Daily Archives: April 6, 2011

How do we explain liberal internationalism as a biological phenomenon?

Robert Henderson

What the liberals have done

The general facts of liberal internationalist elite behaviour are these. They have socially fractured societies which previously enjoyed a high degree of racial and cultural homogeneity by permitting the mass immigration of the racially and culturally different. They have undermined national security and reduced domestic employment opportunities by removing protection for their own agriculture, commerce and industry. They have wilfully suppressed their own cultures through manipulation of the education system in particular and public policy generally. They have engaged in a ceaseless propaganda conducted through the mass media which diminishes the native culture and promotes the interests of minority groups. They have dissolved national democratic control by entrapping their countries in treaties such as those which empower the EU, NAFTA, the WTO and the UN, the consequence of which is to greatly restrict the scope for national action.

Beyond the boundaries of their own countries, these elites have inflated through Aid the populations of Third World countries beyond that which their societies can naturally support. In addition, the traditional social and economic arrangements of these countries are eroded by direct Western political interference and trade rules which encourage cash crops over farming to feed their own people. The consequence of all this is an ever growing number of people in the developing world who have a desperate urge to move to the rich West, something made ever easier by the liberals’ support, tacit or open, for continuing mass immigration into the West.

At the same time, the populations of the liberals elites’ own countries are falling and are ever more vulnerable to the effects of the mass immigration being promoted by the elite. The necessary eventual consequence is the effective colonisation of Western states by immigrants.

The declining birthrates of the West are themselves the fruit of liberal elite decisions to permit abortion on demand, to actively promote the feminist agenda and to create economic circumstances which discourage breeding, for example, it is increasingly difficult for a family in Britain to be raised on a single average male wage. The relaxation of trade barriers weakens their own countries and leave them ever more vulnerable as they become progressively less self-sufficient, while promoting the wealth and self-sufficiency not merely of other states comparable in size, but states – particularly India and China – whose individual populations exceed the combined populations of Europe and North America.

Natural selection and group fitness

Western elites are doing just about everything an organism should not do to protect itself: allowing large numbers of those outside the social group to invade the group’s territory, removing resources from their territory and giving those resources to those outside the group and, most bewilderingly, assisting competitor groups to expand their population whilst restricting their own.

Why are liberal elites exhibiting such ostensibly self-destructive behaviour?? The answer may lie in the fact that elites think of themselves as a separate group, a group which extends beyond national and cultural boundaries. There is nothing new in this. The medieval aristocracies of Western Europe thought themselves part of a chivalric whole.

The putative advantage to the elites of international elite solidarity is that it allows them to weaken their dependence upon their immediate (native) populations.

How elites evolve

England provides a model of how elites can survive through evolution for a very long time. From the 14th Century onwards the general trend was to broaden the elite with, in the long term, the inexorable movement was towards Parliamentary government and from monarchical power. During this development the wishes of the masses were largely but not entirely ignored – the masses made their presence felt through rioting (the historian Lewis Namier memorably described the government of 18th Century England as “aristocracy tempered by riot”)

As the franchise broadened the masses were able to exercise an ever larger degree of democratic control because politics was still national and a political party had to respond to the electors’ wishes. The elite resented this control over their behaviour and looked around for a way to diminish democratic influence. They found the means to do it in internationalism.

In a sovereign country politicians cannot say this or that cannot be done if it is practical to do it. That is a considerable block on elite misbehaviour. So the elites decided that the way round this unfortunate restraint on their misbehaviour was to commit their countries to treaties which would remove the opportunity for the electorate to exercise control over policy. In the British case, the most notable example is the Treaty of Rome and the subsequent treaties which have tied Britain into the EU. Vast swathes of policy are no longer within the control of the British Parliament because of these treaties. Add in the treaties tying Britain to the UN and the WTO and the commitment of every mainstream British party to them, and democratic control has essentially gone. What has happened in Britain is mirrored to a lesser or greater degree throughout the West.

Does liberal internationalism make evolutionary sense?

Assuming the ultimate biological imperative for any organism is to pass on as many of its copies of its genes as possible to future generations, the liberal elites might seem to have a considerable advantage because the richer and more powerful the person the greater the potential for more and better quality mates and consequent offspring. The problem with this argument is that elites in the West do not breed prolifically and, indeed, have on average fewer children than those of the native masses whom they despise. Cultural norms have seemingly subverted biology.

But cultural norms are ultimately an expression of biology, so how has this occurred? I will offer this hypothesis: there is a strong natural selfishness in the individual. This is held in check to a greater or lesser degree by the social arrangements of a society. A society which emphasises tradition will rein in selfishness. Such societies will have a strong sense of “tribe” and frequently a religion which emphasises the need to breed, demands charitable behaviour and threatens punishment in an afterlife. There will also be an absence of any easy means of contraception – and quite probably a religious ban on it – strictly enforced marriage and the lack of a welfare state. All of these things will reinforce social cohesion and the immediate interdependence of individuals on one another.

Such societies are anathema to the modern liberal mind, whose perfect society is one from which national feeling has been leeched and whose members are held together by only a shared sense of “rational” desires such as a fair justice system and a good material standard of living. Having no sense of tribe they will not see it as a duty to breed. Having easy access to contraception they can copulate at will yet have few children. They even have an ideology which tells them that having children is simply a “life choice”. Selfishness is made respectable. A society has been created in which the restraints on selfishness have been loosened too far. The consequence is that the liberal elite behave in a way to satisfy themselves at the expense of their descendants.

What counts as biological fitness in human beings?

All organisms other than Man pass on their genes in the most obvious and straightforward way. The organism breeds and its descendants breed or do not breed. In animals which engage in extensive parental care what might be called cultural inheritance plays a part in the transmission process with members of the species varying in their ability to nurture their offspring. The young of such animals undoubtedly rely on the example of their parents and, in the case of social animals, other adults to acquire many of the behaviours needed to survive.

But even the biologically fittest of the most socially advanced non-human animal cannot pass on an advantage to their offspring which in any way approaches that which a human can pass to their children. Indeed, Man’s behaviour in passing non-genetic advantage from one generation to the next is so radically different from that of any other organism that it may be the biological imperatives which drive the rest of the natural world have been subordinated to this immense ability to pass on non-genetic advantage, an ability driven by the unique nature of Man who consciously identifies how advantage may be gained and passed on. Biological fitness in humans may be predominantly the ability to pass on non-genetic advantage rather than genetic advantage.

It might be argued that inherited non-genetic advantage will dissipate over the generations and that few families will maintain their privilege over more than a few generations. But the genetic inheritance of a family line is soon dissipated reducing by 50% per generation. In other words, non-genetic inheritance is at worst no poorer a bet in maintaining fitness than genetic inheritance and in some cases a considerably better one because the inherited advantage can be passed through a larger number of generations than any meaningful genetic legacy. There are aristocratic families in England today who descend from nobles who came over with William the Conqueror in 1066. But you do not need to be an aristocrat because the advantage goes down the social scale. In 2010 Prof Gregory Davis of the University of California published a very interesting piece of research which demonstrated that those with Norman descended surnames in England were on average richer than those with artisan origin names (Regression to Mediocrity? Surnames and Social Mobility in England, 1200-2009 http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/papers/Ruling%20Class%20-%20EJS%20version.pdf).

If this a correct interpretation of biological fitness in Man, it makes sense for elites to grab as much power, wealth and privilege for themselves. But the haves must create social circumstances which allow them to pass their non-genetic advantages to descendants. It is no good enraging the have-nots to such a degree that they simply kill the haves or take their privileges away or changing the conditions of a society so radically that the elite loses control. The latter is precisely what modern liberal elites appear to be doing.

Can the liberal elite change?

It is undoubtedly true that elites as a group only ever have one settled principle, namely, to do whatever is necessary to secure their power, wealth and privilege. It is also true that liberals have at the personal level long feared the consequences of non-white immigration – vide the way they choose to live in very white worlds themselves – and since 911 have begun to openly acknowledge that heterogeneous societies are a problem. Many probably want change. The difficulty is that by internationalising their ideology through treaties and membership of supranational bodies such as the UN and the EU and a commitment to laissez faire economics, the liberal elites have surrendered control of their own individual national destinies and hence their power to readily change matters.

To this must be added the sheer inertia which is built into an international system which has grown since 1945 into an immense heap of political and bureaucratic power and privilege. An international army of politicians and bureaucrats have the most vested of interests in maintaining the status quo.

Most important is the existence of large populations of unassimilated and probably unassimilatable recent immigrants and their descendants. These populations manipulate the political process through their increasing electoral power and the tacit threat of serious violence to ensure further immigration from their respective groups, to influence foreign policy (including foreign Aid) and to maintain the practice of allowing unimpeded remittances from the host country to the ancestral country.

The liberal elites have seemingly adopted a suicidal strategy which because Man is a creature of culture and the culture of the Western elites has trumped not only the normal biological imperatives, but has led the liberal elites to create circumstances in which the human biological imperative of non-genetic inherited advantage cannot be exercised. By forgetting the importance of the tribe or, rather, mistaking what the tribe is, that is,  their own national group, they have set themselves on the road to oblivion. It might be likened to the evolutionary overshoot of certain of the nautiloids which evolved ever more convolutedly spiralled shells until they became biologically unfit and finally extinct. Evolution is not just about winners.

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