i’ve had in my mind for some time now the idea that ideology, whether religious or political, is somehow connected to human reproductive patterns. not that all of ideology is dictated by our mating patterns, but that at least some of it is influenced by our mating patterns.

i got this idea from what steve sailer and stanley kurtz and parapundit had to say a couple of years ago about cousin marriage (specifically, fbd marriage) and democracy, i.e. that the two don’t go together. which made me think that, gee, well i guess the corollary is prolly true as well, i.e. that NOT marrying your cousins must be conducive to democracy. and then i started to think about what other ideologies might be affected by mating patterns — and vice versa — and why and how.

the first question to ask, maybe, is what are ideologies for? i mean, what do they do? why do we have them? for all sorts of reasons, of course, but one set of reasons, i think, has to do with regulating who gets to mate with whom in your society. (this is crucial, of course, because successful reproduction of your genes is what life is all about.) islam, for instance, doesn’t say you have to marry your fbd, but it certainly has all sorts of regulations about the mixing of the sexes — in order that mating is controlled. christianity also controls mating, as we’ve seen (if you’ve been following along), by generally not allowing us to marry our cousins. exogamy is strongly encouraged.

so, anyway, somewhere along the line in all this thinking and reading about human mating patterns, i came across a reference for emmanuel todd’s “The Explanation of Ideology: Family Structures and Social Systems.” i was immediately intrigued by the summary blurbs about the book (from the back cover):

“Some parts of the world are dominated by communism, others by Catholicism or by Islam and yet others by liberal doctrines. Why should this be? And why has communism triumphed in Russia, China and Cuba [the book was published in 1985], yet failed in Poland, Cambodia and Indonesia? Why should English society be distinctively individualistic, French egalitarian and Russian authoritarian? No one knows. Certainly no clear answer lies in variations of climate, environment, race or even economic development.”

well, being an hbd chick, i’m not convinced by that last sentence. i think that some of the differences between how different populations structure their societies are likely due, in part, to innate differences in, for example, the average intelligence and/or average personality types of those different populations, etc., etc. for instance, i’m sure that the fact that a certain allele related to adhd is extremely infrequent in east asian populations must affect the way(s) east asian societies are constructed — broadly speaking — as compared to, say, european or african societies.

anyway, more from the back of the book:

“The argument of this book is that world variations in social ideology and belief are conditioned by family structure. The author analyses the distribution of family forms throughout the world and examines the relations between particular structures and (for example) communism, totalitarianism and individualism, as well as the links between these forms and a variety of social phenomena: illegitimacy, suicide, infanticide, marital stability and inheritance laws. He offers convincing evidence to support the belief that family structures and kinship patterns lie behind the ideologies that have shaped the history of the twentienth century.”

ah ha! kinship patterns. that’s related to mating patterns. as are family structures.

i haven’t finished “The Explanation of Ideology” yet, but so far todd has described some very interesting patterns in relationships between family types and political ideologies. he’s definitely on to something here; but his work, to my mind, is “only” descriptive (i put “only” in quotes because i don’t mean to belittle his work in any way — it’s an enormous contribution to understanding ideologies, i think!). but, he doesn’t really get down to why family structures and kinship should affect ideologies in the ways that they appear to do. what he’s missing, i think, are some biological concepts like inclusive fitness and all the sorts of behaviors that follow from that.

todd identifies seven (or eight) different family types that occur around the world. he bases his types, in part, on the typology of nineteenth century french sociologist, frédéric le play, who studied families throughout europe. rather amusingly, le play identified two basic principles or forces within european families which, he felt, resulted in the outward familial structures that could be seen: liberty and equality. (heh. but what about fraternity?!)

liberty, in le play’s definition of family structures, refers to the parent-child relationships — do adult children continue to live with their parents after marriage or not? how much authority do the parents, especially fathers, have in running the family? those are the sorts of features that fall under liberty. equality, for le play, refers to the sibling relationships — especially, how does inheritance work? are all the (male) children treated equally, or is there, for instance, primogeniture?

to me, these features are descriptive and, perhaps, somewhat explanatory, but they don’t get down to the nitty-gritty. why are some families communal and others not? is that a response to the environment? does it have to do with relatedness between the family members? population density? what? very useful and interesting descriptions, but not explanatory enough for me.

todd adds two more characteristics of family/kinship structures to le play’s typology in order to define a range of family types and these are, very importantly, endogamy versus exogamy. do family members marry other family members, or do they marry non-relatives?

so, using these three sets of dichotomies — liberty vs. non-liberty, equality vs. inequality, endogamy vs. exogamy — todd comes up with seven basic family types (he adds an eighth, too — i’ll get to that in a minute). here they are with their defining characteristics, the countries in which they are found, and their matching ideologies:

absolute nuclear family
– no cohabitation of married children with their parents
– no precise inheritance rules; frequent use of wills
– no marriage between the children of brothers
– anglo-saxons, netherlands, denmark
– christianity, capitalism, ‘libertarian’ liberalism, feminism

egalitarian nuclear family
– no cohabitation of married children with their parents
– equality of brothers laid down by inheritance rules
– no marriage between the children of brothers.
– northern france, northern italy, central and southern spain, central portugal, greece, romania, poland, latin america, ethiopia
– christianity (catholicism); the “liberte, egalite, fraternite” form of liberalism

authoritarian family
– cohabitation of the married heir with this parents
– inequality of brothers laid down by inheritance rules, transfer of an unbroken patrimony to one of the sons
– little or no marriage between the children of two brothers
– germany, austria, sweden, norway, belgium, bohemia, scotland, ireland, peripheral regions of france, northern spain, northern portugal, japan, korea, jews, romany gypsies
edit 01/08/12: socialism/bureaucratic socialism or social democracy, catholicism. fascism sometimes, various separatist and autonomous (anti-universalist) movements (think german federalism)

exogamous community family
– cohabitation of married sons and their parents
– equality between brothers defined by rules of inheritance
– no marriage between the children of two brothers
– russia, yugoslavia, slovakia, bulgaria, hungary, finland, albania, central italy, china, vietnam, cuba, north india (note that many of these countries, the eastern european ones, also have a tradition of marrying young)
– communism, edit 01/08/12: socialism

endogamous community family
– cohabitation of married sons with their parents
– equality between brothers established by inheritance rules
– frequent marriage between the children of brothers
– arab world, turkey, iran, afghanistan, pakistan, azerbaijan, turkmenistan, uzbekistan, tadzhikistan
– islam

asymmetrical community family
– cohabitation of married sons and their parents
– equality between brothers laid down by inheritance rules
– prohibition on marriages between the children of brothers, but a preference for marriages between the children of brothers and sisters
– southern India
– hinduism; a variety of communism unlike that found elsewhere

anomic family
– cohabitation of married children with their parents rejected in theory but accepted in practice
– uncertainty about equality between brothers: inheritance rules egalitarian in theory but flexible in practice
– consanguine marriage possible and sometimes frequent
– burma, cambodia, laos, thailand, malaysia, indonesia, philippines, madagascar, south-american indian cultures

the eighth family type, which is additional to todd’s scheme (i.e. it doesn’t fit the three definitional dichotomies he uses, which maybe indicates a problem with his definitions?), is the african family. todd sort-of throws his hands up in the air and declares that african family systems are simply hopeless to understand (because they don’t fit his model) — and, anyway, there’s not enough data on them (which was prolly true in the early 1980s — and maybe still is now!). anyway, here’s all he has to say about the africans:

african systems
– instability of the household
– polygyny

heh. yes, very true. but i’d like those systems explained, too, along with african ideologies.

so, well, i’ll most likely post more on this in the future. i’m sure i’ll refer to it going forward ’cause this is exactly the topic i hope to pursue on the ol’ blog here: mating patterns and how they affect our behaviors and ideologies — and vice versa.

stay tuned!

oh, if anyone’s read “The Explanation of Ideology” or “The Invention of Europe” (or any of todd’s other works), i’d love to hear your thoughts on what he has to say (that means you, m.g.! (~_^) ).

previously: the explanation of ideology and exogamy

(note: comments do not require an email. ni ne doit vous comprenez le français. i don’t!)