Category Archives: Evolution

Race – the most potent of human behavioural triggers

The most potent of human behavioural triggers are racial differences for they exercise the strongest control over the group in a territory where different racial groups exist. Race trumps ethnicity where the ethnic clash is one of people of the same race but different ethnicities. Place a significant population of a different race into a territory where previously ethnicity rather than race was the cause of unrest and the ethnic factions of the same race will tend to unite against those of a different race.

Nothing demonstrates the natural tendency of human beings to remain racially distinct than the remarkably low rate of inter-racial breeding even in circumstances where there is every opportunity for it, most particularly in the great cities of Western Europe and North America, where the populations are increasingly varied and the prevailing elite ideology positively encouraging of such liaisons.

Even  societies which have had very racially mixed populations for a long time display a remarkable ability to maintain retain racial distinctions over very long periods of time – Brazil is an excellent example of this, with social class being very much graded by skin colour. To argue that racial difference is not important to the choice of a mate is as absurd as arguing that the attractiveness of a person is irrelevant to the choice of a mate.

In Freakonomics Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner cite a study made of a US dating site (the full story is on pp 80-84). The site is one of the largest in the US and the data examined covered 30,000 people equally divided between San Diego and Boston. Most were white but there was a substantial minority of non-white subjects.

The questionnaire the would-be daters had to fill in included a question choice on race as “same as mine” and “doesn’t matter”. The study compared the responses by white would-be daters (those from non-white were not analysed) to these questions with the race of the emails actually sent soliciting a date. The result in Levitt and Dubner’s words was:

“Roughly half of the white women on the site and 80 percent of the white men declared that race didn’t matter to them. But the response data tell a different story The white men who said that race didn’t matter sent 90 percent of their e-mail queries to white women. The white women who said race didn’t matter sent about 97 percent of their e-mail queries to white men.

“Is it possible that race really didn’t matter for these white women and men and that they simply never happened to browse a non-white date that interested them?”

Or, more likely, did they say that race didn’t matter because they wanted to come across especially to potential mates of their own race as open-minded?” In short, around 99% of all the women and 94% of all men in the sample were not willing to seek a date of a different race. How much stronger will be the tendency to refuse to breed with a mate of a different race?

Another way of testing the desire to remain racially separate is to look at social class and inter-racial breeding. The higher up the social scale a person is the less likely they are to have a partner of a different race – if you doubt this try to find examples of the rich and powerful who have a partner of a different race. Those who have the most choice overwhelmingly choose members of their own racial type, despite the fact that they have the protection of their wealth and position to shield their spouses and children from the effects of racial discrimination.

The experience of imperial Rome nicely demonstrates racial exclusiveness as a historical phenomenon. Despite the racially mixed population, all the evidence we have suggests that Romans of higher social status (the only Romans we have any substantial knowledge of as individuals) rarely took non-white mates (the same applies today: in white-majority countries the higher the status of whites, the less likely they are to have a non-white partner.) Even the Bible has the story of Moses choosing a black wife and meeting with resistance on the part of his people. (Numbers chapter 12)

If sexual desire will not commonly override the natural disinclination to remain racially separate nothing will.

The fact that humans have external racial differences which are sufficiently distinct to allow people throughout the world to broadly categorise an individual into categories such as white and black is in itself indicative of the innate human tendency to breed with those who are racially similar, even though for several thousands of years large human populations of different racial types have existed in close proximity. If human beings did not have an innate preference for those who racially resemble themselves, humanity would have bred itself into something approaching a uniform racial type, at least in those parts of the world which were not very isolated – different races have had regular and numerous contact with each other for at least three thousand years. The alternative explanation to an innate tendency is the truly fantastic one that Man everywhere spontaneously developed cultural barriers to breeding which had nothing to do with any innate tendency. If anything is a social construct it is not race but the liberal idea that Man is a single species.

Race is much stronger as a mediator of who to mate with than ethnic (cultural) difference – think of the very high proportion of those in Britain who have Irish/Welsh?/Scottish/English mixed ancestry. Nonetheless, ethnic differences are culturally potent amongst racially similar populations. For example, on either side of the England/Scotland border, the inhabitants born and raised close to the border retain Scots and English accents even though they may have lived their entire lives only a few miles apart.

Because the tendency to mate with those of a similar race is so strong and universal, both in place and time, it is reasonable to conclude that the behaviour is innate and that cultures necessarily include the requirement for a member of the society to be of a certain racial type. The consequence of this is that someone of a different racial type is effectively precluded from full integration because one of the criteria for belonging has not been met. That is not to say, of course, that many of the habits of mind of an alien culture may not be adopted by someone of a different race. What is withheld is the instinctive acceptance of the alien and his or her descendants as members of the society. Just as no human being can decide for themselves that they are a member of this or that group, no individual can decide that they belong to this or that nation because it is a two-way process: the other members of the group they wish to join have to accept them as a true member of the group. (Stephen Frears the English film director once wryly remarked that he had known the actor Daniel Day-Lewis “before he was Irish”).

There are also other plausible reasons why inter-racial breeding is rare. There is a widespread biological behaviour known as assortative mating. Members of sexually reproducing animals select mates by certain criteria. In that much loved laboratory animal, the fruit fly drosophila, this may be the number of sternopleural bristles; in Man it includes many criteria including racial type. Other human prime assortative criteria are size, intelligence, education and class. Some of these criteria such as education and class are more clearly linked to nurture than Nature, but even they can be direct or indirect expressions of  qualities which are at least largely innate such as intelligence. I say direct or indirect because the beneficial qualities may not be in the individual, for those with superior education and high social class may lack the innate qualities of their parents or earlier ancestors and their privileged position may simply be a residue of the superior innate abilities of their parents or other ancestors.

For the purposes of inter-racial mating, size, intelligence, education and class all come into play. There are clear average differences of size between the three major races: blacks largest, whites in the middle and Asians smallest. This would mean that on average members of one racial group would be less likely to choose another member of another racial group. The differences in IQ would have the same effect, with blacks being far less likely to mate with the other two races because their IQ is further removed from them than they are from each other. Differences in IQ will also be reflected, directly or indirectly in educational achievement and social class and hence in mating, for example, if a minority population of blacks amidst a majority white population have proportionately more people of low education and low social class than the white majority, something which should happen other things being equal because of their inferior IQ distribution, they are less likely to mate with members of the white majority simply on the grounds of education and class.

What about genetic diversity the reader may be asking themselves, should not the great benefits of that drive people of different races to mate whenever they can? This widespread view is unsurprising because as far as the layman is concerned one of the great “truths” of modern biology is that diversity is good because genetic diversity within a species reputably protects the species from the effects of harmful recessive genes by reducing the chance of both partners in a successful mating having a particular recessive gene, while general organic diversity in an environment is supposed to ensure the stability and endurance of the environment.

One does not need to have any deep grasp of genetics to see there is a logical problem with the idea that genetic diversity within a species is a sine qua non of evolutionary success. The genetic relatedness of breeding pairs in many species must of necessity be close because the opportunities to breed are limited. In the case of Homo sapiens this has been true of most human beings throughout history. Man in his primitive state lived in small nomadic bands which were sparsely spread across the landscape Tribal peoples commonly exchange members (normally women) between tribes, but again that is a local exchange. Even in more advanced societies most people have lived in small settled communities and have mated with people who come from the same locality. Very closely related human beings are substantially more prone to genetic disaster if they mate, but the level of genetic diversity required to reduce the number of genetic disasters to a level in which they are not seriously harmful to the group is clearly not vast.

A small gene pool may even have advantages. Ashkenazi Jews come from what was originally a small population group (some estimates put it as low as 500) which married almost entirely within the group and continued to do so down the generations. They have an abnormally high average IQ – six times as many Ashkenazim as Europeans have IQs of 140+. In June 2005 the Journal of Biosocial Science carried a paper by a team at the University of Utah which put forward the theory that their exceptionally high average IQ exists because of natural selection. They argued that Ashkenazi Jews had had been selected them for high IQ because historically Jews in Europe were denied many opportunities for employment and they were driven into high IQ occupations such as banking. Rushton Revisted http://www.canada.com/ottawa/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=6c9fe76b-f1

That racial type should be a requirement for inclusion within a “tribe” is unsurprising. All social animals have to have boundaries to know where the group begins and ends. This is because a social animal must operate within a hierarchy and a hierarchy can only exist where there are boundaries. No boundaries, no hierarchy, because no individual could ever know what the dominance/submission situation was within their species or at least within those members of the species with whom they interact.

Where does “must operate within a hierarchy” come from? First the observed facts: all social animals do produce hierarchies – although these vary considerably in form – and human beings always produce hierarchies, whether they are hunter-gatherers or people populating a great modern city.

Why do social animals always form hierarchies? For animals other than Man the answer is I think simple enough: only by forming hierarchies can social groups cohere. This is most probably because animals vary considerably in their physical and mental qualities. Observe any animal, even the simplest single cell organism, and differences between individuals within the species will become apparent. Some are more vigorous than others, some larger, some, more adventurous and so on. Individuals will also vary by age and, in sexually reproducing species, sex.

In a solitary animal the practical consequences of differences between individuals will be decided by direct competition, most commonly by the formation of territories and the attempted monopoly of mates and food within the territory, with the best endowed animals on average being more successful.

When an animal is social, differences in individual quality have to be resolved by something other than the methods used by solitary animals such as scent marking of territory boundaries and serious fighting because the animals have to live in close proximity. Competition for desirable goods still occurs, most notably competition for mates, but normally within behaviours which are not fatal to other members of the group or behaviours which are so disruptive as to threaten the survival of the group. The upshot of this social accommodation is the formation of different social niches into which individuals fit.

Group behaviour is a compromise between the immediate advantage of the individual and the diffuse advantages derived from group activity. The compromise is given structure by hierarchies, whether that be a fixed biological distinction by sex or caste (for example, social bees) or a transient one due to the age of an animal. Hierarchies are built on the differences between individuals and the more rigid the hierarchical structure the greater will be the selective pressures to produce individuals in the right proportions to fill the various social niches within the group.

Consider what would happen if hierarchies did not exist. There would be constant conflict within the group because no individual would have cause to defer to another except from fear of physical harm and such fear is a blunt and very limited instrument of social control, whether it be of humans or animals. It is a strategy more suited to the solitary animal than the social one.

Hierarchies also make sense in terms of the development of social animals. Social animals are ultimately descended from asocial animals. The movement from asocial to social animal is presumably akin to the evolutionary process whereby a parasite is converted to a symbiotic partner. It is a process of gradual behavioural accommodation.

Social animals on the bottom rung of the social animal ladder may do little more than associate together at certain times. The next rung up and the animal frequently associates with others of its kind. One more step and the animal forms more or less permanent groupings. And so on until we reach the ultimate social animal: Man.

The gradual evolution of social behaviour of itself points to the need for hierarchy, because at each stage of the evolution the natural overtly selfish behaviour of the original solitary animal has to be modified. That modification will only come through natural selection working on behavioural traits which favour more complete socialisation.

What about human beings? Are they not capable of breaking the biological bounds which capture animals? Does not their immense intelligence and possession of language place them in another category of being? Could Man not simply decide not to behave in a non-hierarchical manner? The fact that human beings have never done so is of itself sufficient evidence for all but the most ideologically committed nurturist to decide that human beings cannot do it and to conclude that the forming of hierarchies is part of the human template. However, to that fact can be added another, the dominance/submission behaviour which every person witnesses daily not merely in positions of formal dominance and subordination such as the workplace, but in every aspect of social life.

Speciation by culture

If the argument for Man’s special place in Nature is moved to the ground of culture, Man’s position as an organism with unique qualities which differentiate him from all other organisms undoubtedly becomes stronger, but at the cost of threatening his position as a species as traditionally defined.

Objections have been raised to the conclusions of Everett and Gordon, primarily in terms of their interpretation of their observations, but assuming there is a fair degree of objective truth about their data, it is reasonable to ask are the Pirana teetering on the edge of what counts as fully human if behaviour is the defining criterion? It is the wrong question to ask. The right question to ask is can Homo sapiens be meaningfully designated a species as a species is defined for every other organism?

Because Man is differentiated profoundly by culture, the widely accepted definition of a species – a population of freely interbreeding organisms sharing a common gene pool – is unsatisfactory, for clearly Man is more than an animal responding to simple biological triggers. When behavioural differences are perceived as belonging to a particular group by that group as differentiating members of the group from other men, they perform the same role as organic differences for they divide Man into cultural species.

It is worth adding that the traditional concept of a species is far from secure. It is a man-made classification which is often found wanting. For example, the North American Ruddy Duck and the European White-Headed Duck are classified as separate species. The introduction of the Ruddy Duck to Europe has resulted in widespread interbreeding between the supposedly separate species to the extent that conservationists now fear for the survival of the White Headed Duck. It is also true that a growing amount of traditional taxonomic classification is being overturned by DNA analysis.

Another interesting trait is that members of a species will have different breeding propensities across its distribution, that is, members of the supposedly single species will breed differentially with different parts of the total species population. For example, take an animal which is common to Europe and bring individuals from different geographical parts of the continent together and it may be that those found in the East of the distribution will be less likely or refuse altogether to mate with the those in the West. These barriers to breeding are clearly not purely due to major differences in physical biology. Probably there is an element of behavioural difference which reduces the propensity to breed.

Animals use various triggers to breed: aural, chemical, condition of feathers and so on. These are seemingly automatic processes whereby one individual responds to another without conscious thought. Even behavioural triggers such as mating rituals can be viewed in the same light. Man, although not divorced entirely from such triggers, adds conscious thought to the process of mate selection. Does that not put Man in an entirely separate category to all other organisms, namely, the one organism who can potentially breed freely across the entire species population? Potentially yes, but in practice no for Man’s capacity for conscious thought and decision making does not mean his breeding is not constrained by the triggers which control other organisms, especially behavioural. For example, most people choose mates who are of the same race as themselves even when they have ample opportunity to do otherwise.

Even at the level of biology I wonder if Man is quite as discrete as he imagines. To the best of my knowledge no one has tried to create a cross between a human and a chimpanzee or a bonobo – I sincerely hope no one ever does. But putting aside any natural revulsion, would it be so surprising if such a cross was possible? Would it be any more of a intra-species leap than say the production of a mule or a liger (lion/tiger) through the mating of different species? I would not wish to bet against it. REsearch into intra species breeding has been moving on apace, viz:

 “The experiment: Cross-breed a human with a chimpanzee.

“The premise: The biologist Stephen Jay Gould called it “the  most potentially interesting and ethically unacceptable experiment I can imagine”. The idea? Mating a human with a chimp. His interest grew out of his  work with snails, where related species can display wide variation in shell architecture. Gould attributed this diversity to a few master genes which turn on and off the shared genes responsible for constructing the shells. Perhaps, he  speculated, the differences between humans and apes were also a factor of developmental timing: after all, adult humans have physical traits, such as  larger craniums and wide-set eyes, that resemble infant chimpanzees. This  phenomenon is known as neoteny – the retention of juvenile traits in adults of  later generations. Gould theorised that over the course of evolution, a tendency  toward neoteny might have given rise to human beings. By watching the development of a half-human, half-chimp, researchers could explore this theory  in detail.

“How it works: It would be frighteningly easy: the same  techniques used for in vitro fertilisation would likely yield a viable hybrid human-chimp embryo. Researchers have already spanned a comparable genetic gap  between a baboon and a rhesus monkey, and even though chimps have 24 pairs of chromosomes, and we have 23, this is not an insuperable barrier (although the  hybrid would likely have an odd number of chromosomes, and be unable to reproduce). As for the gestation and birth, it could be done the natural way.
Chimpanzees are born slightly smaller than humans, so it would make sense to grow the embryo in a human uterus.

“The payoff: Gould’s idea about neoteny remains controversial, to say the least. This experiment would help to resolve the debate – and, more broadly, illuminate how two species with such similar genomes could be so different. Its outcome would give biologists insights into the origin of our own species. Let’s hope they can find a less disturbing route to
get there. Jerry Adler “(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8702999/Unethical-scientific-experiments-going-to-extremes.html)

As for the future, genetic engineering may break down distinctions between species, for example, by genes from one species being implanted into another. Lastly, genetics and/or cybernetics may lead to modifications of human beings so substantial to create what are to all intents and purposes unambiguously separate species of Man with vastly differing abilities. There may come a point where the concept of a species becomes redundant.

Homo Sapiens – How primitive is primitive?

If the current estimates of hominid evolution are correct, the variety classified as modern Man has a surprisingly short geological history, the upper estimates being a paltry 200,000 years. Nor is that history a simple progression. The remains of the older examples of modern Man normally have more ancient features than the younger examples, but occasionally younger remains displaying ancient features are found. This is a more significant fact than it might seem because fossils of Man are very rare and hence it is telling that even a few should show ancient features at the “wrong date” for it suggests that the more archaic forms of Man might not only have lasted a long time but in substantial numbers. 

How little is still known about human evolution is illustrated by the recent discovery of remains by the Koobi Fora Research Project  in the Ileret region, east of Lake Turkana. in Northern Kenya which appeared in Nature magazine. (nature.com/nature/journal/v448/n7154/abs/nature05986.html) These suggest that Homo habilis and Homo erectus co-existed for half a million years. The significance of this is that it makes the generally accepted descent of Man from Homo habilis to Homo erectus to Homo sapiens improbable, vis:

‘”Their co-existence makes it unlikely that Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis”, explained Meave Leakey….”

The fact that they stayed separate as individual species for a long time suggests that they had their own ecological niche, thus avoiding direct competition,” she added. ’Fossils put new branch on human family tree Daily Telegraph 09/08/2007.

There is truly no point in the past at which it can be said here is the origin of modern Man. Darwin put the case nicely before there was any significant hominid fossil record: “Whether primeval man, when he possessed but few arts, and those of the rudest kind, and when his power of language was extremely imperfect, would have deserved to be called man, must depend on the definition we employ. In a series of forms graduating insensibly from some ape-like creature to man as he now exists, it would be impossible to fix on any definite point when the term ‘man’ ought to be used. But this is a matter of very little importance. So again, it is almost a matter of indifference whether the so-called races of man are thus designated, or are ranked as species or sub species; but the latter term appears the more appropriate.” (Descent of Man – chapter The Races of Man).

At what point can Man be said to be acting in a qualitatively different way from other animals? Here is Darwin once more: “I have seen, as I dare say have others, that when a small object is thrown beyond the reach of one of the elephants in the Zoological Gardens, he blows through his trunk on the ground beyond the object so that the current reflected on all sides may drive the object within his reach. Again a well known ethnologist, Mr Estoppels, informs me that he observed a bear in Vienna making with his paw a current in some water as to draw a piece of floating bread within reach. These actions of the elephant and bear can hardly be attributed to instinct or inherited habit, as they would be of little use to an animal of nature. Now, what is the difference between such actions when performed by an uncultivated man, and by one of the higher animals?” (Darwin: The Descent of Man – chapter Mental Powers.)

Darwin concluded that there was little difference in the general approach of the higher animal and man in his primitive state, although he allowed that “There would no doubt be this difference between him [the savage] and one of the higher animals, that he would take more notice of much slighter circumstances and conditions, and would observe any connections between them after much less experience, and this would be of paramount importance. I kept a daily record of the actions of one of my infants, and when he was about eleven months old, and before he could speak a single word, I was continually struck with the greater quickness, with which all sorts of objects and sounds were associated together in his mind, compared with the most intelligent dogs I knew. But the higher animals differ in exactly the same way in this power of association from those low in the scale, such as the pike, as well as drawing inferences and of observation.” (ibid)

If Darwin is right – and there is as so often with him, plausibility in his reasoning – it might seem reasonable to classify human beings by behaviour, they only being accepted as full members of homo sapiens when they have reached the point where their behaviour is clearly qualitatively different from that of animals. Obviously such a judgement would be extraordinarily contentious because of its social and  political ramifications, but stripped of that difficulty could criteria be formulated which would be definitive? It would not be simple. For example, a reasonable criterion might seem to be to pose the question does this or that population of Homo Sapiens  go beyond the fundamental behavioural imperatives of other animals which are to obtain food, breed and raise young? The difficulty with that approach is that it is possible to explain all human behaviour in such terms, that is, all human behaviour ultimately serves such ends: a man does something which displays exceptional ability: he is enhancing his biological fitness by advertising his desirability as a mate: a woman shows an abnormal facility for handling children: she demonstrates her desirability as a mate and so on.

The old favourite for defining humanity, tool use, will not get us far. Animals use tools. It is not even possible at the most primitive observed human level to point to a large library of tools or artefacts let alone tools and artefacts of any great sophistication – the Tasmanians (indubitably part of the modern model of humanity at the physical level) at the time they encountered Europeans were reckoned to have a minute number of tools, viz: “So far as we can ascertain, their entire tool-kit at the end of their history consisted of a mere eighteen items – digging sticks, some very basic stone implements, spears, grass rope, baskets, hides (from which to ambush prey) and traps (for birds). In short, a list that is not so different in size or content from the accredited list of tools for modern chimpanzees. If we make allowances for qualitative differences in the toolkits  of chimpanzees and those produced by modern humans, there are really only two things in the Tasmanians’ toolkit that the chimpanzees do not have  – containers for carrying things (such as baskets and gourds) and structures (things like hides and traps).” Robin Dunbar The Human Story p150.

It might seem obvious that all tools and artefacts are the consequence  of human imagination, yet how far  they  are independently imagined and how far the simple consequence of the observation of accidental behaviour and its translation into something more permanent and sophisticated is a moot point, not merely in the world of the hunter-gatherer but in pre-industrial societies generally. Some troops of chimpanzees will use sticks to get termites out of a termite hill. This behaviour presumably originated because an animal in the band was poking a termite hill with a stick – a perfectly natural activity for chimps which are very curious animals – and noticed that termites ran up the stick and the animal continued to use the trick which in turn was copied by other members of the band. (That this behaviour is not innate is shown by the fact that different chimpanzee populations  vary in their behaviour in this and other instances of tool using or exceptional behaviour, that is, some do it, some do not and different chimp populations  will use variants of the same tactic). It is not unreasonable to suppose that most early human advances were made in much this way, the observation of the accidental consequences of behaviour followed by their imitation. Is the creation of tools and artefacts in such a manner really imaginative or is it simply a function of memory. The organism does something and remembers the consequences of doing it and associates cause and effect.

If not tools what about the production of artefacts (defining artefact as a physical object deliberately produced by an organism by radically altering its components’ natural state)? Failed again I’m afraid – think birds’ nests and otters’ dams.

What about behaviour which seems to go beyond mere immediate utility?, For example, do not all modern humans perform rituals to appease or conjure gods or spirits or at least engage in behaviour we define as magic to alter the world? Probably, although the sophistication of such ideas vary greatly from society to society. But where is the dividing line between behaviour which is repeated and self-conscious ritual? After all many animals display behaviour which might well be described as rituals if they were seen in Man. Nor is such behaviour limited to the obvious realm of courtship, for example, chimpanzees ‘perform “rain dances” to the accompaniment of thunder and lightning during tropical storms, and one of their most outlandish performances is the “carnival,”  when as many as thirty individuals come together for a period of fantastic noisemaking which may last several hours.’ (The emergence of Man John E Pfeiffer p 276).

It might seem that the system of complicated signalling we call language is qualitatively different from anything an animal does, but even here the distinction is not absolute because animals use sound to communicate specific messages, for example, threat calls, warning calls, courting calls. Human language obviously goes far beyond that in terms of its scope, but is there a qualitative difference in the basic function performed by the use of animal vocalisation? It is difficult to see human language as fundamentally different in terms of basic function, although the range of information transmitted is massively greater and more varied.

Nor is all human language equal in its functionality. Consider the case of the Piraha, an Amazonian tribe with several hundred members. They have been in contact with Brazilian culture for two centuries or more, yet they display some very odd traits one of which is to have no sense of number? An American linguistic anthropologist Daniel Everett has studied them from 27 years. Apart from their innumeracy, Everett reports that “the Piraha is the only people known to have no distinct words for colours. They have no written language, and no collective memory going back more than two generations. They don’t sleep for more than two hours at a time during the night or day. Even when food is available, they frequently starve themselves and their children… They communicate almost as much by singing, whistling and humming as by normal speech. They frequently change their names, because they believe spirits regularly take them over and intrinsically change who they are. They do not believe that outsiders understand their language even after they have just carried on conversations with them. They have no creation myths tell no fictional stories and have no art. All of their pronouns appear to be borrowed from a neighbouring language.” (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LA C/200408 20 NUMBERS20/TPScience/ – Friday, August 20, 2004)

The Piraha’s innumeracy is particularly interesting. ‘Their lack of numbering terms and skills is highlighted in a report by Columbia University cognitive psychologist Peter Gordon that appears today in Science. Intrigued by anecdotal reports that Prof. Everett and his wife Karen had presented about the matchlessness of Piraha life, Prof. Gordon conducted a number of experiments over a three-year period. He found that a group of male tribe members — women and children were not involved because of certain cultural taboos — could not perform the most elementary mathematical operations. When faced with a line of batteries and asked to duplicate the number they saw, the men could not get beyond two or three before starting to make mistakes. They had difficulty drawing straight lines to copy a number of lines they were presented with. They couldn’t remember which of two boxes had more or less fish symbols on it, even when they were about to be rewarded for their knowledge. A significant part of the difficulty related to their number-impoverished vocabulary. Although they would say one word to  indicate a single thing and another for two things, those words didn’t necessarily mean one or two in any usual sense. “It is more like ones and twos,” ‘ according to Gordon.

‘Prof. Gordon said the findings are perhaps the strongest evidence for a once largely discredited linguistic theory. More than 60 years ago, amateur linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf argued that learning a specific language determined the nature and content of how you think. That theory fell into intellectual disrepute after linguist Noam Chomsky’s notions of a universal human grammar and Harvard University professor Steven Pincer’s idea of a universal language instinct became widely accepted. “The question is, is there any case where not having words for something doesn’t allow you to think about it?” Prof. Gordon asked about the Piraha and the Whorfian thesis. “I think this is a case for just that.” Prof. Everett argues that what the Piraha casedemonstrates is a fundamental cultural principle working itself out in language and behaviour.’ (Ibid)

If the Whorfian theory is correct, or at least describes a quality which profoundly affects the way the world is perceived, other behavioural divisions between the various populations of Man must exist. (The ideas of a universal grammar and a universal language instinct are not necessarily incompatible with the idea that a particular language determines thought, for there could be a basic language template that is then altered by experience. Moreover, it is conceivable that natural selection creates subtle brain differences between populations to accommodate differences in language). To any Whorfian differences in populations may be added the vast differences in cultural expression, some of which could be laid at the door of linguistic determinism of thought.

That leaves us with culture. Here Man does indeed seem to stand alone. He undoubtedly creates culture in a way that no other organism does, both in terms of the depth and the variety of the cultures created. A case can be made for some animals, for example, chimpanzees, having a capacity for culture, but at best their cultural activities such as termite fishing are very rudimentary and few in number. Most importantly, Man uses culture to distinguish between different populations of humans, even if the populations are biologically similar.

What makes a nation?

Man is designed by Nature to live in small groups (even today most of the world’s population live in small settlements despite millennia of urban settlement). Human beings are very large mammals which naturally seek a diet containing a good proportion of meat. Large mammals which rely on a substantial intake of meat are near the top of the food chain. They are necessarily few in number because the food they require is scarce. Hence, large agglomerations of humans are impossible without the greatly enhanced supplies of food produced by farming. The archaeological evidence supports this reasoning. Evidence of large human settlements is not found beyond, at best, 10,000 years ago (for example Jericho). The remains of large human settlements dated before 4000 BC are very rare.

Why have human beings formed larger groups than those in which they naturally lived for hundreds of millennia? The fact that Man is a social animal is, as our philosophical friends say, a necessary but not sufficient condition for such behaviour. It does not mean that men take easily to living in large groups, but it does provide the possibility of such social engagement. But because living in large groups is not natural to Man in the sense that his evolutionary history did not include such behaviour and because the complexity of life is greatly enhanced in large communities, he result is always imperfect. In a tribe of 500 it is easy to see how a sense of belonging and identity exists, because everyone will have a personal relationship of some sort with everyone else. In a group of 10,000 that is not possible in any meaningful sense. Nonetheless, in a group of 10,000 the individual can still be practically aware of the group, for example through public meetings. With a group of a million the relationship between the group members becomes intellectual rather than personal or practical. That is when the problems start.

Man  can  create  such an  intellectual  sense  of  belonging  because he is self-conscious.  However,  this   consciousness also  provides the means to create distinctions between groups  of people. Hence war, tribalism, nationalism  and racism.

To  create  very  large  agglomerations  of  people  who  see themselves as part of a whole requires a core of values which are  accepted by generality of the population.  These  values may be religious,  as in the case of the mediaeval church and  Islam.  Then the sense of belonging is supranational,  indeed supracultural. But such feelings have always bowed before the   demands of family,  tribe, feudal lordship and nation.  Hence  the  failure  of the mediaeval church’s claim  to  supremacy;  hence the mutual antipathy of many Muslim peoples  throughout       history.   National identity does not consist of  clone  like  similitude,  but  it does require  a sense of  belonging,  an          instinctive   recognition  of  those  included   within   the  parameters of a national group.

 Taking the evidence of history as a whole,  it is  reasonable to conclude that  there is an inherent tendency within  human  society to  attempt to create ever larger units of  political  authority.   However,  like all behavioural  traits   in  the  natural world, it is no more than a tendency and there is  an  opposed    tendency   for  large   political   groupings   to  disintegrate  if  sufficient cultural  homogeneity  does  not  exist.  It is noteworthy that empires have been markedly less durable  than  nations throughout  history.  Nations  survive defeat, enslavement and centuries of oppressions. Empires may mutate as the Russian  did from Tsarist to Soviet,  but  they  cannot  withstand successful conquest. Then they  always  die and stay dead.

The components of national identity

National  identity  is most commonly presented  in  terms  of  such  banalities as “national dress” (often  a mark  of  past  servitude),  food  and crafts or in the  more  demanding  but still  narrow  world  of  High  Art.    Both  are  inadequate   explanations because they touch only a small portion of human existence.   To  find  the  answer  to  a  people’s  national  identity  one  must  look to   their  general  culture  which includes  at  its most  sophisticated,  science,  technology,    politics,   education,   sport,  history,   morals,   humour,  language. 

 From  the  general  culture comes what might  be  called  the secondary  human personality,  which is developed by  and  is  continually   developing  the  components  of   culture.   By  secondary  personality  I mean  a nurtured   overlay  on  the   innate  personality.  The  range of  basic  human  traits   –   aggressiveness,   placidity,  timidity, extroversion  and  so  forth  –  are universal.   But those qualities are  the  mere  skeletons  of minds.  Above them stand the  modifications  of  experience.   From   experience    develops   the   secondary  personality.  The social context of that experience  and  the  reflection   of   that  experience  through   the   secondary  personality creates culture,  is culture.

All  of  this  is not to say that the  material  and  mundane accoutrements  of a man’s life are completely unimportant  to the foundation of national identity. There are certain things which  are such a part of the warp and weft of  life  over  a  long  period  that  they acquire true  symbolic  value.  For example,   The wilful  destruction  in England  of their  historic  measures  which  arose  naturally  from man’s  everyday  needs   and  a coinage more than a thousand years old,  has helped undermine  the self confidence of a people who retained such things  not  out of backwardness,  but from a sense of national worth  and  importance.

Against Nature

 There has been a flurry of stories about homosexuality recently. The US military are fighting a rearguard action against openly gay troops,  Tyler Clementi, 18, a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, committed suicide after a video of him having sex with another man was posted on  the internet, the Serb capital Belgrade saw violent protests against a Gay Pride march and  the BBC recently made public research they had commissioned that found one in four of those questioned was ‘uncomfortable with gays on TV’, nearly half said that they would rather not see two men kiss and  21 per cent of viewers were  uncomfortable seeing two men as much as hold hands on television.   In addition, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (a British public body) report  found that:

“Our groundbreaking new research shows that in 21st century Britain, despite legal advances, homophobia still has an unacceptable everyday impact on the lives of LGB [Lesbian and Gay]  people. Attitudes have undergone a sea change over the last few decades, with much greater understanding and tolerance. However, the fact that LGB people feel that they can’t be open about their sexual orientation in their local neighbourhood, that LGB students still experience unacceptably high levels of bullying, and that LGB people would not even consider certain jobs for fear of other people’s reaction, is a worrying sign that prejudice and discrimination still limit people’s choices and chances in life.” http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/research/beyond_tolerance.pdf

This did not surprise me because I  sincerely doubt whether any heterosexual man is entirely comfortable with  the idea of  homosexuality, vide, the normal hostile reaction of a heterosexual man when it is suggested that they are homosexual. I  put the  short questionnaire below out on several usenet newsgroups  to test the feelings of  heterosexual men.  The overwhelming majority  who replied gave answers which showed them to be uncomfortable with homosexuality.

1. Would you be comfortable if you were taken for gay?

2. Would you be comfortable if a gay man made sexual advances to you?

3. If a gay man had expressed sexual feelings for you, would you be  comfortable working or socialising with that person?

4. If you live in circumstances where there was communal living, for example in  the services, would you be comfortable sleeping in the same  room as men you knew were gay?

5. Would you be comfortable appearing naked in front of a gay man, for  example, where there are communal showers?

6. Would you  be comfortable  being in the same place as a gay couple  engaged in heavy petting?

7. Would you be comfortable in the company of a gay couple who were  holding hands?

8. Would you be concerned that any gay man might be HIV positive or have  Aids?

9. You go on a business trip with a gay man. The only accommodation you  can get is a room with a double bed. Where do you sleep?

10.  A gay man is making persistent sexual advances to you despite your  rejection of them. What do you do?

11. You have two children, both sons. They both announce they are gay.  Your natural ambition  for grandchildren vanishes. How do you respond?

12. Your gay son brings his partner home with him to stay for the night.  Do you let the two of them share a bed ?

Despite  worldwide  evidence, both present and historical,  of unease at best and outright hostility at worst  towards homosexuals,    liberals would have us believe that such feelings and behaviour is  unreservedly irrational, merely a matter of social conditioning.  There is an obvious difficulty with  that assertion, namely, if a behaviour is dysfunctional, how is it that evolution would favour it so universally and frequently?   The same objection can be made about the core tenets of political correctness  which hold that homo sapiens is a single entity; that race is simply a social construct; that there is no innate mentality or behavioural difference between men and women and that discrimination on any ground is both irrational and morally wrong.

Natural selection is blind. It shapes organisms and behaviour in response to the chance of genetic  variation and physical environment. If human beings in many different places and times display a  behaviour  then the logical conclusion is that it is of evolutionary benefit. Hence, if homosexuals are viewed as abnormal, woman are seen as having a special role to play in childcare and men and women maintain racial and ethnic separateness by overwhelmingly opting to mate with those from their own race and ethnicity,  such behaviours are  not to be casually discarded as being vicious relics of a primitive past but seen as indicators of the innate nature of human beings, both as individuals and as social actors.  

What political correctness does is stand reality on its head.  It asks humans to behave in ways which are profoundly unnatural to them, to ignore their  evolved behaviours .  In that lies danger.  The groups who are protected by political correctness in the West  – ethnic and racial minorities, gays and women – have been given a de facto hierarchical  superiority which is a manufactured l superiority , while those who  have always had a natural superiority in the West – native whites, heterosexuals and men – in public terms at least,  have been relegated to an unnatural inferiority.  This is an unsustainable situation because that which asks men to call black white can only survive as long as the elite can sustain the ideology. History tells us that is not very long – even the Soviet Union lasted little more than 70 years.

Patriotism is not an optional extra

Robert Henderson

Contents

1. What is patriotism?

2. The roots of patriotism

3. Nations are tribes writ large

4. The importance of a national territory

5. The democratic value of nations

6. What the individual owes to the nation

7.  The liberal internationalist

8. How to move from multiculturalism to patriotism

9 No patriotism, no enduring society

1. What is  patriotism?

By patriotism I mean the sense of belonging to a people, of  owning a land, having a group identity,  of feeling  at ease with those belonging to the group  in a way which meeting  those  outside the group never engenders, of naturally  favouring your  people above foreigners, of knowing that the  interests of the “tribe” must come before that of any outsider. By this  definition patriotism is something which the vast majority of human beings can  understand because it is not an ideology but an innate human quality whose origins lie buried deep within the evolution of social animals.

The only people who may genuinely be unable to understand  patriotism are the severely mentally retarded or those with a personality disorder such as autism which reduces their ability to understand social contexts.  Despite their incessant repudiation of patriotism even latterday liberals understand the pull of patriotic inclinations, although of course they would never recognise the nature of their inclinations.    These drive  them to live in a manner which is directly at odds with their professed ideology. Look at the life of a white liberal and you will find that they overwhelmingly arrange their lives so that they live in
very white, and in England, very English worlds. They do this in two ways. They either live in an area which is overwhelmingly white – the “rightest of right-on”  British folk singers Billy Bragg chooses to live in the “hideously white”  and English county of Dorset – or  reside in a gentrified white enclave created  on the outskirts of an area such as Islington in London  which has a significant ethnic content to its population– the Blairs lived there before moving to Downing Street. The latter tactic allows the white liberal to luxuriate in the faux belief that they are “living the diversity dream”,  whilst in reality encountering little if any  of the “joy of diversity” they are so vocally enthusiastic about.  A splendid example of  white liberal ghettoization is the drippingly  pc TV presenter Adrian Chiles who  described in a BBC programme  The  Colour of Friendship (18 August 2003) how he looked at his wedding photographs which were taken only a few years before and saw to his dismay and  astonishment that it was in the words of the one-time BBC director-general  Greg Dyke “hideously white”.  With a guest list of several hundred he was unable to find a single non-white face staring out at him. The only ethnic  minorities he had equal or extended contact with were those he met at work, who  were of course middleclass and westernised.

The ease and near universality of understanding of  patriotism sets it apart from ideologies such  as Marxism and liberal internationalism.  The majority of the followers of any ideology with a large number of adherents  will have little understanding  of it, either because they are intellectually lazy or because they lack the  intellectual wherewithal to master the creed. Few Marxists have ever had  a grasp of such ideological niceties as the
laws of dialectics and even fewer modern  liberal internationalists understand  the relationship of  laissez faire economic theory  to historical economic  reality.   The tendency for those who ostensibly support  an ideology to be ignorant of it beyond the grasping of a few ideas which can be reduced to slogans is greatly inflated where, as has happened with political correctness, it becomes the  ideology of  the ruling elite.  In such circumstances people  give lip service to an ideology ,  even  if they neither understand its theoretical basis or even agree with it out of  expediency, whether that be driven by fear or ambition.

The majority of believers in any ideology  are in the position of the laity in Western Europe  before the Reformation when the universal use of the Latin Bible and Latin in church rites meant that the vast majority of the population were left at the mercy of a clerical elite who simply told them what to believe, whether or not it was  sanctioned by the Scriptures. Such people will chant the slogans and support  the intellectual leadership of their movements not because they understand and  are convinced by the ideology, but because  they have  nailed their emotional  colours to  a group.  Ironically, they are tapping into the same  innate traits which create tribes and nations.  The problem is they are creating something which is evolutionarily destructive because it drives them to attempt to destroy the natural formation of human groups through bonds of cultural and racial similarity.

Compare the  situation of the follower of an ideology with that of those who respond to the all of patriotism as defined above. They cannot be so easily or routinely hoodwinked and manipulated by the few, because almost everyone instinctively understands what it is to be patriotic. It does not need to be explained to them.  Whatever the behaviour arising from appeals to patriotism it is not undertaken out of ignorance. Of course, the  ways in which people respond to  their innate feelings  need not be either pretty or moral,  for at its extreme appeals to the emotions and thoughts which come with patriotism may lead to attempts at genocide.  However, even in such extreme circumstances,  the tribe or nation attempting genocide is at  least behaving in a way which is congruent with human biology  and the survival of the group, although an  attempt at conquest or genocide which goes wrong may severely damage or destroy the aggressor.

2. The roots of  patriotism

The sense of being separate, of belonging to a discrete group with identifiable characteristics is a necessary part of being human because Man is a social animal. Social animals have two universal features: they form discrete groups and within the group produce hierarchies – although both the group and the hierarchy vary considerably in form and intensity. Human beings are no exception; whether they are hunter-gatherers or people populating a great modern city they all have a need to form groups in which they feel naturally comfortable.

Why do social animals form discrete groups rather than treat all the animals of their species which they encounter as being part of the group? Part of the answer surely lies in competition for territory, food and mates and the  limits placed on any species by their environment.  For example, it would be impossible for lions to exist in much larger groups than they do because of their heavy food demands. Moreover, once the group size is established it is not possible for a species to suddenly change its size because the behavioural template will have been set to accommodate the size which exists.  Man is possibly the exception to this rule, but  it could be argued that humans only learned
how to form larger groups very slowly and that where larger groups form today, for example, villagers moving off the land to the cities in developing countries,  this is simply  the extended consequences of the long, painful steps towards extending the human group size.

Some animals, most notably insects, fish and birds, successfully form very large groups. However, the  form of their association  or their degree of social integration  differs from  that of primates  (and arguably mammals generally). Social insects rely for their organisation on what are in effect  simple  automated responses through such triggers as
chemical releases. Fish and birds may form large groups, most probably because it affords them evolutionary  goods such  as greater protection from predators or easier access to mates,  without  engaging in much social support for one another beyond being together. Birds  may assemble in large groups only when they migrate.

The most highly developed social animals amongst mammals such as primates and wolves do far more than simply congregate.  They develop patterns of behaviour which require active and complex  cooperation between members of the group.  Such behaviour may of itself place limits on the size of a group by the behaviour being dependent  upon the mental capacity of the animal.   For example, it could be that a pack of  wolves can only be the size it is because anything substantially larger would  be impossible for the mind of the animal to comprehend or for behaviours which are essentially automatic to operate within.

There is also the question of mating strategies and the  raising of offspring. Sexually reproducing social animals have to evolve strategies to maximise reproduction for the individual whilst preventing competition for mates amongst males becoming so intense it threatens the viability of the group.  Probably the most common method of achieving this amongst social mammals is to have a dominant male; frequently  a sexually mature male who occupies the position of the oriental despot with his harem, for example,  the gorilla.
This of itself means that that the group must be clearly defined with males from outside excluded. But even where there is a looser social arrangement which permits different males within the group to not only co-exist but share the females , as is the case with the chimpanzee,  there is still a sense of possession amongst the males at least and hence the need for a defined group.When a species has moved to social animal status,  behaviours that intensify group behaviour such as the recognition of members of the group by scent will make the exclusion of outsiders  ever more rigid. It is also probable that amongst the most advanced social  mammals that the individual animals have sufficient mental awareness to become, just as humans do, accustomed to the behaviour of the members of their particular group and that becomes a  major part of maintaining the group identity.
Animals generally hate novelty so it would make evolutionary sense for them to prefer those individuals with whom they have grown up to strangers.

Man is the exception to the rule of group size in as much as over the past 10,000 years or so humans have shown themselves capable of  creating groups of vast size . This is plausibly attributable to the mental capacity of humans being sufficient to overcome the organisational  which thwart the increase in group size of other social mammals.  But this ability to increase group size massively has only occurred in recent human existence. Human settlements where people are counted in thousands rather than dozens or hundreds have a history of less than 10,000 years and even today most human beings live in small communities.   From paleontological and archaeological evidence, historical accounts of how people lived  and  the example of  tribal peoples living today, we can reasonably deduce that the natural size of human groups living  without the ability to generate their own food supply through farming is a few hundred at most.   Importantly, although  Man can now live in larger communities,  he is still in evolutionary terms equipped to live in small groups. This means that the innate tendencies which lead social
animals to set limits to the group  are alive and well.

That leaves the formation of hierarchies to be explained. For animals other than Man the answer is I think simple enough, only by forming hierarchies can social groups cohere. Animals vary considerably in their physical and mental qualities. Observe any animal, even the simplest single cell organism, and differences between individuals within the species will become apparent. Some are more vigorous than others, some unusually large, some abnormally small, some more adventurous and so on. Individuals will also vary in physical capacity and behaviour by age and, in sexually reproducing species, sex.

Solitary animals compete for existential goods through direct competition with other members of their species, something they do through methods such as such as scent marking of territorial boundaries and serious fighting . When an animal is social, differences in individual quality and the urge of each individual to survive have to be resolved by something other than the methods used by solitary animals because the animals live in close proximity. Competition for desirable goods still occurs, most notably
competition for food and mates, but normally within behaviours which are not fatal to other members of the group or behaviours which are so disruptive as to threaten the survival of the group. Moreover, the development of such behavioural restraint  provides the possibility for  behaviours to develop  which  make the individuals of the group dependent  upon one another, for example, the hunting strategies of  the wolf which
requires the adult members of the pack to display a very considerable degree of cooperation.  The development of  such behaviours probably reinforces the tendency
towards hierarchy. The upshot of these various social accommodations  is the formation of different social niches into which individuals with different qualities ad histories fit.

Consider what would happen if hierarchies did not exist. There would be constant conflict within the group because no individual would have cause to defer to another except from fear of physical harm.  Fear is a blunt and very limited instrument of social control, whether it be of humans or animals. It is a strategy more suited to the solitary animal than the social one. Group behaviour is a compromise between the immediate advantage of the individual and the diffuse advantages derived from group activity. The compromise is given structure by hierarchies, whether that be a fixed biological distinction by sex or caste (for example, social bees) or a transient one due to the age of an animal. Hierarchies are
built on the differences between individuals and the more rigid the hierarchical structure the greater will be the selective pressures to produce individuals in the right proportions to fill the various social niches within the group.

Hierarchies also make sense in terms of the development of social animals. Social animals are descended from asocial animals. The movement from asocial to social animal is presumably akin to the evolutionary process whereby a parasite is converted to a symbiotic partner. It is a process of gradual behavioural accommodation.

Social animals on the bottom rung of the social animal ladder may do little more than associate together at certain times. The next rung up and the animal frequently associates with others of its kind. One more step and the animal forms more or less permanent groupings. And so on until we reach the ultimate social animal, Man.

The gradual evolution of social behaviour of itself points to the need for hierarchy, because at each stage of the evolution the natural overtly selfish behaviour of the original solitary animal has to be modified. That modification will only come through natural selection working on behavioural traits which favour more complete socialisation.

What about human beings? Are they not capable of breaking the biological bounds which capture animals? Does not their immense intelligence and possession of language place them in another category of being? Could Man not simply decide not to behave in a non-hierarchical manner? The fact that human beings have never done so is of itself sufficient evidence for all but the most ideologically committed nurturist to decide that human
beings cannot do it in practice and to conclude that the forming of hierarchies is part of the human template. However, to that fact can be added another, the dominance-submission behaviour which every person witnesses daily not merely in positions of formal dominance and subordination such as the workplace, but in every aspect of social life.

Societies which consist of various human groups that  see themselves as separate  from each other disrupt the creation of a healthy hierarchy. Instead of there being a single hierarchy within an homogenous group (defining homogenous as a population in a discrete territory  which sees itself as a group), there are  hierarchies formed within each group and a further overarching hierarchy formed from the various groups themselves
with  each group hierarchy competing within the population as a whole.

The nature of the competition between the groups will depend on the relative  proportions each forms  of a population and the history of each group.  The subordinate groups within the society will feel that they are there on sufferance and  be suspicious and fearful of the dominant  group and constantly  worried that any  other minority group is outcompeting them.  A majority population which has been  dominant  in all respects within the territory will take some shifting from its position of supremacy,  but the influx of substantial numbers of outsiders will nonetheless create insecurity and  resentment amongst the dominant population. In such circumstances no individual , whether of the dominant or subordinate group(s), feels entirely  secure because there is constant tension between groups. Most importantly for the wellbeing of the society, there is no common bond of trust between people sharing the same territorial house.

3. Nations are tribes writ large

Nations are tribes writ large. They are remarkably durable. Empires invariably fall but a nation is timeless and can be only be utterly destroyed only through an act of genocide. Even the loss of a homeland – the most traumatic loss any nation can sustain – does not destroy a people as the Jews have emphatically shown for nearly two thousand years.

A shared faith or political ideology does not make a nation.  Muslims may claim to be one people, but the reality is very different as the continual strife between Muslims bears witness. Not only is there the major division between Shias and Sunnis, Muslim dominated states of the same ostensible branch of Islam are often hostile to each other, while Muslim terrorists/freedom fighters (take your pick) willingly kill fellow Muslims – women and children included – in large numbers.

Similarly, Marxist Leninists in the Soviet Union and Red China may have maintained the fiction to the bitter end of the Soviet Bloc that the international proletariat was as one, but the substantial deviations between their ideologies and the viciously repressive measures they used to deny their own proles contact with outside world (and hence with the rest of
the proletariat) told another tale.

Today, the doctrine of liberal internationalism pretends to a universality of human experience and commonality which is refuted every day by the manifold social, ethnic and racial strife throughout the world. It is an ideology which wishes the world would be as it says rather than asserts that this is the world as it is or would be under given conditions.

Nations are organic growths. They cannot be constructed consciously as the “nation-builders” of the period of European de-colonisation fondly imagined and their liberal internationalist successors today continue to at least pretend to believe. Nations are developed through the sociological process of establishing trust within the group. This only happens when others are recognised as belonging naturally to the group. That does not mean that every member of the nation is seen as equal as an individual, whether for
reasons of personality, ability or social status, but it does mean they are accepted automatically as being part of the nation. An English duke may have little if any social contact with the English working man, but each would instinctively recognise the other as English because despite their social distance they fall within the recognised template of what it is to be English.

Nor is the sense of group solidarity and empathy  restricted to nations. As David Hume noted  over two centuries ago when he reflected on how we respond to people in different circumstances: “An Englishman [met] in Italy is a friend:  A European in China [is a friend] ; and perhaps a man [of any origin] wou’d be belov’d as such, were we to meet him in the moon.” ( A Treatise of Human Nature Book II section 2 (A Treatise of Human
Nature).  The same forces which create tribes and nations are at work here as the individual seeks, in the absence of members of his tribe or nation,  those who are closest to his tribe or nation.

Just as a nation cannot be consciously created the individual cannot decide in anything other than the legal sense that they are this or that nationality. A man may decide to become a British citizen through an act of will but he cannot decide to be English. That is because being English is the consequence of parentage and upbringing, something over which the child has no control. It is the unconscious imbibing of a culture something
visceral.

Most vitally, to be part of the tribe or nation a person has to be accepted without thinking by other members of the nation as a member of the nation to be of that nation. That is why the claims of English men and women to be Irish, Welsh or Scots are both forlorn and ridiculous. As the English film director Stephen Frears wittily remarked of the very English actor Daniel Day-Lewis “I knew Daniel before he was Irish”.

Like it or not, the upbringing of these wannabe Celts has made them English. Not only do they think like the English, understand English mores without thinking and are armed with a library of English cultural references, they have a personality which falls within the English spectrum. Put them in a room with foreigners or the Celts they wish to be and they will be taken for English. Such people cannot be anything but English, because only by being raised in a society where you are accepted without question as being part of the nation can the person become part of a nation. An Englishman who wishes to claim that he is a Scot cannot realistically  do so because he lacks the cultural imprinting of a Scot. It is not something which can be faked.

4. The importance of a national territory

A national territory is essential to the well-being of the nation. The fate of the Jews after they lost theirs is a cautionary tale for anyone who believes otherwise. The ideal is a territory which is controlled entirely by the nation, a population which is overwhelmingly comprised of people who are authentic members of the national “tribe” through their parentage and upbringing. The prime example of such a state is the pre-union England, which was the first true nation state.

The next best choice is for a nation state containing different peoples who each have de facto their own national territory. Britain is a first rate example of such a state, with the four home nations – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – each having their own territory.  Simply having a land in which you form the majority on the ground is a great consolation and benefit . That applies even to a people such as the Kurds whose land is  divided between Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Being the dominant population they have both the reassurance of their demographic  control of the territory – boots on the ground – and the consoling possibility of converting that demographic dominance into political control in the future.

The Jews are an oddity. Until the modern state of Israel was founded in 1948 they had been without a homeland for nearly two millennia. They neither controlled a territory in their own right nor were the dominant people in a land. Because of that they were able to convert their religion into a cultural suit to be worn by all adherents in a way that Islam and Christianity or any political ideology never could. Denuded of their own land, they could neither be oppressed by an invader nor oppress others by invasion. They could
not exercise state power. All they had left was cultural power, whether that be intellectual or economic. The consequence was that Jewish culture rather than the possession of a homeland became the primary or even sole psychological focus of  Jews.

As a consequence of the history and  evolution of Jewish society, there been a strain within Jewry since the foundation of a modern state Jewish state was first seriously mooted  in the 19th century that has been hostile to the formation of such a state,  because the Jewish culture which they valued was the product of not having a country to call their own and consequently would become tainted if Jews had a homeland, that Jews would become like other peoples.

Although this mentality has a certain intellectual attraction, it condemns Jews to perpetual insecurity. Although Jews have successfully developed a culture built upon the need to accommodate themselves as a minority within majority non-Jewish populations whilst maintaining a strong ethnic identity, the absence of a territory which they control has meant that their history for the past twenty centuries has been an unhappy one, punctuated regularly by abuse from the majority populations with whom they co-existed,
abuse which ranges  from everyday discrimination to attempts at genocide. This abuse is the consequence of the disordering of the hierarchy humans need, the consequences being what at bottom is a battle for territory.

5. The democratic value of nations

Politically, nations are immensely valuable because the nation state is the largest political unit which allows any meaningful democratic control. Indeed, it is arguable that representative government at the national level is the only real opportunity for serious democratic control, because representative bodies below the national level are always subject to a national government. Supra-national authority signals the end of democratic control. More of that later.

Only in a country where there is a sense of shared history, culture and communal interest can representative government function, even in principle, as a conduit for the interests of the entire population. In a country which is riven by ethnic and racial difference representative democracy invariably deteriorates into a mass of competing groups all struggling for their own advantage. Policy making and its execution becomes fragmentary and it is impossible to construct a coherent approach to promoting the common good. In a nation state with a large degree of homogeneity the political process is concentrated instead upon policies which affect all, or at least the overwhelming majority, of the people. For example, before post-war mass immigration fractured Britain, the great political questions were ones related to class. Policies were put forward  which either were intended to better the situation of the working class or to resist change.  Whichever side a person
was on in that debate, they had no illusions that political policy was designed to meet the situation of the British people as a whole. Today political policy in Britain  is at best a juggling act between the competing ethnic and racial groups and at worst  a deliberately  conspiracy amongst the political elite to suppress the interests of the native population to accommodate those of  minority groups formed over the past 60 years  by incontinent mass immigration.

Once a country’s sovereignty is breached through treaties which commit countries to bow to the will of supra-national bodies , as has happened with the constituent countries of the EU, democratic control withers on the vine because mainstream politicians of all stamps begin to formulate their policies within the context of what the supra-national body allows not in the interests of the country. Eventually, a situation is reached, as has been reached in the case of the EU, where all parties with an opportunity for power sing from the same policy hymn sheet. At that point representative government becomes a shell and democratic control is gone because there is no opportunity to vote for any party which will change matters. That is so because the grip of the existing elite is so tight on all the levers of power, most importantly the mass media, that no new party can even get a serious hearing.

Where the form of government is parliamentary, the difficulty is enhanced by the fact that very large numbers of candidates must stand to both be taken seriously and have any chance of forming a majority. This imposes an immense organisational and economic burden on the new party, not least because the party will lack experienced politicians as candidates and party bureaucrats. Add in things such as first-past-the-post voting in
individual constituencies and the deposit of £500 for each candidate which is at risk of being lost in the vote does not reach 8% of the total, and the British system is just about the best armoured against new parties gaining a foothold in government as any in the world.

Democratic control is vitally important to maintaining the integrity of the nation. There is only one general political question of importance in any society, namely, how far can the masses control the abusive tendencies of the elite? Elites as a class are naturally abusive because it is in the nature of human beings to be selfish and to look for their own advantage and that of those closest to them. That does not mean that no member of an
elite will break ranks and go against their class interest. What it does mean is that an elite as a whole will not change its spots , not least because the sociological shackles are too strong for most of those members of the elite who might be tempted to go against their class interest will be dissuaded from doing so because of the group pressures within the elite, for the elite will develop a “tribal” sense of their own, with those outside the elite seen as a separate social entity.

The less democratic control there is over the elite , the more the elite will engage in behaviours which are detrimental to the coherence of the “tribe” as a whole because the elite will seek their own advantage rather than that of the nation.  Before the rise of the nation state, the abuse was generally much in evidence because elites commonly took the form of monarchies and subordinate rulers in the forms of territorially based aristocracies presiding over territories which contained various national/ethnic groups, the members of which were seen as subjects not part of a national whole. The common and deliberate policy of such elites was to “divide and rule”. Territories were also frequently subject to changes of ruler through conquest, a change of royal favour (in the case of subordinate rulers), inheritance or marriage contracts. In such circumstances there was little
opportunity for the masses to exercise any form of control over their rulers because there was no unity of feeling or sense of commonality amongst the peoples they ruled and the sense of “tribe“ was localised.  It is noteworthy that arguably the most dramatic popular rising in Europe during the mediaeval period took place in England (the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381), the one large kingdom in Europe at that time with a broadly homogenous population and a territory which enjoyed meaningful central Royal control.

With the creation of the nation state there arose the possibility of democratic control. The creation of a sense of nation within a single territory responsible to a single ruler in itself provides the circumstances whereby dissent can be focused and power and influence removed from the monarch and diffused to an ever larger part of the population. That is
precisely what happened in England , with first the gradual accretion of powers by Parliament , especially over taxation, then with the development of Parliamentary government after 1689 and finally with the extension of the franchise from 1832 onwards. By the beginning of the 20th century a large degree of democratic control had been established because the elite were working within the nation state, were dependent on a mass electorate and were having to produce policies within a national context. That control lasted until the early 1970s when the elite found another way of breaking it by moving politics from the national state to a supra-national power, the EU. Once that
was done, the abusive tendencies of the elite could re-assert themselves, as they have done in spades.

6. What the individual owes to the nation

Membership of a nation places a natural duty on the individual to support the nation. Patriotism should be viewed as a matter of utility, an absolutely necessity for the maintenance and coherence of a society. The idea that a society can survive which is merely a collection of deracinated individuals has no basis in history or observed human behaviour today.

It is a very great privilege to be unambiguously part of a nation, for it is the place where you automatically belong. Just as a family is the place where most people can find automatic support so is the nation. In fact, the nation is even more reliable than a family because no one can remove the nationality which has been imprinted into a person while a family can reject a member. In an advanced country such as Britain membership of the nation state is valuable indeed, for materially at least it is still (just) a fully-fledged
life support system.

That which is valuable needs to be defended, because what is valuable is always envied by others and will be stolen if possible and destroyed if not. The state recognises this by expecting its nationals to fight to protect the national territory against an overt invader. The principle can be extended to other things such as opposing mass immigration (a surreptitious form of conquest) and defending the nation’s vital industries.

Patriotism becomes less intense as the size of the group   increases, a fact noted by David Hume: “But when society has become more numerous, and has encrease’d to a tribe or nation, the interest is more remote; nor do men so readily perceive , that order an
confusion follow upon every breach of these rules , as in a more narrow and contracted society.”  (Book II section 2 A Treatise of Human Nature).  But that does not mean it becomes diluted to the point of having no utility. It simply means that patriotic feelings are not as immediately strong as those which attach to family and friends.  Perhaps more exactly, patriotism is not called upon with the same frequency  as the emotions which attach to those whom we regard with personal affection.  The latter feelings are constantly with us,  constantly being called upon. Patriotism on the other hand, is intermittently required to preserve the integrity of the tribe or nation. But it is always there in the
background guiding our  behaviour from thinking it natural that immigrants are excluded from our territory to supporting a national sporting team.

Being patriotic by my definition does not mean constantly and stridently asserting a nation’s achievements and superiority to other nations. It simply   means looking after
the national interest in the same way that an individual looks to their own interest.

7. The liberal internationalist

Liberal internationalist ideology is diametrically opposed to what Nature has decreed. It states that homo sapiens is a single species whose atoms, the individual human being, are interchangeable. For the liberal internationalist discrimination is the dirtiest of words and a word which he interprets to the point of reductio ad absurdum.

That is the theory. In practice, the liberal internationalist complains of discrimination only when it effects those whom it includes within the protective embrace of political correctness. Those outside that embrace may be abused and vilified. Most perversely this attitude frequently results in members of a majority actively discriminating against their
own people. Nowhere is this behaviour seen more sharply than in the attitude of the British elite towards the English to whom they deny any political voice – a privilege granted to the other parts of the UK – and actively abuse them by representing English national feeling as a dangerous thing.

The liberal left internationalists may have made truly immense efforts to portray nations as outmoded relics at best and barbarous survivals from a less enlightened past at worst, but despite their best (or worst) efforts they have not changed the natural feelings of people because these feelings derive from the general biological imperative common to all
social animals: the need to develop behaviours which enhance the utility of the
group.

But if an elite cannot destroy the naturally patriotic feelings the people they rule, they can severely taint and shackle  them by suppressing their public expression through the use of the criminal law, for example, laws against the incitement to racial hatred which are interpreted  as applying to any dissent from the politically correct position on race and immigration  and civil law penalties such as   extortionate payments for unfair dismissal
through racial discrimination which, curiously, only ever seem to apply to members of  ethnic minorities. To this they add the ruthless enforcement of their liberal-left ideology throughout politics, public service, academia, the schools, major private corporations and the mainstream media.

So successful have liberals in Britain been in their censorship and propaganda  that rarely
does any native dissent about immigration and its consequences enter the public realm, while it is now impossible for anyone to occupy  a senior position in any public organisation or private organisation with a quasi-public quality, for examples, charities
and large companies, without religiously observing the elite ideology which has solidified into what is now called political correctness. The consequence is that people have developed the mentality common in totalitarian regimes that certain feelings, however natural, are somehow now out of bounds and dangerous and consequently should be the subject of self-censorship. People still have the feelings but they are withdrawn from public conversation and increasing from private discourse.

It is important to understand that even the most vociferous liberal does not believe in his or her heart of hearts that humanity is a single indivisible entity whose atoms (the individual) are in practice interchangeable. They wish it was so but know it is not so. However, the ideologically committed continue to live in hope that minds and behaviours can be changed by what they are wont to call “education”, for which read indoctrination. The rest go along with the idea because it has been built into the structure of the elite and the doubters prize ambition and their membership of the elite above honesty.

It is of course impossible to consciously force someone to be patriotic,  but there is no need to because the natural instinct of human beings is to be patriotic. All that needs to be done is to remove the constraints placed on national expression by the liberal internationalists and these natural instincts will re-assert themselves . That can be done by the political elite changing their tune towards a defence of the nation and the nation state. Let the political rhetoric alter and the public mood will swing towards the patriotic. The underlying strength of patriotism can be seen in the case of England. Despite being denied any national political voice and incontinently abused by the British elite,   whenever a national sporting  team representing England takes the field the support is immense.  Come the football World Cup and vast numbers of the flag of St George appear on everything from flagpoles to cars. Let England win the Rugby World Cup or cricket’s Ashes and great crowds fill the streets of London as they teams go on a celebratory parade.  Whenever an England side plays abroad they are joined by astonishing numbers of  English men and women.

8. How to move from multiculturalism to patriotism

All treaties which restrict the power of a government to act in the national context must be thrown away. In the case of Britain that means leaving the EU and repudiating treaties such as the UN Convention on Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The institutionalisation of political correctness within public service must be destroyed, both by dismissing all those employed explicitly to enforce such views (who are de facto political commissars) and by repealing all laws which both provide powers for officials and those which restrict free expression. I say political correctness in its entirety because the various strands of political correctness support each other, most notably in the general attack on “discrimination”. Leave anything of the “discrimination” culture intact and it will be used to bring in multiculturalism by the back door. It would also require many of the de facto political commissars to be left in office.

Public office, both that held by politicians and officials, should be restricted to those with four grandparents and two parents as nationals born and bred. This should be done to prevent any lack of focus because of the danger of divided national loyalties.

Mass immigration must be ended. Immigrants in a country illegally should be removed in short order where that can be done. Where possible, those legally in a country who cannot or will not assimilate fully, should be re-settled in their countries of their national origin or the national origin of their ancestors or in other countries where they will be in the racial/ethnic majority. Those who are in a country legally but who do not have essential scarce skills which cannot be supplied by the native population, should be sent back to their countries of origin – there would be few from countries who could not be returned because they would be definitely identifiable as coming from a country and few countries will refuse to receive one of their nationals even if they do not have a passport.

A written constitution is a must because otherwise any change to remedy matters will be vulnerable to easy reversal. Such a reversal could be thwarted, as far as these things can ever be thwarted, by placing a bar on what a government may do. That should include prohibitions on the signing of treaties which restrict national sovereignty and mass immigration, provisions for the protection of strategic industries and the restriction of
public office to born and bred nationals and a clear statement that the nation state exists to privilege its members over those of foreigners. Most importantly, there should be an absolute right to free expression for that is the greatest dissolver of elite abuse and general chicanery. Milton understood this perfectly: ‘

And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose upon the   earth, so truth be in the field [and] we do injuriously  by  licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength.  Let  her
and falsehood grapple;  who ever knew truth put to the worse,  in a free and open encounter…’ [Milton – Areogapitica].

9. No patriotism, no enduring society

The value of patriotism is its ability to produce social coherence and an enduring and discrete population . Without patriotism a country becomes no more than a geographical expression and is ready prey for colonisation by overt conquest through force or covert conquest through mass immigration.

Liberal internationalists have ends which are directly in conflict with patriotism. They seek the destruction of nation states and the subordination of nations to a world order ommanding a single human society .  A particularly crass example comes from the TV
broadcaster I mentioned earlier, Adrian Chiles:

“I want all the species to marry each other so that in 300 years’ time we are all the same colour.

“White people can’t talk about whiteness without sounding racist. I would love my daughter to marry an Asian or black man. “http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100localnews/content_objectid=13305960_method=full_siteid=50002_headline=-Asian-for-Aide-s-girl-name_page.html#story_continue

The  ends  of liberal internationalism are predicated on the demonstrably false premise that diverse populations will live not merely as peacefully and productively as homogeneous ones , but produce stronger and, by implication, more enduring societies . The internationalists have no rational grounds for believing this , for the whole experience of human history and the world as it is today is that diversity of race and ethnicity in the same territory equates to violence and social incoherence. There is literally no example of a diverse society which has not suffered serious ethnic strife, whether that be outright racial war or chronic social disruption such as riots and the production of ethnic ghettos which become de facto no go areas.

Ironically, the invariable consequence of mixed populations is not as liberals would like to believe, a diminishing of aggressive national/tribal sentiment but an inflation of it. A people secure in its own territory does not need to engage in constant national expression because nothing threatens it: a people in a mixed society must constantly do so because
all the ethnic/racial groups are necessarily in conflict because of the need for each to compete for power and resources for their own group.

Because Man is differentiated profoundly by culture, the widely accepted definition of a species – a population of freely interbreeding organisms sharing a common gene pool – is unsatisfactory. Clearly Man is more than an animal responding to simple biological triggers. When behavioural differences are perceived as belonging to a particular group by that group as differentiating members of the group from other humans  they perform the same role as organic differences for they divide Man into cultural species. That is how homo sapiens should be viewed, as an amalgam of species and subspecies who require their own territories to maximise peace . In addition such societal differentiation probably  drives  the evolution of Man . A good example of  the latter would be 18th century England and the Industrial Revolution. Would that revolution have occurred if England had not been a very homogeneous society which suffered very little immigration from the 14th century onwards?  Probably not, because large-scale immigration or conquest by a foreign power would have radically changed the nature of England.

The Liberal internationalists’ belief  that human beings are interchangeable social atoms who may live as readily in one society as another is a recipe for national suicide. Patriotism is not an optional extra.

Intelligent Design is creationism in pseudo-scientific disguise

In the beginning was the argument from design.  This claimed that God’s existence was made manifest  by the intense intricacy, utility and beauty of the world, a state of affairs its advocates said could never have happened by blind chance but only through an intelligent creator. Analogies with God and watchmaker were most popular. The most famous advocate of this idea in the English-speaking world was the Rev William Paley who spent immense time and effort  either side of  the year 1800 attempting to prove his case.

The argument from design crashed into the intellectual  roadblock of Darwinism and the general growing rationalism of  the nineteenth century. The religious responded by covering  the argument with  a carapace   of metaphysical explanation  couched in scientific language . Their arguments took two forms. They either ran along the lines of “the human eye  cannot  possibly have evolved because how do you get from no eye to an eye through  natural selection?” * or claimed that the world, including apparent examples of evolution,  could be perfectly well explained by either God setting off a system which evolved to His plan.

However, some still hankered after immediate creationism. Some just left it at that and said faith proved it to be true. But some  decided to justify the creationist argument using rational  forms if not rational means. So they began to say that it was a theory just like Darwinism. They began to produce   arguments couched in   scientific language  but essentially non-scientific because what they claimed could never be objectively tested. Often what they claimed required the Darwinists to prove a negative, for example, to show that this or that feature could not have arisen by means other than natural selection.  In short, scientific creationism bears the same relationship to science as democratic centralism does to democracy, the answer in both cases being none.

But the scientific  creationists had a problem – they just could not keep God out the picture. But the more intelligent amongst them realised that introducing the Christian  God and  Genesis into the argument made them and rationality strangers in the eyes of most and so they  re-packaged the belief without  Jehova and the Bible and called it Intelligent Design  (ID). It  is scientific creationism in disguise, Christianity without the Bible as it were.

Contrary to what  the  ID/creationists claim, there is ample evidence that Darwinism is correct.   We have the fossil evidence of  long runs of evolving organisms such as the horse and pig – an ID advocate would have to believe either that the intelligent designer created each individually or that the intelligent designer set the world off on a course in which everything would evolve to a pre-ordained pattern.

We also know from organisms occurring naturally that variations in a species are commonplace and from animal breeding that organisms are quickly malleable and can be manipulated through selective breeding within a few generations to enhance desired traits. Controlled experiments have also demonstrated  that agents such as radioactive materials and heat can create mutations.  In addition, geneticists have begun to identify the genes which control biological development and behaviour, which explains how  variation occurs.

Rapidly increasing understanding of genetics has  shown that all organisms are genetically linked, in some cases surprisingly very closely.  This  strongly suggests but does not prove evolution – it is conceivable but improbable that each organism could be individually designed. .

Common observation tells anyone that  the natural world has at the least not been directly  designed by an intelligent creator. We can tell this from the Heath Robinson nature of organisms. These, far from being highly engineered examples of organic perfection, contain within themselves just the type of development one would expect from evolved organisms: structures which are clearly adapted from structures with different functions. Look at a flatfish such as a plaice. Its mouth and eyes etc  have been twisted round through about 90 degrees to allow the fish to place its previously vertical body  sideways in the water. The twisting is very obvious and the result crude and not as one would expect from something deliberately designed.

It is of course possible, as I have mentioned above, that every organism is individually created or that the whole of evolution has been the consequence of an event such as the working out of a computer programme. However, there is no evidence whatsoever for this and in principle there could never be because it would be impossible to provide objective evidence that it was the truth for the same reason one cannot provide evidence of a God: there is no way of demonstrating that such knowledge was more than a fantasy.

The God problem for ID/Creationists

Imagine that ID is the truth. The ID/Creationists have a bit of a problem. They are, to the best of my knowledge, all Christians. Yet if their God is responsible for creating the world he cannot be the God of love, whose first priority is the wellbeing of Man.

When Darwin was an old man he  said something along to the effect that when he contemplated the natural world he shuddered at the thought of a mind who could have created something so barbaric.   What God of love would create predators, many of which eat their prey alive? What God of love would  visit so much suffering by way of disease? What God of love would make organisms grow old and defunct rather than letting them die when vigorous? What God of love would create natural disasters such as floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions or earthquakes?

If the ID/creationists are truly sincere  in their belief in a creator they must conclude that their god is, in human terms, psychopathic.

* The mechanism for the evolution of the eye by Darwinian means is easily demonstrated.  The starting point are a few light sensitive cells (some living animals have such things). . These  prove useful and more cells develop in succeeding generations. Then a protective cover develops. This gradually develops into a lens and so on until the eye as we know it is formed.

The geneticist Steve Jones (D Tel 31 August)  described research on the nerve transmitter serotonin. The research shows that a receptor for serotonin  on the surface of brain cells  varies in quantity from individual to individual. The fewer you have the more likely you  are to be anxious and nervous. Strong correlations exist between schizophrenics and religious believers and the number of receptors they have – the fewer the number of receptors, the greater likelihood of either state of mind existing.

As Jones puts it “The molecular lock into which serotonin key fits is, it seems, Beezlebub’s own protein, for to inherit a decent dose of  it is as good a vaccine against belief as was compulsory school assembly.”

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