kinship, the state, and violence

earlier this month, the inestimable peter frost wrote:

“Over the past millennium, Western Europeans have created a social environment where the individual is largely free from collective ties of kinship and ethnicity. Because the State has imposed a monopoly on the use of violence, there is less need to rely on kinsmen to safeguard one’s life and property. That’s what the government is for. In many other societies, however, the State is much more recent and often foreign. Collective identity still matters most and, when the chips are down, personal ties of friendship matter little. Your real friends are your ‘blood’.”

in The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (2011), steven pinker says that, in england, this process of the state taking over and monopolizing violence began during the reign of henry i, which lasted from 1100-1135 a.d. [kindle locations 1830-1839]:

“Feuding among knights and peasants was not just a nuisance but a lost opportunity. During Norman rule in England, some genius recognized the lucrative possibilities in nationalizing justice. For centuries the legal system had treated homicide as a tort: in lieu of vengeance, the victim’s family would demand a payment from the killer’s family, known as blood money or wergild (‘man-payment’; the *wer* is the same prefix as in *werewolf*, ‘man-wolf’). King Henry I redefined homicide as an offense against the state and its metonym, the crown. Murder cases were no longer *John Doe vs. Richard Roe*, but *The Crown vs. John Doe* (or later, in the United States, *The People vs. John Doe* or *The State of Michigan vs. John Doe*). The brilliance of the plan was that the wergild (often the offender’s entire assets, together with additional money rounded up from his family) went to the king instead of to the family of the victim. Justice was administered by roving courts that would periodically visit a locale and hear the accumulated cases. To ensure that all homicides were presented to the courts, each death was investigated by a local agent of the crown: the coroner.”

pinker cites daly and wilson (1988) on this who, in turn, cite hurnard (1969). there is also green (1972). see also The Aristocracy of Norman England (2002), pg. 243.

the only problem with this picture is, as was discussed on this blog in a previous post, there is good evidence that the kindred in anglo-saxon england — the importance of kinship, in other words — was already beginning to disappear (in southern england, anyway) in the early 900s, or maybe even the late 800s, a full two hundred years before henry i and his coroners showed up on the scene.

as i said in that post:

“the *gegildan* appears in some of the anglo-saxon laws in the late-800s as an *alternative* group of people to whom wergeld might be paid if the wronged individual had no kin. by the 900s, though, in southern england, the *gegildan* might be the only group that received wergeld, bypassing kin altogether.”

again, from Wage Labor and Guilds in Medieval Europe (1991) [pgs. 39-42]:

“The laws of King Alfred of Wessex, dated to 892-893 or a few years earlier, are more informative about the *gegildan*. Again, the context is murder and the wergild — the compensation required for the crime. By Alfred’s time, if not during Ine’s, the *gegildan* is clearly a group of associates who were not related by blood. The clearest example of this is in chapter 31 of the laws: ‘If a man in this position is slain — if he has no relatives (maternal or paternal) — half the wergild shall be paid to the king, and half to the *gegildan*.’ No information exists on the purpose of the *gegildan* other than its role as a substitute for kinship ties for those without any relatives. These associates, who presumably were bound together by an oath for mutual protection, if only to identify who was responsible, would benefit anyone, whether the person had relatives or not…. Although the evidence from the laws of Ine may be read either way, the *gegildan* seems to be an old social institution. As seen more clearly in the tenth and eleventh centuries, it acquired additional functions — a policing role and a religious character.

The nobles, clergy, and commoners of London agreed upon a series of regulations for the city, with the encouragement and approval of King Athelstan, who caused the rules to be set down some time in the late 920s or 930s. The primary purpose of these ordinances was to maintain peace and security in the city, and all those supporting these goals had solemnly pledged themselves to this *gegildan*. This type of inclusive guild, sometimes referred to as a peace guild, was an attempt to create one more additional level of social responsibility to support the king and his officials in keeping the peaces. This social group of every responsible person in London is a broad one, and the law does not use the term *gegildan* to describe the association in general….

“The idea of a guild to keep the peace was not limited to London, and a document from the late tenth century contains the rules and duties of the thegn’s guild in Cambridge. This guild appears to have been a private association, and no king or noble is mentioned as assenting to or encouraging this group. Most of the rules concern the principle purposes of this guild — the security of the members, which receives the most attention, and the spiritual benefits of membership itself. The guild performed the tasks of the old *gegildan*: the members were obliged to defend one another, collect the wergild, and take up vengeance against anyone refusing to pay compensation. The members also swore an oath of loyalty to each other, promising to bring the body of a deceased member to a chosen burial site and supply half the food for the funeral feast. For the first time, another category of help was made explicit — the guild bound itself to common almsgiving for departed members — and the oath of loyalty the members swore included both religious and secular affairs. Although in many respects this guild resembles a confraternity along the lines Hincmar established for the archdiocese of Rheims, the older purpose of the group — mutual protection with its necessary threat of vengeance — makes the Anglo-Saxon guild something more than a prayer meeting. To include almsgiving to members in distress would be a small step, given the scope of activities this guild established. There is no sign that the thegns cooperated in any economic endeavors, but older rules of rural society had already determined methods of sharing responsibility in the villages, and the thegns cooperated on everything that was important in their lives. The thegns of Cambridge had a guild that resembles in some important ways the communal oath, that will be discussed below, of some Italian cities in the next century.”

so, in england anyway, the individual didn’t become “largely free from collective ties of kinship and ethnicity” thanks to the state. anglo-saxon individuals were already on their way to becoming free from the collective ties of kinship before the state stepped in.

pinker has a neat chart in Better Angels — Fig. 3.3 – Homicide rates in five Western European regions, 1300–2000:

pinker - fig. 3.3

as he says about england [kindle locations 1581-1584]:

“Once again we see a decline in annual homicide rates, and it is not small: from between 4 and 100 homicides per 100,000 people in the Middle Ages to around 0.8 (eight-tenths of a homicide) per 100,000 in the 1950s. The timing shows that the high medieval murder rates cannot be blamed on the social upheavals that followed the Black Death around 1350, because many of the estimates predated that epidemic.”

and [kindle locations 1599-1603]:

“Were the English unusual among Europeans in gradually refraining from murder? Eisner looked at other Western European countries for which criminologists had compiled homicide data. Figure 3–3 shows that the results were similar. Scandinavians needed a couple of additional centuries before they thought the better of killing each other, and Italians didn’t get serious about it until the 19th century. But by the 20th century the annual homicide rate of every Western European country had fallen into a narrow band centered on 1 per 100,000.”

i discussed this difference in the timing of the drop in homicide rates between various european countries in a previous post — outbreeding, self-control and lethal violence — in which i looked at manuel eisner’s paper, Modernization, Self‐Control and Lethal Violence. pinker also drew on eisner’s work for Better Angels. in that paper, eisner said:

“[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. Extant estimates for the Netherlands and Belgium suggest a very similar structure trend in these areas. In the Scandinavian countries, the transistion to the decreasing trend occurs notably later, namely in the first decades after 1600. Despite huge gaps in the data, the German-speaking areas may also be assumed to have joined the declining trend from the early seventeenth century onwards. For Italy, however, all the available data indicate that acts of individual-level lethal violence remained very frequent until the early nineteenth century. It is not until the mid-nineteenth century that the rate begins to decline, but then very steeply.”

and, as i said in my previous post:

“hmmmm. now where have i heard a pattern like this before? england, the netherlands, germans earliest in *some*thing … scandinavians later … italians last.”

that “something” that i was referring to is, of course, the avoidance of close cousin marriage — or The Outbreeding Project, as i like to call it. (i guess i should really call it The European Outbreeding Project or The Norwestern European Outbreeding Project.) the importance of kinship — extended families and kindreds — disappeared in large parts of northwestern europe, because northwest europeans quit marrying their close cousins, and the ties (including genetic) between individual northwest europeans and their extended family members simply loosened. loosened to the extent that, after several hundreds of years, extended families and kindreds just didn’t matter to people anymore. and, so, kindred-driven activities like feuding ceased and homicide rates decreased markedly.

the dutch — thanks to having been a part of frankish austrasia — and the southern english (especially the ones in kent) — thanks to being heavily influenced by the franks just across the channel — began avoiding cousin marriage very early in the medieval period, probably already in the 600-700s (see “mating patterns in europe series” below ↓ in left-hand column — also more on medieval england and france). the germans weren’t far behind, especially since the franks had so much influence in what would eventually become germany over the course of the medieval period (see the ostsiedlung). the scandinavians lagged behind since they were comparatively late in adopting christianity (and, therefore, in adopting the cousin marriage bans). and the italians were very late since they mostly did not have manorialism (which reinforced the cousin marriage bans). the italians, in fact — especially southern italians — kept marrying close cousins up until very recently.

eisner offered several explanations — not necessarily mutually exclusive — for why homicide rates should’ve dropped so much in western europe over the course of the middle ages. one of the ones that steven pinker latched on to was the idea of the leviathan — the replacement of family feuds and compensation for killings with punishment (esp. execution) by the state. certainly there’s probably something to this — removing enough violent individuals from the gene pool could very well reduce the frequencies of “genes for violence” in a population in just one thousand years or so. (see also peter frost on rome – pdf.)

eisner also suggested another explanation, though, one that he drew from emile durkheim [pg. 632]:

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).”

replace “liberated from its sacred obligation to the group” with “more and more outbred” and you’ve got a nice, little sociobiological theory there!

“This theoretical approach offers valuable insights into the historical patterns of declining homicide rates. First, the Durkheimian argument offers a theoretical framework for understanding the multifarious cultural meanings of violence in medieval society. Much empirical research on the topic emphasizes the crucial role of insults in triggering situational conflicts. This is in accordance with a society in which ‘honour’ constitutes highly important social capital of the male person as a representative of his group. It requires retributive violence as a potential and culturally accepted means for maintaining one’s honour. Such a theoretical framework may help to better understand why the secular decline in homicide rates primarily seems to have been due to a decrease in male-to-male fights. And it may also offer a point of departure for understanding 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.

in anglo-saxon england, then, the kinship groups and their “culture of honor” (feuds, etc.) declined before the state got involved in safeguarding the lives of individuals. meanwhile, in medieval italy, the culture of honor persisted despite the presence of states that punished violent offenders. the difference, of course, is that italy — especially southern italy — barely ever joined in The Outbreeding Project, whereas england was one of its leading nations.

previously: the importance of the kindred in anglo-saxon society and outbreeding, self-control and lethal violence and what pinker missed and more on genetics and the historical decline of violence and clannishness defined

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clans in the news: deutschland

*update below*

from gates of vienna, excerpts from a translation of this article (links and emphases added by me — there are a LOT of links in the original article, presumably mostly to german sites):

“Germany: A ‘Society of Prey’ — Kurdish-Lebanese Clans and the Helplessness of the Constitutional State

“While the federal government and the opposition in the Bundestag adamantly regard immigration as an indispensable contribution to Germany, the intensity of the conflicts between some groups of immigrants and German society is steadily increasing.

“One example of this are many social problems caused by members of Kurdish-Lebanese clans in Berlin, Bremen, and Essen, cities which according to declarations from judicial authorities are out of control….

Regarding Lebanese clans, hierarchically organized groups meet strong ethnic self-awareness and a strong family cohesion which is supported by a large number of young men ready to fight a modern society composed of small families and with liberal institutions that can hardly assert themselves when facing this challenge….”

long-term inbreeding vs. long-term outbreeding (i think). there’s more…

“… An anonymous crime investigator mentioned that this group considers Germans to be ‘a society to be looted, both as born victims and losers….'”

morality applies to the ingroup and not to the outgroup. some more…

“… The police often meet aggressive groups of men while patrolling the streets, men who are part of families in which ten children per woman is not a rarity, who are available in large numbers and can be quickly mobilized because of an unemployment rate of 90% and the culturally-conditioned tendency of men from these groups to remain in the streets all the time. The police must more and more frequently retreat and even traffic stops against members of these families can be made only with extra police presence.

According to the Commissioner for Integration of Neukölln, the male members of the Lebanese clans are generally prone to a special level of aggressiveness. The children in these families increasingly realize that no German can be in a position to set limits for them. The mere mention of their family name would be enough to force others to give them money and other goods. An admonition in the school or a mere criticism of a neighbor is seen as an attack against the collective honor of the community, to which one is ready to respond with violence. Individual members of a clan can always count on the support of many male relatives. For example, in March 2012, when the German Sven N. fatally injured a Lebanese in Neukölln in self-defense, he had to leave the district after receiving threats from the Lebanese clan. The attacker who died was, however, considered by many of his relatives as well as by Arabs and Turks in Berlin as a martyr and buried in a ceremony in which several thousand Muslims were present.

“At their main centers in Berlin and Bremen, members of these clans appear as a group strongly prone to criminal activities. According to the central police department in Bremen, 1000 out of the approximately 2,600 Lebanese in Bremen (mostly men) are registered as suspects of having committed crimes. The statistical result is that almost every male Lebanese in Bremen was at least once a potential subject of a legal proceeding. In Berlin, the crime rate among Lebanese youth in cases of aggravated robbery is about 16 times higher than among ethnic Germans. The overall incarceration rate is 14 times higher than the average of the male population in the same age. Even amongst heavy offenders, Lebanese are strongly overrepresented. The former Berlin Attorney Roman Reusch spoke of ‘proper training for professional criminal activities’ in some Lebanese clans. Police sources reported similar information. Male family members would often begin committing crimes as early as elementary school age. Imprisonment would be understood in their environment as a kind of an initiation rite.

“Hostility to Germans is extremely blatant among many members of the Lebanese clans, who according to a report from the Süddeutsche Zeitung: ‘despise everything that is not part of their culture, first and foremost the Germans.’ According to information from the media, an internal report made by the Berlin police described the situation of the Germans in places with strong Lebanese presence as follows:

“‘For German youths residing in districts that are dominated by ethnic gangs, the situation, according to the criminal police experts, has already become dramatic. Their withdrawal with defensive behavior was perceived as weakness, which meant a loss of honor — and also danger: The number of German teenagers being beat up or robbed because they were an easy target was significant in ethnically dominated conflict-ridden neighborhoods….’

“The mayor of the district of Neukölln, Heinz Buschkowsky, had in this context pointed to different cultural conditions that hinder self-assertion on the German side:

“‘The enemy is the hated Germans, they are the target of their aggression, and they have nothing to counter the flash mob which gathers in a few minutes via a circulated SMS, a group of people who immediately display a threatening attitude. Germans are considered easy prey…. We raise our children to be non-violent. We reject violence at these encounters and teach this attitude to our children. Others teach their boys to be strong, brave and ready to fight. The starting situation is simply not equal.

“Government employees are being increasingly threatened and intimidated, too, and therefore they avoid conflicts with the clans. There were also examples reported in Bremen in which the police no longer investigated complaints made by Germans in cases involving Lebanese clans. Judges and prosecutors who are involved in cases against them are under police protection due to threats from members of those Lebanese clans. The Berlin youth court Judge Kirsten Heisig said she had been threatened by a clan after she sentenced some of its members to prison. Shortly afterwards she committed suicide under circumstances that have not been fully clarified. According to the head of the department of Organized Crime in the Berlin public prosecutor’s office, it is possible for the clans to ‘clearly exercise any kind of influence on evidence’ due to their capacity to threaten. Video recordings document the disproportionate behavior of Lebanese against legal personnel, who do not dare to oppose them. A judge allowed herself to be insulted in court for nine minutes without even daring to contradict the accused person. Many Lebanese criminals receive remarkably mild punishments, and if they have to go to prison, they enjoy privileges and continue their illegal activities from behind bars, while acquittals are hailed as victories over the German state….

“Meanwhile, leftists try to mobilize Arab youngsters as allies against the police, and the liberal journalist Malte Lehming explained the problems as an expression of social progress and said of Lebanese and other youth gangs:

“‘They are young, brave, mobile, hungry, willing to take risks, initiative. The country needs such people.'”

hmmmm. maybe he’s right. finally…

“… According to the police in Bremen, well-integrated Lebanese from important clans are an ‘absolute exception.'”

update 12/29: here are some links to msm stories which were linked to in the original german article i’ve provided the links to the german msm stories and to corresponding google translations. enjoy! (several of these articles are multiple pages long, so make sure to click through to the other pages. note that not all of the links below go to the first page.):

Arabische Großfamilien – Staat kuscht vor kriminellen Clans (United Arab families – state lies down against criminal clans)

Organisierte Kriminalität – Schrecklich nette Familien (Organised crime – Terrible nice families)

KRIMINALITÄT – Blutige Selbstjustiz (CRIME – Bloody vigilantism)

Clans in Deutschland – Machtlose Polizei (Clans in Germany – Powerless police)

Bremer Clan: Mord mit Ansage (Bremer clan: murder with announcement)

Arabische Kriminelle in Deutschland – Das regeln wir unter uns (Arab criminals in Germany – We agree among us)

Deutschlandradio Kultur – Länderreport Arabische Clans (Germany Culture – Country Report: Arab clans << kinda a messed up translation. sorry!)

Angst ist ein schlechter Ratgeber – Einblicke in die Parallelgesellschaft Neuköllns (Fear is a bad advisor – Insights into a parallel society Neukölln)

Kriminelle Großfamilien – Sechs arabische Clans im Visier der Polizei (Criminal extended – Six Arab clans targeted by the police)

Kriminelle Großfamilien halten Polizei auf Trab (Criminals extended families keep police on their toes)

Die bittere Wahrheit über Multi-Kulti (The bitter truth about multiculturalism)

Niedersachsen – Verband besorgt über Gewalt in Gerichtssälen (Lower Saxony – Association concerned about violence in courtrooms)

Warum lässt sie sich das gefallen? – Miri-Schläger beschimpft Richterin 9 Minuten lang (Why she puts up with that? – Miri-Schläger insulted Judge for 9 minutes). this and the following three articles are related to the miri-clan.

Bremer Justiz: Warum kuschen Sie vor den Miris, Frau Richterin? (Bremer Justice: Why fawn at the Miri, Judge?)

Milde Strafe für diesen brutalen Miri (Mild punishment for this brutal Miri)

Polizei löst Siegesfeier des Miri-Clans auf (Police solves victory celebration at the Miri clan)

previously: clans in the news: aleppo and clans in the news: the lebanon and clans in the news

(note: comments do not require an email. hi there!)

random notes: 11/17/12

in a post entitled Are blacks scared straight by the law or by hell-raisin’ whites?, agnostic finds that african-american incarceration rates are lowest in areas of the country where “celtic” whites predominate, his “celtic” whites being, afaics, borderlands/backcountry folks. and he thinks it has to do with this:

Compared to other white Americans, those of Celtic ancestry are more clannish and warlike, more honor-driven and less law-regarding. The hell with being tattle-tales to law enforcement — how about we just settle this little thing ourselves, like men. Picking up that vibe from whites at the grassroots level must make black criminals think twice about stepping on the wrong man’s dick — if he doesn’t pursue you to within an inch of his own life just to bring about your death, then his kinfolk may just round up a party and track you down like an animal, unencumbered in whatever they do by legal regulations since the authorities won’t know about it….

“In contrast to the Culture of Honor prevailing among the more pastoralist-influenced Celts, there’s a greater Culture of Law among the more agriculture-influenced English, Scandinavians, French, and Germans. “

yup to the part in bold: “culture” of honor and hatfields and mccoys.

from an article in the American Anthropologist, July-September 1921, “The ‘Blond’ Eskimos” (links added by me):

“Several travellers had noticed [eskimo] individuals who markedly resembled Indians; Collinson had observed acquiline noses and a Jewish caste of countenance in Walker Bay, in Victoria Island, and Murdoch had noticed the same thing at Point Barrow, in Alaska; Petitot had seen a Scotch- or Russian-looking individual in the Mackenzie River regions, while one or two other travellers elsewhere had observed Scandinavian types. These variations were noticed all the way from Greenland to Alaska and as far south as Labrador…”

wait. what? “blond” eskimos?! how come nobody told me?! you guys have been holding out on me! (~_^) there’s more…

“…for to the authors quoted by General Greely we have to add, besides Murdoch to whom we have already referred, the old Jesuit missionary Pere Lafitau, who says of the Labrador Eskimos, ‘They are tall, well built, and whiter than other savages. They allow their beards to grow, and have curly hair which they cut below the ears. Their hair is almost always black, but a few have light-colored hair (Fr. blonds), and some red hair (Fr. roux), like the people of Northern Europe.

Mr. Stefansson first encountered the Copper Eskimos at Cape Bexley, in Dolphin and Union Strait. Even there, he says, he had noticed a certain peculiarity in some of the natives, a certain lightness in the color of the moustache and beard that he had never observed farther west. But it was only when he crossed the strait and met the Hanerak and Puivlik groups of southwestern Victoria Island that he became fully conscious of the change. ‘We had been told by our guide,’ he says, ‘that we should find the Victoria Islanders of a light complexion, with fair beards, but still we were not prepared for what we saw…. Here (in Victoria Island) are men with abundant three-inch-long beards, a light brown in their outer parts, but darker towards the middle of the chin. The faces and proportions of the body remind of ‘stocky,’ sunburned, but naturally fair Scandinavians.’ Mr. Stefansson finally sums up the physical characteristics of the Copper Eskimos as follows: ‘Of something less than a thousand persons, ten or more have blue eyes … some of the men eradicate their beards … but of those who have beards a good many have light brown ones; no one seen has light hair of the golden Scandinavian type, but some have dark-brown and rusty-red hair, the redness being usually more pronounced on the forehead than on the back of the head, and perhaps half the entire population have eyebrows ranging from a dark brown to a light brown or nearly white. A few have curly hair.’ Mr. Stefansson then compares the form of head of the Copper Eskimos with that of the Eskimos in other regions, and comes to the conclusion, (1) that the Copper Eskimos show clear evidences of hybridism, and (2) that their European-like appearance is most easily explained by the theory that they have European blood in their veins, for which the old Scandinavian colony in Greenland furnishes the only explanation.”

genetic studies don’t seem to back this idea up: DNA tests debunk blond Inuit legend.

chinese clans again:

“Ideology, vested interests: Why China’s reforms have hit brick wall”
“By Willy Lam, Special to CNN
“November 16, 2012

“[W]hile aspects of the economy are being integrated with the global marketplace, about 120 yangqi or centrally-held enterprises will continue to enjoy monopolies over key sectors, ranging from oil and gas to banking and telecommunications.

“Moreover, an unprecedented number of the spouses and children of party elders have gone into business. Some have become the yangqi’s senior managers. Even more have used their sterling political connections to start highly successful private businesses in lucrative areas such as finance and real estate. These so-called ‘red capitalists’ are evenly represented by members of the party major factions.

“Critics of the government do not seem to be exaggerating when they say that 100 or so of the biggest clans that represent the country’s ‘red aristocracy’ control the largest chunk of the economy.

“The official China Daily has reported that the top 1% of Chinese families owns 41.4% of the nation’s wealth….”

previously: the return of chinese clans and the return of the return of chinese clans and the problem with china

(note: comments do not require an email. dreamed i was an eskimo….)

“culture” of honor

in “Culture of Honor,” nisbett and cohen argued that the scots-irish of appalachia are more violent than, say, yankees ’cause of their … you guessed it … culture of honor.


this article [opens pdf] has a good description of what nisbett and cohen found when they researched the flying-off-the-handle-ness of southerners vs. northerers:

“Their laboratory experiments are most relevant to our argument here. Cohen and Nisbett recruited subjects with Northern and Southern backgrounds from the University of Michigan student body, ostensibly to work on an psychological task dealing with perception. During the experiment, a confederate bumped some subjects and muttered ‘asshole’ at them. Cortisol (a stress hormone) and testosterone (rises in preparation for violence) were measured before and after the insult. Insulted Southerners showed big jumps in both cortisol and testosterone compared to uninsulted Southerners and insulted Northerners. The difference in psychological and physiological responses to insults was manifest in behavior. Nisbett and Cohen recruited a 6’3” 250 lb (190 cm, 115 kg) American style football player whose task was to walk down the middle of a narrow hall as subjects came the other direction. The experimenters measured how close subjects came to the football player before stepping aside. Northerners stepped aside at around 6 feet regardless of whether they had been insulted. Un-insulted Southerners stepped aside at an average distance of 9 feet, whereas insulted Southerners approached to an average of about 3 feet. Polite but prepared to be violent, un-insulted Southerners take more care, presumably because they attribute a sense of honor to the football player and are normally respectful of others’ honor. When their honor is challenged, they are prepared and willing to challenge someone at considerable risk to their own safety.”

sooooooooo, they found a biological response in the southerners who were insulted and concluded that the cause of that biological response was … culture. ooooh-kaaaaay.


how about southerners are, for whatever evolutionary reasons, somewhat different biologically-speaking than northerners and they, therefore, respond differently biologically to insults. and that, taken collectively, the way all these southerners behave — innately — amounts to their culture.

seems kinda obvious, don’t it?

so what is the evolutionary history of the good folks down in appalachia? we know that they come from the anglo-scottish border areas. what were (are) those people like?

clannish. probably practiced some sort of inbreeding throughout the medieval period — unlike the english, whose descendents became the more chilled yankees in the new world.

and war-ish. for hundreds of years. or, battle-ish anyway:

Border Reivers were raiders along the Anglo–Scottish border from the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century…. The border families can be referred to as clans, as the Scots themselves appear to have used both terms interchangeably until the 19th century…. Other terms were also used to describe the Border families, such as the ‘Riding Surnames’ and the ‘Graynes’ thereof…. Both Border Graynes and Highland septs however, had the essential feature of patriarchal leadership by the chief of the name, and had territories in which most of their kindred lived…. Although feudalism existed, tribal loyalty was much more important and this is what distinguished the Borderers from other lowland Scots.

“culture” of honor? gimme a break!

footnote: one of the major anglo-saxon border clans is the clan nesbitt. heh! (^_^)

previously: outbreeding, self-control and lethal violence and which came first?

(note: comments do not require an email. reivers!)