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March 27, 2014 / JayMan

Where HBD Chick’s Hypothesis Works

HBD Chick’s hypothesis – that long-term mating patterns – specifically, the degree of cousin marriage historically practiced by people influences the selective pressures those people experience, pushing them, over time, towards either clannishness (in the case of long-term inbreeding) or individualism and civic-minded (in the case of long-term outbreeding) – explains a great many things. It explains why democracy thrives in certain parts of the world, and why some countries maintain strong civic institutions based on individual responsibility and trust. It explains why other parts of the world do not support working democracies and have societies based on dictatorial rule and where clan loyalties reign and trust is low. HBD Chick’s hypothesis explains why rule of law and above-board practices prevails in some areas, while in other corruption is the rule. She has marshaled massive evidence for her hypothesis, neatly summed up in these posts:

start here | hbd* chick
clannishness defined | hbd* chick
big summary post on the hajnal line | hbd* chick

How Inbred are Europeans?

These explain a great deal of why you see a pattern like this:

Corruption

However, for all HBD Chick’s hypothesis’s explanatory power, does it work as well everywhere?  Given the information we have at current, not exactly.

HBD Chick Works-C

This is a map (drawn by me) of how well HBD Chick’s hypothesis explains the characteristics of each of these (pre-European colonial expansion) populations across the world.

As we see, from what we know of historic mating patterns and behavior of people today, HBD Chick’s hypothesis works excellently across much of the world. This is especially true across Europe, the Middle East, and much of the Muslim world, and in China.

There are however a couple of places that don’t seem to fit as well. Most poignant of these is sub-Saharan Africa. HBD Chick’s hypothesis doesn’t cover much of Africa, especially the non-Muslim parts. It’s unclear if the historic mating among non-Muslim Blacks was particularly consanguineous (though it was, and remains in many places, polygynous). However, as we clearly know, sub-Saharans do behave like considerably clannish people in some ways, yet a lot more like typical outbreeders in other ways.

However, farther south in Africa are the San hunter-gatherers (the Bushmen), who were intentional outbreeders, with marriage occurring across tribes. However, overall rates of violence among them are comparable to those found in their Bantu neighbors.

Muslim Central Asia (including the Uyghur province) hasn’t been directly looked at by HBD Chick. But presumably mating patterns there have been similar to the rest of the Muslim world, which would seem to explain the levels of clannishness and corruption there.

India and Southeast Asia also haven’t been discussed much by HBD Chick, either. Some of her references mention that – like most of the world – mother’s brother’s daughter marriage was preferred here. If so, the clannishness/corruption/undemocratic nature of these areas follow fairly well. The Muslim sections of Southeast Asia fit the pattern seen with the core Muslim world, it would seem. And the Papuan people of New Guinea are famous for being the most tribal people in the world, with the island hosting over 1,000 different languages! Also, in Malaysia, there are the Semai people, which are known to be one of the few outbreeding groups outside of Northwestern Europe. They also, accordingly, have the characteristics of an outbred population, and hence fit squarely into HBD Chick’s hypothesis.

The Americas and their indigenous people have not been extensively analyzed by HBD Chick, but she has explored their mating patterns. Most Native North Americans apparently practiced some degree of close marriage, and hence varied accordingly in their degree of clannish and aggressive behavior. See historic mating patterns of native north americans | hbd* chick, the kato | hbd* chick, mating patterns in colonial mexico: the mayans | hbd* chick. She has also noted that, to varying degrees, modern Mexicans do appear to be more clannish than NW Europeans. Of course, it’s unclear to what degree that can be attributed to their Native American component versus their Iberian component, or to more recent selective pressures. And of course, the Yanaomano of South America, an inbreeding population, fits the pattern as tribal warriors.

Returning to Europe, the vast majority of the continent is well explained by HBD Chick’s ideas. A few somewhat outlying areas remain. Scandinavia for example – at least Denmark, Norway, and Sweden – began outbreeding much later than the other western nations, yet they are today non-clannish and non-corrupt. This may seem to be a slightly less of a fit. But even more curious are Iceland and Finland. The historic mating patterns of these nations are unclear – indeed, much of Finland was outside the late marriage pattern found in the West. Yet, Finland was ranked as the least corrupt country in the world, and is a functioning democracy. However, unlike the outbred Northwestern European countries, Finland and Iceland retain stronger ethnic identities, and haven’t opened themselves up to foreign migrants as the “core” European countries all have. It has been suggested that these nations are “inbetweeners”, being intermediate between clannish and non-clannish.

And in that vein, East Asia presents similar paradoxes. While mainland China neatly fits into HBD Chick’s theory, Korea and especially Japan do not fit quite as seamlessly. Japan has had a history of cousin marriage, and the situation in Korea is unclear. Yet neither country is fractured into mutually distrustful clans as is China. Indeed, Japan has a functioning “commonweal” society. However, it is not necessarily like the outbred Northwest Europeans either, possessing some characteristics of a clannish society. It is possible that these countries, like Finland & Iceland in Europe, are also “inbetweeners” of sorts, and possess a distinct hybrid between clannish and non-clannish, as was the topic of my post Finland & Japan. These societies demonstrate that the distribution of close marriage may be important, as I’ve noted previously. Taiwan, and for that matter, Singapore and Hong Kong, present similar challenges for HBD Chick’s theory. These areas are populated largely by ethnic Chinese, yet managed to keep corruption more or less in check (although democracy is a bit questionable in all these places). Assortative migration might explain some of the difference, but that is unclear at this point.

Several areas remain largely undiscussed, however. These include pre-European Australia, the Himalayas, Mongolia, and much of indigenous Siberia. HBD Chick has said little about the mating patterns of the Sami of Lapland. She has also not covered the Philippines, but I suspect they likely resemble mainland Southeast Asia in these respects.

Overall, however, we can see that HBD Chick’s hypothesis is a very good fit for much of the world, especially Eurasia. But there are some areas that don’t fit as well. Much of these are likely wanting for more data. But other incongruities indicate another likelihood: there is more to the story than the effect of inbreeding vs. outbreeding on selective pressures.

One pattern appears to be that pre-state peoples, especially hunter-gatherers, don’t quite fit as well into the clannish/non-clannish dichotomy. It is possible that what we regard as “non-clannish” traits, high trust, civic-mindedness, individualism, etc, may be more a possibility within the framework of a settled state. Perhaps the selective pressures imposed by strong states are key ingredients in the evolution of these traits. Relative pacification especially would seem to depend on selection occurring in strong states. Docility is generally unfavorable in a more tribal environment, where contact with outsiders – often hostile ones – is frequent. Perhaps this explains what we see with non-Muslim sub-Saharan Africans.

But if so, what about the Semai?

The other possible ingredient could be this: local conditions – often imposed by the State or other local powers – may affect the course of evolution of a people despite the local frequencies of inbreeding/outbreeding. We see this to an extent in China, where considerable genetic pacification – under the direction of the State – served to reduce aggressiveness of the Chinese people despite their considerable clannishness. Perhaps this explains what we see in Japan. Perhaps selection for commonweal-oriented, civic-minded individuals (or a functional facsimile thereof) – perhaps imposed by the State – directed the evolution of the Japanese (and perhaps similarly in Korea, etc). Singapore and the anti-corruption measures enacted there may be a window into this process. If corruption and clannishness no longer “pay”, then selection will favor less corrupt, less clannish individuals despite high levels of cousin marriage. Over time, you may turn a Chinese-like population into the Japanese, and perhaps this is what happened.

And broadly, tribalism and clannishness may be disfavored by Gregory Clark/Ron Unz-esque selection in cold-weather farming societies, at least to an extent (cf. China).

As well, of course, the initial characteristics of the people in each of these areas may have some bearing on their outcomes today, as these traits may affect the precise course of evolution in these places.

Despite these incongruities, none of which are glaring, HBD Chick’s theory explains a great many hitherto unexplained things about the world. It explains why transparency and democracy flourish in some places while corruption and autocracy reign in others. It explains why the successes of post-World War II Germany and Japan were not replicated in Afghanistan or Iraq. It explains why (contra David Frum) Russia is not a democracy, and is not likely to be one any time soon. There is undoubtedly much more to discover about what’s behind these features of people and societies, but HBD Chick’s ideas are no doubt a huge piece of the puzzle.

Edit 1/12/15: HBD Chick has responded to this post. Please see her post response to jayman’s post as well as her comment below.

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35 Comments

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  1. elijahlarmstrong / Mar 27 2014 12:24 AM

    IQs are certainly related to group differences in corruption. The Sámi, Finns, Koreans and Japanese all have high IQs. Black Americans, otoh, have low IQs but are highly outbred (with whites) and do not have a history of cousin marriage. But largely black municipalities are generally highly corrupt.

    • JayMan / Mar 27 2014 12:34 AM

      @Elijaharmstrong:

      Black Americans, otoh, have low IQs but are highly outbred (with whites)”

      Outbreeding, in this context, ≠ race mixing. One or two generations isn’t going to make much of a difference. Long-term patterns over many generations is what’s important, as that shapes relevant selective pressures.

      and do not have a history of cousin marriage

      Perhaps they don’t. That doesn’t seem to be quite clear at the moment. Polygyny might lead to a form of cousin marriage (by reducing the numbers of fathers contributing to the gene pool).

      I suspect IQ is only incidentally related to clannishness. The Chinese demonstrate that high average IQ doesn’t preclude clannishness. And, perhaps, the Semai (who I presume, though I don’t know, aren’t horrendously smart) demonstrate that low average IQ doesn’t preclude unclannishness. Indeed, I’d imagine the average IQ of American Blacks and the Semai (assuming they’re like other SE Asians) are comparable.

      I suspect that the conditions that lead to outbred marriage rarely occur in pre-state and underdeveloped state societies, and this might explain the partial connection between IQ and clannishness (which HBD Chick did look at once).

    • Staffan / Mar 27 2014 10:56 AM

      Are the Sami really a high IQ people? I don’t have much data but the little I have suggest otherwise. They seem a bit smarter and more peaceful than most indigenous people but it’s hard to find any intellectuals among them, and they didn’t have a written language until the modern era.

    • hbd chick / Mar 28 2014 1:26 PM

      @elijah – “IQs are certainly related to group differences in corruption. The Sámi, Finns, Koreans and Japanese all have high IQs. Black Americans, otoh, have low IQs but are highly outbred (with whites) and do not have a history of cousin marriage. But largely black municipalities are generally highly corrupt.”

      there does seem to be some sort of connection between intelligence and corruption, but i don’t think that’s the whole story. if it were, then china ought to be virutally corruption free, but it’s not. japan, too, is possibly more corrupt than what appears on the surface (i.e. just looking at the corruption perceptions index) — if you look at anatoly karlin’s corruption realities index (i.e. those who said they actually have to pay bribes for stuff), then japan doesn’t come out so hot — they start approaching the corruption levels of argentina and latvia and even (*gasp*) italy!

      the question of african americans and corruption is an interesting one. like jayman said, if the theory’s right, then we need to look at the long-term mating patterns of african americans (back to what they were doing in africa) and not just their recent mating patterns. thanks to the internal slave trade in the u.s., which increased enormously after the importation of slaves was made illegal, a high percentage of african americans probably have igbo origin (the internal slave trade was dominated by virginia [pg. 50] which had a lot of igbos in its slave population). (you see this in the genetics — a high percentage of african americans appear to be yoruba, but that’s probably simply that the ancestors of many african americans came from in and around nigeria and that yoruba genomes are available for comparison in the hapmap collection.)

      so what are the igbo like? what are their marriage patterns? well, today they avoid all cousin marriage. the question is, how far back does this practice go? does it go back to before igbos were shipped to the new world as slaves? i dunno. i shall try to find out if possible (might not be possible if there aren’t any historical records). the igbo are mostly christian — roman catholic — so the avoidance of cousin marriage might’ve come from there, although in the 1500s, the church did give a blanket exemption to africans converting to roman catholicism — i.e. they didn’t have to avoid cousin marriage. (the church did the same for latin americans.) interestingly, though, there have been a handful of histories of the mating patterns of black slaves in the u.s. (using plantation records), and it seems that slaves in the u.s. avoided cousin marriage. was this a tradition that they (if they were igbo) brought with them from africa? or was this something that they learned in the new world? dunno. (although how they’d learn that from their cousin marrying owners, i don’t know!)

      but, then there is the polygamy, which also narrows the relatedness in a population (lot of people in the village might be your half-siblings, let alone your first cousins!), and so could drive a selection for clannish behaviors. and the igbo, up until very recently, practiced polygamy. some still do.

      and, then, of course many african americans do not have igbo ancestry. many slaves came from further south along the west coast. ‘fraid i don’t know much about them or what their mating patterns were.

      one interesting thing to contemplate is that many african americans also have white ancestry. but who were those white ancestors? probably mostly southern whites — the scots-irish and hackett-fischer’s “distressed cavaliers” — the two anglo-american populations most given to corruption! (and both having comparatively recent inbreeding practices.) so, the case of african americans might be a bit like the mexicans and the southern spaniards who settled in mexico — african americans may have wound up mating with the most corrupt anglos of north america! lesson: be careful who you introgress with. (~_^)

    • elijahlarmstrong / Mar 28 2014 5:18 PM

      @hbd – I agree. IQ and inbreeding are certainly both related to corruption. Likely, there is a threshold effect for both variables.

      As for African-Americans and inbreeding, I’ll take your word for it: I don’t know much about AA mating patterns.

    • elijahlarmstrong / Mar 28 2014 5:45 PM

      Yeah, the Sámi have relatively high IQs. I have some unpublished data which suggests IQs in the 90s.

    • JayMan / Mar 28 2014 7:30 PM

      @elijahlarmstrong:

      Interesting. High or low 90s? Considering that the Inuit average IQ is 91, somewhere around there wouldn’t be horrendously surprising.

  2. Crowstep / Mar 27 2014 6:01 AM

    I also think intelligence is the other pertinent factor here. Regardless of how outbred a people are, it’s hard to believe that if a group has an average IQ is in the 70s, they’re going to be able to embrace democracy and capitalism in the way that Western Europeans have. A violent, stupid people are likely to remain violent and stupid, even if they do marry outside of the village.

    I’m sure breeding patterns do have some effect on intelligence, particularly when you’re dealing with extreme inbreeding, but they don’t seem to be the main factor. If they were, Western Europeans would be the smartest people on earth, and not East Asians. Since East Asians have so many visible adaptations to cold weather, and we know that Europeans survived the last Ice Age, I’m willing to bet that this is the main factor that effects intelligence and therefore, corruption.

  3. Sisyphean / Mar 27 2014 9:00 AM

    I’m also interested in the role that Neoteny might or might not play in this story. In Western European societies and in Sub-Saharan Africans we see significant numbers of people with neotenous characteristics (childlike play behaviors retained into adulthood). Think about Jimmy Fallon or Tina Fey or Jack Black. As a board member for a local arts organization, I’ve often noticed how the most talented expressive artists (and it doesn’t matter what kind, music, painting, improv, acting) are the most willing to be silly and weird, like life is just a fun game. These behaviors make other people feel young and most people (with exceptions for the especially uptight) love that. I don’t have a lot of experience with Asians (because not a single one has come into my organization in the four years I’ve been involved) but my understanding is that they might lack the silly playful side of neoteny. It’s interesting that in domesticated dogs, neoteny comes with docility _and_ childlike play behavior retention, but in humans we have some groups that got some of one trait and not the other… why?

    ~S

  4. Dan / Mar 27 2014 9:25 AM

    Those maps are not labelled. Why are they a map of? Maybe I would know if I kept up with all of HBD* Chick’s blog, but I haven’t.

    • JayMan / Mar 27 2014 11:24 PM

      @Dan:

      The upper map is the corruption perception across the various countries of the world. Northwestern Europe and its derivatives are noticeable outliers to a general world-wide pattern of corruption.

      The second map is my impression of where in the world the traits of populations fits would would be expected by HBD Chick’s theory.

  5. Anthony / Mar 27 2014 11:09 AM

    How does this article and the underlying ideas impact this?

    • JayMan / Mar 27 2014 11:26 PM

      @Anthony:

      See here.

      China and Muslim world just don’t seem to fit.

  6. Staffan / Mar 27 2014 11:18 AM

    Nice to see someone summarizing a bit of this because it’s hard for newbies to get into HBD Chick’s ideas by just reading her blog. Like Luke Lea points out commenting on her recent post, these type of phenomena are multi-factorial. As you say, the local political situation, whether being clannish pays off must be a part of it. Also the type of inbreeding – smooth or grainy – will no doubt have different outcomes, possibly corresponding to national versus clannish. The Finns, if I remember correctly have a small founding population and Iceland being a small island may have a similar situation. (The Finns seem really blessed with individualism without guilt.)

    Two other factors to consider are pathogens/behavioral immune system and life history. These two are no doubt related as well since lots of pathogens would select for a short life history. In China, the combination of clannishness and long life history could translate to more corruption but less violence, since the latter is more risky. In central Africa social behavior could be more pathogen-driven, as suggested by their attitude to LGBT people.

  7. Dippity Do / Mar 27 2014 9:39 PM

    Major biomes/environmental factors probably play a role. For example, Iceland, Korea, Finland, and Japan are all fairly isolated places (three islands, one peninsula), where societies have probably developed without having to deal with a lot of invaders. An outbred French person still has to potentially deal with invading Germans, something the Japanese have never had to consider.

    Within a biome/environmental region, in-breeding vs. out-breeding probably makes a difference.

    • JayMan / Mar 27 2014 9:56 PM

      @Dippity Do:

      You bring up something I’ve considered. I’m not sure of the why, but it’s hard to escape the observation that these places that fall somewhat outside the pattern are all peripheral places, and indeed, somewhat isolated.

    • Jaakko Raipala / Mar 28 2014 6:08 AM

      Anyone who thinks *FInns* of all people are not made for dealing with invaders is clueless beyond belief. Finland was a regular warzone from prehistory to 1809, the poorest, most screwed up corner of Europe that didn’t develop because every few decades everything would get burned down and plundered because of some war – or even without any war as the border was meaningless and Swedes and Russians and lawless Lapps would raid even at times of peace until recent centuries.

      There are few places in Europe as badly cursed by geography of great powers (well, until Sweden was outmatched by Russia) and very few European people have had the martial focus, self-reliance ideals and stranger dislike that Finns do (or did before we became fat computer nerds). Finland was Western Europe’s only frontier culture or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that Finns outside the very few (and mostly Swedish) coastal cities were a frontier culture that didn’t follow European norms until the pacification of the past few centuries.

      And BTW all Scandinavian island mini societies like Åland and Farö are incredibly hostile to immigration, even immigration by their co-ethnics from the mainland, so Iceland is not an exception to any trend.

  8. Gottlieb / Mar 27 2014 9:45 PM

    ”Are the Sami really a high IQ people? I don’t have much data but the little I have suggest otherwise. They seem a bit smarter and more peaceful than most indigenous people but it’s hard to find any intellectuals among them, and they didn’t have a written language until the modern era.”

    Staffan,
    Samis would like as skimos, greater heads but with slightly shorter iq caused by their little population AND few events, the intelligence selection need the necessity to…

    • Staffan / Mar 28 2014 8:32 AM

      Not sure population size matters, but events, a varying environment (socially and ecologically), seems likely to influence intelligence.

      A difference between Sami and Eskimo (and perhaps most indigenous people) is that the Sami are non-violent and not prone to alcohol or drug abuse. Not sure why

  9. JayMan / Mar 27 2014 11:36 PM

    Guys and girls, it’s worth remembering that several distinct evolutionary processes separate pre-State from State-living people (and separate hunter-gatherers specifically from primitive farmers).

    For one, agriculture itself selected for a suite of traits in humans. It many ways this was the “taming” of man.

    State societies select for deference to authority and generally select against violence.

    As well, especially in colder farming societies, where food production was tough, you had selection for intelligence and other traits ala Gregory Clark/Ron Unz selection.

    Only on top of these do you have the selective pressures imposed by inbreeding vs. outbreeding.

    Broadly, Richard Lynn’s idea about higher IQs being selected for in Ice Age conditions is wrong. One, many modern people aren’t, by in large, descended from the Ice Age hunter-gathers across Europe and Asia. Second, peoples such as the Inuit demonstrate that Ice Ages themselves did not result in modern average IQ levels.

    As such, it’s possible that pre-State peoples have very poor capacity to function in large organized States with extended networks of trust and rules of order. Perhaps this explains Africa. It may appear HBD Chick’s idea apply more to settled peoples – farmers – and perhaps herders – than it does to hunter-gatherers.

  10. georgesdelatour / Mar 29 2014 8:46 AM

    Clannish marriage clearly has genetic consequences. But maybe the glue holding such a system in place is more cultural than biological. Pope Gregory seems to have changed the culture in parts of Europe largely by fiat, after all.

    Take the issue of consanguineous marriages among Bradford’s Muslim community – a practice that is sometimes underscored by the threat of “honour killing” the daughter who refuses to marry the person she’s told to marry. The need for that threat is one reason I suspect we’re dealing with cultural enforcement of a norm rather than a biological urge only to lust for the bodies of close relatives.

    Supposing a massive government campaign persuaded this generation of Muslim dads to let their daughters marry out. Once she’s married out, isn’t that likely to be a permanent cultural change?

  11. Gottlieb / Mar 29 2014 9:47 AM

    ”Not sure population size matters, but events, a varying environment (socially and ecologically), seems likely to influence intelligence.

    A difference between Sami and Eskimo (and perhaps most indigenous people) is that the Sami are non-violent and not prone to alcohol or drug abuse. Not sure why”

    Staffan,
    My 20 cents is, samis is like a older euro-caucasians. Probably, the tolerance to alcohol as to milk, is more older essencial traits of the caucasians than we imagine. Eskimo and other northern-amerasians are not naturally more violent but environmentallly prone to be violent because the contact with the variable european diet. Without the alcoholism i think that they turn much more pacific, like the skimos who live isolated with the white civilization.

  12. Gottlieb / Mar 29 2014 12:18 PM

    Staffan,
    here in Hbdosphere i read about ”little populations have less efficience to pass advantageous traits than greater populations”. This supposedly explain the bigger head but not higher iq of skimos and explain east asians. Probably, no only by genetic reasons but also because greater population or growing populations need more challenges and risk than stable and little populations. Necessity is the soul of the selection. Problems happen and turn greater, so, estrategies to solve him need better and only humans can make it.

  13. Gottlieb / Mar 29 2014 12:37 PM

    Not only growing population like amish, but also and specially many challenger events to modify the phenotypes.

  14. Henry Purcell / Apr 1 2014 1:31 AM

    The issue I have with this theory is the lack of a concrete psychological mechanism. It is hardly a new idea that some societies are based more than others on extended family relationships and that this influences the incidence of corruption and incompetence in government. But this theory further posits the involvement of inborn psychological traits. Just what are they? Inbreeding is supposed to create selective pressure against altruism, but are people of inbred societies really less altruistic? It is not clear to me. And how in concrete terms does this lack of altruism explain the corruption, extortion and factiousness that pervade these regions?

    One cannot fail to notice that certain cultures have a strong tradition of hospitality; Arabs for instance, are often eager to help a stranger in need, expecting nothing in return, more often (I would say) than urban Westerners. Charity is one of the five pillars of Islam, and while I don’t know how much Muslims actually donate (data would be welcome), they do love to boast about it. Of course any high-spiritedness goes out the window when their religion is challenged.

    A similar pattern can be seen with American conservatives. Conservatives are considered more hospitable (Southern hospitality) and I have read that they donate more to charity than liberals. By a conventional definition, conservatives may be considered as altruistic as liberals or moreso. But they also have a stronger fighting/warring instinct based on group identity.

    The actions of various groups may not line up neatly according to a measure of altruism. Religious conservatives, subordinating their short-term wishes to what they consider the will of God, may seem more altruistic (don’t abort the baby) or less so (fight a war to stamp out infidels) depending on the circumstance.

    Instead of a lack of altruism, I wonder whether people of the Middle East are disposed toward religiosity and collectivism. These things probably have a genetic component. Steve Sailer has said that high birth rates among conservative Muslims in Turkey help account for the resurgence of Islamism there. It might be argued that fertility trends in Western Europe have reduced these tendencies as they are said to have increased IQ, with the relatively cosmopolitan upper classes outbreeding the lower classes.

    • JayMan / Apr 1 2014 9:56 PM

      @Henry Purcell:

      The issue I have with this theory is the lack of a concrete psychological mechanism. It is hardly a new idea that some societies are based more than others on extended family relationships and that this influences the incidence of corruption and incompetence in government. But this theory further posits the involvement of inborn psychological traits.

      Hardly an unreasonable assertion, considering all human behavioral traits are heritable.

      Just what are they? Inbreeding is supposed to create selective pressure against altruism, but are people of inbred societies really less altruistic?

      They are towards outsiders, those outside the clan. But they are more so towards those in the clan. Remember, “altruism” isn’t one monolithic thing. The “who” and “under what circumstances” are supremely important. See HBD Chick on it here and here.

      One cannot fail to notice that certain cultures have a strong tradition of hospitality; Arabs for instance, are often eager to help a stranger in need, expecting nothing in return

      That came up at HBD Chick’s once. I believe we said something to the effect that it may be a way of avoiding making new enemies unnecessarily. But I can’t find where we discussed it.

      Charity is one of the five pillars of Islam, and while I don’t know how much Muslims actually donate (data would be welcome), they do love to boast about it.

      Muslims are distinctly uncivic though, as per the World Values Survey.

      A similar pattern can be seen with American conservatives. Conservatives are considered more hospitable (Southern hospitality) and I have read that they donate more to charity than liberals.

      I don’t know how clear that is though.

      Instead of a lack of altruism, I wonder whether people of the Middle East are disposed toward religiosity and collectivism.

      That is apparently part of the whole picture: generally, more clannish = more collectivist (and less individualistic), though religiosity appears to correlate (negatively) with IQ.

      See here:

      An HBD Summary of the Foundations of Modern Civilization | JayMan’s Blog

  15. Gottlieb / Apr 1 2014 9:33 AM

    Henry Purcell,
    i see the social and familiar relationship in collective societies like the relationship between the father and the son. The father ”offers” the house, eat and kindness, specially when the son obey. To have harmony in familiar relations is need understand clearly your role, your obligations and rights. As i always to say, supposedly ”any stuff is better solve when to be smart people”. Therefore, some obligations are subjectives and unfair like as ”veil to muslim women” or ”obligation to pray five times by day in direction to Meccah”.
    Urban westerners (germanic and derivatives clusters) part of their individualistic principles to leave people free to try to live accord their way of life. Unfortunatelly, the human average mind is dualistic and extremistic, or to be 8 or 80, so, in a familiar environment there advantages specially, to people who engage this way to live, but with severe restrictions, as ”i can live in my family home but if i obey my father”. The middle path will when we can combined this kindness derived to familiar environment with tolerance (supposedly because many ”liberals” are not soo liberals as this term want to show) found in cosmopolitan urban westerner places.

  16. graaf / May 4 2014 6:49 PM

    Latitude might also be a factor, harsh environment fosters cooperation with everybody. In animals it can be clearly seen that if it is difficult or impossible for a female to raise offspring alone that then monogamy sets in. The male is forced to help take care of a few offspring with one female or non shall survive. Equally when living in a group it makes sense to act with solidarity or altruism in a harsh environment to anybody nearby because it causes the one helped to live on and be able to repay the gesture someday.

    • JayMan / May 4 2014 7:19 PM

      @graaf:

      Well, the issue isn’t so much latitude, since we see high levels of clannishness in Eastern Europe and East Asia. Sub-Saharan Africa is really the major outlier, and then only possibly so.

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