quick review of frost and harpending on the genetic pacification of europeans

a very quick review! this isn’t really even a review, but just me noting a couple of points regarding peter frost and henry harpending’s new (and very cool!) paper Western Europe, State Formation, and Genetic Pacification [pdf] (sorry for the repeating first tweet — something about wordpress):

make sure to see these previous posts for more: outbreeding, self-control and lethal violence and kinship, the state, and violence and more on genetics and the historical decline of violence and sneak preview: violence, punishment, outbreeding, and swashbuckling pirates in medieval england.

i also had this to say:

(note: comments do not require an email. franz schmidt, medieval executioner.)

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39 Comments

  1. “my guess is that what was selected out of nw europeans in the medieval period were genes for *impulsive* violence”

    One of your linkfest links speaks to this imo. The one about a two-dimensional model of psychopathy versus actually being naughty.

    https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/linkfest-022315/

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886915000689

    If there are both angel genes and devil genes then a person can have a ton of devil genes if they have an equal or higher amount of angel genes acting as a restraint.

    This might make the numbers come out easier i.e. if you have n psychos in the population you might only need to select against n/2 to have the effect.

    Reply

  2. couple of extra points there

    another of your linkfests had a Scandi study looking at MAOA and criminals and not finding much of a correlation – if MAOA is a devil gene then it won’t necessarily correlate with violence/criminals if half the people with MAOA also have angel genes to restrain it.

    similarly the arguments against MAOA due to some populations having a lot of MAOA but low violent crime rates. one possible explanation would be those populations have higher levels of restraint genes. I wouldn’t be surprised if countries like that – high MAOA but low violent crime – had above average levels of interest in sado-masochism (if that can be measured).

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  3. I think the genetic elements are complex.

    For violent/aggressive/sadistic types, there could be some combination of the low-repeat versions of monoamine oxidase A genes (especially 2 repeat version- the so-called ‘Warrior Gene’); the ‘long’ version of dopamine receptor d4 allele (7 repeat); and the oxytocin receptor ‘A’ allele (supposedly associated with low empathy). No doubt there are numerous other candidate genes.

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  4. While I am, on the whole, an HBD adherent, I’ve noticed an interesting pattern that seems to indicate a strong environmental component via my genealogical work. ( I rather arbitrarily chose to focus on all the immigrants from a particular Italian village in the Campania where my spouse’s great-grandfather came from.) Initially, local newspaper accounts in one of the states where a large number of these people settled indicate constant violence – lots of arguments over honor, women, and money, often settled via knife and some gun fights. I chuckled at one headline ca 1905 noting “A Quiet Night in the Italian Quarter – only 2 Knife Fights!” While the majority of the immigrants seem to have been generally law abiding, there were definitely repeat offenders that often clustered in individual families, a definite example of the genetic factor behind impulsive and/or criminal behavior.

    However, a large number of these people often seemed to come up against the various rules and regulations and licenses and fees that this New England state required. They genuinely seemed baffled that they needed a license to go fishing, or bird hunting, or a separate one from the state AND the city to be a junk collector.

    Gradually, the press accounts of fights and violence give way to one individual suing another – in a time period that is far too short to be accounted for in an evolutionary manner. They obviously learned via environmental pressure that disputes were to be settled via legal matters, and adapted themselves accordingly. Lots of articles about early political efforts, and the strong cultural flavor of their legal and political antics. Most became Democratic politicians, and fairly brazenly advocated for ethic spoils. An interesting dispute emerged in the 30s between a long-time community leader with Democratic political aspirations, and the community’s first home-grown lawyer (who began as a newspaper boy and worked his way through school) who became a Republican devotee and strongly condemned the ethnic politician.

    Fast forward, and although the city in question still has a large Italian component, most of the local cultural organizations and societies have gone extinct. While the first generation married almost exclusively other Italian immigrants (a large % of those between people from the same Italian commune and varying degrees of genetic relatedness), gradual outmarriage and geographical dispersion followed, and I’d argue strong evidence for genetic and cultural assimilation to the overall generic “American” culture and White genetic admixture.

    Anyhow, to return to the initial point of this overlong comment, the violent component of this population seemed to be very much in evidence among the immigrant group (most arrived 1885-1910). This propensity for violence was not initially outbred in a genetic sense, I’d argue, but gradually emerged via external cultural pressures and the overall legal and cultural environment of New England. The immigrants gradually conformed to legal and cultural expectations, and the genetic mixing (and theoretical breeding out of violence) followed thereafter.

    I realize I’m providing a specific example from one geographical location, but it’s proven a fascinating case study for me. Your thoughts?

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  5. “their theory does not account for either 1) why the homicide rates appear to have dropped significantly in england *before* 1500”

    We focused on the 1500-1750 period because that was when the execution rate was at its peak, but this rate was already increasing during the previous five centuries. It would have been difficult to model the effects of this earlier period partly because we had less data to work with and partly because we didn’t know whether the execution rate increased linearly or, as is more likely, exponentially with a levelling off toward 1500.

    “the homicide rates remained much higher in italy even though italy had some very strong states in the medieval period (city-states) — ones that that *did* execute murderers (although i don’t know at what rates)”

    We tried to locate data on execution rates from elsewhere in Europe but were unsuccessful. In any case, the selection pressure was not simply court-ordered executions but also extrajudicial executions, i.e., killing of the offender at the scene of the crime or death while awaiting trial. Extrajudicial executions seem to have been frequent. There is evidence that trials were often deliberately postponed so that the accused would conveniently die in prison while awaiting trial (life in prison was no great shakes if you had no friends on the outside).

    I suspect that there were cultural differences between northwestern Europe and Italy in popular willingness to collaborate with authorities in the “war on murder.” A parallel can be made with witch-hunting, which reached unusually high levels in the Holy Roman Empire while being much less common elsewhere. The difference was due to grassroots participation in the war on witches. I suspect that the “war on murder” in Italy was largely carried out by civil authorities with much less popular support than was the case in England or Flanders. These are just my impressions, however.

    All models are simplifications of reality, and ours is no exception. Some of the assumptions oversimplify things. I imagine, for instance, that some of the executed offenders had already reproduced before being executed. On the other hand, I am almost certain that the average executed offender would have gone on to kill more than one person over the course of a normal lifetime. That was an overly conservative assumption, but we stuck with it because a higher number (2? 3? 4?) would have put the burden of proof on us. Another overly conservative assumption was the exclusion of selection effects before 1500 and after 1750.

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  6. If you really want to get rid of murderers you should adopt the medieval Scottish system of Jeddart Justice. First you hang the fellow then you hold the trial. That way he can’t suborn the witnesses.

    Mind you, there’s no evidence it was much used.

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  7. @anon for now

    “Anyhow, to return to the initial point of this overlong comment, the violent component of this population seemed to be very much in evidence among the immigrant group (most arrived 1885-1910). This propensity for violence was not initially outbred in a genetic sense…”

    Mass immigration is often young men first with women following later. This leads to an extra dose of violence above and beyond what the *normal* rate would be until more women arrive and the numbers balance. Once the numbers balance the rate will drop to its normal rate.

    (imo)

    You can get the same thing permanently if you have two cultures side by side where one culture keeps *their* women at home but the males of that culture want girl friends from the other culture. You might get direct violent competition over the available girls or forced prostitution or some other related consequence.

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  8. OK, here are my thoughts.

    I’ve said for some time now that, as far as

    Northwestern Europe is concerned, at least three synergistic selective

    forces were operating to pacify the people:

    1. State pacification ala Frost & Harpending
    2. Gregory Clark/Ron Unz selection for top yeoman farmers
    3. “HBD Chick’s selection” coming from the ramifications of outbreeding

    (possibly including manorialism)

    Frost and Harpending admit in their paper that their scenario cannot on its

    own explain the results we see:

    The total execution rate was thus somewhere between 1 and 2%. These men were permanently removed from the population, as was the heritable component of their propensity for homicide. If we assume a standard normal distribution in the male population, the most violent 1 to 2% should form a right-hand “tail” that begins 2.33–2.05 SD to the right of the mean propensity for homicide. If we eliminate this right-hand tail and leave only the other 98-99% to survive and reproduce, we have a selection differential of 0.027 to 0.049 SD per generation

    The reader can see that this selection differential, which we derived from the execution rate, is at most a little over half the selection differential of 0.08 SD per generation that we derived from the historical decline in the homicide rate.

    This indicates other selective forces were at play. They go on to mention Clarkian selection, and almost certainly that too was at work.

    But, here are the data to be explained (opens map)

    We see that around the world, all Europeans and their offshoots (with the exception of the East Slavs, and the Sami, apparently) as well as Northeast Asians stand out as being particularly less violent, at least as gauged by homicide rates. These are the pacified peoples. Whatever processes that operated, some or all of them must have operated in all these places. (It’s worth mentioning homicide rates are low in parts of the Arab world. But here’s my though on that.)

    Various bits of data, including the points you (HBD Chick) have raised here and in your earlier post, shows that no single explanation can fit all these areas, because not one of those three factors are universal across them.

    State pacification doesn’t work alone because not all of these areas were under strong states, nor does the presence of strong states enacting capital punishment always precede drops in violence, as you note.

    Clark/Unz selection doesn’t work alone because we see pacification in places like extreme Southern Europe, where, presumably, there wasn’t as much of it (I could be wrong – there was that recent paper I still need to read).

    And of course, “HBD Chick selection” (forces from outbreeding) doesn’t work alone because we see pacification in East Asia (and the West Slavs), places only began outbreeding relatively recently and still remain rather clannish.

    Rather, as I said, it is the confluence of these three selective forces, some acting in some places and not others, that produce what we see. Today, for example, while East Asians are as genetically pacified as NW Europeans in terms of violence, they are quite different, behaviorally. They have a different mix of personalities, as I say in my post:

    Predictions on the Worldwide Distribution of Personality | JayMan’s Blog

    There are my thoughts on this paper, finally. :)

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  9. @peter – “We focused on the 1500-1750 period because that was when the execution rate was at its peak, but this rate was already increasing during the previous five centuries. It would have been difficult to model the effects of this earlier period partly because we had less data to work with and partly because we didn’t know whether the execution rate increased linearly or, as is more likely, exponentially with a levelling off toward 1500.”

    yes. i appreciate those problems with the data (having looked through quite a bit of it myself!).

    but the fact remains that the drop in homicide rates in england and germany, according to eisner, was *much* more dramatic between 1300-1500 than post-1500. eisner’s graph in the post above — that’s a logarithmic scale. that early, dramatic reduction is what calls out for explanation, and the number of executions just doesn’t do that.

    at first in anglo-saxon england, feud and wergeld was the answer to homicide. when executions by the state came into play, enforcement was sketchy at best. the normans improved on the enforcement a bit, but, ironically(?), as the jury system in england became more prominent, the conviction rate went down. see green on this. so, from what i’ve read, it very much was — in england, anyway — a gradual, linear increase in the execution rate over the course of the medieval period, not an exponential one, with then a freakish increase in the tudor period (when they started executing people en masse for all sorts of offenses).

    also, as eisner says, it’s difficult to understand:

    “the high violence rates in italy, where a culture of honour persisted despite the early development of administrative and judicial structures in the city states.”

    this difficulty goes away to a large extent, i think, if one takes into account the outbreeding theory. the pattern of the reduction in homicide rates across medieval — and even modern — europe is exactly the same pattern as the extent and duration of outbreeding as it spread across medieval europe beginning the nw core. i bet that the reduction in homicide rates from 1200-1500 has more to do with that than with a strong state enforcing its laws. with greater outbreeding, you get a reduction in *impulsive* violence and, therefore, a reduction in overall homicide rates. the people pacified themselves by outbreeding (well, they were pushed by the church and secular powers that be). eisner references durkheim:

    “Durkheim saw the decline of homicide rates as resulting from the liberation of the individual from collective bonds rather than as the consequence of the coercive potential of the state. High levels of lethal violence thus mirror the intensity of ‘collective emotions’, which bind the individual to ‘groups of things that symbolically represent these groups’. Violence thus declines to the degree that the person becomes liberated from its sacred obligation to the group, and the rise of moral individualism brings about both subjective reflexivity and emotional indifference in conflict situations (Durkheim 1957: 115).”

    i think durkheim was on the right track, here, he just didn’t recognize the biology of it. for instance, men from the “culture of honor” of the scots-irish of the southern united states still to this day have a stronger physiological response to a perceived insult than northern yankees do. the ancestors of the scots-irish didn’t at all experience the same amount of outbreeding as the puritans had. and you can even see that, already by the 1200s, the ancestors of the puritans were comparatively very nonviolent.

    i’m not at all saying that the post-1500 executions by the state don’t explain part of the reduction of violence in medieval europe. i’m just saying that this is not the full picture.

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  10. @peter – “A parallel can be made with witch-hunting, which reached unusually high levels in the Holy Roman Empire while being much less common elsewhere. The difference was due to grassroots participation in the war on witches.”

    the reasons behind the witch-hunts in medieval europe have a very different source, i think. consider [quoted in this previous post]:

    “The spatial distribution of European witch-hunts…. It was primarily in border areas where Protestants and Catholics were caught up in controversies over geographical boundaries and political jurisdictions that witch-hunts broke out. Nor was it simply the presence of adherents to an alien faith that became the target of these rituals. Catholics did not round up Protestants and accuse them of heresy, nor Protestants, Catholics. Each groups found subversives within its own camp, not traitors who were explicily allied with the enemy, but weak souls endangering the solidarity of the total community by practicing sorcery.”

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  11. @jayman – “I’ve said for some time now that, as far as Northwestern Europe is concerned, at least three synergistic selective forces were operating to pacify the people:

    1. State pacification ala Frost & Harpending
    2. Gregory Clark/Ron Unz selection for top yeoman farmers
    3. “HBD Chick’s selection” coming from the ramifications of outbreeding

    (possibly including manorialism)”

    i would reverse the order of that list to reflect the order of how they actually occurred in the past. so:

    1. The Outbreeding Project + (definitely!) manorialism*
    2. the clark/unz selection for top yeoman farmers (that doesn’t happen until after outbreeding+manorialism has been going for a couple hundred years)
    3. state pacification (which does overlap a bit with both 1&2, but doesn’t really get going until the 1500s in england — medieval manorialism is all but gone by that time in england)

    @jayman – “And of course, ‘HBD Chick selection’ (forces from outbreeding) doesn’t work alone because we see pacification in East Asia (and the West Slavs), places only began outbreeding relatively recently and still remain rather clannish.”

    absolutely. i think the pacification in east asia was of a quite different form. they had the “hammering down the nail that sticks up” pacification — the confucian pacification. and my guess is that that pacification process has actually been going on for much longer than the northwest european one, especially considering how well it works in spite of the clannishness (ie. the strong extended family ties). i think that the fact that it works so well in east asia is an indication that their pacification process started much earlier than the one in europe/nw europe — kinda like how the tibetan high-altitude adapation works better than the andes one, prolly ’cause it’s older. and the chinese have had…what?…four to five thousand years of civilization, so that would fit.
    _____

    *part of the medieval manor system involved shipping troublemakers away to monasteries, so manorialism helped to weed out the violent.

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  12. @chick: but witch hunting started well before the Reformation. What’s interesting to me is why the Protestants, having junked so much of what they felt was the superstitious aspect of Roman Catholicism, didn’t junk witch hunts too.

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  13. HBD chick,

    “but the fact remains that the drop in homicide rates in england and germany, according to eisner, was *much* more dramatic between 1300-1500 than post-1500”

    Eisner doesn’t make that claim because the pre-1500 data are so sparse and variable. I should quote the passage in question:

    “In the thirteenth and fourteenth century, the mean of almost 40 different estimates lies around 24 homicides per 100,000. The average homicide rates are higher for the late fourteenth century than for the thirteenth century, but it seems impossible to say whether this is due to the difference in the sources used or reflects a real increase related to the social and economic crises in the late Middle Ages. When estimates start again after a gap of some 150 years, the average calculated homicide rates are considerably lower with typical values of between 3–9 per 100,000.”

    This is another reason why we excluded the pre-1500 data. Homicide rates may have fallen more rapidly pre-1500 than post-1500 but it’s impossible to say for sure. Assuming that the decline was faster pre-1500, we may be looking at nonlinear effects in the removal of violence-prone males, i.e., if we raise the threshold for expression of impulsive, personal violence by 10%, the reduction in the homicide rate may be much more than 10%.

    “it very much was — in england, anyway — a gradual, linear increase in the execution rate over the course of the medieval period, not an exponential one,”

    You’re using soft sources. Before 1500, we don’t have good data on execution rates, although the rates were clearly lower. I’m not really arguing with you. I just don’t have much confidence in the pre-1500 data.

    “i bet that the reduction in homicide rates from 1200-1500 has more to do with that than with a strong state enforcing its laws.”

    It may be both with a synergy effect as well. Grassroots support was a critical factor in the “war on murder.” The alliance between Church and State was also a factor in getting people to internalize this new cultural norm.

    “Durkheim saw the decline of homicide rates as resulting from the liberation of the individual from collective bonds rather than as the consequence of the coercive potential of the state.”

    I see the arrow of causality running in the opposite direction. Pacification of social relations made it possible for individuals to survive as individuals in a much larger, freer and more anonymous social environment. People no longer had to turn to their kinsmen for help and protection.

    Jayman,

    I agree that the execution rate was not the sole factor in the removal of violence-prone males. Once nonviolence became the desired norm, the violent male went from hero to zero. He became marginalized on the marriage market and in opportunities for social and economic advancement (a la Clark and Unz).

    I would suggest some caution in interpreting the world map of homicide rates. In many countries, homicides end up being reported as “accidents.” This is especially so in the case of domestic disputes or in cases where the murderer is the top dog in the village. With that caveat, the map is not too far from reality. We see an east-west cline in Europe, which may be related to the relative lateness of state formation in eastern Europe.

    Even within European-descended societies, we see interesting variations (which don’t appear on the map). There is good evidence that personal violence is more common in the U.S. among white southerners than among white northerners. Southern whites are descended disproportionately from settlers who came from the northern English borderlands, where endemic violence persisted until the 18th century and where any encounter with non-kin, however innocent, could turn violent. ‘‘In a world of treachery and danger, blood relationships became highly important. Families grew into clans, and kinsmen placed fidelity to family above loyalty to the crown itself’’ [Fischer, 1989, 628).

    White southerners also tend to attach more importance to “honor.” Disputes over honor (insults, slights on one’s reputation or the reputation of one’s family, etc.) are a major cause of personal violence. The homicide rate could not have easily declined without a reduction in the importance of honor.

    Fischer, D.H. (1989). Albion’s Seed. Four British Folkways in America, Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford,

    Reply

    1. @Peter Frost:

      “Even within European-descended societies, we see interesting variations (which don’t appear on the map). There is good evidence that personal violence is more common in the U.S. among white southerners than among white northerners. Southern whites are descended disproportionately from settlers who came from the northern English borderlands

      Fischer, D.H. (1989). Albion’s Seed. Four British Folkways in America, Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford,”

      Way ahead of you on that one (Guns & Violence, Again… | JayMan’s Blog). :)

      http://twitter.com/MWStory/statuses/515495654907740160

      There are regional high points in Europe. All are the usual suspects: Scotland and Northern Ireland, southern Portugal, southern Italy, Greece, Albania (i.e., the PIIGS). The West and the South Slavs, while not as far gone as their East Slavic cousins, do stand out for themselves.

      “White southerners also tend to attach more importance to “honor.” Disputes over honor (insults, slights on one’s reputation or the reputation of one’s family, etc.) are a major cause of personal violence. The homicide rate could not have easily declined without a reduction in the importance of honor.”

      Indeed. That’s a key point in support of “HBD Chick selection”: clannish societies are hard to pacify because individuals have to be ready to defend kin. That the East Asians accomplished it is pretty spectacular.

      Great work by both you and Henry on the paper!

      Reply

  14. One thing to bear in mind is time.

    Say for example East and South Asia were subject to a milder version of this selection pressure for 3000 years while northern Europe was subjected to a much more extreme version but for only 1000 years (with southern Europe somewhere in between).

    Milder for longer vs extreme for shorter might create the same end result in levels of violent crime.

    (although maybe with some internal differences).

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  15. Is execution only way to select people? States can probably make certain groups have less reproductive success without killing them.

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  16. Genetic domestication is the same that genetic pacification*** I think domesticated human beings are more cold and stupid than ”pacific”.

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  17. @Cpluskx

    “States can probably make certain groups have less reproductive success without killing them.”

    Yes.

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  18. @peter – “Eisner doesn’t make that claim because the pre-1500 data are so sparse and variable. I should quote the passage in question….”

    that’s not eisner’s interpretation of the english data at all. here’s the full quote from eisner [pg. 622 – pdf]:

    Despite the limitations of the data mentioned above, an astonishingly clear picture emerges (also see Sharpe 1988). In the thirteenth and fourteenth century, the mean of almost 40 different estimates lies around 24 homicides per 100,000. The average homicide rates are higher for the late fourteenth century than for the thirteenth century, but it seems impossible to say whether this is due to the difference in the sources used or reflects a real increase related to the social and economic crises in the late Middle Ages. When estimates start again after a gap of some 150 years, the average calculated homicide rates are considerably lower with typical values of between 3–9 per 100,000. From then onwards, the data for Kent line up with surprising precision along a straight line that implies a long-term declining trend for more than 350 years. This impression is further corroborated by the other estimates of pre-modern regional homicide rates that cluster randomly around the Kent data.”

    eisner describes the “exceptional richness of judicial archives” from medieval england, not its sparseness (although obviously much more data from the medieval period would be preferable). the only problems with the english medieval data are the “missing” fifteenth century data (because of the changeover from the eyre courts to the assize courts) and the apparent increase in homicides in the late fourteenth century compared to the thirteenth. most historians put this rise down to the chaos wrought by the black death. overall, eisner sees “an astonishingly clear picture” — a remarkable decline in homicide rates in england beginning in the 1200s.

    here’s eisner again on the data from england from early in the period [pg. 91 – pdf]:

    “England remains exceptional in respect of the wealth of sources that cover significant territorial units and the number of excellent studies (for syntheses, see Sharpe 1984, 1988; Emsley 1996), yielding 137 estimates. Historical estimates of homicide rates start in thirteenth century England with the impressive analysis by Given (1977) on the coroners’ rolls submitted to the eyre courts. Hanawalt (1979) then examined some 16,000 crimes recorded in the jail delivery rolls during the first half of the fourteenth century. These documents, in which the key information (e.g., the name and residence of the victim, the type of crime committed, and the jury’s verdict) was recorded, include almost 3,000 homicide cases.”

    and his conclusion about what the english data tell us is [pg. 629]:

    “[T]he data suggest that the secular trajectories of low homicide rates differ among large geographic areas. It appears that English homicide rates were already considerably lower in the late sixteenth century than during the late Middle Ages and that they declined continuously along a log-linear trend over several centuries.”

    and that pattern, as i’ve said, is in stark contrast to italy:

    “For Italy, however, all the available data indicate that acts of individual level lethal violence remained very frequent until the early nineteenth century.”

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  19. @jayman – “That the East Asians accomplished it is pretty spectacular.”

    yeah. i think they somehow tied the pacification process to their shame culture, so you can actually bring shame to yourself and your entire family by killing someone for no good reason. or something like that. confucian pacification.

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  20. @hbd chick

    and that pattern, as i’ve said, is in stark contrast to italy:
    “For Italy, however, all the available data indicate that acts of individual level lethal violence remained very frequent until the early nineteenth century.”

    @Anonymous for Now

    the violent component of this population seemed to be very much in evidence among the immigrant group (most arrived 1885-1910). This propensity for violence was not initially outbred in a genetic sense, I’d argue, but gradually emerged via external cultural pressures and the overall legal and cultural environment of New England. The immigrants gradually conformed to legal and cultural expectations, and the genetic mixing (and theoretical breeding out of violence) followed thereafter.

    One generation. That’s some fast HBDing.

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  21. @anonymous and cracker – “‘The immigrants gradually conformed to legal and cultural expectations, and the genetic mixing (and theoretical breeding out of violence) followed thereafter.’

    “One generation. That’s some fast HBDing.”

    i was going to come back to this comment (promise!), but i just haven’t had the time to respond properly. still don’t…so here’s the short version:

    obviously one generation is not enough time for any significant genetic change to have happened in the italian-american population, and, yes, the violence rates of italian-americans decreased from the late-1800s to the mid-1900s (same with the polish and the irish and other groups who used to get into knife fights with each other). the highland scots, even, calmed down after moving en masse to canada.

    context always matters. i’ve never denied it — in fact, i’ve said it repeatedly. life in the new world for these groups meant 1) greater plenty and, therefore, less to fight about (people/animals usually fight over resources — the more resources for everybody, the less to fight over — and fighting can be costly, so why do it if you don’t have to?); and 2) different incentives — yeah, you might go to jail for a long time/be executed for killing/injuring someone with a knife under the anglo-american system versus maybe being able to buy your way out back home in italy.

    what hasn’t, i bet, changed is the temperament of italian-americans — especially those from the south of italy. i bet they’d look more like the scots-irish than the yankees in any physiological responses to perceived insults. i think you only have to watch a few episodes of jersey shore to know that. (~_^)

    and all of these groups (in the u.s. and canada) are probably still more clannish in other ways than the yankees.

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  22. “that’s not eisner’s interpretation of the english data at all”

    We may have to agree to disagree. The sharpness of the pre-1500 decline is to due to a rise from the 13th century to the 14th, and Eisner notes that “it seems impossible to say whether this is due to the difference in the sources used or reflects a real increase related to the social and economic crises in the late Middle Ages.” If one looks at Figure 1 “Homicide rates in England” (p. 622), the data points are much more variable before 1400 than after 1500. If we draw a straight line from the 13th century to the 16th, the steepness of the decline is actually less than it is later on. Your argument essentially rests on a 14th century peak that may or may not be illusory.

    You may be right. I just don’t have the same degree of faith in the pre-1500 data.

    “and that pattern, as i’ve said, is in stark contrast to Italy”

    I agree, although there are significant regional differences within that country. Keep in mind that Italy experienced the State’s monopoly on violence for a much longer time than did Northwest Europe, which went from barbarism to pacified social relations over a much shorter time. In addition, the Italian trajectory of pacification is probably different both quantitatively and qualitatively.

    “Indeed. That’s a key point in support of “HBD Chick selection”: clannish societies are hard to pacify because individuals have to be ready to defend kin.”

    Yes, I see the two processes as being complementary. The dissolution of clannishness was both a cause and an effect of the pacification of social relations.

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  23. Scotch-Irish descendants (especially the ones in the South) admixed with Italian descendants (especially the ones from the South of Italy) = love and hugs for everybody

    ++good

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  24. @Jayman
    “The West and the South Slavs, while not as far gone as their East Slavic cousins, do stand out for themselves.”

    I doubt so for western Slavs. If you look at the map, western Slavs (Poles, Czechs, Slovaks and Slovenians) do not actually stand out. The most pacified (the western-most, living under Holy Roman Empire) – Slovenians and Czechs cannot be distinguished from western Europeans in this regard.
    Poles are a bit worse (do not forget they were moved from east after WWII). The worst are Slovaks (sort of highlanders).

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  25. @peter – “Eisner notes that ‘it seems impossible to say whether this is due to the difference in the sources used or reflects a real increase related to the social and economic crises in the late Middle Ages.'”

    you’re missing the point of eisner’s comment on the difference in the sources. medieval historians generally agree (at least the ones i’ve read) that the sources for the fourteenth century are much MORE reliable than those for the thirteenth. eisner’s concern here is not that the homicide rates in the fourteenth century weren’t as high as the data suggest, but rather that the data for the thirteenth century might underestimate the true frequency of homicides in that earlier century (edit: and, therefore, it could look as though the rates increased in the fourteenth).

    the thirteenth century data were collected by given (in an absolutely wonderful and pioneering study!) from eyre court rolls (for bedford, kent, norfolk, oxford, warwick, london, and bristol). the eyre court justices were traveling judges who were presented with reports on local homicides from local coroners who had earlier undertaken whatever investigations of the alleged murders they deemed necessary and who had decided which deaths were homicides and which were not.

    the fourteenth century data, on the other hand, were collected by hanawalt (here and here) from gaol (jail) delivery rolls and coroners’ rolls. the jail delivery rolls list *all* individuals who were arrested for crimes (and list their victims) and the coroners’ rolls list *all* suspicious deaths. these records are much more extensive than the earlier eyre court rolls and are, therefore, more reliable.

    so the question eisner’s asking is: did the homicide rates really increase in the fourteenth century like social historians say they probably did thanks to the “social and economic crises” (partly) created by the black death, or were homicide rates in fact higher in the thirteenth century than the limited records we have suggest?

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  26. @peter – “I agree, although there are significant regional differences within that country. Keep in mind that Italy experienced the State’s monopoly on violence for a much longer time than did Northwest Europe, which went from barbarism to pacified social relations over a much shorter time.”

    if italy experienced the state’s monopoly on violence for much longer than northwest europe, then why were the italian homicide rates higher in medieval italy than medieval england? and higher for longer? shouldn’t they have been lower?

    yes, there are significant regional differences in the homicide rates in historic italy. very familiar sounding regional differences! [from eisner, pg. 627]:

    “For example, Doneddu (1991) gives a homicide rate of 22 for late eighteenth-century Sardegna, while the data presented by Sardi (1991) for the duchy of Tuscany yield a rate of 4–5 per 100,000.”

    wow. more homicides in eighteenth century southern italy than in northern italy. what a surprise! (~_^) hmmmm. northern vs. southern italy? now where have i heard of that pattern before?

    remember, too, that given found regional differences in homicide rates in thirteenth century england.

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  27. @peter – “I see the two processes as being complementary. The dissolution of clannishness was both a cause and an effect of the pacification of social relations.”

    i agree. although the clannishness was gotten rid of first (or that process was well underway) before “the state” got in on the pacification act. that part of the pacification process (all the executions) came much later (the 1500s, really, with some fits and starts in preceding centuries).

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  28. From the 900s to around 1400 Sardinia was governed by Giudicati system (local kingdoms, but then came to belong to the Crown of Aragorn. This new overlordship might have had social repercussions also affecting homocide rates. In any case Sardinia is not southern Italy ;)

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  29. I’m wondering if violence and mayhem, just upheaval in general, can lead to a great period of high culture, instigated by high IQ individuals. The Italian Renaissance is a great example, when compared to a relatively peaceful nation like Switzerland and its lack of accomplishments.

    Famous Orson Welles Quote from the The Third Man:

    “…in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

    The tumultuous period of the Italian Renaissance also produced brilliant political observers such as Machiavelli.

    We, as Americans have not experience very intense moments, since the Vietnam War and then the Cold War. The late 70s and the 80s were America’s finest moments of popular culture. Dark, sinister, broody and dramatic experiences will always bring out powerfully charged memories. Our country seems to be culturally stagnant, as we speak. People are put into a lull, deep sleep.

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  30. I’ve an IDEA!!! I feel like Grug from that movie, or for those who remember a children’s book collection.

    My Idea.

    That actually fits in with your dates. This is from a praetorian view and family history. 1000’s to 1500’s, particularly 1200’s to 1300’s NW Europeans witnessed a great change in military organisation, not just in weapons, medicine, transportation, war strategy, also religion and over all organisation.

    A by product of this would of been many young men dying all over Europe, in the middle east and on the journey there.

    The first formal organisation of military ranks started around early 1000’s, a division between knights(Officers), Sargent’s and men at arms, with religious moral codes/rules, weeding out the people with violent outbursts. Yes, I’m talking about the Templars.

    By 1300 to 1500’s new religious orders sprung to life, interestingly the rebellion against the Catholic church starts right after the Monastic fighting orders were disbanded by the Catholic Church in the 1300’s. Coincidence? I think not.

    Lets just say some of the Monastic fighting orders survived and assimilated back into NW European life(out breeding) and bought their new religion, morals, hierarchies with them. So the Catholic Church did not rob the ‘ol Templars of all their treasures. Yes, the Catholic Church loves money and the King of France at the time was broke in the 1300’s…

    1000’s to 1300 is really interesting as you have the rise and fall of The Knights Templar and Teutonic Templars, who were growing adversaries to the Aristocracy and Catholic Church. Also the Templars were the first European bankers…with out Usury.

    Oh another Idea, I’m on a role. Now I believe the place to look for selection for the rise of non-violence in Europeans would of started in the Monastic Warrior orders. Why? Well they selected for two things the capability to do violence, and discipline. This creates stress, which makes Cortisol, a soldiers resilience to stress, pretty much dictates if a soldier will shoot the right people or not. I believe Cortisol and testosterone are involved in the making of the Psychotic murders or violent criminals particularly a lacking of Cortisol to Testosterone ratio.

    I think you’ll like this link HBDC. It’s research in how to all get along, regarding stress, Cortisol, PTSD and what not. Plus the military is using science to measure Cortisol levels in Soldiers IRL exercises and operations.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2833107/

    Check this out.

    “It is virtually impossible to find a successful athlete or member of a special ops unit like the Navy Seals with average levels of cortisol. Their morning median cortisol levels are at least 200% above the median population average.”

    http://military-fitness.military.com/2013/03/stress-and-recovery-the-cortisol-connection.html

    Training from a wee pup makes one strong in body, mind and spirit.

    PS too tired to do links properly…

    Reply

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