liberal democracy vs. consensus building

as we’ve seen, some societies experience a lot more difficulties implementing liberal democracy (or any sort of democracy) than others, and very often the ones that have these difficulties have a history of cousin marriage (see here and here).

liberal democracy (fwiw) is, of course, a relatively modern invention, but it’s not as though democratic tendencies weren’t around before the enlightenment. many societies have, or have had, democratic elements to them even if they are/were not fully functioning democracies, probably mostly because people will have a say in matters. there’s even been talk that the ancient sumerians engaged in a “primitive democracy” so … well … there you go.

in The Tribal Imagination, robin fox described so well what is so ODD about our modern liberal democray. i quoted him once before on liberal democracy, and here i go again [pg. 60 – bolding added by me]:

“Again in England, it was not until 1688, after a bitter civil-religious war and a period of hard totalitarianism, that we were able to set up a system whereby political factions could compete for votes and, most amazingly, the loser would *voluntarily cede power*. This transformation took a long time and hard practice with many missteps.”

to voluntarily cede power. very odd system, indeed!

in digging around for stuff on mating patterns in different societies, i’ve found that i keep coming across an alternate democratic system that seems to pop up again and again in places with more inbreeding than the anglo world, and that is consensus democracy. and if it’s not a democratic system, it’s a system of governing that involves getting/having a consensus in some shape or form. i don’t know if this is an actual general pattern or not — i.e. more consensus building in more inbred societies — it’s just something i’ve noticed lately.

tribal societies, like those in the arab world, definitely seem to operate with consensus building systems [pg. 212 – emphases added by me]:

“Arab society during Muhammad’s day and for more than a century afterward never really developed a stable political order worthy of being called a state. There was no state per se and no administrative structure of government. Arab society remained what it had always been, a tribal society characterized by personal leadership and appointed retainers that drew no distinctions between the social, religious, and military aspects of life. Indeed, there was never a formal army as such. Instead, there was an alliance of powerful tribal chiefs who led their personal retinues in battle. There was no financial system, and what treasury there was came from gifts and booty obtained in raids. Government was essentially an enlarged tribal system of negotiated consensus among powerful tribal chieftans, and it was these warrior chiefs who controlled the Arab populace and the army. Governance was effected indirectly through tribal intermediaries. This system of indirect rule plagued the Muslim Empire until its end. Power ebbed and flowed from the center of authority, but no caliph ever was able to retain control of the tribal and regional armies for very long. Revolts and insurrections rooted in jealousy, political interests, religious apostasy, and blood feuds went on for centuries.”

but i’ve also noticed the concept of “consensus” in other places like in the medieval republic of novgorod which is meant to be one of these examples of early democracy in eastern europe. however, consensus was a big part of novgorod’s democratic system [pg. 47 – link and emphasis added by me]:

“Another source of stability in the region which is grounded in the historic inheritance of Novgorod is the concept of democratic consensus. Although, in Novgorod’s history, consensus was sometimes achieved through violent means (the medieval chronicles depict how recalcitrant minorities within the assembly, or veche, might face physical assault, including being hurled off the principle bridge of the city into the river Volkhov), the idea that elected representatives have an obligation, once in power, to seek consensus for the good of society beyond narrow partisan, ethnic, or geographic interests has been critical in helping to achieve stability…. As former First Deputy Governor Valery Trofimov put it, ‘all of civil society’ — elected officials, academics, entrepreneurs — worked together to forge a policy commonly referred to as ‘politics of the round table.'”

and poland’s era of golden liberty — another example of early democracy in eastern europe — was undone by its consensus building mechanism, the liberum veto [emphasis added by me]:

“The liberum veto (Latin for ‘the free veto’) was a parliamentary device in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It allowed any member of the Sejm (legislature) to force an immediate end to the current session and nullify any legislation that had already been passed at the session by shouting Nie pozwalam! (Polish: ‘I do not allow!’). From the mid-16th to the late 18th century, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth had the liberum veto, a form of unanimity voting rule, in its parliamentary deliberations….

“This rule evolved from the principle of unanimous consent, which derived from the traditions of decision making in the Kingdom of Poland, and developed under the federative character of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Each deputy to a Sejm was elected at a sejmik (the local sejm for a region) and represented the entire region. He thus assumed responsibility to his sejmik for all decisions taken at the Sejm. A decision taken by a majority against the will of a minority (even if only a single sejmik) was considered a violation of the principle of political equality.

in other words, there had to be consensus.

i might be wrong, but it seems to me that consensus building systems have something to do with the presence of different interest groups — in the case of tribal societies, different tribes — in the case of clannish societies, different clans. i think you might wind up with liberal democracy arising naturally only in places where these interest groups have been removed from the system — like in england where society was “atomized” into bunches of individuals and their nuclear families in the early medieval period.

let’s see — who else likes consensus? oh, yes — some north american native americans in canada, eh! probably have a history of mating endogamously. the sveeedes. late outbreeders. and, my personal favorite, one of those rabble-rousing scots-irishmen, john c. calhoun!:

“The ‘Disquisition on Government’ is a 100-page abstract treatise that comprises Calhoun’s definitive and fully elaborated ideas on government; he worked on it intermittently for six years before it was finished in 1849. It systematically presents his arguments that 1) a numerical majority in any government will typically impose a despotism over a minority unless some way is devised to secure the assent of all classes, sections, and interests and 2) that innate human depravity would debase government in a democracy.

“Calhoun offered the concurrent majority as the key to achieving consensus, a formula by which a minority interest had the option to nullify objectionable legislation passed by a majority interest.”

hmmmm. that “innate human depravity would debase government in a democracy.” how true.

previously: consanguinity and democracy and pathogens and consanguinity and democracy and “hard-won democracy”

(note: comments do not require an email. wild man, john c. calhoun.)


the law of jante

roosh has got a post up about jante law — i guess it was impeding his game in denmark (oh noes!). jante law is a scandinavian phenomenon that sounds like tall poppy syndrome on steroids:

– Thou shalt not presume that thou art someone.
– Thou shalt not presume that thou art as good as we.
– Thou shalt not presume that thou art any wiser than we.
– Thou shalt never indulge in the conceit of imagining that thou art better than we.
– Thou shalt not presume that thou art more knowledgeable than we.
– Thou shalt not presume that thou art more [important] than we.
– Thou shalt not presume that thou art going to amount to anything.
– Thou art not entitled to laugh at us.
– Thou shalt never imagine that anyone cares about thee.
– Thou shalt not suppose that thou can teach us anything.

well, minnesota’s starting to make a lot more sense now! (~_^)

björn over at roosh’s offers an explanation for jante law:

“Janteloven is a stable social compromise that has stood the test of time in that part of the world. Since resources were traditionally so scarce, you could’t afford to make enemies by acting superior, or people would refuse to interact with you and you would starve to death – or kill yourself – in the long dark winter.”

maybe. but do jante law sorts of traditions exist in other places where “resources were traditionally so scarce?” i mean in such a strong form. do the russians, who also live through a pretty harsh winter every year, have their own version of jante law? how about the mongolians? or north american native americans? i’m genuinely asking, ’cause i dunno!

and jante law has “stood the test of time?” how long of a time? according to a couple of researchers, its spirit may have been around in the nineteenth century [in section titled Who Do You Think You Are?]…

“But there is more behind the spirit of envy than Jantelagen. There may be a historical basis for these beliefs as well. In Myterna om Svensken (Myths about the Swedes), David Gaunt and Orvar Lofgren explain that nineteenth-century farmers were required to help neighbors who were less well-off, due in part to a belief in Luck, the very unpredictable whim of ‘Lady Fortuna.’ People believed that there was only a finite amount of Luck in life; for one man to become rich, another must become poor. Thus anyone who had great luck, made a lot of money, or had a good harvest shared his success with his less fortunate neighbors, for Luck is fickle and can be reversed (Gaunt and Lofgren 1984).”

…but it seems like jante law wasn’t really applied across the board until the twentieth century [same source as above]:

“Envy, however, did not typically extend beyond one’s own class; there was a marked (and accepted) difference between the nobility and the peasants. Only in the twentieth century did equality begin to be seen as more universal. Swedish ethnologist Åke Daun speculates that the growing income differentials now emerging in Sweden ‘will in the end bring about the weakening of the famous Swedish envy in that gaps between people will be considered part of the natural order: it is between equals that envy flourishes’ (1996, 212).”

i was just reading about medieval scandinavia last night, and it’s not like there weren’t different classes back then, with some individuals having ENORMOUS wealth compared to others — and showing it off by doing things like building castles and such. one guy, bo jonsson (grip), owned one-third of sweden — and finland. like, ALL of finland. seriously! was jante law present in medieval sweden/scandinavia? enquiring minds want to know!

jante law sentiments would certainly go a long way in explaining scandinavia’s early and apparently enthusiastic adoption of political correctness. it also maybe explains their fondness for wealth redistribution.

and it fits with the scandinavian (and, more broadly, germanic) preferences for societal collectivism (from those who can see)…

…and Ordnung (strong preference for rules and order)…

re. the evolution of altruism genes/behaviors in scandinavia, remember that the swedes adpoted christianity rather late compared to other europeans, so they were probably inbreeding for longer than other populations in northwest europe (i’m gonna be looking more into this, and the other scandis, too). by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, though, swedish inbreeding rates were very low, comparable to those of other northwestern (“core”) europeans (like the english and germans).

(note: comments do not require an email. typical swede. typical norwegians. typical dane. typical minnesotan. (~_^) )

on being trusting

ihtg said about trust: “Unlike IQ/g, trust isn’t (IMO) an innate personal attribute encoded within one person’s brain. It’s a variable in a man’s interaction with his peers. Its existence depends on that interaction.”

well, yes … and no.

clearly trusting someone else happens during an interaction, yes. and the level of trust will be higher or lower depending on the circumstances in which that interaction happens — it’s prolly much easier to be trusting nowadays in peaceful, middle class minnesota than in war-torn congo.

but being trusting is also a personality trait — being more or less trusting is something innate — at least partly. and, like all the other personality quirks, it varies from individual to individual — and from population to population. from “Heritability of cooperative behavior in the trust game” in which the researchers studied twins taking part in the trust game [pgs: 3724-25, link opens pdf]:

“Our results thus suggest that humans are endowed with genetic variation that can partially account for differences in trust and trustworthiness when interacting with anonymous partners in the laboratory….

“Although we do find that genetic differences play a significant role for behavior in the classic trust game, the largest portion of the variance is explained by differences in unique environment. This is consistent with general results from the trust game that indicate behavior is more susceptible to state (unique mood, context) than trait. However, a result that may surprise some social scientists is that genetic differences appear to be a more important source of phenotypic variation than differences in common environment. This finding is in line with a broad consensus in the behavior genetics literature. Indeed, the second ‘law of behavior genetics’ proposed by Turkheimer is that the effect of being raised in the same family is generally smaller than the effect of genes.”

swedes appear to be more trusting than americans to me. unfortunately, “american” is such a catch-all description, it’s difficult to know what sort of ethnic groups we’re talking about here (note that the americans had more options of how much to share than the swedes did):

and the heritability of trust amongst swedes seems to lean a bit more towards a genetic explanation than amongst americans. (interesting that the shared environments of the twins seems to have amounted to diddly squat.):

people who are more agreeable — as in agreeableness in the big five personality traits — tend to be more trusting:

“People who score high on this dimension are empathetic, considerate, friendly, generous, and helpful. They also have an optimistic view of human nature. They tend to believe that most people are honest, decent, and trustworthy…. [I]n general, people who are concerned about others also tend to cooperate with them, help them out, and trust them.”

i’m not very agreeable (32nd percentile). i just know i’m gonna wind up a cranky, old cat-lady yelling at the kids to GET OFF MY LAWN! (~_^)

previously: trust and i’m abnormal

(note: comments do not require an email. get off my lawn!)

inbreeding in 18th and 19th century sweden

here’s a little more on inbreeding in sweden, again from this article: The Influence of Past Endogamy and Consanguinity on Genetic Disorders in Northern Sweden.

the researchers looked at parish record books to work out who married whom — and if and how they were related — in 18th and 19th century skellefteå which is right here:

the researchers assure us that, despite being a hair’s breadth away from the arctic cirle, skellefteå was not (is not!) a completely off piste locale and traded regularly with stockholm, etc., etc. so, skellefteå should not be a too a-typical example of mating patterns in sweden at the time. (still, like steve sailer pointed about about sweden in general, skellefteå is not exactly a cross-roads sorta place like istanbul or sicily. so, apart from the swedes and maybe some finns and a few sami and drunken mooses, it prolly wasn’t a very cosmopolitan place in the 18th and 19th centuries.)

how much inbreeding did they do? well, i’m glad you asked! [pg. 551]:

“Of the 14,639 marriage records examined, 3,043 (20.8%) were between couples related as sixth cousins or closer (F ≥ 0.00006), with a mean coefficient of inbreeding (α) for the total study population of 0.00204. First cousin unions comprised 2.05% of all marriages, and unions between couples who were second cousins and third cousins accounted for 2.24% and 2.91% of marriages, respectively.”

those are the averages of first-, second- and third-cousin marriages over the whole time period from 1720-1899. here are the percentages of first- through third-cousin marriages for each of the time periods looked at (click on chart for LARGER version):

as you can see, the rates increase up to the middle of the nineteenth century and then sorta drop off a bit in the last couple of decades. we’ve seen the increase in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries before in italy and spain, and increasing cousin marriage rates was, apparently, the general pattern for much of europe in the nineteenth century:

“Prior to industrialization an inbreeding pattern characterized by increasing values throughout the 19th century was common to many societies, both European (Calderón et al. 1993; Morales 1992; Pettener 1985) and American (Gradie et al. 1991; Madrigal and Ware 1997). In many European populations, inbreeding was highest in the period from 1875 to 1915 (O’Brien et al. 1988)….” [source]

so, sweden was pretty typical for its times in this regard.

how do the swedish cousin-marriage rates compare to other european countries during the same period? well, for england, we’ve got a first-cousin marriage rate of 2.25% for rural areas in 1876. sweden’s first-cousin marriage rate for about the same time (1860-1879) was 2.66%, so pretty much in the same ballpark.

again, these rates come nowhere near the rates for early-twentieth century southern italy where the first-cousin marriage rate hit 56.97% in reggio calabria between 1910 and 1914. northern italy, on the other hand, is more like sweden (and england) in the nineteenth century with rates like 2.28% in rovigo between 1910 and 1914.

the other country for which i’ve got data from the same time period is spain. (remember that these numbers are probably not representative for the whole of spain. gredos is a mountainous area and remote, mountain populations tend to have higher than average inbreeding rates.) here are the percentages for first- through third-cousin marriages in gredos, spain, in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries:

only the two first periods here sorta overlap with the last two periods of the swedish data:

spain — sweden
1874-1884 = 17.30% — 1860-1879 = 11.42%
1885-1894 = 16.62% — 1880-1889 = 10.06%

so, gredos, spain, had quite a bit more first- through third-cousin marriages in these decades than sweden — but, again, gredos might not be representative for the whole of spain.

overall, then, the swedes did not have very high inbreeding rates in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. the cousin marriages rates for sweden during the period were comparable to those in england and probably also northern italy and perhaps even spain. remember, however, that the swedes do not have the same depth of outbreeding as other areas of northern europe. they may have had similar cousin marriage rates to other northern europeans in modern times, but they were likely marrying their cousins for longer during the early medieval period.

previously: inbreeding in sweden

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inbreeding in sweden

ok. moving northwards for a sec … sveeeeeden.

inbreeding (or outbreeding) in scandinavia in the dark ages? who knows? no written records, obviously, except for the odd runic inscription here and there. it’s probably a safe assumption to guess that the scandis were like the germanic tribes and did, indeed, practice some form of endogamous mating — likely some cousins, but who knows which ones and how frequently? we’re not even exactly sure what the marriage practices of the germanic tribes were like and we have some (late in the period) written laws from them.

there were norse clans, tho — ætts — kinda like the scots in the past or the chinese today, so that hints at endogamous mating practices:

The Scandinavian clan or ætt was a social group based on common descent or on the formal acceptance into the group at a þing. [T]he clan was the primary force of security in Norse society, as the clansmen were obliged by honour to avenge one another. The Norse clan was not tied to a certain territory in the same way as a Scottish clan, where the chief owned the territory. The land of the Scandinavian clan was owned by the individuals who had close neighbours from other clans. T he name of the clan was derived from that of its ancestor, often with the addition of an -ung or -ing ending.”

so, there you go.

christianity arrived relatively late way up north so that, while some of the german groups on the continent were already being told not to marry their second-cousins in the 500s, the swedes were still having battles between christians and pagans as late as the 1000s. presumably this meant that more swedes were following their old mating practices rather than the new-fangled christian ones until a much later date — as late as the 1100s maybe. so i would guess that the scandinavians do not have the depth of outbreeding that, say, the english and other north-west european populations have.

fast-forward to the reformation — most of the protestant churches in europe did not ban cousin marriage the way that the roman catholic church had done (and still does with first-cousin marriage). the new churches went with what the bible said, particularly leviticus — and the old testament, having been written by the ancient hebrews, was of course ok with cousin marriage.

the exception to this rule of protestant churches was the swedish luthern church which banned cousin marriage (i believe) right at the start of its foundation in the 1500s until 1680 when one could get a dispensation to marry a first-cousin (but see quote below). so, cousin marriage was, presumably, not practiced by the catholics in sweden and, then, also not practiced once the church there became luthern [pgs. 550 & 552-53]:

“Although strongly Protestant, the Lutheran Church in Sweden initially banned marriages between first cousins throughout the country, but from 1680 a dispensation for first cousin marriage could be granted by the King in Council. The expense involved was, however, a major disincentive and during this period first cousin marriages were rare and principally contracted among the nobility (Alstrom, 1958). After unsuccessful attempts in 1809 and 1823 to remove the requisite fee for first cousin marriage dispensation, it was reduced by the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) in 1829. Then, after another failed attempt at reform in 1841, in 1844 the Riksdag formally revoked the requirement for royal dispensation, leaving first cousins free to marry should they so desire. The history of consanguineous marriage within Sweden can therefore be conveniently sub-divided into three separate time periods: pre-1680, 1680–1843, and 1844 onwards….

“Prior to the introduction of royal dispensation in 1680, first cousin marriages were very rare in Sweden, since they were not sanctioned by the Lutheran Church (Alstrom, 1958). Thereafter, the prevalence increased nationally to an estimated 0.2% in 1750, 1.0% in 1800 and 1.5% by the mid-19th century. This study also reported a distinct north-south cline, with the highest rates of consanguinity in the more sparsely populated northern regions abutting Finland, that are home to most of the Swedish Saami (Lapp) community. Investigations during the first half of the 20th century, mainly based on first cousin marriages only, confirmed the continuing north-south cline of consanguinity (Fraccaro, 1958), with an upper prevalence of 6.8% first cousin unions in a remote northern parish (Book, 1948), compared to 1.7% and 1.3% first cousin marriages in southern and western rural regions of the country (Book & Mawe, 1955; Larson, 1956).

so, first-cousin marriage rates in sweden in more modern times:

1750 = 0.2%
1800 = 1.0%
mid-19th c = 1.5%
early-20th c = 1.3%-1.7% (western & southern sweden)

compare the early 20th century rates of sweden with the rates for first-cousin marriage in italy between 1910-1914: anywhere from 2.28% in northern italy to (mamma mia!) 56.97% in southern italy.

edit: also compare the mid-19th century rate of first-cousin marriage sweden — 1.5% — with the mid-19th century rate for consanguineous marriages (only first-cousin?) amongst protestants in alsace-lorraine — 0.186%. and, amongst catholics in alsace-lorraine — 0.997%.

of course, the swedes could very well having been marrying their second- and third-cousins (spoiler alert: they did), but it’s late now so i’ll take a look at that in another post (hopefully tomorrow).

previously: clientelism in greece and whatever happened to european tribes? and inbreeding amongst germanic tribes and more on inbreeding in germanic tribes and early medieval germans…again!

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oh, those wacky germanic peoples!

first the germans (from late last year: “Why 13 percent of Germans would welcome a ‘Führer’“), and now the swedes:

Many young Swedes favour dictatorship

“Over 25 percent young Swedes think that it would be ‘good or very good’ for Sweden to be less democratic and ruled by a strong and dictatorial leader, according to a new study….

“According to the survey, 26 percent of 18-29-year-olds thought that it would be good or very good if a ‘strong leader who didn’t have to care about a Riksdag or an election’ ruled Sweden….”

i’m not big into dictators or “strong leaders” myself, but if democracy hasn’t been that good to you … i mean, if tptb have been busy electing a new people … well, i can understand where the sentiment might be coming from.

btw, the survey was apparently part of the world values survey thingie, but i couldn’t find any new data posted on their website. (*hbdchick shrugs shoulders*)

fyi: germanic peoples.

update: actually, maybe i should’ve entitled the post “oh, those wacky slavs!”

going by the LAST round of world values survey surveys (i.e. not the one referred to the the article about the sveeedes above), it was the slavs who most longed for a strong leader. the mediterranean nations did pretty well, actually (if democracy is your thing, that is) — slightly fewer 15-29 year old italians wanted a strong leader as compared to their german peers. and the young spaniards ranked in between the finns and the french. (greece was not included in the survey, unfortunately.)

but just look at the slavs! 76% of young romanians thought (in 2005 anyway) 69.7% of young ukrainians thought (in 2006 anyway) that a strong leader would be a good idea, i.e. someone who “does not have to bother with parliament and elections.” whoa. (click on charts for a LARGER view. got ’em ranked from lowest to highest.)

the last survey of sweden was in 2006 and at that time 15.7% of respondents aged 15-29 thought a strong leader was a good idea. and now it’s up to 26%? five years later? the times they are a’ changin’….

oh, and the swiss — they luv their democracy! (^_^)

Selected countries/samples: Andorra [2005], Bulgaria [2006], Cyprus [2006], Finland [2005], France [2006], Germany [2006], Great Britain [2006], Italy [2005], Moldova [2006], Netherlands [2006], Norway [2007], Poland [2005], Romania [2005], Russian Federation [2006], Serbia [2006], Slovenia [2005], Spain [2007], Sweden [2006], Switzerland [2007], Ukraine [2006]

previously: slavic values?

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killing kids & step-kids, part ii

on sat i posted evo psych in need of a little hbd? in which i tossed in my two cents worth about some recent research on the cinderella effect that dennis mangan posted about.

dennis mentioned what i said on sat in a new post on his blog:

“HBD Chick writes about the Cinderella effect, referencing my post at Alt Right on a recent challenge to the discipline of evolutionary psychology. The challenge is a recent study that showed that stepfathers are more likely to have records of criminal violence, thus casting doubt on the notion that the status of being a stepparent in itself makes stepchildren more likely to be abused.

“HBD Chick points out that the recent study was carried out in Sweden, where families are more likely to be ethnically homogeneous, as compared to the U.S., Canada, and England, where they are not. It might be the case that a stepparent who is of the same ethnicity as a stepchild is less likely to abuse that child….

“So, both the Swedish study on stepparents and Florida’s study on gun deaths omit any mention of race or ethnicity. This is the topic that many otherwise scientific observers won’t go near.”

yup. there’s almost no one who will rationally discuss race or ethnicity or genetic relatedness except for a handful of scientists (you know who they are) and another handful of bloggers and commenters who obviously have no social sense (you know who you are!). (~_^) that is where we are today in our looney pc world, alas, alack — but i’m not gonna rant about that now ’cause, well, we’ve been down that well trodden path plenty of times. another day perhaps.

no. i just wanted to try and clarify what i said in my previous post ’cause i’m a cr*ppy writer (so glad i took up blogging! *facepalm*) and one of my points may have gotten lost-in-translation (from my brain to the binary code zooming around on the interwebs).

in my previous post, i suggested two possible reasons for why a recent study from sweden found that step-kids were not killed at a rate greater than biological kids, in contrast to several previous studies.

1) the one that dennis mentioned: that in sweden, families may be more ethnically homogeneous (especially in earlier decades) than in the u.s. or canada or even the u.k. (where the previous research was done). i suggested that it would be less likely that a step-parent in sweden would murder their step-kid since they would both be swedish and, therefore, more genetically related than many step-parents/step-kids in the u.s./canada/u.k. where a step-parent might be italian-american and the step-kid puerto-rican-american, for instance — or a whole slew of other multi-cultural combinations.

less genetically-related ethnicity-wise = more likely to murder an unrelated kid. just a thought.

2) my second suggestion was more subtle and, therefore, more difficult for me to explain.

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, when html coding was the norm on the interwebs, steve sailer wrote an article called cousin-marriage conundrum in which he explained that “democracy building” would never work in places like iraq and afghanistan because the people there inbreed (i.e. marry their cousins — a LOT) and, therefore, have these strong tribalistic sentiments because they are more related to their extended family members than to the extended family next-door.

i think of it this way. if you marry your cousin, your kids are not just your kids, they’re your cousins, too. so, imagine the sentiments you have towards your kids — and then imagine the sentiments you have towards your cousins — and add them together. yes, i know, it might not work out mathematically exactly like that, but you get my point. peoples who inbreed on a regular basis must feel more strongly attached to their relatives ’cause they are genetically more like them than most of us westerners are to our families.

anyway. so, back in sweden, they haven’t been inbreeding for a very long time (first-cousin marriage was banned in sweden in 1680 and required dispensation until 1844). and they certainly haven’t been doing it in such an institutional way as, say, the afghanis.

so, what do you get if a population inbreeds on a local basis, like in afghanistan? you get small-ish groups of people who are more related to each other than they are to their neighbors and, so, they (all the groups in the population) develop tribalistic sentiments.

what should you get if a population doesn’t inbreed locally, like in sweden? you get a large-sized group of people who are all quite related to each other and, so, they don’t develop tribalistic sentiments. they are all quite like each other genetically. at least much more so than in a place like afghanistan.

at least i think that’s what should be happening.

then, from a genetic point-of-view, all the individuals across this society are more alike — and kinda/sorta interchangeable (if you’ll pardon the expression).

sooooo, if you’re a low-life scum and you feel like killing a kid, it shouldn’t matter sooooo much if you kill your own kid or your step-kid — ’cause they and you are all rather similar. see what i mean?

this is just another thought and obviously i could be way off. but it would be interesting, for comparison, to know if the murder rates of step-kids was higher in another mono-ethnic society that was more inbred than sweden (italy? spain? ireland?).

but no. nobody’s gonna “go there” either.

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evo psych in need of a little hbd?

dennis mangan has a post over @altright about some recent research from sveeeeeden which appears to refute the “cinderella effect.” (see also kanazawa.)

and maybe it does, which would be real interesting.

the sveeeeedish researchers found that the step-kids and real-kids they looked at were killed at pretty much the same rate, and that the common thread running through all the cases was that the step-dads had a violent, criminial history. this latter part doesn’t seem surprising. you’d think most murderous people are violent people, so it’s not a big shocker that these low-lifes had violent histories.

but i think the sveeeeedish researchers mighta overlooked something.

all of the previous research done on the cinderella effect — at least the research referenced by the sveeeeedish researchers — has been about north american (u.s. & canukian) and engrish families [see here, here and here]. the currect research by the sveeeeedish researchers relates to — you guessed it! — sveeeeedish families.

so, gee. might there be any differences between the sveeeeedish families and, say, americun families? any differences at all? hmmmmm. i wonder….

well, the first thing that pops into my head is that the sveeeeedish families are likely more homogeneous** than the americun families. and by homogeneous i mean genetically homogeneous. u know — sveeeeedes mating with other sveeeeedes unlike in the states where sveeeeedes might mate with germans or italians or irish or blacks or, worst of all, some of those norveeeeegians!

why should that matter?

well, the whole point here is that step-parents are less genetically related to their step-kids than to their real-kids and are, therefore, more likely to kill their step-kids than their real-kids (if they’re gonna kill them at all, that is). killing your real-kids does NOT help with your inclusive fitness. killing your step-kids — sure. why support some other guy’s|woman’s kids? that’s no good for your genes.

but what if the population is very homogeneous genetically speaking? what if the individuals across a population are quite alike in their genetic make-up? what if the population has, for a very long time, avoided inbreeding on a very local basis (unlike some other populations which have become very “tribal” as a result of their localized inbreeding)?

in such a society in which individuals are quite alike genetically you’d expect to see lots of altruism across the board — more than in, say, afghanistan. you wouldn’t be surprised, for example, if they were quite happy to share with everyone else in their society ’cause they’d be “thinking”, hey, all those other people share a lot of my genes anyway! and if the individuals are quite alike genetically, then you’d also think they’d be, well, more interchangeable.

and then, on the flip-side, would it matter soooo much if you killed your step-kid or your own-kid? meh. not so much.

obviously it would still matter, i think, but maybe not soooo much. (especially not so much if you’re a violent, low-iq low-life.) ’cause they’re kinda interchangeable, remember?

it certainly wouldn’t matter so much as if your step-kids are actually german-american while you’re sveeeeedish-american. or if your step-kids are italian-american while you’re irish-american. maybe then it makes even more sense to get rid of your step-kids, if you’re so inclined.

i suspect that there are different rates of filicide by natural- and step-parents in different populations due to varying “levels of relatedness” within different populations. the more unrelated you are to your step-kid, the more it makes sense to not favor that kid or even to get rid of him altogether.

that’s just a thought, of course.

in any case, a little hbd in evolutionary psychology might go a long way. evo psych needs to shake off the cosmides & toby notion that all of our drives evolved when our ancestors were hunters & gatherers. we’ve moved past that now and evolutionary psychologists need to start taking human biodiversity into account more often.

**well, the sveeeeedish researchers looked at homicides of kids between 1965 and 2009. in the earlier part of their sample i’d guess that these families were pretty much all swedish since sweden has only recently become a multi-cultural society. as for the last decade, i dunno. would be interesting to know the ethnic|genetic backgrounds there.

update 01/17: see also killing kids & step-kids, part ii

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