Most deny that genetics and cultural developments have anything to do with the success of the West. Environmental determinism as exemplified by Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, explains everything in terms of environmental influences rather than an interplay of genes, culture and environment – what Greg Cochran and the late Henry Harpending called the ‘endless dance of biological and cultural change’ in their brilliant book, The 10,000 Year Explosion.
Popular historian Neil Ferguson is famous for presenting six ‘killer apps’ which set ‘the West apart from the rest’. But these are presented as tick-boxes to be imposed by some state; as though, overnight, any population could suddenly become identical to white middle-class people in the West. After all, that’s what happened in Iraq, right? No. Saying that competition, science, property, modern medicine, consumerism and a strong work ethic made Westerners more successful is putting the cart before the horse. Culture is a manifestation of the individuals interacting within a society. It is a bottom-up, organic process; the success of the West wasn’t something created by the state but by individual Westerners despite the rise of statism. Yet, there is still tremendous, even legislated resistance, to accepting any role whatsoever that biology may have played for the successes of any group of people.
To understand why, I spoke with Richard Lynn, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Ulster. ‘Political correctness is the root of the explanation of this problem,’ Lynn told me. ‘People differ genetically and if you say, for example, that some people are more intelligent than others, this is going to hurt the feelings of the less intelligent. This is the reason there is such resistance to accepting the truth.’
Not wanting to hurt any ‘feels’ has not just caused academic institutions to provide their students safe-spaces to shelter them from the real world; they’ve been safe-spacing all of us from the facts! For example, it is now vogue to deny the existence of different races (not just genders), and to dismiss IQ as a strong indicator of future success. In fact, it is a career-killer to discuss genes as determining almost anything, except for homosexuality of course. Just ask Helmuth Nyborg, former Professor of Psychology at Aarhus University in Denmark. He lost his job (but was cleared of misconduct allegations) for daring to investigate why the average IQ in Europe is lowered by accepting large numbers of immigrants from the third world; thus, prompting popular scientist, Prof. Steve Pinker, to note, ‘No one has the right to legislate the truth.’ So, to hell with political correctness; I want the truth!
What Makes Europeans Different?
First, Prof. Lynn explained that you can distinguish Europeans as a race. That’s right, races exist! In the past, the perceived races were the big three – mongoloids, negroids and caucasoids. But, as ethnicities or sub-groups develop greater differences, they form definite race groups. Prof. Lynn says that we can distinguish as many as ten races, depending on how we define the clusters of gene variations – Native Americans, Arctic peoples, Europeans, Sub-Saharan Africans, Bushmen, North Africans and South Asians, East Asians, South-East Asians, Pacific Islanders and Aboriginal Australians.
Environment only explains how certain biological qualities could have evolved but not what they are. It has been hypothesized that European libertarian and individualistic cultures and institutions are the result of four socio-biological qualities: IQ, time-preference, testosterone, and psychopathy. It so happens that ethnic Europeans fall between the East Asians (China, Korea and Japan) at the higher end of the spectrum, and the Bushmen and Aboriginal Australians at the other (but closer to the East Asians) on all these factors. For example, the average East Asian IQ is 110, for Europeans it is 100 and Bushmen average at just over 60. Having a relatively high IQ with moderate levels of testosterone and psychopathy has culminated in a general spirit which was described by Spengler as ‘Faustian’ in its restlessness.
So, to rival Ferguson’s ‘killer apps’ of the West, I shall present my own in the helpful acronym, W.E.S.T.:
Higher IQs in Northern climes is a relatively easy thing to explain, Prof. Lynn insisted. Humans had to adapt to survive colder environments. In order to build fires, make clothing and think ahead (i.e. winter is coming), one had to be smart and also possess a low time-preference. Every winter weeded out the less intelligent from the gene pool. Prof. Lynn’s Cold Winters Theory of the development of higher IQ has become widely accepted.
Similarly, Gregory Clark’s widely accepted theory, in A Farewell to Alms, is that the Anglo-Dutch economic miracle, which has been making the world an increasingly fun place to live for the past 300 years, was a result of our middle classes out-breeding the lower since the late middle ages. What’s more, lower classes were routinely wiped out by plagues and diseases, meaning that downward social mobility replaced them with the survivors from higher classes, raising the overall IQ, work ethic and sense of familial responsibility.
At this point one may ask himself, “But what makes the West so different from the advanced East Asian civilizations? After all, they have higher IQs than Western nations and Japan, in particular, has a high trust society.”
Thousands of years ago, China was developing great states with a single despotic leader who subdued the population and exterminated those who were non-conformist. Meanwhile, something completely different was happening in Europe. As Prof. Ricardo Duchesne shows in his magnum opus, The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, Europeans and the unique societies we produce are descended from the Indo-Europeans. These were warrior nomads from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe who evolved to value kudos from peers above their very own lives. This didn’t merely produce berserker warfare and the heroic sagas of both Northern and Southern Europe, but also libertarian aristocracies. They were libertarian in that they did not force others to submit to their sovereign authority, as did the oriental despots, but rather sought to sincerely earn the respect of their peers.
One of the major differences between East Asians and Europeans are their respective levels of psychopathy. I have written elsewhere on Prof. Lynn’s work regarding the differing levels of psychopathy in different ethnic groups. Now, psychopathy does not necessarily mean antisocial, sociopathic, violent traits. Indeed, moderate psychopathy, consisting of Factor 1 psychopathic traits, are quite desirable qualities, producing the most charming and charismatic characters we know – captains of enterprise, the life and soul of parties etc. With this in mind, Prof. Lynn has shown that whites have a higher average level of psychopathy than East Asians, whose ancient despotic states have long domesticated any individualistic assertiveness out of them. Yet they are moderate when compared to the higher average levels of Africans which, as Prof. Lynn has explained in his article, Racial and Ethnic Differences in Psychopathic Personality, lead to a higher propensity to antisocial behavior. How then does this Faustian, moderate psychopathy manifest Western civilization?
It has been hypothesized that the relatively higher average degree of Factor 1 psychopathic traits in Europeans, inherited from Indo-European ancestors was as much responsible for their flouting of their own lives in berserker warfare, as it is for today’s white man – so restlessly curious and competitive that he must conquer all boundaries, being the first to the poles and ever outwards, even to the moon. This flagrant disregard for one’s own physical safety, to achieve immortal fame typifies Spengler’s Faustian spirit.
Prof. Lynn certainly agrees that the higher degree of psychopathy in the West has historically produced a willingness to ‘stick one’s neck out and dissent from received opinion, like Galileo or Darwin.’ This led to the West becoming more creative and dynamic, overtaking China in terms of innovation around 1500; whereas, the Japanese proverb declares, ‘The nail that sticks out gets hammered down!’
Since Plato, what we call ‘the West’ has been marked by that inner quest to plunge to the depths of the human psyche and conquer oneself, as well as one’s surroundings. The competition to ‘know thyself’ produced philosophy, but it was the peculiarly European ethos of welcoming competitors, whose kudos one valued, which allowed its different schools of thought to exist. Whilst the Chinese sage would never have disagreed with a previous sage, Aristotle was welcome to disagree with Plato.
Thus, various political, religious and scientific revolutions are everywhere in Western history, whereas the Chinese are currently concerned about their creativity deficit, despite their brilliant ability to handle received methods and opinions. Moderate psychopathy, therefore, seems to be the source of the individualism which has given rise to the libertarian streak of the West. This produced an intellectually restless people, innovating the various schools of Greek philosophy and the scientific method etc. in a spirit of rational competition. Note that such movements did not and probably could not develop in the Islamic or Chinese civilization, despite their technological advances.
Of course, I wanted to call this factor ‘Rationalism’, but that doesn’t begin with S. Nevertheless, the meaning is the same – wisdom and prudence. It was Weber who pointed out the higher degree of rationalism in the European mindset, accounting for our desire to systematize all of our enterprises. This was of course what fueled the kind of thinking which gave birth to the numerous civilizing Revolutions of Europe, not least of all the Industrial. The most unique institution of the West is Law.
Cold winters favored those stricter adherents to the group’s honor code, designed for cooperation and survival. Even the ferocious Indo-Europeans, from whom Europeans are descended, developed libertarian aristocracies. Their legacy was the equity of free men, bound to each other in honor, oaths, and fealty. This, in turn, affected the development of Western systems of government. Up until the late Medieval period and the rise of modernism and consequent statism, Western civilization was marked by being both advanced, yet without any proper states, but there was most certainly law and order to which all were accountable, including the king. This law, however, was private – something almost inconceivable to the mindset of Western man today.
As Prof. Bruce L. Benson puts it:
‘It is a widely held belief that state governments and law develop together and, therefore, that law and order could not exist in a society without the organized, authoritarian institutions of the state… [But,] law can be imposed from above by some coercive authority, such as a king, a legislature, or a supreme court, or law can develop “from the ground” as customs and practice evolve.’
The process of developing a rational system of law that is not simply some legislation imposed by authoritarian means was a uniquely European enterprise, prompting the late S. Prakash Sinha to develop his thesis that law itself is actually a unique, non-universal institution of Western Civilization. All of Christendom benefited from these rational systems of law.
Prof. Duchesne notes that the Church was able to maintain independent law-making ability for itself, as well as private courts across the continent, producing not just the ‘first comprehensive and rational systematization of law”, but turning all of Europe into a “warren of jurisdictions’ with numerous sources and kinds of private law – ‘which in turn resulted in the preconditions and the experience for a civil society where no authority, not even the pope or the king, had complete political, religious, or intellectual jurisdiction.’ (The Uniqueness of Western Civilization, p.275) This stateless decentralization would produce the very legal systems which still undergird most law around the world.
As the renowned Prof. Jonathan Haidt’s almost unique study of libertarians concluded, libertarians have ‘a relatively cerebral, as opposed to emotional, cognitive style’. It has been hypothesized elsewhere that the greater number of Myers-Briggs ‘Rationalist’ personality types (previously called the ‘Faustian’ personality type) among whites might explain their superior, i.e. dominant, more rational and libertarian, legal systems.
The willingness to defer gratification, called ‘low time-preference’, is crucial for advanced civilizations. Like all the above factors, this too can be partly explained by cold winters: As early humans migrated, they had to keep moving to avoid over-foraging and threats from competition. Some encountered increasingly colder environments and those who were unwilling to forgo the pleasure of consuming food now, were unable to survive the harsher winters and thus became food for someone else.
This produced a population better able and more willing to defer gratification with each successive generation. Lower time-preference produced a culture with a superior work ethic and enabled the development of a population better able to sustain the various traits of Western civilization identified by Ferguson and others. As discussed above, Europeans have their temperance to thank for the more libertarian systems of law and government which have informed so much of the West’s development.
Do not confuse temperance with timidity! Yes, cold winters, agriculture and trade favored those who could smile and say, ‘Thank you, come again,’ but, whereas the East Asians have very low average levels of psychopathy and testosterone, European levels are significantly higher. After all, half of us are directly descended from a single warrior king. Truly, we should be celebrating the social importance of our Faustian competition for self-mastery.
Nietzsche sums it up well – ‘Of all evil I deem you capable: Therefore I want good from you. Verily, I have often laughed at the weaklings who thought themselves good because they had no claws.’ This reminds me of John Wayne’s line in McLintock: ‘You’ve got to be a man first before you can be a gentleman.’ However, Nietzsche complained of this competition in temperance (especially as realized by Catholic Europe) and bemoaned the ancient Greek introduction of it as a virtue and the recognition of hubris as a vice. Rather, I argue that this important development was the birth of the West as a ‘civilization’ and the chivalric knight or gentleman as the ideal Western man, even the ideal king.
Whereas oriental despotism legislated greater control of others, this was seen as the result of inner-weakness in the eyes of the ancient Greeks. For millennia, the Chinese were under large centralized states which effectively domesticated their populations, resulting in the major differences identified above. It wasn’t a lack of strength but rather a show of tremendous inner-strength which brought about the advanced stateless societies of old Europe.
This Faustian desire to be recognized as the most stoic, composed, and prudent ensured European/American libertarian systems of government and law for many centuries. It was no longer just the Indo-Europeans’ competition among aristocratic peers but the added competition in temperance, among all men, which limited the king’s dominium but not their imperium. That is, kings understood the long-term prudence of undertaking greater obligations for the good of their kinsmen, but not greater rights. What’s more, it was the Church which acted as that institution to ensure the rule of law (a necessary institution as Carl Schmitt rightly identified) and encouraged kings to embody the ideal European man.
This ideal was not just for kings to manifest but for all heads of houses. The process of encouraging all men towards the aristocratic virtues was being perfected by the Church; however, as Renaissance kings sought greater irresponsibility from the social obligations expected of them, this became an easier and more lucrative model for the populace to ape, particularly the bourgeoisie and the increasingly dominant merchant and banking classes of the cities. This attitude would produce the hyper-individualistic elements of modernism and the end of personalism in Europe. Hence, one mustn’t blame Christendom for the increasingly juvenile behavior of Western man, but rather individuals who pass responsibility to an increasingly irresponsible state system of government. For such men, the short-term benefits outweigh the long.
Nietzsche was wrong about temperance, just as he was about the Church. If we want our men to behave like men, we need them to be responsible, directly responsible for their families and the communities they form. This requires them to be strong enough to get the job done and temperate enough to make prudent long-term decisions.
These ‘killer apps’ make Western civilization what it is – a combination of evolutionary factors, including genes and culture, not a tick-list to be mimicked by the rest of the world. We cannot be something we are not, nor can we expect the rest of the world to be just like us. We wouldn’t drop a Russian in the middle of the Australian desert and expect him to survive in the same way an aborigine does. Likewise, we should stop dreaming of a burden on the West to make the world ‘safe for democracy’ or whatever else is vogue with the political class. Also, we must bring an end to multicultural experiments which have only resulted in the endangerment of Western civilization.
Prof. Haidt, has predicted that an increasingly ‘diverse’ society will so reduce trust as to make it unsustainable and dangerous:
‘A multiethnic society is a very hard machine to assemble and get aloft into the air… Politics is always about factions, always about competing groups… But in a world in which factions are based on race or ethnicity, rather than economic interests, that’s the worst possible world. It’s the most intractable world we can inhabit, and it’s the one that will lead to the ugliest outcome.’
In short, the genocidal fascination with which immigration and diversification are imposed on the West does not spell a happy ending for any group. The world is more interesting when there is variety and competition, and Western civilization has and still benefits the world greatly. If this is to continue, the above factors must be maintained – a responsibility we all bear.