Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a book to be titled Western Individualism and the Liberal Tradition: Evolutionary Origins, History, and Prospects for the Future. It is completed apart from proof-reading and deciding how to publish it now that Amazon has become part of the thought police.
In a later section of this chapter on race differences in personality, I describe the personality system of Nurturance/Love personality system and note that this system is stronger in European culture than other human cultures (see also Chapter 3). Briefly, Nurturance/Love is an evolved system linked to specific brain regions coding for positive feelings in response to being loved and nurturing others; empathy—which results in personal distress at seeing the suffering of others, especially loved ones—is a central emotion of the Nurturance/Love system. The extreme ends of individual differences in the Nurturance/Love system are linked to sociopathy at the low end (callous unconcern regarding the feelings of others, lack of remorse, cruelty) to dependency disorder (overly prone to needing social approval and love) and pathological altruism (overly prone to empathy to the point of self-sacrificing, self-harming behavior) at the high end. Because of its role in cementing family relationships and nurturing children, women are higher on the Nurturance/Love system than men.
For individualists (i.e., people who are less prone to negative attitudes toward outgroups and strangers), being on the high end of empathy can easily lead to a pathological form of altruism where high costs can be incurred with no corresponding benefit. Pathological altruism is generally defined as focusing on others’ needs to the detriment of one’s own needs. Such altruism, motivated by what one might label “hyperempathy,” is more common among females—which fits with females’ generally being higher on the Nurturance/Love system. It can lead to pathological consequences for both the altruist and the intended beneficiary, as in the phenomenon of co-dependence where one person’s altruism facilitates maladaptive behaviors in another person, such as drug addiction by being overly solicitous and tolerant of other’s self-destructive behavior. Pathological altruism often involves a sense of self-righteousness, which can be translated as a sense of moral superiority that advertises one’s good reputation within a community defined, as prototypical European groups are, not by kinship but by conforming or exceeding the moral standards of the community. As noted above, such expressions of moralistic self-righteousness have a long history in Western societies and are very salient in contemporary political rhetoric.
An example of how self-righteous virtue signaling works at the highest levels of government (also illustrating the gap between elites and the rest of society on critical issues like migration), can be seen in the comments of David Goodhart, a liberal journalist based in the UK, on the migration into the UK:
There has been a huge gap between our ruling elite’s views and those of ordinary people on the street. This was brought home to me when dining at an Oxford college and the eminent person next to me, a very senior civil servant, said: ‘When I was at the Treasury, I argued for the most open door possible to immigration [because] I saw it as my job to maximise global welfare not national welfare.’ I was even more surprised when the notion was endorsed by another guest, one of the most powerful television executives in the country. He, too, felt global welfare was paramount and that he had a greater obligation to someone in Burundi than to someone in Birmingham. … [The political class] failed to control the inflow more overtly in the interests of existing citizens.
An evolutionist can only marvel at the completely unhinged—pathological—altruism on display here, given that the speakers are themselves native White British. Countries whose policies ignore the good of their own people are surely headed for disaster. Such altruism is nothing but a recipe for evolutionary extinction. Read more