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November 19, 2018 / JayMan

Forests, Trees, and the Hajnal Line

Anatoly Karlin recently wrote a post criticizing my and HBD Chick’s attribution of socio-cultural-economic differences across Europe to our old friend the Hajnal line.

The Hajnal line is a border that links Saint Petersburg, Russia and Trieste, Italy. In 1965, John Hajnal discovered it divides Europe into two areas characterized by different levels of nuptiality. To the west of the line, marriage rates and thus fertility were comparatively low and a significant minority of women married late or remained single; to the east of the line and in the Mediterranean and select pockets of Northwestern Europe, early marriage was the norm and high fertility was countered by high mortality.[1][2] [Wikipedia]

Anatoly’s arguments on this matter often rests on his inability to fit some social pattern or another perfectly to the geographic extent of the Hajnal line, as he’s wont to do. This is very much his M.O. on these things, he seems to expect perfect geographic correspondence with every social variable to the Hajnal line. It should be obvious that this is not going to happen, and it should also be obvious why. But since it’s apparently not, let me explain here.

(Now, don’t take this post to be a dig at my pal Anatoly. He’s a good force for HBD at a time when it’s badly needed. But this is a common error of thought he and others commit that I wanted to address here.)

Anatoly’s particular aim in his post is to run afoul Occam’s Razor and argue for the importance of the existence of the Iron Curtain in shaping socio-cultural values in today’s Europe, long after the Iron Curtain disappeared.

Yes, we can see that the Hajnal Line explanations do play a substantial role – e.g., Portugal, Italy, and especially Greece are rather conservative relative to Western Europe – but these effects are swamped by the effects of the Iron Curtain, as well as local effects (e.g. Poland vs. Czechia on religiosity, whose roots may stretch back to more than half a millennium). (emphasis mine)

Communism: is there anything it can’t do? It’s like the legacy of slavery for American Blacks. Its effects are felt long after its gone. And in both cases, the legacy is felt before it even existed:

That’s some powerful shit, that communism. Its power to shape outside Hajnal societies projects past, present, and future!

Obviously that’s silly. In that case, what is really going on? Why do I say that the legacy of communism is a bad explanation for what we see? Why don’t cross-national social variables fit perfectly to the line, as Anatoly often points out?

Anatoly’s nitpicking for things that sometimes don’t fit the Hajnal line well of course ignores the enormous number of socio-cultural variables that do follow the Hajnal line. A simple search on my Twitter for “Hajnal” turns up many of these:

https://twitter.com/search?l=&q=hajnal%20from%3AJayman471&src=typd

And of course I have a whole series of posts talking about this (which is a great place for newcomers to this topic to start to get up to speed with what I’m talking about here):

Clannishness – the Series: Zigzag Lightning in the Brain

There’s Anatoly’s problem: he can’t see the forest for the trees!

The thing is that the ultimate source for the differences between different groups of people living at the same time in different places is biological differences between those people. That is the reason the Hajnal line pattern we see exists and has effects that continue to be felt in many different social spheres. The people outside the line are biologically different from people inside the line. The reason for this is due to differences in the historic selective pressures that operated inside the line vs. outside the line. The broad differences are discussed by me here:

Clannishness – The Series: How It Happened – The Unz Review

But why the lack of perfect correspondence then, across different social variables? Given the above, this too should be obvious. The reason is that the selective pressures each specific population experienced were unique. Every society is different from every other society. However, there were patterns in this selection that varied in part due to geography that helped to produce the geographic patterns we see.

Hence, there isn’t going to be perfect correspondence across socio-cultural variables to any geographic pattern. Neighboring populations may be more similar in some respects and less similar in others than simple proximity would suggest. One poignant example is slightly stronger tolerance for homosexuality in Iberian populations and their derivatives than simple geography might suggest (see my post The Rise of Universalism). This should all really go without saying, but I’m saying nonetheless. Indeed, I’ve touched on the fine-grained differences of European populations, particularly intra-national ones in my post here:

Clannishness – The Series: A Finer-Grained Look at How It Happened

In Europe, migration is partly responsible for the Hajnal line pattern we see (e.g., the Ostsiedlung https://twitter.com/search?l=&q=Ostsiedlung%20from%3Ahbdchick&src=typd

But, much of the differences we see across European populations is due to in-situ selection. That said,  all of this equally applies to the American Nations:

I’ve produced a ton of maps in my American Nations Series in a similar vein to the Hajnal line differences across Europe. Here, migration is the bigger factor rather than in situ selection (since there hasn’t been much time for it, but make no mistake, some selection has occurred). In North America, the differences stem from founder effects (the initial settlement), subsequent immigration, an assortative (self-selective) migration.

Now you may ask, but surely the legacy of communism had to have some effects, right? Long-time readers know what I think about that. But for new readers, I say again that thinking that communism is to blame for the lower average social liberalism and higher average corruption of outside the Hajnal line Europe –30 years after communism’s disappearance – is like thinking slavery is to blame for the lower average IQ and high crime rates of American blacks. It’s the sociologist’s fallacy, this time in a historic context. East and West Germany remain different from each other, long after the Berlin Wall fell. But more importantly, they were different to begin with and have been for some time. 

Communism remains in place in North Korea, but North and South Korea had long historic differences, from long before the Korean War. Were the Koreas to reunite, differences would remain, just as they have in Germany.

The reason for this is because, ultimately, as Greg Cochran said, “every society selects for something”. And of course, what that something is varies from society to society (often in systematic ways).

It’s worth noting that Peter Frost published a paper not too long ago that basically ripped off HBD Chick’s idea without giving her any attribution. I must say (as I’ve said before) that I’m deeply disappointed in Peter for doing that. He, I, and Chick have been on the same page on a lot of things on the topic of HBD for a long time, and it’s a shame to see him stiffing her out of her due like this.

I don’t expect this post to change certain minds, but it should be a useful piece for those in trenches on HBD and the Hajnal line.

As always, my tip jar is very much open, especially now for reasons that will become very apparent in the next post. If you want to make a donation, it’ll be great appreciated!

 

 

5 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. ironrailsironweights / Nov 19 2018 1:10 PM

    Interesting that the dialect map mentions Frisian. Although it seems very different it’s supposedly the language most closely related to English. In the 1800’s the Frisian fisherman and the fishermen from the southeast coast of Britain, who sometimes teamed up when fishing in the North Sea, were able to communicate with each group speaking its own language.

    Peter

  2. Bob / Nov 20 2018 5:07 PM

    East and West Germany remain different from each other, long after the Berlin Wall fell. But more importantly, they were different to begin with and have been for some time.

    Communism remains in place in North Korea, but North and South Korea had long historic differences, from long before the Korean War. Were the Koreas to reunite, differences would remain, just as they have in Germany.

    I don’t think anyone besides leftists denies that people are naturally different. It’s kind of a trivial point.

    While Karlin cites communism as a possible causal factor, you seem to argue that communism, and every single phenomenon for that matter, can only be an effect. Thus communism in Russia and elsewhere can only have been an effect of some biological “propensity to communism”. What do you think of Gregory Cochran’s view that “”propensity to socialism,” meant proximity to the Red Army, nothing else.”

    I don’t see how any reasonable person could read, say, a history of the Korean War and then conclude that North Korea became communist because of North Koreans’ “propensity to communism” as opposed to Russian and Chinese military intervention.

    • JayMan / Nov 21 2018 3:59 PM

      I don’t think anyone besides leftists denies that people are naturally different. It’s kind of a trivial point.

      Clearly it’s not, because many people don’t think about the implications of that.

      While Karlin cites communism as a possible causal factor, you seem to argue that communism, and every single phenomenon for that matter, can only be an effect.

      To an extent, it is.

      Thus communism in Russia and elsewhere can only have been an effect of some biological “propensity to communism”. What do you think of Gregory Cochran’s view that “”propensity to socialism,” meant proximity to the Red Army, nothing else.”

      I don’t agree with Greg Cochran on everything. Emmanuel Todd’s work does suggest that there is a propensity towards communism in the peoples of the former communist bloc. Its appearance where it appeared isn’t an accident, as history rarely is.

      I don’t see how any reasonable person could read, say, a history of the Korean War and then conclude that North Korea became communist because of North Koreans’ “propensity to communism” as opposed to Russian and Chinese military intervention.

      Sure, communism has an effect while it’s in place. But to say that the ongoing differences between Eastern and Western Europeans, even between East and West Germans, 30 years after the fact (not to mention long before communism ever existed), is due to the legacy of communism is standard biology-denial.

      As Staffan once put it, “we can’t adjust for their entire history.”

  3. Staffan / Nov 22 2018 5:15 AM

    Exactly. The manorialism of NW Europe, and the wealth and development that came from it, was built on cooperation with non-kin. No single farmer had all the tools (cart, horse collar, scythe etc) necessary for the entire system, but borrowing and teaming up with other families enabled them to access those tools. One might object that this or that technology was not suitable for local conditions in Eastern Europe, but the general idea is applicable anywhere. And no Iron Curtain was holding them back.

  4. Joseph Ratliff / Dec 6 2018 10:00 AM

    Reblogged this on Quaerere Propter Vērum.

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