steve sailer posted about this paper the other day — from the amazingly awesome michael woodley and his partner in crime
think 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  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.)
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
(note: comments do not require an email. paranoia.)