consanguinity and democracy

steve sailer posted about this paper the other day — from the amazingly awesome michael woodley and his partner in crimethink edward bell:

Consanguinity as a Major Predictor of Levels of Democracy: A Study of 70 Nations

oh, how such a study just warms hbd chick’s cold, little heart! (~_^)

using the good, ol’ consang.net data on cousin marriage rates (which are great but have a lot of problems — i’ll get into that in another post) and data on democracy from polity iv and the eiu democracy index, woodley and bell found pretty strong negative correlations between first-/second-cousin marriage rates in societies and how democratic those societies are: –0.632 between consanguinity and the polity iv data, and –0.771 with the eiu data. (as steve points out, a -0.6 correlation in the social sciences is something to make you stop and go hmmmm, never mind a -0.77 correlation.)

in other words, the more cousin marriage in a society, the less democracy.

woodley and bell also looked at a lot of other neat stuff like economic freedom+consanguinity+democracy and percent muslim+consanguinity+democracy and pathogen index+consanguinity+democracy (i like that one!), but i’ll get to those in another post. (in fact, the rest of this week is probably going to be devoted to the woodley and bell paper here on hbd chick, so if you’re sick to death of hearing about inbreeding and democracy, don’t say you haven’t been warned!)

woodley and bell say:

“Consanguinity … appears to severely restrict the political and social fluidity characteristic of democratic systems, as individual allegiances are primarily to kinship groupings where sophisticated group-level free-rider detection and social identity mechanisms serve to discourage expressions of self-interest that do not maximize collective utility (MacDonald, 2001, 2002). This process of collective utility maximization is consistent with the notion of inclusive fitness in which individuals exhibit altruistic behaviors toward those with whom they share genes, thus indirectly increasing their fitness (Hamilton, 1964; Rushton, 1989, 2005; Trivers, 1971).”

they also say:

“A further shortcoming of the study is its cross-sectional nature; a panel study using data gathered at regular intervals would be ideal for testing the hypotheses and models presented in this study.”

yes. i’ve been thinking that there are at least two things going on with regard to inbreeding and man’s innate social aptitudes (and their expressions like democracy or no democracy):

1) genetic similarity. so, as woodley and bell said, “individuals exhibit altruistic behaviors toward those with whom they share genes.” thus, in highly inbred societies, individuals favor their own extended family members at the expense of their neighbors and unrelated members of their society simply because they are much more genetically related to their [edit] extended family members than individuals in outbred societies are to theirs. this is a very direct effect — change the relatedness, change the behavior patterns. and, so, liberal democracy will simply never work in inbred societies — or not work very well anyway — because you get clannishness.

2) the evolution of “genes for altruism” over the longer term. i think that, in addition to genetic similarity, we’re also looking at populations with different types and/or frequencies of “genes for altruism” due to their long-term mating patterns. i think it could’ve made a difference that northwest europeans have been outbreeding a lot since the early medieval period while arabs having been inbreeding a lot since … well, i’m not sure … probably since at least whenever some jewish tribes from the levant migrated into the arab peninsula. this is a long-term effect — change the relatedness over the long-term, and you might change at least the frequencies of “genes for altruism” in the population. you’d think the selection pressures for different sorts of altruism genes would change, too, if you went from an outbred to inbred society (bushmen vs. yanomamo, for example) or vice versa. in other words, you’d think different altruism genes might be selected for in different types of societies.

this is one of the reasons that i say there are problems with the consang.net data, i.e. that they lack time-depth or, as woodley and bell said, they offer only a cross-sectional look at consanguinity.

for instance, the consang.net data for china averages to a rate of 5% (per woodley and bell), but all of the data for china come from the twentieth century. however, the chinese have been seriously marrying their cousins since at least the third century b.c. and, as far as i know, the rates only slowed down in the twentieth century (and maybe not to the extent one would think from looking at the consang.net data) — and after that, they kept on marrying very locally (endogamously) until very, very recently.

i think woodley and bell would find much higher correlations between consanguinity and democracy if they had long-term consanguinity data. (what will probably need to be used is some sort of genetic data.)
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the woodley and bell paper [pdf].

the classics: Veil of Fears by stanley kurtz; Consanguinity prevents Middle Eastern political development by parapundit; and Cousin Marriage Conundrum by steve sailer.

previously: democracy and endogamous mating practices and the corporate nature of european societies and liberal democracy and “hard-won democracy” and consanguinity + corruption = correlation

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consanguinity + corruption = correlation

the awesome epigone has found a correlation of .44 between the amounts of (mostly) current consanguineous (first-/second-cousin) marriages in various societies as indicated by the data available on consang.net and perceptions of corruption by the people in those societies as found by transparency international (thnx, a.e.!). that’s higher than i would’ve guessed beforehand — i gave a bunch of reasons for that over @m.g.’s place which the epigone included in his post, so i won’t bother repeating them here.

i know that correlation is not causation, but it does “waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there,” so i’ll bet anyone a nickle — no, a dime! — that there is a connection here (and that connection is altruism/other innate social aptitudes [pg. 329+]).

i think audacious’ correlation would be even larger if there was some time depth to the inbreeding/endogamy data. what i’d like to see is:

– all the genes for altruism (and other innate social aptitudes) in man discovered so we (meaning teh scientists) can see the hbd differences in altruism, etc., in different populations and trace the evolutionary histories of all these genes in different populations. then someone could check for correlations between the gene frequencies and corruption (and other neat behaviors like nepotism).

in lieu of that, what i’d like to see is:

– all, or at least lots, of the people on the planet getting their dna sequenced so we (meaning teh scientists) can work out the degrees of relatedness within different populations so we (meaning teh scientists) could at least guess at the evolutionary histories of all these genes for altruism. then someone could check for correlations between the actual degrees of relatedness in different populations and corruption (and other neat behaviors like nepotism).

in lieu of that, what i’d like to see/do is:

– what the audacious epigone did but just with some time depth added to the inbreeding/endogamy data. plus, also, some consideration given to the fact that some forms of cousin marriage (i.e. fbd marriage) amount to more inbreeding than other forms of cousin marriage (e.g. mbd marriage).

for example, maybe two points could be awarded for each (likely) generation in which consanguineous marriages were common (haven’t considered what the cut off oughta be), and one point for each (likely) generation of endogamous marriage. zero points for marrying out. bonus point for fbd marriage. add ’em all up and then compare/contrast with corruption, et. al.

the problem is figuring out exactly how much inbreeding happened at any given point in the past for a population. i know there are ways to get at it by looking at dna — maybe what should be looked for are any correlations between runs of homozygosity in populations and corruption, etc. that would still be looking at a sort of proxy for the presence/frequencies of different sorts of genes for altruism, but it might be interesting anyway.

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historic mating patterns in japan

readers (luke & jayman) request: what about the japanese? well, we aim to please… (^_^)

the japanese definitely have a history of cousin and endogamous marriages. i’m not sure, yet, how far back it goes (although i’m going to guess pretty d*rn far), but between 1912 and 1925 the consanguinity (first-/second-cousin) marriage rate for japan was 22.4% [pg. 29]. compare that to italy toward the beginning of the twentieth century or to some of the arab countries today. compare it also to the first cousin marriage rate amongst rural english folks in the 1870s: 2.25% (4.5% for the peerage).

but it’s been decreasing ever since (looks like a stock market crash – pg. 30):

by wwii the rate was only about 12.3%, and nowadays it’s like 4% (3.9% in 1983).

imaizumi, the author of the article to which i’ve linked above, also found in the early 1980s that 27% of recently married japanese folks had married endogamously, while amongst the oldest folks studied, 40% had married endogamously [pg. 39]. so endogamous marriages have also declined in japan over the course of the twentieth century. still, more than 1 in 4 japanese entered into an endogamous marriage in the ’80s (or maybe the late 1970s).

seems like the shintoists practice cousin marriage most frequently, followed by buddhists, and is lowest amongst catholics. farmers/fishermen, blue collar workers, the self-employed and people working in services (like transportation) inbreed the most, whereas white collar workers, salesmen and professionals inbreed the least.

note: the type of cousin marriage practiced in japan is mostly mother’s brother’s daughter (mbd) marriage as in china. more on that in the next post on japan. that’s important because mbd marriage amounts to less inbreeding (i think) than the arab type of cousin marriage (father’s brother daughter or fbd marriage) since all of the marriages do NOT occur exclusively in one lineage. in mbd marriage, at least more than one other lineage is involved.

the events of the meiji period obviously shook up the social structures in japan a LOT, but i wonder if cousin marriage/endogamy was officially — or even unofficially — discouraged in any way during that time period. i’m wondering if what happened in europe starting in the early medieval period regarding mating patterns has sorta been repeated in japan, only starting in the nineteenth century. -?-

goes to show, too, how rapidly cousin marriage rates can drop — within one generation in japan cousin marriage rates halved. maybe this could happen only amongst east asians who are big into conformity, but it’s something to keep in mind when trying to imagine what happened in europe in the medieval period, i.e. that things could’ve moved pretty quickly.

more anon!

previously: on the non-violent japanese of today

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