refugees and immigrants. Since this anti-White war is massively incentivized, there is no shortage of traitors and selfish Whites willing to aid the ethnocentric strategies of others by, e.g., cooperating with the Israel Lobby, being a cuckservative talking head on Fox News, having a well-paid position with a pro-immigration group, or being a university administrator promoting anti-White indoctrination and special programs for non-Whites — among a myriad of others, even though these are losing strategies in the long run for their people.

At the same time, the ethnocentrism of non-Whites is encouraged and is glaringly obvious. It’s not hard to see the end result.

Charleston, cognitive psychology, and media influence

It’s worth thinking about some basic psychology in relation to the Charleston events. Cognitive psychologists study heuristics that people use to make judgments about  the likelihood of events that are complexly determined — things like airplane crashes or shark attacks. A heuristic relevant to Charleston is the availability heuristic, where people make judgments and form attitudes based on their memories of past events. Such memories are greatly influenced by media coverage. From Wikipedia

After seeing news stories about child abductions, people may judge that the likelihood of this event is greater. Media coverage can help fuel a person’s example bias with widespread and extensive coverage of unusual events, such as homicide or airline accidents, and less coverage of more routine, less sensational events, such as common diseases or car accidents. For example, when asked to rate the probability of a variety of causes of death, people tend to rate “newsworthy” events as more likely because they can more readily recall an example from memory. Moreover, unusual and vivid events like homicides, shark attacks, or lightning are more often reported in mass media than common and un-sensational causes of death like common diseases.[9]

For example, many people think that the likelihood of dying from shark attacks is greater than that of dying from being hit by falling airplane parts, when more people actually die from falling airplane parts. When a shark attack occurs, the deaths are widely reported in the media whereas deaths as a result of being hit by falling airplane parts are rarely reported in the media.[10]

The application to Charleston is obvious. There is wall-to-wall media coverage, so people will easily recall what happened there. Such memories will be easily available to influence attitudes and judgments. Whereas Black-on-White crime motivated by racial hatred is vastly more common than the reverse, such events are rarely reported in the national media, and even local media typically ignore racial designations and downplay racial motivation in such attacks. Read more

On the HBD Chick Interview

The following is from an interview of HBD Chick that appeared on the Hoover Hog. I should say that I am an admirer of HBD Chick and follow her on Twitter.

Hoover Hog: I think it’s fair to say that one of the most polarizing figures in the HBD-o-sphere is Kevin MacDonald, whose work is mostly concerned with the evolutionary psychology of Judaism. I remember reading his book, A People That Shall Dwell Alone (long before that Cochran/Harpending/Hardy paper), and thinking that he made a fairly plausible case that Jewish identity could be understood as an evolutionary outcome. But when I got around to reading The Culture of Critique – a genuinely captivating book, whatever its merits – I came away with the impression that it was ultimately more of a polemic than a scientific treatise. Do you see value in MacDonald’s work, or is he off the reservation? More generally – and I could just as easily cite the work of Richard Lynn or Frank Salter in this context – how do you approach scholarly work that seems to be politically motivated?

HBD-Chick: Before I answer any of those questions, I’m just going to come right out and say that I admire Kevin MacDonald (and Richard Lynn and Frank Salter) very much.  Anyone who stands their ground in the face of sometimes truly vitriolic political correctness deserves respect as far as I am concerned. I mean, as far as I can tell (and I haven’t read all of his books), MacDonald has compiled plenty of historical evidence in support of his theories. His theories may be wrong, or you may disagree with his theories or his approach, but he’s not making stuff up off the top of his head. (If he were, that’d be a different story.) If people object to what he has to say, they simply need to refute his evidence and/or argumentation. It’s really that simple. There’s no need for protests in his classroom or personal attacks in newspapers, etc., etc.

I don’t think MacDonald’s work is off the reservation at all – or if it is, so, too, is the work of people like Stephen Jay Gould and Jared Diamond (and many others!). I’ve only read A People that Shall Dwell Alone and three chapters from The Culture of Critique that happen to be floating around online – the one on Boasian anthropology, the one on the Frankfurt School, and the one on Jewish involvement in shaping U.S. immigration policy. I haven’t read Separation and Its Discontents at all. I don’t recall thinking that The Culture of Critique was very polemical, but perhaps that comes out more in the conclusion/other chapters (?).

KM: I am surprised that anyone would think CofC was polemical (I discuss why CofC had not gotten much traction for people like Hoover Hog here). A polemic on that topic could never have been published by an academic press.

I wouldn’t hesitate in reading MacDonald’s books even if he does have an ulterior political motive for writing them for the same reason that I still read Jared Diamond’s and other leftist academics’ books:  because there’s often a lot to be learned from them! And now I’m talking about simply acquiring knowledge – getting my hands on new info or data – although I suppose one could also learn something about what motivates people to write academic books in the manner that they do.  (~_^)  Maybe MacDonald does primarily want to convey his social/political message in his books. So what? And Gould didn’t? It’s not the way I’d like it to work, but as one of my high school teachers once said – she was a nun, by the way – books are for inspiring thought, not dictating it.

KM: For the record, I started out on the left during the 1960s madness and only came to my present views after a lot of reading. Because I was intellectually on the left, the whole thrust of my work beginning in the 1980s was on thinking about culture from an evolutionary perspective and how culture could trump evolution. My first interest was in understanding European family patterns, particularly what Richard Alexander called socially imposed monogamy, where the emphasis was on how the mating patterns of wealthy, powerful males were regulated by social pressures emanating from powerful institutions and lower status males. (This work eventually emphasized both culture and our unique biological heritage.)  Evolutionary psychology tends to theorize in a vacuum in which sexual behavior is determined by evolved modules, with no consideration of how social/cultural processes involving conflicts of interest over mating can affect the actual mating behavior of even very powerful individuals (like European monarchs).   Because of this interest in the social regulation of mating, it was a short step to the idea that groups could regulate themselves — whence the idea of cultural group selection which forms the basis of A People That Shall Dwell Alone. Much of PTSDA describes how traditional Jewish groups regulated behavior within Jewish groups and between Jews and non-Jews. I chose Judaism as the case study because it is so well documented and only much later became a critic of Jewish behavior because, quite frankly, I came to realize that there are and have always been conflicts of interest between Jews and non-Jews. These conflicts assume center stage in Separation and Its Discontents and, of course, The Culture of Critique. No evolutionist should be surprised that ethnic groups often have conflicting interests — or that conflicts of interest can range from territorial struggles to the ivied halls of elite academic institutions. The tragedy of evolutionary science is that, apart from Frank Salter and me, the vast majority of evolutionists completely ignore selection against their own people that is occurring throughout the West.  Read more

Diversity Is Strength! It’s Also…Racially Polarizing Politics, Despite MSM Efforts To Lull Whites

This article is also posted at VDARE.com.

In all the Main Stream Media propaganda about the desperate need for an Amnesty/Immigration Surge bill, you never hear that the bill will speed up the day when whites are a minority. The research of Northwestern University psychologists Maureen A. Craig [Email her] (a white woman) and Jennifer A. Richeson [Email her](an African-American) shows why [On the Precipice of a “Majority-Minority” America: Perceived Status Threat From the Racial Demographic Shift Affects White Americans’ Political Ideology, Psychological Science April 3, 2014]. Shockingly, it turns out that the great majority of white Americans are not at all like neocon Ben Wattenberg who famously asserted that “The non-Europeanization of America is heartening news of an almost transcendental quality.” [The Good News Is The Bad News Is Wrong, p. 84.] In fact, white Americans are afraid of becoming a minority. Being told about their impending minority status provokes whites to endorse attitudes linked to the political Right.

The title of the Craig-Richeson paper is itself interesting. The standard dictionary definition of “precipice” is “the brink of a dangerous or disastrous situation”—which is exactly what Cassandras have been saying about the impending minority status of whites. Giving up majority status in a democracy has obvious grave implications. No ethnic group in history has ever voluntarily become a minority. Israel, for example, is fixated on Palestinian birthrates and absolutely opposed to a “Right of Return” for dispossessed Palestinians. Given that Palestinians are already a majority in the “de facto state of Israel,” a one-state solution would mean that, if Israel remained a democracy, the Palestinians would govern. And that would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Being a minority is always problematic given the reality of ethnic conflict throughout history. This is particularly so when groups harbor historical grudges (e.g., slavery and Jim Crow for African Americans, anti-Semitism for Jews). It is especially worrisome in the case of America because the grievance industry promoted by elites in the MSM, the legal profession, and   academe systematically blames “White racism” for all the problems of non-Whites.

It’s one thing to be demonized when you are the majority, but a far different thing when you are the minority. Read more

Race as a biological reality and social construct

I was pleasantly surprised to see an article on a radical website that actually says something positive about biological approaches to ethnicity, citing Frank Salter and me (Jay Knott, “Invention, Imagination, Race, and Nation,” posted on Dissident Voice). A couple comments:

Shlomo Sand: I really don’t know how anyone can take Sand seriously given that he simply dismisses the data on Jewish population genetics. But Knott is right:

Sand accepts that his work has had no effect on Israeli nationalism nor on Jewish identity worldwide. Why is this so? If you expose a delusion, wouldn’t you expect significant numbers to abandon it, and thank you?

Good point. Jewish ethnocentrism is legendary—I use the term ‘hyper-ethnocentrism’ to describe it (here are some contemporary examples from Israel). It’s beyond rational discussion and cries out for a biological explanation. Sand’s rational arguments, whatever their merit, are not going to persuade rabbis who are convinced that non-Jews are a lower life form.

The Ethics of Ethnocentrism: Knott accepts that there is a biology of ethnocentrism, but regards it as immoral. Commenting on Frank Salter’s opposition to immigration to Australia, he writes “Considering how white Australia was founded, it’s unethical to try to stop third world refugees settling there.” And he goes on to note that

American evolutionary historian professor Kevin MacDonald is also a right-winger. His Evolutionary Strategies of Ethnocentric Behavior9 argues that “ethnic affiliations are extraordinarily robust” and that this is because racial identity is biologically beneficial to the genes which cause it.

But the notion that racial identity is adaptive does not imply that it is morally justifiable, any more than accepting the obvious fact that heterosexuality is more adaptive than homosexuality has any consequences whatever for one’s views on gay rights.

From an evolutionary point of view, moral idealism is a very dangerous idea because it may well lead to altruism and evolutionary death. A moral idealism that results in displacement-level immigration is obviously an evolutionary dead end. Evolution is a game that, if one decides not to play, one automatically loses. Read more

Chinese infanticide and polygyny

Ron Unz has commented on my comments on China in my article on monogamy as a unique aspect of European civilization. First, I hope I didn’t give the impression that the only source for my views on China came from a novel. Actually, China was much on the minds of evolutionists when I got into the field in the early 1980s, particularly with the work of Mildred Dickemann, Richard Alexander, Bill Irons (and later Laura Betzig) on how elite males were able to have very high reproductive success via polygyny. Evolutionary anthropologists like Dickemann (“The ecology of mating systems in hypergynous dowry societies” [Social Science Information 18(2), 163-195) were showing that the stratified societies of Asia — China was an exemplar — were typified by wealthy males having large numbers of wives of different rank as well as concubines.

For example, in China during Former Chou Dynasty, the king was permitted one queen, three consorts, nine wives of second rank, twenty-seven wives of third rank and eighty-one concubines. One Tang Dynasty text reports that there were 3,000 women in the Palace seraglio; other estimates range from 1200 to 10,000 (van Gulik, 1974, p. 17, 206). …

Van Gulik’s (1974, pp. 17-18) description of Chinese Imperial Harem procedures, involving copulation of concubines on a rotating basis at appropriate times in their menstrual cycles, all carefully regulated by female supervisors to prevent deception and error, shows what could be achieved with a well-organized bureaucracy. Given nine-month pregnancies and two- or three-year lactations, it is not inconceivable that a hardworking Emperor might manage to service a  thousand women.

Such societies are hypergynous—that is, women tend to move up the social ladder, while men tend to move down. Families compete to purchase inheritance rights for their daughters via dowries; but dowries are expensive, contributing to high rates of female infanticide.  Poor families would be unable to provide dowries, but would be paid brideprice—their daughters becoming concubines with much lower prospects of inheritance. This is precisely the situation portrayed in the novel Jin Ping Mei mentioned in my article. Read more

Psychological Mechanisms of White Dispossession

I discuss three mechanisms basic to the psychology of White dispossession — runaway displays of White guilt and abasement, social learning, and being a member of a moral ingroup. Self-interest is often front and center, or at least in the background. For example, it’s pretty clear that many if not most Whites who make effusive declarations of allegiance to the multicultural reign of terror are acting out of self-interest. Such people are plugging into the contemporary structure of rewards and punishments created by our hostile elites. Even White heterosexual males have much to gain by making such displays; simply attending a job talk at a university, especially for an administrative position, makes it clear that explicit affirmations of allegiance to multiculturalism, White guilt, and acquiescence to White dispossession are de rigueur.

Runaway Displays of White Guilt and Abasement

So part of the psychology of displacement among Whites is simply self-interest. Anthony Hilton’s article (“Giving away the farm: Why?”)  adds the suggestion that there can be a runaway process resulting from competition among displayers to the point that their declarations become more and more grotesque and removed from rationality. Just as peahens select for more and more cumbersome, costly tail feathers in peacocks, we can expect that the bar for successful displays of White self-deprecation and guilt to be continuously raised.

One might suppose then, that the White Privilege Conference to be held in Seattle in April would be an ideal arena for such displays. Here are some quotes from some of the presentations that caught my eye. 

“The Color of Empire / The Cost to Our Humanity: Dismantling White Privilege and Class Supremacy Using Cellular Wisdom” … The session begins with mind and body grounding in processes, proceeds to examining the biological wisdom of the human cell  [???], moves to an analysis of race and class oppression / liberation dynamics in the U.S. (with particular attention to class supremacy and white privilege), and concludes with a range of applications of cellular wisdom to participants’ racial and economic justice work personally and professionally. … Read more