how inexplicable!

this is a real head-scratcher…

Can Libya Be Saved?

“Two years ago this month, Tripoli, the capital of Libya, fell to the amalgam of rebel forces that had been closing in on the city. The country’s leader Muammar Qaddafi fled to his home town, Surt, where, on October 20, 2011, rebels stabbed, beat, and shot him to death after his convoy was hit by a NATO missile strike. Qaddafi’s eccentric, forty-two-year dictatorship was over, signalling the apparent end to a dramatic chain of events that had started nine months earlier, in the eastern city of Benghazi. There, inspired by the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, in neighboring Egypt, Libyans had demonstrated against Qaddafi’s rule, and the protests had turned into a bloody national showdown with security forces. The protesters, eventually assisted by French, American, and British bombers under the NATO banner, succeeded. The smoke had not yet cleared when the victory was being touted as a shining example of what Western powers could do on a modern battleground without ever putting ‘boots on the ground.’

With no further need for war and with Western powers fussing over what was being vaunted as the oil-rich nation’s new democracy, Libya should have once again achieved peace and stability. Instead, the country, of more than six million people, seems to have been fatally destabilized by the war to remove its dictator, and it is increasingly out of control. Militias that arose on various regional battlefronts found themselves in possession of vast arsenals and large swaths of territory. Despite the orchestration of parliamentary elections and the assumption of nominal rule by civilian politicians in Tripoli, those militias have not stood down; instead, they have used their force and their firepower to try to effect change in the capital, even, on several occasions, besieging government buildings. They have also fought one another over long-held regional enmities; the most recent such battle occurred last month….

previously: libyans on democracy: meh and the nyt discovers tribes! and consanguinity in libya… and number of libyan tribes… and all tribes, all the time! and libya update and “tribes mean trouble” and inexplicable rifts in libyan rebel forces

(note: comments do not require an email. libyan tribal map.)

30 Comments

  1. The standard PC explanation is that it is all the fault of evil European colonists. I don’t know why NATO got involved. It would have been better to stay away since now they can blame NATO for their problems. Qaddafi seemed to be able to keep the tribes under control. As did Sodamn Insane. Perhaps a brutal dictatorship is the only thing that prevent blood baths in tribal societies.

    I know you believe they are genetically programmed to tribal violence, and maybe they are. But I wonder if it is something to do with Islam, too. There aren’t any liberal democracies which are Islamic. Seems to be a nasty, backwards religion. But maybe Christianity is only better because some pope years ago didn’t want cousins to marry.

    I also wonder about IQ differences between populations. Low average IQ might be causing problems.

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  2. @melykin – “I also wonder about IQ differences between populations. Low average IQ might be causing problems.”

    yes, i’m sure that’s a HUGE part of the problem. if you and your population have got a low average iq, it might be difficult to come up with rational, non-violent solutions to frustrating problems. if one’s first reaction to, say, some sort of incursion by a neighboring group is anger (i’d be angry!), but there’s little rational thinking going on in your population, violent reaction might be the go-to solution that everyone … goes-to! =/ sub-saharan africa seems to be a good example: low average iqs everywhere and lots of violence all across the continent. =/

    @melykin – “But I wonder if it is something to do with Islam, too. There aren’t any liberal democracies which are Islamic.”

    well, i tend to think that ideologies spring from the natures of populations, but there must be feedback loops here, too: biology affects ideology which in turn affects biology which in turn affects ideology again…. ’round and ’round.

    @melykin – “But maybe Christianity is only better because some pope years ago didn’t want cousins to marry.”

    i think (maybe) so! (^_^) weird, but true (maybe).

    @melykin – “Sodamn Insane”

    heh! (^_^)

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  3. Many Arab states are lashups of peoples and religious grouping that are/were ruled by minorities, like Libya, Iraq or Syria, not genuine nations. In Algeria and now Egypt democracy worked to elect a government with widespread popular support, but the ruling class security state refused to accept it. The elite’s definition of democracy is they have the last word and get to steer things whatever the result of elections. That is in the nature of modern states all over the world.

    Outlawing of cousin marriage led to a cosmopolitan vision of universal humanity being adopted in Western Europe. How explain the Nazis on that basis.? (They will be brought up, rely on it.)

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  4. @sean
    Outlawing of cousin marriage led to a cosmopolitan vision of universal humanity being adopted in Western Europe. How explain the Nazis on that basis.? (They will be brought up, rely on it.)

    The idea of universal humanity didn’t become popular until after WWII (probably as a reaction to Hitler). But before that tribes and clans had largely been abandoned within the countries of Europe. Or at least within Great Britain. The Campbells and MacKays were no longer fighting with each other up in the Highlands of Scotland. In many countries of Africa and the Middle East tribes are STILL fighting each other, and they have much more deadly weapons than in the old days.

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  5. I think a strong government (aka, near the dictatorship) is required to Third World nations. Democracy only works and looks down to the high IQS.
    I read that Libya was not a bad country, during the Gaddafi era, had one of the best indicators of quality of life in Africa and that the actual intended to create an African currency. Why all the” dictator” anti-American is bad?
    Is it really that North Koreans are starving or is war propaganda?
    Is the Cold War between the U.S. and USSR was only a distraction to the real culture war that was fought and mental in the West?

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  6. @sean – “Outlawing of cousin marriage led to a cosmopolitan vision of universal humanity being adopted in Western Europe….”

    no. not just the outlawing of cousin marriage. the cessation of close relative marriage just sets the stage for the selection of different sorts of altruistic behaviors. i think/theorize. don’t forget about the natural selection. you just get a different set of selection pressures when you change the mating patterns. (that part is self-evident. you must do.)

    @sean – “How explain the Nazis on that basis.? (They will be brought up, rely on it.)”

    circumstance matters. i’ve always said so — never denied it. as everyone knows, pre-war germany was an economic mess, and the german people were having a very hard time of it. of course people’s outlook on life and priorities and behaviors towards outsiders — and insiders! — will be different under different circumstances.

    still, germans were comparatively universalistic under the nazi regime. they were nationalistic for one thing, which is more than you can say for any arab population — or the yanomamo.

    the arabs in saudi arabia today are much less universalistic than the war-time germans were. just you try moving to saudi arabia — or even take a vacation there! and this is during a time when the country is flowing over with oil riches! i’d hate to see what will happen there if times ever turn tough.

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  7. @rosenmop – “The idea of universal humanity didn’t become popular until after WWII….”

    yes, perhaps. but i think it was “coming on” for quite a while before that in europe. at least since the enlightenment [sic].

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  8. Hbd Chick @ ”yes, possibly. but it’s not just that. if it were, china would have the best democracy in the world! or north korea.”

    Yes, but in this case I think the issues of personality and genetic homogeneity should also count for something.
    Do you believe that inbreeding can influence the personality type that is selected?
    I mean, I see that both the Muslims and the Chinese tend to have a culture very conformist. In the second case, despite inbreeding have been, shall we say, less intense than the first, the fact that they have a greater genetic homogeneity may have contributed to create a society of conformists, because inbreeding reduces genetic diversity. In the second case, where the genetic variation is greater, the intense inbreeding led to the same result as compared to the second.
    Then, in countries with more inbreeding, there is a reduction of genetic variation (formation of different genetic phenotypes caused by the marriage of different families) which in turn, reduces the variety of types of character, which in turn reduces the possibility of individuality democracy.
    I dunno … just a suggestion, but I think you’ve thought about it.

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  9. @hbd chick

    Haven’t been landing here so regularly (mainly ’cause I don’t think I’ve been very helpful* with commenting) but your “this is a real head scratcher” got me thinking well… maybe this time.

    Inordinately long comment this time, please forgive – it comes from a pre-NATO intervention analysis – edited pretty heavily, but I left some back in the Good Ol’ Days of Gahdawful in, just ’cause I felt it might impress why the place is still [and why it’ll likely be for awhile] a mess. Aside from many deletions I added/rephrased some stuff – indicated by […stuff…].

    I was tempted to link a ‘Google Street View’ but decided (since this is gonna be waaay long) on a simpler plain ol’ link – map included of course but simple *easy to use ‘tabs for Geography & Society.

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ly.html

    [Geographically convenient] Libyan society may be described by dividing them into the coastal tribes in the historical regions of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica and the desert tribes of Fezzan.

    Libya has an estimated 140 tribes, only about 30 of which are viewed as having any real significance. They live in the three historical zones that make up Libya — regions which have only recently been grouped together as one political unit. These regions are Tripolitania, site of the capital city Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast in northwestern Libya; Cyrenaica, which touches the Mediterranean but also extends into the Sahara and serves as home to what was for a time the alternate capital of Benghazi; and Fezzan, the only region located entirely in the desert.

    In an attempt to simplify an exceedingly confusing topic, Libya’s tribal groups [are divided] into two overarching categories: the coastal tribes residing mostly in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, and the interior tribes which mostly live in Fezzan. Not all of the “coastal” tribes live along the Mediterranean, but they do live within the rough vicinity of the Libyan core. The second category encompasses the tribes who reside solely in the desert interior.

    Most people in Libya fall into the first category. The coastal strip is home to the typical Libyan — a person of mixed Arab-Berber descent (there are very few pure Berbers left, and though Bedouins in the interior take pride in their “pure” Arab blood, the amount of mixing over the years has made this very rare). There is a difference between the family trees of the Tripolitania tribes and those tribes of Cyrenaica dating back to the 11th century, when the Banu Hilal and Banu Salim Arabs settled in the respective regions. This division is felt to this day.

    Cyrenaica is a territory that any ruler of Tripolitania has always struggled to control. In part, this is due to geography, as a vast stretch of desert and the Gulf of Sidra separate the regions. This division has reinforced their separate historical developments. Cyrenaica has long been oriented toward Egypt and the eastern Islamic world, with Tripolitania more oriented to the western Islamic world and the Maghreb. Cyrenaica was also the home region of modern Libya’s first ruler, King Idris I, who was overthrown by Gadhafi in 1969. (This is why so many towns in eastern Libya [Benghazi] have begun flying the old flag of the Libyan monarchy in recent days.) Idris came from a line of rulers of the Sanussi order, a Sufi religious order founded in 1842 in Al Bayda, that practices a conservative and austere form of Islam. The Sanussiyah represented a political force in Cyrenaica that preceded the creation of the modern state of Libya, and whose reverberations continue to be felt to this day. It is no coincidence that this region is the home of Libyan jihadism.

    A very small percentage of the Libyan population lives in the areas populated by the second category of tribes, including all of Fezzan and a significant portion of Cyrenaica. The desert simply does not allow for a large population to develop. Much of Libya’s oil and natural gas is within this region, however, and that is what makes an understanding of the tribal dynamics there important.

    The Coastal Tribes
    Tripolitania

    The Gadhafi Tribe
    This is the tribe of the Libyan leader, who was born in a desert town about 50 miles south of Sirte. There are six Gadhafi subtribes, whose members can be found in the two largest Libyan cities, Tripoli and Benghazi, but their main stronghold is in the territory stretching from Sirte to the Fezzan district of Sabha.

    The Gadhafi tribe is not historically a force in Libya, in part because there simply are not that many members. The Gadhafi did not play a big role in the war against the Italian occupation, for example, nor did they have any influence during the monarchy, during which they mainly worked as herders. But the Gadhafi were allowed to join the armed forces and the police during this time, which is how the young Capt. Moammar Gadhafi found himself in the position to be able to lead the coup in 1969. (He promoted himself to colonel after the revolution.) As Gadhafi hails from the air force, this tribe continues to be very influential in this branch of the armed forces, which has been involved in some of the most severe crackdowns in eastern Libya and beyond.
    But since the Gadhafi tribe is not especially large, the Libyan leader has been forced to form confederations with others. The foundation of the Gadhafi power structure for the past four decades has largely rested on an alliance with the two largest tribes in the country: the Warfallah and the Magariha, neither of which hails from eastern Libya.

    When Gadhafi first took power, he was heavily influenced by the ideology of then-Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Arab nationalism was his guiding force. This later manifested in the Jamahiriya project that Gadhafi implemented in 1977. “Jamahiriya,” a word coined by Gadhafi which describes a new system of governance he defined as the “state of the masses,” was billed as a unique brand of Arab socialism. Ostensibly, it was to do away with antiquated notions of tribalism and focus on national identity. But in reality, these power relationships never went away.

    The Warfallah Tribe

    The Warfallah is the largest tribe in Libya. Its members can be found living in Tripoli and Benghazi but the tribe’s stronghold is centered on the Wadi Warfallah and Bani Walid and reaches into Sirte. With an estimated 1 million members, the Warfallah tribe represents roughly one-sixth of the country’s entire population. This is the dominant tribe in Tripolitania.

    The Gadhafi and Warfallah have blood ties, and have been in alliance for much of Gadhafi’s 41 years in power. There have been times when all was not well between the Gadhafi and Warfallah tribes, however. In October 1993, after 55 military officers from the Warfallah tribe were implicated in a failed coup attempt, Gadhafi ordered a wave of arrests targeting the tribe. This sparked a backlash from among the Warfallah — most notably in Bani Walid, where there was an uprising in response. This event did not cause a permanent rupture in the alliance, but it would lead to the establishment of a law in March 1997 designed to prevent this kind of tribal unrest from happening again. The so-called “code of honor,” approved by the parliament in March 1997, meant that tribes and families could be collectively punished through the withdrawal of government services should members of the tribe get involved in opposition activities.

    On Feb. 20, shortly after violence exploded in eastern Libya, a group known as the Warfallah Tribal Elders released a statement in which they condemned Gadhafi, his sons, and all members of his tribe. The Warfallah Tribal Elders speak on behalf of the Warfallah confederation, which consists of six subtribes: the Matarfa, Zakarwa, Lotyyin, Fogyyin, Faladna and Mrabtin.

    Other Important Tribes in Tripolitania

    The Bani Walid Tribe

    The Bani Walid overlap geographically with the Warfallah, and also stretch northward toward the coastal town of Misurata. After African mercenaries contracted by Gadhafi were used to violently suppress demonstrations in Misurata, the Bani Walid defected en masse from their units, and are now part of the opposition.

    The Tarhuna Tribe

    The Tarhuna are another large Libyan tribe, especially in the capital, where they comprise an estimated one-third of the population. As just over 1 million people reside in Tripoli, that puts the total number of Tarhuna at a minimum of 350,000, with some estimates putting membership at two or three times that (though this is likely an exaggeration). There even used to be a district in Libya called Tarhuna district, located right next to Tripoli.

    The Tarhuna, who are heavily integrated into the Libyan military, have also joined in the anti-Gadhafi protests.

    The Zentan Tribe

    The Zentan are located around the towns of Nalut and Zentan, around 100 kilometers (km), or slightly more than 60 miles, southwest of Tripoli in the Nafoosa Mountain range, next to the Tunisian border. The Zentan are known as heavy participants in the Libyan army, but they, too, have shown signs of siding with the protesters.

    Cyrenaica

    The Zuwaya Tribe

    The Zuwaya might not be the biggest tribe in Libya, but they are still a considerable force, if only because of the geography the tribe covers. Its members are spread out all across Cyrenaica, from the areas around the oil export facilities on the Gulf of Sidra to the interior regions around the actual oil deposits, as well as the Al Kufrah oasis.
    The Zuwaya, along with the Warfallah, are one of the major tribes that have been the most vocal in their denunciations of Gadhafi since the crisis began. Zuwaya tribal leader Shaykh Faraj al-Zuway said in a Feb. 20 interview with Al Jazeera that the Zuwaya would halt oil exports if the army did not stop shooting at demonstrators. Faraj insisted that his words were to be taken as “a warning from the Zuwaya tribe,” and gave a 24-hour ultimatum for Gadhafi to order the military to cease in the use of force to suppress the revolt. There are no signs that the Zuwaya have carried out their threat, however. The Zuwaya reportedly control the Sarir, Messla and Aquila oil fields.

    A WikiLeaks cable from 2008 stated that the Zuwaya are a heavily armed tribe, though these weapons are restricted to hunting rifles and other automatic rifles given to them by the Libyan government during the war with Chad over the Ouzou Strip in the 1980s. Their presence in the Toubou tribe’s traditional heartland, namely the oasis town of Jaloo, has caused tension between the two tribes, at times breaking out into clashes that the Libyan army is forced to suppress.

    Other important tribes in Cyrenaica.

    The Misurata Tribe

    The Misurata tribe is said by some to be the largest tribe in eastern Libya, though there are no concrete numbers to prove this. The tribe took its name from an area in northwestern Libya — the town called Misurata — where they used to live in great numbers before a wave of emigration after World War II. The town of Misurata is due west across the Gulf of Sidra from the Misurata stronghold in Cyrenaica. Today, the Misurata live mainly in the cities of Benghazi and Darnah.

    The al-Awaqir Tribe

    This tribe is most prevalent in Al Bayda, the city in which the Sanussi order was established and where the current uprising began in mid-February. When Gadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam made reference to those who had established the “Islamic Emirate of Al Bayda” in his Feb. 20 speech on Libyan state television, it is quite possible that he was referring to members of this tribe. The al-Awaqir are known for the prominent role they played in the war against Ottoman and Italian colonialism, and historically have played a prominent role in Libyan politics, both during the monarchy and during the Gadhafi era.

    The Obeidat Tribe

    The Obeidat are centered in the far northeastern military garrison town of Tobruk. Two top officials in the regime that come from this tribe have made very public defections in recent days: Maj. Gen. Suleiman Mahmud (whose full name is Suleiman Mahmud al-Obeidi), commander of the Tobruk military region, and Maj. Gen. Abdel Fattah Younis (whose full name also includes “al-Obeidi” at the end), the former interior minister. The latter announced his defection on Al Arabiya television Feb. 23. Mahmud, meanwhile, insisted after his defection that the tribes are not as fractious as Gadhafi claims, disputing the notion that Gadhafi’s removal would lead to chaos.

    Fezzan

    The Magariha

    [Technically not a coastral tribe the] Magariha tribe is the second-largest in Libya. In addition to the Warfallah, it is the tribe that Gadhafi has consistently sought to keep in alliance throughout his time in power. The Magariha are the dominant tribe in Fezzan, though many Magariha live in Tripoli and other large cities on the coast, as is the case for almost all of the Arab-Berber tribes in Libya.

    The most powerful member of the Magariha tribe is Col. Abdullah al-Sanussi, the head of the Jamahiriya Security Organization (JSO), which includes both the Internal Security Organization and the External Security Organization, an organization which employed Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, better known as the Lockerbie Bomber (Megrahi’s surname is a clear indication of the fact that he hails from the Magariha tribe). Al-Sanussi is married to a sister of Gadhafi’s second wife, Safia Farkash, and is famous for directing the 1996 Abu Salim prison massacre in which more than 100 Islamist prisoners were executed. This incident has been often cited by the eastern opposition as a core grievance that has led to the current uprising.

    Al-Sanussi remains loyal to Gadhafi, and was explicitly accused by Bani Walid tribal leaders of directing the crackdown on Misurata. Likewise, protesters in the northwestern city of Zawiya on Feb. 24 told reporters that a Gadhafi aide named Abdullah Megrahi (whose tribe is revealed by his surname) had come to the town Feb. 23 to deliver a warning: End the resistance, or “there will be a massacre.” One day later, Libyan military units allegedly used anti-aircraft missiles and automatic weapons to attack a mosque in Zawiya that contained protesters.

    There are prominent Magarihas, however, who are said to have joined forces with the opposition. The most famous of this group is Abdel Salam Jalloud, al-Sanussi’s cousin and a former classmate of Gadhafi’s at Sabha. He is also one of the 12 members of the Revolutionary Command Council that carried out the 1969 coup. He served as prime minister for five years in the 1970s, and was once regarded as the second most powerful man in Libya. But after the failed 1993 coup, Jalloud fell out of favor with Gadhafi due to suspicions of his involvement. He was officially pushed out of the Jamahiriya leadership in 1995.

    Jalloud has retained influence with the Magariha tribe, however, and a source included him as part of a rumored plot by several current or former military officers to overthrow Gadhafi. A separate source also reporting on this rumored plot indicated that another Magariha long known to be a member of Gadhafi’s inner circle, Brig. Gen. Al-Mahdi al-Arabi Abdel Hafiz, had been chosen to lead the revolt. If there are indeed such plans, they have yet to be implemented.

    The stance of the Magariha as a tribal unit is unclear. While Al Jazeera reported Feb. 21 that the entire Magariha tribe had renounced Gadhafi, there are clearly certain elements that are not of this persuasion, and the exact extent of the divide is unknown. Certainly there are elements of the Magariha that have joined the opposition camp, but it does not appear to have been a clean break just yet. Gadhafi’s fate could hinge on this tribe’s decision.

    Interior Tribes

    Fezzan

    The Tuaregs

    As Fezzan is largely unpopulated, [The] Tuaregs are a nomadic people who roam around the Sahara and Sahel regions. A Berber people, the Tuaregs have a much different culture and history (not to mention language and appearance) from the Arabic peoples along Libya’s coastal regions, as well as the “pure” Arab Bedouins who live in other parts of the Libyan desert. They live in small groups mainly in the southwestern part of the country, concentrated primarily around the Ghadamis and Ghat oases.
    The Tuaregs have joined the calls of the Warfallah, Zuwaya and other tribes in demanding that Gadhafi step down, clashing with security forces in the towns of Ghat and Ubary on Feb. 20. Tuaregs live near the Waha natural gas deposits on the Algerian border, as well as in the vicinity of the large Elephant oil field owned in part by the partially state-owned Italian oil firm ENI and Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corporation.

    Cyrenaica

    The Toubou Tribe

    Like the Tuaregs, the Toubou tribe is not a substantial factor in the conflict under way within the Libyan core. The Toubou are the most distinct tribe in Libya simply because of their skin color: they more closely resemble sub-Saharan Africans than their countrymen to the north. (Indeed, when reports first emerged about African mercenaries employed by Gadhafi to suppress the uprising, there was some confusion as to whether they might have been Toubou elements of the Libyan military mistaken for foreigners.) Toubou, like the Tuaregs, live in small groups in harsh desert conditions, albeit on the other side of the country, in southeastern Libya near the Tibesti Mountains along the Chadian border and in the vicinity of the Al Kufrah Oasis.
    Also like the Tuaregs, the main threat posed by the Toubou is to oil infrastructure. A rebel group called the Toubou Front for the Salvation of Libya threatened in 2008 to sabotage the Sarir oil field, located almost 400 kilometers from Al Kufrah.

    The Toubou have shown allegiance to Gadhafi in the past, but this was based on money more than anything else. Their loyalty to anyone as far away as Tripoli is not going to be permanent. Indeed, the Toubou tribe reportedly denounced Gadhafi as well on Feb. 20.

    The Tribes in Context

    Eastern Libya is no longer under the control [*as will be the case for the foreseeable future] of the government in Tripoli, which is relatively normal in the history of this part of North Africa. The tribes of the east — who view themselves as descendants of the Sanussi order and, before that, the Arab Banu Salim who populated this region — have for the moment re-created the old region of Cyrenaica, which has not formally existed since before the days of the monarchy.

    Across the Gulf of Sidra, in the capital of Tripoli, Gadhafi is holding on for the moment, and the portion of the armed forces still loyal to him are trying to push back against protesters fighting for control of cities in Tripolitania. Having lost the support of the largest tribe, the Warfallah, as well as all of the tribes of the east, Gadhafi is now relying primarily on members of his own tribe, individuals who feel more loyalty to the regime than to their own tribesmen who have revolted, and an unknown segment of Libya’s second largest tribe, the Magariha.

    Tuaregs and Toubou in the Libyan desert continue to pose a threat [as later demonstrated in Mali].

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  10. @ Gottlieb: “I think a strong government (aka, near the dictatorship) is required to Third World nations..”

    Usually where one finds countries with multiple different ancient tribes, clans, or ethnic, religious, or regional minorities co-exisiting within arbitrary modern post-colonial geopolitical boundaries, then a no-nonsense strongman, brutal dictator, or charismatic populist leader is often necessary to hold the country together. This seems to have been the case in much of Africa, Middle East, and many parts of Asia.
    In the West however, the majority of natives of larger countries tend to be either universalistic or nationalistic in mindset, rather than being members of various clans, tribes, or smaller ethnic or regional groups living together within that country. A notable exception in Europe is the former Yugoslavia.
    The most peaceful and economically successful countries within modern-day sub-Saharan Africa tend to be the small numbers of countries where one ethnic group or tribe makes up the majority of the country’s population, eg Ghana, Botswana, etc. Either that or countries where the population are generally not members of clans, tribes, or particular ethnic groups, for example Cape Verde.

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  11. Chris Davies @ ”Usually where one finds countries with multiple different ancient tribes, clans, or ethnic, religious, or regional minorities co-exisiting within arbitrary modern post-colonial geopolitical boundaries, then a no-nonsense strongman, brutal dictator, or charismatic populist leader is often necessary to hold the country together.
    (…)
    The most peaceful and economically successful countries within modern-day sub-Saharan Africa tend to be the small numbers of countries where one ethnic group or tribe makes up the majority of the country’s population, eg Ghana, Botswana, etc. Either that or countries where the population are generally not members of clans, tribes, or particular ethnic groups, for example Cape Verde”.

    But I think even in small nations that you mentioned, the idea of real democracy does not seem to happen because the main feature of a dictatorship, in my opinion, is the passivity of the population before the elite. This kind of thing happens, for obvious reasons already established. As a result, even a technically democratic nation like Barbados or the Seychelles, the power of their respective elites (cognitively and ethnically distinct population) is comparable to that of a dictator and his government.
    With respect to successful small nations of sub-Saharan Africa has the additional maintenance of colonial tutelage nesssas nations, which surely has an immediate and decisive in the quality of life of their populations.
    The end of european ”colonialism” was a tragedy to Africa.

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  12. “Outlawing of cousin marriage led to a cosmopolitan vision of universal humanity being adopted in Western Europe. How explain the Nazis on that basis.?”

    My explanation would be it doesn’t do that all at once and it doesn’t effect the entirety of a population all at the same rate (as hubchik’s posts on Britain show very distinctly).

    I think the process loosens* kin bonds gradually over time and this gradually leads to an expansion in the size of group people will consider “us.” The universal morality only applies within the “us.”

    I think the growth of national identity in Europe (and later elsewhere) was the result of this gradual process. The universal moral code applied within the nation might lead to hospitals, clean water and liberal democracy within the “us” while at the exact same time the greater level of synergy within that larger “us” means they can stomp outsiders more efficiently.

    I think this process is very likely to lead to a stomping phase during the jump to a national scale of identity.

    At the same time all this stomping is happening a minority who are on the leading edge of the process among one of these populations might be applying universal morality beyond their “us” to for example being anti-stomping or anti-slavery or pro animal rights i.e. there ought to be outliers at every stage who have a larger “us” than their contempories.

    ~

    * There’s also the pushme-pullyou effect to banning close marriage. If you have a population that is exogamous but only within a contained endogamous boundary like a national border then as people are becoming less related to their closest relatives they are at the same time becoming *more* related to everyone else in their nation. So you might imagine three common patterns:

    1) A close marrying population made up of lots of extended families who are on average equivalent to 2nd cousins among each unit but 12th cousins to all the hundreds of other units.

    2) An exogamous-endogamous population of a few million where eventually everyone becomes on average a 5th cousin to everyone else in their nation.

    3) A much larger exogamous-endogamous population with the same end result as 2) except the much larger total population means everyone ends up on average as only 12th cousins to everyone in their nation.

    I think 2) is likely to be optimal with 1) damaged by amoral familialism and 3) damaged by amoral individualism.

    (I haven’t been able to find a simple mathmatical description for this pushme-pullyou effect but i’m sure a relatively expression exists. It will be related to either increasing average relatedness among a population or reducing average non-relatedness.)

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  13. ” you just get a different set of selection pressures when you change the mating patterns.”
    OK, so those INBRED mating patterns are altered by institutions such as Popes and Kings and Noble landowners. And and the gene frequencies change so that selection for genes for extended family preference is relaxed and becomes rarer. Thus we get a country of more or less amiable nitwits whereby the section pressure is then being able to raise children who will well enough in a civil society to feed their crumbsnatchers. The genes best at that will become more common. So, prudence, acquiring a reputaion for probity, and economically useful brainpower are then being selected for, as Clark says. Peter Frost says that for the successful cottage industry entrepreneur the be bigger the family the better his business would do, therefore there was a linkage between clever parents and big families and genes for being clever spread throughout society.

    ” pre-war germany was an economic mess, and the german people were having a very hard time of it. of course people’s outlook on life and priorities and behaviors towards outsiders — and insiders! — will be different under different circumstances”

    Well, that’s what the ‘never again’ worry is about HBD discussion of these issues ; there are one or two people who think you are playing with forces that could all too easily get completely out anyone’s control; they did before in a modern cultured western state. If that happened again, whether the country going berserk in the real world was motivated by tight genetic relatedness, its opposite, or something else entirely (like a mass delusion) would be the least of anyone’s worries.

    It’s all very well to be analysing the hereditary political tendencies among the “arab population or the yanomamo”, but outside HBD circles you’re going to be seen as evincing a striking double standard inasmuch as: ‘what they do is anything but “inexplicable”, but the West is different; even though it has acted the same—only worse’.

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  14. As far as I can see the significant Lybian factions boil down to a few regional groupings that are basically regional partisans for what they see as their ‘nations’. It is not that different from many of the Arab countries, because most are recent creations of the western colonial powers who designed them to be weak, because that made it easier to get at the oil. The Mickey Mouse Gulf ‘states’ like | Kuwait exist to seperate the population from the oil resources. Egypt is the main exception, and it is the one where democracy has completely failed. I am far from certain that US policy has a prime directive of installing democracy. The only county they have really went after (as opposed to reluctantly being drawn into attacking by 9/11, ie Afghanistan, or popular uprising ie, Lybia) is Iraq. Iraq was attacked becuase it was a threat to Israel per suuport for the Palestinians, and would predictably fall apart into statlets once saddam was toppled. Israeli strategists openly talked about that in the 80’s. There is only Iran left now and I think it will be attacked by the US next year, and dissolve into regional statelets

    “still, germans were comparatively universalistic under the nazi regime. they were nationalistic for one thing, which is more than you can say for any arab population — or the yanomamo.”

    The Nazi’s started as the Bavarian Fascisti and they smashed up a meetng of the Bavarian Separatists (Hitler was jailed for assualting Otto Ballerstedt the speaker). Bavarian Separatists were were quite strong at that time.

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  15. @sean – “I am far from certain that US policy has a prime directive of installing democracy.”

    no, i don’t think it’s the prime directive, either, but it is something that tptb go on about a lot — never mind the press — and (as a result) it’s what a lot of ordinary americans believe.

    and we do rather encourage it in most of those countries.

    @sean – “The Nazi’s started as the Bavarian Fascisti and they smashed up a meetng of the Bavarian Separatists (Hitler was jailed for assualting Otto Ballerstedt the speaker). Bavarian Separatists were were quite strong at that time.”

    yup. and bavaria has some very mountainous areas (bavarian alps) and, so, i’d bet that the population (like many of the swiss and northern italians — the italians in the alps) has had a greater amount of closer marriages over the long term than the germans living on that fantastic north european plain. the bavarians might be like the heeeland scots of germany. (~_^)

    don’t know for sure. don’t have any data (yet).

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  16. @sean – “OK, so those INBRED mating patterns are altered by institutions such as Popes and Kings and Noble landowners. And and the gene frequencies change so that selection for genes for extended family preference is relaxed and becomes rarer. Thus we get a country of more or less amiable nitwits whereby the section pressure is then being able to raise children who will well enough in a civil society to feed their crumbsnatchers. The genes best at that will become more common. So, prudence, acquiring a reputaion for probity, and economically useful brainpower are then being selected for, as Clark says.”

    yes. exactly! except i wouldn’t have used the word nitwits. (~_^)

    some other groups — well, one that i’ve found (so far) — also avoid close cousin marriage — and (coincidentally?) are rather peaceful.

    why the semai avoid close cousin marriage — and how they enforce it, i.e. via what institutions — i don’t know. it’s not via popes, afaik. don’t know about kings or noble landowners either (don’t think so).

    in other words, you don’t have to have the system that medieval europe had to eliminate close cousin marriage. it’s just the one that europeans happened to get thanks to the quirks of history.

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  17. @grey – “I think the process loosens* kin bonds gradually over time and this gradually leads to an expansion in the size of group people will consider ‘us.’ The universal morality only applies within the ‘us.'”

    yes! this is why — or, rather, related to why — i think that we need to view universalism-particularism as a spectrum. some groups are more universalistic than others — some have gone further down the road of that expansion process that you describe.

    so the puritans and the quakers of the seventeenth century — they’re pretty “clannish” compared to most english people today — but they were a lot LESS clannish compared to other groups at the time who hadn’t yet gone down that outbreeding road — or hadn’t gone down it very far by that point in time (the native irish, the highland scots).

    obviously, all of the above groups in the seventeenth century were MUCH less clannish than the saudi arabians today (and probably of the seventeenth century, although don’t quote me on that!).

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  18. @sean – “Well, that’s what the ‘never again’ worry is about HBD discussion of these issues….”

    sean — hbd info is coming, whether we like it or not. it’s already here — and it’s going to be MORE here very, very soon, probably mostly thanks to the chinese.

    i say we’d better deal with it rather than to stick our heads in the sand about it.

    edit: also, we could use hbd knowledge to help prevent further conflicts between populations. ever thought of that? find out what makes peoples battle each other and put an end to it. /edit

    @sean – “It’s all very well to be analysing the hereditary political tendencies among the ‘arab population or the yanomamo’, but outside HBD circles you’re going to be seen as evincing a striking double standard inasmuch as: ‘what they do is anything but “inexplicable”, but the West is different; even though it has acted the same—only worse’.”

    i’m not striking any double standard. i’m holding ALL populations to the same standard — the only one that counts, aamof: the biological, evolutionary one.

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  19. @grey – “At the same time all this stomping is happening a minority who are on the leading edge of the process among one of these populations might be applying universal morality beyond their ‘us’ to for example being anti-stomping or anti-slavery or pro animal rights i.e. there ought to be outliers at every stage who have a larger ‘us’ than their contempories.”

    yes. excellent — and logical — conclusion! i hadn’t actually thought of that. thanks! (^_^)

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  20. @jk – “Inordinately long comment this time, please forgive”

    no need to ask for forgiveness! and thanks for all that info! cool. (^_^)

    (while i may not always respond to your always informative comments, you should know that you’ve got your own file on my pc where i keep all the info you’ve shared! (^_^) … NO! i’m not talking about the trash can! (^_^) so, thanks again!)

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  21. @gottlieb – “Do you believe that inbreeding can influence the personality type that is selected?”

    yes, i think absolutely so, although i haven’t really explored (yet) how or in what ways. the only one that i think is really obvious is being tempermental (quick to anger), but there’s probably more. (oh: trusting, too — having a trusting nature. in this case, i think the long-term outbreeders will turn out to be more trusting — of non-relatives anyway.)

    but like you say…

    “I mean, I see that both the Muslims and the Chinese tend to have a culture very conformist. In the second case, despite inbreeding have been, shall we say, less intense than the first, the fact that they have a greater genetic homogeneity may have contributed to create a society of conformists, because inbreeding reduces genetic diversity. In the second case, where the genetic variation is greater, the intense inbreeding led to the same result as compared to the second.”

    …there will no doubt be variation in average personality types according to the degree of inbreeding/outbreeding … PLUS all the other factors that might influence the selection of personality types.

    complicated!

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  22. Yes, in my opinion, caused by low genetic variation, which does not explain the Ashkenazi Jews, for example, probably because despite the genetic bottleneck, they already had a strong character heterogeneous in their genetic makeup, so they are really close to each other but greater genetic variation, although there is still the possibility of a kind of conformism dynamic, ie, in the USA for example, the vast majority of Jews are liberal, the famous Jewish intellectual hive can lead to tribal cohesion as well as conformism, not to reject the cultural changes, but heed them completely, all that and then some can explain the behavior of extreme agitation and Jewish cohesion, rather than simply values​​. (an alternative explanation born in moral values​​)

    I believe that the similarity in the genetic make-conformist if you’re in a society where genotypic variation (and hence phenotypic) is small, then unintentionally, most will think like that because they are genetically similar.

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  23. Even in 1932 the communists got more votes in Munich than the nazis. I don’t think you should try and read polital tendencies off from topographical maps and (uncertain )consanguinous marriage rates by region . They are serious factors, but not obviously ones of the first order in determining modern political tendencies.

    Almost anything can be said to show clannish behaviour, because people have to be in some kind of association to be effective. Workers banding together to fight the bosses could be seen as clans, but on the other hand those workers accept other workers on the far side of the country (or other countries ) as their ‘brothers’ in a union. Then again the communist workers fliterally fought the nazis in the streets Political movements like Marxism which ostensibly preaches the unity of mankind have been taken up enthusiasically by national third world movements that are racial in all but name..

    The Nazis started in Bavaria (genetically not very like the rest of Germany) yet they advocated racial purity. On the other hand they preached the necessity for a harmonious greater community. Modern liberals are anti national but they are keen on the idea of nations in Europe coming together much like Hitler wanted German regions to become a single comunity. the Franceo set up a Rhenish republic when they invaded and occupied tha part of germany . It played on anti-Prussian sentiment. So was
    that anti-clannish because it was anti militarist or was it local clanishness; but it was a client state of a foriegn power–France !
    Politics wasn’t wasn’t regional in such a direct way, industrial workers in the major cities voted communist of socialist quite solidly. Nazis were a minority in allmost German cities right up untill Hitler became chancellor. In 1932 Berlin , communists got 2 votes for every one going to the Nazi’s . The early Nazi breakthrough was in rural areas, such as Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, Small towns and rural peasants were the untapped voting block that the Nazis got support from. Germany was a very rural country and the agricultural depression had a tremendous effect

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  24. @sean – “Almost anything can be said to show clannish behaviour, because people have to be in some kind of association to be effective.”

    guess you still haven’t read my definition of clannishness (hint: it doesn’t, strictly speaking, have anything to do with people being in “association” with others).

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  25. @sean – “Political movements like Marxism which ostensibly preaches the unity of mankind have been taken up enthusiasically by national third world movements that are racial in all but name.”

    yes. which is why you have to watch what people do and not just listen to what they say.

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  26. Sorry I can’t access that definition of clannishness post from this workstation. Post revolution, Lybia is fissiparous though it’s now got democracy. In Germany after WW1 there was democracy and revolts, political violence, all kinds of conflicts within the society . Regional seperatism too. So after a war of revolution that is to be prolly to be expected just about anywhere on earth.

    If “variation in average personality types according to the degree of inbreeding/outbreeding … PLUS all the other factors that might influence the selection of personality types.” amonts to something we can call ‘clannishness’ of the population, and that quality of ‘clannishness’ is important in counties’ political tendancies, then given Italian Facism’s remarable similarities to German National socialism, one would have to say that Germans are as ‘clannish’ as Italians.

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  27. @sean – that’s very odd that you can’t view that other post – especially given that you were obviously viewing this one as evidenced by the fact that you commented here. -?- i wonder why that should be?

    well, i think you should hold off on commenting anymore on clannishness until you’ve read — and understood — the definition (please keep in mind that it needs some work).

    Reply

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