there was some discussion in another comment thread (starting here) about genocide and what, exactly, it is (i.e. how to define it).
bill hamilton thought that genocide (and some wars, in fact) is a reponse to differential birth rates between two (or more, i guess) populations sharing the same environment. from “Narrow Roads of Gene Land, Volume 2“, p. 280 (via race/hist/evolution notes, a treasure trove of interesting info, btw!):
“Increase of Ashkenazi Jews in eastern Europe in the span of the nineteenth century is said to have been almost fourfold (S. Jones, In the Blood: God, Genes and Destiny (HarperCollins, London, 1996)). This implies a doubling about every generation. Very surprisingly this fact seems almost never to be discussed as part causative background to the holocaust, an omission that continues even when claims of group competition are the focus.”
and more (from the introduction)…
“I suggested [during some speech] it might be useful for us to discuss the psychology of population situations and to give special attention to those where closely placed or intermixed distinct groups had strikingly different rates of increase. In particular, it might be useful to consider what this might do to competitive birth rates and aggressive instincts connected with population perceptions — in fact, also with the inception of wars. There was silence as I stopped. I’d wanted to explain my thought as far as I could in words that didn’t bring in my pet and as yet little accepted views about the importance of genetical kinship for human altruism and aggression. It had seemed to me that my case for the interest of this topic could be made for present purposes without that and based on known historical instances by themselves.
“The silence that came surprised and unsettled me, so I added something about every one having pride in his or her family and, perhaps not wanting to see descendants lost in a sea of strangers; while, in anything like a democracy, people would be not liking to imagine their own preferences and way of life being over-ridden by decisions deriving from ways of life either — for example, not caring about the countryside, urbanizing as far as possible, and so on [. . .]
“In an effort to be more explicit and to be taken more seriously, I then exposed some corner of my actual work, saying something about how we were all expected, as a result of population genetical processes — natural selection in fact — to have psychological biases that wouldn’t necessarily be easily visible on the surface but whose reality would come to the fore in situations where these rapid changes in a population’s composition were imminent. There was a matter of within- and between-group variances involved here, this applying to the very genes that made us. It wasn’t necessary to such ideas, I added, that shortages of land or whatever would be apparent right when divisive psychology took effect; it would be in this nature of the group psychology to anticipate what might be about to happen. [. . .] If we really wanted to understand why population is a difficult issue to discuss and to do anything about it in the world, I continued [. . .], it is very essential that we understand the evolutionary forces that have moulded reproductive and territorial psychology in humans — the features must be old, of course, started doubtless mainly in our Old Stone Age past. If we wanted to recommend policies to affect population trends in any direction today, we perhaps needed to discuss first the underlying motivations that all people had to possess — that must be there from the very fact that they themselves came form successful parentage and successful families of the past….”
(note: comments do not require an email.)