sex and “the other”

“the other” is a shapeless concept in anthropology/the social sciences which i never quite understood — prolly ’cause the anthropologists/social scientists don’t understand it themselves. it’s got something to do with how we react to people who are unlike ourselves somehow or in some way … different headdresses or tattoos or taste in music … or something like that. it might’ve been a useful concept if they’d looked at it from the p.o.v. of genetics, but they mostly didn’t so … never mind….

anyway.

in light of the scandals in rotherham, i thought i’d take some time out from the regularly scheduled program to present a couple of very vague ideas i have related to sex and genetic relatedness between individuals/groups. i haven’t really thought through these ideas, so they’re very vague. don’t say i didn’t warn you. (also, could be that actual scientists have already thought through/done lots of research on all of these already and i’m not aware of it. if so, just ignore me.)

vague thought number one:

if the prime directive is to reproduce your genes (or at least those that would have an effect in this case) as much as possible, one tactic in achieving that goal might be to reduce how much your competitors — those individuals unrelated to you who don’t share your genes — manage to reproduce their genes. you could do that by a) killing them, and/or b) preventing them from reproducing in some other way.

one way to prevent “the other” guys from reproducing (so much) would be to mate as much as possible with, if you imagine two neighboring tribes, their usual mates. then, not only do you reduce the actual reproduction of “the other” guys’ genes, you also increase your own and spread your genes even that much further than you would’ve if you just stuck to the members of your own tribe. so it’s possible — possible — then that a special drive for mating with “the other” could’ve been something that was selected for ’cause it might’ve paid off.

however, you would think this would be a better strategy for men than for women since reproduction for human females is such a long, drawn-out, costly affair, whereas men can just spread their seed hither and thither without a care in the world. a drive for sex with “the other” might, then, be stronger in men than in women, and might even result in a certain amount of sexual coercion (to put it nicely) since the women don’t really want to engage in this sex with “the other” so much. and this coercion might be applied more often to unrelated/unlike females than to related/like females a la ghengis khan and his band of literal brothers sweeping across eurasia raping and pillaging wherever they went (that’d be one of the more extreme examples — extreme in terms of behaviors exhibited and in terms of success).
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vague thought number two:

in my world of inbred populations, familial altruism rules the day because it pays more — inclusive fitness-wise — to be altruistic towards your family members, since you share an inordinate number of genes with them compared to non-family members. perhaps, too, in an inbred society it would also pay more to mate with “the other” (as described above) if and when you could since, in an inbred society, the different extended families/clans are less related to one another than families in an outbred society. by mating with your unrelated neighbor’s sister, you’re (heh) screwing him genetically more than a guy in an outbred society would do to his neighbor. in other words, perhaps a stronger drive to mate with “the other” could be selected for in inbred societies because the effect of “vague thought number one” would be amplified. (perhaps this is why peoples in the arab world/middle east cover their women up in burkas — for their own protection just like they often say!)
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vague thought number three:

glenn daniel wilson has suggested that rape is/was a reproductive strategy of — i guess the gameboyz would call them beta males — guys who didn’t have access to females ’cause some alpha males had all or most of the access. maybe, then, the drive to rape is a response to polygamy. maybe. if so, that would certainly seem to fit the arab world and might explain why they are overly protective of their women (burkas, purdah). might even explain what happened in rotherham. i have to admit, i’m not 100% convinced by this one. i think it might be part of the explanation, but not the sole one.
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vague thought number four:

i’ve been meaning to do a post on this, but just haven’t gotten around to it, so i’ll just tack it on here. sex drives and the hajnal line — something which jayman mentioned in the comments here.

you’ve probably all seen henry harpending and greg cochran’s recent (very cool!) discussions about fathers’ ages and mutation rates (most recent example here). my question, wrt the late marriage trend in western europe for both men and women, is: has there been any selection for behaviors related to these late marriages?

if — if — over the last few hundred years, those nw europeans who married (i.e. mated) at a later age were more successful at leaving their genes behind than those who married young, were certain behavioral traits related to this selected for? greater ability to delay gratification, for instance (in this case sexual gratification!)? relatively lower libido (“no sex, please, we’re british!” — see also monty python)? other traits i haven’t thought of?

like jayman said in his comment, in most of the world even today — and in many more parts up until very recently — a 14, 15, 16 year-old girl is/was considered very marriable/matable. maybe nw europeans feel that relatively less so. dunno.

(note: comments do not require an email. funny headdress.)

canadiens again

i decided to look at the “civicness” numbers for canadians by province in the world values survey (2006 wave for canada). these are the questions i looked at:

“Now I am going to read out a list of voluntary organizations; for each one, could you tell me whether you are a member, an active member, an inactive member or not a member of that type of organization?

– Church or religious organization
– Sport or recreation organization
– Art, music or educational organization
– Labour union
– Political party
– Environmental organization
– Professional association
– Charitable/humanitarian organization”

for each province, i broke down the numbers for active members only by size of town where the interview was conducted (see x-axis on chart below). what i was trying to get around was françois’ montreal problem — i.e. that the civicness numbers for quebec might be so low because of the presence of multi-culti montreal. (i’ve already shown, though, that ontarians don’t seem to have much of a problem with the presence of multi-culti toronto in their province.)

so, now that i’ve got some numbers for small town quebec (and other provinces) we can ask: are the québécois who don’t live in montreal more civic than their counterparts who do live in montreal, and are they more or less civic than other canadians?

before i try to answer that, let me say that there are lots — LOTS — of problems with this data set, so take this whole post with a big block of freshly mined salt. for one thing, the sample sizes for some of the provinces were so small, i just had to skip them entirely (egs. prince edward island – n=7; newfoundland – n=37). also, some of the data that i did use aren’t so hot either — example: sample size for quebec towns sized 50,000-100,000 – n=10. but, hey — what’s an hbd chick to do?

also, i couldn’t filter out the responses of non-white canadians, so the numbers for quebec do not represent just ethnic québécois. same story for the other provinces. however, 87% of the respondents from canada on the 2006 wvs were white, so we are looking at a strong majority of white canadians here.

so when you look at the chart below — squint!

without further ado, here are the average “civicness” scores by town size for quebec, ontario and alberta (click on graph for LARGER, not-so-fuzzy view):

as you can see, the civicness in small town quebec looks to be ’round about the same as in ontario or alberta — maybe/probably. living in a small-ish town in any of these places would probably feel pretty similar, civicness-wise. the scores do diverge, though, the larger the town/city size, until the difference is ca. twelve points when we get to the largest cities. perhaps that’s due to the multi-cultural nature of the largest cities, but then why are ontario’s numbers so high when they’ve got one of the most vibrant cities on the planet?

no. my guess — and this is just a guess — is that civicness in small-town quebec works quite well because french canadians have a good dose of “genes for familial altruism” (whatever they might be), either thanks to their french ancestors and/or because of the bottleneck and subsequent inbreeding that the population experienced once in the new world, and in small-town quebec they’re still living quite near extended family members, so they’re all quite civic. however, for the very same reason, civicness fails (compared to anglo-canadians) in urban quebec when they’re presented with lots of non-relatives. in contrast, anglo-canadian civicness scores get even better when they get out there in the Big World amongst other individualists like themselves.

the extended family was extremely important for a large part of quebec’s history, which rings familial altruism bells for me. i think that the good folks of quebec are some of my inbreeders — and that’s why they’re not very trusting (of outsiders) and not very civic when they get around different sorts of folks (like in big cities).

oh, and — death to america!

previously: canadiens and what’s up with french canadians? and civic societies

(note: comments do not require an email. québécois family.)

the flatlanders vs. the mountain people

**update below**

following up from this

“These data again demonstrate the political role of preferred marriage forms. Exogamy and lack of cousin marriage within large lowland nation-states aid in uniting disparate clans and villages. By contrast, the absence of exogamy and the presence of preferred cousin marriage intensify relationships within the small upland social units.”

…where in the world should we expect to find cousin marriage/inbreeding/endogamy vs. lack of cousin marriage/outbreeding/exogamy? note that i think this lowland/upland dichotomy particularly applies to agriculturalists vs. agri-pastoralists/pastoralists and (maybe) not so much to hunter-gatherers, so i’m ignoring hunter-gatherers for right now. (click on map for LARGER view):

>> inbreeding <<

– saudi arabia, yemen, oman, uae: check. especially, once-upon-a-time (i.e. before the spread of islam), in the western and southern regions of the arabian peninsula. dunno if that is true or not.

– the middle east: check. but not, once-upon-a-time (i.e. before the coming of islam?), in egypt. dunno if that is true or not.

– turkey, iran, turkmenistan, afghanistan, pakistan: check.

– southern, but not northern, india: check.

– ethiopia, most of east africa heading southwards except for coastal areas: the amhara of ethiopia (and ethiopian jews) have rules against close endogamy, but that’s probably/possibly largely a result of the introduction of christianity. other groups in ethiopia certainly practice endogamy. dunno about the rest of east africa.

– nepal, bhutan, other groups in the himalayas: i happen to know that the nepalese have a tradition of cousin marriage, just haven’t gotten around to posting about it yet. dunno about bhutan or other himalayan folks.

– northern parts of southeast asia, vietnam (talk about very stubborn guerrilas!), northern thailand: check.

– indonesia: more on borneo than most of the other islands. no idea.

– southern and western china, but not northeast china (including manchuria): my impression from the reading so far is that clans, so probably the cousin marriage that definitely occurred/s in china, were historically more prevelant in southern than northern china. further research is required. (~_^)

– japan: check.

– southern europe: spain, southern france, central and southern italy including sicily and sardinia, greece, the balkans — check, check, check, check, check. if you haven’t already, see mating patterns in europe series in left-hand column below ↓.

– alpine countries: switzerland, austria, etc. not sure.

– northern europe: scotland, wales, parts of ireland, norway. — check, check, check, not sure. again, see mating pattern in europe series.

– russian federation (better map here): from the urals westwards generally yes, although there are patches of lowland areas in the west. the west siberian plain should be a large area of outbreeding until you get to the central siberian plateau (unless western russians settled there bringing their marriage traditions with them?). dunno the details.

– north africa: esp. in the atlas mountains. not sure what the berber mating patterns were pre-islam. the cousin marriage rates are high today.

>> outbreeding <<

– northern europe: england, northern france, belgium, the netherlands, denmark, northern germany, northern poland — check, check, check, check, check, check, more-or-less. especially since the medieval period, but there was most likely cousin marriage/endogamy in all of these places pre-christianity. see mating patterns in europe series.

– iraq: around the tigris and euphrates — the garden of eden. lots of inbreeding, in fact, but that may have been introduced by the arabs along with islam — certainly father’s brother’s daughter (fbd) marriage likely was. dunno what the marriage practices of the populations there were pre-islam. i wonder what they were in ancient sumerian, etc., times? dunno.

– large parts of west africa: dunno. there appears to be some high cousin marriage rates in parts of guinea and nigeria, but that’s just where there are some highlands in west africa. dunno for sure.

– central africa: niger/chad area. dunno.

– coastal east africa: dunno.

– libya and egypt: pre-islam. dunno.

– northern india: check. relative to their neighbors anyway.

– parts of russia: see comments above in inbreeding section.

– northern china: see comments above in inbreeding section.

– parts of southeast asia: check.

– parts of indonesia: in particular the southeastern part of sumatra. dunno.
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**update 09/14: oops — forgot the new world (remember – agriculturalists only):

– western/southwestern north america, mesoamerica, anybody in the andes: should’ve been inbreeders. dunno for sure.

– eastern north america: groups in the midwest ought to have been outbreeders, relatively speaking. anybody in appalachia ought to have been inbreeding. florida groups (were they agriculturalists?) should’ve been outbreeders — according to this theory anyway. dunno for sure.
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previously: this one’s for g.w.

(note: comments do not require an email. where the inbred martians should be.)

clannish dysgenics

here’s another example of potential clannish dysgenics — from Studies on the Population of China, 1368-1953 [pg. 205]:

“[T]he lack of primogeniture and the working of the clan system proved to be great leveling factors in the Chinese economy. The virtue of sharing one’s wealth with one’s immediate and remote kinsmen had been so highly extolled since the rise of Neo-Confucianism in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that few wealthy men in traditional China could escpae the influence of this teaching. Business management, in the last analysis, was an extension of familism and was filled with nepotism, inefficiencies, and irrationalities. These immensely rich individuals not only failed to develop a capitalistic system; they seldom if ever acquire that acquistive and competitive spirit which is the very soul of the capitalistic system.”

previously: a sense of entitlement and inbreeding and iq

(note: comments do not require an email. chinese clan.)

the asymmetry of altruism again

the news that teh archaeologists may have found the body of richard iii under a parking lot in central england brought to my mind another richard — richard ii…

…and that bill hamilton used him in an example of how altruistic behaviors might be asymmetrical depending upon the degrees of inbrededness and outbrededness of the individuals within a family.

it may be that the more outbred individuals in a family would be more altruistic towards their fellow family members who are more inbred since the inbred individuals would have more copies of whatever altruism genes we happen to be talking about. in other words, helping out one’s relative/s that have a greater number of altruism genes would increase one’s inclusive fitness — at least when it comes to altruism genes anyway.

here’s what hamilton had to say [pgs. 97-100 & 105-106]:

“…all that logic about how knowing that either he or that other are inbred should change, for example, how Henry IV felt about his cousin, Richard II, or how Henry’s son, soon to be Henry V, felt about his cousin (second cousin actually in this cast), Edmund Mortimer, and how Edmund Mortimer about him.

“Usually when explaining to non-biologists how kin are to be valued in the evolutionary calculations, I start with a deliberate vagueness about what might be meant by such a phrase as ‘the proportion of genes in common’ between two relatives and I concentrate on the obvious importance of the probabilities of gene survival. What ‘genes in common’ means it takes too long to explain and perhaps even at the end I don’t completely understand the matter myself … Suppose Harry Plantagenet, Prince of Wales, is inbred and hence has two copies, aa say, of some altruism-determining gene, while his second cousin Edmund Mortimer (who, as it happens, was another very plausible contender for the throne) happens to have one only — his genotype is ab let us say. What proportion at this locus do we say the two have in common? … As I have pointed out, diploids have two copies of every kind of chromosome, one from their mother and one from their father. And in fact this problem about ‘genes in common’ was an old chestnut for me and I had pricked fingers on it from the very earliest days of my ‘altruism’ obsession. I had dealt in outline with questions of relatedness when one or both of two relatives could be inbred in some of my recent papers (see Chapters 5 and 8 of Volume 1) but I was very much aware of various issues still unresolved or remaining unpublished.

“About the time of my first invitation from Rick Michod, Nathan Flesness, for example, had published in Nature a paper entitled ‘Kinship asymmetry in diploids’. He showed clearly that if one relative was inbred and another not or less so, as in my example of the first two pretenders to the English throne above, the coefficient of relatedness that the inbred should use when deciding how to behave towards the outbred relative (a cousin once again, let us say) was not the same as the coefficient that the outbred cousin should apply if making the reciprocal decision. The theory says that the outbred person in fact, to a slight degree, should tolerate the unfairness in the interest of his genes, or, to put it more properly, his genes should even see to such an unfairness coming about: he should behave more generously towards the inbred than he would expect the inbred to reciprocate….

“I thought initially that Henry V, as the more aristocratic, would be more inbred than Mortimer, but this turns out to be incorrect. At least as far as my Encylopedia Brittanica (EB) information goes (1967 edition, ed. W.E. Preece, article on ‘Plantagenets’), both had mothers unrelated to their husbands. Both were fighters in high health.

“For a more interesting comparison I consequently transferred attention to Henry V’s father, Henry IV, and his cousin, Richard II, both grandchildren of Edward III. Using these cousins to address the question hinted, we find that they were indeed both complexly but weakly inbred. Remarkably, none of their four parents was inbred, at least according to my source. Their two mothers, however, were linked (through their father) into the web of European aristocracy of their time. I counted for each seven independent paths by which a gene in a mother could be identical to one in her husbands — this within the limited one-page pedigree provided in EB. Amongst such paths, Richard II had the two shortest (via his ancestors Edward I and Philip III of France: six- and eight-ancestor chains, respectively; I will indicate such chains by 6 and 8. Henry IV had Henry III (father of Edward I) as his most recent ancestor, implying a 9-chain, and, more distantly, has to go back to Blanche, daughter of Alfonso VII of Castile, to find his next-best 13 chain. As to the longer chains, 5 for each, all were quite different and none shorter than 13. Altogether, with his coefficient at F=164/8192 against Henry IV’s F=19/8192, Richard II is the more inbred.

Correspondingly to our theory Richard II usurps the throne; however, obviously such small Fs … are going to make, actually, a fairly neglibible difference to the regression coefficients. Consequently (in the spirit of my argument and showing the method) we need not be surprised that neither pretender to the throne deferred to the other and they fought out their claims.

“Turning to another ‘pretender’ in this picture, Edmund Mortimer, already mentioned, by my data he has F=0 [i.e. completely outbred – h.chick]. In this light it fits again that (a) he joined the rebellious faction of Hotspur and Glendower as its ‘pretender’ only by their persuasion; (b) after his capture, by Henry IV, he stayed tamely (and was tolerated) for the rest of his life as a semi-prisoner at Windsor; and (c) my EB source (Vol. 15, pp. 867-8) tells us that ‘Edmund seems to have rewarded Henry V with persistent loyality’, including informing him of a plot by others to depose the king and put him (Edmund) on the throne. All this has the expected slant of the theory.”
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what would be fun is if somebody went through the royal lines of england/the rest of europe and checked to see if there was a general pattern of more outbred individuals deferring to the more inbred ones. wouldn’t that be cool if it was the case! (^_^)

what i wonder is: could this asymmetrical altruism be misapplied? on a large scale?

we know that altruistic behaviors — being just a set of innate, instinctive behaviors — can be “misapplied” in the sense that they can be directed towards unrelated individuals. the poor bird parents who raise cuckoo chicks (chicks?!) are the prime examples; but even in humans, people adopt kids that are totally unrelated to themselves and raise them as their own (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) — or some ladies just direct all their altruistic behaviors towards cats or even “reborn dolls” (there is something wrong with that…).

could it be that outbred individuals might misapply their asymmetrical altruistic behaviors towards unrelated individuals rather than relatives? specifically, i’m wondering if they could pick up on certain behavioral signals given off by inbred peoples (maybe who show strong familial altruism behaviors?) and then defer to them like edmund (maybe) did to henry iv?

it’s a stretch, i know. just thinking aloud.

previously: hamilton’s unequal cousins or the asymmetry of altruism

(note: comments do not require an email. how richard iii was really killed.)

arab autumn

i’m just soooo glad we helped to bring democracy to egypt and libya — especially since they wanted it so much. so how’s all that working out for us anyway?:

“US official dies in Libya consulate attack in Benghazi”

“An American has been killed and at least one other wounded after militiamen stormed the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, officials say.

“It is believed the protest was held over a US-produced film that is said to be insulting to the Prophet Muhammad.

“The building was set on fire after armed men raided the compound with grenades.

“Protests have also been held at the US embassy in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

“In the attack in Benghazi, unidentified armed men stormed the grounds, shooting at buildings and throwing handmade bombs into the compound.

“Security forces returned fire but Libyan officials say they were overwhelmed….

“The film that sparked the demonstration is said to have been produced by a 52-year-old US citizen from California named Sam Bacile, and promoted by an expatriate Egyptian Copt….

“‘Abuse freedom of speech’

“Thousands of protesters had gathered outside the US embassy in the Egyptian capital.

“Egyptian protesters condemned what they said was the humiliation of the Prophet of Islam under the pretext of freedom of speech…..”
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you know, they just have to get over it. they don’t like freedom of speech and they don’t want it in their countries? — fine. but we have it in ours and they’re just gonna have to deal with it.

and we’d better not apologize for any of this, either! oh, wait. too late:

“The US embassy earlier issued a statement condemning ‘the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions’.”

sheesh.
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update 09/12: posting these, from this 2012 pew survey of egypt, in response to peter’s comment below. see my response:

(note: comments do not require an email. omg! it’s mohammed!)

canadiens

i referenced an article last week which claimed that, out of all the provinces in canada, quebec has the most corruption. i wondered out loud what the story was with french canadians, but françois objected saying that the problem is not (only?) the french canadians in quebec, but rather multicultural montreal inflating the corruption numbers for quebec on the whole. he pointed out that montreal has its share of italian mafioso types, for instance. certainly, as we all know, italians are no strangers to corruption and nepotism, and so it might, indeed, be a problem for montreal — and quebec — that seven percent of montreal’s inhabitants have an italian background. not to mention, like i already said, the general multicultiness of montreal. that doesn’t ever seem to lead to less corruption (unless you have an unbelievably wise leader).

still, i wondered if françois was right and that, if you took montreal out of the mix, that quebec wouldn’t look any more corrupt than, say, saskatchewan. so i looked around for corruption data for canada broken down by province and came up with…

…nada. (mind you, i didn’t really look all that hard, so it might be out there somewhere on the innerwebs.)

what i did find, however, are some neat data on the civic behaviors of canadians by province: things like amount of time spent volunteering, donations, and trust in others, etc.

before i present some of that data, i want to make it clear that complaining that canadians aren’t civic enough would be like complaining that germans don’t like beer enough — totally nonsensical! by any sort of metric that you look at — transparency international’s corruption perceptions index (canada was number 10 in 2011) or the world values survey civicness numbers — canadians are a very civic bunch. living anywhere in canada — quebec included — would obviously NOT feel like living anywhere in eastern europe or the arab world.

having said that:

so the québécois trust others quite a lot less than other canadians do. a lot less. now, maybe that’s all down to the presence of montreal in quebec, but then why are the people in ontario so gosh-durned trusting? i mean, ontario’s got toronto and last time i checked that is very multiculti city. (the greater toronto metropolitan region, btw, comprises nearly half of ontario’s population — 5.5M out of 12.8M — and the montreal metro area is about the same for quebec — 3.8M out of 7.9M.)

couldn’t find this trust data broken down intra-regionally.

but here are some data for donations that i did find broken down by cities within regions — this chart is sorted by “mean charitable donation” (note that the figures for percent english or french for each city come from either wikipedia or here which is where most of the wikipedia figures seem to have come from) [click on chart for LARGER view]:

as you can see, the six quebec cities in the survey all rank right at the bottom of the list wrt how much money they donated in 2010. british columbians, otoh, are right up there at the top. i found a positive 0.57 correlation between the percentage of english-canadians living in a city and mean donation size, and conversely a negative 0.58 (-0.58) correlation between the percentage of french-canadians living in a city and mean donation size. in other words, if you want to benefit from large charitable donations in canada, make sure you live where there are lots of people of english ancestry — british columbia seems to be your best bet.

françois might make the montreal objection again, but what about places in quebec with high numbers of french-canadians but negligible numbers of other ethnic groups (like italians) — sherbrooke and saguenay, for instance — why are the people in those places so comparatively ungenerous?

the funniest contrast is between gatineau in quebec and ottawa in ontario which are right across the ontario river from each other. in 2001, 37.6% of the gatineau population responded that they had french ancestry, but only 6.4% said they had english ancestry. the next biggest group after french was the irish at 7.6%. italians were only 1.4% of the population. otoh, gatineau’s neighbor, ottawa, had 24.3% of english decent. and more italians than gatineau (4.9%). but ottawans were much more generous than people from gatineau in 2010.

here are the data sorted another way — by the percentages of taxfilers in each city who claimed deductions for their donations:

i found no correlation for either percent of english or french living in a city and the percentage of the population having given a donation (and claimed it on their taxes) in 2010. still, you can see on the chart that five of the six quebec cities are still in the lower half of the chart, four of them below the national average. but, most of the british columbian cities were also below the national average wrt the percentage of people in those cities actually giving donations. they may be big donors, but fewer of them actually donate than compared to people in, say, ontario.

so, the people in canadian cities with relatively high percentages of french-canadians give smaller charitable donations compared to the national average for canada, and they seem to give less frequently, too — although the connection between that latter behavior and french or english ethnicity doesn’t seem to be so strong. and the people in the province with the most french canadians — quebec — trust others much less than the rest of canadians. and, as seen in the previous post, quebec experiences the most corruption.

there’s something up with french canadians, i think. my guess is that, like other inbred populations, they’re more family-oriented than anglos. they might not be giving so generously to strangers because they’re busy giving generously to close and extended family members. i dunno. this is hardly the last word on the social/civic behaviors of french canadians. further research is required! (~_^)

previously: what’s up with french canadians?

(note: comments do not require an email. quarter of quebec’s maple syrup reserves stolen!)