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September 12, 2015 / JayMan

Key Recent Papers and Postings

(This was also posted on the Unz Review, 9/11/15)

Some really interesting and quite significant publications have appeared in recent days. Each adds key pieces of evidence to the topic of HBD, and I wanted to talk about each here. I may do review columns like this periodically, somewhat akin to HBD Chick’s (get well soon!) linkfests.

1. Those Who Can See: Why Re-Colonization? Commonweal Orientation

This is nothing short of a brilliant and comprehensive summary and description of distinction between clannishness and its polar opposite, WEIRDO traits. M.G., the author there, vividly illustrates the distinction with examples, telling anecdotes, as well as statistics and graphs. As she put it (M.G.’s emphasis):

For those of us born in high-trust societies, it may come as a surprise that low commonweal orientation, also known as low trust, clannishness, or amoral familism, is anything but rare–globally, it is not the exception but the rule.

1) Low-trust: Don’t be a sucker

Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth:

A freier, in Israeli eyes, is a shopper who waits in line to pay retail. It is a driver who searches for legal parking rather than pulling onto the sidewalk with the other cars. … The fear of being a sucker turns driving into a bumper-car competition and makes grocery shopping as trying as arm wrestling.

If you are stronger, why should you give way to someone weaker? In a debate, the British will say, ‘You have a point.’ In a debate here, no Israeli will admit he has been persuaded to change his mind. That shows weakness.’

Americans often find the Israeli attitude intolerably rude. Israelis, meanwhile, find Americans to be the biggest freiers of all. They are naive idealists. … Americans are perceived as innocents who follow the rules and who believe a person will actually do what he promises to do. ‘An American is willing to trust until someone proves to be untrustworthy,’ Shahar said. ‘Israel is much more like the rest of the world, where the basic assumption is that people . . . should not be trusted until proven trustworthy.’

Most, if not all the time in Iranian culture and society, a zerang person is seen in a positive light … a person who is able to wittingly cheat people, companies, businesses, governments of money is zerang and an idol for many Iranians. …We Iranians, although outwardly criticize corruption, internally glorify it and wish to master it.

2) High-trust: Living among the suckers

In stark contrast to the above, NW Europeans–and first and foremost the English–are famous for their notion of ‘fair-play’. Salvador de Madariaga, in his Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards (1929):

the English sensitiveness to the ‘laws of things’–the law of the road, the law of the sea, the law of the hunting field. … the English are the teachers of the world, not merely in their quickness to perceive these natural laws, but in their cordial and sincere obedience to the restrictions which they impose upon each individual for the good of the whole.

Each Englishman is his own regulator. … The need of outside safeguards or guarantees of any kind is therefore less urgently felt than in other countries. The average level of honesty in English civil life is singularly high, as is shown in the usual disregard for detailed precautions against fraud or deceit.

… No bureaucracy in the world can vie with the English Civil Service in its devotion to the interests of the country. … it owes much also to that instinct for co-operation, that objectivity, that absence of self-seeking, of vanity and of personal passion which are typical of the whole race.

Building a better life for my family’ often means fleeing the corruption and fraud which flower among the low-trust.

In nepotistic countries, political fraud is not so much a mark of shame as a national sport.

Perhaps most helpful are the scatterplots she provides:

1) General trust level

As a tentative proxy for general trust, we took two questions.

  • “Do you think most people would try to take advantage of you if they got a chance, or would they try to be fair?” (WVS) (1-10 where 1 = “people would take advantage,” 10 = “people would try to be fair” –>; Respondents who said “1” only)
  • “How much do you trust people you meet for the first time?” (WVS) (1-4 where 1 = completely, 4 = not at all –>; Respondents who said “4” only)


2) Trust vs. Familism

Does familism correlate with trust? As a proxy for the former, we used the statement

  • “One of my main goals in life has been to make my parents proud.” (WVS) (1-4 where 1 = agree strongly, 4 = disagree strongly –>; Respondents who said “1” only)
  • “Do you think most people would try to take advantage of you if they got a chance, or would they try to be fair?” (WVS) (1-10 where 1 = “people would take advantage,” 10 = “people would try to be fair” –>; Respondents who said “1” only)


The great depth of this global pattern (appearing across many different societal variables) speaks to the basic reality of this human division. This runs square contrary to the recent paper by Aleman and Woods which claims that the two dimensions of the World Values Survey aren’t real.

Whatever the true latent factors are, and whatever the correct way to measure them is, it is clear that they are capturing real phenomena, because they have significant predictive validity, as seen so plainly in M.G.’s post.

See also my early postings:

Predictions on the Worldwide Distribution of Personality

The Rise of Universalism

National Prosperity

Also this by Staffan:

Honor, Dignity, and Face: Culture as Personality Writ Large | Staffan’s Personality Blog

2. Psychological comments: Migrant competence

James Thompson reports on a new paper he co-authored with Heiner Rindermann. They deliver a brutally thorough dissection immigrant ability in Europe. Thompson and Rindermann look not only the performance of first generation immigrants, but their progeny as well. As Thompson put it:

Europe is experiencing enormous inflows of people from Africa and the Middle East, and in the midst of conflicting rhetoric, of strong emotions and of a European leadership broadly in favour of taking more migrants (and sometimes competing to do so) one meme keeps surfacing: that European Jews are the appropriate exemplars of migrant competence and achievements.

One major ingredient of the leadership’s welcome to migrants is the belief that they will quickly adapt to the host country, and become long term net contributors to society. Is this true?

However, there is now data on first and second generation immigrant scholastic achievements, and these serve as a cautionary tale. Acculturation requires plenty of high quality educational input, and substantial gaps remain into the second generation.

Rindermann created a composite score based on PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS data so as to provide one overall competence score for both the native born population and the immigrants which had settled in each particular country. For each country you can seen the natives versus immigrant gap. By working out what proportion of the national population are immigrants you can recalculate the national competence (IQ) for that country

The analysis of scholastic attainments in first and second generation immigrants shows that the Gulf has gained from immigrants and Europe has lost. This is because those emigrating to the Gulf have higher abilities than the locals, those emigrating to Europe have lower ability than the locals.

European leaders assume that acculturation is assured: it is merely a matter of additional investment in education and training.

Differences between immigrants of second and first generation. Generally, students of the second generation show better results, in the order of 1.84 IQ points (or 12 scholastic competence points). The gains are tending to become smaller, a hint that acculturation becomes weaker, e.g. due to creating own milieus leading to social and cultural separation, facilitated by increasing immigrant groups and world views such as Islamic religion.

However, there are countries in which second-generation migrants do worse: Qatar -57, Emirates -38, Chile -34, Latvia -25, Czech -24, Azerbaijan -22, New Zealand -19, Costa Rica -16, Trinidad -14, Ireland -3 and Jordan -2. These negative results show that acculturation is not the whole story in second- vs first-generation differences, but probably also that there are differences in origin among immigrant groups.

(Of course, I would add that differences between first and second generation immigrants can’t be taken at face value, as there are a myriad of factors that could lead the apparent shifts: testing errors, admixture with locals, selective emigration, etc.)

This paper is a huge blow to the general assumption of acculturation and “assimilation” that is believed to occur with immigrants. As we’ve seen before, immigrants don’t assimilate, except perhaps in the most superficial ways (language, dress, perhaps cuisine – things that depend heavily on content).

See also:

More Maps of the American Nations

Genes, Climate, and Even More Maps of the American Nations

3. Piffer, Davide (2015), A review of intelligence GWAS hits: Their relationship to country IQ and the issue of spatial autocorrelation, Intelligence 53

Davide Piffer’s paper on polygenic IQ score has now been published in the journal Intelligence. Here’s the abstract:

Published Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS), reporting the presence of alleles exhibiting significant and replicable associations with IQ, are reviewed. The average between-population frequency (polygenic score) of nine alleles positively and significantly associated with intelligence is strongly correlated to country-level IQ (r = .91). Factor analysis of allele frequencies furthermore identified a metagene with a similar correlation to country IQ (r = .86). The majority of the alleles (seven out of nine) loaded positively on this metagene. Allele frequencies varied by continent in a way that corresponds with observed population differences in average phenotypic intelligence. Average allele frequencies for intelligence GWAS hits exhibited higher inter-population variability than random SNPs matched to the GWAS hits or GWAS hits for height. This indicates stronger directional polygenic selection for intelligence relative to height. Random sets of SNPs and Fst distances were employed to deal with the issue of autocorrelation due to population structure. GWAS hits were much stronger predictors of IQ than random SNPs. Regressing IQ on Fst distances did not significantly alter the results nonetheless it demonstrated that, whilst population structure due to genetic drift and migrations is indeed related to IQ differences between populations, the GWAS hit frequencies are independent predictors of aggregate IQ differences.

As Piffer explains (quote of Piffer from a discussion on his paper):

My hypothesis is that these hits represent signals of polygenic selection. They are not directly predictors of differences between countries, rather they stand for something else, which is millions more SNPs that have the same intelligence-increasing effect. Since these show a strong correlation, as can be seen via factor analysis and ANOVA, their frequencies are not randomly distributed across populations, it is reasonable expectation that were targets of selection, hence selection pressure differences cause different frequencies at thousands more SNPs that we have not observed yet.

Here is a scatter plot from the paper:

Piffer polygene plot

4. These 25 schools are responsible for the greatest advances in science – Quartz

Steve Hsu and Jonathan Wai discuss the results of a study on the rate that the alumni of various colleges and universities go on to win top prizes, such as the Nobel (emphasis mine):

We examined six groups of exceptional achievers divided into two tiers, looking only at winners who attended college in the US. Our goal is to create a ranking among US colleges, but of course one could broaden the analysis if desired. The first level included all winners of the Nobel Prize (physics, chemistry, medicine, economics, literature, and peace), Fields Medal (mathematics) and the Turing Award (computer science). The second level included individuals elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE) or Institute of Medicine (IOM). The National Academies are representative of the top few thousand individuals in all of STEM.

We then traced each of these individuals back to their undergraduate days, creating two lists to examine whether the same or different schools rose to the top. We wanted to compare results across these two lists to see if findings in the first tier of achievement replicated in the second tier of achievement and to increase sample size to avoid the problem of statistical flukes.

Simply counting up the number of awards likely favors larger schools and alumni populations. We corrected for this by computing a per capita rate of production, dividing the number of winners from a given university by an estimate of the relative size of the alumni population. Specifically, we used the total number of graduates over the period 1966-2013 (an alternative method of estimating base population over 100 to 150 years led to very similar lists). This allowed us to objectively compare newer and smaller schools with older and larger schools.

In order to reduce statistical noise, we eliminated schools with only one or two winners of the Nobel, Fields or Turing prize. This resulted in only 25 schools remaining, which are shown below:

Rank Nobel, Fields or Turing prize Frequency Per capita ratio below top school
1 California Institute of Technology 11 1
2 Harvard University 34 2.82
3 University of Chicago 15 2.92
4 Swarthmore College 5 3.72
5 Columbia University 20 4.06
6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 14 4.45
7 Yale University 13 5.44
8 Amherst College 4 5.51
9 CUNY – City College of New York 13 7.52
10 Carnegie Mellon University 7 7.66
11 Case Western Reserve University 4 11.02
12 Princeton University 5 11.92
13 University of California at Berkeley 19 17.04
14 Stanford University 5 18.75
15 US Naval Academy 3 18.83
16 Dartmouth College 3 18.88
17 Cornell University 6 29.63
18 University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 7 39.76
19 University of California at Los Angeles 7 43.9
20 University of Pennsylvania 3 45.63
21 Oregon State University 3 52.32
22 University of Wisconsin at Madison 5 62.87
23 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 5 68.49
24 University of Minnesota at Twin Cities 3 107.67
25 University of Washington 3 118.72

As a replication check with a larger sample, we move to the second category of achievement: National Academy of Science, Engineering or Medicine membership. The National Academies originated in an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Lifetime membership is conferred through a rigorous election process and is considered one of the highest honors a researcher can receive.

Rank NAS, NAE, or IOM membership Frequency Per capita ratio below top school
1 California Institute of Technology 78 1
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 255 1.73
3 Harvard University 326 2.09
4 Swarthmore College 49 2.69
5 Princeton University 109 3.88
6 Amherst College 35 4.46
7 Yale University 112 4.48
8 University of Chicago 56 5.54
9 Stanford University 117 5.68
10 Haverford College 15 6.51
11 Oberlin College 38 6.91
12 Columbia University 78 7.38
13 Cooper Union 10 7.86
14 Rice University 31 8.7
15 Johns Hopkins University 42 9.27
16 Dartmouth College 43 9.34
17 CUNY – City College of New York 74 9.37
18 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 41 9.83
19 Cornell University 128 9.85
20 Case Western Reserve University 28 11.17
21 Bryn Mawr College 9 11.65
22 Brown University 45 11.89
23 Pomona College 11 12.47
24 Carleton College 13 12.58
25 Wellesley College 17 12.73

Sports fans are unlikely to be surprised by our results. Among all college athletes only a few will win professional or world championships. Some collegiate programs undoubtedly produce champions at a rate far in excess of others. It would be uncontroversial to attribute this differential rate of production both to differences in ability of recruited athletes as well as the impact of coaching and preparation during college. Just as Harvard has a far higher percentage of students scoring 1600 on the SAT than most schools and provides advanced courses suited to those individuals, Alabama may have more freshman defensive ends who can run the forty yard dash in under 4.6 seconds, and the coaches who can prepare them for the NFL.

One intriguing result is the strong correlation (r ~ 0.5) between our ranking (over all universities) and the average SAT score of each student population, which suggests that cognitive ability, as measured by standardized tests, likely has something to do with great contributions later in life. By selecting heavily on measurable characteristics such as cognitive ability, an institution obtains a student body with a much higher likelihood of achievement. The identification of ability here is probably not primarily due to “holistic review” by admissions committees: Caltech is famously numbers-driven in its selection (it has the highest SAT/ACT scores), and outperforms the other top schools by a sizeable margin.

This shows the clear importance of raw ability in producing great achievement. The schools with the strongest pool of students end up having those students go on to have the greatest real-world achievement.

We cannot say whether outstanding achievement should be attributed to the personal traits of the individual which unlocked the door to admission, the education and experiences obtained at the school, or benefits from alumni networks and reputation.

Yeah well, I can tell you that the evidence isn’t pointing of the direction of education mattering much beyond student ability (and I’ll have more on that in a future posting). See:

The Son Becomes The Father

But maybe the particular institution matters when it comes to breakthrough achievement? Who knows? That’s not where I’m inclined to put my money, though. See also Greg Cochran on that (get well soon my good man!).

5. Marine Corps gender integration research executive summary

The Marine Corp wanted to test the effectiveness of female marines in combat situations. So they “carried out … a nine-month long experiment at both Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Twentynine Palms, Calif. About 400 Marines, including 100 women, volunteered to join the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force, the unit the Marine Corps created to compare how men and women do in a combat environment.” (Quote source)

Here’s what they found:

Summary of Research Findings

  • Combat Effectiveness
    • Overall: All-male squads, teams and crews demonstrated higher performance levels on 69% of tasks evaluated (93 of 134) as compared to gender-integrated squads, teams and crews. Gender-integrated teams performed better than their all-male counterparts on (2) events.
    • Speed: All-male squads, regardless of infantry MOS, were faster than the gender-integrated squads in each tactical movement. The differences were more pronounced in infantry crew-served weapons specialties that carried the assault load plus the additional weight of crew-served weapons and ammunition.
    • Lethality: All-male 0311 (rifleman) infantry squads had better accuracy compared to gender-integrated squads. There was a notable difference between genders for every individual weapons system (i.e. M4, M27, and M203) within the 0311 squads, except for the probability of hit & near miss with the M4.
    • Male provisional infantry (those with no formal 03xx school training) had higher hit percentages than the 0311 (school trained) females: M4: 44% vs 28%, M27: 38% vs 25%, M16A4w/M203: 26% vs 15%.
    • All-male infantry crew-served weapons teams engaged targets quicker and registered more hits on target as compared to gender-integrated infantry crew-served weapons teams, with the exception of M2 accuracy.
    • All-male squads, teams and crews and gender-integrated squads, teams, and crews had a noticeable difference in their performance of the basic combat tasks of negotiating obstacles and evacuating casualties. For example, when negotiating the wall obstacle, male Marines threw their packs to the top of the wall, whereas female Marines required regular assistance in getting their packs to the top. During casualty evacuation assessments, there were notable differences in execution times between all-male and gender-integrated groups, except in the case where teams conducted a casualty evacuation as a one-Marine fireman’s carry of another (in which case it was most often a male Marine who “evacuated” the casualty).

Yet certain voices insist on allowing women in combat situations. I’m just sayin’.

6. Easterly, Comin, & Gong (2007) Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?

This is certainly not new, but I recently saw it again and it is definitely worth taking another look at. Here’s the abstract:

We assemble a dataset on technology adoption in 1000 B.C., 0 A.D., and 1500 A.D. for the predecessors of today’s nation states. We find that this very old history of technology adoption is surprisingly significant for today’s national development outcomes. Although our strongest results are for 1500 A.D., we find that even technology as old as 1000 B.C. is associated with today’s outcomes in some plausible specifications.

And here is a scatterplot:

1500-Now Scatterplot

Obviously, countries which have had their populations replaced by Northwestern Europeans stand as outliers. When they controlled for that, this is what they got:

Europe Scatterplot 1500-present

Needless to say, this is exactly as expected given that the development of society depends on the characteristics of the people who comprise it – average IQ being a major one of those characteristics.

The pattern is visible further back, from 1000 B.C.:

Euro Scatterplot 1000BC-presentHere we primarily see the effect of the early agricultural adopters. However, my readers will know that there has been a lot of evolution since then. As to be expected, we see a somewhat stronger relationship when we look more recently, roughly 2000 years ago:

Euro plot 0AD-presentThere has been quite a bit of evolution since that time as well, but the relationship strengthens a bit. Cold-weather farmers start to standout more.

See also:

“Racial Reality” Provides My 150th Post

So there you have it. The reality of HBD is clear and evident. Yet, the politically correct crazy has been only getting more crazy. With the ongoing “refugee” crisis in Europe, the paramount importance this information is all too plain. In the end, it is the people that make the society. More and more I’m starting to feel like I and the other HBD researchers are Galileo facing the Vatican. When will the official doctrine collapse?


September 12, 2015 / JayMan

Henry Harpending: Extremist – Says the Southern Poverty Law Center

(This was also posted on the Unz Review, 8/27/15)
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) current “Featured Extremist” (their words) is none other than the mild-mannered Henry Harpending of West Hunter.

Extremist Info



They go into a fair amount of detail about Harpending and his work, but take a look at what they say. Are they actually trying to discredit him (emphasis mine)?

Henry Harpending is a controversial anthropologist at the University of Utah who studies human evolution and, in his words, “genetic diversity within and between human populations.” Harpending is most famous for his book, co-authored with frequent collaborator Gregory Cochran, The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, which argues that humans are evolving at an accelerating rate, and that this began when the ancestors of modern Europeans and Asians left Africa. Harpending believes that this accelerated evolution is most visible in differences between racial groups, which he claims are growing more distinct and different from one another. The evolution of these racial differences are, in Harpending’s account, the driving force behind all of modern human history.

You don’t say? I did:

He is also a eugenicist who believes that medieval Europeans intuitively adopted eugenic policies, and that we should recognize the importance of eugenics in our own society.

In His Own Words:

“The reason the Industrial Revolution happened in 1800, rather than the year one thousand, or zero, which it could have, the Romans certainly could have done it, is that a new kind of human evolved in northern Europe, and probably northern Asia. And that this led to the Industrial Revolution—this new kind of human was less violent, had an affinity for work. When you view your parents or grandparents, and you know that they’re retired, they could relax. But afterwards they can’t just sit on the couch and relax, they’ve got to go and get a shop and work on a cradle for their grandchildren… I’ve never seen anything like that in an African. I’ve never seen anyone with a hobby in Africa. They’re different.”
—“Preserving Western Civilization” conference, 2009

Yup (see National Prosperity).

“Group differences, as far as we know, are in the DNA. Nobody yet has found any credible environmental effect on IQ or academic achievement. And believe me, people have been frantically looking for one for sixty, seventy years. Nothing. If you look at the quantitative genetic analyses, they’ll talk about a contribution from genes, and a contribution from environment. What that contribution from environment is, is random error. It doesn’t matter who raised you, as long as they didn’t hit you on the head with a hammer. It doesn’t matter whether you have high or low self-esteem. Everything has been shown just not to be there.

(See The Son Becomes The Father and More Behavioral Genetic Facts.)

The gap between ethnic groups is not closing in this country. There have been announcements that it’s closing for at least the last twenty years, usually in the New York Times, it’s not there, there’s no difference. There’s no change. Nothing changes.”
—H.L. Mencken Club meeting, 2011

“Among Herero there is no such thing as an accident, there is no such thing as a natural death, witchcraft in some form is behind all of it. Did you have a gastrointestinal upset this morning? Clearly someone slipped some pink potion in the milk. … Our [African] employees were so adamant to show me the truth that they pooled their money so they could take me to the local witch doctor, who would turn me into a frog. ‘Of course he can do that, it is easy for them to do, even to white people’ they said. … A colleague pointed out a few weeks ago, after hearing this story, that if it is nearly pan-African then perhaps some of it came to the New World. Prominent and not so prominent talkers from the American Black population come out with similar theories of vague and invisible forces that are oppressing people, like ‘institutional racism’ and ‘white privilege’.”
—“My friend the witch doctor,” West Hunter blog

I will say that many (primarily poorer) Jamaicans are similar in that regard. See also bewitched | hbd chick

They continue (emphasis added):

According to Henry Harpending, innate racial differences are the defining element of human society. Harpending believes that all variation between racial and ethnic groups—including cultural differences, social and economic disparities, and achievement gaps—are the result of recent and ongoing human evolution. Harpending’s most thorough elaboration of these beliefs is found in his book, co-authored with Gregory Cochran, called The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. Much of what Harpending and Cochran claim in The 10,000 Year Explosion builds on the work of economist Gregory Clark, who believes that the Industrial Revolution and British global dominance can best be explained evolutionarily.

According to Clark’s book A Farewell to Alms, which Harpending has described as “one of the greatest books in human biology,” most living Britons descend from the upper classes of the medieval period. Because the wealthy left approximately twice as many surviving children as did the poor, Clark argues that the traits that defined the wealthy were selected for, and became prevalent in British society. And, unsurprisingly, Clark argues that the wealthy achieved their wealth by virtue of superior qualities like peacefulness, diligence, and intelligence; these traits were thus bred into the genetic heritage of white Britons. This became what Harpending calls the evolution of a “new kind of human,” found only in populations of western European and East Asian descent.

Harpending takes Clark’s argument further. He believes that present-day hunter-gatherer societies prove that the “old kind” of human is “impulsive, violent, innumerate, illiterate, and lazy.” He insists that everyone knows this to be true about non-European, non-Asian populations, but that anthropologists aren’t allowed to say so because these are considered “hate facts.”

Wait, so they’re saying they’re not? What’s this page for then, exactly?

Instead, academics are forced to pretend “that these are really all charming, lovely people who are just the victims of capitalism.”

Harpending and Cochran are also co-authors of one of the most prominent “HBD” blogs, West Hunter. HBD, or “human biodiversity,” is the latest iteration of a long tradition of scientific racism. Proponents of HBD maintain a vocal online presence, and are at the forefront of efforts to mainstream white supremacist thought. West Hunter features a mixture of anthropology, HBD, and generic racist, far-right musings.

I guess they couldn’t take the “mega-aggressions” offered at West Hunter.

In other articles and book chapters, Harpending has made often bizarre claims about race, biology, and social structures. These include the idea that sociopathy and “hysteria” are adaptive traits in men and women respectively, as well as support for Jean-Philippe Rushton’s idea that a genetic “ethnic nepotism” explains racial solidarity and racism, and that “diversity decreases national cohesion and the ability of governments to make rational economic decisions”.

As readers here know, I have disagreed with Hapending’s and Rushton’s ideas of ethnic nepotism (since “Ethnic Genetic Interests” Do Not Exist). A key difference is that I went into great detail on why this is so. This SPLC piece is heavy on incredulity but light on specific counterarguments.

In one article, coauthored with Peter Frost, an HBD blogger and columnist with no current academic affiliation, Harpending proposed another explanation for why western Europeans were supposedly genetically predisposed to be less violent than other racial groups. In this article and in talks he has given to friendly, non-academic crowds, Harpending has argued that the introduction of the death penalty in medieval Europe contributed to the “genetic pacification” of the population through “the steady removal of individuals who were more genetically prone to personal violence.” He has even suggested that this took place because medieval Europeans invented institutions like governments, courts, and contracts,

Indeed, see here (also on the Unz Review): Western Europe, state formation, and genetic pacification).

which Harpending apparently believes had never existed anywhere before being introduced in 11th century England.

Actually, Peter Frost wrote a paper saying that a similar process may have occurred in the Roman Empire (Frost, Peter 2010, The Roman State and genetic pacification).

Possibly his strangest argument is that Amish populations in the United States experience evolutionary selection towards “Amishness,” which can be expressed in terms of an “Amish Quotient,” or “AQ.” According to Harpending, a high “Amish Quotient” translates to increases in “affinity for work, perseverance, low status competition, respect for authority, conscientiousness, and community orientation.”

See Inferring an AQ | West Hunter and Boiling Off | West Hunter. I cite this process to explain the conservatism and other characteristics of the Great Plains. See More Maps of the American Nations.

The model for “Amishness” is based on earlier work found in Harpending’s most controversial paper, coauthored with Cochran and Jason Hardy, “A Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence.” The piece, in their own words, “elaborates the hypothesis that the unique demography and sociology of Ashkenazim in medieval Europe selected for intelligence.”

That it was.

In 2009, Harpending participated in a conference on “Preserving Western Civilization,” where he spoke alongside notorious racists like Peter Brimelow (president and chief contributor to the white nationalist and Jean-Philippe Rushton (president of the eugenicist Pioneer Fund from 2002 until his death in 2012).

Harpending’s talk at the conference was a full-throated defense of scientific racism. In it, he argued that anthropological analysis could identify and explain traits he claimed were shared by people from central Africa, Papua New Guinea, and Baltimore (his favorite metonym for the African-American community as a whole). These included violence, laziness, and a preference for “mating instead of parenting.” This is especially the case in Papua New Guinea, where, according to Harpending, “[w]hat these guys do is kill their neighbors. That’s their favorite activity—oh, they love it! They love it! It’s the high point of their lives. They get their DNA into the next generation by being killers, and violent. And if there’s evolution going on, that kind of society is selecting for unpredictable, violent males.”

These inherent traits mean that in societies where males are provided with necessities like food, whether from female farmers or from welfare checks, you find that “when there’s plenty of food, men do male stuff like putting on make-up, fighting, raiding, and telling stories. Male effort seems to be competitive effort, rather than parental effort.”

Reaffirming his belief in the fundamental similarities between Papuan gardening societies and African-American communities largely dependent on welfare, he later asked: “Where are these [traits] found? In post-industrial cities, among the underclass, you know, street corner males with fancy sneakers, looking good, combing their hair, males strutting around, macho. This is absolutely typical whether it’s highland New Guinea or Baltimore.” These traits were contrasted with those of Europeans and northern Asians who have evolved higher intelligence and “tend to be more disciplined than people who take life for granted.”


Harpending has also spoken several times at Paul Gottfried’s Baltimore-based H.L. Mencken Club, which hosts an annual meeting of prominent far-right thinkers and academic racists. In his 2011 talk at the Mencken Club, Harpending argued that money spent towards education is wasted, because variation in test scores is due entirely to the racial makeup of the test-taking populations. He claims that “Anglo” students in every state perform equally well on standardized tests regardless of education expenditures, and that black students are also comparable across state lines, thus the gap between white and black students’ scores is entirely genetic and has nothing to do with the educational environments. He does acknowledge that the data shows there have been gains in average scores of black students relative to white students, but insists that these are not “real.”

Education Realist might have a thing or two to say here.

Harpending also used his 2011 Mencken Club talk to promote eugenics. Hearkening back to his ideas of “genetic pacification,” Harpending claimed that “[w]hat happened in medieval Europe was brutal enforcement of laws. We didn’t go to the movie on Saturdays, we went to the public hanging. Criminals were treated without mercy.” He added that “this is eugenics. … [W]e killed off the violent folks, we replaced poor folks with the offspring of the prosperous… . Most of us are descended from exactly this process, another point being that the rest of the world isn’t like us.”

He goes on to claim that because the rest of the world has not enjoyed the centuries of eugenic policies that transformed Europeans into a “new kind of human,” non-European peoples are fundamentally incapable of adopting western, democratic norms. This, in Harpending’s view, is the only reason the war in Afghanistan failed to produce a stable, democratic government.

It concludes this way:

Harpending’s work provided a great deal of the foundation for Nicholas Wade’s controversial 2014 book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History. Wade relied entirely on the Harpending, Cochran, and Hardy paper on Ashkenazi intelligence for one chapter of his book, and much of the rest relied on Harpending’s gloss on Gregory Clark’s work. Notably, when around 140 prominent population geneticists wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times complaining that Wade’s book had radically misinterpreted their research, Harpending sneeringly dismissed this as “preening and posturing,” and a “pretentious pronouncement claiming that ‘they were genetics’ and that Wade was abusing ‘their’ knowledge.”

Anyone notice something? In their piece to discredit Harpending, they’ve selected quotes and claims that pretty much make the case for HBD, much like my earlier post (featuring “Misdreavus”) Why HBD. A novice reader coming to this SPLC piece would realize that there must be something to this HBD thing, presuming they were not deterred by the SPLC’s God-like decree that this topic matter is evil and hence verboten.

For the record, here’s the evil extremist, “White Nationalist” in action…

I have said that the case for HBD will soon become impossible to ignore. The Church can make only so many sanctions before more Galileos with their own telescopes see the real truth. As the wall of dogma collapses under its own weight, the powers on high will scramble to suppress the truth even more. Donald Trump and his recent success may be a sign that the Gatekeepers are failing in this aim (see time 13:00, courtesy The Audacious Epigone):

The problem is simple: try as you might to suppress them, facts about the world do not go away, and will continue to be discovered and re-discovered over time. Dogma can keep the truth shrouded for a while, but this is an ultimately limited process. The awful truth (see “Squid Ink“) becomes known.

The theme for this post, something to really capture the threat posed by the evil extremist Henry Harpending…

August 20, 2015 / JayMan

Now At The Unz Review

tumblr_nrrjuxEH2r1sioa0k_ogIn case you haven’t already heard, I’m now a columnist at The Unz Review. Please see my new column there. All my blog posts and pages have been published there.

Future posts will appear as columns there, but will also be published here, at least for now. I’ve re-enabled comments here, but you may want to consider commenting to my publications over at

Thanks to all the readers who have followed me, commented, and donated over the years. You’ve helped build this publication to what it is today. As well, I have much more to come. Stay tuned!

August 15, 2015 / JayMan

Please Stand By…

constructionI’ve temporarily disabled all comments across the blog. Some work is being done, and when that’s complete, everything will be up and running again. Please be patient.

August 5, 2015 / JayMan

Pictures: Why White American Fertility May Be Eugenic for IQ

(Please see also link to older post at the bottom of this one.)

Donald Trump

Elon Musk:

Mitt Romney:


Previously: Idiocracy Can Wait?

August 2, 2015 / JayMan

“Ethnic Genetic Interests” Do Not Exist (Neither Does Group Selection)

Just as mainstream wisdom on human psychology and evolution is filled with heaps of rubbish (rubbish which I’ve covered here extensively – see 200 Blog Posts – Everything You Need to Know (To Start)), the space of dissenting voices on this matter is also filled with its own share of rubbish – and worse. I’ve gone over some of it here (The Problem with HBD, the Dark Enlightenment, Neoreaction, Alt-Rightism, and All That Jazz), but one pernicious piece of nonsense is the idea of “ethnic genetic interests.”

In short, this is the idea that natural selection has, through inclusive fitness, shaped humans to favor those in their own ethnic or racial group when members of other groups are present. This idea was formulated by Frank Salter and Henry Harpending, and later discussed by J. P. Rushton. Salter & Harpending (2012) review it:

While much of inclusive theory has been developed in terms of the coefficient of relationship, everything is easier when it is written in terms of the coefficient of kinship. For example the coefficient of relationship, the ‘‘fraction of shared genes’’ is unity with oneself. But what if a person is highly inbred? Then we need some-hing to recognize that such a person is ‘‘more related’’ to himself than the offspring of a random mating or an outbred mating.

Imagine for example that conditions are Malthusian and that one can share a transient surplus with a neighbor, thereby increasing the latter’s individual fitness. If a person can recognize ethnic kin using cultural or heritable markers, he can pick a neighbor with kinship of 0.06 almost every time, corresponding to kinship with a great-grandchild. If at marginal cost he confers some fitness benefit on this neighbor, this is equivalent to increasing his own fitness by 12% (0.06/0.50) of that benefit. On the other hand if he confers the same benefit to a neighbor with kinship 0.06, that decreases his own fitness by the same 12%. Discrimination can therefore cause an action or relationship to yield a 24% difference in fitness. This is an extraordinarily strong selective force, and any quantitative trait that favored ethnic kin discrimination would be rapidly selected with consequences easily visible within a few hundreds to thousands of years.

The gist of this idea is that the presence of outsiders supposedly increases the relative relatedness between unrelated co-ethnics, since (according to the theory) relationship would be judged relative to the total genetic background involved.

The problem is that this reasoning is flawed. The normal way of assessing kinship, the coefficient of relationship, is as follows (from Wikipedia):

Degree of
Relationship Coefficient ofrelationship (r)
0 identical twins; clones 100%
1 parent-offspring 50% (2−1)
2 full siblings 50% (2−2+2−2)
2 3/4 siblings or sibling-cousins 37.5% (2−2+2⋅2−4)
2 grandparent-grandchild 25% (2−2)
2 half siblings 25% (2−2)
3 aunt/uncle-nephew/niece 25% (2⋅2−3)
4 double first cousins 25% (2−3+2−3)
3 great grandparent-great grandchild 12.5% (2−3)
4 first cousins 12.5% (2⋅2−4)
6 quadruple second cousins 12.5% (8⋅2−6)
6 triple second cousins 9.38% (6⋅2−6)
4 half-first cousins 6.25% (2−4)
5 first cousins once removed 6.25% (2⋅2−5)
6 double second cousins 6.25% (4⋅2−6)
6 second cousins 3.13% (2−6+2−6)
8 third cousins 0.78% (2⋅2−8)
10 fourth cousins 0.20% (2⋅2−10)

As we can see, the coefficient of relationship drops to insignificance beyond second cousins. This is the probability that a given relative of an individual possesses a copy of an allele the individual possesses. This affects kin selection given by Hamilton’s rule (also from Wikipedia):

rB > C


r = the genetic relatedness of the recipient to the actor, often defined as the probability that a gene picked randomly from each at the same locus is identical by descent.
B = the additional reproductive benefit gained by the recipient of the altruistic act,
C = the reproductive cost to the individual performing the act.

When this is inequality is true, the altruistic trait is selected for.

An altruistic allele leads to behavior that makes this inequality true will tend to increase in frequency in the population. All other altruistic alleles will decrease with time. This is the basis of kin selection.

(Though note, the coefficient of relationships given above are for outbred populations. Inbred populations have higher coefficients of relationship, and this forms the basis for HBD Chick’s theory. More on that shortly.)

Salter’s/Harpending’s/Rushton’s idea for ethnic nepotism doesn’t work for this key reason: the presence of outsiders doesn’t alter the frequency of altruistic alleles. The payoff remains the same in both cases. As I said before:

The problem is that alleles for altruistic behavior itself are of interest. New alleles always originate in a single individual. Now how could said putative alleles have grown in frequency if the targets of altruism – hence selection for these alleles (distant relatives or even unrelated people) were highly unlikely to carry it? The fitness of the bearer goes down but the allele does not increase in frequency to compensate.


The reason is simple: if an altruistic act isn’t going confer a fitness benefit when outsiders are absent (thanks to Hamilton’s rule), it isn’t going to suddenly confer more fitness when outsiders are present: the degree of relationship to your co-ethnics is the same in both scenarios, and so is the fitness payoff to you.

Misdreavus gave perhaps the most succinct treatment of the matter (emphasis in original):

1) It is impossible for such a thing as a “race altruist gene” to evolve, because sacrificing yourself on behalf of strangers does nothing to increase the frequency of the gene under any set of circumstances. It doesn’t matter if the frequency of a such a gene “magically” originated with a frequency of 4 in 10 Chinese people. The Chinese who don’t have the gene, on average, would have a higher fitness, resulting in the frequency decreasing monotonically over time.

2) On the other hand, it is entirely possible for complex social arrangements to evolve between completely unrelated people — and the more that strangers have in common culturally (e.g. speaking a common language, sharing a common religion, etc.) the stronger such ties will be. But that has absolutely nothing to do with “altruism”, in the strict evolutionary sense. All participants in the social network either have something to gain (e.g. the help of one’s neighbours during a famine), or at least something terrible to lose (e.g. being sent to a prison camp for insulting Kim Jong Un). And all societies, virtually everywhere, have social mechanisms in place that penalize shirkers, cheaters, moochers, and all other people who do not uphold their end of the social bargain.

3) Once any such social bargains erode away, there is absolutely stopping individuals from betraying their “racial interests” [sic] to enrich themselves and their close kin, or any other people with whom they have arranged better social bargains. Sincere idealists of any stripe are a relatively small minority among any population. The entire sum of human history of a testament to the fact the vast majority of people stop giving a damn about their tribe when the going gets tough — just what do their “genes” have to gain by not betraying important secrets to the enemy army, in exchange for an important official post?

3) Assortative mating is real thing, but that has nothing to do with “racial interests”, either. If you’re a pretty white women who happens to love handsome white men — that has absolutely nothing to do the degree of genetic overlap, especially not if you reject short, ugly white men who are just as related to you. (And before you retort with something like “beautiful people are more likely to have genes in common” — well ugly people don’t seem to be very keen on each other in any society. Why not, similar genes and all?)

And that also applies in the opposite direction — for some people, their best bet really is to mate with someone of a different race, “purity” be damned. Fifty percent is a lot better than zero.

4) Throughout the vast majority of human history, the vast majority of people never even saw someone of a different race. Forget about “racial genetic interests”. That’s like suggesting that human beings have evolved a congenital distaste for three-eyed creatures from the Andromeda Galaxy, during the event of an invasion of Earth by extraterrestrials — except no we haven’t. Sure, the tendency exists, and must be partly rooted in genetics, but it is virtually impossible for it to have evolved that way.

I suppose a key misunderstanding in the matter is the failure to realize that each individual gene contributes to fitness independently. Each gene is “out for itself”, so to speak. It just so happens that in any given organism, genes achieve success by working together (most of the time). As such each individual gene’s “aim” is to make more copies of itself. What’s going on in the rest of the genome is tangential to this. Each gene would be just as happy to mix with any other gene, so long as its own fitness is increased in the process.

But this doesn’t seem to stop some of the sentiments floating around the “alt-right” sphere as of late, especially with the latest “cuckservative” meme. Some of the idiocy is captured with this:

Shit Cuckservatives Say

“I would be proud to have a (half) black grandkid”

or this:

As I’ve said before:

There is no impact on one’s fitness from the race of one’s mate (or an offspring’s mate) so long as close relatives are off the table as mates (aside from the fitness impact of the particular genes such mates were bringing in the environment in question). The fitness impact to a White man’s genes if his daughter marries a Black man is the same as if she married an unrelated White man (again, fitness from gene function notwithstanding).

Just the same, the inclusive fitness impact to a White American is the same whether he focuses his altruistic act on an unrelated White American or on a Namibian; it is zero in both cases. If you adopt children rather than have your own, the fitness hit to you is the same whether your adopted children are White, Black, Chinese, or Venezuelan.

Of course, all this applies to outbred populations. In inbred populations, something akin to “ethnic genetic interests” operating via kin selection does work – but here, it’s much more proximate: it’s clan interest. In an inbreeding population, the relationship coefficients are high enough that a preference for marrying and/or associating with kin can (and does) develop. It does payoff to favor your extended family over than non-relatives. (Indeed, it does so much than it does for an outbred population. This increase in the reach of inclusive fitness forms the basis for HBD Chick’s theory: selection favors kin altruism much more over reciprocal altruism than it does in an outbred population.)

Hence, there is no human ethnic group that exhibits ethnic nepotism. This includes Ashkenazi Jews. Complex rules on who is a suitable partner for reciprocal altruism can develop, and every society has such rules (who is an acceptable partner, and under what circumstances, etc.). But these have nothing to do with ethnic nepotism, didn’t arise via kin selection, and don’t depend on genetic relatedness per se. This includes Ashkenazi Jews.

All of these brings me to another issue: group selection. Group selection is the idea that traits can arise thanks to selection operating on whole groups. More accurately, that traits can arise that are beneficial to the group despite being maladaptive to individuals and their kin. This does not happen. Greg Cochran explains the basic gist why:

 You can imagine situations in which natural selection would favor an increase in frequency for a trait that aided group survival while hurting individual reproductive success – but it’s not all that easy. Here’s the problem: imagine a situation in which some individuals in the group have an allele that causes them to fight in a way that saves the collective – the catch is that some get killed in the process. Members of the tribe that don’t have this allele are saved as well, but they don’t pay the price. At the end of this fight, the frequency of the self-sacrificing allele has gone down, not up. So how can the altruistic allele hang around? How would it ever have become common in the first place?

Self-sacrifice can refer to any fitness-reducing behavior, since any allele that consistently reduces fitness will eventually decline to zero frequency (Keller & Miller, 2006).

“Group selection” in a sense can occur, when one group out-competes other groups because of traits the first group possess. But the key fact is that these are traits that individually advantageous within the group. That is, this sort of “group selection” acts in tandem with individual selection, not in spite of it. In that sense, such selection is really a type of individual selection. This is discussed by Bourrat, 2014 (Levels of Selection Are Artefacts of Different Fitness Temporal Measures). In short, looking at different spans of time can make one confuse individual selection for group selection.

The non-existence of group-selection means that any traits any human ethnic group possesses are the result of individual selection (and on close kin as described above).

This includes Jewish peoples. A common trope in this space is that Ashkenazi Jews have group-selected traits that as aided in their success and survival. Of course, that’s rubbish. Any traits they possess are as individually selected as they are for other groups.

The prevalence of such nonsense beliefs in this space speaks to the mindset of some in it. Most humans have some sort of agenda, and it is fairly normal behavior to selectively interpret/acknowledge fact in such a way that suits such an agenda. But no, you can’t excuse your racism by appealing to ethnic genetic interests. Nor can you excuse your misogyny and other hatred by appealing to specious claims about the sexes, children, or other classes of individuals (see “Manosphere” Community Beliefs: Truths and Nonsense, Taming the “Tiger Mom” and Tackling the Parenting Myth, and Obesity Facts).

One feature of these individuals is a visceral opposition to “race mixing” (ignoring the fact that such gave us the modern races we see today). Well to those guys, I say I’ve been busy spreading my Black (and other) genes into the White gene pool here in Maine:

Little JayMan and New Little OneLittle JayMan Number 2

…and have no intentions of slowing down.

There are of course reasons to favor certain policies – such as restricting immigration from certain parts of the world – that have nothing to do with ethnic nepotism. Indeed, such a policy can be solidly self-interested if one favors a better environment for oneself and one’s progeny and close kin.

Mainstream discourse – as well as much of the human sciences in the West – is unfortunately saddled with a belief in liberal creationism. This is an apt term, since one has to deny many facts to make it work, much as those who deny evolution outright must. Unfortunately, those who buck this trend and speak out against this belief often also harbor their own bullshit baggage. One can only hope that eventually, the most rational minds come to dominate.

July 29, 2015 / JayMan

Genes, Climate, and Even More Maps of the American Nations

Updated, 9/11/15 9/4/15. See below!

Throughout this blog, I’ve talked a lot about the American Nations – a concept, based on a book by Colin Woodard, that North America is divided into several ethno-cultural-political regional “nations”.

North American Nations 4 3These nations are distributed approximately as shown above. The empirical bases of the existence of these ethno-cultural entities has been covered extensively here; the key posts are indexed on my page American Nations Series. As discussed in those posts, we see these ethno-cultural divisions appear in many different aspects of life: from politics, to language, to crime, [Edit: to guns, see also Guns, violence, and the Dylann Roof rampage and Guns & Violence, Again,**] to education, to social attitudes (such as on the death penalty, on healthcare, on corporal punishment, on abortion, on the rights of women and gays, and on interracial marriage) Edit: [see also The Rise of Universalism**]. We even see these divisions in allegiance to sports teams, as we see in this map favorite  major league teams across the U.S., here baseball:


This pattern is also visible when you look at the second most popular baseball team in each county:


This pattern is also visible with NBA basketball (see also here for Canada):

basketball nations

In the case of language, the various American nations also become evident through use of online profanity (as gauged by Twitter):

Woodard gives an excellent review of the various nations and their histories. He details the course these various nations took towards become what they are today. However, Woodard falls short on the underlying mechanics behind this pattern. Readers here know this to be genetic differences between people living in each region, as detailed in my posts Demography is Destiny, American Nations Edition and More Maps of the American Nations. Behavioral genetic studies clearly establish that regional differences at a given instance stem from heritable differences between the people who inhabit them Edit: [see the aforementioned preceding posts, and see my posts All Human Behavioral Traits are Heritable, Environmental Hereditarianism, and The Son Becomes The Father; recapped in my 200th post, section Heredity and behavioral genetics **]. As such, the question then becomes how did these different strains of people end up where they are? This makes investigation fairly straightforward.

The importance of fine genetic differences between people goes right back to the beginning of the American Nations. Woodard borrows from David Hackett Fischer’s book Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, which details differences in the founding British settlers and the legacy that leaves today across the various American regions. And, interestingly enough, modern genetic analysis (Leslie et al, 2015) finds that Fischer’s “Four British Folkways” are evident in the genetic data across Britain:


Genetic differences between groups of people, once established, persist as long as the different groups do until diluted or erased by admixture (this is known as the Founder effect). As well, new differences can emerge within a single population as selective migration leads this initial population to fission into two or more daughter populations (see here and here – more on that to follow).

In short, tiny genetic differences between two groups of people can lead to large differences in behavioral traits. This extents to all facets of human behavior – a point driven home by a recent paper correlating linguistic diversity across Europe with genetic diversity there (Longobardi et al, 2015).

But why do the American nations follow the pattern that they do? It turns out that this pattern was hardly a coincidence.

The founding colonial groups landed at various spots across the North American east coast:


From there, the nations spread westward across the continent. However, they did so in a certain way, as the next map will show:

Climate North America NationsThis is a map of the major climatic zones of North America (from Peel, Finlayson, and McMahon, 2007), with the American nations borders overlain. As we see, there is a tight correspondence between the American nations today and the major climatic zones of the country (something we’ve seen previously in my post Snow Nations):

Snow Nations 2

EDIT, 9/4/15: [Indeed, the American Nations correspond to another climatic factor, overall average precipitation (base maps from Encyclopedia Britannica and The Climate Source, respectively):

North American Nations Precip
American Nations RainfallThe pattern is also visible (as to be expected) in average annual snowfall (base map from The Climate Source):

snowfall nations***End Edit***]

Edit, 9/11/15: [Here also is a map of tree density across North America (from Crowther, 2015):

TreesAs would be expected from climate, the American Nations follow differences in vegetation across the continent. The grassy plains of the agricultural Midlands are evident, as are the dry territories of El Norte and the Far West. The line where the Prairie provinces give way to the taiga of First Nation is clear. The verdant temperate rain forest of the Left Coast is also stands out. ***End Edit***]

Geography dictated the settlement of the country:

wood_expansionAn example of this process can be seen in the settlement of the “upper Midwest” (Hudson, 1986):

yankeeland.middle.westSettlers moved to places where they could easily transplant their way of life. Areas of similar climate obviously aided in that aim. In the upper Midwest, Yankee and Midland settlers were joined by German and Scandinavian immigrants (as detailed in the preceding posts), who were also coming to areas climatically similar to their old homes.

A similar process occurred across the Deep South. Plantation settlements appeared wherever good soil and conditions for cotton farming were to be found. The concentration of Blacks across the core of the Deep South…

White Liberal Counties …followed the Cretaceous coastline of North America, 100 million years ago (see Craig McClain):

namK85This was an area of intense cotton farming, and hence, a high African slave population:



(Retrieved from here)

Agriculture also drove settlement of the middle of country. This area is marked by expansion of the Midlands. The Midlands has been and remains today a region defined by agriculture (map from here):

crops_by_county usfluorescenceMap_of_Santa_Fe_Trail-NPSIndeed, the Midlands is America’s breadbasket (though the bulk of the crops grown here don’t feed people, but rather serve as animal feed/biofuels). The southwestern extension of the Midlands followed (primarily German) settlers headed down the Santa Fe Trail.

Edit: [Indeed, much of the Midlands possesses a similar geographic character, looking much like as seen in this railroad video shot in southeastern Pennsylvania:

The Midlands looks pretty much like this from South Jersey to Nebraska, with abundant grassy fields throughout.

As well, some observant readers may note that on the climate-American nations map, one disagreement between climatic boundaries and the American nations boundaries is that the climate zone which contains the Midlands, the Köppen “Dfa” zone, spills over into Greater Appalachia. Indeed, this climate zone extends south to the Ohio River. But, in fact, interestingly, so do settlement patterns. The area north of the Ohio River was settled heavily by the principal Midlands ethnic group, the Germans (right map from Fulford, Petkov, and Schiantarelli (2015)):

Map German 1870 USGerman ancestry 2010

It’s just that the area just north of the river also received many “Butternut” settlers (primarily Scots-Irish) from the south, making that area a part of Greater Appalachia today. The mixing of German and Scots-Irish settlers in that area is what produces the apparent smooth transition as one moves south from the Yankee-settled areas to the north down through the Midlands and into Greater Appalachia, and finally to the Deep South (which also received a fair number of Scots-Irish). This mixing in the zone north of the Ohio is reflected in the slightly more socially/politically moderate nature of this region relative to the areas south of the river. **]

Similarly, Greater Appalachia expanded with Scots-Irish ranching country. The distribution of cattle in America follows the area of Scots-Irish ancestry (and, secondarily, German ancestry).


1280px-Reivers_raid_on_Gilnockie_Tower1280px-Texascowboys2Like their Border Reiver ancestors, the Scots-Irish brought their cowboy culture wherever they went.

Cattle are also popular in some of the German-settled areas of the country. The melding of these two cultures (among other things) gave us certain unique characteristics of the Far West (map from here):

Cattle-per-capita-USA-2013As for the West, climate clearly played a stark role in the settling of the Far West and the Left Coast. The division between the two nations is clearly visible on the climatic map, the temperate and amenable coast sharply delineated from the arid and highland climates not that far inland.

Here, climate and geography served as the principle barriers. The Left Coast was settled long before the hostile and desolate Far West. The former served as a beacon for the more “civilized” (i.e., non-clannish, see here) settlers from the east. It was only when railroads and other technologies came did the Wild West give way to settlement, becoming the Far West we know today. As previously discussed, both settlements involved distinct sorting events, giving each a unique character that are not as purely governed by ethnic origin as are the nations back east.

The character of the western nations was shaped heavily from migration from the east and the center, as we see in this map of where people in each state were born in 1900:

Where people born 1900The western states were all extensively settled by migrants from the Midlands, and today that is reflected by (among other things) the similarities between the Western accent and the Midlands accent.

The areas of the western Midlands in the Great Plains also served as a secondary source for Western settlers. The wrath of the Dust Bowl sent people pouring from this region – many heading West. Today, the upper central part of the country (the “Friendly & Conventional” zone, according to Rentfrow et al (2013) is in many ways a mirror image of the west (the “Relaxed & Creative” zone – see also Rentfrow, Gosling, and Potter, 2008). The depletion of more liberal-minded individuals has left the Plains a zone of solid “red” politically (even among the less clannish Germans and Scandinavians who inhabit its northern reaches – see also Boiling Off | West Hunter).

To the north and to the south of the United States, in Canada and in Mexico, respectively, we see that climate also served as a barrier. In Canada (as well as Alaska), the matter is straightforward: the harsh wintry climate (as well as the poor quality land which is largely unsuitable for cultivation) limited the extent of White settlers. Native Americans (“First Nations” peoples) maintain majorities in the marginal northerly lands that were less desirable to the European colonists.

In Mexico, the southern limit of “El Norte” is the region where the Mexican desert gives way to wetter, more tropical climes. The northern limit follows the original Spanish settlements along the Rio Grande. Mexicans long maintained a majority in along the U.S.-Mexico border for much the same reason as the First Nations peoples in Canada have: the area was unappealing to Whites (being hotter and drier), and generally remains so today.

Jared Diamond was correct in that geography heavily shapes history. Only he didn’t go far enough. He failed to consider genes. Here we see genes enact their power through the patterns of migration and settlement. Throughout this series, I believe I have made an earnest but nonetheless solid case for the American nations and their ultimately genetic roots. These genetic roots include not only the progeny of the colonial settlers, but the large subsequent immigrant populations that have settled and transformed much of the continent (more so in the nations of the North).

One day, inherited differences will become an accepted cornerstone of human science, much as evolution is for biology generally. In the mean time, tireless bloggers/researchers and others will continue to look into this matter – waiting for the day mainstream science gets over its infatuation with what is effectively creationism.

The theme for the post and this series, from the film In the Electric Mist, a film which represents many aspects of the American nations:


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